a cornucopia of whitecastle oddities (BBQ pork and Chicken Italiano)

good ol’ whitecastle seems to do a good job of tossing out interesting “limited time only” products now and then. this seems like it’d be rather important for them lately since it appears that every restaurant in the world is trying to cash in on the “sliders” small burger format in recent times.

ugliest bbq sandwich ever
i have to admit that when i first saw the ads for the BBQ pork sandwich i was a little grossed out. i’m not the biggest fan of loose meat sandwiches, and whitecastle really doesn’t seem like the place you’d want to get one. i’d also heard some terrible rumors regarding non-meat pork parts showing up in the sandwich. these things in mind, it took me a long time to build up the nerve to try one out. i rolled into town at 2am after an hour of interstate travel last week and felt the time was right.

first off, i feel like i should dispel the “parts” rumor. my sandwich didn’t have anything weird in it.
it was really ugly though. they wrap them in paper before putting them in the traditional WC box, i assume so you could eat them on the go and not get too messy. as far as the taste – it was exactly what you’d expect. tasted like the bbq that you’d get at a pitch in. not really my thing, but some people dig that stuff. kind of made me want baked beans and potato chips. i would ordinarily say that this is the kind of cheap stuff that parents give kids when they don’t really want to go to the effort of cooking, but, i also think that WC has hit upon a reasonable niche here. it’s not like to can get a loose meat sandwich at a drive through anywhere else, let alone at 4am.

"chicken italiano"
i noticed something else when i entered the castle.. they were pushing a chicken italiano sandwich. (as well as those awful ranch chicken rings.. bleh) i gave the chicken a shot. it was quite a bit like the honey chipotle chicken they once had. basically a chicken breast sandwich with garlic mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. the verdict? good, but definitely not awesome. the marinara was not the same kind as is given out with cheese sticks, and was just kind of weak. the cheese was awesome (and probably good on other stuff too), but unfortunately the sandwich was assembled in such a way that the cheese never had the chance to melt. i’m actually going to recommend skipping this one unless you are super into chicken marinara. value on the dollar aside, just wait for BK to bring their italian chicken back. it’s better.

Whitecastle BBQ pork sandwich – 8/10
Whitecastle Chicken Italiano sandwich – 6/10

McDonalds "Southern" Chicken Buscuit

I don’t eat at McDonalds too much these days, but I was tempted when these “Southern” Chicken biscuits came out because I love Chik-Fil-A’s chicken biscuits, however, their restaurants are too far away and are closed on sunday – the day when I’m most likely to want this.

I hit the drive through and scored this biscuit and a hash brown for 2.98. a fair price for a breakfast if you ask me. Despite being a little too greasy, it was good. McD’s biscuits themselves are pretty tasty, so no qualms there. The chicken was fairly generic, however it was at least a real piece of breast meat and not reformed chunks like a McChicken. I did not find the breading terribly “Southern”, neither was it as good as Chik-Fil-A’s.

One side note – halfway through the biscuit, I ate my hash brown. When I resumed eating the biscuit, it tasted weird. I’ve only experienced similar taste clashes with taco bell (steak or chicken before ground beef makes the ground beef taste gross) and I’d assume that a company that engineers all their flavors like McDonalds would make sure this wouldn’t happen.. So I don’t know whats up there.. Maybe I’m just over sensitive, but I’d save the potatoes for post biscuit if I were to do it all over again.

All in all, a reasonable sandwich. Get Chik-Fil-A instead if you have the option, but if not, this will do.

Southern Chicken Biscuit – 7/10 stars

The arrival of Sonic – Re: Breakfast Burrito

A Sonic drive in has recently landed in my neck of the woods. I love sonic. I used to drive 2 hours to go to the closest one. So, I was in a rush to visit the local Sonic as soon as it opened.
On my second trip I thought I’d stray from my normal fare of double cheeseburger and cheesy tots, and tried the breakfast burrito. I got mine with bacon because often times, fast food sausage grosses me out. (I will sample sonics in the future and report back)

This is a simple menu item, so my description wont be super in depth, but I think for products like this, it’s worth telling you what you really get, as opposed to the dressed up menu photo.
There were two big differences from the picture:
1. the burrito innards were not all scrambled up in the eggs. the eggs were in the form of rectangular sheets, as fast food eggs often are, and the cheese and bacon were just on top of the egg.
2. it was about half the size that I perceived from the photo.

