REVIEW: Burger King A.1. Halloween Whopper

Burger King A.1. Halloween Whopper

I know what everyone is going talk about regarding Burger King’s A.1. Halloween Whopper. They’re going to discuss how one particular ingredient perfectly fits the Halloween theme of the burger. Some people will think it looks disgusting. Others will be fine with it.

Yes, as you have probably guessed, I’m talking about Burger King’s iceberg lettuce. That ghostly white lettuce with a green tint is disgusting, scary, and reminds me of the skin color of many Scooby Doo villains. But those make it an appropriate addition to this Halloween-themed Whopper.

Besides that spooky lettuce, this limited time only item has a 1/4 lb flame-grilled beef patty, a slice of American cheese, tomato, mayonnaise, pickles, onions, and A.1. Thick and Hearty Sauce on a black sesame seed bun.

The bun is not only black, it also has A.1. Sauce flavor baked into it. But it doesn’t get its color completely from the sauce. So what gives it its color? It’s not squid ink, Sharpie pens, charcoal, mold, or Hot Topic. Looking through the bun’s ingredient list and pulling out possibilities, it could be a combination of FD&C Red #40, FD&C Blue #1, raisin juice concentrate, Worcerstershire sauce, caramel color, and FD&C Yellow #6. Mmmm…FD&C Yellow #6.

Burger King A.1. Halloween Whopper Top

At times the bun does have a slightly sweet and smokey flavor to it, but it’s faint and it disappears quickly. Maybe my tongue is imagining things or maybe the flavor is a ghost. But while eating the burger, the question I asked myself was, “Why include A.1. Sauce in the bun, if there’s A.1. Sauce in the burger?” Because the bun doesn’t make the burger taste A.1.-ier.

If you’re reading this in the middle of December and want to know what this Whopper tastes like, get into your car, tune your car’s FM radio dial to 101.5 to designate October 2015, and then drive 88 miles per hour…to the nearest Burger King location (or one that’s farther away because you’ll get there quickly if you’re going 88 miles per hour). When you get there, order a Whopper your way with American cheese and A.1. Thick and Hearty Sauce because that’s what this burger tastes like.

Burger King A.1. Halloween Whopper Wrapper

The A.1. Thick and Hearty Sauce wasn’t very thick. If it was, much of it wouldn’t have ended up on my hands and the Whopper’s festive mummy wrapper. It tastes exactly like regular thin and light A.1. Steak Sauce, which I’ve enjoyed on overcooked steaks from chain restaurants. Unfortunately, because it kept plopping out of the burger, I didn’t taste the sauce in every bite. Also, I think the mayonnaise diluted its flavor.

Burger King A.1. Halloween Whopper Half

The beef patty has that unique Burger King flavor that’s the chain’s fingerprint. It’s a flavor I enjoy. But the tomato, onions, pickles, and white lettuce did a wonderful job of bringing down the overall temperature of the burger, making it slightly unpleasant to eat. As for the cheese, let’s face it, it really doesn’t do anything flavor-wise on a regular Whopper. But it does something color-wise with this burger by matching nicely with the black bun.

Overall, I enjoyed the look of the A.1. Halloween Whopper more than its flavor. The burger is full of Halloween colors, and I have to admit the black bun was cool to experience with my own eyes. But the burger’s flavor wasn’t anything special since it can easily be recreated after the promotion is over. And, of course, that ghost lettuce freaks me out.

Update: There’s one bit of information I need to add. The dyes in the bun might turn your poop green. I’ve experienced this. Others in my household have experienced this. Commenters have experienced it. I apologize for the grossness of this, but I needed to mention it in case someone out there is on a toilet and freaking out because their poop is green. But you have to admit, green poop does fit with the Halloween theme.

(Nutrition Facts – 710 calories, 390 calories from fat, 43 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1530 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 31 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King A.1. Halloween Whopper
Purchased Price: $6.39*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like a Whopper with A.1. Sauce. Black bun is something cool you should see with your own eyes. Very festive; lots of Halloween colors. Mummy wrapper is neat.
Cons: Tastes like a Whopper with A.1. Sauce. Ghost lettuce freaks me out. Black bun baked with A.1. flavor doesn’t have a lot of flavor. A.1. Sauce everywhere. Produce does a great job of bringing down the temperature of the burger. Bun may make your poop turn green.

