Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Breakfast Sandwich #97 - McDonald's aka Again? Are You McFucking Kidding Me?

Sandwich: Egg McMuffin
Location: McDonald's (East Washington Ave.)
Date: July 22, 2017
Cost: $3.39

At this point you probably think I'm a corporate shill, bought and paid for by Big Sandwich to lobby for their interests on Capitol Hill or in some tiny, fetid backwater of the internet. I understand why you could think that. I reviewed McDonald's just over a month ago and if you're keeping track you know this is my FIFTH trip to a McDonald's, which is embarrassing.

Just read on and keep an open mind. McPlease. I'm just a McRegular guy reviewing McSandwiches of my own accord I would never let outside forces or McSponsorships stain my McIntegrity. I hope by now you would understand this. This has been a long journey and some of of you have been along for the entire ride so you know where I'm coming from.

What's important is to understand why I went back to McDonald's. The reasons are three-fold and they are intertwined and they are as follows.

#A) Convenience. That's right, McDonald's entire business model is built on convenience and that hooked me on this Saturday morning. I was out running errands and I wanted a fancy and delicious breakfast sandwich but didn't want to expend the time and effort to get such a thing. A quick and easy sandwich would sate my hunger and provide an opportunity for a review. See #B.

#B) A sense of obligation. If you think I take the readership here for granted, you are wrong. Any publisher will tell that it's important to provide regular content. You people are like sponges in the condiment aisle. You're sopping up the glorpy knowledge I'm throwing down. If I don't provide it, you'll go elsewhere. There are thousands of sandwich blogs you could be reading instead of this one.

#C) Completism. If you read review #95 you know I was shocked and disappointed that I had somehow neglected to review the all-time classic breakfast sandwich, the Egg McMuffin. This oversight had to be corrected before I hit sandwich #100. It was chasm in my research that called out to be filled.


Slightly defective muffin.

Not, you know, sexy looking.
The Sandwich - Egg McMuffin. At this point it's ubiquitous. It's the trunk of the breakfast sandwich family tree. All other breakfast sandwiches are indebted to the Egg McMuffin in some way.

After all this buildup I have to admit I was mostly disappointed with this sandwich. The overall texture was rubbery (not in a good way) and while it had less of a salty flavor than I thought it would, it didn't have much flavor at all. The muffin was toasty and had a light crunch and the cheese was melty, but those factors were not nearly enough to bring this sandwich into a positive light. 

There isn't much else to say about this sandwich. It was unimpressive and forgettable. 

The Result - 1.43 McFuck Its out of 5 McFuck Its. This sandwich moved from my Bucket List to my McFuck It List in the blink of an eye. It's hard out there for a sandwich, even a classic like the Egg McMuffin. The Egg McMuffin is surrounded by sandwich competition from within the golden arches, AND all the other fast food chains, AND all the coffee and donut shops, AND all these boutique sandwich joints sprouting up in every city. Somehow it has hung around all these years so it must have it's fans and supporters. Not this reporter.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Breakfast Sandwich #96 - Tavernakaya aka Nice Buns!

Sandwich: Egg & Cheese Brunch Buns
Location: Tavernakaya
Date: July 2, 2017
Cost: $12

I had never been to Tavernakaya. I hadn't even considered it as a possible location for a breakfast sandwich or bun, as it were. A mantou bun is not technically a sandwich, it depends on if you consider steamed buns to be bread. If you define bread as requiring baking then these buns aren't going to qualify. I don't know and don't much care. I'm getting fast and loose with the rules around here since I passed the benchmark of 52 sandwiches long ago and there have already been reviews of crepes and open-faced sandwiches. One day a review of a breakfast burrito will appear here and all manner of outrage will be flung in my general direction and it still won't matter a lick. So what.

When I sat down at Tavernakaya it felt like it had been months since I had had a breakfast sandwich at a proper restaurant. If you don't count the bullshit sandwich I had at Panera (I don't) you have to go back to May 28 to find a decent sandwich arepa. That isn't very long ago, but it felt like an eternity. That's what happens when you eat a breakfast sandwich while standing in a parking lot (#94) or sitting in a car (#95).

If I hadn't snapped this photo I'd be hard pressed to remember what was in these.

Three little pigs - chorizo, ham, bacon. Also, sometimes you order a greyhound and you're expecting white grapefruit juice but it comes with pink and if it weren't for your delicious sandwiches you'd probably be sad. 

The real reason I took this is to bring back the memory of the tactile sensation that is the squeezing of the bun. 
The Sandwiches (Buns) - This would have been a hell of a lot easier if I had ordered three of the same but that wasn't going to happen. First, let's be clear that I did NOT order the House-Smoked Tofu option. I'm sure it's delicious but that isn't how we do things around here. You know this.

I could, and may, go on at length about the mantou buns 馒头 alone. You've had them. You know how wonderful they feel in your fingers. These had the perfect amount of taut-squishiness that feels oh so right in your hands. A gentle squeeze yields to the pressure, and when you release a light imprint is left for just a split second and then the bun snaps back to it's original form. I could squeeze these buns all day. I may take some into work and have them at my desk instead of one of those stress relieving balls that nobody actually uses.

