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REVIEW: Taco Bell Waffle Taco (Bacon and Sausage)

Written by | April 2, 2014

Topics: 3 Rating, 4 Rating, Fast Food, Taco Bell

Taco Bell Waffle Tacos

Let’s face it. The only thing most of you care about on Taco Bell’s breakfast menu is their Waffle Taco, because almost everything else consists of the same ingredients in a flour tortilla.

Begin sarcasm.

A flour tortilla taco with bacon, eggs, and cheese! Ooooh! A flour tortilla burrito with sausage, egg, and cheese! Wonderful! Sausage, egg, cheese, and hash browns wrapped in a flour tortilla! Whoa!

End sarcasm.

Taco Bell Waffle Taco Box

While Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco also contains scrambled eggs, cheese, and either bacon or sausage, it delivers them in something that is definitely not a flour tortilla — a five-inch round waffle that’s curved like a taco. And all of that comes in a container with the words, “Right now I’m eating a Waffle Taco and you’re not,” which, when holding the box in public, kind of makes me look like an asshole. Thanks, Taco Bell!

You have the option of having your Waffle Taco come with either bacon or a sausage patty. But if you also have the option of eating breakfast somewhere else, I’d take that option because both are horribly disappointing. But if you don’t have that third option, go for the sausage because it’s slightly better tasting than the bacon, which are chewy little bits of pork that have very little bacon flavor.

Taco Bell Bacon Waffle Taco

It’s really frustrating to see Taco Bell go the bacon bits route, but it’s even more frustrating that they didn’t go with a better bacon. Over the past few years, many of the big fast food chains have upgraded their bacon from chewy, almost flavorless slices that don’t deserve to be called bacon to thick, savory, and sometimes crispy slices of Applewood smoked bacon. Those fast food chains are at Bacon 2.0, while Taco Bell settled with Bacon 1.0.

Taco Bell Sausage Waffle Taco

As I mentioned earlier, the sausage patty is slightly better. But that advantage is similar to drowning and drowning while being circled by sharks. While it does spoon very nicely with the curved waffle, it’s not seasoned very well, allowing its flavor to be easily masked by the syrup, which comes in a container that looks small, but contains more than enough sticky stuff to dump on your breakfast taco. There’s nothing special about the syrup’s flavor; it’s just generic pancake syrup. However, I found that the more I used, the greater the number of napkins I needed. This might explain one of the reasons why it comes in a box, instead of a paper wrapper. I guess the box not only helps keep the waffle from laying flat, it’s also a syrup drip catcher.

One of the characteristics that makes a waffle a waffle is its crispy exterior, but this waffle is disappointingly floppy and soft, which Taco Bell will probably claim has never happened before, doesn’t know what’s wrong, and definitely thinks you’re sexy. But I guess it has to be floppy if it’s going to be folded like that. The eggs are fluffish, but are more bland than the bacon and sausage. A little butteriness would’ve helped. As for the cheese…yeah, that’s not going to make a difference.

For something that’s been tested for almost a year, I’m surprised by how bad these Taco Bell Waffle Tacos are. They’re supposed to hit your jaw with the 1-2 combo of sweet and savory, but it’s mostly sweet. Even without the syrup, the savory is seriously missing. I’ll admit, they don’t lack imagination, but they do lack flavor.

(Nutrition Facts – Bacon – 320 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 110 milligrams of cholesterol, 670 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. Sausage – 370 calories, 210 calories from fat, 23 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 115 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein. .)

Item: Taco Bell Waffle Taco (Bacon and Sausage)
Purchased Price: $2.79*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 3 out of 10 (Bacon)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Sausage)
Pros: Most interesting item on the Taco Bell breakfast menu. Syrup container might be small, but there’s more than enough syrup for one waffle taco. Sausage version is slightly better than the bacon one.
Cons: Soft and floppy waffle; not crispy at all. Sausage and bacon have very little flavor. Eggs could’ve used some butteriness. Mostly sweet, very little savory. Box it comes in makes me feel like a douchebag. Messy.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

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REVIEW: Tim Hortons Tims Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Written by | March 31, 2014

Topics: 4 Rating, Fast Food, Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons Tims Crispy Chicken Sandwich

I can’t say I was super excited to try Tims Crispy Chicken Sandwich — and yes, that’s Tims, not Tim’s. Just as Tim Hortons is oddly missing an apostrophe, so too is this sandwich. Clearly, someone at Tim Hortons hates punctuation.

