Coming at you: the McDonald’s Angus Deluxe Snack Wrap.
Few things are as relentlessly flogged on TV as the new product rollouts of fast-food chains. We’ve been exposed to two in particular over the last few months: the BK Breakfast Bowl and McDonald’s Snack Wraps.
Though aimed at different meals, both represent the attempt of the big chains to hang on to their respective market shares by exploring new product niches. Both items are comparative bargains compared with full meals, poised in the price gap left between dollar menus and high-calorie, all-inclusive meals. We decided to pit the products against each other in a fight to the death, to see which was best. Hey, maybe you should buy stock in the company that wins, because it doesn’t get any more elemental in the food industry than a tussle between Ronald McDonald and the Burger King, to see which product lives and which dies.
Waiting for their Breakfast Bowls.
First Up: Burger King Breakfast Bowl …
The Breakfast Bowl is mainly scrambled eggs.
Burger King’s Breakfast Bowl
Weight: 243 grams
Calories From Fat: 70 percent
This product — which is served in a round black plastic bowl with a form-fitting clear plastic lid — is one of a series of four new breakfasts offered at Burger King (the others: Breakfast Ciabatta Club, Mini Blueberry Biscuits, and Ultimate Breakfast Platter). Technically, it’s a form of scrambled eggs, in this case adding spicy sage pork sausage, shredded and possibly pickled peppers of red and green, browned cubes of potato, and extruded curls of yellow cheese in an alleged three varieties. The cheese melts rather oddly, and there’s a smoky and translucent white sauce that looks like jism. The whole thing could be mistaken for a bowl of ossifying flesh in a mass murderer’s kitchen cabinet.
Nevertheless, the Breakfast Bowl (why not call it scrambled eggs?) is tasty in its own way, like something you might put together late one weekend morning when tremendously hung over. It wouldn’t go bad with a warm beer, which, unfortunately, Burger King is incapable of providing (except, of course, at its alcohol-dispensing bar and burger facility in Midtown).
The price: $2.99
The placard tells of the four new breakfast selections at Burger King.
Next Up: McDonald’s Angus Deluxe Snack Wrap …
The contents of the Angus Deluxe Snack Wrap revealed.
McDonalds’ Angus Deluxe Snack Wrap
Weight: 170 grams
Calories From Fat: 54 percent
This is one of three Snack Wraps constructed along similar lines: an Angus burger patty cut in half, placed in a flour tortilla with a half slice of tomato, half piece of lettuce, half portion of raw purple onion, half slice of yellow American cheese, and entire slice of pickle. Plus a dab of mustard and plenty of thick mayo. The product is wrapped in paper-backed aluminum foil, folded into a rough cone. It tastes like death warmed over.
The Snack Wraps are clearly intended to showcase McDonalds’ premium Angus beef, which was previously used only in a third-pound series of burgers. Indeed, beef constitutes the most prominent component in the wrap. The purple onion, leaf lettuce, and lavish use of mayo might also be regarded as part of the premium package. And when have you seen mustard in a McDonald’s offering (besides honey-mustard dipping sauce for Chicken McNuggets)?
As I unwrapped the snack, I could immediately tell there was something wrong with the concept. To use a flour tortilla without steaming or heating it in any way (which is what you must do when making a burrito) means that the tortilla is cold, inflexible, and ultimately unpalatable. When the thing was in my hand, it became crazed with cracks and threatened to fall apart completely. The meat in the burger tasted relatively good, but the paucity of accoutrements made it seem like a very meager snack indeed.
The price: $1.99
The McDonald’s across the street from the Empire State Building looks more like a hotel lobby.
Next: The verdict …
Yikes! Who splooged on my BK Breakfast Bowl?
Flaws in the construction of the Angus Deluxe Snack Wrap handicapped it in the match, which proceeded in a series of fierce blows. Though the Angus patty tasted OK, the combination of elements put the thing in burger territory, making me wish it had a bun. The BK Breakfast Bowl tasted good, but it was a little too much like something you might pull out of your sink trap, and the shreds of red pepper looked like glimmering blod clots. Still, the sausage was salty and tasty and there was plenty of it.
The conclusion: The BK Breakfast Bowl lands a fatal blow while the Snack Wrap wasn’t looking, and wins a stunning victory. McDonald’s is urged — after an appropriate period of mourning — to go back to the drawing board.