Taco Bell Naked Chalupa

I was in a gas station the other day buying a Coke and I heard a woman behind me say, “DAMN! That’s a big ass for a white boy”!  I turned around and told her I was half Mexican.  It’s not an uncommon mistake for people to make.  So today I decided to convince myself I was legit by going to the most Mexican place I know–Taco Bell.  

Taco Bell has been selling the Naked Chalupa for a limited time.  And while doing research for this post (go ahead, poke fun–I do my research) I was shocked to see that it was getting pulled off of the shelves almost as quickly as it appeared.  It truly WAS a limited time offer.  So I raced to The Bell to make sure I didn’t miss out.  

The gentleman who took my order was very helpful.  

Rizz: I want to try the Naked Chicken Chalupa.
Taco Bell Dude: That’s good!
Rizz: Have you had it?
TBD: Yeah.  Like every day.  It’s spicy though.  
Rizz: Really?  Should I get the box?  
TBD: It’s cheaper.  You get three tacos.  
Rizz: OK let’s do the box. 

Box

Sure enough it came with three tacos but we could’ve thrown the other two in the trash.  

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I most certainly did not throw them in the trash.

Before I unwrapped my treasure I decided that I had to be on the right level for this one.  I’ll see your naked chalupa and raise you…my shirt I guess.

Huge Mistake

Don’t be surprised when this is deleted in 48 hours.

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Not a chalupa.

I was always under the impression that a chalupa was a fried flat tortilla.  Maybe slightly concave at best.  Taco Bell is taking some real liberties here and I don’t approve.  This falls squarely into the taco family.  Take a look.

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Kyrie Irving might think this is a chalupa.

 That’s a taco!  Show this to someone that just arrived on this planet and they’d say, “No way that’s a fucking chalupa, Rizz” (aliens read the blog too).  Hey look, it happens.  I’ve seen a ton of things mislabeled in my time so I’m not going to punish them too much.  

My Batman

My Dog

label

That’s definitely not Batman.

First impressions: the chicken shell was enough to hold the whole taco together.  They could’ve crammed it twice as full and that baby wasn’t coming loose.  I love a taco that’s built to last.  Not sure why they included the cardboard carrying case.  Not necessary.  

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I've had dates like this that have ended poorly.

I’ve had dates like this that have ended poorly.

Structure aside, this baby was tasty.  Chicken had a great texture that was soft enough to tear into easily but still with the slightest bit of crunch to make you crave the next bite.  It folded perfectly without splitting at all at the seams.  And it wasn’t really that greasy.  Standard residue on the fingers but nothing more than you’d get from a chicken strip.  

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That taco’s way too thick you need to CUT it!

And totally malleable!  Look at this!

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Don’t think I’ve used the word malleable in a while.

It had a peppery spicy kick that could only be mastered after spending years hours in a Taco Bell kitchen.  Seriously–it was good.

My biggest beef with the Naked Chalupa was that there wasn’t any meat in the taco.  Let me repeat that.  THERE WASN’T ANY MEAT INSIDE THE FREAKING TACO!  Lettuce, tomato, avocado and some weird sauce.  

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Maybe cheese in there too?

Taco Bell just ran 26.1 miles of a marathon and then fell flat on their face.  What happened in this creative meeting at headquarters?  

Executive 1 (bong exhale): Guys: chicken taco shell.
Executive 2: Bro! Yes! But no bacon or beef or anything in there.
Rizz: I’m giving you all until 5:00pm to clean out your desks.

There’s really no excuse for it.  None.  Give me a counter argument.  I’m having a hard time thinking of any meat that would make this worse.  And why only chicken for the shell?  Wouldn’t a pork shell be amazing?  Wouldn’t a bacon shell set the world on fire?  Literally (not literally) set the whole world on fire?!?  I probably shouldn’t have even said that.  You’re going to be thinking about bacon taco shells the rest of the day.   

In the end I’d say the Naked Chalupa came up just short.

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I’m going to go ahead and re-use the dates ending poorly line here.

Look, for $5 this is worth your time.  Pick up the Naked Chalupa and come home confident that your spouse will chastise you in front of the kids but secretly appreciate that you’re helping the family get their daily protein fix.  Then get to work in the kitchen helping me perfect that bacon shell.

Taco Bell Naked Chalupa: B-

Burger King Grilled Dogs

Last week I was having dinner with my friends Kevin and Megan and the topic of discussion turned toward the blog.  They noted that while a lot of the things I review look interesting, the Burger King Halloween Whopper looked so bad that it made them not want to ever eat anything at BK.  I knew right then what I had to do.

Lisa Hot Dog

Return to the scene of the crime.

Return to the scene of the crime.

Burger King sells three different hot dogs: the Classic Grilled Dog, Chili Cheese Grilled Dog and Whopper Dog.  I also ran into an old friend who convinced me to get the Chicken Fries (which now come in ring form, I guess).

Most of the time when I ask employees about their food they don’t have any major convictions one way or another.  So I was pleased to have this conversation with BK Guy.

