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Posts Tagged ‘Cheeseburger’

Burger King Yumbo Review

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Burger King Yumbo ReviewI don’t get into Burger King very often – maybe once every five years or if there’s something new I think I should try.  (I owe that to you guys, of course, I try things so you don’t have to).  I don’t know when they lost favor/flavor with me, I used to be a semi-regular.

Eschewing my favorite local burger place tonight, I zipped through BK for the 2 / $5, and opted for the “Yumbo” ham and cheese, and the “Big Fish.”

Burger King started in Jacksonville, FL, in 1953, after the founder checked out the original McDonalds in San Bernardino, CA.  The distinction became the “Insta-Broiler” which gave the burgers a charcoal like appearance and taste.  The company grew, added  franchises, and stumbled a bit in 1959, and the Miami franchisee bought the rights to the company and continued to grow it.  Since then it has been through a dozen or so owners, and is currently held by a private equity group based in Brazil.  It’s had Mexican, British, and other owners, including Pillsbury for awhile.  The most recent move of the Brazilians (in partnership with Warren Buffet) was to acquire Tim Horton’s, the mega chain in Canada. The goal of private equity owners is always to boost ‘value’ and the easiest way to do that is to buy increased revenue/cash flow by acquiring another company (regardless of the reasons stated publicly).  Then they flip to another private equity group or dump the company on the public markets, take their gains, and move on.

I digress.

Confession:  I like fast food “ham” and “fish.”  Much preferred to the mass market fast food burgers, in any case, even tho the “ham” is never “real” (except in the case of Bojangles).  Among “fake” hams, I like Arbys Jr, for a buck.

I like the fish because they are cooked after you order, so it’s hot and “fresh.”

Burger King Yumbo

BK’s  “Yumbo” marks the return of a sandwich first offered decades ago; the company describes it asslices of savory black forest ham, topped with American cheese, crisp lettuce, and creamy mayo, all served  heated on a toasted hoagie bun.”  Mostly accurate with the exception (in my sandwich) is the lettuce wasn’t crisp, and the final stage of preparation is microwaving, which kind of takes the body out of any sandwich.

Burger King Big Fish

Their “Big Fish” carries the following description:  “Our premium Big Fish Sandwich is 100% White Alaskan Pollock, breaded with crispy panko breading and topped with sweet tartar sauce, tangy pickles, all  on top of a toasted Artisan Style bun.”  Again, mostly accurate.  It’s difficult to tell the breading is panko, as panko crumbs are usually larger in size;  Wendy’s had a good panko fish LTO a few years ago.  In any case, I judge it to be slightly better than McDonalds, for more personal tastes, McDonalds fish has always seemed to me like a tartar sauce sandwich on a bun with a fish taste. Seriously overdoing the tartar.

In the case of both (and any sandwiches ever, anywhere), I think shredded lettuce is a distraction.  Bring on the whole leaves, if  it must be a component.

I added fries, and my 2 /$5 deal ended up in the $8 range.  BK says their fries are “More delicious than ever, our signature piping hot, thick cut Salted French Fries are golden on the outside and fluffy on the inside.”

I never got to try BK’s “Satisfries” which they dumped after only a year.  The current product is an extruded fry (not cut from real potatoes, but a mashed potato slurry put through a mold, frozen, then fried), which I have never really cared for.  I like fries with a little “bite.”

But I realize BK is not in business just for me and this type of fry is very popular with the masses, and most people don’t know the difference.

BK’s 2 / $5 deal currently includes a mix and match choice of the fish, ham and cheese, original chicken, and the 530 calorie Big King.  Not sure if the offering is permanent or limited time.

Their “dollar menu” has fine print that says “starting at one dollar.”  Most items are more.

Recommendations?   BK’s fish and the ham and cheese are a nice respite from burgers at the big chains.  I like that BK toasts buns.  I’d do them again, but with the shredded lettuce, avoid eating while driving!  BK App/Locator.

Hungry for some really great ham?  Check this out.

Burger King FIsh Fish Review

Big Fish

 

Burger King Yumbo Reivew

BK Yumbo Ham & Cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burger King Yumbo Review

Burger King Yumbo Review

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Nathans Frozen Onion Rings

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Nathans Frozen Onion Rings ReviewI have expressed my concerns here about the infiltration of restaurant brands into the grocery aisles on many occasions. While I realize these companies (or their licensees) are trying to  extend their brand names and develop new sources of revenues, very rarely is the product anywhere near the taste / texture of what you will find at the restaurant. Usually a disappointment with very few exceptions.

