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REVIEW: Papa John’s Double Cheeseburger Pizza

Written by | March 11, 2014

Topics: 2 Rating, Fast Food, Papa John's

Papa John's Double Cheeseburger Pizza

Being fortunate enough to live in an area with a large number of mom ‘n’ pop pizza shops, I’ve seen the cheeseburger pizza road before. (But not an actual Cheeseburger Pizza Road – if I saw that, I would move there immediately.)

I’ve found that small pizza joints tend to have a wider variety of toppings and, thus, a wider variety of specialty pizzas, ranging from cheeseburger to taco to gyro to something with pine nuts and Hoisin sauce. Okay, I made up the last one, but it’s not out of the question.

Comparatively, most chain specialty pizzas and toppings in general are pretty pedestrian. I consider myself lucky if I can even get white sauce as an option. If they do decide to branch out, it tends to be towards Crazy Town, like shoving hot dogs or seven different cheeses into their crusts. In fact, a lot of the insanity in chain specialty pizzas involves shoving shit into the crust. I’m looking at you, Pizza Hut.

Papa John’s went a different direction with their Double Cheeseburger Pizza, however. They put the crazy on top, not in the crust.

Papa John's Double Cheeseburger Pizza Slice

Here’s what Papa John’s has to say about the Double Cheeseburger Pizza: “Featuring a zesty burger sauce covered with a double layer of 100% real beef, dill pickle slices, fresh cut roma tomatoes and 100% real cheese made from mozzarella.”

I have several points of contention with this description. Let’s start with the burger sauce.

Papa John's Double Cheeseburger Pizza Burger Sauce

First off, the words “zesty burger sauce” are both generic and sound like they should be about five miles away from my pizza. Upon tasting, I uphold this idea. On its own, the flavor of the sauce was distinctly mayo mixed with ketchup, aka the poor man’s Thousand Island dressing. Call me crazy, but fresh-from-the-oven hot mayonnaise is not appealing.

Next we have the double layer of real beef. “Double layer” is a questionable quantity, and that really showed here, as I found the beef pieces to be rather sparse. Furthermore, the pieces of beef were small and remarkably flavorless, which is a bad trait for a pizza that’s supposed to taste like a burger.

Papa John's Double Cheeseburger Pizza Pickles

The tomatoes and cheese were just fine, but the real issue was the pickles. While the beef had a weak showing, the pickles certainly made up for it in spades. It appeared that Papa John’s used the same pickles you’d find on a regular fast-food burger, which sounds promising on paper but did not translate at all to a burger party in my mouth.

I could not escape the pickles. There was a slice in every bite. After I’d done my duty for the purposes of this review and eaten the pizza as-is, I tried removing the pickles in an attempt to have a slice of pizza that did not taste like a jar of brine. It was impossible. Even with the pickles themselves gone, the juice had been absorbed deep into the crust.

I would like to officially rename Papa John’s Double Cheeseburger Pizza to Papa John’s Precariously Plentiful Pickle Pizza. With sad beef, warm mayo sauce, and so many brined cucumbers that it made me want to make about 15 Pickles the Drummer jokes throughout this review, I cannot in good conscience call this a cheeseburger pizza.

To use a forced basketball analogy, Papa John’s Double Cheeseburger Pizza needs to work on its fundamentals. For right now, I’m benching it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/6 of a small pizza – 260 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 600 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein.)

Item: Papa John’s Double Cheeseburger Pizza
Purchased Price: $6.00 (on sale: regular price $12)
Size: Small
Purchased at: Papa John’s
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: I got it for 50 percent off. The tomatoes and cheese were fine. Metalocalypse. I only ordered a small. If you put pickles on everything you eat, this is your dream come true.
Cons: Pickles overtook everything. A chain restaurant that left the crust alone but still made an awful specialty pizza. Warm mayo/ketchup sauce. I wish I was actually good at basketball. The double serving of burger was a double serving of sadness.

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REVIEW: Subway Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt

Written by | February 19, 2014

Topics: 2 Rating, Fast Food, Subway

Subway Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt 1

We live in an interconnected world. Elvis walked into the White House and shook Nixon’s hand. Abbott and Costello met Frankenstein. Steve Urkel annoyed both Uncle Jesse and Patrick Duffy. I once sat in a Ford Explorer with Eddie Bauer logos on it. We’re all star stuff, guys. It’s exciting.

