FOOD: Taco Bell – The Breakfast Crunchwrap Experience

Disclaimer: Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, we weren’t really able to go outside and buy a Breakfast Crunchwrap to take photos of for our article. We’re making do with stock images from Taco Bell itself. Sorry.

Taco Bell is something that is almost, but not entirely, unlike real Mexican food. We don’t like to parrot talking points about “authentic” food here on Eggware.XYZ, but we really do have to admit that Taco Bell is as far detached from Mexican cuisine as Magritte’s pipe was to a real one. But there’s a certain beauty in it: in a sense, it is pure and authentic ‘American’ cuisine, representing everything that makes the modern United States of America the way it is: its cheesy-potatoey strengths, and its blatant disregard for the cultures it has built itself upon.

Most of the most interesting offerings on Taco Bell’s menu are those that don’t try to ape Mexican cuisine, but do their own ‘unique’ things. This is a tradition of theirs stemming all the way back to the Enchirito, a mashup of an enchilada and a burrito in one saucy mess. One of our favorite concoctions is the Crunchwrap Supreme, a kind of rethinking of a burrito that is folded into a hexagon around a tostada. 

The Crunchwrap is what Taco Bell is all about. It’s designed in a way that makes it more convenient to eat than a regular burrito of similar size, and adding a tostada for crispiness is a clever textural component. There’s nothing like it anywhere else. We don’t want to imply that this is good food, or even particularly tasty. It’s just one of the little ‘innovations’ that you get in fast food, the kind that Taco Bell specializes in. Since Taco Bell works with a different palette of ingredients than most other fast food restaurants – tortillas instead of buns, loose ground meat instead of patties – they have more liberty to experiment and create strange concoctions. 

First released as a limited time offer in 2005, the Crunchwrap Supreme was popular enough to be added to their full time menu in 2006 and has been there ever since. And since the Crunchwrap Supreme was so popular, when Taco Bell introduced a new breakfast 2014 they added a Breakfast Crunchwrap to it. This was the most brilliant thing that Taco Bell has ever done.

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FOOD: Wendy’s – Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant

Oh for the love of god not more chicken sandwiches

Okay, okay, we can do this. Yes, chicken is everywhere, and we’ve drilled that concept into your heads for long enough. Wendy’s, not one to be left out of a trend, has added a number of chicken sandwiches to its new breakfast menu – the most interesting one, to us, being the Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant.

On its surface, this sounds like a serious slam dunk. Fried chicken, bacon, AND a croissant bun? The only other place that does croissant buns in its breakfast is Burger King, and they’re definitely the least classy of the Big Three burger joints. Could Wendy’s deliver to us a real croissant, rich, buttery and flaky?

I mean, we doubt it. But there’s always hope, so hit the jump and find out.

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FOOD: Wendy’s – Breakfast Baconator

I’ve had enough chicken! It’s breakfast time, boys! Wendy’s recently debuted an all-new breakfast menu, hoping to keep up with the rising trend of fast food breakfasts. Wendy’s for a long time has been the only member of the Big Three burger chains to not serve breakfast. While McDonald’s and Burger King have been slinging sausage for years, Wendy’s has only had Breakfast on and off through the decades. They tried in 2005, but pulled it in 2006 after bad reception. They tried in 2012, but stopped in 2013 after concerns that the breakfast menu was distracting from their main menu. They couldn’t seem to find the right balance that the other chains could.

Now they’re giving it another crack, with an all-new menu. This time it seems like Wendy’s knows what the people like, because the headliner attraction is a little concoction known as the Breakfast Baconator. Oh yes, that legendary mountain of meat gets a breakfast counterpart.  

Hit the jump to find out if Wendy can finally get this breakfast thing right.

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FOOD: KFC – Chicken & Donuts Sandwich

Are you tired of chicken yet? Chicken sandwiches have truly taken over fast food. I mean, how many of the most recent reviews we’ve done have been chicken sandwiches? 2019 was the Year of the Chicken Sandwich and 2020 is the first year truly affected by this paradigm shift. Naturally, those benefiting from this change in America’s tastes are the classic chicken joints. But where has that most classic of chicken chains gone off to? If you know anything about eating fast food, you’ll know KFC has undergone some serious rebranding in the past few years in an attempt to shed its filthy, greasy image. A greater focus on the Colonel as their mascot, a revamp of the recipe, a complete overhaul of their visual image – the works.

