Burger King’s McD’s knock-off muffin sandwich

I’m not a huge fan of McDonald’s food except for their breakfast. So when I saw the commercials featuring “The King” from Burger King, breaking into what is supposed to be McD’s headquarters and stealing what looks like the recipe for their English muffin breakfast sandwiches. Of course, it’s just a diagram-type picture pointing to the simple ingredients – muffin, cheese, sausage and egg.

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The price of Burger King’s English muffin is great – $1 each, plus tax – but I had to compare the taste.

The first thing I noticed that earned the BK breakfast sandwich points over McD’s, is the egg. Usually, McD’s egg is a poached-style egg. You can special order a “boiled” or “folded egg”, which is a folded rectangle scrambled egg, which is usually what I do. At BK, it is already a scrambled egg, no dry yolk amongs the egg white – great.

The sausage had the right spices and texture, although I can’t say if it would stand against McD’s sausage on its own, since McD’s has more of a pepper-kick that I like.

And surprisingly, the greasiness didn’t come from the melted American cheese or the sausage, it came from the muffin. Yeah, pretty odd if I say so myself.

It was as if it was grilled in butter. Tasty, but I made sure to eat healthy the rest of the day, to try to stave off the heart attack it may have caused eating that sandwich.

The BK muffin is also available with egg, cheese and bacon, instead of sausage.

Which do you prefer – McDonald’s or Burger King? 

KFC’s new sandwich: Have you Doubled Down?

Type calories into Google, and the search site returns a picture of KFC’s new Double Down chicken sandwich.

If you haven’t seen one yet, the Double Down is made with two fried chicken breasts in place of a bun. Sandwiched between them is cheese, bacon and a yellow mystery sauce.

540 calories. 32 grams of fat. 1380 mg of sodium (a grilled chicken version has 460 calories, 23 grams of fat, 1380 calories).

Nobody in our building has built up the nerve to try one yet.

Have you? If so, give us your review. We want details.

Grilled sandwiches at Jack in the Box

I was one of probably many that took advantage of Jack in the Box’s promotional offer this last Tuesday – get one of their new grilled sandwiches for free with the purchase of a large drink.

The sandwiches come in two choices – there’s the Grilled Turkey Bacon Cheddar with roasted turkey, cheddar cheese and bacon, and the Grilled Deli Trio, with salami, sliced ham, roasted turkey, provolone cheese and pickles. Both served on toasted artisan bread 

I decided to give the turkey bacon cheddar sandwich a try first.

When I first unwrapped my sandwich, sliced in half, I reached for one piece and as the melted cheddar cheese stretched from one slice to the other, so did my smile. I love melted, stringy cheese!

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I’m not a huge fan of turkey but I love bacon. The cheese, turkey and bacon blended so well, there wasn’t one flavor that overpowered the other.

The bread was nicely toasted, a little greasy but it was more like butter grease than oil grease, which is fine with me. It reminded me of grilled cheese butter. I can’t confirm but I believe the artisan bread is sourdough, or that’s what it closely tasted to, to me.

For $4.19 plus tax, it’s a little pricey for Jack in the Box, but I believe the taste and size was worth it. The $2.29 I paid for the drink and free sandwich was a good price, even though I couldn’t finish the monstrously sized “large” drink.

I’ll have to give the Deli Trio a try soon…

DID YOU GET YOUR FREE SANDWICH? TELL US WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT JACK’S NEW SANDWICHES OR WHERE YOUR FAVORITES ARE.

Quizno’s Double Cheese Cheesesteak

For those of you who like your cheesesteak sandwiches just as they should be – steak and cheese and steak and cheese – then Quizno’s new Double Cheese Cheesesteak is for you.

The sandwich shop’s new toasty sub is not a torpedoe or bullet so you can get it in a small, regular or large size in white or wheat bread.

It comes with hand-carved marinated prime rib steak slices, double the slices of swiss cheese, sauteed onions and mayo – that’s it.

Sure you may not get your daily recommended servings of vegetables but you can always get a side salad.

I recently tried the small size (ixnay on the mayo though) just to see if it was plenty enough with double the meat and cheese. 

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With a side of chips and a drink, the small did satisfy but at the same time, the meat marinade was so tasty and the cheese was all nice and melty that I wanted more even if it was going to make me so full I’d place myself in a food coma – staring into the glare of my computer screen at work.