Rizz: So what are people saying about the dogs?
BK Guy: Well they’re not saying much but we’re selling a lot of them.
Rizz: Nice!  Which one is your favorite?
BK Guy (emphatically): Oh, it’s the Chili Cheese!
Rizz: So you’ve had all three?
BK Guy: No, just the Chili Cheese.

Oh.  Not really the impartial judge I was looking for but I’ll still take it.  Just get me the dogs and I’ll decide for myself.

BK Guy (a few minutes later): Hey we’re out of chili.  Do you want another one instead?
Rizz: (jaw drops)

Luckily they were able to find or make chili so I got my dogs and headed home.

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I think I know what all of the icons are at the bottom of the bag except for the giant circle under the 12. Guess I didn’t order circle on any of my dogs.

I decided to start with the Classic.  The first thing I noticed was an intense amount of relish.  I like ketchup and mustard.  I even generally like pickles.  But I’ve never been the biggest relish fan. 

Green machine.

Relish be green.

It really stood out because the relish smell was the first thing that hit you and influenced everything else.  So we didn’t get off on the right foot.

Too Much Relish

I was also curious to see if there were grill marks.  Burger King made a big point about calling these “Grilled Dogs” as opposed to hot dogs so you better prove it to me.  I had some digging to do.  

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OK, you passed this test.

I couldn’t tell if they were real grill marks or not.  My guess is they were not.  But they existed so that counts for something.  Plus, this exercise allowed me to discover a strange notch in the bottom of the dog.  

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Some kind of Pac Man dog?

My only guess was that it was put there to keep the dog from bursting while cooking.  I know I’ve microwaved hot dogs in the past and they’d burst open at the seams.  (Shut up, of course hot dogs have seams.)  Someone that knows more about food/cooking could probably help me out with this one.  Once I got past all of the relish the rest of the dog was OK.  Nothing special.  But not inedible.  The other thing that stood out was that the dog lacked girth.  “Plump” is not a word that you would use to describe what I ate.  

Next I moved onto Chili Cheese.  I was intrigued.  

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OK BK Guy, don’t let me down here.

It looked kind of gross but structurally it was sound, which is an issue for a lot of chili cheese dogs.  The bun wasn’t toasted (on any of them) so there’s definite room for improvement but the chili cheese tasted pretty good.  You could do it better on your own if you were grilling and making chili at home but you couldn’t do waaaay better.  In this case we’re going to call that a win for the King.  

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Still notching. At least it provides a nice chili pocket.

Let’s move onto the Whopper Dog.  I was most skeptical about this one.  The idea is that Burger King took all of the stuff they throw on a Whopper and instead put it on a hot dog.  What could go wrong?  It most closely resembles a Chicago Dog which I don’t like to begin with.  Chicago does some great things.  Wrigley Field is one of my favorite places on earth.  I could eat the pizza in that town for a month straight and not get tired of it.  But BOY did they fuck up hot dogs.  Why would you do that to a hot dog?  Or any piece of meat?  

Cookie Monster

Burger King didn’t exactly improve on this concept either.  

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This picture doesn’t even show how bad it looked. Somehow.

It looked like a train wreck.  Mayonnaise was slathered along the inside of the bun.  It was put together sloppily.  The pickles weren’t evenly distributed.  Unlike a burger Whopper, the sad tomatoes had no place to hide.  Several bites in it got too slippery and the bun split at the bottom.  One of the sad tomatoes fell on my chicken fry.  I was upset.  

Don't Think So

One bright spot that I don’t want to go unnoticed was the Chicken Fries.  Those things are downright tasty.  A nice crispy, golden batter with some pepper over white chicken.  Sign me up.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

For $10 you probably can’t beat three hot dogs (grilled dogs?) and some chicken donuts from a value standpoint.  However if you’re dog-curious I’d stick to the chili cheese.  Aside from that you should probably stay away. 

Classic Grilled Dog: C
Chili Cheese Grilled Dog: B-
Whopper Dog: D

Torchy’s Roscoe

Recently I received an e-mail informing me that there was malware on my website and in order to continue using it, I had to remove the infected files.  I’m pretty good at spotting spam however (and, quite frankly, I’m a bit of a jackass) so not only did I not remove any files, I responded to the e-mail and told them to shut the whole thing down because I would never be able to remove all of that scary malware.  So it really should’ve come as less of a surprise when I sat down to tell you about Torchy’s Taco of the Month only to find that my site was shut down.  I spent the whole night unsuccessfully trying to get things back up and running.  Luckily I take notes while I’m trying testing foods although I tend to drift so it’s not the best thing to work off of later.

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Confirmed. Not a problem until you hit four hours.

But let’s try this anyway.  A few weeks ago I stopped by Torchy’s for breakfast and my friend Rene asked me if I had tried anything off of the secret menu.  Torchy’s has one of those “not-so-secret” secret menus so I decided to give it a shot.  (I got the Jack of Clubs and it was good.)  Interestingly later that week my friend James texted to say that he got the Taco of the Month from Torchy’s and liked it a lot.  One Torchy’s-related discussion in a week is notable.  TWO Torchy’s related discussions are a coincidence.  And you know what I say—I’ll eat that coincidence!

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Devilish.

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Told you it wasn’t that secret.

