REVIEW: Burger King Impossible King

Burger King Impossible King

Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Two rights don’t quite make a left.
Two birds don’t make a handy bush. Or something like that.

But what do two impossibles make? ?Possible? Implausible? Divide by zero error?

Well, in my experience with Burger King’s Impossible King, I’d say it’d be more aptly named the Gastrointestinally Impassable King. For this sandwich, this absurdly unasked for and apparently regionally available unit of a double-pattied organism is heavy. Heavier than the internal conflict that arises when eating it:

Me: “It seems contradictory to put so much cheese on a meatless sandwich.”

Also me: “Dan, you’re just a vegetarian. And by default, they grill these with the beef burgers, wallowing in all the same moo juices.”

“I’m trying to get better! And besides, you can request for it to be non-broiled.”

“Did you?”

“…look, you’ve seen our stomach. We get bloated to the point of bleating off just one Impossible Whopper.”

“You haven’t had a real honkin’ heifer burger in years. Perhaps this isn’t for you.”

“Are you challenging me?”

“I’ll see you in the fetal position later.”

Alright, enough. Let’s enter the belly of the beast that is the beast in my belly.

I love the Impossible Whopper. It’s the perfect sacrifice to the phantom meat memories that haunt me not with “BOOs” but “lack of B12s,” and it’s my go-to vegetarian road trip indulgence. Yet by doubling down on impossibilities, the Impossible King manages to halve the original’s appeal. And for a good reason: balance.

Burger King Impossible King Split

The Impossible Whopper works because the scales of divine burger equity deemed it harmonious. Though the patties are imperfect meat clones that lack a certain hearty juiciness, the other toppings and trappings of a Whopper mask the blemishes with gushing pickles and the playful nip of white onions. But when said patty’s in-‘wich real estate becomes a duplex, the arid cracks in Impossible’s freest-range façade become glaring fissures.

The patties are dry. There, I said it. And by consequence, the entire Impossible King feels too dry.

Yes, the familiar smokiness and testosterone-associated texture of a burger still shine through to the point of inspiring me to call up my son for a game of catch. I don’t have a son. But the nuances. There’s still a palpable burst of much-needed tomato pulp, but the onion’d accents and pickled particulars are all smothered in dehydrated beefishness and a borderline seminal soup of mayo and melted cheese.

While I bet Burger King added so much cheese to try and restore blind burger justice, its dearth of flavor only makes the whole sandwich blander, mushier, and filler-heavy. Add in the sheer girth of this King-thing, and it’s unlikely to attract many seeking a wholesome lunch. I could only eat half of it at noontide, and after disgracing myself twelve hours later—as the Impossible King’s refrigerated remnants dimly reflected in the kitchen sink I devoured it over—I knew there would be an intestinal reckoning.

I slept the sleep of a freakshow cannonball-stomacher, and in my dream of getting gut-punched by the Burger King himself behind a heinously vandalized McDonald’s, I saw a prophecy of the abdominal agony that would come the following morning.

As I write this that very same morning, I can feel the Indigestible King exerting its influence over my writing, one fetal kick at a time. But I must tell you all the truth: even if you can find an Impossible King in your area, don’t bother. At $7.69, you’re paying two dollars too much for a manipulative sandwich that won’t respect you, nor your scant hopes of clean eating.

I’ll stick with the Impossible Whopper, thank you very much. It may not be healthy either, but at least it doesn’t force me into an unhealthy parasitic relationship with my distressed gut flora.

Purchased Price: $7.69
Size: N/A
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Nutritional info unavailable: seriously, this thing’s a ghost online.

REVIEW: Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger

As I sampled Sonic’s spectacular new Garlic Butter Bacon Burger, it struck me as kind of odd that more hamburgers don’t offer a medium scoopful of garlic butter swathed across their toasted buns and seared into their beef patties.

It is such a rich and wealthy additive that, when it comes to such dairy products, I loudly say, to no one in particular, “To hell with cheese! Give me more of that damning garlic butter!”

I arrived at my local Sonic and was happy to see it has the Garlic Butter Bacon Burger in a Jr. size. However, as I was enjoying it, all I could think about was quickly shoving this Jr.-sized burger in my mouth and then following it with another. With such a notable taste, it’s impossible not to feel like a beef addict, needing more and more of that creamy garlic butter running through your veins.