The eggs are scrambled on all of these. A runny egg wouldn't really work here and I'm not even going to hold that against them.

OK, let's get down to business.

House-Made Chorizo. The only previous chorizo based breakfast sandwich I reviewed was back in February of 2015. Is that possible? Maybe I missed one. This chorizo was excellent for this situation. Not too greasy or cinnamony, it was suited for these buns. At a taqueria I could see wanting a greasier version, but for these, it was perfect. The avocado crema gave this bun a cool viscosity and blended well with the eggs. Cilantro was a crucial touch on this one. I give it a 4.55 overall.

Nueske's Ham. You've heard me praise Nueske's Ham at length so I won't do it again here. It's always fantastic. Here is where my skills as a reviewer are exposed for the fraud that they are. At the time I thought they had mistakingly put the spicy mayo from the bacon bun on this bun, instead of the togarashi maple. They look the same in the photo above. When I tasted a pepper spice I thought that was what happened but now I'm sitting here with a search engine and I find that togarashi 唐辛子 is chili pepper. I think I got hung up on the spiciness and didn't take into account the subtle maple. At this point I can't be sure. What I can say is that this bun had a richness and heavenly salty flavor that was delightful and made this my favorite. I give it a solid 4.85 even though I didn't know the word for chili pepper in Mandarin or even Cantonese.

Bacon. This one had bacon on it, hence it's clever name. This was a solid bun but I feel it is included simply because they have to have a bacon version on the menu. People think of brunch, they think of bacon, here is that bacon. There was nothing wrong with this bun, the spicy mayo and scallions gave it that extra touch. Although it was my least favorite (one of them had to be) it's still a good 4.31 on the sandwich scale.

If I had to do this all over again and I were me I would order two of the Nueske's Ham and one of the Chorizo and I think I'd be happy as a pig in...a bun.

Finally, I feel compelled to comment on the house salad. It was very lightly dressed mixed greens and if you're up to speed on my reviews you know I appreciate these as a side during breakfast. I find them to be refreshing alternative to potatoes.

The Result(s) - 4.57 Bun Averages out of 5 Bun Averages. I did the math and that seems like a good rating. These buns were excellent. Nice buns! $12 might seem a touch expensive for these but you aren't going to get this level of quality for much less than that.

Monday, July 3, 2017

America Number One Fast Food Chain Restaurant Sandwich Roundup U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Tomorrow we celebrate the Independence of the United States of America and there is nothing more American than the fast-food restaurant. Chain restaurants are also something our nation can be proud of. After that it goes downhill quickly. What do we have besides incredible National Parks and National Football Leagues? I can't think of anything else. (Did you see that we have Citizenship Ceremonies in National Parks? I didn't know that. The cynic in me says that it won't last for long but for now I think it's pretty great.)

Do fast-food and chain restaurants represent our shared culture and uniquely American ideals, freedom and vision or are they symbols of our laziness, homogeny and dwindling intellect? All of those things, probably.

To celebrate our nation's birthday I have compiled a roundup of all the sandwiches I have reviewed that are available from sea to shining sea. As our nation increasingly slides into a languid mental torpor I offer the following as the perfect reading material for letting your frontal lobe morph into xanthan gum.

These are listed by review number, location, sandwich type and finally, the rating I gave the sandwich. They are ranked highest rating to lowest.

#25. Taco Bell AM Crunchwrap with Sausage - 3.75
#66. McDonald's Sausage, Egg Biscuit - 3.5
#68. Chik-fil-A Chicken, Egg & Cheese Bagel - 3.5
#71. Panera Sausage, Egg & Cheese - 3.5
#55. Taco Bell Breakfast Quesalupa with Sausage - 3.4
#95. McDonald's Sausage, Egg McMuffin - 3.09
#42. Subway Bacon, Egg and Cheese - 2.98
#37. Einstein Bagels Bacon & Cheddar on Green Chile Bagel - 2.95
#17. McDonald's Sausage, Egg McMuffin - 2.29
#27. Hardee's Grilled Cheese Breakfast Sandwich w/Sausage - 2.19
#83. McDonald's Sausage, Egg McGriddle - 2.06
#93. Panera Sausage Egg & Cheese - 2.0
#14. Cracker Barrel Egg Sandwich + Sausage Biscuit - 1.99
#30. Burger King Bacon, Sausage, Egg & Cheese - 1.974
#12. Sonic Breakfast Toaster with Bacon - 1.56
#63. Denny's Two Moons Over My Hammy - 1.56
#21. Dunkin' Donuts Bacon, Egg & Cheese on Bagel - 1.27

I skimmed the reviews as I compiled them and my general impression is that the top rated sandwiches are rated a little too high. Also, #83 and #30 are two of the better reviews. I'm not sure my opinion is valid but I'm sharing it anyway.

Review #30 is by far the most read review of those listed and is the second most read review of all time. That stat is a bit misleading as it was shared on Reddit which pushed its numbers up dramatically. #17 is a distant second in terms of fast-food readership. I don't know why that one is more widely read than some of the others.

I had no idea I'd eaten so many mass produced sandwiches and I don't know if it makes me feel dirty or like an All-American Hero. I do know that tomorrow I'm going to eat some bratwurst.