*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: McWhopper

McWhopper 1

Burger King tried to get McDonald’s to combine their two flagship sandwiches into one hybrid behemoth named the “McWhopper.”

It was proposed to promote World Peace Day. BK built a plan and posted full-page ads in a couple newspapers, reaching out to McDonald’s in the name of “peace.” It even created a website.

McDonald’s said no.

There’s all this boring marketing analysis stuff: McDonald’s is recently down in sales blah blah, Burger King has something like half as many stores blah blah, fast food ads aren’t as effective blah blah blah. Whatever. The McWhopper is not going to happen, at least not officially. So the I decided to go ahead and make my own McWhopper to give it a try to see if I “love havin’ it your way, right away, ba da-da-da-dah.”

Since it takes two restaurant trips to construct the chimera, I mapped out the nearest two franchises to the lab, which were .4 miles away from each other. Burger King first, then McDonald’s. At 2:23 p.m. I had Whopper in hand along with a few extra packets of Heinz tomato ketchup. Five minutes later I arrived to the McDonald’s and at 2:33 p.m. the entire shebang was together. An extra trip back to the laboratory took a few more minutes and after all the construction was done, it was 2:55 p.m.

That’s 32 minutes from the start of the project to eating time. That’s not an ideal amount to wait before eating a fast food burger, sure, and it would be a bit cold. But if you think the McWhopper is a good idea, your time probably isn’t worth that much anyway. And this is considering that all of the ingredients were acquired during relatively off peak hours with little to no wait at the register with locations pretty close in proximity.

McWhopper 2
Big Mac Parts

McWhopper 3
Whopper Parts

Extraction is stunningly easy. The McWhopper calls for the top bun, one beef patty, the cheese, chopped lettuce, special sauce and middle bun from the Big Mac and the tomato, onion, ketchup, pickles, flame-grilled patty and bottom bun from the Whopper. It is a bit of a mess but other than some sauce and lettuce flung about, the ingredients are simple to separate. The things that aren’t featured on the McWhopper are the Whopper’s lettuce, which is a bit chunkier, and the Big Mac’s pickles and onions, which are dinkier. And in theory the Whopper’s mayonnaise, but that is difficult to get completely off the patty.

McWhopper 4

The sandwich is basically a Whopper wearing a Big Mac hat. This method is also necessary, at least in the home version, to avoid being top heavy because the Whopper is considerably wider. The McWhopper’s shape ends up looking like a Machu Picchu pyramid if the Incas worshipped obesity, or Grimace.

The taste is surprisingly decent for a lukewarm fast food offering. The most striking contrast is the sodium hum of the special sauce against the char-grill patty. The combination accentuates the sweetness of the Big Mac qualities and the earthiness of the Whopper, which completes a satisfying union. The fact that these qualities jump out really underlines what these companies want us to remember about these burgers. On the Big Mac even the meat plays second fiddle to the special sauce, with extra bread to dull out the taste. The Whopper has a facsimile of that coat-the-mouth backyard grill flavor and it ambushes the eater, while all the other ingredients aside from the ketchup work to restrain it.

I also got an extra order of Big Mac sauce—which came in a four piece Chicken McNugget container—and spread more on with a higher ratio of ketchup from Burger King, which gave it all a tart kick, and a wet slather that eventually spilled out the sides of the sandwich. Shout out to Carl’s Jr.

The pickles, in particular, added a crunch here and there. The tomatoes and onions and lettuce did not add much but did not detract. There is a ton of bread at play here, and with the added heft of vegetables and a larger second patty, it’s a substantial burger. The Whopper’s bread seems chewier than McDonald’s softer bun, but it is tough to differentiate when it’s taken in at once. The McWhopper suffers a little bit from being monotonous texture-wise, but this one is cobbled together from spare parts, so it’s understandable. Frankenstein could walk and talk like a human but he was still green and had bolts in his neck. Pobody’s nerfect.

