Burger King Breakfast Revisited

For those of you who haven’t seen the strange pied-piper-style ads, Burger King has a revitalized breakfast menu. In the fall, I had the chance to preview the new breakfast at a PR event in New York.  It was one of the few times I’ve reviewed fast food under the nose of the executive chef and the chief marketing officer of a company.  They had hired a trained wait staff, and I’m certain that the cooks in the back were on their best behavior.  Though the waiters brought out regular, old BK food, it felt too controlled.  I wanted to see what these things would be like in the field, so I set out to try it again.

Burger King Breakfast

At the PR event, my favorite new item was the Mini Blueberry Biscuit.  In my last review, I raved about them: fluffy, light, hot, and packed with blueberry.  In the store, though, they disappointed me, arriving much sweeter and harder than I remembered.  There was even some kind of sugary, brown substance that had oozed out of the blueberry.  I found the Blueberry flavor I remembered, but not the fluffy buttermilk taste.

On the first pass, I didn’t like the Burger King Breakfast Ciabatta either: uninteresting aioli, so-so ham, bad tomatoes.  In the store, I liked it more.  The peppery aioli, ham, and egg were all better than I remembered.  I found the ham at the PR event slimy and green, but the ham in-store was edible and not too salty.  The egg cake was fresh, and the cheese was well melted.  Thought the tomato was still gross and the bun still too chewy, it appeared they had worked out a few kinks.

The biggest surprise came from the Pancakes.  At the PR event, I found them chewy and overly sweet, saying, “you have to put effort into cutting them.”  In the store, I had a completely different experience.  They smelled amazing, filling my nose with buttermilk; They tasted even better: light and fluffy like a pancake should be.  I almost felt like I was back at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House in Cape May, NJ.  Though the syrup was good, I felt like these pancakes deserved real Vermont maple.  They’re much better than the McDisks you get at the Golden Arches.  They are still fairly sweet, and you can almost eat them without syrup, but these were 500% better than what I had at the PR event.  Did I mention they were fluffy?

Last up was the Breakfast Bowl.  During the controlled event, I decided that the eggs were the stars of the show because they tasted like real, buffet style scrambled eggs.  Again, they were delicious and almost runny.  The sausage came nice and thick, the potatoes tasted light and peppery, and I found large chunks of green pepper in the bowl, as opposed to pepper skins at the PR event.  I was impressed the first time, and more impressed the second time.

Overall, I’d say the new BK Breakfast was 100% better.  I walked away from the restaurant feeling very disappointed because my blueberry mini was bad. Later, as I looked back over my notes and comparing them with my old notes an article, I realized that I had a completely different experience in the field.  The BK breakfast is really good, despite the weird advertising campaign with the suburban pied-piper.  Kudos to BK for a brave new menu!

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Regional Chain: Raising Cane’s

My obsession with regional chains began at Raising Cane’s.  On a trip to New Orleans, I saw one from the drive-thru line at the Frozen Daquiri chain.  I asked my friend what it was, to which he replied, “it’s a chicken finger joint.”

Chicken Fingers?

“Yea.  Chicken Fingers.  It’s really awesome.  You mean you’ve never been there?  We should go.”  Daquiri’s in hand, off we went in search of chicken in his grandparents’ Mercury.

Raising Cane’s

The first thing that hit me was the air conditioning.  It’s hard to live without in Louisiana.  The second thing that hit me was how new the restaurant seemed.  The decor felt modern, like a Skate Shop or Renovated loft.  It felt hip, not like a hangover from the 80′s, which is how many McDonald’s feel.  On an interior brick wall they had painted an enormous mural of their logo, Warhol-esque photographs hung on the wall, and pop music played on the speakers.  Much more compelling than any Burger King I’ve frequented.

So they nailed the concept.  How was the food?  Well, for a place that serves only chicken fingers, not bad.  Their crinkle cut fries reminded me of school lunches, but not in a bad way: crispy fry on the outside, light potato on the interior, and a proprietary dipping sauce, that most say is like ketchup, mayo, and Tony’s Creole Seasoning.  The fingers themselves were pretty good: meaty and crispy, with a good meat-to-breading ratio.  All too often, chicken fingers have too little chicken, too little fry, or too much of either.  They had the ratio down pat.

What struck me most, though, was the story of the founder, Todd Graves.  Printed on the wall inside the store was a short background on the chain.  Todd came up with the idea while at LSU.  He wrote up a business plan for a class he was taking and received a poor grade.  Undeterred, he and a friend worked jobs on oil rigs and Alaskan fishing vessels to make the money to open the first restaurant.  Today, this little Louisiana chain that could is now in over 10 states and has spread well beyond the South.

And I had never heard of it.

I knew there were other chains like it out there.  My hometown, Pittsburgh, had Primanti Brothers, a local favorite that few knew outside of Western PA.  I had only ever seen D’Angelo Sub Shops in New England.  Jeffrey Lebowski’s darling burger joint, In-and-Out, has yet to make an Eastern US debut.

Remember back to your first summer camp, or your freshman year of college, that first time away from home?  Remember meeting people from new places, and talking about what you had back home? “You put french fries on sandwiches?  That’s so weird!”  That’s what I’m trying to capture.

Stay tuned on Envie Recipes for more updates.

