Friday, June 24, 2011
Faux Buffalo (Semi-Regular Fast/Junk Food Commentary)
So McDonald's has rolled out some new McNugget "dippin'" sauce flavors (as if you have somehow managed to escape the extremely lame television ad campaign). I believe this started some time ago with the "Sweet Chili Sauce" (click for my review), which I actually sort of enjoyed. Of real interest to me out of the newer sauces is the "Spicy Buffalo" sauce.
Although inhabitants of Buffalo would heartily disagree I include their fair city under the category of Upstate NY (Upstate America). A food item claiming provenance to a location in my area of interest did not go unnoticed. "Buffalo" flavored things are almost universally bad, so I did not have high hopes for the tiny tub of sauce. Here she is de-foiled.
It kind of looked like some sort of clown paint to me. I like my Buffalo sauce to be a little of an angrier shade of red. The ingredients list beet juice (for color). I think they need to use a little more beet juice or something. Anyhow, I did not want to use a McNugget to taste test here because it is a fact that McNuggets are delicious and shall increase the inherent level of goodness of anything that they touch (be it animal, vegetable or mineral). This is universally known and understood. So in went the finger.
Color me shocked. The stuff had an agressive level of spice/heat, a phenomena which also occurs with the sweet chili sauce. This level of heat would make a spicy food civilian (like my Ma for instance) down right sweaty and uncomfortable. A definite step away from the safe, bland, oily comfort zone of flavors within which MacD's generally swims. The flavor was spicy with a vinegar tang, kind of good except there was a strange mouthfeel and some sort of under-funk that I can not put my finger on. I think a Quarter Pounder with blue cheese and this crap might sell like hot cakes. If they put that on the menu now, you are my witnesses.
Here is the kicker though. I detected no discernable hint of sweetness in the Buffalo sauce, nor did I see corn syrup in the list of ingredients. Didn't Morgan Spurlock have some quote in Supersize Me about every McD item having corn syrup in it?
I have a sort of loathe/love relationship with McDonald's. There exist in my addled mind some pleasant childhood taste memories that I will always sort of treasure (McRib I'm looking at you), but I also try to avoid the place as much as I can. I am not above saying when I think that the chain is taking a step in the right direction and I think this stuff signals their willingness to experiment with some more agressive flavors.
****BONUS FAUX BUFFALO CRAP SNACK REVIEW*****
Coincidentally, I spied these at the store this very same evening. Thought it fitting to inflict these on my gut while I was at it (for Science!). Here we have "Buffalo Blue Cheese Pretzel" Combos. To tell you the truth, a pretzel/blue cheese hybrid sounds like a pretty good idea to me if done well. These are not done well. They taste pretty much like I remember any other "cheese" type combo, i.e. salty and fake-cheesy. No real blue cheese taste, maybe a hint of vinegar for the "Buffalo" thing. I kind of wanted to wipe off my tongue after eating one.
So I dipped it in the McDonald's sauce, here is proof.
So fair Buffalo, sleep well in the assurance that no corporate food scientist can properly steal your eponymous sauce. These two products are but pale imitations. It is encouraging, however, to see the name of a city in Upstate (Western) NY plastered all over a tiny sauce bucket that will be produced by the millions and distributed from coast to coast (and perhaps internationally). Just another harbinger of Upstate America's future global hegemony.