REVIEW: Burger King Pepperoni Bacon Whopper (Canada)

Burger King Pepperoni Bacon Whopper (Canada)

If nothing else, I’ll say this about the Burger King location I visited: they’re super efficient.

I visited around noon, and they were quite busy. After I ordered, I walked about three steps to the left, to the area where they bring the food. There was a burger sitting on a tray. Since I had literally just finished ordering my burger seconds ago, it didn’t even occur to me that it was mine.

There was a smiling man standing behind the counter. We locked eyes. Why was this guy staring at me? Didn’t he have anything better to do? Was my fly down? The man pointed to the tray and told me it was mine. I don’t know if the words just didn’t compute, or if he wasn’t speaking loudly enough, but I asked him to repeat it. He did.

This still made no sense to me. Even if the burger was pre-made, how did he get it from under the heat lamp and over to my tray so quickly? There was maybe two seconds between me finishing up my order and walking over to where he was standing. So I clarified: “No, I ordered the Pepperoni Bacon Whopper.” His smile didn’t quite fade, but it wavered. He was clearly starting to lose his patience. “Yes sir, that’s yours.”

My eyes narrowed. I thanked the guy — more a question than a statement — then picked up the tray and took it to a table.

I unwrapped the burger, half expecting to find a regular Whopper. Glancing at the sad-looking burger in front of me, flattened and misshapen, I initially thought I was right. But what’s this? Is that a piece of bacon poking out from the bun? I took a peek inside, and yep, there was the pepperoni.

You’re probably wondering, “Why are you dwelling on this? It’s a fast food place; of course the food came fast.” Fair enough. Maybe you had to be there, but it was a startling display of efficiency. I honestly wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or horrified.

Anyway: the burger. The Pepperoni Bacon Whopper is, as the title implies, a Whopper with pepperoni and bacon on it. It’s also got a couple of slices of American cheese, because, yeah, why not?

My conundrum as to whether or not to be impressed or horrified was quickly answered after I took my first bite: horrified. Because not only was this burger not hot, it wasn’t even warm -– it was room temperature. I don’t know exactly how long it was sitting out, but I’m going to say a while.

I will charitably call it lukewarm, but in reality, it was leaning more towards cold. I considered asking them to make me a new one, but by the time this thought occurred to me, I was already two or three bites in, and the idea of losing my progress and starting over from scratch with a brand new burger was too much for me to handle. I earned those bites; no one was going to take them from me.

The patty itself was easily the burger’s worst offender. It was unpleasantly bitter, with that distinctively acrid, stayed-on-the-grill-for-a-couple-of-minutes-too-long flavor that characterizes pretty much any hamburger you get from Burger King these days.

It was also insanely dry. And I don’t just mean dry in that fairly typical way that characterizes most fast food burgers. No, this wasn’t that. This was capital-D Dry. I’ve had a pretty ridiculous amount of hamburgers in my lifetime, and this was probably one of the driest ones I’ve ever had.

Burger King Pepperoni Bacon Whopper (Canada) 2

It was tough, with a pebbly texture and a slightly gamy, vaguely off flavour that peeked through whenever you weren’t tasting the charred bitterness. It’s a flavour that announces in no uncertain terms that this is shoddy beef that has doubtless been sitting in a drawer for a disturbingly long period of time.

The pepperoni was pretty good, at least. It was standard-issue pepperoni, with that very familiar flavour that you’ve no doubt tasted on hundreds of pizza slices over your lifetime. On a better burger it would have been a bit overwhelming, but here I was very happy for the flavour of the patty to be overwhelmed; my arms were wide open. It wasn’t overwhelming enough, in fact. The taste of that patty still managed to muscle its way through and go straight for my gag reflex.

The thin slices of bacon, however, never had a chance. I knew they were there because I saw them, but I couldn’t taste them. At all.

The cheese, though it added some creaminess, also got lost among the burger’s more assertive flavours.

The other toppings (the standard Whopper veggies, ketchup, and mayo) were fine. The tomato slices weren’t mealy and the lettuce had some vague crunchiness, so I’m going to call that a win. The bun was a little bit clammy, but otherwise okay.

As a parting gift, the burger left an unpleasantly bitter aftertaste that lingered for most of the afternoon.