McWhopper 5

The entire McWhopper affair hits some nice notes and really avoids being offensive in any way. The interplay amongst the ingredients works well and for people well versed in fast food burgers there is just about nothing unexpected. If you’ve had both the Whopper and the Big Mac before, you can probably imagine how this would taste, and you would be right. It’s almost disappointing how much of a train wreck the McWhopper isn’t.

In my hazy memories, BK’s Big Mac rip off Big King was bad and Mickey D’s Whopper wannabe Big N’ Tasty was okay. Whatever you think of the Big Mac, it seems harder to deliver a sandwich with a distinct (and maybe boring) taste than it is to make a sometimes-mediocre version of a backyard burger. McDonald’s seems to be in the power position here, which is probably why they nixed the idea. Still, it reminded me of this.

Another note is the price of each burger. At least in my neighborhood, the price of the Big Mac and Whopper are exactly the same at $4.19—which seems strange—like they are price fixing us, or both companies are really owned by the Koch brothers.

The McWhopper is surely not an original idea. Thousands of children have probably joked about it and dozens if not hundreds of stoners have carried out the experiment. The time and effort and combined price do not pay out in a way that makes this a regular dining option, although the work put into the construction of the homemade McWhopper gives a slight illusion of cooking, which fosters a feeling of accomplishment. It is an interesting undertaking that seems like it has unique roots in these two signature sandwiches. Who cares if KFC and Popeyes put out a fried chicken? Or Subway and Quiznos made a sub? I wouldn’t eat that. Even for world peace.

(Nutrition Facts – Big Mac Parts – 465.2 calories, 27 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 770 milligrams of sodium, 31.4 grams of carbohydrates, 6.62 grams of sugar, 2.3 grams of fiber, and 22.26 grams of protein. Whopper Parts – 338 calories, 20.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 595 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 8.5 grams of sugar, 17.5 grams of protein.)

Item: McWhopper
Purchased Price: $4.19 (Whopper) $4.19 (Big Mac)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King and McDonald’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tastes intermingle well. Feels like cooking.
Cons: Time spent making it will leave it lukewarm. Textural monotony. Expensive.

REVIEW: Burger King Extra Long Jalapeño Cheeseburger

Burger King Extra Long Jalapen?o Cheeseburger

With all of these “Extra Long” sandwiches Burger King has been pushing, I wonder if the fast food chain is bragging or overcompensating for something.

Anyhoo, the fast food chain’s latest limited time only menu item to use their hoagie bun is their Extra Long Jalapeño Cheeseburger. It features two flame-grilled 100 percent beef patties, mayo, ketchup, two slices of American cheese, iceberg lettuce, white onion slices, and marinated jalapeños.

Marinated jalapeños? Sounds fancy.

Well, after pulling out one of the jalapeño slices from my burger and trying it, I have to say it is fancy. Marinated jalapeños is a fancy name for pickled jalapeños because they taste and crunch exactly like them.

If you’ve tried all the previous Extra Long sandwiches, you’ve probably realized that this is basically their Extra Long Cheeseburger with jalapeños on it. If you’ve figured that out, congratulations my flame-grilled loving friend.

Burger King Extra Long Jalapen?o Cheeseburger 2

I counted six jalapeño slices on my cheeseburger. It’s enough to get a little jalapeño in almost every bite, but it’s not enough to add any significant heat thanks to the other parts of the burger. Eating the jalapeños separately brings a spiciness to my mouth that Burger King’s Fiery Chicken Fries could only dream of. But when eating the sandwich whole, the lettuce, ketchup, onions, and mayo are the firefighters that extinguish the jalapeños’ flames. Someone should totally make a sexy calendar with them.

While the peppers don’t bring the spicy, they do bring a flavor that’s familiar if you’ve had marinated…I mean, pickled jalapeños before. Their salty and peppery flavor is the most dominant in the burger. While the other toppings are strong enough to douse the jalapeños’ spiciness, they can’t hold a candle to the peppers’ flavor. All I could taste were the beef patties and their unique Burger King flavor, the American cheese, and the jalapeños.

