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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

REVIEW: Wendy’s Chicken Tenders and Side of S’awesome

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Wait, chicken tenders are a thing again?

When McDonald’s killed its Chicken Selects in 2015, I could have sworn the burger-centric fast foods chains were done with premium, dippable chicken. But the resurrection of McDonald’s Chicken Selects as Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders seems to have started something a trend. Case in point, Wendy’s feels the need to one-up the Golden Arches with brand new Chicken Tenders and a never-before-seen sauce – Side of S’awesome.

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I’ve eaten a couple hundred pounds of chicken tenders and I can tell you these are decent as far as the all-white meat stuff goes. They lack the kind of succulent, peanut oil-infused flavor of Chick-fil-A’s tenders, and you’re not going to mistake them for Raising Cane’s or Zaxby’s. But the breading is crisp and well seasoned, the chicken isn’t dry, and there are no textural abnormalities like slimy meat or hollow crevasses under the breading.

But the flavor is predictable: the ubiquitous garlic, onion powder, salt, and black pepper mix you’ve probably tasted in dozens of chain restaurant and food service tenders. In other words, unless you’re really into the breading, you’re gonna want something to dip these in.

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I’m assuming Wendy’s came up with the name for their S’awesome Sauce because someone thought it was cool; that or “Spread,” “Fry Sauce,” and “Ed’s Sauce” were already taken. In any case, they should have named it “It’s Alright Sauce” because it’s okay.

Advertised as “tangy, sweet, and smoky,” it has elements of the first two flavors but very little smokiness unless you count the whisper of Worcestershire on the backend. Overall, it trends neither distinctly tangy or sweet, instead finding a mild middle ground which tastes like two parts mayo, one part mustard, and one part ketchup. But it doesn’t pop; it doesn’t wow; it doesn’t make me lick my fingers and declare to my coworkers that this shit is s’awesome.

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Put another way, if dipping is your thing, then you’ll probably want to stick with your usual Wendy’s go-to sauce.

When I saw that McDonald’s brought back chicken tenders, and then Wendy’s followed suit, my first instinct was to ask myself why major fast food chains had deserted them in the first place. But now that I’ve tried Wendy’s new Chicken Tenders, I can’t help notice how ordinary they taste when lined up against the Raising Cane’s, Zaxby’s, and Chick-fil-A’s of the world. And, unfortunately, even a name like S’awesome Sauce can’t hide the fact that the entire combo is average.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 pieces – 300 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 920 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 22 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5 combo ($3.49 for order of 3)
Size: 3-piece combo
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Meatier alternative to Wendy’s nuggets. Solid crunch and well seasoned breading. Lower in calories than most chicken tenders.
Cons: S’awesome Sauce is pretty average. Tenders aren’t particularly succulent or juicy. Breading flavor is predictable. $5 combo meal isn’t as good as Dairy Queen’s $5 chicken tenders lunch.

QUICK REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins Candy Bar Mashup Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins Candy Bar Mashup Ice Cream

According to everyone’s favorite feline, this time of year is all about the candy, candy, candy, candy. Fortunately, instead of placating him with an unholy lasagna ice cream, Baskin-Robbins has brought us the Candy Bar Mashup as October’s Flavor of the Month. Chocolate ice cream is swirled with caramel and then stuffed with Snickers, Twix, and Milky way pieces. 

First things first, either let yours temper before eating or don your Rockbiter costume. The sample I tried of the returning and pun-awesomely named Trick Oreo Treat contained a Baby Ruth bite that was equivalent to chewing cement.

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After letting it sit, my Candy Bar Mashup was the perfect consistency, no trip to the dentist necessary beyond the cavity it probably induced. If you have tried the aforementioned candy bars, then you know what to expect from this by and large. The chocolate ice cream is tried and true; and while good, the caramel swirl doesn’t bring anything new to the table as it’s a core component of the traditional bars.

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Unfortunately, my scoop consisted primarily of Twix which crowded out its cohorts and left only a couple of small Snickers pieces and a hint of Milky Way for the other bites. The experience as a whole is chameleonesque, becoming a frozen version of whatever candy bit you happen to nosh. This makes the uneven ratios an even greater shame as despite Milky Way being my least favorite of the group as just a candy bar, I quite enjoyed it in this context.

