Burger King: Proud to be Number 3 in Fast Food

It was announced last month that for the first time since opening their doors the fast food chain Wendy’s is surpassing Burger King in sales to become number 2 behind the raining champ McDonalds. There is a very clear reason for this and as a life long Burger King fan it saddens me to say it but Burger King quite frankly, you suck!

To be more specific your food sucks but it didn’t always. For most of my life the debate of “who is better, Burger King or McDonalds?” caused heated arguments with people on both sides. I was in the Burger King camp and would defend my Beef Lord the ends of the earth. Their burgers tasted better, they had onion rings, they had better marketing, and they where the home of the Whopper, one of the largest burgers a fast food chain had to offer. God I be loving me some BK in the day and just talking about this now makes me feel all nostalgic and I’m a little temped to hit up their drive thru for dinner but then I snap back to reality and know I will definitely drive right past BK on my way to Subway.

That’s right Burger King you have now forced me to eat Subway!

So how did Wendy’s beat you? Simply, because they care about their customers. Wendy’s has taken steps to improve the quality of their food. They’ve introduced new burgers and new cuts of bacon, redesigned their fries, and even went through the trouble of creating some good tasting salads for the health conscience on the go. They’re still far from perfect in my mind but I know from first hand experience that they are at least willing to listen to customers.

Burger King on the other hand just seems like they stopped caring. It’s like they know their quality is slipping and they don’t give a crap because number 3 is still pretty good. They think that the American people are conditioned into just scarfing down whatever swill fast food restaurants try passing off as food because it’s cheaper and easer than cooking. So no matter how bad their food gets people will still buy it because they’re dumb robots and fast food isn’t supposed to be that good to begin with.

This attitude is what has led the BK Chefs into a creative slump. Think about it, when was the last time Burger King introduced a truly new burger? All they do is slap some extra toppings on a Whopper and rename it. Double Whopper , Triple Whopper, Whopper Jr, California Whopper, Angry Whopper, Iny Whopper, Windows 7 Whopper (Japan Only), Veggie Whopper, Pizza Burger made of Whoppers and pizza toppings, Rodeo Whopper, and the Cheddar Salsa Whopper. They even had a Chicken Whopper and opened restaurants called BK Whopper Bars where you can put whatever toppings you want on your Whopper.

And what mind blowing concept are they coming out with that will win back their number two spot in 2012. They but bacon on a BK Topper. That’s it. Yes I would agree that adding bacon to any burger increases it’s awesomeness but not Burger King bacon. Time and time again I crawl back to Burger King like some kind of battered wife that still believes deep down he really loves me and time and time again I get slapped in the mouth with thin chewy flavorless strip of pink stuff they call bacon.

Burger King you really need to step up your game and start providing good food again before you lose us all. I’m still here Burger King waiting for you to show me you care but many have turned their backs for good. So please Burger King, give me a reason to stay. That’s all I ask.

Part 5: The Milk Shake Factory, or as some might call it Heaven.

Pittsburgh Chevy Burger and Shake Crawl 2011!

Sadly our day had to come to an end but luckily for us we had one more stop, The Milk Shake Factory. Located in Pittsburgh’s South Side this chocolatier/milk shake joint has been open for 97 years and is on its 4th generation of owners. After trying what they had to offer I can defiantly say, there is a reason they’ve been around so long, they know how to do it right.

They offer 55 flavors of milk shakes all with home made syrups, tons of home made chocolates, and their very reasonable prices aren’t going to bankrupt you. I have already made a vow on Bacon Live that me and Jason will not rest until we’ve tried all 55.

We were given the opportunity to sample three shakes. It was a hard choice but for me when I heard the words, “Cajun Chocolate” I knew that would be my first. Some people tend to steer clear of strange combinations when it comes to food but I’m always looking for the weird combo that blows my socks off and after taking a sip of the Cajun Chocolate I had to check to see if my socks were still there.

At first it tastes just like a real good creamy chocolate milk shake but as soon as you swallow your mouth is filled with the fire of the Cajun Bayou. For those of you that don’t handle heat very well, don’t worry it’s not that extreme but it is enough for you to want to immediately take another sip and get that cooling Chocolate. Then after that sip the heat hits you again so you take another sip, then another, then another. Next thing you know you’re out of milk shake and the only thing to do is order another one. I’ll take the Red Velvet please.

