A Hamburger Today
Burger King's New Breakfast Menu
It's no secret that I like Burger King. If you've read my previous columns you'll know I enjoyed BK's Fire-Grilled Ribs, which they offered for a limited time, as well as their Whiplash Whopper, and I picked the XT sandwich over McDonald's Angus burger. So when Burger King invited me to a preview of their new breakfast, I jumped at the chance.
The promotional event offered Burger King's new breakfast menu, which includes nine new items, four of which are actually coffee—Seattle's Best hot and three iced flavors: regular, mocha, vanilla. (True to press preview form, they set the tables with tablecloths and fine silverware, though the food was prepared in a normal BK kitchen.)
Before digging into the food, I tried a Seattle's Best mocha iced coffee. The mocha flavor was nice and strong with a very chocolaty aftertaste, but the coffee was too sweet and left a gummy taste in my mouth. Generally, I associate that sweetness with thickeners and syrups, and try to avoid it in my coffee. When I tried the hot coffee, on the other hand, it was aromatic with a good roasted flavor.
My favorite of all the new items, by far, were the BK Mini Blueberry Biscuits. Mine came hot out of the oven, and they were bursting with blueberry flavor. They were fluffy, and much lighter than a Bob Evans or KFC biscuit. I let them cool off before trying the second (they come in fours), and it was still good. As they cool, they don't harden too much. They're even tasty at room temperature—always a good biscuit test. They come with icing for dipping, which tastes just like the kind on Pillsbury Toaster Strudels. You can forgo it to save a few calories (the total package is 390 calories), but I didn't. These minis are only $1, and as far as I'm concerned, it may be the best sweet-tooth breakfast deal in town.
Next up were BK's new pancakes. The corporate chef at the tasting explained that they have a buttermilk base with added molasses to sweeten them for the North American palate. That sweetness sure was evident. Texture-wise, they were a little tough, and didn't just yield to the fork; you had to put a little effort into cutting them. They're chewier than IHOP pancakes, and weigh in at 670 calories (with a sausage patty). Bottom line: I wasn't too impressed.
The Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich (480 calories) contains ham, eggs, bacon, cheese, tomato, and a smoky tomato sauce on a whole-grain ciabatta roll. The ham tasted like deli ham, the tomatoes on mine were good (not pink and gritty), the spongy egg patty was fine, but the bacon was weak. The smoky tomato sauce tasted more like a sour peppercorn sauce than a sun-dried tomato aioli (what they said they were going for). The ciabatta bun was a bit chewy, but passable for fast-food.
There's so much on this sandwich, the contents almost slide out. That kind of overstuffing can be rare for fast-food (typically the bun dwarfs the contents). Plus, at $2.89, it tastes no worse than a Starbucks sandwich at half the price.
Burger King served us two current menu items at the breakfast, the Croissan'wich and the Breakfast Bowl. The Croissanwich (340 calories) has sausage, egg, and cheese on a flaky croissant. The egg comes in folded patty form; I found it a bit dry. The cheese was your run-of-the-mill American, melted nicely. The sausage had a bit of spice and the croissant, though heavy, was flaky and buttery. Honestly, I enjoyed it, and it's less of a caloric bomb than the Dunkin' Donuts version (690 calories).
On the BK website, the Breakfast Bowl (540 calories, $2.99) boasts "a fluffy egg, roasted potatoes and peppers, sizzling sausage, melt-y cheese, and smoky cheese sauce." In reality, the peppers are barely more than skins, and don't have much flavor. The potatoes were heavy and gluey, and weren't very appealing. The sausage is just a normal patty, and the cheese is standard shredded melted cheese, nothing special. But, the Bowl contains real eggs, not the standard egg patty. I found them fluffy and moist, with a lot of flavor. They tied the bowl together, and made it enjoyable.
Frankly, I was very impressed with the new menu overall, but this was not a field test; all products came in a controlled setting. But they showed a great deal of promise. I think a coffee and the Blueberry Muffin Minis could become my new fast-food breakfast staple. But how will all of this taste when it gets out in the field? Let us know if you've tried the breakfast for yourself.