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No Bull Burger Purist - Born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

Drinkin' Buddies

Drinkin' Buddies

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Yumbo is Back! (I had such high hopes) Plus a bonus review of BK's Four Cheese Whopper

Where -
Burger King, 55 Godwin Ave., Midland Park, NJ 07432
Weekday store hours: M-F 9-11
Weekend store hours: Sa-S 10-10
Phone: (201) 652-9841
Restaurant #: 517

What -

The Yumbo... 

...and The Four Cheese Whopper

First up, The Yumbo

Build -
 The Yumbo
The Yumbo consists of hot ham and cheese with sliced Black Forest ham topped with American cheese, lettuce, and mayo, all served heated on a toasted hoagie-shaped hamburger bun.

Yumbo Comments -
Although the Yumbo is back, it's disappointingly not the sandwich I remember from the early ‘70s. 

Rewind to 1971 -
I was 10 years old, and I was extremely excited (just like every time I was allowed to eat fast food) to sample my first Yumbo, Burger King's new and generously portioned hot ham and cheese sandwich served on a Whopper bun. So off I went with my friends to the Burger King in Cedar Grove, NJ. This was the place where I first sampled and fell in love with the Whopper. I ordered the Yumbo which came promptly to the counter and off I was to find a seat. As with my first Whopper, I was falling in love while unwrapping the sandwich because just the notion of eating something my mother wouldn't prepare at home was exciting. This new "hot" ham and cheese sandwich was so basic, yet so mind boggling to me. And it was everything BK said it would be and more. The ham portion was much larger than I thought it would be and it wasn't just "hot,” it was "HOT" and the ham had an incredible smokey flavor which, until that day, was unfamiliar to me. 

Fast Forward 42 years -
The BK Yumbo is reintroduced in 2014, and it's still served on a sesame seed bun, however now it's a hoagie-shaped sesame seed bun instead of the Whopper bun – why, I ask? Why mess with perfection? If this isn't bad enough, there is the fallacious addition of mayo and lettuce. Why?  If you are "bringing back" the Yumbo, why not bring it back in all its original glory, the way original Yumbo fans remember it and loved it and nothing more? Why in God's good name would you change the flavor by adding mayo and lettuce to a hot sandwich?  I could see all of those condiments on a Whopper, but not a two (2) ingredient sandwich that's supposed to be served piping hot. By the way, it was not hot... in fact, it was so cold the cheese did not melt at all. Okay, so let's market a sandwich as being ‘HOT” and serve it cold, that'll keep 'em coming in the front door.  Just for shits and giggles, I ordered one of my Yumbos old school style with just the ham and cheese. But alas, they were both cold and seriously lacking ham.

As with any retail food service, in the fast food world consistency is everything and its success or demise is a direct reflection on the management of a particular location so I'm here to tell you, the management at BK store #517 sucks. 

Not much else to say here folks, my photos will speak volumes.  For the price I would consider *Frankensteining two Yumbos. 

The only thing that will keep this sandwich from bombing is the 2 for $5 price tag; if that goes away, they might as well cancel the Yumbo once and for all.  

This flop ends up with a measly 6.8 on the BC rating scale. 

*Click the link below to see my article from Feb. 27th 2013 on “Frankensteining"

Scroll down for photos and the second review...

Click on any photo to enlarge it

Retro Yumbo...

I don't remember swiss !

Now for The Four Cheese Whopper... 

This review is dedicated to my friend and quintessential Whopper w/cheese lover, Owen.

For the record, I don't really look at a fast food burger as being an actual burger – I consider it more of a snack food that defies description. Take a White Castle for example... would you consider it a burger? Ummm, no.  But where would we be without them?  

Build - The Four Cheese Whopper
The Four Cheese Whopper features a 1/4 lb. (precooked weight) of grilled beef, American cheese, a three cheese blend, cheddar sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions served on a warm toasted sesame seed bun.

The Four Cheese Whopper Comments -
To give fair warning, all you loyal BK fans may want to skip this review. Although the sandwich was pretty good, there is some type of bait-and-switch going on here that BK's marketing department seems to think is perfectly acceptable. And it's the most loyal BK fans that should be pissed. 

I'm obviously not one to be picky (I am writing about fast food) however, I've read reviews on The Four Cheese Whopper and now I've eaten one, and I'm here to tell you that contrary to what some reviewers have stated, this burger does NOT contain all the usual Whopper toppings/condiments. In fact, three are missing, and they are three flavors that helped make the Whopper's flavor model the success it is. They are: mayo, ketchup, and pickle. Yup, all missing from The Four Cheese "Whopper.”

Speaking for all BK loyalists from around the globe, calling this sandwich a "Whopper" is nothing shy of an abomination. A Whopper with "special" or "themed" toppings should be just that, a Whopper first – with other toppings added. 

As for “The Four Cheeses,” the build ingredients have me quite confused – this  is right from the BK website, yet I just don't see how they are arriving at four for the number of cheeses on the burger.  Check it out:  American cheese, a three cheese blend, cheddar sauce. To me that's either three or five cheeses, not four. If I am reading this wrong or if you can shed some light on the subject, please feel free to send a comment to this post.

The overall taste of the sandwich was okay, however, had it been a fully-blown Whopper with four cheeses added to it, it would have rated higher. The mayo and ketchup on the Whopper contribute largely to the flavor of the sandwich, especially when you are three quarters of the way finished and the condiments along with the toppings have morphed into a wonderful burger sauce that defies description. If you have ever eaten a Whopper with cheese, you know what I'm talking about.