Unless you live in a cave, you know about Nathan’s Hot Dog stand at Coney Island in New York City.  If for no other reason than they are the sponsor of the annual 4th of July hot dog eating contest –  the one hour of the year I can bear to watch ESPN.

They are the fifth largest seller of packaged weenies in  US grocery stores, and over the past couple of years, they have extended their brand by manufacturing and distributing snack foods to grocery stores.  The line includes pickles, condiments, salty snacks, and a couple of frozen items, fries and rings.  I’ve tried a few of these types of products from other brands, including the Steak N Shake and Fatburger frozen burgers, and Red Robin’s fries.

So tonight it’s Nathan’s frozen rings, there are about 30 in a bag (six servings, it says), and the ingredients are: Onions, Wheat Flour, Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil, Beer (Water, Malted Barley, Hops, Yeast, Salt), Corn Flour, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Dextrose, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Whey (Milk), Guar Gum, Spice and Coloring, Natural Flavors, Spices, Sorbitol. Contains: Wheat, Milk.

The directions call for placing them on a cookie sheet, sprayed with pam,  baking the frozen rings at 400 for 14-16 minutes, turning once.

I don’t know how these compare to the rings at the restaurants, I’ve never had them.  How’s this  product?  It had the potential to be great.  The breading crisped up nicely, which surprised me, and the slices of onions were generous.  However, over all, I thought they were awful.  They had  a distinctively odd taste, which for me, went back and forth between being reminiscent of freezer burn or being fried in old oil.

Just not appealing.

(Update, 3 weeks later).  I had a half bag left and tried again.  Ignoring the baking instructions, I had them in the oven with something else at 450 for 22 minutes.  The results were much more satisfactory this way.

Fast food generally does a miserable job with onion rings, and Burger King leads the pack of bad rings.  Are there any good ones?  I think so.  I think the Arby’s steakhouse rings are pretty good, if they are made when you order them.

Find a store near you that carries Nathan’s products, or buy them online here.

 

Nathans Frozen Onion Ring Review

Unbaked

Nathans Frozen Onion Ring Review

Baked and Plated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nathans Frozen Onion Rings

 

 

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Has the Pretzel Bun Jumped the Shark?

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Has the phrase “jumped the shark”  jumped the shark?

The origin of the “Pretzel Roll” in American restaurants seems to be traced back to the German “lye roll” or  Laugengebäck.  Using a process similar (and the same dough)  to making pretzels, the rolls are dipped in lye before baking.  The lye (washing or baking solution if you don’t want to handle lye) produces the unique browning effect.  Out of the oven,  the rolls (like pretzels) are dotted with large grains of salt.

My first introduction to these buns going mainstream was the seasonal Oktoberfest burger at Red Robin.   Steak N Shake has offered one as well.

Now they are widespread, available full time at Wendy’s, Sonic, and Smashburger, to name a few.

Most grocery stores carry some variation of them, and there is even an upstart national brand out of Milwaukee, called Pretzilla.

The best ones, IMHO, are the ones found in authentic German bakeries.  I pick them up at the Original Bavarian Sausage Shop in Tigard, OR, just down the street from one of Mrs. Burgerdogboy’s boyfriend’s house.  She should be mindful to bring some home when she’s over there!

The German recipes are more appealing to me than the US fast food ones that seem to have added some sweetener to their recipes, honey? Brown sugar?  Anyway, I don’t like “sweet” buns for burgers.  Just a personal thing.

So how long do you think pretzel buns will be around in fast food outlets?  And what’s next?  How about onion rolls?

Original Bavarian Sausage

Original Bavarian Sausage’s Pretzel Bun

 

 

 

pretzel bun review

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Steak N Shake Shooters Review

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Steak N Shake Shooter Review Started in Normal, IL, in 1934 by  ex marine Gus Belt, Steak N Shake is so named for its focus on ‘steakburgers’ and milk shakes. The marketing slogan “in sight it must be right” referred to the fact that originally, the beef was ground in plain sight of the customers, and originally was a grind of T-bone, sirloin, and round.  Gus passed in 1954, and the chain went through a number of ownership changes. It’s currently  held by the diversified holding company of Biglari Holdings, based in San Antonio.