When titans meet, it’s a reminder that we’re all on the same team, that we all indeed occupy the same universe. Tommy Lee Jones was Al Gore’s college dorm mate, y’all. Betty Crocker uses Hershey chocolate in its mixes! The Justice League fought the Avengers. Doritos Locos Tacos!

So when Subway unveiled its Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt, I was eager to get one in my maw. I mean, I had already been manually putting chips on my sandwich for years. Wait. Sorry. We’ve already been manually putting chips on our sandwiches for years. (Right? Right?! High fives all around.) Now two giant corporations are joining forces to put chips on a sandwich.

They have research teams and focus groups and everything. This thing should be a masterpiece. I bought a lobster bib and scratched out the picture of a lobster and replaced it with a drawing of a smiling lobster eating a sandwich with chips on it. I’m ready. I’m cheering in my seat.

Subway Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt 5

Unfortunately, I am loath to report that Subway and Frito-Lay came together and birthed the half-breed antichrist of sandwiches. It gurgled and writhed in pain and asked me to put it out of its misery, and after I ate it, I asked the same of myself.

The tragic journey begins in the Subway assembly line. “I want to make it look like the poster,” I say. The sandwich artist grumbles something incoherent and conjures a foot-long flatbread from the ether. The chicken comes pre-sauced and looks all wet. Two (2!) small bags of Fritos are dumped onto the sandwich. “Whoa, I’ve never seen that before,” cries out the guy behind me in line. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles are the ingredients I saw on the poster, so that’s what I get.

Subway Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt 4

The Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt looks weak. The flatbread gives it a limp disposition, and it’s wider than the regular loaves, so the ingredients look scattered like they were dumped into the bottom of a garbage can. Taking the first bite, though, is not bad. The flatbread is chewy and floury like a pita. Going forward, however, the hot part of the sandwich has warmed over the should-be-cold lettuce and tomato (Gross!). The slightly sour pickles tasted out of place in what is, I guess, a Subway version of a soft taco.

The barely spicy enchilada sauce on the chicken has rendered the chicken tasteless—the protein is purely there for texture. Worst of all, the Fritos have strangely become soggy in the five-minute journey from bag to sandwich to mouth. It kind of tastes like if you crushed up a Double Decker Taco Supreme (with chicken, hold the sour cream) into a sandwich bag and then left it in the sun for an hour. The sickly nuclear warmth of the concoction stuck to my stomach for a good 45 minutes.

Subway Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt 3

Elvis died on a toilet and Nixon had to resign from being president. Frankenstein has to be depicted in I, Frankenstein. Steve Urkel never worked again. Eddie Bauer filed for bankruptcy. Titans meet but sometimes the story doesn’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes it’s more like when Freddy meets Jason or when Alien fights Predator, or like whenever they try to make a movie with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Sometimes it just ruins chips on a sandwich.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 inch sandwich – 580 calories, 240 calories from fat, 26 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 1170 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, 25 grams of protein.)

Item: Subway Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt
Purchased Price: $6.50
Size: Footlong
Purchased at: Subway
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: Flatbread was flat, chewy.
Cons: Fritos do not stand up well to sauce. Pre-sauced meats at Subway are all gross. Cold parts of sandwich were warm. Badly constructed, looks like a mess.

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REVIEW: Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum (Lime and Redberry)

Written by | January 21, 2014

Topics: 2 Rating, 5 Rating, Gum, Stride

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum

Over the years, I’ve collected questions for the Sour Patch Kids: What makes a Sour Patch Kid? How do you become so perfectly sour, then sweet? Must you always come in gummy form? Why do you all look like oblong gingerbread men? Are you there, Sour Patch? It’s me, Margaret.

Despite the many unknowns they present, I love those little Sour Patches, munching their gummy innards down until my mouth is raw and I’m left clutching my stomach in sheer, unadulterated sweet/sour bliss. Until recently, I could only enjoy this Sour Patch sensation in gummy form, its sour-sugary grit flitting away in the 15 seconds it takes to dissolve. Way too short. Give me your sour! Your sweet! Put it all in a glycerin gum base! Well, it looks like Sour Patch did just that, cobbling together two new gum flavors that recently struck their territory at my local Target.