Oddly, the ingredient list mentions Twix last of the three. One would expect it to be roughly equivalent to the other pieces at worst rather than reigning as the Jack Skellington of Candy Bar Mashup Town. All in all, this is more treat than trick, and I could see myself grabbing it again while I await the Great Pumpkin on Halloween night.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Large scoop (4.0 oz.)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Single Scoop) 290 calories, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 28 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Burger King Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake

Burger King Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake

Having retired from gracing the cover of cereal boxes, Chef Wendell has teamed up with the brilliant minds behind the cereal-flavored shake line at Burger King to bring us the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake.

Wendell’s cinnamon sugar stained hands are all over the latest offering, combining what Burger King describes as cinnamon cereal-flavored syrup and cinnamon toast crunch pieces with vanilla soft serve.

Outwardly, it dons the unassuming guise of a ho-hum vanilla shake, but just as with many superhero origin stories, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The first sip will blast even the most underdeveloped taste buds into sugary oblivion, but a warm cinnamon aftershock is definitely in play as well. This thing screams Cinnamon Toast Crunch and that beloved flavor is uniform and omnipresent.

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As much as I praise the shake for capturing the essence of its namesake, there are some missteps. Unsurprisingly, the cereal pieces do not fare as well as one would like. There was some crunchiness to be found, but overall, they were more soggy than not. This being the first semi-watery shake I’ve received from BK may have hastened the demise of my poor cereal bits.

For breakfast cereal junkies, and especially CTC lovers, this is a dream come true. But, while excellent in flavor, this cereal turned dairy delight hits hard and lingers, possibly even to a cloying extent for those sans adamantium pancreases forged by the cereal fueled Saturday morning cartoon bingeing of their youth.

Burger King Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake 3

Because of those shortcomings, I cannot objectively give this a higher score. Personally though, this is everything I wanted it to be; a decadent portal to the halcyon days of color changing Ninja Turtle bowls filled with sugary goodness.

Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Large) 780 calories, 19 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 570 milligrams of sodium, 137 grams of carbohydrates, 113 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Pumpkin Spice Shake (2017)

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If you decide to share your purchase of Jack in the Box’s new Pumpkin Spice Shake on social media, Jack would like you to use the hashtag — #OMGPumpkinSpice.

This new shake shouldn’t be confused with Jack in the Box’s Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Shake that we reviewed in 2013 or the Pumpkin Pie Shake that we reviewed way back in 2004. #OMGThisBlogIsSoOld

This updated pumpkin spice shake features real ice cream blended with pumpkin spice syrup and is topped with whipped cream, gingersnap cookie crumbles, and a cherry (mine didn’t come with one). The cookie crumbles appear to be the only difference between the 2017 Pumpkin Spice Shake and the one that came before it.

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The ice cream and pumpkin spice syrup in my cup weren’t mixed well. But after some intense stirring, I got it to the color in its promotional photo. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make me think of pumpkin spice. Instead, it reminds me of the walls at my doctor’s office.

The shake’s flavor is almost as non-festive as it looks. There’s a wisp of pumpkin spice, but I don’t want a wisp. Also, the whipped cream doesn’t help. It dilutes the flavor even more.

But the doctor’s office-colored cloud has a silver lining.

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The ample gingersnap cookie crumbles amp up the flavor of the shake with ginger and cinnamon. Although they move it away from being a pumpkin spice shake and move it towards being a gingerbread shake. But they also take it from blah to rah and kind of make up for the fact that the pumpkin spice flavor isn’t strong.

The ones that topped mine weren’t crumbles. Instead, they were straw-clogging chunks that surprisingly maintained their crunchiness as they sat in the dairy.

Full disclosure: I prefer Jack’s original Pumpkin Pie Shake over the version that came out in 2013 because its pumpkin spice popped. This latest iteration might be even weaker than the previous version, but the cookie crumbles add that punch I want. Although, if I think about it, maybe the shake itself is light because it might be overpowering if both it and the cookies provide strong flavors.

Overall, thanks to the cookies, I do think this version tastes better than the previous one, and I’d buy it again. But I don’t think it beats the original. #OMGItsGood

(Nutrition Facts – Regular – 860 calories, 41 grams of fat, 30 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 112 grams of carbohydrates, 92 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.19*
Size: Regular
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Gingersnap cookie pieces take this shake from a blah to rah and kind of make up for its lack of pumpkin spice flavor. Cookie pieces maintain their crunchiness.
Cons: Shake base has a weak pumpkin spice flavor. Its color reminds me of my doctor’s office. Whipped cream dilutes the already weak pumpkin spice flavor. Gingersnap cookies make it taste more like a gingerbread shake than a pumpkin spice shake.

*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.