Regional Chain: D’angelo Subs

Long ago, I found that going to a grocery store on an empty stomach is a bad idea.  I buy too much because I’m hungry.  I used to live in Boston, and across the street from my favorite grocery store was a D’Angelo sub shop.  I got into the habit of grabbing a cheesesteak, or half of a cheesesteak, to calm my belly before purchasing groceries.

I grew fond of D’Angelo Subs.  Rarely outside of the New Jersey / Philadelphia area can one find a good cheesesteak.  Having grown up in Pennsylvania and gone to college in Jersey, cheesesteaks were close to my heart.  There were no cheesesteak shops in Boston, so D’Angelo had the market cornered.  But, their subs were delicious.

D'Angelo Subs

What’s so great about them?  For starters, they’re cooked to order on a grill, not pre-cooked and microwaved, like at Subway.  They cook the shaved steak with oil, grilled onions, and peppers, and then layer cheese onto the meat while it’s cooking.  They scrape the entire meaty, gooey pile onto a fresh-baked hoagie roll.  My cheesesteak pet peeve is when the cold cheese is placed inside the hoagie roll, and the steak is added on top.  The cheese often never melts, which ruins the experience.  D’Angelo offers gooey cheese with every sandwich.

My personal favorite is the Steak Bomb.  Genoa salami and capicola ham are added to the steak, and the toppings include peppers, onions, sauteed mushrooms, and melted provolone.  It can be very salty, so eaters beware.

My favorite cheesesteak from my youth was by Trip’s Steaks in Cape May, NJ.  Something about the melted cheese, the soft, flaky bread, and the cornmeal dusting was heaven to me.  But, D’angelos now vies for the top spot.  I’d call them my two favorite cheesesteaks, much to the chagrin of many Philadelphians.

New Englanders swear by D’Angelo and their parent company Papa Gino’s Pizza.  If you’re in Red Sox Territory sometime soon, I’d recommend trying one.

If you want to share your experience with D’Angelo, please reach us here.

Photobucket: A Hodgepodge

I’m trying to post with regularity, but I drew a blank on ideas for this week.  So, I decided to do a photo-melange of odds and ends to whet your appetites.

Here are some empanadas I had while on vacation in Argentina.  Simple and fast, they’re dough pockets with different fillings.  These had beef filling inside.

Chicken Mole I had in Santa Fe, NM, last year.  Delicious.

This picture I took on the hood of my car for the Double Down Showdown.  To sum the post up, the Double Down is awesome because it’s ridiculous.  The Doublicious is lame because it’s just a chicken sandwich.

Here are Dunkin’ Donuts’ Pancake Sausage Bites.  They were actually kinda good.  On SeriousEats.com, I called them “Morning Corndogs.”

If you stuck anywhere just contact us here.

Breville Panini Press Vs. Cuisinart Griddler: My top pick and why

Hey guys, I have recently talked a lot about stand mixers so let’s switch it up and today I am going to tell you guys about one of the most used appliances in my kitchen, the Panini Press.

There are a lot of options when you start looking to buy a Panini press for yourself which makes it confusing to decide which model is better and which brand would be more reliable.

Let me tell you that Breville and Cuisinart are the best brands for buying a Panini press and it’s not just me but my friends at homeguyd saying this too but how do you decide which one is best for you?

I have reviewed both the Breville Panini Press and the Cuisinart Griddler and here is what I found:

Clean Up

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes sometimes and burn our food by either forgetting all about it or overestimating the cooking time. Whatever the reason is, we are left with a charred mess in the end which we need to clean properly before we can use the Panini press again.

In this aspect, it is much easier to clean Cuisinart model than a Breville model because Cuisinart gives you the option of removable plates which can be then cleaned in a dishwasher while the same cannot be said for a Breville model.

Nonstick removable plates on my Cuisinart

For a Breville model, you would need to carefully wash the plates without being able to remove it and take care that other components don’t get water inside which turns into an arduous task. So, in the matters of cleaning, Cuisinart is the clear champion and will save you a lot of time.

Material used

Another important thing to consider when deciding between the two brands is that which provides you with a better construction and will last longer when used regularly.

The Breville model comes with a non-stick surface which lasts for a long time and doesn’t come off after a month or a year of usage whereas, the same cannot be said for a Cuisinart model.

A Cuisinart model will also include a non-stick surface but this is bound to come off after some time due to getting washed in the dishwasher or because you use a strong detergent to wash it. So, to protect the nonstick material I would advise you don’t dirty your Griddler too much.


Another factor to consider while making the choice between these two brands is that how versatile the two models are. As we already know, Breville comes with a non-removable plate and so we can only use that plate to perform all our cooking whereas, a Cuisinart can use several types of removable plates which allows you to perform various waffle or sandwich recipes with considerable ease. Just swap your plate with the desired configurations and you are all set to grill or press.

making waffles in my Cuisinart Panini Press

Consistent cooking

One of the most important factor when considering which model to buy is that which model provides you with a better-cooked food.

After a lot of tests and research, we found that a Breville provides you with an evenly cooked food whereas, a Cuisinart provides you with an unevenly cooked food as the top and the bottom plates provide different temperature to your food.


There is really not a better choice in between these two brands, it is all about what features are more important to you. Clearly, I am in favor of the Cuisinart as it is more versatile and saves me tons of time on cleaning but if you want consistently cooked food, then go for Breville.

If you have any doubts regarding the products, please contact us here.