The Red Velvet Milk Shake has got to be one of the best shakes I have ever tried. It was creamy, had just the right amount of thickness to it, and tastes just like a big piece of Red Velvet cake. I’m not the only one that loved it because when they first introduced it they couldn’t even keep it in stock. Out of the all the shakes we tried there seemed to be an overall consensus that the Red Velvet shake was the best, and don’t worry about them running out, I have been assured that they taken care of their Red Velvet ice cream supply so they are always available.

There comes a time in a person’s life when they have to make a really hard decision and no matter how prepared you think you are when faced with the choice your mind goes blank and you start panicking. That is exactly what happened to me when faced with what my last flavor would be. Strawberry Banana, Classic Vanilla, Carrot Cake, they all sounded so good but I had to go with my inner child and select the Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake.

First thing I did was take a big whiff of the BP&J and was instantly transported to my childhood. It smelled like I just opened my lunch box and unwrapped the cellophane from the PB&J sandwich my mother made me. If the smell isn’t enough to send you back to better times the taste sure will. The flavor was a perfect blend of peanut butter, jelly, and ice cream with just the right amount of sweetness. The only complaint I had was that it was made with strawberry jelly and I’m a grape jelly kind of man, but I was pleased to find out they did in fact try it with grape but the flavor just didn’t work as well. So instead of making a subpar shake just to pander to grape lovers like myself they made the decision go with a quality flavor and I salute them for it.

Sadly it was time to leave but before we went we were treated with a chocolate sampler box. We got to pick any three pieces of chocolate that could fit in the box. I went with a Peanut Butter Melt Away, Raspberry Truffle, and Blackberry Cordial. This really was some of the best chocolates I’ve ever had and I now know where I’m going for all my candy needs.

Just for the record I spent the rest of the day running around like a three year old with ADD until my sugar high finally wore off.

Part 4: Lamb, Ostrich, Duck, Camaro, and Volt, oh my!

Pittsburgh Chevy Burger and Shake Crawl 2011!

Our next stop was at the Sharp Edge Bistro in Down Town Pittsburgh. The Sharp Edge is a small chain that focuses on higher end bar food and top notch beers. They have 5 locations in the Pittsburgh area but be careful because not all location offer the same menu. Three of them are Sharp Edge Pubs and the other two are Bistros. You can get yourself a burger and beer at any of them but the Pubs focus on beer offering a large selection while Bistros will give you a larger food menu.

We were led up to a private dinning room where we would be served an assortment of sliders. Now I don’t know how the other bloggers felt but honestly I felt a little uncomfortable. For some reason no one was talking. The food was brought out and we ate in almost complete silence. I’m not sure what caused this anomaly because everyone was very chatty at the last place, but for some reason the mood had changed. Atmosphere aside lets get on to the food.

First thing they brought out were the fries and man were they good. They were twice fried s they had that nice snap to them. I don’t know why more restaurants don’t take the time to twice fry their French fries. It’s not like it’s that time consuming and the end result is awesome. Now throw a little cheese and bacon onto these and you got yourself a show stopper.

The first burger brought out was the Belgium Burger. This was made with lamb meat and bacon ground right into the mix. Although the bacon flavor was almost not there at all it did a good job of making the burger juicy. When it comes to the overall flavor of the burger I would say it was the best out of the ones they offered us but was still a bit off and I’m not sure I would order it. I haven’t really eaten too much lamb outside of a gyro so that might have been what was throwing me off.

Then next burger was the Ostrich burger. Ostrich is one of those meats that you don’t see at your run of the mill burger joints but it is gaining in popularity with the health conscience because of its leanness. The down side to a lean meat burger is that juiciness we all associate with a good burger isn’t there. To give the people a little of what they want Sharp Edge mix makes the burger from a 50/50 mix of Ostrich and Beef. I understand the need to mix the meat but I would have preferred maybe a 80/20 mix because all I could taste was beef and some spice that I wasn’t able to place that really didn’t agree with me.

