Author Archives | Jeff

Jeff - who has written 53 posts on The Impulsive Buy.


REVIEW: Taco Bell Sausage Breakfast Burrito

Written by | April 18, 2014

Topics: 2 Rating, Fast Food, Taco Bell

Taco Bell Sausage Breakfast Burrito Outside

The breakfast burrito encompasses everything that is a guilty pleasure. Eggy richness covered with melty cheese and salty bits of luscious fatty meat, all wrapped in a convenient flour tortilla. Like a grilled cheese sandwich, it echoes comfort and its simple ingredients combine together to create a complex equation of deliciousness.

Long story short, a breakfast burrito (like a grilled cheese) balances on a thin line between awesome and Shitsville.

Taco Bell has toyed with the idea of a breakfast menu longer than Dan Aykroyd has tinkered with endless versions of Ghostbusters III. I remember when I was an undergrad, the Taco Bell in the student union had makeshift breakfast burritos with tater tots, eggs, and cheese in them. I have no idea if these were sanctioned or official but I knew I ate those bastards without consideration to anything, including my girlfriend’s stupid vegan rule.

Every time I heard Taco Bell was testing its breakfast menu, I would pray to the Bell loudly that Orlando would be chosen, but to no avail. And now a few years or so, everyone gets their chance to partake in this once mythical menu.

We all know by 2032, as Demolition Man taught us, that Taco Bell wins the fast food wars; sex involves no touching and sleek headgear; and Wesley Snipes did more than skipping out on taxes. I’m going to make an educated guess that the breakfast burrito was not one of the contributions that led Taco Bell to win that war.

Taco Bell Sausage Breakfast Burrito Inside

As soon as I bit into the burrito, I knew I made a mistake larger than the last woman who dated Chris Brown. Cheap shot aside, the eggs were chalky and powdery tasting. Normally in a breakfast burrito, the eggs are the binding ingredient that amplifies the other flavors. However, this egg was gritty, bland and just sat there like it gave up on doing much.

Taco Bell states you get a “double portion of fluffy scrambled eggs.” They couldn’t even get that right because my portion was more like Keira Knightly-sized, let alone fluffy.

Collapsing even further was the dreadful, droopy and less than present flavor of the cheddar cheese. There is more cheese flavor to be found if you sucked your cousin’s fingers after they ate a bag of cheese puffs. The cheddar cheese was mostly crusted up which only served to emphasize the boring and apathetic eggs.

You do get a choice of bacon or sausage for your breakfast burrito. I decided on sausage to avoid the old trap that bacon makes everything taste better. It does not…but in any case, I just wanted to stay away from the sweet crispy lull of bacon.

The sausage was as depressing as the rest of the other elements. It was like Ron Jeremy. Greasy, hard in some parts, and unpleasantly fatty. The sausage was also dull and devoid of the punch of spices we are accustomed to in fast food sausage.

To call this a letdown is as much as an understatement as if I said, “I’m sad” after catching my wife getting jackhammered by the mailman. I was in disbelief that a chain that can make fast food burritos well, screwed up this badly. I think if I chewed on my Fleshlight, there would be more flavor.

What about the positives? Frankly, the only one I can think of is that it’s served until 11:00am, or at least the one in my area. The flour tortilla kept everything warm, so I suppose that’s a mediocre plus.

I have a rule that has guided me very well in general regarding going out to eat. If a restaurant can’t make a staple dish well, most likely the rest of their menu is going to suck. For example, if you go to a Chinese restaurant and the egg rolls or fried rice are damn awful, you can bet the Peking duck is going to flatline harder than M. Night Shyamalan’s most recent movie. I mean if you go to your neighborhood Italian restaurant and the eggplant parmesan tastes like crap, do you really think the kitchen can handle the acqua pazza? Hell no!

Taco Bell Sausage Breakfast Burrito

Bottom line, Taco Bell couldn’t make their breakfast burrito rise like a morning woodster, which stinks because I am less enthused about trying their other breakfast offerings. This review made me realize two things. One, I think I’ll stick to what Taco Bell knows best, the “fourth” meal that comes after a night of hard drinking involving lots of scotches and martinis. Two, movies based on the future are stupid lies.

(Nutrition Facts – 470 calories, 250 calories from fat, 28 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 210 milligrams of cholesterol, 930 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Sausage Breakfast Burrito
Purchased Price: $1.69
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: It’s served until 11:00 a.m. The flour tortilla keeps everything nice and warm. The girlfriend who is now my wife. Makes you appreciate the regular menu. Wesley Snipes in Expendables III (it’s not out but who cares, that movie looks awesome!!!)
Cons: That they serve this at all. The gritty eggs. The flavorless cheddar cheese. The girlfriend who made me eat vegan foods. The grizzle of the sausage. Wesley Snipes in Blade III.

