REVIEW: Burger King Farmhouse King

Burger King Farmhouse King
 
Usually when you order a fast food burger the product is considerably smaller than the item advertised. In the case of Burger King’s Farmhouse King, however, it’s just the opposite – as soon as the cashier handed me the bag, I thought they had accidentally dropped a napkin dispenser in there.

Be forewarned, the Farmhouse King is not for the faint of heart. Packing in a monstrous 1,220 calories, it surpasses the calorie count of Arby’s Meat Mountain sandwich. Indeed, this item could be considered the breakfast version of Arby’s aforementioned Noah’s Ark Sammich (since it pretty much contained two of each animal under its buns.)

We’ve got nearly a pound of burger going on here. That includes about half a pound of flame-kissed beef in the form of two Whopper patties, plus a heaping helping of smoked bacon, plus a double shot of melted American cheese, plus a handful of crispy onions and – the kicker – a fried egg capping the whole thing off like an angel atop a Christmas tree. And underneath the toasted sesame seed buns you’ve got a smattering of ketchup and BK’s proprietary “creamy sauce,” which to me, tastes a lot like honey BBQ sauce.

Burger King Farmhouse King 2

Needless to say, this stuff is intense. All by itself it makes up more than half of one’s recommended daily allowance of calories, and with more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium, it does constitute an entire day’s worth of USDA-approved salt intake. That said, it’s undeniably a yummy novelty burger, and if absolutely nothing else, one of the most filling single-serve fast food items in recent memory.

I suppose the first question most people would ask is whether the addition of the egg improves or worsens the product. To be perfectly honest, the taste of the egg itself is pretty hard to distinguish from the goulash of meats and sauce, which ultimately coalesces into this extremely tasty medley of BBQ sauce, beef, bacon, and onion (which, for whatever reason, most fast food places describe as “Western”). I mean, if you really focus you can pick up the yolky aftermath, but it’s nowhere near as prominent as you’d imagine. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the egg is superfluous, but it’s certainly downplayed once you start chowin’ down.

Burger King Farmhouse King 3

If you’re looking for a satiating sandwich, unless you’re a world class competitive eater, this sucker ought to have you down for the count. About halfway through my sandwich I was getting winded and by the time I finished the last bite, full-fledged the itis had set in. In hindsight, it wouldn’t surprise me if that BK “secret sauce” was actually Nyquil-laced Thousand Island dressing.

I wouldn’t want to down a Farmhouse King every week, but for a one-time, super-gluttonous fast food treat it’s downright marvelous. But if you’re going to eat it, be prepared; not only are you going to need a small army of napkins, you better have a pillow handy, too.

(Nutrition Facts – 1,220 calories, 720 calories from fat, 80 grams of fat, 28 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of trans fat, 335 milligrams of cholesterol, 2050 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar, and 63 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $6.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The beef, bacon, cheese, onion and BBQ sauce medley is downright delicious. It WILL fill you up. the egg taste is subtle, yet distinct.
Cons: The price point is pretty steep. Some might find the egg flavor too downplayed. Eating the sandwich at noon and having a duel to the death with The Sandman until 5 p.m. rolls around.

QUICK REVIEW: Dairy Queen Oreo Hot Cocoa Blizzard

Dairy Queen Oreo Hot Cocoa Blizzard

Oreo is ostensibly milk’s favorite cookie, but it is an unrequited love. Especially of late, Oreo is swiping right on everything from chocolate bars to Android operating systems. Selfishly, I was happy to hear its latest dairy dalliance is with Dairy Queen as a new treat, the Oreo Hot Cocoa Blizzard. Oreo cookie pieces and cocoa fudge are blended with vanilla soft serve and topped with whipped cream.

With a classic whipped spiral atop a dark brown base, the Hot Cocoa Blizzard certainly dons the appearance of its namesake. Digging in, it definitely presents as a chocolate dessert, but I did not find it to be overwhelmingly so. It’s easy to see why the Oreo cookie chunks never spend a night alone; they add a pleasant crunch and are predictably tasty despite their flavor being a bit masked by the fudge.