It was now time for another bird burger and this time it was going to be Duck. I really like duck but outside of Chinese restaurants it’s kind of hard to find on a menu. When we were told that this is one of their most popular burgers I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth in. Once again the burger was a 50/50 mix of duck and beef and once again all I could taste was beef and that weird spice. I think they would be better off just abandoning the whole duck burger thing and instead offer a duck sandwich with a nice big slice of duck and while were at why not throw some bacon on it.

After talking about some crazy burgers it seems only fitting to bring up some of the more crazy Chevy rides we saw that day. First off we have the Camaro. What can be said about this thing besides it looks good, its fast, and you look good driving it. That’s why people buy Camaros. No one is buying it for its fuel economy; this thing is built for speed.

Now I have a love hate relationship when it comes to sports cars. I like they way they look and I love driving fast but the problem I have is they are never built for me. I’m a big guy and pretty much ever sports car I had the honor of sitting in feels like a big go-cart to me. Maybe one day Chevy will come out the Camaro XL, with extra wide seats and giant cup holders.

Speaking of cars too small for me, check out the Volt, this thing looks about the size of my shoe. Unfortunately even though the Volt was there it wasn’t going to make the crawl with us and that’s was kind of a bummer because I’ve never rode in or drove an electric car before and I really wanted to see how it handled.

The cool thing about the Volt is Chevy took into consideration one of the biggest downsides to electric cars, the fact they only go around 40 miles per charge, and fixed the problem by also giving it a gas engine. Before the only people that would even consider buying an electric car were people that had enough money to get 2 cars, one for long trips and one just for commuting. Now you only have to buy one and you can cheaply make your daily commute and if you want to drive across country you can just use the gas tank.

There is one more stop on this crawl and it’s going to be a sweet one. Check back for Part 5: The Milk Shake Factory, or as some might call it Heaven.

Bacon Knight’s Preview Review: The Smurfs

The Smurfs
Rated PG
Staring: Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Winters, Hank Azaria
Release Date: July 29th 2011

Well it’s once again time for Hollywood to rip out your heart and take a big dump in the wound with the release of The Smurfs. It’s a typical day in the village, everyone is just smurfing around until they are discovered by the evil wizard Voldemort… or I mean Gargamel. Gargamel can’t contain his bigotry anymore, so he dawns his large flowing robe and chases those blue people out of there homes. While running for their smurfing lives a few of the Smurfs take a wrong turn and get sent through a portal to New York City where they meet up with Doogie Howser MD and precede to do all kinds of cute disruptive things that cramp Doogie’s style. Unfortunately not even in this brave new word can the Smurfs hide from the Gargamel’s racist rage. The wizard follows them to New York to continue his genocide.

I have so many problems with this movie I don’t know where to begin. It seems that every time some studio signs a dealt to get the film rights to a popular cartoon or TV show it also comes with a mountain of crack that contractually must be smoked before working on the script. Then when the writer is at the appropriate level of tripping balls he decides the best course of action is to change everything that made the show popular to begin with.

For some reason Hollywood doesn’t think stories based on cartoons can work unless those characters are placed in our world. That is exactly what their doing with the Smurfs and it never ever works. I don’t want to see the Smurfs running around our world trying to figure out how toothpaste tubes or light switches work; I want to see them in their own smurfing world, going on adventures. They would never try to pull that shit when adapting something like the Lincoln Lawyer but when it comes to the Smurfs, Fat Albert, Mario Brothers, and Masters of the Universe they think it’s ok.

This is exactly why every time Hollywood makes movies based on something from our childhoods we cringe at the thought of it. These filmmakers are truly not fans of the creations they are currently butchering because any person that has ever seen the cartoon even once knows this is a bad idea. Then if setting this thing in New York isn’t bad enough they decided to create a couple new Smurfs for the movie. That’s right I guess the hundred or so Smurfs that appeared in the comic and TV show just weren’t good enough to use and we needed two new ones. All those Smurfs you love will now be joined by Gusty Smurf, a kilt wearing Scottish stereotype voiced by Alan Cumming and Panicky Smurf that as you can guess panics a lot.

Just when I think things can’t get any worse I hit up IMDB and find out that George Lopez is in this thing doing the voice of Grouchy Smurf. Seriously ever time I turn around that no talent kidney stealing womanizer is in another kids movie. When it comes to kids movies would it kill the movie industry to hire an actor that’s not a big piece of shit. And while were on this topic what’s the deal with hiring miss “I run around half naked all the time, singing songs about being probed” Katy Perry to voice the wholesome Smurfette. Maybe director Raja Gosnell has some kind of weird Smurfette fetish.