When a fast food item doesn’t even look particularly good in its publicity shot, you know you’re probably in trouble (though to their credit, the actual sandwich looks remarkably similar to its beauty shot, so they’re at least not trying to trick you into thinking you’re getting something that you’re not). But after my pleasant surprise with the Tim Hortons Pretzel Bagel, I went in hoping for the best.

If, when you look at the picture of this sandwich, you think to yourself, “That looks like something I could buy from the freezer section at Costco,” you are correct. It tastes like something you could buy from the freezer section at Costco. If, on the other hand, you look at that picture and think, “That looks pretty good,” you are wrong. Get better eyeballs.

I will give this sandwich one thing: they’re not kidding around with the whole “crispy” thing. I’m fairly certain the chicken is baked rather than fried, so I was expecting something in the middle ground between crispy and soggy, but that was absolutely not the case. In fact, I’d say crispy isn’t even the right word, as that implies a delicateness that isn’t present here. This was full-out crunchy.

That sounds like it should be one of the best qualities of this sandwich; crunchy breaded chicken is delicious, right? Right. Well, usually. Somehow, with the style of breading employed here, it just comes off as oddly overbearing. It’s nothing too offensive, but it’s slightly off-putting.

The breading otherwise doesn’t have a ton of flavour, other than that generic saltiness that you’d expect from the el-cheapo breaded chicken you’d dig out of the back of the freezer at the supermarket.

Tim Hortons Tims Crispy Chicken Sandwich Side

As for the chicken itself, it’s processed chicken slurry formed into a sandwich shape, rather than an actual piece of chicken breast. It’s dry and slightly spongy, with only the vaguest chicken flavour. Mostly, it just tastes of the aforementioned generic, processed saltiness.

Otherwise, the toppings are completely no-frills: a couple of mealy tomato slices, some lettuce, and a little bit of mayo. The soft, fresh bun was actually pretty good, and almost certainly the best thing about the sandwich.

Seriously, this is a mystifyingly mediocre sandwich. This is hospital-cafeteria-caliber food. That wouldn’t be so bad if it were being marketed as a budget offering — say, two bucks, or three at the very most. It would still be a bad sandwich, but at least you could justify it somewhat. “It’s not very good,” you’d say, “but at least it’s cheap!” The sadness in your eyes would belie the truth — that nothing could possibly justify willingly consuming such a blatantly mediocre sandwich — but at the very least you could take some small solace in its affordability.

But no such solace is provided here: they’re charging a full $4.99, putting this right in line with the premium chicken sandwiches at other fast food joints. And those sandwiches are, across the board, much, much better than this thing. Heck, the location I ate at was a Tim Hortons / Wendy’s combo restaurant, which means I could have walked a few steps to the right and purchased a far superior sandwich for the exact same price. A sandwich made out of an actual chicken breast, with a texture that doesn’t resemble a meaty sponge, and with breading that doesn’t taste like sadness.

This certainly isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. I’d go as far as to say that it’s perfectly edible; there’s nothing particularly gross about it. But there’s nothing particularly good about it, either. And it’s flat-out offensive that they’re charging a premium price for what is ever-so-clearly not a premium product.

(Nutrition Facts – 440 calories, 15 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0.1 grams of trans fat, 1000 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fibre, 3 grams of sugar, and 20 grams of protein.)

Item: Tim Hortons Tims Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Purchased Price: $4.99 CAN
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Tim Hortons
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: The bun is pretty good. I feel like I should put something else here, so, um… the condiments were fine?
Cons: About on par with something you’d get at a cafeteria. Way overpriced. Dry, spongey, processed-tasting chicken. Overly crunchy breading. Tastes like sadness.

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QUICK REVIEW: Lean Cuisine Morning Collection Veggie Egg White English Muffin

Written by | March 21, 2014

Topics: 4 Rating, Frozen Food, Lean Cuisine

Lean Cuisine Morning Collection Veggie Egg White English Muffin

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 2 sandwiches
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Egg white is loaded with spinach and tomatoes. Has less fat, calories, and sodium than the turkey sausage version. Egg whites were fluffy. An option for vegetarians who eat eggs and cheese. If you want to be grumpy at work, this will help get you in the mood.
Cons: Not worth the 5 PointsPlus. Spinach and tomato have a disappointingly mild flavor. Egg whites should’ve had a butteriness. English muffin doesn’t get hard like it did with the turkey sausage version, but it’s still a little tough in the middle. Had the proper wattage microwave, but it didn’t heat up completely; some parts were lukewarm.

