REVIEW: McDonald’s Kale & Feta More-Ning McWrap (Canada)

McDonald's Kale & Feta More-Ning McWrap

Over the last few weeks, an overwhelming amount of attention has been paid to McDonald’s breakfast menu — specifically, to the Golden Arches finally ceding to popular demand and serving that menu all day.

Sadly, despite being bombarded with news articles and ads, we don’t get to partake in your newfangled “all day breakfast” up here in Canada. So I had to suffer the indignity of leaving the house before 10:00 AM. On a weekend. Like a farmer.

I think the first thing I have to note is that the name of these wraps just does not make sense at all. More-Ning? What does that even mean? What’s a Ning? Why would I want more of it? I guess it’s supposed to be a pun? Apparently someone at McDonald’s didn’t get the memo that puns are supposed to make sense.

Inscrutable wordplay aside, McDonald’s has introduced two breakfast wraps: Sausage & Hash Brown, and Kale & Feta.

I went with the Kale & Feta, which consists of scrambled eggs, feta cheese, baby kale, and a few slices of tomato, all wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla. That’s it. No sauce, no seasoning — it’s literally just those four ingredients (mostly kale) crammed into a dry tortilla.

This was especially off-putting in the first few bites, which consisted entirely of plain kale and tortilla; it was surprisingly horrifying. There are some vegetables that can be eaten on their own without any dressing or accompaniment; kale is not one of them.

Things improved somewhat once I got to the other three ingredients at the centre of the wrap… but not by much.

There’s something missing here; it doesn’t taste good. It’s not the quality of the ingredients, which were fine. The scrambled eggs were a little dry and way underseasoned, but they were decent enough. And they were downright gourmet when you compare them to the rubbery yellow slabs of sadness that they pass off as eggs at some other fast food joints (Tim Hortons, I’m looking squarely in your direction).

The kale and tomatoes were both reasonably fresh, and the crumbled feta gives the wrap a bit of a salty kick, trying valiantly bring some flavour and personality — an uphill battle that it just can’t win.

McDonald's Kale & Feta More-Ning McWrap 2

It’s odd; though the ingredients are all okay, they don’t taste particularly good in this configuration. I’m gonna be blunt: this thing tastes like you went dumpster diving at a health food store and then crammed a few ingredients at random into a tortilla.

What this wrap really needs is something — anything — to lubricate things and provide some flavour. Maybe if the kale had been tossed in a vinaigrette, or if it had been cooked, then this wrap could have been half-way edible. But here — raw, undressed, and abundant — it was a bit of an endurance test.

I actually really enjoyed McDonald’s last foray into the world of kale, the I’m Greek-ing Out salad (which also had the benefit of being named with a pun that actually made sense), so I’m not inherently biased against kale at McDonald’s.

But though that salad was ostensibly healthy, it had enough dressing and other tasty bits to remind you that you were at McDonald’s, and not the cafeteria at your local gym. The Kale & Feta McWrap, on the other hand, tastes like health food through-and-through. It’s tastes like the type of health food that gives health food a bad name.

It might just be the worst thing I’ve ever had from McDonald’s — and I tried the McOnion Bits.

(Nutrition Facts – 400 calories, 19 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0.4 grams of trans fat, 420 milligrams of cholesterol, 840 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fibre, 3 grams of sugar, 21 grams of protein.)

Item: McDonald’s Kale & Feta More-Ning McWrap (Canada)
Purchased Price: $3.99 CAN
Size: N/A
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Decent eggs. Fresh veggies.
Cons: Tastes like a health food store dumpster. Ingredients don’t work well together. Dry. Raw kale overload. Desperately needs some kind of dressing. McOnion Bits flashbacks.

REVIEW: Pizza Hut Hot Sriracha Chicken Pizza (Canada)

Pizza Hut Hot Sriracha Chicken Pizza

I like Pizza Hut. It might be my favourite of the big pizza chains. Not that I even think the pizzas are that great, but I appreciate that they know exactly what they are: a purveyor of junky fast food.

They don’t have the delusions of grandeur like some other chains; there’s no “rustic” this or “artisan” that. What they will do, however, is cram cheese, hot dogs, and whatever else they can think of into a crust so oil-laden that it will leave your hands slick with grease if you handle it for even just a second or two. They’ll top the pizza with stuff like poutine or butter chicken.

They know exactly what they are, and they’re not ashamed of it. I like that.

Which is to say that replacing the tomato sauce in a pizza with sriracha is a distinctively Pizza Huttian creation. But is it actually good? The short answer: better than you’d think! The long answer: read on, my friend.

The base of the pizza is the standard Pizza Hut Pan Pizza. It is what it is; you either like it or you don’t, and personally, I like it (and I’m a little bit in awe of how they’re able to cram so much grease into the thing). It’s not something you’d want to eat every day, but when you’re in the mood for that crispy, greasy goodness, it satisfies.

Pizza Hut Hot Sriracha Chicken Pizza Closeup

It’s topped with sriracha, green peppers, banana peppers, grilled chicken strips, and, of course, mozzarella. And they’re definitely not kidding around with the sriracha: when I was driving the pizza home, it so thoroughly filled the car with that very distinctive sriracha aroma that the spice vapours actually tickled my nose a bit.

Sadly, it’s not quite as spicy as I might have hoped. It’s hot, don’t get me wrong, but on the mild-medium-hot scale, it falls squarely in the middle. It’s certainly not as spicy as any variety of sriracha that I’ve tried — and sriracha isn’t even close to the hottest hot sauce out there. Clearly, they’re using a very mild sriracha, or they’re diluting it with something.