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REVIEW: McDonald’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry Frappe

Written by | February 17, 2014

Topics: 4 Rating, Fast Food, McDonald's

McDonald’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry Frappe

I believe you hit a certain age when you want a milkshake but you’re an adult now and unless it’s swilling an espresso with milk, that’s not going to go well with the senior partners. Hiding behind that tattered copy of the WSJ or the Financial Times is not an option either. I mean, look at yourself:

You have a dark blazer from Brooks Brothers that screams prep school chic but conservative enough for a Southern highball soiree.

A messenger bag/briefcase from Jack Spade.

That J. Crew navy blue and red striped banker’s tie.

Cashmere red socks from Banana Republic (Heritage edition, of course).

You also use words like “furthermore” or “paradigm” and “synergy” in normal conversations.

Furthermore, a milkshake could rupture that carefully put together image and how is Muffy going to react with you being caught slurping a milkshake and reading (gasp)The Atlantic? (Don’t worry I ain’t going to tell nobody.)

Enter the frappe, which according to Wikipedia (but old sport, you better not admit to looking up anything on there, lest you’ll be laughed off at your next squash match), is a foamed covered iced coffee drink that hails from the land of money strapped Greece.

Like Americans, we soar in taking something from elsewhere and make it, if not always better, patently ours. Just take a look at all the mango sauce/Sriracha reduction/flecks of truffles/sushi rolls that are made to have us believe that’s what the Japanese eat over in Tokyo. Canadians aren’t even safe with the eye-rolling varieties of poutine being ferreted by so called “hot” chefs. Anybody want to argue the merits of the Americanized Let Me In? Poor Swedes, we should have stopped at Ikea and that Swedish Chef from the Muppets.

Yet, the Mcdonald’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry Frappe here serves its purpose as a coffee drink and a “sorta” milkshake. Of course old boy, a coffee drink sounds much more sophisticated than a milkshake wouldn’t you say?

Normally I’m not a fan of foods that are literally named what they are. I mean would you eat a “hind leg of the pig that has been cured and topped with cheese” sandwich? Not me. A hind leg sounds too close to the butt and with the word cheese…it just creates an illustration best left in the dark recesses of your mind where forgotten embarrassments live.

However, this works here because McDonald’s is not only telling you that “hey, you can drink the luscious headiness of chocolate covered strawberries,” but they are making it sound way more ravishing than it is. And you will be tricked like me.

Besides, at $3.19 for a medium, that’s a bit way too pricey when you have to walk around with a plastic cup that has a McCafe logo seared on it. Remember image is everything sport. The point is, regarding the high price, you’re better off going to a Starbucks who do Frappucinos way better.

McDonald’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry Frappe  Topping

At first sight, there is the standard and inviting whipped cream on top and if you dislike whipped cream, you’re an evil person who probably breaks fertilized chicken eggs. The whipped cream is lovingly glazed with streams of strawberry syrup and it tastes like the strawberry sundae topping with hints of some kind of delightful berries. It’s actually not as sweet as I was expecting and that is a good thing.

This is where everything goes pear-shaped. First, the chocolate flavor is muddled and bland which is not helped by the even blander coffee taste. The chocolate chips residing in the drink are nice and bittersweet but do little, except to convince you that maybe you should have ordered a coffee flavored milkshake.

Although the strawberry syrup was slightly intense in the berry flavor, when drank with the chocolate coffee, it just fades away like internet sensations (anybody remember Little Superstar?). Even worse, the ice bits mixed in the chocolate chips create something that made me want to turn to the camera and have a tear roll down my cheek 1970’s public service announcement Native American style.

The McDonald’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry Frappe tasted like a watery cement mix of sadness and despair. The tiny ice crystals did nothing but dilute an already boring coffee drink. The concoction was so soupy and awful, I threw it out with the other incriminating documents.

To hell with wondering if you’re going to be invited to the annual partners’ dinner or if that preppy cowlick on the back of your head is just right. If you want a coffee, order a coffee. If you a want a milkshake, order a milkshake. If you want a combination, go elsewhere (like maybe Starbucks) and avoid this dreadful offering that will only confirm that all of us are going to hell in a spiffy bow-tie.

(Nutrition Facts – Medium – 630 calories, 240 calories from fat, 30 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 107 grams of carbohydrates, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 98 grams of sugar, 10 grams of protein.)

Item: McDonald’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry Frappe
Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: Medium/16 oz.
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: The strawberry syrup has hints of berries and is not as sweet as one would think. American Psycho. Who doesn’t love whipped cream? When a senior partner tells you a joke and you laugh. The chocolate chips are bittersweet. Wearing one of those suits from The Great Gatsby.
Cons: Bland coffee flavor. Psycho IV: The Beginning. Too many ice crystals mixed in that diluted an already bland coffee. When a senior partner tells you a joke and you have to laugh. Watery and sad. Speaking like you’re from The Great Gatsby.

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REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Written by | January 24, 2014

Topics: 8 Rating, Fast Food, Wendy's

Wendy's Spicy Chipotle Cripsy Chicken Sandwich

There is not much you can buy for a dollar. Maybe four pieces of Now & Later candies from my neighborhood convenience store that sells the coveted synthetic cannabis K2 and the weird miniature glass domes with a suspended tiny rose. What the hell do you with those anyway?

You could buy a few back issues of the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters dumped in the yellowed back issue bin from the depressing comic book shop I used to frequent. Parsonovich, you never got your due and I’m still waiting for that autograph on my personal copy of issue number two I sent you.

I bought a few of those “like-porcelain” Chinese soup spoons for my upcoming dinner party and those were a buck each. You know the kind, those enamel-shined white ones that turn yellow after it has been through your dishwasher once.

The point is, there’s nothing much you can buy for a dollar that is worth it.

Wendy’s, however, wants to rectify that with its new Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich. I normally go for a burger but sometimes you just want something different, like a breaded chicken sandwich.

Gracefully, Wendy’s presented a sandwich that doesn’t emphasize you’ve only spent a paltry dollar nor will the taste remind you that you’re cash-poor (Who isn’t? My funds are all tied up in liquid assets, homies). Sure it’s a small sandwich, but it’s roughly four-inch diameter hides a good hammering of flavoblast (not a word).

Wendy's Spicy Chipotle Cripsy Chicken Sandwich Topless

The yellowish-orange mayonnaise-based chipotle sauce is tangy, earthy, and packs some heat. I know some of you smart asses are going to be all “Heat? I eat molten lava and even that sheeeeeeyit ain’t hot, Brosky!”

Look, it’s got heat for a GODDAMNED fast food sandwich, let alone a ONE DOLLAR GODDAMNED fast food sandwich. I’ll say it’s weaker than Tabasco, but stronger than your order of “American hot” Szechuan beef. You know those cooks back that are laughing at you, right?

The heat lingers a bit, which is always welcome. I was surprised the chipotle sauce went well with those sucky, ubiquitous, and rubbery pickled jalapeño peppers. I discard those immediately whenever they’re scattered on my dish at a Tex-Mex restaurant. However, those green pieces of bouncy crap works in this sandwich!

It’s clever because the acid from the pickled Jallapopos (also not a word) carries the heat and cuts through the creaminess of the chipotle dressing. It’s similar to a spicy tartar sauce, so a big ups for this brilliant twist.

The white pepper jack cheese made an impression as big as the announcement for another Resident Evil movie sequel (enough already!!!). I found the cheese to be useless because it didn’t enhance or add depth to the sandwich. Frankly, the spicy character of the pepper jack was muted. It was simply flavorless, characterless, and sad like my stupid goldfish.

Wendy's Spicy Chipotle Cripsy Chicken Sandwich Halves

But the breaded chicken was awesome. It reminded me of those school cafeteria chicken patties that were well seasoned and not greasy. I still dream of those things and have been unable to find a comparable version.

The crunch from the chicken was very nice and the chipotle sauce complemented it very well. The chicken was also moist and juicy. It also had a robust, slightly roasted taste that paired well with the chipotle sauce.

I was really amazed because when I hear a fast food burger or sandwich costs a dollar, my excitement hovers around the “let’s look at your vacation photos” level. By the way, if you’re one of those offenders, know that no one enjoys looking at your toes in the sand or that you’re holding a seashell in one hand and a fruity drink in the other. Nobody.

The Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich delivered on both adjectives in its name. Even though I griped about the cheese, it’s still a minor quibble because overall, this chicken sandwich was fantasticachillionaire (definitely not a word).

(Nutrition Facts – 420 calories, 210 calories from fat, 23 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 9 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 6 grams of monounsaturated fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1110 milligrams of sodium, 230 milligrams of potassium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Purchased Price: $1.00*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The sandwich is spicy and the chicken is crispy. The deep earthy flavor of the chipotle sauce plays very well with the pickled jalapeños. It’s only a dollar. Making up words.
Cons: The cheese was flavorless. The cheese added no depth to the sandwich. Looking at vacation photos is NEVER fun.

*Note: It’s being advertised for 99 cents, but mine was a dollar.

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REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Red Velvet Latte

Written by | December 19, 2013

Topics: 5 Rating, Dunkin Donuts, Fast Food

Dunkin' Donuts Red Velvet Latte

I’m a man who likes my coffee black, espresso sans milk and if I need to spike it with anything, bourbon will do over the Irish cream. Putting sugar in my coffee is like stamping the head of a penis on my forehead. I really do not like that.

What I really like…In fact, what I really love is red velvet cake and I’m particular about it. The cream cheese frosting is everything to me. A tad savory and not too sweet is a hard act to juggle (like tastefully mushroom stamping someone on the forehead). It’s a perfect combination of taste and sight as the red cake, contrasted with the ivory frosting, draws most people’s attention.

Red velvet cake is like carrot cake’s more complicated poetry writing sister who wears black horn-rimmed glasses and still listens to Bikini Kill. The ingredients are not as mosaic as carrot cake because it’s simply a chocolate cake with red dye. Yet it is deceptively simple because the flavors evoke an umami-like profile, mostly in thanks to the cream cheese frosting.

But drinking a red velvet cake? The flavored coffee drinks and lattes are blurring the lines since a lot of them taste like variations of milkshake flavors. I don’t know…maybe if you like those so much, you really don’t enjoy coffee.

Ah…Who am I to judge? Yet, I don’t think you do because the coffee/espresso flavors are often buried underneath that heavy syrup. It makes me sad because it’s the same as drowning a ribeye in steak sauce or when the priest guy got buried in The Omen (1976 version, damn it still haunts me).

It’s like when people tell me they love whiskey and then say there’s a great honey or an apple pie variant. Why don’t you just tell me to “do my mom in the garage” instead? With all due respect, it’s gross.

I don’t want my whiskey flavored any more than my coffee and I’m not sure I want to consume a red velvet cake that requires no chewing.

However, not to be outdone by Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts is really trying to make a dent with its own lattes. Some hit, others miss as miserable as Spike Lee’s version of Oldboy. Honestly, have you seen that dreck?

Needless to say, I was a bit more repulsed when I heard Dunkin’ Donuts created a Red Velvet Latte but my senses were dulled by Sharlto Copley’s manic and awful acting, I needed some sort of stimulus so I can feel again. I haven’t seen this over the top acting since Dominic West’s “Jigsaw” in Punisher War Zone (Best line, “I don’t speak vampire” to some Russian thugs).

It also doesn’t help the coffee looked like the remnants of a liver that was soaking in milk to mellow that “nickel” flavor. You ever see that stuff? It looks like eraser remnants mixed with milk.

Despite the pinkish brown color of the coffee, the wafting scent of a deep roasted espresso was enticing. It permeated the air around me and I thought, “This ain’t so bad.” The temperature radiating nicely in my hand was at the Goldilocks zone of just right. Dunkin’ Donuts seems to be pretty consistent on the hot temperatures of their coffees. I have to give them big ups for that.

Upon my first sip, I was surprised at the subtle flavor of the cream cheese frosting. It was shockingly yummy. It was followed by mellow yet rich milk chocolatey tones that washed away the frosting taste.

Although pleasant, I enjoyed that the cream cheese frosting flavor does not linger. However, what does hang around like a clingy in-law is the overwhelming sweetness of the coffee. Most drinks such as these, whether it’s from Starbucks or your local coffee house, falls victim to the gummy sugary dreck that chokes the coffee with no remorse.

The latte was akin to an over the top CGI action film where “bullet time” is used so much, it bores or annoys you to death (i.e. The God-awful Underworld series). With each subsequent sip, the sweetness was magnified to the point I got those awful “tingles” in my cheeks. It’s too bad because I was hoping to like this drink.

I would definitely recommend trying it since you have to experience “sipping” on cream cheese frosting, but the novelty wears off immediately due to the heavy handed sweetness that encompasses the entire latte. If Dunkin’ Donuts would dial the sweetness back, I would order this again. Besides, there are other coffee drinks I would rather inflict on myself before this one.

(Nutrition Facts – small with skim milk – 180 calories, 5 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 35 grams of sugars, and 8 grams of protein)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Red Velvet Latte
Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: Small (10 oz.)
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Cream cheese flavors are subtle and nice. The roasted espresso smell is there. Original movies are mostly better. Milk-chocolate taste is rich yet mellow. Sharlto Copley in The A-Team.
Cons: Too damned sweet. The pinkish brown color is disgusting. Remakes of foreign films mostly suck. You’ll get a better experience eating a red velvet cake and downing it with coffee. Sharlto Copley in Oldboy.

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REVIEW: Wendy’s Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche

Written by | November 26, 2013

Topics: 7 Rating, Fast Food, Wendy's

Wendy's Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche

I believe a burger is as good as its bun and vice versa. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of eating a juicy medium-rare, perfectly seasoned hamburger that was ruined because it was on a dry, whole grain, toasted English muffin. And I’ve eaten a dried out, over-cooked burger on a luscious and rich onion bun.

Both occasions left me with the urge to punch someone in the face as I defecated on the floor like an untrained puppy. It just pissed me off on how thoughtless these burgers were concocted. Seriously, Dante may have given up immediately if one of the circles of hell was to eat a burger on a whole grain English muffin.

In regards to hamburgers, neither the bread nor the beef is more important than the other because when in unison, there is a harmonious perfection that is stronger than either part alone. It’s an amalgam of pleasure and guilt that is achieved by simple concepts: beef and bread.

So when Wendy’s touted their new brioche buns with the re-tooled Bacon Portabella Melt, a.k.a. Wendy’s Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche, I was mildly intrigued. I know I can be a complete asshole at times. So when I heard Wendy’s was putting brioche on the menu, I scoffed and went about my business drunk internet shopping.

Granted, most of us want a normal burger from a fast food joint. Yet, a little twist on the “gourmet” side is always welcome. Despite how judgmental and skeptical I was, I made the choice to try it because I knew it could not be worse than eating a burger on a fucking DRIED WHOLE GRAIN ENGLISH MUFFIN.

Wendy's Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche Bun Top

I was a bit put-off by the price because, at $5.99, it’s getting close to those “order to temperature” burgers. However, I was really surprised by the brioche bun. It was bronzed and toasted. The bread had a nice chewy give with the slight toasty edge. There was not the eggy/buttery-richness one normally gets with a brioche but it was not bad for a fast-food bun.

In addition, the bun defiantly (and definitely) held up against the juicy burger, wet mushrooms and melty cheddar sauce. The bread did not get soggy or mushy which made up for the almost-timid taste of the bun.

As for the melty cheddar cheese, this again was piss poor Velveeta-like nacho crap. I hate that shit and whoever invented it sucks. I absolutely despise this kind of “fake cheesery” and felt the burger would be miles better with just the melted American cheese alone.

Wendy's Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche Topless

With that said, the “melty” cheese sauce had an unnatural salty tang but the portabella mushrooms countered this with its earthy flavor and only added to the rich deep taste of this burger.

The beef patty was jammed pack with beefy goodness that should awaken your alpha “Affliction-wearing tee-shirt” soul somewhere. Too often do we get a dried beef patty from a fast food place but Wendy’s is usually consistent on the juice to beef ratio.

Another plus, the burger is bereft of rabbit food. Meaning no stupid lettuce or even a brined cucumber slice to stand in the way of the cheese, meat, cheese orgy!

The bacon was plentiful, nice and crispy with its salty fat that rounded out the offering nicely. Additionally, it added a good porky taste that just indulges your “to hell with all kale salads” side.

Combined, this burger had a deep and complex profile. The muskiness of the mushrooms lent a great reservoir of flavors unheard of in a quick-serve burger. I was surprised because the portabella resembled those spongy mushrooms from a can tossed like an afterthought on a bad pizza.

Yet, it’s not the brioche but the portabella that really makes this burger shine. The mouthfeel is significantly like a “restaurant burger” and the taste is just as equal. I ordered the single, but you can get the double or triple if you’re looking for a heart attack in the quickest and most efficient manner.

I quite liked it and would pay for this again if I have the urge for a “restaurant”-style burger and can’t get to one.

Besides, price alone isn’t always the worst thing if you want to splurge. Because the worst thing is a burger served on a whole grain English muffin. If ever offered one, just pull down your pants, bend over and ask for a donkey punch instead. Trust me, that would be much more delicious and humane.

(Nutrition Facts – Single Burger – 600 calories, 300 calories from fat, 34 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 12 grams of monounsaturated fat, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 1390 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugars, 2 grams of fiber and 34 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: Single
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: The portabella mushrooms really give the hamburger a rich complex flavor. The brioche has a wonderful texture and it’s toasted. The bacon only adds to the richness. Fried kale with garlic is actually nice.
Cons: The melty cheddar cheese sauce sucks. The brioche is not as eggy/buttery as brioche should be. The price may scare some off. Kale smoothies are awful but not as bad as friggin’ burgers on whole grain English muffins.

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