Lean Cuisine Morning Collection Veggie Egg White English Muffin Closeup

Nutrition Facts: 1 sandwich – 180 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 500 milligrams of sodium, 110 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 12 grams of protein, 2% vitamin A, 15% calcium, 2% vitamin C, and 10% iron.

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REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich

Written by | March 13, 2014

Topics: 4 Rating, Dunkin Donuts, Fast Food

Dunkin Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich

11:32 a.m.

The Weinstein Company

Pitch meeting

Harvey: Let’s hear it.

Kevin: Okay, so the Chronologizer draws historically evil people from the universe and gives them a chance for redemption. They are put on a time-traveling super team with state-of-the-art technology and zoom around righting the wrongs that are being perpetuated by the destructive Future Lord. The fabric of time-space is on the line. And here’s the kicker: They’re called the Benedicts. And they’re all named Benedict.

There’s Benedict Arnold, revolutionary war leader and defector—a hand wringing traitor. His two-faced attempt to surrender as a general revealed him to be a sniveling backstabber. Then there’s Pope Benedict XVI. A Hitler Youth as a child, Benedict later in life became the leader of a Catholic Church that attempted to whitewash evidence of rampant pedophilia. And Benedict Cumberbatch.

Harvey: Okay, this one…

Kevin: Just look into his eyes.

Harvey: But…

Kevin: Just look into his eyes. Everyone sees it. He’s Khan! He’s Smaug! This guy is some reptile half-breed for sure. He’s gonna play villains for the next twenty years of his career. He’s evil. Just look into his eyes.

Harvey: And what is this over here?

Kevin: This, my dear man, is the Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich. I had one the other day.

Harvey: It’s evil?

Dunkin Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich 2

Kevin: Let me finish. It looks innocuous, like a regular breakfast sandwich that you’d get at McDonald’s or Burger King or, hell, Dunkin’ Donuts. But at first bite, the English muffin is kinda tough and dry, not soft and chewy like a McMuffin.

The texture wouldn’t be a complete deal breaker, but they put so much “hollandaise flavored spread” (that’s what they call it, since it’s not real hollandaise) on the sandwich it’s like squeezing two pieces of plywood together with cookie dough in the middle. It gets all over the place. The amount of sauce they slop on is like Dunkin’ Donuts is passively angry with us. It’s not even a great sauce. The texture is a little like a cross between old mayonnaise and Elmer’s glue. It’s got a creamy taste with a lemony finish (and contains zero eggs), and tries to emulate a real hollandaise with a laboratory mix of butter and cheese. Instead of coming off as zesty, though, the goopy sauce tastes sour.

The actual eggs in the sandwich are decent, with a nice separation of orange-y egg yolk and egg white that makes me think it’s not completely processed. The black forest ham is lost in the shuffle—the sauce is too strong and it overpowers the sandwich. It all ends up tasting like what would happen if a chef described Eggs Benedict to an alien and then it tried to make it once. It’s not spit-out-of-mouth disgusting. It’s more like an I-wouldn’t-buy-this-again snorefest.

Harvey: A so-so Eggs Benedict.

Kevin: Yeah, that’s about right.

Harvey: How is that evil?

Kevin: Okay. If mediocrity is the mother of boredom, and boredom is the mother of evil, then…boom. That’s a Kierkegaard quote, I think. You don’t want to argue with that guy.

Harvey: Let me get this straight. Benedict Arnold, Pope Benedict XVI, Benedict Cumberbatch, and a Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Sandwich travel through time to save the universe and redeem themselves in the process.

Kevin: Yeah. Arnold is like the munitions guy, the Pope is the loose cannon, Cumberbatch is the disguise guy and the sandwich is the muscle. Oh, and they are assembled by Terry Benedict, Andy Garcia’s fictional casino mogul from Ocean’s 11. Terry is like their Bosley.

Harvey: Do you have anyone currently tied to this project?

Kevin: Yeah, we have interest from Clooney to play the Pope, and the sad dude from The Office who was in love with Erin to play Benedict Cumberbatch. We were thinking we could go a different direction and get Idris Elba to play Arnold. We’re in talks.

Harvey: Can you get an Egg McMuffin to play the Dunkin’ Donuts sandwich?

Kevin: It would take a few hours in the prosthetics chair every morning, but I think we can do that.

Harvey: All right, then. Congratulations. I think we’re eyeing a 2016 release. Let’s make a movie.

(Nutrition Facts – 300 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 grams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Not outwardly disgusting. Eggs possess a nice texture.
Cons: Hollandaise flavored spread all over your lap, sour-y and not fresh tasting. A one-note sandwich—it just tastes like sauce. English muffin is a bit tough.

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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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