Torchy’s must be a popular hangout spot on a Friday night because this place was ROCKING.  When it was my turn to order I stepped up and asked if dude had tried the TOTM.  He said he had and that it was, “Really, really…really…good”.  It reminded me of when Homer explained to the Reading Digest people that he enjoyed their “How to Increase Your Word Power” articles.  I grabbed a seat at the end of the bar to wait for my food since it was the only available seat in the whole place.

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Why do they have cheese heads up there? Will they let you wear the cheese heads?

The whole taco is a pretty reasonable size so there’s no reason to be intimidated by it like some of the other things I’ve tried. 

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Even YOU could take it down.

It comes in a flour tortilla with one slice of bacon, one egg, one waffle and one chicken strip.  It also comes with a little side of syrup.  I don’t usually eat syrup on my pancakes so I was hesitant to try it on this taco.  I don’t dislike syrup.  I just prefer pancakes without.  But I wanted the full experience so I went ahead and added just a hint of the maple drank.

Add Syrup

Say it with me: I prefer the syrup.

The whole thing worked together really well.  The bacon thickness was far above average.  The chicken had a lot of fried batter but still enough actual meat to satisfy you.  The egg really made it feel like breakfast.  And the syrup was excellent.  It really tied everything together.  The tortilla was functional but not spectacular—you could’ve bought something similar (probably better) at the grocery store.  Though I must say it was smart to go with flour.  A corn tortilla would have gotten destroyed in no time and left syrup all over your hands.  Finally, the waffle was a little sad. 

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L’eggo my taco.

I don’t expect Torchy’s to carry a fancy waffle maker to make big fluffy Belgian waffles.  In fact, if they did, it likely wouldn’t fit in this taco.  But why would you use a square waffle when there are plenty of round waffles options out there?!?  It drove me crazy.  The tortilla is round.  The egg is round.  They should call it Roundtine!

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OK maybe the egg wasn’t that round.

That notwithstanding, I gobbled the whole thing up in a few bites and kind of regretted not having more.

But wait there's more

But wait! There’s more!

First rule in Meat Eats spending: why build one taco of the month when you can have two at twice the price?  That’s right bitches, I just dropped a Contact reference on you!  Have fun thinking about Jodie Foster the rest of the day.

One is the loneliest number.  Two is a good number of tacos.

One is the loneliest number. Two is a good number of tacos.

Damn!  I didn't even think to throw that guacamole on the taco.

POV shot.  Works for things other than porn.

This time I opted not to go with the syrup for comparison purposes. 

Not so fast

Kept this one dry. It was a mistake.

Trust me, unless you’re allergic or something, you want the syrup.  The sweetness balanced out the rest of the ingredients perfectly. 

For $5.50 this is on the high end of the taco spectrum, but definitely worth a try.  And the good news is, Torchy’s will sometimes repeat Tacos of the Month.  So if you can’t make it this March there’s a good chance it’ll be back again some day in the future.  If they add another strip of bacon, make a homemade tortilla and use a round waffle, they hit a home run.  As it stands, I still give it two thumbs up.

Update: they let you wear the cheese heads.

Update: they let you wear the cheese heads.

Torchy’s Roscoe: B+

Hickory Hollow Large Rancher

I’m a little upset with my regular fast food places right now.  There’s a severe lack of creativity.  Everyone’s just trying to repackage their tired old items into a cool-sounding new deals.  McPick 2?  Sorry, I fell in love with the McGang Bang.  Wendy’s Four for $4 deal?  I trust someone with red hair less than I trust someone with multiple Z’s in their name.  So today I decided to take it “local”.  I use quotation marks because there’s not much of an H-town feel to Hickory Hollow.  This place is a straight up small town BBQ joint that somehow landed smack in the middle of Houston.

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Yes, I see the irony in taking this photo with my phone.

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I shared a table with the other to go folks.

Salt, pepper and mystery.

Salt, pepper and mystery.  Just like back home.

I drive past Hickory Hollow several times per week and yet I’ve never had the urge to go in until today when I was reading up on restaurants that you want to visit if you love meat.  They have an award winning chicken fried steak.  I can’t even say no to dumpster chicken fried steaks.  It comes in three sizes: Small Plowman, Medium Hired Hand and Large Rancher (aka the “Saddle Blanket).  I walked in and went to the left for the To Go line.  When it was my turn I was pretty excited.

HH Dude: What can I get you?
Rizz: I heard about the chicken fried steak.  I want to try that.
HH Dude: What size?
Rizz: The big guy!
HH Dude: (holds hands in a big circle and gives me a sideways “you sure?” glance)
Rizz: (smiles and nods)

I asked if he had any advice for someone wanting to take it down.  I’m not sure if he was distracted or ignoring me but he let out a few indiscernible grumbles and I left it at that.

I shared a table with a few other people and asked what they ordered.  One kid got a burger.  The couple got some kind of BBQ platter.  I told them I went with the CFS and they applauded my efforts.  When my buzzer buzzed I went to grab my order and the woman asked if I needed plasticware.  I said I did so she asked, “Two?  Three”?  No ma’am.

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Number one stunna.

When I got home I couldn’t wait to dig in.

