White Castle's Sausage, Egg, Cheese on Slider Bun ($2.25)
The sausage is well-salted, but not in a whoa, settle down, kind of way. The bacon had the right crispity-pliant balance.
Our only complaint? The buns. They could have been toasted and buttered, but then again, we gobbled it down too fast to care.
White Castle's Sausage, Egg, Cheese on Wheat Bread ($2.25)
So you still win, White Castle.
Wawa's Ham and Cheese Ciabatta Melt ($4.29)
There's as much meat in there as in the regular non-breakfast hoagies! And the eggs taste so eggy. Cheese is melted into the scramble, as well as on top. Judging by all the signage hype in the store, this is Wawa's signature breakfast sandwich.
McDonald's Sausage Egg McMuffin ($1.89)
Starbucks's Sausage, Egg, Cheddar, on English Muffin ($3.63)
The sage-y sausage doesn't taste overly processed, the cheddar melted nicely, and the muffin has good and crispy nooks and crannies.
Note: Starbucks's egg loaf-thing can be inconsistent. On one it was fluffy with mini air pockets, the other was like a block of tofu.
Panera's Bacon, Egg, Cheese on a Bagel ($3.69)
If you like your breakfast sandwiches more like a grilled cheese with a side of breakfast, than here you go. We all agreed we'd buy it.
Cosi's Squagel with Bacon, Egg, Cheddar, and Tomato ($3.49)
Note: these are both normal bagel issues too. Most of us agreed that, structurally, the squagel had potential, but tasted bland. Next time we want to try the Everything squagel. The sandwich also comes with a tomato which, odds are, will be soggy and pink, so skip that part. But the bacon had good flavor.
Starbucks's Ham, Egg Frittata, Cheddar on Artisan Roll ($3.54)
"The only one I'd buy," said one taster after trying five from Panera and Cosi. The egg is where Starbucks loses, though.
They just had to go and use one of those pre-cooked egg loaf-things (here we go again). Though it had a nice hit of salt and pepper, and a good fluffy texture, it's still an egg loaf (sad face). Man, would this sandwich be good with a real, just-cooked egg. But we'd probably still buy it.
Starbucks's Bacon, Egg Frittata, and Cheddar on Artisan Roll ($3.54)
McDonald's McGriddle with Bacon, Egg, Cheese ($3.82)
Meat aside, there's something about using pancakes as the sandwich buns that's just a big yay. They taste syrup-drenched but not soggy. And you know when you're at McDonalds ordering your breakfast sandwich, but look over and see someone with the pancakes? And you kind of want both? The McGriddle answers all of your prayers. Plus it factors in the genius salty-sweet duo.
Dunkin' Donuts's Sausage, Egg, Cheese on Croissant ($2.79)
Panera's Whole Grain Breakfast Power Sandwich ($3.89)
Jack in the Box's Supreme Croissant ($2.59)
[Photograph: Jon Liu]
Wawa's Shorti Philly Steak and Cheese Breakfast Hoagie ($4.29)
The meat and bread weren't much to write home about. The overly soft roll seemed a little weak for such a jam-packed sandwich, especially when you're in walking distance of a real cheesesteak stand. But not bad.
Breakfast cheesesteaks aren't unheard of at Philadelphia's many food carts and this was as good as most of those.
[Photograph: Hawk Krall]
Dunkin' Donuts Egg White Flatbread ($4.05)
If you eat them within three minutes of their appearance from the reheating oven—which is the only time they should be eaten—the flatbread is pliant and wholesome-tasting and just a little crispy, the cheese is totally melted, and the turkey sausage egg patty is... well, if not particularly eggy, then salty and moist and reasonably tasty. (Wait ten minutes and you have cardboard flanking a cold salty sponge.)
But more to the point, I like the things because the calorie-to-satiety ratio is far and away better than that of most fast food. Most other breakfast sandwiches out there run you double the calories and aren't much more satisfying. For four bucks and under three hundred calories, I get a sizable, melty cheese sandwich that fills me up and keeps me going. Is this healthy in any context other than the fast food? Of course not. But if I'm in a place with unfamiliar food options, or in a food court, or in a Manhattan food dead zone in need of a protein fix, fast, I can rely on Dunkin'.