Monday, December 10, 2007

Your Breakfast Burrito Three-For-All!

In Los Angeles, they eat at Tommy's. In Chicago, I'm told it's White Castle. And, when I was in New York last June, my meal-after-drinking came from a street vendor at 4:00 AM.

I don't know if copious amounts of grease actually assist in alcohol absorption, but, for me, I've sworn by the breakfast burritos found in any one of San Diego's dozens of hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants. The best ones are big, two-hand torpedoes and are served wrapped in a tortilla that practically shines from the abundance of saturated fat.

As I get older, I find myself actually eating these portable coronaries…for breakfast. And, even worse, I've been patronizing the mainstream fast food industry for my faux Mexican fix. I am not proud of this. However, the dirty looks I get from my wife when I bring one home at 10:00 AM on a Sunday morning aren't nearly as piercing as the stink-eye she'd give me when I'd bring one home at 4:00 AM on a Sunday morning.

That's a miniscule six hour difference. Tsk…women.

McDonald's McSkillet Burrito

You've probably already been blitzed by the ad campaign. It was effective enough to get me to drive three exits south on the freeway and nearly 15 minutes in the opposite direction, while I was on my way to work last Saturday morning.

McDonald's take is a little unusual in that sausage is the featured ingredient (a patty is cut in half and laid end-to-end) while the amount of scramby egg is minimal. There are some thawed out n' heated red and green peppers mixed in with a three cheese blend that increases the grease factor, but don't really enhance the end product.

Points for the surprisingly smoky salsa and handful of fried potatoes within, but this one needed twice the amount of eggs. While it was perfectly edible, it still seemed more like a south-of-the-border sausage biscuit than a burrito.

Grade: 2.5 (out of 5)

Carl's Jr. Loaded Breakfast Burrito

Sorry, rest of the United States, but we're getting a wee regional here. "Loaded" isn't an empty exaggeration, as this one includes a mountain of eggs, along with diced sausage, bacon, ham, cheese, hash round/tater tot thingies, scallions and salsa. And, what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in girth. Cough.

The scallions are a subtle touch that brings out the rest of the flavors. Extra kudos for cramming in the crispy potatoes and three salted meats, which save the bland eggs from themselves, turning the whole thing into the earliest guilty pleasure around. And, for $4.00 you can get the burrito in a combo meal with (another) side of hash rounds. Giggedy.

Since I haven't had the pleasure of ingesting Hardee's Country Breakfast Burrito or the one that Sonic serves up down south, I can't call Carl's Jr's the best of the whole bunch, but it'll take a lot to top it.

Grade: 4

Jack in the Box's Sirloin Steak & Egg Burrito

For those that don't know – and, I'm not sure if they have franchises east of Rockies – JitB is arguably the third biggest burger brand out here in Cali. Lately, they've been trying to pass off "sirloin" as an impressive, high-class cut of meat in a new televised marketing plan.

As anyone who's ever eaten any part of the cow can tell you, sirloin isn't anything special. And, with that kind of lead in, the rest of this review could write itself. The steak in mine was chewy and bitter. Jack does its best to hide the microwave taste by slathering on the chipotle sauce, but that only makes the cow-flavored choking hazards within glide down your gullet.

Jack in the Box nearly went bankrupt in the early '90s after a highly-publicized series of E. coli deaths. They reinvented themselves in the aftermath with one of the most improbably successful ad campaigns in American history. That said…their "breakfast is the most important meal" spots are appropriately awful for this burrito.

Grade: 1

No comments: