Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fast Food Thunderdome: Taco Bell vs Burger King vs KFC

Now that I'm fully back to my natural rhythm at work, which entails virtually living out of my car and driving around 100 miles a day, getting lost frequently and eating entirely too much fast food and takeout - I've had a chance to sample some of the new offerings from Burger King, Taco Bell and KFC.   Most times, I will order something like a salad, or a grilled chicken sandwich and eat it open-faced.  But, when the big guys offer something new, I feel like it's my duty to try it for you. Aren't you glad I'm sacrificing my own waistline so you'll know if it's worth it to ruin yours?

First and foremost, Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos.  Simply put, these are their regular ol' tacos in a shell made of  Nacho cheese Doritos.  And guess what it tastes like?  Exactly that.  A TB taco covered on Dorito dust.  It's one of those borderline-shameful meals that you should have at least once to say you did (assuming these will only be here for a limited time), but never again.  One thing I will commend them on is the way they chose to package these.  When you dig into your bag, you find the standard paper taco wrapper, but inside that, your crazy taco is cupped by a thin cardboard shell of its own that helps you eat it without getting your hands covered in cheedle.

Then there's KFC's Chunky Chicken Pot Pie.  I had only caught the tail end of the ad they've been running for it, featuring a groovy ebony & ivory bro-fest and a pretty awesome car - so that's not what led me to check it out.  It's not that I don't love pot pie - let me be clear that I DO.  But, the same as Mr. FvF agreed to turn the grill over to me, I gave up the quest for the perfect pot pie recipe when I realized he's one of those people who hates all of his foods mixed together.  What lead me to try it was all of the positive reviews I kept hearing from reputable sources.  One week, I had to drive back and forth from Dayton to Columbus every day for work. Naturally, I wasn't in the mood to cook when I got home - so one night, we decided to let the Colonel take care of dinner.  I have to admit, it's among the top three pot pies I've ever had and one of the best fast food items I've ever eaten.  For me, KFC rarely gets things right.  Their chicken is always either too hot to eat, below room temp, and greasy. I don't like any of their sides, either.  So, it astonishes me that I'm calling this pie a total home run.  The crust is perfect.  Golden and flaky on top, soft and buttery underneath. The sauce is somewhere between what you'd find in your own pot pie or any number of frozen pot pies, and a creamy white gravy.  The filling is heavier on big chunks of white meat chicken than you'd imagine for the price, and the veggie ratio is pretty reasonable, though it could use a few more bursts of color.  At an ball-dropping 790 calories and 45 grams of fat, this is probably another thing that you should find an occasion to eat.  I'm sure you won't have trouble finding one, though.

Burger King is really McDonald-ing up their menu lately.  I say that in the nicest way possible - but I can't find another way to explain the addition of new all-breast meat chicken offerings, slightly healthy wraps and fruit smoothies.  They're making an attempt to healthify things, which I respect.  The last menu change they did - their new thicker-cut fries - still has me salty.  Otherwise, as long as BK keeps serving Icees and Whoppers, I don't give a shit what else they put on their menu.  I had already tried one of their new Chef's Choice burgers, and can report that it was tasty.  Higher quality bun and toppings, and a thicker, less greasy tasting patty made for a big improvement on their burgers (which I'll admit I already liked).  On a whim, I decided to try Burger King's New Chicken Strips.  I've never been a fan of BK's tenders/nuggets/whatever.  They're all the mechanically separated and processed, super soft stuff.  If I wanted that, I could eat the fake Morningstar Farms chicken and be making a much healthier choice.  I had no idea what the difference was between the tenders and strips on their menu, and I still do't know now.  So, I ordered the strips and was pleasantly surprised - they really are all white breast meat.  But, the breading leaves a lot to be desired.  It's lacking tremendously in spices and seasoning, and the texture doesn't really do anything for me, either.  They have a new line of sauces for all this new chicken, too.  People who work at Burger King don't know what the hell a food blogger is, so I can't try all the sauces unless I want to pay 25 cents extra for each one outside of the one that comes with my food.  I chose the Kung Pao, but they also have roasted jalapeno, sweet & sour and something else I don't remember.  The Kung Pao was good, but a little too heavy on the soy sauce for my taste.  Just too damn salty for a mid-day meal.  Overall, it was very meh.  If you want good chicken strips, find yourself a Hardee's.

The winner of this Fast Food Thunderdome is....

The Colonel!  KFC's new pot pie is legit. I highly recommend trying one, but make sure you're aware it is an indulgence.  This isn't something anyone should beat eating everyday, unless you want to wind up looking like this guy. Or this lady.


Travis said...

I've heard mixed reviews about the Burger King fries. I myself am quite unhappy with them as well as the not so recent Wendy's fry-revamping. Now, if McDonald's changes or tries to "healthify" their fries, I will be forced to denounce my citizenship and move to space.

Autism United said...

We see the American commercials but here in Ontario we still haven't got the food updates. That chicken pot pie from KFC sure looks good, and look forward to trying when it makes its way north.

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