QUICK REVIEW: Burger King Sourdough King

Burger King Sourdough King

What is it?

The Sourdough King is basically a slightly ritzier version of BK’s line of King sandwiches. The ingredients are all pretty much part and parcel of the usual Burger King sammich – you’ve got your flame-broiled patty, you’ve got some American cheese, and you’ve got a few strips of bacon – but the big variable is what’s holding all of it together: a toasted sourdough bun. Toss in some grilled onions and the King’s signature creamy sauce and that’s pretty much the gist of it.

How is it?

Burger King Sourdough King 3

It’s a bit of a mixed bag. The onions are pretty juicy and crispy, so that’s a plus. The charbroiled beef is as good as ever and that proprietary secret sauce (I’m thinking it’s half honey mustard and half Catalina dressing) is downright delicious.

Unfortunately, the toasted sourdough bun seems to get soggy fast, and the bacon – at least at my local BK – felt a little too chewy and flavorless.

Is there anything else I need to know?

With a fairly steep price point (the double-patty version will cost you $5.99), the Sourdough King doesn’t do a whole lot to justify its cost – indeed, it seems to be smaller than the chain’s regular Bacon King offering.

Burger King Sourdough King 2

Furthermore, the sodium content is also pretty high, so you’re definitely going to need a beverage to choke this thing down. And while very yummy, that “special sauce” is extremely greasy – better have the napkin dispenser nearby if you plan on tackling this sucker.

Conclusion:

The Sourdough King is tasty, but it’s hardly what I would consider a L-T-O worth going out of your way to experience. The sourdough bun doesn’t add anything to the tried-and-true formula, and you could easily replicate the overall taste and flavor of the sandwich by special-ordering a regular burger — thus saving yourself a dollar or two in the process.

Honestly, this is hardly anything more than a Bacon King with toast instead of a sesame seed bun; and if such an invitation has your mouth-watering and your free hand just itching to fork over your wallet…well, that makes one of us.

On the planet.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: Single patty
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Single Patty) 730 calories, 43 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 1570 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 35 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Arby’s Gyro Loaded Curly Fries

Arby s Gyro Loaded Curly Fries

After venison sandwiches, the monstrous Meat Mountain, and a mustard-slathered Cuban, I suppose the old Athenian route was one of the few remaining avenues left for Arby’s to explore.

Enter the Gyro Loaded Curly Fries, a limited-time-only companion piece to Arby’s armada of Greek-themed seasonal items such as the Greek Gyro Salad and the, uh, just plain old Gyro.

Arby’s proprietary Curly Fries, I suppose, need no introduction. We all know how fantastic they are. This newfangled edition ups the ante with a nice mixture of traditional gyro ingredients, including Tzatziki sauce, red onions, diced tomatoes and, of course, a heaping helping of gyro meat (which, in this instance, is a combination of beef and lamb.)

Two things make this dish stand out. First, the spices are really good. Of course, since I don’t work there I have no idea what the local Arby’s is putting in these things, but my well-traveled taste buds picked up all sorts of flavors that are more than atypical for a fast food haunt, including what appears to be cumin and coriander. For something you can pick up via a drive-thru window, this thing tastes astonishingly comparable to “real” Greek cuisine.

Secondly, the Tzatziki sauce is outstanding. My big fear was that it would be either too weak and watery or too thick and overpowering, but give the meat maestros at Arby’s some credit, they came pretty darn close to striking a nearly perfect balance on this one. It’s extremely unlikely, but I’d love to see this delicious yogurt become a permanent addition to the sauce bar.

Your mileage will vary on the quality of the meat. The slivers are a little chewier than you’d expect, and the very well seasoned exterior might be a turn off to those of you with blander appetites. I guess my biggest gripe is that the chunks of gyro meat are just too small and too few and far in-between the fries. Really, you’d need to get a double order of meat for the meat-to-fries ratio to come out even, so do keep that in mind before you flip open your wallet.

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The tomatoes and red onions are kind of an afterthought. The former are so small and inconsequential that you barely taste them and the latter are probably a wee bit too big and overpowering compared to the rest of the dish. Simply put, the fries and the onions just don’t gel at all in terms of taste and mouthfeel, no matter how much sauce you add into the mix. I’d recommend skipping the onions altogether, but hey – that’s just my personal preference.

On the whole, this is a much better than anticipated side item. It’s filling and feels fresh. Of course, it’s not for all tastes, but as long as you’ve got a penchant for spicier offerings, you’ll probably get a kick out of these specially dressed Curly Fries.

