REVIEW: Burger King Frozen Surge

Burger King Frozen Surge

Aaaand…now the ‘90s are back. Yeah, the house became full again and a different gender already met world, and the clever girls switched sides.

But it’s only now, when Coca-Cola decided to excavate a forgotten, bootleg Mountain Dew by way of a second-place fast food try-hard that the nostalgia train is perhaps learning it’s running out of track. Surge is back, baby! But at Burger King only! And it’s not really a liquid anymore! And what is Surge again?

Surge was Coca-Cola’s answer to Mountain Dew and launched in the mid ‘90s, but dwindling sales pretty much had it out of stores before Facebook existed. (A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Not drinking Surge.) Successors include Vault — which had more caffeine — and Red Bull chased with green Gatorade left overnight in a hot car. It’s questionable whether the world was thirsting for a rebirth of Surge. But here we are.

Like an imposter, something is different, as much as Coke wants us to believe the vintage drink is being reinstated. It’s in a Slurpee, ICEE form, and it’s being featured exclusively at your local, grungy Burger King. Other things exclusive to Burger King include Chicken Fries and the thought “I wish I was at McDonald’s.”

Burger King Frozen Surge 2

Frozen Surge is serviceable. The Surge flavoring seems more muted than the original drink, which I remember having maybe a handful of times. The ice freezes up the taste buds all nice so practically the entire flavor profile is on the back end of the drink experience, which features an artificial lemon-lime tinge that definitely tastes “green.”

It’s slightly sweet and has a citrus bent that is somewhere between a lemon-steeped carafe of table water and a green Brach’s candy bean. The semi-carbonated, energy drink-soda hybrids have become plentiful in the past decade during Surge’s absence, and this drink feels like a frozen version of all of those put together. There is a light, fizzy tickling of the back of the throat that is more apparent as the frozen parts of the drink become less so. Overall the taste is a neutral proposition — it’s like a watered down Mountain Dew Slurpee.

The biggest problems are the sticky fingers, which made me feel like a dirty ass toddler, and the speed at which I had to consume it. It’s called “Surge,” like some sort of extreme boost, but since it’s so cold I had to drink it super slowly because every other sip would trigger brain freeze. The flavors had me wanting to pound it like a Swedish hacker at 3 a.m., not like a Swedish hacker at 3 p.m. (They’re asleep so they would drink slowly, right?).

The best consistency is probably ten to fifteen minutes after purchasing the drink, when it’s warming up so the flavors surface a bit more. Unfortunately, the drink very quickly begins to melt from the bottom up soon after and leaves a puddle of syrup below a glacier of frozen green stuff. This makes for a delicate balance unsuited to the brutality of stuffing a Western Whopper and onion rings into your maw.

It’s hard to imagine anyone going out of their way to grab this, especially since it’s only available at Burger Kings, but along with a meal it’s a decent accompaniment that delivers light citrus flavors and a little bit of an energy drink kick. I’d say it makes you feel like you’re traveling through time to the ‘90s, but only because it constantly hurt my brain, like reruns of Full House that feature the Beach Boys. Cut it out.

(Nutrition Facts – Medium – 100 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 5 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 24 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Frozen Surge
Purchased Price: $1.39
Size: Medium
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Would go well with a meal. Not unpleasant.
Cons: Flavors are slight. Sipping it so slowly because it’s too cold for brain, and then melting too fast.

REVIEW: Burger King Pumpkin Spice Oreo Shake

Burger King Pumpkin Spice Oreo Shake

Pumpkin Spice Oreo Cookies never had much appeal to me. Of the 487 (unofficial count) flavors Oreo has on the market, I wanted to try that one the least. Then I heard Burger King was offering a Pumpkin Spice Oreo Shake that was apparently different from the cookies of the same flavor. Now you’re speaking my language.

Instead of liquefying the shelf version of Pumpkin Spice Oreo Cookies, Burger King made a pumpkin spice flavored shake with bits of the classic chocolate Oreo cookie. Brilliant decision.

I initially thought the color was going to be off-putting, but when I got a closer look, I liked it. The shake was a very subtle orange color with the familiar black cookie crumbles mixed in.

The shake smelled good. It looked good. How could it not be good?