Every bite was, of course, juicy as a flood of grease and oils flowed down my chin and onto my chest and lap, with the omnipresent American cheese seeping out of the sides. The garlic and butter concoction mixes admirably with the four or five pieces of crispy bacon and, of course, the profound all-beef patty. The taste was a unique intoxicant of everything a burger should be, fast food or otherwise.

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger Toppings

The buns, as you’d imagine, tasted like garlic bread. The tiny onions that dotted the top were unnecessary but welcomed to this feeding frenzy. Feeling, at times, more like a dirty breakfast sandwich than a sexy noontime burger, there’s a wholly sinful part of me that wants to nosh on this every day around 6 a.m. with a cup of strong black coffee. And possibly a Route 44 slush.

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger Bite

But I can’t. As it is, I had to slow down eating and catch my breath while dining on this burger. I haven’t had a non-Mexican fast food offering that aroused my lustful hunger like this in a very long time. Even after one, however, I feel like I have to cut back on food in general and hit the gym, possibly right now.

Very rarely have I ever eaten anything that left me feeling so preternaturally guilty and so predominantly proud because of its sheer butter content. Thanks, Sonic.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Jr.-sized
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 530 calories, 34 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 1000 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 21 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Burger King Pretzel Bacon King

Burger King Pretzel Bacon King

To begin, no, I don’t know why they call it “pretzel bread,” either. The bun doesn’t look like a pretzel, and it certainly doesn’t taste like one, either. But then again, I guess it’s a lot easier to fit the word “pretzel” on an advertising marquee than “try Burger King’s new Toasted Bun With The Letter ‘X’ Carved Into Its Bacon King,” so maybe it’s all just a matter of marketing?

As for the newfangled BK Pretzel Bacon King itself, basically what we’re working with here is the chain’s tried-and-true King burger, albeit with a much snazzier bun. As the name implies, BK has replaced the old sesame-seed-coated bun with a fancier, ritzier, and considerably fluffier pretzel bread base and it definitely distinguishes the product from its flame-broiled brethren.

On the whole, the product still has a fairly familiar Burger King flavor to it, but the texture is certainly something you don’t normally experience out of the fast food staple. Of course, it doesn’t quite taste like a gourmet burger, but it does provide a moderately more refined gustatory experience than most of the stuff you’ll be getting out of a drive-thru window these days.

Burger King Pretzel Bacon King Split

Underneath the bun, however, there’s not a whole lot new to experience here. Basically, it’s one or two 1/4 lb. patties topped with a hearty helping of bacon, shellacked with a blanket of molten American cheese, and then inundated with a barrage of mayonnaise and mustard. This is a product that would have benefited from having a couple of more ingredients in the mix — lettuce, tomato, heck, even a couple of fried onion rings would’ve done a lot to help this one pop a little more on your tastebuds.

Burger King Pretzel Bacon King Bacon

For the most part, every time you bite down you’re just getting a burst of cheese and mustard, which isn’t a bad combination per se, just one that’s, well, kinda’ mundane. A more exotic cheese (gruyere, perhaps?) would’ve given this one a firmer identity, and I’m still not sure why Burger King opted for the plain old yellow mustard when a spicier blend would’ve made for a more delectable limited-time-only product.

From there, the usual complaints and caveats about Burger King products continue to apply. I know it’s old hat, but with almost 2,000 milligrams of sodium in this sucker, you are really getting a high quotient of salt for one meal. And I wouldn’t suggest eating one of these in your finest apparel — even for a sauce-centric Burger King offering, this thing can get wildly sloppy.

On the whole, the Pretzel Bacon King is a solid and filing product, but its Achilles heel is that it’s too predictable. This is a fairly tasty L-T-O that plays things maybe a little too safe and offers consumers hardly anything they haven’t already experienced before. And at such a steep price point, you’d expect a little more than what you’re getting out of the overall package here.

Purchased Price: $5.79
Size: Single patty
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 920 calories, 60 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, 135 milligrams of cholesterol, 1930 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 39 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kentucky Fried Chicken & Donuts

Kentucky Fried Chicken  Donuts

Note: This guest review was written by our internet pal Russ Shelly from What’s Good at Trader Joe’s.