Overall I think this movie will be horrible and I don’t want to see it at all but that’s not going to stop it from making money. Kids will watch literally anything as long as there is some kind of cartoon element and funny voices and the parents are just glad they can take them to a movie they might actually pay attention to.

I’m giving The Smurfs a Preview Review of 1 Rascals out of 5

Part 3: Salmon Burger, Dark Chocolate Shake, and the Cruze

Pittsburgh Chevy Burger and Shake Crawl 2011

As one of Pittsburgh’s top burger places, BrGr has really impressed us with their first couple burgers and now it was time to try the “healthier than beef” Salmon burger.

The Salmon burger was 6ozs of wild king salmon, cucumber tomato relish, and apple wood smoked bacon (finally)! I very much like a good piece of salmon but usually I eat it as a grilled filet or smoked. I have had it in burger form from time to time and it always leaves me kind of disappointed and sadly BrGr’s did as well.

Don’t get me wrong the Salmon burger was good and if you’re a fan of fish pressed into patties then you will probably love it. I just have a hard time excepting burgers not made out of red meat. I would have preferred just eating it on a plate with a fork and knife but that’s just me.

The bacon was pretty good; it was crisp and big and had a good apple wood flavor to it. The only down side I found was, like always I would have like to see more bacon on the burger but I guess the salmon burgers real appeal is to the health conscience and the more bacon you put on it the less those health nuts want it.

Then they brought out the Dark Chocolate shake. The description of this shake said it was Dark Chocolate ice cream and milk cause that’s all you need. I’m not a big dark chocolate person but I have to admit this was pretty darn good. It amazes me sometimes how such a simple recipe can be so good and that shows me that the chef really knows what they’re doing by not overcomplicating things just to make it sound good.

That was it for the tasting a BrGr and it was time for us to “Cruze” on to our next location. Unfortunately I didn’t get an opportunity to ride in the Cruze but after looking at it, it reminds me of a Dodge Neon. This is the first year for the Cruze as it replaces the Cobalt in the Chevy lineup.

From what I gathered the car is meant to be a gas saver at an affordable price starting around $16,000. To me it just looks like your average little car and honestly wasn’t that impressive. Maybe if I had got a chance to ride in it I might change my tune but I thought out of all the cars Chevy brought this one was least exciting.

There is still a lot more to come as we head downtown to the Sharp Edge Bistro for Part 4: Lamb, Ostrich, Duck, Camaro, and Volt, oh my.

Part 2: Shroom Burger, Salty Carmel Shake, and the Equinox

Pittsburgh Chevy Burger and Shake Crawl 2011

Continuing on with the tasting at one of Pittsburgh’s top burger places, BrGr it was time for the Shroom Burger. Once again they brought out a tray of burgers all sliced in quarters for us each to have a little taste. I was particularly excited to try this one because even though there was once again no bacon to be found it had mushrooms, and I love mushrooms.

Pilled high with shrooms and onions this is what a mushroom burger should be. Too many times have I tried a mushroom burger only to be disappointed that the shroom flavor was lost but I’m glad to report that this was not the case. The beef, onions, and mushroom flavors were blended together seamlessly and instead of one flavor being the star this was definitely a team event. I’m even going to go out on limb here and say this was one of the best mushroom burgers I have ever had the pleasure of eating and I will be returning to BrGr so I can devour a whole one.

To wash it down we got some Salty Caramel milk shakes. At first glance it looked just like a normal vanilla milk shake with a little squirt of caramel in it but at first taste I knew it was a little more complex than that.

When most people here the word salt associated with something that should be sweet they immediately think it’s going to be bad. I see this all the time when it comes to things like chocolate covered bacon. People that have never tried it can’t seem to wrap their heads around how well savory salt and sweet sugar go together but upon tasting it their minds become open to all kinds of possibilities.

Salt and caramel work together so well there is even a very popular candy that works of this premise, Sugar Daddy, and that’s what this shake reminded me of. It was like having a Sugar Daddy without all that annoying caramel getting stuck in your teeth.