(Nutrition Facts – 820 calories, 530 calories from fat, 49 grams of total fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,650 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of total carbohydrates, 6 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugars, and 14 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The seasonings are superb. The Tzatziki sauce is surprisingly rich. Lamb and Curly Fries go together way better than we ever could’ve possibly imagined.
Cons: The onions are a bit much. The slices of meat are a tad too small. Having to listen to the cashier refer to it as a “GUY-RO” instead of a “YEAR-OH”…repeatedly.

REVIEW: Burger King Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Burger King Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich

At this point, the only way fast food chains can be “innovative” when it comes to chicken sandwiches is if they radically change the stuff around the chicken – i.e., all of the other ingredients underneath the bread – or find an entirely different kind of bird to deep fry (I’m anticipating a breaded pheasant Arby’s entree by 2020, for sure.)

Needless to say, Burger King’s all-too-generically titled Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich isn’t the revolutionary L-T-O the fast food industry’s looking for. That’s not to say it’s bad or anything like that, just that it’s, well, pretty much exactly what you would expect. As soon as you eye the sandwich, you know precisely what to anticipate, and as soon as you take your first bite all of your prejudices are validated. Sorry BK – this is one book we can all safely judge by its wrapper.

First things first, my sandwich didn’t look anything like the sandwich on the advertisement posters. Sure, they never do, but in this case it was egregiously underwhelming. The whole sandwich was flatter than a pancake, to the point I couldn’t even see the interior chicken gawping at the sandwich sideways. And I assure you, what was lurking underneath the hood was even more disappointing.

Yeah, that’s a pretty small chicken patty, isn’t it? Hell, that thing is so small, it might be better described as a morbidly obese chicken nugget. Still, it did have a nice, healthy orange sheen to it, so I’ll at least give the King props for aesthetics.

Burger King Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2

Maybe it’s just my local BK crew not giving a hoot, but it seems like there was a surplus of mayonnaise on my sandwich and a deficit of tomato and lettuce. Ultimately, this thing had more “dead space” on it than any fast food burger I’ve chewed in a long time. Indeed, my first couple of bites, I was literally gnashing bread on bread. I’ve gotten to the center of a Tootsie Roll lollipop faster than it took me to hit something other than bun on this sucker.

Burger King Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich 3

The white meat patty – once you get to it – though, is pretty good, but the “spiciness” is another letdown. Pretty much all this thing does is give you a nasty case of Doritos breath, and maybe a little bit of “Texas Pete tongue” for half a minute.

Again, it’s not horrible tasting, it’s just so woefully predictable. Even if you haven’t tried BK’s latest, I promise you that you’ve had at least one other sandwich that tasted like it. Had Burger King at least tried to up the ante with a spicier dressing, hotter cheese, or even some spicy onion rings, they would have given this thing some kind of identity.

But as is, this thing is painfully bland. And if there’s one thing worse than being a bad fast food sandwich, surely, it’s being one that’s just OK.

(Nutrition Facts – 700 calories, 42 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,140 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 25 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: The chicken patty has a nice apricot glow. The ample “white space” allows for plenty of creative uses of condiments. The white meat, admittedly, is pretty chewy.
Cons: It’s not spicy – at all. It really could benefit from some extra ingredients. The feeling that you’ve already eaten this thing before…and at a lower price point, too.

REVIEW: Arby’s Miami Cuban Sandwich

Arby s Miami Cuban Sandwich

Your fondness/abhorrence of mustard is going to dictate your overall thoughts on Arby’s new Miami Cuban. If you really like mustard, you’ll definitely get a kick out of the limited-time-only offering — especially if you order one at the same suburban Atlanta franchise I got mine from.

Arby s Miami Cuban Sandwich 2

As the photographic evidence clearly demonstrates, apparently the chefs at my neighborhood eatery decided it wouldn’t really be an authentic Miami Cuban unless they squeezed an entire bottle of French’s on the sandwich before sending it down the burger chute. It has since been brought to my attention that, no, this is not the standard assemblage process for Arby’s franchises, so odds are your sandwich will contain significantly less of the yellow stuff.

Beyond that condiment deluge, though, we’re working with some pretty standard stuff here. Despite the name, the sandwich isn’t served on Cuban bread, or even a ciabatta roll. Instead, the whole shebang is served on a rather humdrum, ordinary, everyday sub roll. As for the protein, you do get a nice mixture of pit smoked ham and shredded pork loin. If you’ve never had the latter before, it has a nice, semi-bacon flavor to it, all while having the same consistency of the regular shredded ham we’re used to from the franchise.

Rounding out the Cuban sub (shh, don’t tell JFK!) is a hearty helping of melted Swiss cheese and a couple of slices of dill pickle.

Arby s Miami Cuban Sandwich 3

Obviously, the high mustard quotient is the only thing keeping this from being a fairly uninspired limited-time-only offering. Overall it is pretty yummy, and I personally dig the sorta-but-not-really-spicy taste and mouthfeel of all that mustard, but it’s not exactly a revolutionary fast food offering. Hmm, considering this is a Cuban we’re talking about, maybe “revolutionary” isn’t the best-fitting term to use. But…still.

