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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Burger King (new breakfast menu)

  Some of you may be wondering, with a Burger King review, is a McDonald's review far behind?  Well, I'll review just about anything, especially if new menu items are introduced.  I tend to try to do more reviews of smaller places, family restaurants, and non chains, but let's face it - the majority of places out there to eat these days are chains.  People move around a lot these days, and because of that, they tend to be less loyal to any one mom & pop place.  However, national franchises do have name recognition, and many folks are more apt to stop where they already have some familiarity with the menu and prices.  I saw the end results of this when a Waffle House went in near an intersection where I drive through maybe half a dozen times a year in NE Ohio.  There were formerly a couple of small mom & pop independent restaurants that had been there for years, serving breakfast.  Within about a year of Waffle House opening, both of the independent restaurants nearby had closed.  It was a loss of variety, if nothing else, but the people had spoken with their wallets.

   I won't mention which restaurant I visited this time around, since there are probably 20+ in the Dayton area, and there is very little variation between them.  If you're like me, when you think of Burger King, you probably think of 2 things.  First, you may get a mouthwatering memory of their flame broiled burgers - which I'll say up front I prefer over most other places.  Second, you probably visualize those strange commercials featuring the Burger King.  The Burger King has actually been around in advertising for decades, but hasn't been featured as prominently as, say Wendy is at Wendy's, until fairly recently.  Most of the commercials show "the King" (not Elvis) in bed with some guy who is just waking up, and looks surprised to find a guy with a crown offering him breakfast in bed.  The commercials go on to say "Wake up with the King".  Now I don't know about you, but even if a strange guy was offering me fantastic fare in bed when I woke up, I'd probably be a little more than excited about the food.  I'll leave it up to you to decide whether the commercials are crass, creative, obnoxious, humorous, disturbing, or some combination.  You can't deny that they stick in your head afterward, though.

  On to the food.  We got a batch of coupons in the mail, many of which feature buy 1 get 1 free specials.  The focus is on the "New BK Breakfast", but there are coupons for Whoppers and chicken sandwiches, too.  I'll include them, since there is nothing about photocopies not being accepted. (they obviously want to get lots of these coupons out there, because they handed me two more packs of them when I used one)  We tried out the "Ultimate Breakfast Platter", and the "Breakfast Ciabatta Club".  Later on, I also tried out the Croissan'wich.

  Our initial experience wasn't so hot.  For example, the Ciabatta Club was rather cold, and had to be warmed up.  They forgot to give me any syrup for my pancakes.  Surprisingly, it also took them about 8 minutes to get my food ready, which was a bit longer than I expected, since it was supposed to be fast food.  I got the sense that the servers were still getting the kinks out, and actually heard someone in the back say "That took longer than I thought it would.", to another worker.

  Once they had taken care of the initial issues, I got to chow down.  Regarding the "ultimate" breakfast platter - it isn't.  The sausage patty was a low point - extremely fatty and bland.  I think it needed about 20% of the fat removed, and a bunch of sage added before it would compare to the McDonald's version, "Big Breakfast".  The entire thing seemed far too salty, including the biscuit.  Pancakes were decent, and the syrup had an enjoyable hint of vanilla.  Scrambled eggs were about average, though thankfully not too salty.  The highlight of the breakfast platter was definitely the hash browns, which were fantastically crunchy.  One of the biggest complaints I've had at Waffle House and some other places is that hash browns don't tend to be browned much at all, and can be soggy.  These cute little things were about an inch in diameter, and all but screamed "bite me!", as I sank my teeth in. :-)

  The Croissan'wich was average fare, but not as filling for the buck - especially the bacon version.  The one with a sausage patty seemed rather hefty by comparison.  The bacon Croissan'wich replaced a large sausage patty with 4 half slices of bacon.  I'd guess that they have about 8% the bulk of the sausage, so if you ate them both back to back, you'd probably come across thinking they forgot to put something on the bacon one.

  Of all the choices, the Ciabatta Club turned out to be my favorite, at least once it was warmed up.  It had a full, RIPE slice of tomato, scrambled egg, plus ham and bacon.  Great taste, and the bread itself had a sort of sourdough texture to it.  If you're apt to try just one thing from this breakfast menu, make it the BK Breakfast Ciabatta Club.








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