Open

No. No. No. YES!

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Comes with 16oz of gravy.

Some people think that's necessary.

Some people think that’s necessary.

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Some people…

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I eventually moved to a different plate because no way that Styrofoam was going to hold this beast.

This is as good as you’re going to find.  Yes, it’s enormous but I love the fact that they didn’t sacrifice anything in the name of size.  I think we’ve all seen places that go overboard so they can have the biggest this or most outrageous that.  But in the end all you end up with is a disgusting mess.  Not from Hickory Hollow.

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Probably didn’t need to dip the CFS into the gravy. But I did.

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Probably didn’t need to dip the fries into the gravy. But I did.

The breading was golden brown and crunchy, like me.  And for the most part it stayed glued to the steak, even after a gravy dip.  No one likes those chicken fried steaks where the breading crumbles right off and you end up eating steak separate from fried batter.

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OK I admit this piece was just fried batter and it was great.

There was a moment when I feared I wouldn’t be able to finish.  I got to about this point and felt pretty dominated.

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What’s left is probably the size of a normal chicken fried steak.

But then I thought about our grandparents and how they went through hardships too.  So in their honor I ate.  I ate like I’ve never eaten only eaten a handful of times before.  And I finished that chicken fried steak.  And I finished that side of mac and cheese.  And I finished those fries.  And then…

Finished

This doesn’t do justice to the time I spent on the floor.

But it was worth it.  Actually at $12.99 it was totally worth it!  This could probably feed you and your date pretty easily.  Just don’t go on Valentine’s Day because they’ll gouge you like everyone else.

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It’s unfortunate that your date won’t get a dessert.

That may actually be a good deal.  This meal could’ve been improved with the presence of bacon.  Actually kind of strange that I went through that whole meal with no bacon at all.  I also thought the gravy was a little watery.  I prefer a thicker, creamier gravy.  At any rate, I’m going to let it slide because Ol’ Hickory makes a mean chicken fried cow.  If you’re on Heights Blvd looking for some southern cooking and way too much food make sure you hit up Hickory Hollow.

Hickory Hollow Large Rancher: A

Wendy’s Meat Cube

Tonight I decided to try the Meat Cube from Wendy’s.  It’s another one of those off menu items that grew popular because clowns like me aren’t satisfied by anything on the regular menu.  But the concept is simple.

Cow

I think technically this is a dairy cow.

+

Rubix

Never could figure these out.

I walked up to my neighborhood Wendy’s and it was abandoned.  Didn’t even look like the lights were on and I fully expected the door to be locked even though there was no reason it wouldn’t be open.  I walked in and there was no one behind the counter.  But after a few moments a friendly tatted up gentleman emerged so I said hello and asked how he was doing.  He responded,  “Blessed”.

You may know that Wendy’s sells a “Single” 1/4 pound burger, a “Double” which is two meat patties on a cheeseburger and a “Triple” which is three meat patties.  The Meat Cube takes it to the next level.

Not one not two not three

Actually guys it was two.

I asked Mr. Wendy if I could order the Triple with an extra meat patty added on it.  Dude at the counter narrowed his eyes, snuck a peek behind his back and then quietly said, “OK I can hook you up”.  Then he gave me a fist bump.  I wasn’t sure what he meant because I just wanted him to charge me for the extra patty.  But I quickly realized he was only going to make me pay for the Triple and he would throw in the fourth for free.  Unfortunately his boss walked over and he got the guiltiest look on his face when she reviewed the situation.  She asked, “What, you don’t know how to ring up an extra patty”?  He played dumb and she said, “Fine–it’s coming out of your paycheck”.  I felt pretty bad so after she walked off I asked if was really coming out of his paycheck.  He just smiled and offered me another fist bump, which I graciously returned.

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Oh right, I also got those bacon fondue fries.

This picture above doesn’t do a good job of showing the size but dude basically put a brick of foil into the bag before handing it to me (and giving me a third fist bump).

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It took two pieces of foil! Double wrapped that shit!

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Kind of looks like a meaty brain.

How Many

Me trying to be LeBron.

The burger was put together pretty well.  Everything was lined up nicely and they put cheese between each slice.  Does the square burger bother anyone?  I think I’m OK with it and it fits nicely into Wendy’s new slogan about not cutting corners but I don’t think I’d judge you at all if you said you refused to eat there because square burgers are the work of the devil.

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Dave Thomas would be spinning in his grave.

The size made it a little difficult to eat and I have to say–it’s all because of that fourth patty.  I definitely could’ve gotten a triple into my mouth.  The Cube (aka Grand Slam) put it over the edge.

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Put it in your mouth.  In your motherfucking mouth.

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If three patties is a triple shouldn’t four be a home run? And not a grand slam?

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And shouldn’t I be using a bat instead of a broom?

I almost started to bitch about the meaningless vegetables on this burger but the dude did ask me if I wanted it plain and I said no–put everything on it.  So that’s on me.  I did lose some contents in the process of eating the Meat Cube but I disposed of the trash in the proper receptacle.

No Tomato

Uhhhh…no.

