Tuesday, August 23, 2016

BURGER KING: WHOPPERITO



Let's not fart around with this intro. BK deserves to take a royal walk of shame Cersei-style. And I'm just the Septa to take it on this stroll down shit avenue! No, it's not for sticking "-ito" on the end of "Whopper", although I do picture Peggy Olsen crying into her pillow when I consider that marketing decision. It's for an offense much, much more serious than that.



WHERE ARE MY WHOPPER DOGS?!


Of course we know from the commercials the King is a diabolical sociopath, but this is some next level fuckery.

On the heels of the dismal review I had assigned to the Extra-Long Buttery Cheeseburger, I turned around and awarded the Whopper Dog an A+, the only item I've given that grade to in nearly a year of fair and balanced food-bloggery. And then, just before I could have a second bite, the King slapped it out of my hands and the Whopper Dog bit the dust.

DAMN IT, KING! YOU HAD JUST GOTTEN OUT OF THE DOG HOUSE THEN YOU KICKED THE DOG OUT AND HEADED STRAIGHT BACK IN!

And as an extra flick in the nads, they left the regular grilled dog and chili cheese dog on the menu- they cut out Clint Eastwood and left us with The Bad and The Ugly!


            

Now, they roll out this so-called WHOPPERITO, just to rub salt in my wounds, and presumably some cumin and oregano as well.

Alright, alright. I've had my druthers and settled down a bit. To be honest, I was really quite excited to try out the Whopperito, but obviously the Whopper Dog left some big shoes to fill.


Basically, what I was picturing was the BK version of the McDonald's cheeseburger snack wrap from five years ago. Remember those little guys, before they came out with the whole big "healthy" McWrap with like cucumbers and fancy leaves and stuff? If I remember correctly, the first generation had three options: cheeseburger, and chicken (crispy/grilled). The chicken ones were legit, which led to its natural evolution, the aforementioned McWrap, but the cheeseburger one? All they did was take the contents of a McDouble and put them in a tortilla! Then they started getting real goofy about it- they did the Mac Wrap, the Angus Wrap, the Wrapper's Delight... it was a dark period of McDonalds history I refer to as to the Wrapture.





The Whopperito's promo picture had also left some ambiguity about what I was getting myself into. The white onions kind of looked like mayo, the tomatoes like ketchup, the cheese like mustard. And it gave no indication of the size. So I bought two, fully expecting to woof the little guy down in a few bites. 


DIOS MIO

Look at the size of this lump! This is exactly what my stomach would've looked like if BK had left the Whopper Dogs on the menu, stretch marks and all! And for $2.99?! Fair trade!

                                                 


I was immediately pleased at the first bite- nothing here but greasy ground beef accompanied by the strong taste of chili powder, which is pretty much how I make my burritos at home. My second bite revealed some crunchy white shit and some soggy red shit, which did more to vary the texture rather than the flavor, but there was bit of crunchy green shit that stood out (and it sure as shit wasn't lettuce). 

PICKLES
I don't know why, but I thought these pickles worked wonderfully- they cut through the single-note spicy beef flavor like Valyrian steel. Swing away, King Robert Burgeratheon! 




One minor goof here is a lack of sour cream. The spicy flavor comes from a condiment BK refers to as "creamy spicy sauce", but the former descriptor is severely lacking. I think there should be something else in the mix here besides the pickles to keep this beefy spice wad from being too uniform. Also, I didn't detect enough of that smokey chemical flavor to justify putting the word "Whopper" anywhere near this. On a side note, It'd be a neat experiment to try one of these with BK's stacker sauce instead of the creamy spicy one.


But all in all... crawl on out of the dog house, King. You can ride this review all the way back to the castle, because I'm giving you a B+. This spicy meat pocket (my nickname in HS) comes at a great price and its minor flaws could easily be covered up with a sour cream packet. Anybody hear ringing? Sounds like the Taco Bell death knell to me.