Today, more than 400 restaurants dot the Midwest, Southern, and Southwestern United States, and the company seems in growth mode.  Open 24/7, the Steak N Shake menu not only includes steakburgers, fries and shakes, but has been enlarged to include breakfast items, other sandwiches, salads, and different variations of chili on spaghetti noodles, the way one might find in Ohio chili chains.

I’ve long been a fan, and stop at one when I pass through a city that has some of the outposts.  I’ve written about other menu items in the past.

The occasion for my recent stop was to check out some of their new menu items.  As Steak N Shake’s competitors are on a tear with menu additions, newly remodeled stores, and spin-off concepts, the company seems to be putting its new focus on increased menu items as well as value-pricing with a substantial number of “$4 dollar meals.”

I tried out their “shooters”, the Steak N Shake version of sliders, mini hamburgers with different flavors available singly or in multiples.

The “Three shooters plus fries” plate came in at the $4 price point, and I opted for the flavor choices of garlic, “Frisco,” and buffalo.

Each came with a ‘slather’ of the designated sauce, buffalo ala Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce, Frisco, which was described to me by the waitperson as “exactly like thousand island dressing”, and a garlic butter.   The buns receive a light brush of butter, and otherwise, the burgers are devoid of condiments and cheese, unless you request same (slight charge for cheese).

I liked them all, even though I usually passionately avoid anything with thousand island.

Steak N Shake’s fries are always properly fried shoestrings, with the right amount of salt.  On each table is a bottle of their “Fry Seasoning” if you want to amp up the fries or burger.  It’s kinda like Season Salt, but in my opinion, much tastier.  And no MSG if you care about that kind of thing.

One “secret menu” item at S n S is the 7X7, seven burger patties, seven slices of cheese.  I’ll get to that someday.

Anyway – the shooter platter is a great way to try out their new flavors, or feed the kids on a very economical basis.  Find a Steak N Shake near you.

Steak N Shake Shooter Review

Three Shooters and Fries

Steak N Shake Shooter Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steak N Shake Shooters Review

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Burger King Whopper Review

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I am (was)  a virgin when it comes to Whoppers and Big Macs.  Just have never been inclined to try one.  Closest I came to a Whopper previously was living in Paris, and my girlfriend went on a trot to find one for me as a treat.  She was unsuccessful, I think it was a time issue, and came home with the ingredients to make me one.  Outstanding effort on behalf of a beautiful vegetarian girlfriend.

The Whopper was invented by one of the Burger King founders in 1957 and originally sold for 37 cents.  It has become one of the most iconic fast food offerings in the U.S. and has gone through several different recipes and configurations in its history.  The current version is a single quarter pound flame-broiled hamburger patty, sesame seed bun, mayonnaise, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and sliced onion.  Keeping to its marketing slogan of “have it your way,” stores will add additional condiments upon request, and cheese, bacon and more meat patties at an additional price.  There is also a “Whopper Jr” available.

The occasion for me trying one as stopping in this Arkansas town late at night, few other dining options, and a having a coupon that reduced the price to “free.”  My second favorite “f word.”

It doesn’t suck.  The flame grilling method (or smoke flavor) in the meat gives the sandwich  a distinct beefy flavor other fast food burgers lack. At least among the big three – as I have never found McDonalds or Wendy beef patties to have much if any flavor, beyond those of the condiments.  The Whopper can be a messy affair however, probably not suitable for eating while driving.  Just ask my shirt.

But having bravely tackled my first Whopper and lived, perhaps a Big Mac is in my future?  BTW, Burger King has added a burger called the “Big King”, which is their two patty, three bun version of the Big Mac.

The fries don’t suck either, I had the original ones, not the new reduced fat version.  Fry wise, I continue to think Wendy’s natural cut sea salt fries are the best, as long as you get them right from the fryer and eat them immediately.  But my favorite side remains Arby’s steak-house onion rings, the best rings ever offered by a fast food giant.

Burger King Whopper Review

 

 Burger King Whopper Review

 
Burger King on Urbanspoon

 

Burger King Whopper Review

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Arlington Heights, IL – Gabutto Burger & Santouka Ramen

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Some great friends of mine here in Portland started a Japanese inspired hot dog cart, called Domo Dogs. It was great. But I had never heard of a Japanese burger (except in my trips to Japan, of course). I saw this place a couple trips ago in the Chicago area and resolved to try it next time I was through town.