That said, it was a tasty burrito. I fear most breakfast offerings of the sort (I can’t take more than one bite of a McD’s burrito), but this was pretty good. i got the combo with tots, and I’d say it was a “right size” meal for me. The price wasn’t an awesome deal, but it was acceptable.

A “Super Sonic” breakfast burrito is also offered, which appears to have potatoes, onions and peppers.

Sonic Breakfast Burrito – 7/10 stars

Burger King Cheesey Tater tots

These things inspired me to blog again.. Not because they are good, but because they are a total waste of money.

I got these because a local brew pub here in my town has something similar, and I love em. The BK version is far inferior. Since I didn’t get to include a photo this time, Let me explain what these are.. They are a kind of disk shaped potato thing, about the size of two of BKs breakfast hashbrowns stacked atop one and other. There is some manner of breading on the outside, and the inside has coarsely diced potatoes and cheese.. Of course they are deep fried.

Here’s the big problem with these guys – heat. The weird breading on the outside keeps all the heat in, ensuring that you burn your mouth even if you eat every other part of your meal first in hopes that they will cool off. i even bit a corner off each one to help them cool and it still wasn’t enough. The second problem was grease. don’t get me wrong, I understand how deep fryin’ works.. but when they hand you something that just soaks the cardboard box it’s contained in, it’s not terribly appetizing.

anyway, I say avoid. If you must experiment, get the small.

Cheesey Tater Tots – 1/10 Stars

Whitecastle’s Honey Chipotle chicken sandwich

It took some time being subjected to the ads before this sounded good. I’m not typically a chipotle fan, but it all worked out because the sauce was more honey than chipotle.

[a note about the photos: i set out to photograph the food as is, to help you, the consumer, deal with all the weird things they do to food in commercials and photos to make them look good. typically the food _doesn’t_ look good, as in this case – it’s kind of beat up.. please be sure and read the review though, as to not judge the book by it’s cover alone]

The first thing I noticed about this $1.59 frankenstein is that it’s on a whole grain / wheat looking bun. This is interesting because whitecastle has never done a different bun style. I find it odd that they would alter their production for just this one sandwich.. but, lo- it was some tasty bread. It went with the sandwich much better than the wheat bun on that chic-fil-a grilled chicken I had a while back.

The sauce, as I said, wasn’t all that spicy. A little bit of tang to it, but mostly a sweetness. Not bad. The chicken breast was the larger size (which came about after they introduced the “chicken ring” sandwich and the “alaskan” fish sandwich – a poorly publicized move in my opinion).

The bottom line? I will get this again. I wouldn’t eat 2 or three of them in a row, but it would make a great addition to a typical bag of burgers.

Honey Chipotle Chicken sandwich – 8/10

Burger Kings Chicken fries

It’s true! I didn’t die of a fast food induced heart attack.
this episode is about 2 months late, but for those totally out of the loop, I give you BK’s chicken fries:

plain and simple – these things are a total scam. Don’t waste your money. They are the same thing as the chicken tenders except half the size and twice the cost. The only redeeming quality of the chicken fries lies not in the product itself, but in the package.
As you can see, the box is shaped such that it might find adequate perch in an auto cup holder (although it wouldn’t stand up in mine). Also, the box has a cut out for holding a dipping sauce. good idea, but not worth the inflated price. It’s kind of like when senators tack on some stupid thing to an otherwise good bill, and it makes everyone vote against it..

the box should come with all sides / small items.

Chicken fries – 2/10 stars

Taco Bell "Crunch Wrap Supreme"

The Crunch Wrap Supreme is an interesting… thing? Sorry, I really don’t know how to refer to it. It consists of a flour tortilla filled with ground beef, nacho cheese, a tostada shell (a flattened taco shell?), lettuce, sour cream, and tomatoes. No, it’s not like a burrito – it is folded up into a hexagonal disc.