Review by Davos Sl33zworth


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

FGFB Recommended New York City Hot Spots a.k.a. the ManFatten Project



Now admittedly, I had grand designs to sample a bunch of pizza places being deemed as “the best” in NY and it’s boroughs, and do a comparison. This did not happen. There’s only so much heartburn and loose stools one man can take. Besides, in a city as large as New York, with all the hipster, ironic niche food shops opening up everywhere, I couldn’t limit myself to that much pizza: I passed a place called Pom Frites that only does French fries (with a ton of different toppings), right next to a place that only does crepes, right next to a place that only does bizarre ice cream, next to a place… you get the idea. First thing I MUST say is that New York pizza kinda sucks. Now, I’m not saying it’s AWFUL pizza across the board, but I’ve never had any that’s really blown me away. Obviously it’s impossible to try ALL the pizza places in NYC (half of them would shut down, and new ones open up, before you even got through the list). And I’m sure there’s someone reading this (fuming) going “Then you just haven’t gone to the right spots…” Perhaps you’re right. It is probably very likely that I’ve only been maneuvered towards mediocre pizza in NYC, and probably missed out on something amazing. But this isn’t meant to be a review of specialty pizza (special cooking process, artisan, bourgeois), I mean real, blue-collar, greasy pizza. Now if someone came to Boston, I’d have them try Regina Pizzeria or Pinocchio’s , and it’s very possible that if they went anywhere else, they could leave Boston with a (dare I say it) bad taste in their mouth (I did say it). Truth be told, in my opinion, the best pizza might be in New Haven, CT at Frank Pepe’s, at least for thin crust.

Ben’s Pizza

I was excited to try Ben’s Pizza because I heard Louie CK talk about it (and it’s where he’s eating pizza during the opening of his hit FX show)… and celebrities know more than us commoners, right? Plus, he’s originally from Boston-ish, so it’s possible he grew up with a similar pizza experience to myself. No, not at all.  My first impression of Ben’s Pizza was positive, it was nearly open-air, greasy little pizzeria (in a good way!). I liked that Ben’s is between a bunch of the comedy clubs, and lots of foot traffic around. They had a big selection of different pies out for slices to be sold, a couple tables. My favorite part was when this girl came in and asked what kind of salads they had. “No salads, just pizza.” Was the response. I’m not sure why that made me so happy. *They also do calzones, I feel is worth mentioning.


Being me, I grabbed a traditional NY Slice of pepperoni. I was not blown away. It’s good pizza, I don’t have a ton of criticism, but it all kind of is the same. Every place I’ve been to in NY, or purports as “NY Pizza” in other cities, it’s all the same. Pretty good, but forgettable.  It’s just pizza. Why do New Yorkers always go on and on about this pizza like it’s special? I don’t buy that “this is what I grew up with, it’s the best” nonsense. I grew up with plenty of pizza in my small hometown that is absolute garbage compared to pizza I’ve had in other places. If your taste buds are that out of whack, blow your brains out. But, Ben’s does offer a lot in the way of variety. They have typical stuff, like veggie, buffalo chicken, curry chicken?, and even a pizza that had pasta on top. So maybe my first impression is based upon poor choice of slice to represent?


HOWEVER, (this is the triumphant redemption of NY Pizza), New York City has one thing that does make them unique: the grandma slice.For those who don’t know, the Grandma Slice is square and thick like Sicilian style pizza (which I love more than traditional thin crust). It’s got that old-country look where the sauce and cheese aren’t necessarily in the same places, and it’s got a crispy yet doughy, buttery-garlicy crust. NOW THIS, I’ll get behind. In my travels, I’ve never come across any other region that does slices this way, and I can’t think of many Sicilian pies I’ve had that measure up to a Ben’s Grandma slice (one or two maybe). I think the Grandma slice is the slice to get at Ben’s (personally), and it was better than other Grandma slices I’d had. I liked it so much, I got 2 more slices the next night when I came back into the area for a comedy show.



The Bagel Store

NY does bagels better than anywhere else. 100%, there is no denying this. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but this is a fact. I can’t even think of EVER having a bad bagel anywhere. Not once. There may not be such thing as a bad bagel. But they’re just better in NY. Legend has it, it’s something about NY water. I’m not sure I believe that the rat-bath known as Brooklyn tap water has anything to do with it, but we’ll let them have their fun. In doing research for “the best bagels”, the Bagel Store didn’t even come up. Pretty crazy, considering that’s pretty much all they do. However, this place IS famous for it’s Rainbow Bagels. Hand-colored and spun, the rainbow bagels will make even the burliest man prance around with joy. They’re a spectacle. Luckily I went in when they were having a few minutes of a lull in the rush, so the helpful staff gave me some extra attention to answer all my questions (mostly “what’s that? Ooh what’s that?!”). What I didn’t expect was the crazy amount of cream cheeses they had… I mean stuff I didn’t even know existed. Sweet AND savory.  Not to mention other things like real COTTON CANDY.