This burger would have received an 8.5\10 if all the original Whopper condiments and toppings were included. I'm giving this a 7.5 rating on the BC rating scale which may sound a bit high, but it really was quite tasty. 

One more thing, I tip my hat to Burger King for keeping the toppings where they belong...on TOP of the burger.

(Ordered off the broiler although the receipt does not show it)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Culver's "Fresh, never frozen beef, cooked to order "

Where: Culver's, 10050 University Plaza Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33913

What: ButterBurger Cheese and the Sourdough Melt.

ButterBurger Cheese Build: Fresh (never frozen) beef topped with Wisconsin American cheese, served on a lightly buttered toasted bun with onions, pickle, and lettuce.

Sourdough Melt Build: Fresh (never frozen) beef cooked to order with grilled red onions pressed into the patty, and melted natural-aged Wisconsin cheddar on lightly buttered, toasted sourdough bread.

Comments: I finally made it to a Culver's while on vacation in Florida. I couldn't wait to try their ButterBurger, but before I go any further, I must tell you that this review is going to be open-ended because I was not able to give this burger a proper review.  

I was pressed for time, so rather than eat-in I ordered from Culver's drive-thru (first mistake), and then got lost for a few miles on my way back to my hotel room which made for a cold burger experience. With that said, let me say that judging from the now cold sandwich, the off-the-grill version of this burger has great potential. From the fat content to the mild butter flavor to the fresh toppings, I will try to get back to Culver's as soon as possible for a proper feeding and review. 

My one pet-peeve was the placement of the "toppings" which were on the bottom of the burger (which I hate) and unfortunately, it's something we are seeing more and more these days. I want my lettuce, pickles and onions on the top, where they belong. 

A point to note was that the voice over the loudspeaker at the drive-thru told me that each burger is handcrafted, made fresh to order – don't know about you, but I love hearing that. 

The Sourdough Melt also had huge potential, but I need to hit this place again before I can give it a proper review rating.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Moustache Bill's, The Quintessential Jersey Diner...

Where: Mustache Bill's Diner, 8th Street, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006 (609) 494-0155

What: Fisherman's Special

Build:  Three eggs scrambled (wet), two hot cakes, two sausage patties, rye toast, butter (lots of butter)

Comments: If you're like me, you can usually tell whether or not you're going to like the food at a particular eatery within moments of stepping foot in the door.  Glancing at dishes being transported by speedy waitresses, listening to the comments by those fortunate enough to have already been seated, and of course, inhaling the aromas. These sensory stimulants were all coalescing in my head and in a fraction of a second I was forming an opinion on whether or not I'd be served really great food or something less. 

That's when it happened...the hostess opened the door to the waiting area and called, "Bill!? Party of four!?”, and when my feet crossed Mustache Bill's threshold, I knew in an instant that I had found the Pancake Promised land.

Now, before I go further I will say I feel sorry for those who are unfamiliar with the concept of the diner, especially New Jersey diners because in my opinion they set the bar. Jersey diners are what other pseudo-diners, eateries and luncheonettes aspire to be, but aren't. These shiny stainless steel clad facades are unrivaled; where else can you get a diverse and seemingly unlimited selection of options 24/7, 365? A turkey dinner with all the trimmings? Check. An omelet made to order? Check. How about some falafel, or barbecue? Check. Not to mention their dessert selection. Whether you arrive at dinnertime or 3AM, the food is always fresh and with hundreds of items accompanied by daily specials, you won’t leave hungry. 

Mustache Bill's diner is the quintessential "Jersey" diner in all aspects of sights, sounds and smells. Hell, it even has a view of Old Barney, the lighthouse on Long Beach Island which has a view of Island Beach State Park across the inlet to the north. You just can't get more Jersey than that. Bill's diner has that time capsule effect that transports you to the past as soon as you enter. There are not many eateries left that have this unique power.

I was happy to find out Mustache Bill's is a favorite of Guy Fieri’s "after" I visited. 
I'm not one of those who visits every spot Guy Fieri has been to, in fact I’m quite the opposite. I'd much rather find great places to eat that he hasn't found yet and believe me, there are hundreds, and that's just in Jersey.

Ok, onto the food.  My eggs were cooked perfectly. The scrambled eggs were moist as hell without any browning.  Far too often a breakfast cook will have the flame on the flat grill blazing and the instant an egg is cracked or poured, it begins to bubble wildly. That is way too hot for breakfast cooking.  Mustache Bill’s does it right; slowly, easy and buttery.

The hot cakes are Bill's shining star on the menu and they did not disappoint. They were light and fluffy with a taste to die for. The toast was done perfectly as was the Raisin Bread French Toast. My wife's omelet was the only thing I didn't care for. It was scrambled eggs poured on the flat grill and then rolled into an omelet. This usually makes for very thin layers of egg forming the omelet which has a rubbery texture that kinda sucks. No, not kinda, it sucks.  Also, the cheese and veggie filling was lacking in quantity. But, everything can’t be perfect! All in all, this place is a great throwback from atmosphere, to friendliness, to the food. Awesome!

I'd be quite remiss if I didn't mention my hometown diner, The Pompton Queen. 
On a cold winter's day there is nothing like their pot roast sandwich with a slab of English Cheddar and fried onions topped with hot brown mushroom gravy on a Kaiser roll.  (The Pompton Queen Diner is on Rt. 23 N in Pompton Plains, NJ)

Click on the photos to enlarge