At first I thought it was better than good. It was surprisingly delicious. Don’t get me wrong, I expected to like it to a degree, but it blew away my expectations.

Once I got beyond the whipped cream that I couldn’t resist adding on, I expected the pumpkin spice flavor to be totally overpowering. It did have a little of that “potpourri” taste on the back of my tongue, but compared to other pumpkin spice products, it was mild.

The bits of Oreo were the best part. The hint of vanilla soft serve actually gave off a flavor reminiscent of the classic Oreo crème filling. The consistency of the cookie pieces held up pretty well for the most part and gave the shake a tiny bit of texture which meshed well with the pumpkin base.

Despite the slight potpourri flavor, it didn’t leave a bad aftertaste. It was quite pleasant. It did however stick around a lot longer than I would have ever expected.

With all that said, it wasn’t perfect.

Burger King Pumpkin Spice Oreo Shake 2

Like a lot of milkshakes, I did get sick of it about halfway through. It wasn’t over-the-top sweet, but even the small size was a bit of a struggle to finish. Not to mention that it lost a lot of its appeal as it melted. Drinking it as a milkshake was delicious. Drinking it as milk wasn’t even close.

I’d actually be thrilled if Oreo teamed with an ice cream company to manufacture this as a flavor. I’d buy a pint in a second, and without the threat of it melting as fast, I could see it jumping to the top of my favorite ice creams list.

I’m a plastic cup half full kinda guy, so I’m giving this a high score despite the last few sips. If I had just stopped midway and called it a day, you’d probably be looking at a 9 out of 10.

Oh, and in case you are considering it, don’t pair one of these with a burger and fries. It would be too much on your stomach. I say get it as more of a standalone dessert.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces – 500 calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 83 grams of carbohydrates, 66 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein..)

Item: Burger King Pumpkin Spice Oreo Shake
Purchased Price: $3.41
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Delicious. Pumpkin spice not overpowering. Chocolate Oreo cookie pieces. Undoubtedly better than the Pumpkin Spice Oreo Cookie. Burger King reminding me they are still an option.
Cons: Potpourri-y. Tastes pretty bad in liquid form. Aftertaste lingered… and lingered. Would probably make a better ice cream than shake. Burger King reminding me they are still an option.

REVIEW: Burger King Buffalo Chicken Fries

Burger King Buffalo Chicken Fries

Which would you rather fight in a duel to the death?

A) 1 buffalo-sized chicken
B) 100 chicken-sized buffaloes

Across the span of history, this question has troubled every great thinker, from Plato to Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and even the wisest philosopher of our time: Waldo of Where’s Waldo? fame. We thought we were searching for him in those colorful pages, but he was really teaching us how to find ourselves.

And while I doubt this age-old enigma will ever have a solution, I think it makes for good food for thought while eating Burger King’s new Buffalo Chicken Fries, which combine everyone’s favorite earthworm French fry shaped chicken morsels with fried breading that’s spiced like a buffalo chicken wing.

I want to take a second to applaud the adorable packaging on these Buffalo Chicken Fries. Though PETA may object to the implied idea of a manmade chicken-buffalo hybrid, I prefer to imagine it as the Burger King’s festive doorknocker.

Burger King Buffalo Chicken Fries 2

My 9 breaded pool noodles Chicken Fries varied in length from “extended middle finger” to “Dixon Ticonderoga #2,” but they all shared a greasy, semi-soggy texture and wiggly flimsiness. As a result, there’s no crisp bite like you’d find in a McNugget. Instead, the sketchy, spongy mouthfeel is closer to that of an over-microwaved Tyson dinosaur nugget.

Or maybe SpongeBob just fell into BK’s deep fryer.

The tastiness of the breading makes up for this, though. True to Burger King’s online description, the buffalo trinity of pepper, butter, and vinegar are all here. The standard floury and oily taste of the breading has a garlic buttery fattiness that’s spiced up by a modest kick of pepper.

Flavor wise, this kick is one part Cayenne, one part black pepper, and one part “generic red pepper from a Looney Tunes cartoon that made Foghorn Leghorn blow steam out of his ears.”

