Friday, August 7, 2009

TBG Eats: Jack in the Box's NEW Chorizo Sausage Breakfast Burrito


Current Weight: 166.6 lbs.

For those of you who might not know…
chorizo sausage is kind of a big deal here in Southern California. However, since I was raised in an African-American household, the only sausages I ever knew were hot links, Brown n' Serve and "McMuffin".

My first chorizo experience did not go well. I was part of the contracts department for a sheet metal manufacturer and at work one lonely Saturday morning. The company was out in El Cajon – a city about 15 minutes east of San Diego and 150 years south of civilization.

Since this was before Mrs. Bootleg, Little Boy Bootleg and the systematic collapse of my health and spirit, it's safe to say I'd spent the previous evening out too late and drinking too much. At 8:00 AM in the 1999 version of rural El Cajon, the only breakfast option was waiting for the Boston Market – conveniently located across the street from, get this, Wherehouse Music – to open at 10:30 AM.

I concede my predicament does NOT justify the fateful choice I made on this day.

With its familiar horn and pleasant personnel, our resident
roach coach pulled into my employer's parking lot. To this point, I'd never eaten anything off of it. In fact, one of my co-workers and I would walk out every morning and marvel/recoil at the pre-prepared freak show food like the hamburger topped with sliced hot dog, bell peppers and Cheez Whiz or the bacon-wrapped corn dog with a side of syrup.

On this morning, I threw caution – and common sense – to the wind and lifted the lid to a steam-filled case containing a half-dozen or so grab-and-go burritos. I pushed aside the familiar carne asada and carnitas until coming across: "CHORIZO (SAUSAGE)" written on the foil in big, black letters.

With one bite, it was obvious that I'd mistakenly received the "CHORIZO (CAT'S ASS)" burrito, instead. It tasted like spoiled meat. If I'd taken just two seconds to assess my meal before diving in, I would've noticed it smelled like spoiled meat. And, after examining the insides, it looked like spoiled meat, too.

For years, I assumed that this was how all chorizo tasted, so I avoided it like vegetables.

I relayed this experience to one of Mrs. Bootleg girlfriends – who just happens to be of Hispanic descent – and she swore up and down that whatever was wrapped within that flour tortilla 10 years ago was NOT chorizo. To this day, I'm not sure if I should be relieved or frightened about that.

But, I wasn't going back to chorizo until it was from a source I could trust. And, like the rest of America, when I want authentic Mexican fare…I want Jack in the Box.

JitB first introduced the Chorizo Sausage Breakfast Burrito on a regional basis. But, earlier this month, it went nationwide. It's filled with hash brown sticks, scrambled eggs, crumbled chorizo sausage, cheddar cheese sauce and a side of salsa.

Unfortunately, what sounds like an amazing – albeit ersatz – Mexican meal is ultimately undone by not featuring the one thing I wanted to taste most: chorizo. The eggs overpower everything else inside with an artificial, defrosted taste. The hash brown sticks are deliciously crispy, but unnecessary, while the sauce is bland and ineffectual.

There wasn't much chorizo in mine and what was there didn't have the spice, texture or taste that reminded me of anything close to what everyone else says chorizo should be. This wasn't awful, just inoffensive and forgettable. Perhaps that's faint praise considering it's the roach coach one that I'll remember more.

Grade: 2.5 (out of 5) Calories: 697, Fat: 38g

3 comments:

Isaac said...

Too bad. I'm hispanic and a chef and all I can say is chorizo is God's food. Maybe one day you will be able to enjoy it in all its glory.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Dammit. With hyperbole like that, I see I'm going to have to dedicate the rest of my weekend to finding good chorizo.

Sorry, Mrs. Bootleg.

Tom said...

Oh you adorable westerners and your chain breakfast sandwiches.