The gum has the typical dimension of a piece of regular Stride, which is about the length of a large paperclip. They strike their cubist pose in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle green and what can only be a super intelligent shade of neon red. Seeing as I admire super intelligent inanimate objects, let’s start with the Redberry, shall we?

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum Super Intelligent Shade of Red

Sourness brings out my primal competitor. You eat one Warhead. I’ll eat 5. You down 4 Cry Babies. I’ll take 10. A box of Lemonheads is nothing for my resilient tongue. Knowing that Sour Patch Kids are usually medium on the scale of sourness, I went in hoping for a mellow, but still sparky sour experience, but, alas, came out disappointed. Perhaps there’s a sparky jolt of citric acid somewhere in there, but, overall, these pieces feel about as mild as a jellybean, but how does it deliver on the fruit end of things?

While I can’t confirm it, I hypothesize this Redberry is the closest we’ll ever come to a snozberry: there’s a strong kick of maraschino cherry zing, a little sweetness of strawberry, and an echo of raspberry tartness at the tail end. It’s unashamedly “red” flavor with a slightly metallic aftertaste, but, on the whole, it tasted like Cherry ICEE concentrate. A good first showing. If you ever wished cherry Life Savers and strawberry Starbursts had a tectonic collision, this is the gum for you.

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum Ninja Turtle Green

Avoiding the trend to mutate green-colored candies into green apple flavor (lookin’ at you, Skittles), Sour Patch left their green lime-flavored and, for better or worse, the little citrus fruit is given its due, starting with a peculiar “household cleaner” flavor that is so often found in limes. It’s shockingly astringent at first before mellowing out into a tangy, but still somewhat bitter citrus profile. The bitterness got the best of me. I tried to keep chewing to see if it might open up into lime’s more sugary qualities, but, alas, the household cleaner taste took over and it ended up tasting like gnawing on a Pledge-soaked rubber tire.

However, not all is lost! One of the many joys involved in Sour Patch consumption is combining the gummy flavors together, which got me thinking: what would happen if I combined the two flavors of gum TOGETHER?

Struck by an acute case of Curiosity, I did just that.

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum The power of their flavors combine!

Chewed together, the flavor’s about as crazy as a 3rd grade diorama, starting off with a shock of bitter sourness from the lime that lasts for a good two minutes until it mellows into a zingy maraschino-cherry with a hint of citrus. Together, they seem to balance one another out, whistling a tune that tastes quite similar to Sonic’s Cherry Limeade if your soda maker tossed in some extra bitter limes.

Fortunately, the flavor and soft chew of Stride lasts for a good 22 minutes of jaw entertainment so you can chew on your Cherry Limeade for an entire episode of Parks and Recreation if you want. Not bad. Not bad at all.

History is marked with times in which inspiration translates into a new and altogether unique phenomenon: floppy disks inspired USB drives. Hamlet inspired The Lion King. Popcorn inspired popcorn ice cream. And now Sour Patch gummies have become chewy, slightly sour gum.

While a bit too bitter and not as puckeringly sour as one could hope, Stride’s Sour Patch Kids gum delivers an okay showing. Their fruit flavor profiles are spot on, if a little too strong, and they’re even sugar-free, which is great if you have plaque concerns, braces, or are looking to expand your intake of sucralose. I don’t necessarily seeing myself buying them again, but if you like strong cherry flavors, the Redberry’s worth the try. The lime is a little too household cleaner-y for me, but, hey, if that’s your thing, no judgments. You ask me, it’s still better than green apple Skittles. Not that I’m holding a grudge or anything.*

*I’m definitely holding a grudge.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – less than 5 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum (Lime and Redberry)
Purchased Price: 99 cents each (on sale)
Size: 1 pack/16 pieces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 2 out of 10 (Lime)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Redberry)
Pros: Redberry tastes like Cherry ICEE concentrate. Lime eventually takes on more citrus juiciness. Together, they taste like a Cherry Limeade. Sugar-free. Chew time lasts for full half-hour TV show. 3rd grade dioramas.
Cons: Bitter metallic aftertaste. Sourness is mild. Lime started off tasting like a Pledge-soaked rubber tire. My grudge against green apple Skittles. Overused reference to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

