Friday, January 28, 2011
The Burger King Unleashes a Weird New Burger on His Subjects
As usual, my lust for fountain diet cola has resulted in me sampling another fast food abomination. I pulled up to the drive thru at Burger King for a frosty beverage and was quickly seduced by the signage into buying their latest creation, the "Jalapeno and Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse" burger. Say that five times fast. This sounded like a fairly ridiculous concept (the tag line is "in it, not on it"), and even though I have been trying to avoid the "hack food blogger fast food review posts," I felt the need to share my experience.
I always feel that BK's signage and ad design to be slightly less polished (sinister?) then McDonald's. A lot of their food photos are kind of weird in a baroque sort of way. I didn't get a good picture, but there was an ad on a light post heralding their new "Big Breakfast" type platter. It had those strange BK tater tot thingys spilling fourth from a pile of eggs and hotcakes. I was reminded of some sort of larva wriggling on garbage. Not a good mental picture to conjure immediately before eating a squishy hamburger. The picture on the squawk box was of strangely green apple pie, slightly nauseating as well.
A short time later I arrived home with my prize. I kind of like the exploded diagram of a whopper that BK puts on the bag these days, it reminds me of Ikea instructions.
Here you have it, the thing had some nice height and weight.
Opening the wrapper my nostrils were immediately assaulted by a jalapeno-y odor, I took this as a good sign. Better then the usual pickle stink or off-lettuce stink that I tend to be confronted with when eating fast food. Removing the bun we are confronted with a pair of sad tomato slices, some icky wilted lettuce, and a hearty plop of viscous goo (creamy poblano sauce).
I cut the thing in half as I wanted to see the level of "stuffedness."
You can see a couple of flecks of jalapeno and a relatively small amount of melty cheese throughout the thickish patty. I pulled off a bit of the patty to taste it unadulterated by all of the burger accouterment. The first flavor you get is that patented Burger King, dirty grill-esque, fake charred flavor. But you also do get a fairly heavy jalapeno kick. There is actually some spice and heat level to this thing.
I am not endorsing this thing as I think it is a fairly monstrous calorie investment for relatively little culinary joy, but I will say that I find the product encouraging in a way. The throat tickling spiciness, enough to make someone uncomfortable if they are sensitive, is indicative of a willingness by main stream fast food joints to offer more aggressive and assertive flavors. Hints of this have been popping up around the Fast Foodiverse, blue cheese on burgers at Wendy's, real spiciness at Taco Bizzle, spicy nugget sauce at McD's. I think any departure from the icy grip of the vanilla blandness of past mass market food is encouraging, people seem to me demanding real flavor even from fast food.
I forgot to tell you that I got the "Funnel Cake Sticks" too! I hadn't heard about these things, people tell me they have been around for a while. To me, this product exemplifies my idea of ridiculous food. I found them to be irredeemably bad. Greasy, flaccid, mushy sticks of dough with a sickly saccharin dipping sauce. I don't even think my palate as a child would have enjoyed these. These exemplify the "fair food" problem our society has created. Things that may have been enjoyed on a once a month (or once a year!) basis have become nearly daily parts of our life. French fries that might have been a special treat have become a standard side dish, street foods like pizza have become staples. Alas, there is little to be done, and should I really be expecting anything more from the Burger King. My stomach hurts.