So no, sorry Burger King — you continue to be the Andy Dick of fast food chains. You were okay in the ’90s, but no one wants you around any more. The sad thing is, putting pepperoni on a burger is a decent enough idea, but to quote Switch from the Matrix: not like this. Not like this.

(Nutrition Facts – 860 calories, 56 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 2.5 grams of trans fat, 145 milligrams of cholesterol, 1590 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugar, and 40 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Pepperoni Bacon Whopper (Canada)
Purchased Price: $5.99 CAN
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: A burger that’s ready mere seconds after ordering it, as if by wizardry. Tasty pepperoni. Fresh condiments.
Cons: Apparently even a wizard cannot conjure up a burger and make it taste hot and fresh. Bitter, over-charred, absurdly dry burger patty. Pointless bacon. Terrible aftertaste.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Chocolatey Strawberry Pop-Tarts

Kellogg's Limited Edition Frosted Chocolatey Strawberry Pop-Tarts

January.

The month of Gore-Tex.

The 31 sun-deprived days of fleece, down comforters, knee-length socks, and long underwear pulled up so high, not even Grandpa Joe could compete with your mid-weight, merino-wool-studded rump.

So it goes that, when in my apartment, I turn on as many other easy-to-use electronic devices to generate heat, and, because I can’t leave the door of my microwave open (radiation or something), I find as many excuses as possible to use my toaster (Toast! Bagels! Waffles! Uh…more toast? Yes! More toast!). It was in this state of mind that I picked up these toaster pastries.

And they suit my toaster just fine.

After toasting on medium, the crust is crisp and crackling, breaking with a respectable few crumbs post-toast. Nipping at a corner edge, the chocolate crust seems weaker than usual, tasting more of stale graham crackers and burnt charcoal than chocolate. Fortunately, the frosting, with its milk-chocolatey, candy-like crunch, does its best to pick up the pace a little, and… hey! Sprinkles!

Kellogg's Limited Edition Frosted Chocolatey Strawberry Pop-Tarts Chocolatey Strawberry sprinkles!!

Sprinkles have the unique ability to make me feel I can do anything. Truly. Nothing makes me want to go out and self-engineer a robotic crane without an engineering degree more than sprinkles.

But back to the taste. The inside jam is gooey, if a bit thin to my unrealistic, excess-demanding American brain. The strawberry flavor is pronounced, sugary and a bit flowery. It may be a little flat or sweet for those who like non-hypoglycemic-inducing jams, but, if taste is any indication, the pastries are delighted to have their hyper-sweet, summery strawberry bellies. Can you blame them? Strawberry bellies are the bomb.

Kellogg's Limited Edition Frosted Chocolatey Strawberry Pop-Tarts A moderately chocolatey duo

You know that scene in Back to the Future II where Doc dumps banana peels and beer into the DeLorean’s Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor before it rockets away? That’s what Pop-Tarts does. They take an amalgam of ingredients (some of which other companies might consider “trash”), combine those ingredients together, and voila. Something respectable, sometimes even downright brilliant, is born.

For me, these weren’t downright brilliant, but respectable? You bet. Sure, the crust may have tasted a little like burnt crackers and maybe the chocolate was weak, but they’ve got a decent amount of gooey strawberry filling, they provide a warm vehicle for an especially frigid January, and, friends, sprinkles.

Just. Sprinkles.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pastry – 190 calories, 35 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, <1 gram of dietary fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Chocolatey Strawberry Pop-Tarts
Purchased Price: $1.98
Size: 8 pastries/box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Candy chocolatey shell. Sprinkles. Gooey insides. Strawberry bellies. Reasons to use your toaster. May inspire spontaneous engineering feats. The DeLorean.
Cons: Low chocolate levels. Thin-ish filling. Crust tastes a bit of stale cracker meal. Insides may be too sweet for some. All those layers of wool socks. Not having an engineering degree when you need one.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal

Kellogg's Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal

You probably have a lot of questions about Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal.

Does it come with two scoop of dried cranberries? Or are two scoops of cranberries and two scoops of raisins dumped into each box? Or does it contain one scoop of raisins and one scoop of dried cranberries? Does Mr. Sun on the box realize that his extinction means the extinction of the entire galaxy? Also, if he doesn’t realize it, would he still smile if he did?