You don’t have to take Bowling for Soup’s word for it: 1985 was an odd year.

I mean, check this out – any further proof needed? Recorded and released as a single for Live Aid’s quest against world hunger, David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s cover of the Martha and the Vandellas classic “Dancing in the Street” is, well, perhaps the zenith of well-intentioned goofiness the mid-’80s offered. Or so I think, I was only like three years old and preoccupied with Sesame Street. Perhaps more interestingly, the video proves that because two things (in this case, Bowie and Jagger) that are awesome separately aren’t necessarily great when streams are crossed and forces combined.

Think about it. Chocolate and gum. Pickles and ice cream. Could you picture Freddie Mercury with Gimlee’s beard? Hard no.

Once again, though, two all-time classics, in the name of combating hunger, come together in the new Kentucky Fried Chicken & Donuts Sandwich, currently being test marketed in Pittsburgh as well as the great Virginia cities of Norfolk, Richmond, and Virginia Beach. Fried chicken. And donuts. That’s all, that’s it. Big question: is this another Bowie/Jagger or is it more Bowie/Mercury?

The answer, of course, is a little bit of each.

First, take a look at this behemoth. My goodness. It’s a full-sized fried chicken filet bookended by two full-sized glazed donuts, served warm and drippy and gooey. There’s no way anyone could eat this while driving. Or even manage a full bite: the sandwich is too colossal. Human mandibles are not meant to chomp something of this size – it’s simply impossible. It’s a two-hand job for sure.

Kentucky Fried Chicken  Donuts Bun

Aside from its size, what’s most impressive about this chicken donut sandwich is the quality of the donuts themselves. It’s doubtful the Colonel is making 4 a.m. wake up calls for freshly made donuts at each store, so to have fresh, warm donuts within minutes of ordering is some sort of fast food management marvel.

Kentucky Fried Chicken  Donuts Sugar

And not just that – they’re legitimately good. Crispy on the outside and warm and cakey on the inside, there’s almost like a funnel cake vibe to them, except in larger form, and instead of being doused with powdered sugar, there’s a syrupy sweet plain sugar glaze amply gooped all over the place. And while the donuts weren’t as melt-in-your-mouth as, say, fresh made Krispy Kreme, they were soft and comforting, but a bit crumbly if smushed to create a more manageable bite.

If you’ve had KFC chicken, you’ll know what the filet tastes like. Just fried chicken. Heavy on the crispies, decent seasoning, a little peppery. Not awful, but not Chick-Fil-A or Popeyes either. Just all right.

Together, though? It’s not as awful as I imagined it potentially being, but there’s room for improvement. First, with the respective size of the donuts and the filet, it was hard to get a lot of bites with a decent representative sample of each in there. Many seemed to be a little too heavy on the carby and not the clucky side. Even if both get their way in, though, there’s something amiss.

Logically, a salty/sweet flavor profile ought to be in play, but it’s not. The sugar glaze overpowers a lot of the chicken and saps its strength. There’s not anything that bridges them – instead of sugar glaze, how about maple or honey? That seems a better play to me. That might also fill the gap between what makes chicken and waffles such a success while this particular interpretation isn’t nearly as inspiring.

To any KFC bigwigs reading this, here’s my two cents, and contact me for any royalties. First, use one donut and not two. Slice it bagel style so there’s half the carbs. The donuts are big and fluffy enough; they can handle it. The kindly counterperson who chatted me up while my order was readying stated that she had not seen a single person finish a whole sandwich that week simply because it was too big. Second, instead of glazing the donuts with pure sugar, switch to maple or honey glaze and put it atop the chicken instead of drenching the dough. That’d make it probably more enjoyable.

Kentucky Fried Chicken  Donuts Tray

Chicken and waffles is definitely a thing, and in KFC’s case, with a little tweaking, chicken and donuts can be, too. Indeed, there’s also the option of ordering a chicken and donut basket combo. To be honest, the whole shebang was more enjoyable served up that way. At $5.99 for the sandwich or $7.99 for a combo with potato wedges and soft drink, this particular KFC excursion wasn’t regrettable but is unlikely to be repeated. We definitely weren’t dancing in the street after.

Purchased Price: $5.99 (sandwich only)
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available.