The Meat Cube is just OK.  It’s a Wendy’s burger with more meat.  Obviously I’m not complaining about the more meat part but if you’re looking for some mind blowing new creation–this isn’t it.  It’s preferable to a McDonald’s burger.  But you can do better.  If I were in charge I’d definitely have bacon on this baby.  Hell just order that Baconator that they’re doing right now.  Given the materials they have to work with, Wendy’s didn’t do a bad job with this one though.  But they were a little outmatched from the start.  Unlike my boy who hooked me up with free meat, this thing wasn’t blessed.  Oh, and you can straight up pass on those bacon fondue fries.  Get a Frosty instead.

Wendy’s Meat Cube: C+

Bernie’s Burger Bus Detention

Last night I visited Bernie’s Burger Bus to try their Detention burger.  I got detention once in middle school because I climbed on the roof of the school after a math competition and wouldn’t come down when the teacher told me to.  Such a rebel.  Hopefully this would be a better experience.

Bernie’s is a local Houston spot that fulfilled the American dream of starting as a food truck (or bus) and then graduating to an actual burger restaurant.  If you have a different American dream then I weep for your soul.

Bernie’s stays pretty true to their school theme.  In fact, they still cook everything inside of a fake bus.

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That’s right, there are lockers back there.

Their menus also brought back a lot of bad memories.

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I didn’t always get the right answer but I made sure I had perfectly filled in bubbles.

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Coming to Rizz’s hood?  Oh man, 2016 is going to be a good year.

Back in the bus days they used to put your name on a list if you finished the Detention.  I asked if they still did that but unfortunately the list got too long so they stopped.  The girl behind the counter indicated they may start doing it with another challenge but as of now that practice is dead.

The beauty of the Detention is that instead of using hamburger buns they use grilled cheese sandwiches.  With bacon inside.  It blows any hamburger bun you’ve ever eaten and/or imagined out of the water.  Sesame seed?  No.  Brioche?  This ain’t Wendy’s, fool.  Lettuce wrap?  Please get the fuck off of my site.  Pretzel?  Hmmm…I do love me some pretzel buns.  But none of those have cheese in them, much less bacon.  So just stop.  I also opted to add a fried egg to my burger.  I was impressed with their attention to detail when Ms. Bernie asked if I wanted the egg runny or well done.  I knew this thing was going to be a mess to begin with so I went with well done.

I got the Detention home and realized that Bernie’s probably doesn’t do many “To Go” orders.  Either that or this thing was so massive it couldn’t be contained by traditional packaging.

Soon

Getting that thing onto my plate was a little bit of struggle.  I guess I could’ve left it in the paper baskets but it’s harder to take pictures of it in there.  So I summoned the jaws of life and rescued that monster.

Lift

And as soon as I did it started to come apart.  You can even see it in the above gif.  There’s just so much there that it’s hard to keep it together.

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This reminds me of Pizza the Hut from Spaceballs.

I got it put back together again but because of its size it was still problematic to eat.  Don’t worry though.  I found a way.  I always find a way.

Motor Boat

Motorboatin’ son of a bitch.

OK no, that wasn’t really the way.  I try to avoid the “trough” method of eating whenever possible.  Hey, sometimes it’s not possible though!

Get It

The beef was good.  Basically got the job done without blowing you away with crazy spices or flavors.  It wasn’t the best ever but it could hold its own.  Speaking of holding, let’s take a look at that grilled cheese.

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They’re like quesadillas. But for white people.

See, technically they still use a bun and then throw a piece of toast on the other side.  It works just fine but I think they should’ve used two pieces of toast–like an actual grilled cheese.  This is more of a hybrid grilled cheese.  And the toast part of the bun was noticeably better than the bun part.  It had that buttery goodness to it.  I’m not sure the bun was toasted at all.  There was plenty of bacon though so how much are we really going to bitch?

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The fried egg was probably unnecessary.

Bernie’s also has a wide variety of delicious fries.  I just got the regular ones because the burger was my focus but I recommend the truffle fries or the BBQ brisket ones if you find yourself out there.  The dipping sauce they give you is also excellent.

I had the Detention once years ago and maybe I was blown away by the novelty but I remember it being better.  This is a wonderful creation and I certainly recommend you try it if you decide you would like to eat enough to feed a family of four in one sitting.  But at $25 (that’s with the egg and fries) I don’t think it’s something you get every month.  Also, I would’ve liked to see a little bacon in the middle of the burger as opposed to just in the grilled cheese.  However the Detention is meaty, it’s cheesy, and the lettuce and tomato didn’t get in my way too much.

Bernie’s Burger Bus Detention: B

Chipotle Nachos

My friend Krupa has been great about providing suggestions for this blog so when she told me that Chipotle had a secret menu I just had to give it a shot.  From everything I read by the fine people at #HackTheMenu Chipotle is happy to put together anything you can dream up as long as it can be made from their normal ingredients.  That’s a happy change from the folks at McDonalds that refused to make my McGangBang.  I decided I wanted to get the Burritodilla which, as you might have guessed, is a combination of spaghetti and pancakes.