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REVIEW: Burger King Big King (2013)

Written by | November 19, 2013

Topics: 2 Rating, Burger King, Fast Food

Burger King Big King

For every Diablo II, there is a Titan Quest. For every Bruce Lee, you get a Bruce Li (or a Bruce Leung if you’re really unfortunate). And for every Volcano, you are tortured by a Dante’s Peak. Is it me or am I the only who laughed when that old lady was screaming in that boiling lake? The melting legs in Volcano were funny too, but at least it had Anne Heche when she was “librarian-hot.”

They say people believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. (Run-on sentence warning.) I say people who say that are secretly wishing to bury a pickaxe into the skull of the imitation rather than spew some bullshit silver lining sayings.

Burger King’s Big King isn’t so much an imitation as it is more of a dare to size up a corporate “Who’s penis is bigger?” argument. The name itself, Big King, is a figurative flaming arrow shot Rambo-way at a certain clown who hawks a particular legendary two all-beef patties sandwich.

But if you plan on taking down a legend, you need to bring more than just empty talk.

You see, I envision this as a bonus stage in Mortal Kombat II, complete with a pixelated voice shouting “Round One, FIGHT!” and the secret blood code unlocked. It’s Big King versus Big Mac! (Cue the underrated Utah Saints’ remix of Mortal Kombat theme song.)

Then I picture the sap playing as Big King watching in silence as he is being barraged by multiple point punches. Soon, computerized shouts of “Toasty!” and “Flawless” pepper the air as the digitalized lettuce and pickles start flying around. Of course, the player smashes the Playstation controller onto the cold tile and walks out.

I believe Big King was introduced in the 90’s, the decade that brought such embarrassments like the soul patch, nipples on Batman’s suit or The Spin Doctors. However, not everything in the 90’s was bad, but Big King will make you think otherwise.

As you can imagine, Big King is two savory fire-grilled beef patties, special sweet thousand island sauce, lettuce, melted American cheese, crunchy pickles, crispy onions in a sesame seed bun. Don’t try to hum that tune while saying that because it won’t work. If you don’t detect the difference, your taste buds will certainly alert you to it.

The burger, to say at the very least, made me contemplate suicide after I poisoned all my goldfish by dropping an Alka-Seltzer in the bowl while listening to Interpol. Dramatic I know, but this burger was a complete Hindenburg disaster.

Burger King Big King Ooze

Upon examination, there was so much sauce. It was dripping off the sides like a glazed donut. The burger patties were dry and thin, like those cheap chocolate chip cookies you get from a subpar travel lodge. True to form in my experience, the cheese was not melted and limp. Yet, the lettuce and onions were abundant and crisp, and those pickles crunched like a sonata. Maybe those passive-aggressive people are right, there is a damned silver lining in everything!

Burger King Big King Topless 2

When I took my first bite, I wanted to throw it away angrily or 80’s-style wrestler stomp it on the ground. All I could taste was the tangy thousand-island dressing that had too much mayonnaise, the intense briny edge of the pickles and flavorless (but crispy) iceberg lettuce. If the sesame bun was toasted, I had no clue because it was soggy and disgusting. It was like eating a sweet mayonnaise and lettuce sandwich. The onions didn’t even add much, except depression.

The sauce drowned out everything. It doesn’t help the beef patties were wafer-thin as if it were pretending to be carpaccio and the flavorless lettuce only emphasized the sole flavor of sweet and tangy globs of mayonnaise.

I was so angry, the onion rings couldn’t even make me happy. Instead I smashed it with my fists and Frisbee’d the offensive sandwich into my neighbor’s lawn.

Burger King’s promise that “Taste is King” on its bags is akin to the corner escort who says “I love you long time.” I’m all for an alternative, but sometimes the old adage rings true…the original is sometimes better. Unless you’re talking about 2008’s Rambo, which I hate to admit, it kicks First Blood out of the jungle.