Speaking of thinks that are sweet, let’s talk about the Equinox. The Equinox is a smaller SUV but don’t let that fool you. It has some of the largest leg room in the business. It can easily handle multiple passengers over six feet tall and as mid size SUVs go it comes out on top in the gas mileage department with 32 MPG for highway driving.

One of the first things you will notice when you’re driving down the road is actually something you can’t notice at all, and that’s outside noise. The Equinox has one of the quietus rides thanks to the Active Noise Cancelation technology that comes standard on the Equinox. It’s equipped with microphones and subwoofers that can detect repetitive sounds, like the sound your tires make on the road, and then outputs the opposite frequency therefore canceling out the noise so you hear nothing. I would say the Equinox is worth the price tag coming in at around 24 thousand.

Still to come, BrGr has one more burger shake combo to go. So come on back for Part 3: Salmon Burger, Dark Chocolate Shake, and The Cruze (teaser, one of these things comes with bacon. Can you guess which one?)

Part 1: The Button Buster, The King, and The Tahoe

Pittsburgh Chevy Burger and Shake Crawl 2011

The first place we went to was BrGr. The restaurant isn’t even a year old, yet has gained a reputation for having some of the best burgers in the burgh. This was my first time eating here and I wasn’t all that sure what to expect. I knew we would be getting burgers but what kind?

We went up to the top floor that has was a nice open rooftop dinning area. We all took our seats and in front of us were small cards giving the description of the food we were about to eat. I thought that was a nice touch. Instead of having someone stand there and explain what we were eating we could just look at the card. It made the tasting go along a little smoother. It turned out we would be trying three burgers and three milk shakes!

The first thing they brought out to wet our appetites were the classic burger accompaniment French fries and the growing in popularity fried pickles. The fries were good but the pickles were amazing. They had a nice crisp outside and that warm dill goodness in the middle. I would have been happy just eating them all day.

Then they brought out the first burger. Since their burgers are so big they decided to cut them in quarters for us to try. This was good because we did have a lot of food to try but also kind of sad because I’m not the type of man that likes only eating a quarter of a burger.

The burger was called the Button Buster. It was topped with braised beef short ribs, white cheddar cheese, and crispy onions. It came cooked medium and in my option that is the most you should cook a good burger. If you’re one of those people that like your burgers cooked well done then you’re in luck because McDonalds is always right down the street.

The burger was almost perfect. The beef flavor popped and the onions added that extra kick needed to make this one of the best burgers of the day. My only complaint was, where’s the bacon? This thing is crying out to be dawned with crispy swine but sadly I guess not everything can have bacon on it but I’m sure if you wanted to add some they would gladly do it for you.

To wash down the Button Buster we were giving a spiked milk shake called, The King. The King is the type of milk shake Elvis would have drank and that’s where it gets its namesake. It was made with banana liquor, rum, home made peanut butter sauce, local vanilla bean ice cream, and a small peanut butter cookie floating in the middle.

This was my first time ever drinking a spiked milk shake and let me tell you this thing is dangerous. The ice cream covers up any harsh burn you would get from the alcohol and if you didn’t tell me there was booze in there I would have never known. I thought about trying to recreate this treat at my house but with my lack of self control I’m not sure I would survive. Once again I think bacon would have made a nice addition to the shake in true gluttonous Elvis fashion.

We were then giving the opportunity to ride in some of Chevy’s new whips, as the kids call them. I’m a big guy so I immediately took a seat in the largest vehicle they brought, the Tahoe. Just sitting in this jet black SUV made me feel like some kind of drug kingpin. I kept wanting to roll down the window and stair at people on the street then give them a little “that’s right” head nod and slowly put the window back up.

The Tahoe was pretty big on the inside and I had plenty of leg space but one of the cooler features of the SUV was that it was a hybrid. It was powered by electric and gas to give it an average miles per gallon of 21 and that’s pretty good for this size of vehicle.

It was also tricked out with some cool features like GPS, XM Radio, Onstar, back up camera, DVD player, and a display showing you exactly when it’s powering the car by gas or battery. It had a very smooth and quite ride and this is just the type of SUV that would be good for a soccer mom or an outdoorsman.

Check back for Part 2 when I get the second round of burgers and shakes at BrGr and we take a look at the Chevy Equinox.