But KFC is still Kentucky Fried Chicken, and this is the restaurant that invented the Double Down. KFC wants to clad itself in a new image of cleaner, better food, but still market the occasional high-caloric nightmare to clog up America’s valves. The Chicken & Donuts sandwich is yet another attempt to keep heart disease as the number one killer of people across the country.

Is it even good, or is it just another tacky gimmick? Hit the jump to find out.

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FOOD: Taco Bell – Buffalo Chicken Nacho Fries and Buffalo Chicken Nacho Fries Burrito

Taco Bell, PLEASE just add Nacho Fries to your full time menu. We know you want to. Everybody loves them. Everybody wants them. You’ve been coasting off of the McRib effect for long enough and it’s time to just add Nacho Fries full time and make everybody happy.

In case you eat like a functioning person and didn’t know, Nacho Fries are basically the best french fries in fast food right now. They’re crisp, soft, and seasoned with a delicious blend of spices that add a dimension of flavor beyond the basic salted fries offered by every fast food chain that isn’t Arby’s or Rally’s/Checkers. They even come with their own side of nacho cheese to dip! How can you argue against that?

Taco Bell is obviously proud of their Nacho Fries and sometimes will mix things up with the addition of other ingredients. We had tried the Rattlesnake Steak fries, to good results; we had missed out on the Reaper Nacho Fries, to our disappointment. When they make these additions to the Nacho Fry formula, they also offer them wrapped up in a tortilla as a burrito too. We love the idea of a french fry burrito. It’s something to distinctively Taco Bell, something that vaguely has the shape of “Mexican food” but is so distantly detached from authenticity as to become a new kind of cuisine all together. 

So now that Nacho Fries are back, they’ve come with a new version to try: the Buffalo Chicken Nacho Fries, complete with Buffalo Chicken Nacho Fries Burrito. They can’t screw this up. They physically can’t make a Nacho Fries that is not good to eat. They can’t.

They can’t.

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FOOD: McDonald’s – McChicken Biscuit and Chicken McGriddle

From where we are in 2020, it’s hard to imagine McDonald’s was once a major innovator in the world of fast food. The McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc were the inventors of the fast food concept, after all! The modern-day craze for chicken can even be traced back to the Chicken McNugget, which solidified the idea of molded ground chicken products into the consciousness of America. Now, it is lonely at the top, and McDonald’s is looking more and more decrepit in the face of fresher competitors. Without a doubt the biggest thorn in their side is Chick-fil-A, the notoriously homophobic fried chicken sandwich business that is the most beloved fast food chain in America.

McDonald’s has been desperate for a decent chicken offering to keep up with modern tastes, but nothing has really landed. They’ve tried chicken wings, chicken tenders, all kinds of new chicken sandwiches, but none of them have compared to the juggernaut power of established chicken chains. But there’s another front to the fast food war going on: breakfast. Taco Bell introduced a new breakfast menu in 2014, and Wendy’s is planning to bring back breakfast this year – so why not, McDonalds thinks, combine the two hot new things?

And here we are, with McDonald’s adding the new McChicken Biscuits and Chicken McGriddles to their menu. If there’s anything McDonald’s has been solidly entrenched in, it’s breakfast. Their Egg McMuffins are still the byword for “fast food breakfast”. What could go wrong? 

Well, a lot.

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FOOD: Popeyes – The Sandwich

Chicken is the most popular meat in the world. Its meteoric rise to the top has been compounded by a number of factors: a general desire to eat “healthier”, the growing pressure of climate change and the impact of the beef industry upon it, the plummeting prices of chicken meat as a commodity…. It goes on and on. Chicken is the king, and every restaurant is trying to get in on this action.

“This action” is, almost always, a kind of chicken sandwich based upon the kind offered by Chick-fil-A. If chicken is king, Chick-fil-A is its greatest kingdom; it is without a doubt the most popular restaurant in America. Its chicken sandwich is considered one of the finest among the fast food art form, and the service exhibited at its restaurant is said to be unparalleled.