When I walked in, I realized this might not work.  You see, for the Burritodilla it’s imperative that they toast the thing after they make it, to give it that perfect crispy, melty-cheese finish.  But the toaster is at the beginning of the assembly line so they would’ve had to double back to make this happen.  Not the worst thing in the world but the line was all the way back to the door.

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Oh cool!  Chipotle must be giving out free hand jobs today.

I didn’t want to be that guy who held everyone else up to make a weird order.  So I quickly flip-flopped and decided that I would get the nachos, which flowed much better in the Chipotle order of operation.  Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally.  From ordering the Burritodilla.

The concept of the nachos is very simple.  You simply order a burrito bowl and instead of rice at the bottom you tell them to put chips.  And apparently the Chipotle secret menu is pretty popular so they make this stuff all the time.  That’s nice because even I feel like a jackass ordering some of these things.

Three easy steps.

Three easy steps.

So I was a little surprised when I placed my order and the dude said, “You want the chips on the bottom of the bowl”?  It was clear that no one had made this request before.  It wasn’t even that strange of a request!  I got this exact reaction.

waitwhat

You want what?!?

I was also fairly surprised that the people behind me in line were native Spanish speakers.  I obviously don’t want to assume that anyone speaking Spanish is Mexican but I was a little shocked that those Mexicans decided to go to Chipotle.  Figured they would’ve known about better options.  Maybe they were doing a Come Carne blog.

Anyway, the Chipotle team put it together and it looked great.  I actually think they put on more ingredients than they would have had I ordered a regular burrito.  I guess they didn’t feel limited by the constraints of a tortilla.  I got the barbacoa but once the chips are there as the base you can put anything you want on your nachos.  Get creative!  Just remember–guacamole es extra.

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I did not get cheated on the guacamole.

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Baby take a ride in my coupe.  You make me wanna scoop.

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I like my guac on both sides of the chip.

The nachos were good.  They were really good.  The chips are pretty salty which I like a lot and there was plenty of stuff in the bowl to occupy each chip.  With some nachos you don’t get the right distribution and you’re left with too many bare chips.  Not the case here.

I typically like to show a cross section of the food I’m trying but as you can imagine that’s difficult to do with a bowl of nachos.  Ah, screw it.  Let’s cut this thing up.

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OK this is doing nothing.

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Does that…does that help? It doesn’t, does it?

Here’s the biggest problem with the Chipotle nachos.  The chips are too thin.  I don’t want to knock Chipotle too much because their chips weren’t designed to pick up a heap of meat and beans and cheese all that other crap.  Maybe a bit of salsa/queso/guacamole but that’s it.  Still, it didn’t quite cut it.  I started to do the two-chip scoop thing to make it a little easier.

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Don’t like my nachos single. I like my chips in twos.

Eventually I moved on to using a knife to dress each nacho and it worked just fine.

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I found it. The pick of the litter.

As with any nachos there were a few chips at the bottom that were soggy and rendered useless.  I guess that’s par for the course.  This goes against everything I stand for, but the ideal chip to eat these with is the corn tortilla you fry up yourself.  Super sturdy and delicious.  You could dominate the nachos with a basket of those.  I’d definitely recommend these if you’re looking for an easy way to share a Chipotle burrito.  It’s a tad on the pricey side but I brought some of that on myself with the guacamole and a drink.  If you’re willing to wait in a really long line, be confident that you’ll get some above average nachos out of the deal.

Chipotle Nachos: B+

Burger King Halloween Whopper

I’ve been searching for something to review lately and Burger King’s frequent commercials promoting their Halloween Whopper finally got to me.  I never realized I was such a sucker for advertising but this proves it.  Hold on, I need to go sign up for DraftKings and FanDuel.

I was pleasantly surprised with the effort Burger King put into their Halloween decorations.  The whole place was decked out with cotton cobwebs and posters and things like that.

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Ain’t nothing scarier than a paper chicken.

I was less impressed with the girl behind the counter.

Me: I would like the Halloween Whopper.
BK Girl: OK.
Me: Have you had it yet?
BK Girl: No.  I don’t really like Whoppers.
Me: I can’t help but feel that you’re missing out on one of the biggest perks of working at Burger King.
BK Girl: I like the chicken sandwich though.
Me: Can you get the A-1 bun on that?
BK Girl: No.

Burger King: have it your way.  Unless you bitch out and get the chicken sandwich.  She did ask that I come back and tell her how it is.  Should have given her the link to the blog.

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This is going to take some getting used to.

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Terrifying.

That black bun is really pretty crazy.  You’re just not used to it.  It messes with your head.  It’s the Crystal Pepsi of the burger world.  The color made me want to believe it was some sort of chocolate brownie.  Not sure if that would’ve been better or worse.  I wondered if it was just somehow colored black on the outside or it was like that all the way through.  Let’s slice this baby open.

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What does a sesame seed grow into? I don’t know, we never gave them a chance.

There you have it–black all the way through.  That’s probably for the best.  Otherwise it leaves the door open for jokes about this burger walking around in blackface.  It’s darker than pumpernickel but lighter than…tar.  First thing I noticed about this burger was that it was a little drippy.  You can already see some stuff leaking out before I even had a chance to bite into the thing.

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It did not get better.