Speaking of the headlining “hot cocoa” flavor, it appears to have a bit of stage fright. If I closed my eyes, I could almost convince myself I was detecting a slight cocoa powder like aftertaste, but it is very mild and instead reminds me mostly of cold, hot fudge topping.

Dairy Queen Oreo Hot Cocoa Blizzard 2

A bit of needed creaminess is added by the whipped topping, but there isn’t enough to provide a consistent or remarkable flavor combination on the whole. Perhaps I would have an easier time buying into the hot cocoa moniker if marshmallow bits or a swirl had been included; alas, no marshmallows were harmed in the making of this Blizzard.

Dairy Queen Oreo Hot Cocoa Blizzard 3

I love the idea of an Oreo fling with the oxymoronic hot chocolate flavored ice cream. Unfortunately despite being a respectable chocolate and Oreo Blizzard, I find little in the way of hot cocoa in it beyond the name.

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: Small
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 790 calories, 34 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 460 milligrams of sodium, 111 grams of carbohydrates, -1 gram of dietary fiber* 83 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

*Dairy Queen lists fiber incorrectly as a negative value

QUICK REVIEW: Dairy Queen Candy Cane Chill Blizzard

Dairy Queen Candy Cane Chill Blizzard

I have an odd relationship with candy canes. They are undeniably a minty herald of the holidays. Still, something about food that sharpens to a point while being eaten makes me uneasy. I can’t help but think that a partially consumed candy cane would be the improvised weapon of choice for elves doing time in Santa’s Secret Gulag.

Fortunately, Dairy Queen has come to my rescue with the returning favorite Candy Cane Chill Blizzard. Vanilla soft serve is mixed with choco chunks and peppermint candy cane pieces, no soap on a licorice rope required.

I had never tried the chocolate chunk version before; my experience had been solely with its sibling, the excellent Oreo Candy Cane Blizzard. This version of the treat greets you with colorful red specs nestled between chocolate chunks that paint a pleasing festive picture.

Chocolate pieces in vanilla ice cream are nothing new to Dairy Queen fans, so it’s left to the candy cane bits to differentiate this offering from the standard fare. They are more than up to the task, imparting a refreshing and enjoyable peppermint taste that is powerful but not overbearing.

Dairy Queen Candy Cane Chill Blizzard 2

The mix-ins are prominent and plentiful with the hard candy providing a pleasant crunch that never fades while the chocolate pieces linger and melt pleasantly in your mouth. I don’t feel overly hyperbolic when I say that this tastes like Christmas.

Dairy Queen Candy Cane Chill Blizzard 3

This is some of Dairy Queen’s best work, both in taste and as a balanced representation of the Christmas season. It is distinctly different but equally as enjoyable as its fraternal Oreo twin. Bribing Santa with a Candy Cane Chill on Christmas Eve may move you off the naughty list, or, at the least, keep you beyond the reach of the striped shanks of North Pole gen pop.

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: Small
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 630 calories, 17 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 109 grams of carbohydrates, and 11 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Zombie Frappuccino

Starbucks Zombie Frappuccino

For a few days this past spring, hordes of mindless entities overran Starbucks locations across North America. A thirsty hivemind in sight of one thing – Instagram likes. The Unicorn Frappuccino became a viral phenomenon, packing stores with teens ready to buy a drink that was handcrafted to pop in selfies and stories.

Stores were flattened by the demand. Locations ran out of ingredients a few days into the promotion. Baristas traded stories of trauma, blending these neon drinks by the dozen for shouting preteen crowds.

In a holiday attempt to recapture that social buzz, Starbucks has introduced the Zombie Frappuccino. With a caramel green apple base, a blood red mocha syrup drizzle, and pink “brain” whipped topping – it’s a sugary delight that will surely dominate your social feed for days to come.

Starbucks Zombie Frappuccino 2

Upon being handed my zombified milkshake, I was a little let down. The red syrup was all clumped at the top, leaving the rest a bland tennis court green. But as the drink started to melt, the blood started to seep down the sides in thin veins. The colors all pop appropriately, creating a spooky edible lava lamp. It’s a great effect, and one that surprisingly doesn’t come at the cost of taste.

