Review – The Impossible Whopper (with cheese) and other assorted Burger King products

The Impossible Whopper (with cheese) – I tried an Impossible Burger, one of two competing “game-changing” vegetarian burgers, for the first time a few months ago at Red Robin and found it to be entirely better than the more common Beyond Burger, as available at Carl’s Jr and supermarkets. The Beyond Burger tastes like meat – not necessarily beef but meat. If someone told me it was buffalo or ostrich I would enjoy it and not know the difference.

Yes, I know that Burger King cooks these on the same grills as beef and chicken, and I do not care. In spite of the way vegetarians, pescatarians, and vegans are depicted in society, the overwhelming majority are reasonable, realistic people who will gladly split a pizza down the middle that has meat on the other half and will eat french fries from a deep fryer that may have been used to cook chicken nuggets.

If I were reviewing the Impossible Whopper on account of the Impossible Burger patty it would be a solid A+, but scrolling down a bit will review an “A-.”

Here’s why: It’s a Whopper, and it suffers from most of the same problems that the meat Whopper suffers from. Notably, the Whopper is an overly large and overly flat burger with a dry sesame seed bun that seems to go on forever. It is well dressed with tomatoes, pickles, onions, iceberg, mayo, and ketchup, but the burger itself is cooked on some kind of conveyer belt/Foreman grill/microwave hybrid that puts artificial “charbroiled” lines on the burger.

I haven’t had a meat Whopper in ages, but I remember what they taste like, and the meat is dry and flavorless enough that the vegetarian Impossible Burger is clearly tastier. It is also cute that Burger King has not only specially-printed “Impossible Whopper” wrappers but “Impossible Whopper with Cheese” wrappers. Because the Whopper is probably the only iconic fast food burger out there that doesn’t come with cheese by default.

The fact that the Impossible Burger is tasty enough that it redeems itself even with “the Burger King treatment” is remarkable. A-

Burger King Small Fries

Let’s just get right to the point. Burger King has some of the worst fries in the industry. With even Wendy’s delivering surprisingly good skin-on shoestrings these spuds are inexcusable. BK’s French fried potatoes are a lot like Dairy Queen’s in that they seem to be coated with a thin layer of flour or something, except they manage to be thicker, saltier, and nastier. People have different preferences of fries. I like single-fried shoestrings. Some folks may like Belgians, steak fries, or some other variety. But no one would like Burger King’s fries. D-

Surge Soda

I think I reviewed the reissued Surge Soda for the last iteration of gabemusic.org. Spotting it advertised on BK’s Coke Freestyle machine, I had one of those “Since I am already making a bad dietary decision with my trip to Burger King I might as well make a really bad decision and take a nostalgic trip down Surge Lane.”

Sometimes the return of a product everyone forgot about two decades later provides a sort of clarity. Surge, which is a curious bright green, did just that today.

I always considered Surge to be the only soda in its particular category, perched midway between the “neon green soda” segment dominated by Mountain Dew and, to a lesser extent, Coke’s Mello Yello and the “clear citrus soda” genre popularized by 7-up and Sprite, but . . . . Wait a minute? There was already a soda in this category long before Surge. Green River! Remember Green River? They probably still make it. Surge, which doesn’t taste exactly like Green River but certainly tastes quite a bit like it and looks quite a bit like it, is Coke’s Green River. B

Twix Pie

Might as well polish off a trip to BK with a final bad dietary decision. The idea of the words “Twix” and “pie” being used in the same sentences, particularly directly after one another, was just too much to pass up.

This frozen dairy dessert isn’t worthy of being called Twix or pie. There’s sort of a graham cracker crust, caramel, chocolate, and weird frozen dairy product somewhere in between Cool Whip and marshmallow fluff in consistency all served up in a waaay-too-sweet triangular wedge in the same type of triangular box BK would have used in the 90s.

Not as bad as their fries, but certainly not anywhere near as good as something called “Twix Pie” ought to be. C-

I might as well mentioned that Burger King was also playing bad current pop-country. My five year old son, who usually doesn’t get very excited about this sort of thing, enjoyed part of his mother’s Impossible Whopper with cheese (and no onions !?!), probably because the flatness of the Whopper made it easier for him to eat.

In any event, the arrival of the Impossible Burger at Burger King is a significant step in the right direction. Plenty of vegetarians and vegans eat entirely satisfying and tasty diets without ever stepping into a Burger King. Plenty of black bean, nut, and “garden” burgers are perfectly good sandwiches in their own right. But what about those days that just don’t call for a black bean burger? Until recently the various Boca Burgers and such that attempted to mimic meat missed the mark. Sure, on a heavily-dressed bun they pass, but they weren’t winning over many fans. The Impossible Whopper is, in fact, tastier than the meat version of the same sandwich. It isn’t health food. Neither is the real Whopper. But the environmental, economic and possibly public health potential of having adequately meat-like vegetable protein products that are, in fact, similar to and possibly tastier than animal product is a big deal.

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