Understand that this thing is just a regular burger with A-1 flavor cooked directly into the bun.  It’s not a totally different Whopper or anything.  However there WAS a ton of A-1 flavor in the first bite so I came away thinking they achieved their goal.  But then I noticed that the stuff dripping out was not ketchup.  It was BBQ sauce.  I felt like that might be cheating so I decided to try the bun by itself to see just how much different it was.

Well no.  I don't want a piece of mayonnaise bread.

Well no. I don’t want a piece of mayonnaise bread.

Flip mode.  This side works.

Flip mode like Busta said. This side works.

Break em off a little somethin.

Break ’em off a little something.

It’s a total sham.  A total fucking sham.  There was a tiny bit of smoky flavor and that’s if you’re really looking for it.  Nothing that tasted like A-1 or any kind of BBQ sauce for that matter.  I felt totally cheated.

WTF

Why the face?

There’s really not much else to say here.  This burger was a regular Whopper sopped with A-1 sauce (and a healthy amount of mayonnaise).  At this point I regretted my decision to not get chicken fries even more.  Side note: why hasn’t Burger King signed up the Zac Brown Band to do a chicken fries commercial?  Isn’t that almost too easy?

This thing was a wreck.  I used seven napkins while eating it.  I admit, five of them were the super thin ones that everyone hates but two of them were legit BK napkins.  Burger King would have been better off not involving A-1 at all and just calling it a Halloween burger with a scary black bun.  This one is a waste of your time.  By the way they charge an extra dollar for this thing.  And if the internet is to be believed I’m going to have some weird colored poop tomorrow.

Mess

Burger King Halloween Whopper: C-

Chili’s Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger

Wake up, wake up, wake up it’s the first weekend of the monnnnth.  Tomorrow I’m going on a camping trip.  I’m not much of a camper so that scares me a bit.  There are bugs and snakes and wampa (probably) out there so I’m not sure I’ll make it through the weekend.  Even more terrifying?  I’m going with a vegetarian and a vegan.  So I knew tonight was going to be a burger night.  I opted for the Chili’s Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger for several reasons.

1) My buddy Alex peppered me all week with requests to try it, which included sending me this.  Hey, I’m easily convinced.

2) It didn’t seem overly gimmicky.  I just wanted a nice, simple 2000 calorie burger.

3) I really had to go to the bathroom and Chili’s was right there as I was on my way home.

This burger was apparently part of Chili’s “Hand-Crafted” burger line.  Made me question how they make their other burgers.  Feet?  Cyborg?  “New from Chili’s–our delicious robot-arm crafted burger.  He used to squeeze it too tight but now we fixed that”.

At least I didn't get one of these.

Nope.  Give me the fatty one.

As I always do, I asked the Chili’s To Go girl who took my order if she had tried it before.  She said she had and that it was really rich so she knew I would like it.  How did she know I would like that?  I think one of my 27 Twitter followers has been talking to Chili’s girl.  Thanks y’all.  She also told me it would be 15-20 minutes (guarantee you a cyborg would’ve had it done in four) so I could hang out at the bar and watch some games.  I grabbed a beer, settled in and have never felt more like Karl Welzein (@dadboner for those not in the know) in my life.  Actually it wasn’t a bad setup and I briefly considered doing my review directly from the restaurant.  I was about half way through my beer when they dimmed the lights and I heard the bartender say, “I love it when they make it dark in here”.  Hmmm…OK, strange.  Then I noticed the strippiest of all strippers walk in with a dude who had no less than seven face tattoos.  That was my cue to leave.  Note to self: never ever ever do a Meat Eats review from Chili’s.

Initial impressions: this burger stood tall and proud.  It was almost like someone had fluffed it before showtime.

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Kneel before Zod!

And it’s not even like I showcased the good side.  It was legit all the way around.  Look!

360view

360 degrees please.

The construction of this burger was superb and it all started with the thick bun.  Both top and bottom half held this baby together beautifully.  There was some minor crumbling toward the end but aside from that it was strong to very strong.

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It’s so round and buttery.  Like Nicki Minaj.

In addition, there were several onion rings in the burger that were freaking crispy as hell.  How did they do that?  Despite sitting in the burger they remained as firm as if you had pulled them straight out of the fryer and dumped them in that metal tray thing with the heat lamp.  They looked like flying buttress in the burgitecture.

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The basilica ain’t got shit on me!

And look at this pickle!  Holy Vlasic, Batman.  I honestly thought they stuck a cucumber in my burger at first.

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No they are NOT the same thing.

I swear I stuck that pickle back in and it propped up the whole left side of the burger.  But I’ve talked a lot and haven’t said anything about the actual taste.

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You wanna do this or what?

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Bacon in picture is closer than it appears.

Meat patty was great.  Thick and juicy.  The ancho-chili BBQ sauce complemented things nicely and didn’t overpower anything, nor did it drip all over the place.  Again, thank the thick bun.  Plenty of bacon to keep you satisfied.  And as I said earlier, the onion ring had a good crunch to it.  It probably wasn’t necessary but I guess they were looking for ways to make this “southern”.  Honestly the BBQ sauce tasted more like mayonnaise so I guess they had to do something to make it live up to the name.  Enter onion ring.  This one definitely made it harder to breathe so you know what that means–bonus points.