While the Unicorn Frap was an overly-sour sugar bomb, the Zombie Frap is far more balanced. The green caramel apple base is very sweet, but tart enough to feel balanced on the tongue. Caramel notes pop in the aftertaste, adding a brown sugar richness.

As the drink melts into the bottom half, the red syrup starts to take more of an active role. It’s got a bitter coffee sting that never dominates the drink, but keeps it from being hauntingly sweet.

Starbucks Zombie Frappuccino 3

The whipped cream topping is the one area where the drink possibly falls short. Rather than the vibrant pink that makes one think of brains, it was closer to a light purple or fuchsia. It’s a minor complaint, but a drink designed for its visuals needs to be judged appropriately. There’s also no added flavor to the whip – just coloring. This was likely a smart choice, as anything else on it may have pushed it over the edge. But as is, it’s a worthy seasonal treat.

(Nutrition Facts – Grande with Whole Milk – 290 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 gram of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 54 grams of sugar, 3 grams of other carbohydrates, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.05
Size: Grande
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Colors have excellent contrast, creating a great zombie aesthetic. Caramel apple flavor isn’t too sweet. Blood mocha syrup adds a needed caffeine punch.
Cons: Whip wasn’t as pink as advertised. Could have used more coffee than just the dash of syrup. Has as much sugar as two full-size Snickers bars.

REVIEW: Arby’s Deep Fried Turkey Club Sandwich

Arby s Deep Fried Turkey Club 1

Among the many achievements in mankind’s endless appetite for culinary innovation, I tend to think one of the more fun developments has been the deep-fried turkey.

Granted, it’s not an Oreo that tastes like a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, but there’s a combination of country-boy-can survive and backyard science experiment that makes me want to pump my fists, scream “’MERICA!” and make sure I have a fire extinguisher on hand.

Thankfully, I can skip the last part of that equation now that Arby’s has released a line of deep-fried turkey sandwiches, including the Deep Fried Turkey Club.

Arby s Deep Fried Turkey Club 2

Let’s get this out of the way: The Deep Fried Turkey Club doesn’t inspire an initial reaction of mouth-watering gawking. Among the many meat mountains that Arby’s has given us in recent years, it looks comparatively average, with noticeably less stacked meat than Arby’s Grand Turkey Club.

But it tastes better than the Grand Turkey Club, and it all starts with the deep-fried turkey.

Arby s Deep Fried Turkey Club 4

It’s a bit of a clumsy comparison, but the difference is similar to that of Arby’s roast beef and Angus steak. Where Arby’s roast turkey is actually pretty good, it’s still deli meat when you get down to it. The fried turkey, though, is succulent, slightly sweet, and has a wonderful seasoned crust. If someone served this to me at Thanksgiving, I would probably disavow cranberry sauce and gravy. It’s that good on its own.

The rest of the sandwich is top-notch and surprisingly well-balanced despite salt bombs of cheddar and bacon. Less divisive than Arby’s brown sugar bacon, the black pepper bacon adds great crunch and smoke, while the melted cheddar adds a mild creaminess and richness.

Arby s Deep Fried Turkey Club 3

And, where the bun, mayo, and toppings could have ruined the classic club taste, all three elements are executed to near perfection, creating a crisp and clean flavor to cut all the meat and salt. My only complaint was the double dose of mayo on the top and bottom buns, which makes the sandwich a bit too soggy.

Arby s Deep Fried Turkey Club 5

Arby’s release of brisket and pork belly were game changers as far as the fast food universe was concerned. I wouldn’t quite put the fried turkey into that category, but that’s only because a turkey sandwich is always going to be (for better or worse) tied to Thanksgiving. Truth be told, this is a great sandwich, and by far the best turkey sandwich I’ve had from Arby’s.

(Nutrition Facts – 540 calories, 250 calories from fat, 28 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1620 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 34 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Exceptionally moist and flavorful turkey. Crispy bacon and melted cheddar cheese add quintessential supporting club flavors. Squishy, slightly sweet bun. Enjoying deep fried turkey without the hospital visit.
Cons: Double layer of mayo is excessive. Not the most filling sandwich you could get at Arby’s. Not being able to build your own Derrick