I knew I had to get something wild here. I got the rainbow bagel with the oreo cream cheese. Yes. OREO cream cheese. Even to me, it felt a little too much. I thought “this is going to taste gross, too sweet.” God I was so wrong. It was incredibly complimentary, and I would eat it again in a heartbeat. The only thing disappointing here, was that their toaster was broken. Call me boring, I really can’t eat a bagel that isn’t toasted (and well toasted, at that). But I had to try this thing. And this is where greatness comes in. A good bagel would’ve caused me to say “Eh, it was okay, would’ve been better if it was toasted.” But this bagel was amazing, perfect taste, consistency everything… and then loaded with oreo cream cheese.


Just in case, as a back-up, I had also ordered a cinnamon raisin bagel with plain cream cheese (told you I’m boring, and set in my ways). This was also probably the best bagel I’ve ever had. They know what they’re doing, and the options/combinations are endless. Honestly, this is a sugarholics heaven. Cotton candy, funfetti cream cheese w/ extra cake sprinkles, and edible fairy dust? On a bagel? What, do they also own an insulin company? I was not bold enough to go all out, nor did I get to try a breakfast sandwich (no toaster), or one of their cragles (half bagel, half croissant). Next time, for sure I will.




DOUGH

Thank the sweet lord baby jesus I found this place. Most of the time donuts are somewhat disappointing, am I right? Sure if you get to Dunkin Donuts at a reasonable time (before 1pm?) they’re still pretty soft and fresh tasting, or at a supermarket you kind of get what you get. Krispee Crème (except for original glazed) are basically like the opposite of diabetic medication… overkill on that glaze, and Honey Dew donuts stink, I’d rather get supermarket donuts. And you Tim Horton’s people, don’t even start with me. So often I think to my fat-little-self that I miss that one bakery in my hometown that made fresh donuts every morning, big and sugary and delicious. Well, apparently the hipster’s are monitoring our hopes and dreams because there are plenty of these ironic, half-vegan, donut shoppes sprouting across our great nation.


I got to Dough about 2 minutes before closing time (9pm). They reluctantly let me in, and I could sense the silent mantra of “make this quick, asshole” broadcasting from the staff’s minds. This is not a criticism. What kind of IDIOT goes to spend good money on end-of-the-day donuts? I mean, they’ve got to be dry and crumbly by then, all the sugar will clump and flake off… it’s kind of pathetic to be that closing time donut customer. Well, until this night. I told them quickly the 3 types I wanted (to-go) to try. They hooked me up with 2 of each, I left grinning like an idiot mumbling “these are the nicest people I’ve ever met…”



The donuts are about $3 a piece, which sounds like a lot, until you hold one. Plus, that measly little croissant-donut at Dunkin’ is $2.50. At Dough, the donuts are huge, they are rich, they are unique. The first one I tried was a plain glazed. Perfection, even at closing time it was soft and doughy and the glaze was sticky and sweet as just out of the fryer. I couldn’t believe it. And I could only eat one. That’s never happened. Ever. I sort of have a 2 donut minimum. So I took the rest of my donuts back to my hotel room. Nothing sordid happened, but I did eat them out… of the box… in bed. Even the next day they were better than any day-old donut in existence. These were like perfectly preserved alien donuts. LITERALLY the best I’ve ever had, and I stand by this statement. So much so, that just before leaving NYC, I popped in for another $19 half dozen to take home with me. Best thing about being a fat guy? No one wanted to sit next to me, so my buddy (the box of donuts) and I got real comfy.



