Sunday, October 24, 2010

TBG Eats: The NEW BK Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich from Burger King

Current Weight: 169.4 lbs.

This past May marked the 15-year anniversary of my first (and last) date with a young woman I'd met during an evening of bar-hopping throughout Los Angeles.

Even though I wasn't making much money at the time, we went to a pretentious seafood restaurant on the beach. There was an ocean view, valet parking and -- unlike the seafood eateries I grew up with -- one of the cross-streets wasn't Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Unfortunately, the evening fell apart in rapid fashion.

I didn't mind all the time my date spent fiddling with her mid-1990s cell phone/cinder block. I was mildly bemused when she put sugar in her wine. And, by the time she made a scene in front of our server regarding the concept of "a la carte", I was pretty sure this was the last I'd see of her.

Of all the things, though, it was actually her palate that annoyed me most.

She sent back three separate side dishes after a single bite, each time with a more demonstrative display than the last. Having grown up poorer than most of my peers, the thought of rejecting any food seemed downright rude to me -- whether it deserved to be discarded or not. My date's dictatorial attitude towards the servers was just additional ammunition for my opinion.

After moving to San Diego, I met the future Mrs. Bootleg.

Like me, she wasn't exactly raised in affluence, but like my date from the aforementioned ill-fated evening, she can be pretty particular about her food. The difference is that my wife's capable of endearing herself to anyone on Earth. Friends, family, co-workers, cashiers, doesn't matter. No one seems annoyed by any of her specific preferences.

Her steak MUST be at least medium-well. She'll eat around any pink she sees and leave the remains for me. If we're dining at an especially nice steakhouse, I'm practically rooting for a screw-up (or, as I call it, "dessert steak").

And, Mrs. Bootleg's standards remain the same, regardless of the restaurant's quality. When we first met, one of her guiltiest pleasures was McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. And, the ONLY way she'd eat them is with honey. Not honey-mustard, not sweet and sour, not barbecue sauce and not plain...only with honey. I've seen her drive all the way back when it was inadvertently omitted from her drive-thru order, y'all.
For these!

She saves her most specific ordering for breakfast. Mrs. Bootleg rarely deviates from her usual order, but I always get a kick out of the emphasis she applies to all the adjectives:

"I'll have a SHORT stack with a side of SCRAMBLED eggs -- scrambled HARD -- and bacon that's not too CRISP and not too SOFT."

I know it sounds like my wife would be a difficult customer, but invariably her order comes up just as she asked. Most of the time, Mrs. Bootleg and the server are on a first name basis before the check comes with both of them laughing at my wife's explicit breakfast preparation instructions.

My own food and drink caveats are pretty limited. Let's see...there's my Starbucks one ("Grande Pike, no room."); there's my cocktail one ("Manhattan, on the rocks, no cherry."); there's my casual dining restaurant one ("1,200-calorie entree salad, dressing on the side.") and my pizza and burgers blue-collar catch-all ("Oooh, can I get that with avocado?")

I certainly wouldn't expect my limited food preparation preferences to be tested by Burger King. Fast food expectations were established centuries ago. This is why we rightfully mock those who walk to the counter and inanely ask, "How big is a large?" and "What's on a Whopper?" Besides, BK is in the middle of a big marketing push for their new expanded breakfast menu that positions the "most important meal of the day" as "man food".

Nonsensical? Perhaps, but it hits all the basic notes of TV advertisements (identify your audience, make the message memorable -- good or bad -- and some good ol' objectification laced with two double entendres). In fact, I was so appalled by the transparent sexuality that I waited until last week to try BK's new Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich. From Burger King's website:

Ciabatta made with whole grain surrounds smoky ham, crispy bacon, fresh tomatoes, melted cheese, and rich, smoky tomato sauce on a bed of fluffy eggs.

This is a good-sized sandwich that doesn't bear much resemblance to the version in the BK ad copy, but still dwarfs your run-of-the-mill McMuffins and breakfast biscuits. It can't, however, escape a myriad of taste and texture limitations.

Two kinds of cured pork should, by themselves, be enough for an easy "3" score, but the ham is paper-thin and obviously a cheap deli-style knockoff. The bacon might've once been "crisp", but BK ladles on so much smoky, creamy tomato sauce that all the ingredients become saturated underneath this oddly-sweet, off-tasting spread. The whole tomato slices seemed especially out of place, for some reason, while the eggs and cheese did nothing to save this sandwich.

The ciabatta bread itself was actually the most disappointing aspect. It's made with whole grain and the overwhelming wheat flavor was unappetizing for an avowed white bread aficionado like myself. Additionally, the bread appears to be toasted around the edges, but the consistency is soft and almost uncooked.

Foiled by my own food preference? It would appear so.

Grade: 1.5 (out of 5) Calories: 480 Fat: 23g


Tom said...

She'll eat around any pink she sees and leave the remains for me. If we're dining at an especially nice steakhouse, I'm practically rooting for a screw-up (or, as I call it, "dessert steak").

I have the same... um... "problem". It's truly an extra win.

Aaron C. said...

Y'know...I need to check the ONYL archives, because I think I might've inadvertantly stolen "dessert steak" from you.

Retroactive H/T, if I did :)