On the positive side of things, it is a rather filling sandwich, and at 510 calories, it’s a surprisingly light fast food item for its size. As far as negatives go, the thing is ridiculously salty, and, if you get one like mine, good luck eating it without getting mustard on literally every article of clothing you own, and probably the apparel of the people sitting beside you, too.

Really, the problem here isn’t that the sandwich tastes bad, because it certainly doesn’t. It’s more the fact that it simply takes the basic ingredients of the traditional Cuban sandwich and sucks all the soul out of it. Take a look at this authentic Cuban sandwich from the Miami-area restaurant Alberto Cabrera’s. Sorry, Arby’s but you just can’t replicate that with the material you’re used to working with.

That said, it is pretty fun mixing and matching the sandwich with Arby’s impressive gauntlet of in-house sauces (you’d be amazed how well the mustard gels with the Horsey sauce) and, of course, if you don’t try the sucker with a couple of curly fries added into the mix, you have no (Havana?) idea what you’re missing.

(Nutrition Facts – 510 calories, 180 calories from fat, 20 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 96 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,520 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 38 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: The shredded pork loin is great. The sandwich as a whole is pretty appetite-satiating. Mixing the mustard with honey mustard and feeling like a mad scientist.
Cons: Goodness, is this thing messy. It’s absurdly salty. Not being able to find a place to wedge in a Scarface or Don Johnson reference.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Super Mario Cereal

Kellogg s Super Mario Cereal

Released last December, finding Kellogg’s newfangled Super Mario Cereal hasn’t been easy. Long story short, each package has some sort of QR-Code type thingy on it, and if you scan it with your Nintendo controller it unlocks some kind of new in-game content. Naturally, this has led to collectors/hoarders snatching up the product in droves, with online merchants reselling the cereal on eBay at triple, quintuple, and even 100 times the MRSP.

While strolling through the aisles of Walmart on a recent mechanical pencil and instant coffee run, I stumbled across a freshly stocked pyramid of the ultra-rare breakfast foodstuff. And while I was tempted to buy about 20 of them, hold on to them for 25 years and resell them at $200 a pop, I decided to be a good little consumer and only scoop up one. Hopefully, the karma will lead to the re-release of Dunkaroos, or mayhap even the resurrection of the Bell Beefer, in due time.

Kellogg s Super Mario Cereal 2

Aesthetically, the packaging is pretty pleasing. There are a lot of Easter eggs and in-jokes on the front box, so hardcore Nintendo fans will get a kick out of that. The activity panel on the back, though, is way too rudimentary. Even for a children’s breakfast item, the trivia questions on this one are far too easy. And of course, you have that little QR-Code scanny thing. I’m not sure what it does, precisely, but I’m sure your eight-year-old nephew can fill you in on the details.

Kellogg s Super Mario Cereal 3

As for the cereal itself, well, it’s pretty mundane. It’s marketed as having a berry flavor, but it doesn’t explicitly tell you what kind of berry. So as soon as you crack open the box, you’re greeted by this weird, artificially fruity scent that’s one part strawberry, one part blueberry, and one part scented unicorn sticker.

Kellogg s Super Mario Cereal 5

The puffy rice stars are decent looking, but the taste is quite bland – they absorb all of that pseudo-berry chemical flavoring and wind up tasting like Franken Berry and Boo Berry’s illegitimate love child. And maybe it’s just me, but I SWORE there was a mild (yet strangely convincing) bacon-ish undercurrent to each piece. Please, somebody out there back me up on this, for my own sanity.

Kellogg s Super Mario Cereal 4

The marshmallows, though, are the most disappointing thing about the cereal. Not only do they taste alike (which are like the regular cereal bits, except slightly chewier), they don’t even remotely resemble the classical Super Mario insignia they’re supposed to represent. The 1-up mushrooms are kinda decent, but the mystery blocks and Super Mario hats are just abominations.

Outside of the Mario branding, this is a really generic cereal that reminded me a lot of the Avengers: Age of Ultron cereal Kellogg’s released three years ago. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the exact same formula, albeit with slightly tweaked marshmallow shapes.

Sorry, Mario. You might still be super, but your tie-in cereal here is merely average.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 120 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 8.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: The packaging has a lot of neat nods and winks to the video games. The 1-up mushrooms are pretty nice. The cereal itself may or may not be secretly bacon-flavored.
Cons: The artificial berry flavoring is ho-hum. The puffed rice pieces are uninspired. A disappointing lack of marshmallow pieces shaped like Tanooki suits, King Boos, or Thwomps