I can answer most those questions.

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal has a scoop of raisins and a scoop of dried cranberries. Also, yes.

I wonder why it’s taken so long for Kellogg’s to combine dried cranberries with their bran flakes. I thought they would’ve done it soon after the word “Craisins” came into our snacking vernacular thanks to Ocean Spray. Actually, I didn’t expect them to end up in a new Raisin Bran variety. I thought they would have their own line called Kellogg’s Cran Bran.

Kellogg's Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal Closeup

If you love dried cranberries and have Costco-sized bags of Ocean Spray Craisins in every room in your house, including your bathroom and S&M chamber, then this cereal will disappoint. Because, after going through the entire box, I think it smells and tastes like good ol’ regular Raisin Bran.

While eating my first bowl, I thought I might’ve gotten a bad box with nothing but raisins. All the shrived fruit looks the same at arms length in an poorly lit S&M chamber. But a closer inspection with better lighting revealed the reddish dried cranberries, and it looked like there was an equal amount of both fruits. However, the dried cranberries sans milk and bran flakes, didn’t have much flavor or tartness.

So if the cranberries don’t offer any flavor, what do they offer?

I also have an answer for that.

Cranberries are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that regular Kellogg’s Raisin Bran doesn’t have. A serving of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal has 25 percent of your daily recommended intake. So if you want those damn free radicals to get off your damn lawn, this cereal will help.

Overall, if you enjoy Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, need more vitamin E in your diet, and don’t mind that the bran flakes get soggy quicker than a sponge in the rain, then you’ll enjoy Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 1/4 cup – 200 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 210 milligrams of potassium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, and a bunch of vitamin and minerals.)

Item: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 13.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: If you like Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, this will taste the same. Good source of vitamin E. Appears to have an equal amount of raisins and dried cranberries in every box. Cran Bran has a nice ring to it. Two scoops!
Cons: If you like Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, this will taste the same. Cranberries don’t have much flavor or tartness. Not as much potassium and fiber as regular Kellogg’s Raisin Bran. Soggy bran flakes.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Eggo Seasons Confetti Waffles

Kellogg's Limited Edition Eggo Seasons Confetti Waffles

I have to admit it took me a minute to figure out why confetti was considered an Eggo Seasons flavor. I thought maybe there are some places where the snow is multi-colored, and it’s in celebration of winter? Then I wondered if maybe the waffles were hinting at party season?

But I realized that, as much as I like to think it may one day happen, snow will always be white, and party season is a year-round thing. It finally hit me that Eggo Seasons Confetti Waffles are in celebration of the New Year. DUH! Gosh, I can be real a tool sometimes.

After Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill ran me and my brother to a fantasy football championship and prize money that would make Bill Gates jealous ($400 each), the reasons to celebrate were aplenty. So with that said, screw the New Year, I got these waffles to celebrate fantasy football pride, being better than my friends, and, of course, money.

Unfortunately, the party ends there, as the waffles themselves really weren’t worth celebrating. Now that doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means they aren’t as flashy as the colorful confetti specks make them out to be, at least in terms of flavor.

Kellogg's Limited Edition Eggo Seasons Confetti Waffles Naked

Hopeful for the ever awesome Pillsbury Funfetti flavor, my hopes were dashed just a few bites into my first waffle. There is a little bitty, teeny tiny, super duper small hint of Funfetti flavor to the toaster waffles. Like, maybe 9/100ths of the taste is Funfetti. There isn’t any noticeable texture to the confetti. It just seems to be a dye, which could explain the lack of flavor with the confetti.

Disappointed, I tried a few different methods to see if I could find these waffles’ sweet spot. I had one with maple syrup, one with butter, and one with both.

Kellogg's Limited Edition Eggo Seasons Confetti Waffles Naked

When you add anything to the waffle, that tiny inkling of extra flavor disappears faster than that one person at every New Year’s party who gets too drunk too fast, only to disappear into some random bathroom in the house to throw up, pass out and not be seen again until the next day. Then everybody is like, “Hey, where’s Jeff?” And you all take a quick look around the room before shrugging the thought of Jeff’s presence off and resuming your horribly orchestrated group dance to Edai 600’s “Koopa Bitch.”