REVIEW: Pizza Hut Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza

Pizza Hut Stuffed Cheez It Pizza Box

When I learned about Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza, my jaw dropped. My mouth was so agape with astonishment that an entire Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza square could’ve fit into it.

Visually, it’s impressive. It has a Cheez-It cracker crust. It comes in a sweet Cheez-It themed box that I’m going to add to my collection of fast food packaging that my wife will ask me to throw away a month from now. And, the pieces are shaped like GIANT Cheez-It crackers. Pizza Hut did a great job at making them look like the beloved snack, even doing the rigid edges and hole in the middle. And, might I say, they look extra toasty.

Pizza Hut Stuffed Cheez It Pizza Box Inside

Pizza Hut Stuffed Cheez It Pizza Shape

Each pizza comes with four pieces that measure around three inches. It’s available with either cheese or pepperoni and cheese, and comes with a marinara dipping sauce. I went with the meat and cheese option.

When I pulled back the lid, a Cheez-It aroma plume rose from the packaging and shot up my nostrils as if I was huffing a box of the crackers. As for the flavor, the cheesy goodness that we all know and love, unless you love Cheese Nips, comes through in the crust. However, that Cheez-It taste is more prevalent along the edges, but much less so towards the middle. The edges also provide the most crunch. It’s not as mouth vibrating as the actual crackers, but it’s a pleasing chomp.

Pizza Hut Stuffed Cheez It Pizza Filling

The cheese and pepperoni filling isn’t bold enough to take away the spotlight from the Cheez-It crust. To be honest, I’m not sure it enhances the flavor in any way. Plus, its texture was not what I was expecting. I thought the cheese would ooze out somewhat. The filling is so dense that there’s no oozing or stringy cheese; it’s a congealed combination of cheese and pepperoni, which is a little weird when looking at a cross section of it. It looks like fatty raw meat.

Pizza Hut Stuffed Cheez It Pizza Sauce

At first, I questioned the addition of marinara because I didn’t think the cracker’s flavor would come through with the sauce. Thankfully, it still does, and it surprisingly tastes okay with the crust’s flavor, but it’s not tasty enough that I’m going start replacing spaghetti noodles with Cheez-It crackers.

Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza is something I’m happy I tried, but I wouldn’t purchase it again. Pizza is in its name, but to me, they seem more like super fancy cheesy breadsticks. Also, because the filling is so dense, it got a little too rich for me while in the middle of eating a second piece. But, if you love Cheez-It crackers, it’s something you should get one time because it’ll be neat to experience the snack in an unusual form.

Purchased Price: $7.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 square) 240 calories, 15 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 430 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

*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: Taco Bell Toasted Cheddar Chalupa

Taco Bell Toasted Cheddar Chalupa

Like the bright shimmer of hidden gold from the lost city of El Dorado, Taco Bell’s newest menu item is a shining beacon of simple ingenuity filtered through pure borderland knowhow. The Toasted Cheddar Chalupa is a revelation of fried bread and cheese, combined the way Quetzalcoatl intended.

When unwrapped from its thin paper sheath, the grease stains catching the light allows the chalupa shell to portray a certain kind of inalienable beauty. Taco Bell has turned this thick carb-heavy casing into a surprising work of edible art that feels right at home in my quivering hands.

Taco Bell Toasted Cheddar Chalupa 3

The basis of the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa is the chalupa shell itself: an amazing feat of Tex-Mex handcraftiness. It’s a fried centerpiece that, now with the yellow bits of cheddar cheese clinging for additional flavor, is a treasured piece of corporate frybread that one could eat all day if they ever decided to stop living by the laws of common decency.

Seriously, if Taco Bell were to ever offer these chalupa shells by themselves, I would order a slick dozen fresh from the fryer, no problem. Call it sacrilege if you must, but I actually prefer them to the lauded Doritos Locos taco shells.

Taco Bell Toasted Cheddar Chalupa 2

The typical Taco Bell fillings are all present and accounted for — temperate ground beef, cool lettuce, chopped tomatoes, stringy cheese, and reduced fat sour cream. They all seem to be spiritually created simply to mate graphically with this chalupa shell.

It was still crunchy even after an hour or two of sitting by itself on my dining room table. Even the best tacos the Bell has to offer can’t live up to that scrutiny.

More of this please, Taco Bell.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 450 calories, 30 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 550 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.