Is it good? Well.. I didn’t think it was bad. Definitely not a new taste. Taco bell was really playing the “Texture” card with this one, which, aside from the chalupa/gordita, was a bit of a departure for the company. The thinness and toastada shell yielded a crisp entree, even after driving home with it – something I had assumed would soggy this beast up.

In reality though, I think Taco Bell is really banking on the success of their quesedilla and associated “portability” based ad campain, because the Crunch Wrap Supreme is really just a double decker taco supreme sans beans and repackaged for easier on-the-go eating…. thats not necessarily a bad thing.

Crunch Wrap Supreme – 7/10 stars

chik-fil-a grilled chicken sandwich

Chik-fil-a makes some tasty stuff. unfortunately, all of the tasty stuff is deep fried.
so, i went out on a limb and tried the grilled chicken sandwich there. It looked flavorful in the picture on the menu….

.. it wasn’t. In fact it was pretty bad. Really no flavor at all save for a little from the wheat bun (bleh) and the tomato on top. It wasn’t utterly disgusting, but it wasn’t good either.

I recommend staying away from this thing.

chik-fil-a grilled chicken – 2/10 stars. boo.

also, if you’re like me and love the chik-fil-a waffle fries, try the ore-ida brand waffle fries from the grocery. they actually taste _better_ than the chik-fil-a ones.. even when they are baked in the oven!

ore-ida waffle fries – 9/10 stars

I am lifting my ban on fazoli’s

Many years ago I stopped eating at fazoli’s for two reasons.

First, their entrees had been going down hill for a while. They did away with the manicotti, which was my favorite part of the “sampler trio”. Then they started using a pre-made, frozen lasanga which was quite disgusting. The pizzarino was to be the savior of their menu, but it went away pretty quick.

Second, they were REALLY skimpy with the “free” breadsticks. This annoyed me to no end, because, after my favorite entrees went away/became crappy, I mostly just went there for the bread, and bought spaghetti so I had some sauce to dip the bread in.. not only would they not give me any more than 1 up front, (“you don’t need them now, the breadstick person will be around shortly”) but they would only give me 2 at a time when the breadstick person came around. ..and the guy wouldn’t come around that often either.. once a half hour or something ridiculous.
This may not seem bad to many of you reading this, but I have eaten as many as 27 breadsticks in one sitting. (with a half order of lasanga) It got to the point where I could sit there for a hour, and only get 5 breadsticks. boo.

Once again, mass media marketing sucked me in. The [return of the] pizzarino and spaghetti combo had an awfully attractive price. ($4.something)
the entree was pretty mediocre. The pizzarino was barely cooked, and less than luke-warm in the middle, and they forgot to put sauce on my spaghetti.. BUT, the breadsticks flowed like the blood of the disbelievers in ancient babylon.. er.. something.

The size has gone down. They are probably only 60% of the size they were, but I can live with that.

Since finding this out, I have also tried their 9″ personal pizzas and found them to be satisfactory, although not as good as their old pizza by the slice, which is now apparently gone. meh.

so, way to go fazoli’s, your entrees still suck, but at least you are getting the breadstick thing correct now.

white castles new garlic chicken breast sandwich

I went in wanting a burger and a fish sandwich, but the marketing materials took hold and I had to go for the new garlic chicken breast sandwich combo despite is high-for-white-castle price ($5.something) I kind of hoped that it was grilled chicken, which would be totally awesome in that size, but it wasn’t… typical breaded stuff with garlic flavour, although the portion was a lot larger than the standard chicken breast sandwich.. at least thats what i thought.

Upon opening the bag, I thought they not only forgot to put the cheese on, but also added mayo without my knowledge. I wasn’t really happy about this, but took a bite… ahh, not mayo… mozzarella. It all began to make sense.

The chicken itself was a little on the tough side, and the flavor was unimpressive, but not offending.
It appears that the largest shortcoming of these palm size poulty sandwhiches comes hours after you eat them… I can’t stop belching awful garlic burps.

I’ll give the white castle garlic chicken breast sandwich 5 stars out of 10. definitely worth a try, but I don’t think I’ll get it again.