It’s not the value meal you could find at some other sandwich shops – $5.29 for the small plus $1.99 to make it a combo – but it’s worth the double meat and cheese alone.

Dining on a budget: Cafe Bagelry in San Dimas

By Stacey Wang

I’ve had bagels on the brains every Friday for the last two weeks due to the downtime “bagels or donuts?” discussion in the office.

As if Casual Friday didn’t already make my day, I finally decided to satisfy my craving for those complex carbs.

In San Dimas lies Cafe Bagelry, a family-owned shop that has an extensive menu to satisfy bagel eaters of all kinds.

From cream cheese bagels to bagel sandwiches, the cafe has menu items ranging from $0.85 to $5.69, before tax.

I ordered a Californian – a cafe-proclaimed favorite tuna sandwich with Swiss cheese, avocado, tomatoes and sprouts on a toasted wheat bagel.

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The generous portions of the sandwich alone were enough to fill me up, but the cafe offers a meal deal every Friday. Customers can order any bagel menu item, chips and a fountain drink for $6.

On any other day, my meal would have cost $7.79. It’s not a huge savings, but I don’t mind taking what I can get – especially if it’s as gratifying as it was.

I also ordered a cafe specialty known as a Peaches ‘N Cream bagel for $3.02 purely because it glimmered from its glass encasing with visual appeal.

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The pastry was a bagel bread with a light spread of cream cheese. It was topped with peach slices fanned out like a pinwheel and sprinkled with cinnamon, which added a light fruity sweetness to it.

I didn’t attempt to finish all of my food in one sitting – I would have cursed bagels until the new year had I tried.

The shop also offers alternatives to bagel items – including muffins, omelettes, wraps, croissants and more – while supplies last.

Some other items include an Early Bird Egg Wrap with egg, herb cream cheese and cheddar cheese at $3.13 and cookies at $0.75, which the menu proclaims is “the best” the cafe has ever tasted.

But don’t expect to eat there at night. The place is open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Cafe Bagelry is at 969 W. Arrow Hwy., San Dimas. Call the shop at (909) 394-9592 for more information.

Subway’s Buffalo Chicken sandwich

If you haven’t read any of my other posts, then I must say it again – I LOVE BUFFALO! The sauce that is.

So when I heard Subway had a new Buffalo Chicken sandwich and were offering a footlong for only $5, I couldn’t resist trying it.

The chicken, including everything except the sauce, was pretty much just like any other chicken sandwich at Subway – chopped “grilled” chicken strips and any veggie fixin’s you want.

The sauce was what I was most curious about anyway. And though the buffalo sauce was not dissapointing, it wasn’t anything spectacular. Actually, I really think it was just Frank’s Hot Sauce brand.

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What definitely didn’t add anything else but soggy bread to the sandwich was the light ranch dressing they drizzle on top of the buffalo sauce, I’m assuming so you get a whole “buffalo wings and sauce” experience.

The sauce didn’t have that bold zesty ranch flavor and I’m guessing because it was light, it was thin and watery so it dripped throughout and out of the sandwich.

I don’t think I would try this sandwich again. I’ll do better adding jalapenos to one of their regular grilled chicken sandwiches to get more flavor or just head to Hooters.

Dining on a budget: NY’s Finest Bakery & Cafe in West Covina

By Evelyn Barge

I’m not a big fan of restaurants with gimmicky food names; even less so, nightclubs with lame drink labels.

It’s an allergy I developed after ordering, with head hanging in shame, the embarrassing “Jenny’s Favorite” smoothie at a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Monterey many moons ago. I still haven’t figured out just why Jenny – an abused child, turned counterculture hippie, turned druggie, turned baby mama, who finally gets sick, settles down and then immediately dies – would have a predilection for strawberries, cranberry juice and non-fat raspberry frozen yogurt. (Send me a memo if you know more than I do.)

At any rate, New York’s Finest Bakery and Cafe proprietor Salvatore Mangiafreno obviously disagrees with me. 

Every sandwich on the West Covina eatery’s menu is named for a New York City attraction or borough – The Bronx, The Staten Island, The Yankee Stadium, The Shea Stadium, The Park Ave., and on and on.

I find this a little too cutesy for my taste. But, let’s be honest, a good taste – the kind that really counts at a restaurant – can overpower all sorts of cornball phrases.

That’s how I felt ordering “The NYPD” sandwich ($5.50) at New York’s Finest. Yes, the sandwich is really called that, and just speaking the name aloud gave me low expectations for it. 

