November 29, 2009

Wendy's Applewood smoked bacon

Wendy's sure has been making a big deal out of its Applewood smoked bacon lately.

Commercials have been telling us it's way better than fast food. They've shown cubicle wars over the hog slices, complete with dramatic shots of leaping old women.

My suggestion, though, is that you look before bringing home the bacon.

It's not that you won't have a tasty meal. Wendy's burgers are good on their own and bacon generally adds some scrumptiousness. So tossing bacon onto an Wendy's burger is a recipe for something yummy.

Unfortunately it isn't a recipe that lives up to all the hype.

I ordered a "Deluxe Double" with smoked Applewood strips and was surprised by how average the bacon tasted. The overwhelming flavor of the burger is ... burger. No bacon flavor jumped out and grabbed my by the throat.

After all the talk, I halfway expected a pig to climb out of the burger, wring my neck and scream "Eat more bacon!" I at least expected smokey bacon flavor to tempt me to order another burger.

Instead I picked up a complimentary bacon flavor -- that was pleasantly smokey -- and a slightly rubbery texture. It may have simply been the Wendy's franchise I ordered from, but my bacon was dry and a bit overdone.

It should have been way better than three sporks out of five. Yet that's the rating it earned.

November 21, 2009

KFC Grilled Chicken

Oh my loyal foodie followers, how I've neglected you these past few weeks! Just as the winter months set in, limiting your time outside and giving you more time to eat, I've been head-spinningly busy and unable to give you the palatory guidance you so deserve!

Let me apologize. Let me also make it up to you with what today's review. I promise it's juicy.

It's juicy because it's reviewing a juicy food. KFC's Grilled Chicken.

Actually, "juicy" doesn't do justice to KFC's latest attempt at non-fried yet appetizing bird chunks. "Saturated" is more like it. My memories of the chicken will forever drip with the moisture that was soaked into the bird.

See, one of the problems with grilled chicken is that it's not as juicy as fried chicken. The grill can extract moisture from the meat where deep frying adds oil to it. KFC, deriving its namesake from Kentucky (deep)Fried Chicken, couldn't put out a dry offering and expect anyone to eat it.

And Kentucky Grilled Chicken, henceforth referred to as KGC, certainly isn't dry. And if you could ever get around to focusing on the chicken's flavor, you'd find it's actually pretty good.

The problem is that you never can focus on the flavor for more than three seconds because biting into KGC is like gnawing on a sponge. Juiciness floods your mouth. It drips down your hands and forms a small puddle at your feet.

Picture the puddle of drool at Odie's feet in "Garfield" comics. That's what you look like after eating KGC.

Worse, that puddle is in large part grease. And a portion of it made it into your mouth and sits in your tummy like a lead weight pulling you desperately into bed to sleep off the calorie-hangover. But when you get to bed it keeps you awake with cramps.

It is cheap at the register, though. I got two pieces of the grilled chicken, (I chose a breast and a drumstick), mac and cheese, a biscuit and a drink for $5 ... plus the future cost of the balloon angioplasty I'll no doubt need after ingesting all that grease -- 110 milligrams of cholesterol in the breast!

KGC could be worse. It could be dry and a hazard to your health. But if you're going to eat badly, you might as well enjoy something that's deep fried.

Two sporks out of five. They should serve this with a shop towel and that a packet of auto mechanic soap that's specially formulated to cut through motor oil.

November 2, 2009

Taco Bell Black Jack Taco

Taco Bell's Black Jack Taco isn't much of a gamble. Sure its black shell gives it spades full of style, but the Bell hasn't exactly thrown a new set of cards into the deck with this one.

See, it tastes a lot like a regular Taco Bell Taco. Because it largely is a regular Taco Bell Taco. A taco shell, seasoned beef, lettuce and shredded cheese all play out the way you expect. Even the black shell is nothing but a bluff. It tastes just like a regular taco shell.

Taco Bell does have an ace in the hole, however -- pepper jack sauce, which gives it a little smack and tells your taste buds this is not a regular taco. The pepper jack sauce is fit for a king.

Unfortunately the Bell fails to slather enough on there. Some more sauce would have left this a delicacy flush with flavor. As it stands the Black Jack Taco is a trap hand that looks pretty then fails to deliver anything special.

Which is really the problem in an otherwise solid meal. The taco costs 89 cents, so you aren't pushing your wallet all in to buy one. And anyone who likes regular Taco Bell Tacos will find this a pleasant take on a long-successful formula.

It's just a shame the Bell couldn't have bet a little more here. Make this a truly black meal by adding black beans and black rice and pour on more sauce, and I'd be spilling some ink in favor of this thing. Even if the flavor turned out to be a little too much it would be better to go bust than play too close to the vest.

As it is the Bell folds in a mediocre three sporks out of five.