The waffles aren’t all bad though. They still have that classic Eggo taste we all love. Well, at least those of us with souls, meaning that dressing them up with syrup, butter, peanut butter, Nutella, whatever your waffle topper of choice is, they will still be tasty. It’s just disappointing the confetti doesn’t really add much.

Reminds me of this time I was out at a bar and the band on stage announced they would be playing a cover of Rush’s “YYZ.” Being a huge fan of the Holy Trinity, excitement stirred in my bones. Unfortunately, it was the single worst rendition of the song I had ever heard. The rhythm guitar was laughable, they skipped over the guitar solo and they didn’t even have a drummer! Being as drunk as I was, I booed throughout most of the song. Then for some reason the lead singer gave me a hat with the Bud Light logo after the set was over. Um… thanks?

The whole situation just didn’t make much sense, much like these Limited Edition Eggo Seasons Confetti Waffles.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 waffles – 170 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 330 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Eggo Seasons Confetti Waffles
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 8 waffles
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Still pass as Eggo waffles. Jeremy Hill. Having a group dance to “Koopa Bitch.” Being rewarded a Bud Light hat for incessant booing.
Cons: Almost nonexistent confetti flavor is a massive disappointment. Disappearing Jeffs. Having to endure pitiful covers of Rush songs.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Enchilada Monster Taco

Jack in the Box Enchilada Monster Taco

I wish Jack in the Box’s Enchilada Monster Taco was an enchilada inside of a taco, but it is not. But I’m sure Taco Bell will one day accomplish that feat and give it a name, like Enchitaco, Enchilataco, or Talada.

For those of you not keeping score at home, and I’m pretty sure that’s 100 percent of you, Jack in the Box has introduced six Monster Taco varieties since 2013. There’s the original Monster Taco, Nacho Monster Taco, Bacon Ranch Monster Taco, Breakfast Monster Taco, Southwest Monster Taco, and this one

The Enchilada Monster Taco features seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, and an enchilada sauce in a partly crunchy, but 75 percent greasy taco shell. At a quick glance, it doesn’t look too different than a regular Monster Taco, but within the grease-stained shell there’s a difference. The original version has slices of American cheese and taco sauce instead of cheddar and enchilada sauce.

As you can see below, my taco had a whole lot of taco beef sludge and shredded lettuce, a bit of enchilada sauce, and not a lot of cheddar cheese. The enchilada sauce is a nice change of pace from Jack’s regular taco sauce. It’s not as spicy as the taco sauce, although the amount of lettuce my taco had might’ve dampened the spiciness. The enchilada sauce is also sweet and has a nice tomato-y, garlicky, and oniony flavor to it. I think I prefer it over Jack’s taco sauce.

Jack in the Box Enchilada Monster Taco Innards

As a whole, I did enjoy Jack in the Box’s Enchilada Monster Taco. It’s tasty and the shell, like all Jack in the Box tacos, has that wonderful crunch on the edges. But it’s too slight of a variation from the original Monster Taco. Adding enchilada sauce to a taco is as exciting as adding ketchup to a burger.

The Nacho version has jalapeños and nacho cheese sauce, the Ranch Bacon has a strip of bacon and ranch sauce, and the Southwest one had black beans and roasted corn. But the Enchilada Monster Taco just has enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. Compared with the others, it sounds unimaginative to me. And I don’t think it’s worth its premium price, which is a few dimes more than the original Monster Taco.

Now if it was an enchilada inside of a taco, then it would be a whole different story.

(Nutrition Facts – 308 calories, 177 calories from fat, 20 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 27 milligrams of cholesterol, 693 milligrams of sodium, 317 milligrams of potassium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.)

Item: Jack in the Box Enchilada Monster Taco
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Enchilada sauce has nice flavor. The crunchy edges of the Taco Shell. Glad it doesn’t have American cheese.
Cons: Too slight of a variation from the original Monster Taco. Not worth the premium price over the original Monster Taco. Not using their creamy sriracha sauce on a taco (it’ll probably happen this year). Mine had a lot of lettuce and not a lot of cheddar cheese. Not an enchilada in a taco.