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But I was won over by the force – or, more specifically, the ingredients, which piqued my interest from their place on the menu.

Hot capicola, prosciutto, provolone cheese, pepperoncini, lettuce, oil and vinegar. Simple, spicy; I’ll take it. I picked the round roll, which is really more of a giant oval, but the sandwiches are also available on 12-inch hero subs.

The pepperoncinis really steal the show here, acting en masse to overpower thick layers of meat with a mild, pleasing, pickled heat.

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The New York Style salad ($5.00) with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar glaze was beyond basic but comprised of fresh ingredients and quite satisfying. It reminded me of something I’d whip up at home to take on a picnic.

New York’s Finest has an interesting kind of appeal for a city like West Covina. It’s Italian-American deli fare through-and-through, with fresh bread, cookies and pastries baked daily on the premises.

It’s the kind of place you stop on the way to work to get a baker’s dozen of cannolis for the office.

It’s refreshing, light, healthy fare – just don’t forget something to satisfy your sweet tooth.

New York’s Finest Bakery and Cafe is located at 648 S. Sunset Ave. in West Covina. (626) 814-9900. www.nyfinestbakery.com

Dining on a budget: La Tropicana in West Covina

Enjoying the first full day of fall in triple-digit weather was not cool (pun intended).

Last week, I sought refuge from the heat with a tropical lunch at La Tropicana Fruits & Juices in West Covina.

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Aside from the various fruit smoothies, waters, tropical ices and other cool treats, they also serve sandwiches, salads and tortas.

The sandwiches start at $4.45 with options of chicken, pastrami, ham, turkey, tuna, avocado and a BLT. 

Each sandwich comes with lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, bell pepper and jalapenos. Avocado, extra cheese and bacon cost an extra 50 cents each.

I went with the ham sandwich on a telera bread, a thinner Mexican bread. 

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I love these type of sandwiches because they taste homemade, like the ones my mom make. 

I liked that the ham was thinly sliced and everything else on the sandwich tasted fresh. There was a little more mayonnaise than I prefer and the bread wasn’t toasted the way I like.

Warning: If you can’t stand the heat of the jalapenos, order without or be sure to ask for only a few. In my sandwich, there was one in every bite.

It felt good having something light, but next time I’ll try a torta or salad and see if they have more flavor.

I also ordered an extra-large serving of freshly squeezed “agua de mamey,” or water-based juice of a tropical fruit that has a slight nutty taste to it.

The mamey really hit the spot – all fresh and cooled down with ice.

The prices for the “aguas frescas,” or fresh juices, are $1.95 for a medium, $2.45 for a large and only 50 cents more for an extra-large.

Tortas start at $5.45, green salads start at $2.45 and fruit salads start at $2.75. Fruit party trays are also available.

If this hot weather keeps up, I might have to return for a raspado (snow cone) or chamango (slushed ice mixed with small pieces of mango, chamoy, a sweet and spicy syrup, chili powder and lemon), all enjoyed with a spoon.

La Tropicana Fruits & Juices is at 1324 W. Francisquito Ave., Unit C5, at Sunset Ave. in West Covina. For more information, call (626) 919-1920.

Subway’s new Orchard Chicken Salad sandwich

Since it was only $5 for a foot-long for a limited time only, I thought I would give Subway another chance by trying its new Orchard Chicken Salad sandwich.

It’s like a Waldorf salad with cubed pieces of cooked chicken, cranberries, raisins, and small pieces of apple. I’m assuming it’s all tossed in a mayonnaise sauce but it didn’t seem too heavy or thick so that’s good.

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I’m not a huge fan of cranberries so I must admit I picked them out of my sandwich. The raisins were golden and added a nice sweet flavor without overpowering. If there were apples in there they must have been green ones and soft, because I don’t remember any crunchiness.

I had my sandwich on wheat with spinach instead of lettuce and avocado at 60 cents extra per 6 inches. It’s not much on the caloric and fat factor either at 340 calories, 7 grams of fat and 6 grams of fiber for six inches.

I must say it was better than I expected and maybe the avocado helped but I just might try this sandwich again. Especially if it’s under $5 for the six inches or just $5 for the full foot.

NEXT UP: THE ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN – TUNA vs TUNA. I love tuna and I will face off Subway’s tuna sandwich with Quizno’s Big Kahuna Tuna in the final phase of this lunch war.