As it happened, my favorite dining companion, BurgerDogDaughter and I happen to traverse the Windy City at the same time and hit up the food court at this massive Japanese grocery, which used to be a favorite haunt of ours when she was coming up.

She went for the fancy pants ramen, with miso and pork, and a side of salmon roe.

I checked out Gabutto Burger.   They promise a “delicious experience”, with their special Gabutto patty, part beef, part pork, breaded with their special glaze.  It’s not a teriyaki, and it’s not quite a savory.  Somewhere in between but more towards the savory.  While I generally don’t like sauces of most any ilk (except bernaise and bechamel),  this was ok.  The bun was ultra bakery soft, but not so much that it would fall apart with the weight of the burger, sauce, and moisture from the vegetables (tomato, lettuce, purple raw onion).

If your measure of perfect fries is McDonald’s, you’ll love these crispy shoestrings.   On the counter are 8 shakers of ‘flavoring’, you choose what you like for your fries –  garlic/butter, ranch, original spicy, curry, and so on.   I went with the garlic butter, and tried some wasabi, too.   Both were enjoyable.

The noodles and roe came in at about $14, the burger and fries at $7.

But the company?  Priceless.

Miso Ramen with Pork

Gabutto Burger on Urbanspoon

Santouka on Urbanspoon

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St. Paul, MN – Smashburger Review

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Smashburger St. PaulKawikamedia and the Minnesota Burger Posse stopped into a Smashburger in St. Paul.  They were impressed with the quality and service.

Smashburger has a “localized” special burger at many locations, and Kawika went with the “Twin Cities”, which Smashburger describes as “layers of melted cheddar cheese, aged Swiss cheese and garlic grilled onions with lettuce, tomato and mayo on an onion bun.”  Sounds good to me.

I’ve never been in to a Smashburger, the nearest one is an 8 hour drive.  The chain employs  a “design your own” concept.  I’d  go with a single patty, bacon, blue cheese, onion strings, and Franks Buffalo Sauce.  Nice.

Smashburger Twin Cities Burger

Smashburger (Highland Park) on Urbanspoon

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Recipe – Classic Cheeseburger (Safeway)

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I was in my local Safeway this morning, which is probably one of their smallest stores, and they are about to tear it down and rebuild.  They have such a limited selection and such high prices, and a  giant remodel job at a nearby local Fred Meyer (Kroger) probably leaves them no alternative.

1.99 pounds of 80/20 rang up at $7.34 before any discounts.  The only “origin” labeling states that it is a product of the USA and Canada. (The cow must have wandered across the border at some point).

The “come on” package sticker  stated that if I peeled it off, I’d find a “Class Beef Cheeseburger Recipe and Cooking Tips Inside.”

Wow.  I seriously needed that.  I would have gone for a cheaper package (but in fact, there were none) but for that sticker.  I needed that recipe!

So here it is:

Total recipe time: 25-30 minutes

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp steak seasoning blend
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • 4 slices cheese (such as Cheddar, American, Swiss, etc)
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 tomato slices
  • Toppings (such as ketchup, mustard, onion slices, pickles)

1. Combine ground beef and steak seasoning in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly.  Lightly shape into four 3/4 inch thick patties.

2. Place patties on grid (sic) over medium, ash covered coals. Grill uncovered, 13 to 15 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered. 13 to 14 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160 degree F, turning occasionally.  About 2 minutes before burgers are done, place buns, cut sides down, on grid. (sic) .  Grill until lightly toasted.  During last minute of grilling, top each burger with cheese slice.

3. Line bottom of each bun with lettuce leaf; top with tomato slice, burger, and toppings, as desired. Close sandwiches. Makes four servings.

So there you have it,  just in case this was missing from your cookbooks, recipe file, or Google.

Thank you Safeway!  Now lower your prices and have a wider selection of products!

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Your Last Meal Request?

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Green Chile Cheeseburger, Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe
Green Chile Cheeseburger, Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe

(Short link to full story for mobile readers) From time to time, someone writes an article about “oddball” last meal requests by condemned prisoners.  It was in the news again recently because Texas has now banned last meal requests – unless it is something normally offered or fixed in the prison’s kitchen.