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That’s distilled water for my iron. Only the best.

But I just don’t think I can recommend this to everyone because of the extreme unhealthiness of it.*

I have to draw the line somewhere and I just can’t in good conscience tell you to go eat one of these.*

If you tried this, you’d get hooked.  You’d deny it at first and claim that Chili’s was just a convenient stop on your way home (maybe you just have to use the bathroom like your boy Rizz).  But within a month Chili’s To Go girl would see your car pull up and just start the order before you walked in.  And that’d be sad. *

* These are all lies.

Chili’s Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger: A

McDonald’s McGangBang

It’s been a while since I’ve visited Ronald & Co so today I went by the McDonald’s in my neighborhood to pick up the McGangBang.

Old School

The woman at the counter immediately knew what I was talking about which wasn’t totally unexpected.  The McGangBang has been around for a while.  I initially heard about it from our friend Rajiv in 2009 and if Urban Dictionary is to be trusted, it first made an appearance in 2006.  It consists of only two items, both of which are on the Dollar Menu.  They take a Spicy McChicken sandwich and place the entire thing (including bun) inside of a double cheeseburger.  I went to grab a drink while they made my order.

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Damn! They thought of everything.

By the time I finished filling my drink at the fountain the woman was calling over to me.  “Sir, your order is ready.”  Wow.  It took only seconds.  Seemed a little strange and the voice inside of me kept saying, “Check the order.  Check the order.  Check the freaking order”.  Instead I walked straight out and drove home.  I thought the receipt was interesting.

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Trust me, you don’t want me to ask.

I guess this was a more sanitized way to order the McGangBang?  Hey, whatever works for you. But when I unwrapped the sandwich what I found was extremely disappointing.

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This is as boring as having sex with one person.

All they did was throw a piece of chicken on the cheeseburger!  I was outraged!  I took a few bites.  Sure, it was good.  But screw that!  That is NOT what I wanted.  So it was dilemma time. Do I eat/review the McDouble Ask Me?  Or do I go back out and try to find my initial goal?

C’mon man.  I went back out.  But not before grabbing another bite (OK, three bites) of the McMistake.  (OK, four bites.)

This time I went to a different McDonald’s, determined to be VERY clear about what I wanted.

McGirl: Hello.  What would you like?
Rizz: I would like the McGangBang.  It’s a Spicy McChicken…
McManager (interjecting): Sir we don’t have those anymore.
Rizz: But it’s just a…
McManager: They changed the rules.  We’re not allowed to do it anymore.
McGirl: Can I get you something else?
Rizz: Yes, I would like one Spicy McChicken and one double cheeseburger.

Looks like you have to do the heavy lifting on your own.  Fine.

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Step 1: Invite over freaky people.

Step 2: cover freaky people in cheese.

Step 2: Cover freaky people in cheese and mustard.

Step 3: Gang bang.  I think that's how it works.

Step 3: Gang bang. Pretty sure that’s how it works.

I actually didn’t mind too much because I was careful to put it together with love so everything was nice and centered.  I’m particular about these things.

Quick side note.  When did Mickey D’s start putting messages all over their containers?

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OK, yes. That one we know.

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Huh. OK, so the lemons are the…right. Got it.

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Did I just order 32oz of Red Bull?

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Slow down. We ain’t there yet.

It was a pretty good sized tower.  As others in the past have noted, for less than $3 it’s hard to find a sandwich that packs more of a punch.

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I snuck up from behind. Not advisable in a real gang bang.

I felt like I should get to know the sandwich better before we jumped into…you know.  So we spent a few minutes sharing stories.

Emotions

We laughed.  We cried.  We talked about that one time I ate 50 McNuggets.  But eventually it was time.

Let's get down to business.

Let’s get down to business.

Taste was pretty average.  The problem isn’t that it’s a bad idea, it’s that the burgers at McDonald’s simply aren’t that great.  They’re extremely thin so there just isn’t a lot of flavor there.  In fact, I struggle to think of another chain that has thinner patties.  Maybe White Castle.  OK, guess I didn’t struggle that hard.  The point is, it’s hard to overcome that handicap by piling more crap into the burger.  The chicken actually saved the sandwich, to an extent.  Without that it would have been rather bland and dangerously close to not being worth the $2.80.  But the spice helped somewhat, giving the McGB an extra point.

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Maybe if we flip the chicken and beef parts?

That lettuce/mayo layer didn’t help things either.  It was the fault line of the sandwich and everything slid around that part.  And perhaps it was because I cut the thing in half, but it wasn’t the most stable structure in the world.  Kind of like your really drunk friend at the end of a long night.

Falling Over

I’m falling. I fell.

Despite the evidence above I wouldn’t say the McGangBang fell completely on its face.  But I also don’t think it’s worth your time.  With more spicy chicken I’d call it average but sadly we didn’t quite get there.  Really what McDonald’s should do is add some heft to the meat patties.  And add bacon.  Always add bacon.  If your whiny kids make you go for the golden arches anytime soon stick to the fries and the breakfast.

McDonald’s McGangBang: C-