Unfortunately, Chick-fil-A is incredibly homophobic.

Chick-fil-A- was founded by S. Truett Cathy, a devout Southern Baptist. It still holds on to its southern Christian heritage to this day by closing on Sunday, printing bible verses on its cups, and donating to Christian anti-LGBT hate groups. Despite these misgivings, Chick-fil-A maintains its top position in the fast food world with this winning combination: ardent homophobic supporters; people who simply do not care; and myopic poultryvores who apparently think the food really is just that good.

Popeyes, on the other hand, is not openly homophobic. It’s not the most popular chicken restaurant in America, either, but it’s got a loyal following for its unique ‘Louisiana-style’ chicken. Being a chicken restaurant, it was only natural that they would get in on the sandwich craze. But not even Popeyes could’ve expected the massive response when they released the sandwich back in August. It exploded in popularity, fermenting a sharp war between Chick-fil-A loyalists and Popeyes fans across the nation; it was so popular that every restaurant in the nation ran out of sandwiches before the promotion was even slated to end.

Now it’s back, as a permanent menu item. We tried and failed to get it when it was new, forcing us to suffer through lengthy waits at two different restaurants with advertisements still proudly posted in their windows, but now it’s up for grabs whenever. Does it live up to the incredible hype? Can it topple the Chick-fil-A throne? Find out after the cut.

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REVIEWS: Miss Cleo’s Tarot Power Deck

There are a wide number of names you can reference when discussing the great disciples of tarot: A.E. Waite, Éliphas Lévi, Ettellia, and so forth. Not many people would think to mention Youree Harris among those names, but there are few others who come close to what she did for the art of tarot reading. You’d know her better as Miss Cleo, and might remember her commercials for the Psychic Readers Network from the late 90s through the early 2000s. Miss Cleo herself was a complete construct, a character devised by Youree Harris for an original play transformed into a Jamaican shaman practicing a vague pastiche of Vodou mixed with New Age psychic thought. Most relevant was her supposed skill with the tarot; if you took her commercials at face value, she could tell you the name of your baby’s true father, forewarn terrible disaster, and find you true love with only a few (toll free!) minutes with the cards.

I do not know if Youree Harris herself ever read tarot seriously, or if she even performed her character for callers to the psychic hotline she advertised. Youree was an actress first and foremost, an amateur playwright whose self-produced plays left her running from debts and failing to pay her actors. In turn, the Psychic Readers Network left her high and dry after being indicted for one billion dollars in deceptive billing practices. After leaving the Network behind, Youree maintained her Miss Cleo character in various parodies of her famous commercials until 2015. On July 26th, 2016, Youree Harris died of colon cancer after a long battle. There has never been another TV psychic on the same level as Youree, and with the move of professional tarot reading from hotlines to independent online readers, it is extremely unlikely there will ever be another.

Miss Cleo may be one of the few tarot readers whose popularity allowed the production of an official licensed tarot deck. You’d think they’d be taking a bite out of their own customer base by doing this, but by the time the Psychic Readers Network published this deck they were already in serious legal troubles. This may have been their last effort to squeeze more money out of the Miss Cleo brand before the FTC finally came down on their heads. After the jump, we’ll get into the deck ourselves and see what Miss Cleo holds in store.

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FOOD: Samyang 2X Spicy Noodles

I mean this with greatest sincerity: Korea has some of the best instant noodles on the market right now. Invented in Japan by Momofuku Ando for Nissin, instant noodles have become the reliable and ultra-affordable quick calorie intake option for millions of people around the globe. But look past the Maruchan and Top Ramen you’ll find sitting on megamart shelves and you’ll find a wide variety of instant noodles with things like flavors and textures beyond bland and mushy. Samyang is one of these noodle brands, and the crown jewel in its collection of flavors is the Hot Chicken Flavor line.

In 2017, Samyang released a new level in the Hot Chicken Flavor lineup: haek-buldak-bokkeum-myeon. There’s a lot of different names for it in English: Nuclear Fire Spicy Noodles, Extreme Hot Chicken Flavor, but we like to name it after the big English words on the label: 2X Spicy Noodles. These are, supposedly, the hottest noodles you can buy on the market.

Are they as hot as they say there are? Click the jump and find out.

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