The mild heat wasn’t strong enough to trample my taste buds, but it still left my tongue feeling as pleasantly tickled as the Elmo dolls people got trampled over on Black Friday. And while the tangy acridness of the vinegar didn’t show up until after my meal, for hours afterwards, my mouth was filled with the flavorful ghosts of dyed Easter eggs and pickle jars.

Burger King Buffalo Chicken Fries 3

Unfortunately, this authentic buffalo experience comes at the cost of the actual meat. There was a skinny layer of chewy and bizarrely mealy chicken at the center of each fry, but any poultry flavor is largely stomped out by the brazen hoof of the buffalo breading.

So if you’re like me and are looking for a reliably chicken-y Chicken Fry experience, you’ll need to employ some careful tongue archaeology to extract the flavor of these chickens from their spicy prisons.

But if you’re the kind of buffalo flavor fanatic who rents Mark Ruffalo movies just on the off-chance that the DVD case made a typo, these peppery, buttery Slenderman appendages Chicken Fries might just make you fall in buffa-love.

Either way, I recommend pairing the fragile Fries with a thick dipping sauce to mask the iffy texture. Ranch is a good choice for contrasting the spice with cool creaminess. Plus you get to make everyone around you groan and boo by exclaiming, “Look, I’m a buffalo rancher!”

Burger King Buffalo Chicken Fries 4

But buffalo sauce works, too, half because of the added heat and nearly cheesy viscosity, and half because I like pretending that the Buffalo Chicken Fries are vengeful ghouls spewing forth their own fiery, ethereal ectoplasm.

Hey, Halloween might be over for you

(Nutrition Facts – 9 fries – 270 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 850 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Buffalo Chicken Fries
Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 9 fries
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Accurate buffalo chicken flavor. Elmo-levels of tickling spiciness. Pairs well with fiery, ethereal ectoplasm. Changing my college major to “tongue archaeology.” An inevitable SpongeBob/Burger King crossover episode.
Cons: Mushy mouthfeel. Asking, “Where’s the chicken?” in my Wendy’s old lady voice. Licking Mark Ruffalo DVDs. Extinction of the dinosaurs via microwave.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Boss Wraps (Fully Loaded Steak and Steak & Potato)

Taco Bell Boss Wraps


It’s what can make Taco Bell, which is usually coins under your car’s floor mats cheap, expensive. But if you want to splurge at the fast food chain because you have $6 in bills instead of $2.26 in loose change, might I suggest Taco Bell’s Boss Wraps.

The new menu item is available in two varieties: Fully Loaded Steak and Steak & Potato.

The Fully Loaded Steak comes with a double portion of steak, reduced fat sour cream, avocado ranch sauce, lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, a crunchy tostada shell, and a 3-cheese blend wrapped up in a tortilla. The Steak & Potato Boss Wrap features a double portion of steak, chopped bacon, chipotle sauce, a 3-cheese blend, reduced fat sour cream, a crunchy tostada shell, and crispy potatoes in a tortilla.

Taco Bell Boss Wraps 2

Because of its name, I felt as if it was necessary to start my order with either a “hey man,” “yo,” or a “whaddup” and then emphasize the word “boss.” My cashier didn’t care.

Taco Bell Steak & Potato Boss Wrap

If you have to choose one of the two varieties, go with the Steak & Potato. The potatoes weren’t crunchy when I bit into mine, but, to be fair, they were sitting in the tortilla while I took too many photos. But their flavor made up for their lack of crispiness. Their seasoning reminds me of curly fries and they go well with the chipotle sauce. If Taco Bell ever offers their crispy potatoes with a side of chipotle dipping sauce on their value menu, I’d buy that.

The bacon bits add a smokiness and saltiness, but when eaten alone, I didn’t immediately think of bacon. Instead, I thought of how Taco Bell’s sad bacon bits depress me. While the potatoes didn’t have any crispiness, the tostada shell still had a nice crunch, giving the menu item a different texture.

The double portion of steak, which seemed more like a single portion, was easy to bite through and lightly seasoned. But the steak’s flavor does take a back seat to the chipotle sauce and potatoes. I wish it stood out a bit more.

Taco Bell Fully Loaded Steak Boss Wrap

As for the Fully Loaded Steak Boss Wrap, I liked the avocado ranch sauce, there was a good amount of guacamole, the steak’s flavor was more noticeable, the pico de gallo wasn’t, and the tostada shell still had its crunch. It’s got a lot of nice flavors, but while eating it, I couldn’t help but think I was experiencing Taco Bell deja vu.