(Nutrition Facts – 510 calories, 29 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 780 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugar, 18 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Big King
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: The lettuce and pickles were crunchy. Jet Li. You will be find comfort being assured that McDonald’s still trumps in all other special sauce sandwiches. Unlocking the blood code and stomping things 80’s wrestler style.
Cons: Too much sauce. Cheese not melted. Bruce Li. Thin and dry patties. The onion rings won’t save you. Smashing your controller in a fit of rage as an adult.

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REVIEW: Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita

Written by | May 28, 2013

Topics: 2 Rating, Alcohol

Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita

Now I know what urine tastes like from that magical flying ugly dog/dragon-thing in The Neverending Story. Of all my fantasies involving Falkor the Luck Dragon, guzzling its piss was not one of them.

Look, I understand some of you out there need something sweet to choke down alcohol (I’m staring at you underage high schoolers, college kids, and my friend Addam). However, like those awful Transformers movies, too much is really too damned much!

I’m embarrassed to say, for a martini sipping/microbrew slugging/aperitif in a small glass snob, I do like my cans of Bud Light Chelada. Maybe it’s the sweet clam and tomato juice or the salty brine that pats my tongue assuring me my secret is safe with Chelada, but me loves that beer. My wife, before celiac dropped in and ruined the party, liked Bud Light Lime.

So how bad can Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita be? You mean in addition to the stupid name?

Really bad.

I’m talking American Pie sequels direct-to-video bad. I’m telling you it’s worse than Billy Idol’s misguided technorock “Cyberpunk” album and WWE’s botched “Invasion” angle when they went to “war” with WCW and ECW. This Straw-Ber-Rita is Dis-gus-ting.

Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita Can

I was first annoyed at how small the cans were. They are only eight fluid ounces, but after a taste I wish they were even smaller. Occasionally when something smells bad, it probably tastes bad. As we get older, our taste buds become more complex and we want complicated flavors, so we sometimes ignore the smell and go to town.

Yet, when something is bad, it strikes like a hammer to the forehead. I should have known by the repulsive, sickly sweet smell emanating from the dark hole on top of the can. It could only be compared to somebody melting an entire bag of Starbursts or Strawberry Shortcake and Blueberry Muffin having sex, then farting after a good lay.

I noticed it was not very carbonated, which threw me off, but my mind melted at how sweet it was. It tasted like fruit punch spiked with grain alcohol minus the strength of grain alcohol. It took me back to the days of a college freshman trying to get smashed on ripple and dumping as much Gatorade or Hi-C to drown out the weird bitterness.

I could not taste the lime or the mock tequila. The only thing staring at me was the wall of sugar and cloying syrup that remotely tasted of candy-berries (You know that fake flavor of candy strawberries we all hate? I do anyhow). I imagine this is what cartoon characters drink when they are done filming another show. They probably kick back, do some purple colored poopies, and grab a cold Straw-Ber-Rita from their strange orange egg-shaped fridge with zany sound effects.

Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita Color

Additionally, the color is also off-putting. It was a reddish pink that looked like clay or sand from a cheap science fiction film that’s set on Mars. I understand Chelada from the can looks similar, but hell, that tastes good and it’s freaking “clamlicious!”

Anheuser-Busch lets you know that it is 8 percent alcohol, but I think there is more in my Burberry cologne because I could not taste it. The can also stated, “Margarita with a twist,” but that’s an understatement. It’s really a margarita that will make you question the faith of mankind and have you ask yourself, “Can I punch a dog in the face and get away with it?” No. Can this dreck call itself a margarita and get away with it? Double No. The box also suggests I try it on ice. I suggest nobody try it, on ice, without ice, as a body shot, or in the can itself.

As you know, you’re reminded to enjoy alcohol responsibly. The only responsible thing I can think of in regards to Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita is to walk away…walk away very fast from this concoction.

(Nutritional Facts – 8 ounces- 199 calories, 0 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita
Purchased Price: $11.99
Size: 12-pack/8 fl oz. cans
Purchased at: Publix
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: That the cans are only eight ounces, so if you are forced at gunpoint to drink this, it’s kind of a win. Surprisingly low amount of carbohydrates for a malt beverage. The Neverending Story theme song, get out of my head! No wait, come back!
Cons: It is deadly sweet. It does not taste like a margarita. That this actually exists. Direct to video sequels. Did I mention how sweet this is?

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