All the ones I tried were perfection: Plain Glazed, Cinnamon-Sugar, Dulce de Leche, and Nutella. The Nutella-filled donut is a work of art, eating it makes you feel like a French aristocrat having tea with high society… even if you’re headed home on a 5 hour bus ride, sucking the filling off your fat fingers. Which like a savage, I was. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the Boston Cream donut, but that’s not to say it wasn’t good. It was. But it was very unique to Dough, and not what I grew up with in New England.



Rocco’s Pasticceria (Honorable Mention)


I didn’t plan on writing about a place like this, or even really stopping to eat at one. But it was late on my last night in Manhattan, a friend of mine mentioned cheesecake, and within moments I was ferociously googling “best cheesecake in NYC” Most of the places that came up were closed, it being a Sunday night and all. But Rocco’s was listed, and it was open until midnight. Once you step inside, it’s overwhelming, the sheer amount of cases of pastries, cakes, cookies, biscotti, cannolis and then gelato. I almost got distracted from my main goal. Cheesecake. At Rocco’s, if you’re not getting your items to-go, you must be seated by a waiter and then order. The wait staff were friendly and let me choose my own spot, and very patient. I got straight up NY Cheesecake, despite the many options, and also one scoop (which was more like 2) of the espresso or coffee flavored gelato. All the food was great, the service was great, they didn’t rush me out, encouraging me to stay, digest a little etc. I thought this was a nice touch. I even grabbed a mini cannoli and mini éclair for the road. This place does all kinds of coffee and espresso drinks, as well as paninis, alongside their endless pastry options. Rocco’s is literally the perfect dessert spot.
 



Review by Dave James, who currently lives in Cambridge, MA not practicing his clarinet.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hold onto your butts! OREO is back with Key Lime Pie & Choco Chip flavors




Oreo please! Just RELAX! It's too much! These days it seems like there's a new flavor of Oreo out every few weeks. And with word on the wind of the fabled Swedish Fish Oreos, Fat Guy Food Bloggers around the globe are simultaneously begging you to stop, whilst pleading for more. So as we pump the breaks, and bring you this Jurassic sized 2 cookie review, (just kidding, my reviews are picture heavy and sparse with any real content) sit back, relax, breathe, and let my mouth do the tasting for you.


As the blog title suggests, I'm about to review Key Lime Pie Oreo, and the little less grammatically pleasing, Choco Chip Oreo. Let's sit down and get what you think would be the lesser of the two out of the way, Key Lime Pie.



Peeling back the top of this cookie bag, the room flooded with that sweet, limey thickness that can only really be described as... Key Lime Pie. I'm convinced Oreo should team up with Bath & Body Works, get their lead scent designers together to infuse Oreo scented body washes/scrubs/lotions/candles/whateverthefuck, and become the worlds most profitable company.



I'm enjoying this graham cracker cookie base they have here, it has a warmth to it that feels familiar, and then when the lime and....key?....come together, it delivers a slight tartness to the back of your mouth, and smooth creamy graham in the front. Overall pretty enjoyable, and a cookie that could easily become someones favorite. Mine?

You'll have to keep reading.

Up next: Choco Chip Oreos. This should be a no-brainer. Chocolate Chip Oreos? Of course they're going to be absolutely stellar.



The smell that exploded out of this package wasn't as identifiable as the KLP's. Right away it led me to believe there might be some oddness to what these cookies might taste like.



At first taste, I was unimpressed with these. And after much deliberation, the shop and I decided it tasted odd, not by so much of it's own design, but by the fact we had just eaten the Key Lime Pie Oreos, and with that flavor still overwhelming the taste buds, it threw off how these actually tasted. Cookie misdirection.


So with a fresh mouth, I revisited these guys, and came to the conclusion that these really shouldn't be named Choco Chip Oreo, but maybe Cookie Dough. They had that creaminess that you'd expect, but when all the elements of the cookie were together, it tasted a lot like premade chocolate chip cookie dough out of the tube, instead of a full blown cookie. It wasn't bad, but I think the hype machine that was my brain, made me think these cookies were going to be much different.

In the end, I think both of these had their charms. Key Lime Pie, much like Jeff Goldblum, ended up outperforming the other actor on stage, and forced me to change my ideas of what my cookie expectations in the future might be. While not bad, Choco Cookie Oreos ended up not giving a performance of note, and just kind of act as a placeholder until the cookie guys can figure out just how to bioengineer them properly.