Pizza Hut Hot Sriracha Chicken Pizza Slice

The flavour is certainly there, however — it’s got that satisfyingly sweet, slightly garlicky flavour that’s made sriracha so hot over the last couple of years (Get it? Hot?? World Pun Championships, here I come!).

The banana peppers are banana peppers. Personally I’m not a fan, and this pizza did nothing to change my mind. I don’t mind them in theory, but every time I get them on a pizza — without fail — I wind up chomping down on a rock-hard stem. I’m convinced that banana peppers are at least 50 percent borderline-inedible stems. And they’re not even that hot, so what’s the point? Banana peppers are the spicy pizza topping for people who don’t actually like spice.

The other toppings were fine. The green peppers added some crunch and a bit of flavour, which worked well with the other elements of the pizza. The chicken is, I’m pretty sure, of the processed variety rather than actual pieces of chicken. It’s a bit rubbery, but it’s okay. It’s not egregious, and there’s enough else going on here that you can’t really tell either way.

The cheese, like the crust, is standard Pizza Hut. Gooey, slightly salty, and abundant.

All in all, it’s not a bad pizza. Subbing out tomato sauce for sriracha could have been a disaster, but somehow, it works. It certainly earns its name, as that distinctive condiment is very much the dominant flavour here. I wish it were spicier, but if you like Sriracha and don’t mind pizzas of the bastardized variety, I’d give this one a shot.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on Pizza Hut Canada website.)

Item: Pizza Hut Hot Sriracha Chicken Pizza
Purchased Price: $18.00 CAN
Size: Large
Purchased at: Pizza Hut
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Serious sriracha flavour. The toppings (mostly) work pretty well together. Pizza Hut Pan Pizza crust continues to be a junky classic.
Cons: Not as spicy as you’d think. Banana peppers are the worst. Slightly chewy chicken. Realizing that the “hot” pun is not nearly good enough to get me to the World Pun Championships.

REVIEW: KFC Big Boss (Canada)

KFC The BIg Boss 2

When it comes to fast food gimmicks, few items can claim to be quite as successful as KFC’s Double Down, the cheese and bacon sandwich with two pieces of fried chicken as a bun. That thing hit the cultural zeitgeist like nobody’s business, and for a while there it seemed like everyone was talking about it.

It was with that in mind, I’m sure, that KFC Canada introduced the Big Boss, which is essentially a Big Mac, but with fried chicken patties instead of beef. It’s a tantalizing proposition that sounds just crazy enough to be delicious.

If you’ve had a Big Mac, then you know exactly what to expect: the shredded lettuce, pickles, onions, Thousand Island-esque special sauce, the three layers of bun, and the single slice of cheese. It’s literally a Big Mac with fried chicken instead of beef; KFC has done nothing to shake up the flavours to make it more chicken-appropriate.

I was actually pretty excited to try the Big Boss. I like excessive novelty sandwiches more than I should probably admit. You wanna replace the bun in a hamburger with grilled cheese sandwiches? Yeah, I’ll eat that! Wanna add more patties than any reasonable burger should contain? Sure, I’ll try it. Replace the bun with fried chicken? I’m all over that.

So it is with no small amount of sadness that I must report that the Big Boss is not particularly good.

KFC The Big Boss

The first thing I noticed was that this was maybe the most haphazardly-assembled sandwich I’ve ever been served at a fast food joint. I was planning on cutting it in half so I could get a picture of the midsection, but the whole thing was so precarious that I was honestly afraid that it would crumble into pieces if I messed with it too much. But of course, you can’t expect anything too pristine from a place like KFC; what really matters is the taste.

The patties are similar to what you’d find in a Big Crunch, but thinner. The breading is standard KFC fare, and it’s expectedly tasty. But man, the chicken itself is absurdly dry. It is surprisingly, unpleasantly dry. I’m not sure if it’s the thinness of the chicken or what, but it is considerably more dry than a standard KFC Big Crunch patty.

Compounding the dryness issue was the surfeit of bread which, like the chicken, was weirdly dry. I think it might have been a little bit stale, or maybe it was microwaved? I have a hard time accounting for how it got so dry. The lack of moisture from the sandwich itself certainly didn’t help matters.

My first few bites were just a punishing mass of dry chicken, bread, and unmelted cheese, not dissimilar in texture to trying to eat a handful of saltines. Things improved somewhat once I hit a pocket of sauce, onions, and pickles around the centre of the sandwich. Even then, this just made me long for the comparative magnificence of a Big Mac, as the sauce tasted almost identical to Mac sauce. I like Big Macs well enough, but it’s pretty much the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten compared to this ill-advised monstrosity of a sandwich.

I got unlucky, with a sandwich that appeared as though it had been assembled by an arthritic chimp. But even if it had been picture perfect, I still don’t think it would have been particularly good. The flavours just never cohere in any meaningful way. Beef and chicken are two very different things; just because something works with one, doesn’t mean it’s going to work with the other.

Sadly, the Big Boss is more conversation piece than viable sandwich. I’m sure a lot of people will try it, just out of sheer curiosity (the “LOLWTF a Big Mac with fried chicken patties!” factor), but I can’t imagine many will order it a second time. It’s pretty bad.

(Nutrition Facts – 600 calories, 30 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 900 grams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fibre, 7 grams of sugar, 29 grams of protein.)

Item: KFC Big Boss (Canada)
Purchased Price: $4.99 CAN
Size: N/A
Purchased at: KFC
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Tasty breading on the chicken patties. Sauce tastes a lot like a Big Mac’s.
Cons: Dry chicken. Dry bread. Dry overload. Unmelted cheese. Big Mac flavours taste incongruous with chicken. Messy if not assembled properly. Makes the ghost of Colonel Sanders cry.