Some examples of final meals include:

  • Lawrence Russell Brower: two chicken-fried steaks, a bacon cheeseburger, an omelet, barbecued meat, fried okra,  fajitas, pizza, ice cream, and peanut butter fudge
  • Teresa Lewis: fried chicken, sweet peas, Dr. Pepper,  and German chocolate cake
  • John Wayne Gacy: deep fried shrimp, a bucket of KFC, French fries, and a pound of strawberries
  • James Edwards Smith, who was executed in Texas in June 1990, takes the prize for one of the strangest last meal requests: a lump of dirt.
  • Victor Feguer: a single, unpitted olive
  • Timothy McVeigh: two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream

So here’s this week’s thought provoker:  since most people are very passionate about their favorite hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza, if you, for any reason, where able to have a last meal consisting of one of these three favorites, what would your choice be, from where, and why?

My own?   Pizza, definitely from my home-town favorite:  Sammy’s, a local chain in the Upper Midwest.  I’d order a sausage and pepperoni pie with green olives.

Hot dogs?  Also day with my hometown favorite,  Original Coney Island.  My last hamburger?  That would pose a dilemma for me, there are so many great ones in the country these days.  If I had to choose one from the burgers I have had in the past year, it would definitely be the Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe!

How about you?  If you had to choose one final hamburger, hot dog, or pizza, let us know what it is, and where from?

 

 

 

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Nationwide – Wendy’s New “Hot and Juicy”

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I’m going to try and not let poor service taint this review of Wendy’s new burger..but….

We were out tooling around last night, didn’t feel like going to the grocery or cooking, so we were in a mood to grab some fast food to take home.  Regular readers know that Mrs. Burgerdogboy is not a “burger girl”, but she suggested we grab one, and we did have some coupons in the car.

Her caveat:  she would only go to a drive-thru (Ok, we were wearing pajamas, so that’s somewhat understandable, tho we have eaten in restaurants in our PJs before……guess it depends which ones we (I) have on as to whether or not she thinks it’s a good idea!)

Into Wendy’s, our coupons called for one free cheeseburger with the purchase of fries and drink.  Seemed like a bargain until we tried to order.

Neither of us have a single bone of prejudice in our bodies, but we had a really difficult time ordering from the window person who apparently couldn’t call English her native tongue.

We thought we had accomplished the order until we got to the window, when it not only became apparent our order had not been taken correctly, but that it was taking several (OK, five) non-English native speakers to sort this simple order out.

It finally happened, and off we flew.

First off, I have had Wendy’s “new” fries before, and previously thought they were pretty OK.  I commented at the time that I thought they would be best served right from the fryer, and my opinion on that fact hasn’t changed.  Last nite’s order was a) undercooked, and b) suffering from heat-lamp-itis.  Fail.

The new burger?  I’ve previously tweeted that a number of other bloggers said it was “worth a try,”  but I don’t agree.  I don’t really notice any difference in taste from the previous burgers, which, by their own admission, they had not changed in decades.

New “butter toasted bun?”  Nothing thrilling here folks.  The marketing folks at the Wendy’s machine crow about the condiments, “premium toppings”, “fresh leaf lettuce”, “hand-sliced tomatoes”,  “crinkle cut pickles”, and “sweet red onions.”

One of the things I always liked about Wendy’s was ordering a burger for whatever condiment mood I was in personally:  “onions and mustard only”, “double pickles” or whatever.

Apparently the late Dave wants to give me new choice with the “Hot and Juicy.”  It came loaded up with these toppings and they didn’t do a thing for me.  To make matters worse for my own taste buds, few things I like more on this planet than good dill pickles.  Apparently Wendy’s decided dill wasn’t the way to go, these are more reminiscent of bread and butter pickles.  Did you research what percentage of pickles sold in the US are the bread and butter variety?  In the minority I would guess.  Adding this flavor to a burger blends sweet and savory, usually an awkward kinda thing, as it is here.

As the burger in a bag was handed to us the nanosecond we hit the #2 window, obviously it was not “cooked to order.”  Juicy?  Nah.

So, a bad experience all around.  Except for the price with the coupon, as two people ate for less than $4.00.

Will I be back?  Nah.  I gave up on Wendy’s years ago, they had a chance to win me back, didn’t.

Sorry, Dave.  And by the way, Mr. Local Franchisee?  How can you expect to run a business with help like this?  Put your best person on the order desk.  It’ll pay back.

Wendy's on Urbanspoon

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