Burger King Extra Long Jalapen?o Cheeseburger 3

Burger King’s Extra Long Jalapeño Cheeseburger is okay and I would probably buy it again. But I do wish it was spicy enough to make me sweat a little. Also, Burger King could’ve gotten a little creative with it. Instead of the ketchup and mayo, they could’ve brought back their Angry Sauce (which is probably in the same storage facility as The King and his scary gigantic head) and used it to give the burger a unique flavor.

(Nutrition Facts – 590 calories, 310 calories from fat, 35 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 1190 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 26 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Extra Long Jalapeño Cheeseburger
Purchased Price: $6.99 (small combo)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Decent burger I’d probably buy again. Jalapeños’ flavor. Enough jalapeños to get a little bit in almost every bite. One really green leaf of lettuce (seen in middle photo).
Cons: Not much creativity went into this burger. Lettuce, ketchup, onions, and mayo are the firefighters that extinguish the jalapeños’ heat. Sexy calendars of burger condiments. Marinated jalapeño is a fancy name for pickled jalapeño.

REVIEW: Burger King Fiery Chicken Fries

Burger King Fiery Chicken Fries

Yes, that box is adorable. And I like it more than the Burger King Fiery Chicken Fries that came in it.

Up front I should tell you I have a history of making fun of Chicken Fries. I believe I once called them…let’s see now, “deep fried tampons.” When they were discontinued I didn’t shed a tear for them. And when they came back I didn’t rush to the nearest Burger King to relive 2005 all over again. But then Burger King did something with them that’s hard for me to resist. They offered a spicy version.

I’m a sucker for anything that claims to be “spicy,” “hot,” “fiery,” “blazin’,” “burnin’,” “lava,” “angry,” “hella,” and any other term used to describe a product that may force me to grab a glass of ice water to soothe my taste buds. But about 80 percent of the time, I’m disappointed by the heat of those products. And these Fiery Chicken Fries ensure that percentage stays high.

On the Burger King website, they’re calling these “offensively spicy.” To make them “offensively spicy,” the white meat chicken is coated in a breading that contains cayenne pepper, black pepper, and savory spices. Yup, tongue-burning cayenne pepper and sweat-inducing black pepper.

Oh wait, I meant to write none-burning cayenne pepper and sneeze-inducing black pepper.

Burger King Fiery Chicken Fries 2

The cayenne in the slightly crispy breading gives the poultry filled fries a sinister glow, but that’s mostly for show. There was a mellow cayenne peppery burn that showed up after I ate a few. Actually, “burn” isn’t the best word. I think “warm” is better. It’s like the warm body heat from a long hug, except it’s in your mouth. The cayenne and black pepper do give the chicken sticks a decent flavor sans sauce, but, again, they do nothing to them that I’d consider fiery. Or even smoldering.

My experience with the Fiery Chicken Fries reminded me of my taste test of another one of BK’s “spicy” products, the Angry Whopper. With the burger I was expecting angry, but instead got perturbed. And with these fries, instead of offensively spicy, I got annoyingly not offensively spicy.

Burger King Fiery Chicken Fries 3

Like the original Chicken Fries, each box comes with nine pieces and your choice of sauce — BBQ, Honey Mustard, Ranch, Zesty, Buffalo, Sweet & Sour, and Chicken Fries Sauce. I went with the Chicken Fries Sauce, which was something I haven’t tried before. It’s tangy, sweet, and tasty, but it’s no Zesty Sauce, which I think is spicier than these Fiery Chicken Fries.

Burger King Fiery Chicken Fries 4

And thank goodness these come with a sauce because the meat within the coating was a bit dry. So instead of “In Case of Fire Smother With Sauce,” perhaps the inside of the box should’ve said, “In Case of Dryness Smother With Sauce.”

While Burger King’s Fiery Chicken Fries are not as fiery as I hoped, they do have a flavor that makes them better tasting than the original version. But I still don’t like them more than the box they came in. Again, that container is adorbs.