If you’re a fan of Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme, think of these Boss Wraps as upscaled versions with prices to match. The national advertised price is $4.99 and I paid $6.19 each for mine. The Fully Loaded Steak version tasted like something I’ve had before from Taco Bell, but I just can’t put my sour cream, avocado ranch sauce, and guacamole stained finger on it. But, yo, I think the Steak & Potato Boss Wrap is definitely boss.

Am I writing that right?

(Nutrition Facts – Fully Loaded Steak – 760 calories, 39 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 1610 milligrams of sodium, 69 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein. Steak & Potato – 870 calories, 46 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1960 milligrams of sodium, 78 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Boss Wraps (Fully Loaded Steak and Steak & Potato)
Purchased Price: $6.19*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Fully Loaded Steak)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Steak & Potato)
Pros: Both taste fine, but the Steak & Potato tastes better. The chipotle sauce and potatoes in the Steak & Potato Boss Wrap. Tostada shell still crunchy.
Cons: Fully Loaded Steak tasted like something else on Taco Bell’s menu. Pricey. Double portion of steak seemed like a single portion. Steak’s flavor doesn’t really stand out. Taco Bell’s bacon needs an upgrade.

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

REVIEW: The WORKS Reese PBC Stuff’d Burger (Canada)

The Works Reese PBC Burger

Do I have to write this review? Can I just type the word “nope” a few hundred times, include some photos, and call it a day? Because seriously: NOPE.

On the surface, the Reese PBC Stuff’d Burger seems like it should be an interesting novelty, cut from the same cloth as a doughnut burger, a McGriddle, or a Twinkie wiener sandwich (okay, I don’t think that last one exists outside of UHF, but it should). Sweet and salty novelty sandwiches aren’t exactly fine dining, but they can be tasty.

Stuffing (and topping) a burger with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups seems, if nothing else, like it should be fun.

Again: NOPE.

Eating it is absolutely not fun, unless you consider eating disgusting food to be fun, in which case it’s a barrel of laughs.

The Works Reese PBC Burger 2

Aside from the peanut butter cups, the burger is also topped with a couple of strips of bacon, and a fairly generous pile of crispy onion strings.

I don’t think I can be emphatic enough: do not, under any circumstances, order this hamburger. It is a disgusting, piping hot slurry of sickly sweet Reese’s goo and shoddy, dry beef.

You shouldn’t underestimate how face-burningly hot this thing is. I cut it in half, spent several minutes taking photos, and still managed to burn the Dickens out of my tongue on the first bite.

I’m not going to say that’s because this is a malevolent, hell-spawned creation of pure, unrequited evil whose sole purpose is to inflict as much anguish as possible on the world, but… if the shoe fits.

The Works Reese PBC Burger 3

Aside from the mouth-searing temperature, the flavour is completely out of whack; it’s all cloying sweetness with no balance whatsoever. The crispy onions add some texture but are completely overwhelmed, and the bacon may as well not even be there.

The burger basically tastes like dessert, only with beef and onions. It’s just wrong in a very fundamental way.

It probably doesn’t help that the beef is awful — dry, tough, and studded with bits of sinew and gristle, it’s actually shockingly bad considering that burgers are this restaurant’s stock-in-trade.

The longer I ate it, the more oppressive it became; I finished it, but I’m not sure why.

It’s pretty clear that this was created entirely to get as much media attention as possible, with no regard at all for flavour. And on that level, I guess it’s a success? But ordering and eating it is essentially a metaphorical middle finger from The Works to you. They want that sweet, sweet free press; all the people who have to suffer through actually eating it are just collateral damage.

So for those keeping score, that’s The Works: 1, humanity: 0.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on The Works website.)

Item: The WORKS Reese PBC Stuff’d Burger (Canada)
Purchased Price: $15.98 (CAN)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: The WORKS Gourmet Burger Bistro
Rating: 1 out of 10
Pros: It’s food, I guess?
Cons: An affront to humanity. Shoddy beef. Off-putting flavour. Cloyingly sweet. Face-meltingly hot. Literal hot garbage.