I give Key Lime Pie Oreo a B+
and Choco Chip Oreo a C. 






Review by Josh

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Dunkin' Donuts Summer Update: Maple Sausage Breakfast Sandwich and Sweet Citrus Donuts!


Summer! It's that very special time of the year when our climate most closely resembles that of Hell. In Boston, [at the time of this writing] temps have been consistently in the mid-90s with 50-75% humidity. Some people don't mind it, personally, I can't stand it. I've lived in New England my whole life so I'll take Hoth over Tatooine any day. The constant swelter makes me uncomfortable, irritable, and constantly drained. (People from other parts of the US are probably thinking "Hey, that's how New Englanders always are!")




 Everybody's all sweaty, the beach is overcrowded, and any time-off from work approaches like the event horizon of a black hole. And frustratingly, at times, the heat can even make some of my favorite foods like burgers and pizza seem heavy or repulsive. That's a legit problem for a guy who writes for a blog that's mostly about junk food.



Well thank heavens the pride and joy of Massachusetts, Dunkin' Donuts, has a pretty good idea of what I'm going through. They've freshened up their menu with some summer snacks for people like me, so that we don't have to skip breakfast with our morning iced coffee. 

Here's what they came up with!


KEY LIME SQUARE DONUT

square plain donut with a lime jelly-like filling and topped with icing and graham cracker crumbles- sounds pretty good to me!




It's super sweet with mild tartness from the filling, which is a ringer for what you'd expect in a key lime pie. The crumble tastes like coffee cake, adding notes of cinnamon into the mix.



Not bad at all! Certainly a preferable alternative to, say, a Boston Creme on a hot day. It's probably just me, but the key lime filling gave me a real hankering for a margarita or six.

LEMON CROISSANT DONUT

I was excited about trying this one because I'm a big fan of Dunks' Glazed Croissant Donut. If you haven't had one before, it's mostly the textural differences that make it different from the regular glazed, but it delivers. One of my bucket list items is to take two and use them as cheeseburger buns. Yeah, I should probably keep that one towards the bottom of the list.



Huh. The graham cracker crumble is crashing this party, too. Graham cracker crumble, aren't you having your own party next door? What are you doing here? 


this looks like a school picture

A few bites leave this question unanswered. These cinnamon notes are kind of just hanging around, getting in the way of the excellent taste of the croissant donut and dulling the lemon flavor. On top of that, it makes the two flavors too similar. A shame.


LEMON POPPYSEED MUFFIN

Wow, I can't even remember the last time I had a muffin. On their own, they're just crumbly lumps of bread with sugar and little pieces of fruit added- like the Great Depression equivalent of a cupcake. Truly, the most bland and easily passed over offering in all of breakfastdom. 





The Lemon Poppyseed Muffin doesn't rock the boat, but it's really not bad either. Soft, even crumb, and well-balanced flavors. It fulfills it purpose as a light summer breakfast option, and that's pretty much all I can say about it. 


MAPLE SAUSAGE BREAKFAST SANDWICH

Wait, whaaat? Since when is maple a summer flavor? Don't mess with me, DD, this is definitely a fall flavor. 



Well, it doesn't matter because this sandwich was easily the best of all these offerings and I'd gladly have it any time of the year. 



I ordered mine on toast, which is a nod to my usual go-to at Dunks, the legendary Big N' Toasted. The maple flavor of the sausage tasted a bit artificial, and the sweetness lingered a little long, but those are nitpicky details. It's a delicious sandwich.

So to wrap it up, here's the report card.

LEMON POPPYSEED MUFFIN: B.
KEY LIME SQUARE: B.
LEMON CROISSANT DONUT: D.
MAPLE SAUSAGE BREAKFAST SANDWICH: A!

If any of these sound like they might tickle your fancy, I wouldn't wait around to try them. I was at the grocery store last week and they were putting Halloween candy on the shelves. In the business world, fall is just around the corner and soon it'll be pumpkin spice every-damn-thing-everywhere. You won't be able to take a shit without it smelling like pumpkin spice! So get all your summer treats while you can. And try to stay cool ;)

Review by sl33zy




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