(Nutrition Facts – 290 calories, 18 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 870 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Fiery Chicken Fries
Purchased Price: $3.49*
Size: 9 pieces
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Better tasting than original Chicken Fries. Chicken Fries Sauce is tasty. The container they come in is adorable.
Cons: Not fiery. Not offensively spicy. Dry innards. More limp than crispy. Liking the box more than what was inside the box.

*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: Burger King Doritos Loaded

Burger King Doritos Loaded

Burger King might be in trouble.

They seem like they’re pulling out all the stops lately, bringing back the King (great move), Chicken Fries (decent move, absolutely terrible marketing) and now trying to branch off into that weird menu item market Taco Bell lives in. I’m not sure what they’re hoping to gain by offering a product that has been sold at 7-Eleven locations for some time, but I’m definitely sensing an air of desperation.

This may be a controversial statement, but I don’t really like Doritos Locos Tacos. Don’t get me wrong, I was first in line to order them and I thought the idea was brilliant, but the execution? Ehhhhhh. After the first bite, I barely even noticed any Doritos flavor. The new Burger King Doritos Loaded are no different.

Doritos Loaded – which is a really stupid name – smelled awesome. The drive home was tense, because their aroma filled my car almost instantly. I was pretty hungry and toyed with the idea of just busting them out right there, but chose to avoid Doritos fingers for a couple more minutes. Still, I was pumped to throw these babies down by the time I got home. Oh what a naïve fool I was.

Burger King Doritos Loaded 2

Doritos Loaded look cool and have a little heft to them, about the same weight as a chicken nugget. They have a nice salty, crispy outer shell, but it’s also a bit dry. If I stopped eating them after one bite, my review score would have been a lot higher.

They make a really good first impression. I could taste the nacho cheese Doritos flavor, but it’s immediately masked by the cheese filling. After that, I never really tasted nacho cheese Doritos again.

Burger King Doritos Loaded 3

The cheese inside is gross! I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what kind of cheese. I naturally thought nacho at first, then maybe American? After some Googling that took way too much time, I learned it has a combination of American, cheddar and Romano. I never would have been able to tell you that myself. The cheese was just indiscriminate, bland, and gooey. The decision to use that mix was my biggest problem with the Doritos Loaded.

They would have been so much better if the center was a bit solidified with a cheese like mozzarella. I considered letting them sit around and cool off a little before eating more, but agita was kicking in. And, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to eat more.

I absolutely hate wasting food, but I threw away two of the four Doritos Loaded. I would have given them away, but I was alone. I didn’t even have someone to make hand uprights for me so I could attempt to flick one of these across the room paper football-style.

I’m so lonely. All I want is for someone to finish my gross food and make finger field goals for me. Is that too much to ask?

But I digress.

I think the idea of crusting snacks in Doritos crumbs is a great one. I’ve often said Frito-Lay could make a killing selling Doritos dust in the spice aisle. I’d definitely put that on a chicken breast. In fact, Burger King should strike while the iron is hot, and offer chicken nuggets crusted in Doritos crumbs. There’s zero chance that wouldn’t be a hit. It would certainly crush the Doritos Loaded.

Can someone pass this along to the King? Doritos crusted nuggets! And get Darius Rucker to sing in the commercial like the good old days. And no more unlawful marriages between chickens and French fries.

Doritos Loaded were a novel idea, but the execution was awful. Not to mention, for $2.99 there are about 100 better fast food values out there.

I don’t know, I guess this is worth a shot for Burger King. I don’t necessarily think these will pair well with a burger, so 7-Eleven seems like a better place to buy them. With all that said, I hope they release a Cool Ranch version. But if they do, they better make them with mozzarella.

(Nutrition Facts – 360 calories, 24 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,080 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 4 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein..)

Item: Burger King Doritos Loaded
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 4 bites
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Smelled great. Nice crispy exterior. Cool packaging/shape. Hootie’s “Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch” jingle. The King is back!
Cons: Dry. Almost no Doritos flavor. Terrible cheese filling. Chicken Fries commercials. No one to play paper football with.