Steppin’ Out – This, That and Other Things

Every now and then either Russ Salazar, I or both of us drop by a fast-food place to try out their latest offerings, most of which have the famous “For a Limited Time” notice on them. So, I am going to mention the latest one first since some of the rest may already be “retired.”

We decided we needed to try Carl Jr’s new Baby Back Rib Burger, which features a charbroiled beef patty, boneless baby back ribs, Mississippi honey BBQ sauce, crispy fried onions, and pickles on a Premium Bun. Well, sort of. Here they use Cattleman’s BBQ sauce, which must be a regional thing.

We had a coupon that would get us an extra burger if we bought a combo, so we did that. I put the extra burger in a cooler I carry for later consumption (I actually froze it and gave it to my neighbor.)

Along with that we tried their “limited time” $2.49 Jalapeño Double Cheeseburger that features Santa Fe Sauce, jalapeños, pepperjack cheese, two charbroiled beef patties, lettuce and tomato, all served on a four inch (kid’s size) plain bun.

We had them cut in two for us.

Both of us liked the Rib Burger, real rib meat and a good taste. I like lettuce and tomato on my burgers and feel like I am cheating when I have something like this. However, barbecue is served with only bread, onions and pickles at most barbecue joints around the USA.

The Jalapeño burger we both liked better. Not too hot, but with a nice “warm” taste. “Just the right amount of jalapeño,” Russ remarked. Me, I really like it and the lettuce and tomato added to this one.

We also tried the new BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger and BBQ Bacon Chicken Sandwich at Jack in the Box. We had a coupon, in fact a couple of coupons, so Russ ordered a large drink and got us a small order of Curly Fries for free.

They have two kinds of barbecue sauce for the sandwiches, sweet and spicy. We ordered the Cheeseburger with the sweet sauce and the Chicken Sandwich with the spicy sauce. Both came with bacon, onion rings, lettuce, tomato and pickles.

We asked for them to be cut in two, but they forgot. I took them back and they cut them partially in two. Russ and his trusty knife finished the cutting.

They were good, but not extraordinary, and very bland, in spite of the aforementioned spicy sauce on one of them.

The Curly Fries were partially undercooked and partially over cooked. I think they had been sitting around for a while. I usually complain about fries like this, but I was out of complaints for that day.

On the way home from my son’s house in San Jose, I stopped by a KFC to try the Zinger sandwich. It was late morning and the place was empty, so they had to cook the sandwich fresh for me. I really liked it: crisp, tasty and nicely sauced. I only had the sandwich, which is about four bucks, but you can get the combo with drink, potato wedges and a cookie for a buck more.

Taco Bell seems to add and subtract specials faster than anyone else, so usually they are gone before I can write about them.

I tried their Chicken Chips, part of their “Naked Chicken” series of promotions. They are simply coated and deep fried flattened pieces of white meat chicken, like the chicken taco shell they had a couple of months ago. I bought the five dollar lunch box, which came with the chips and a cheesy dipping sauce, Crispy Taco, Burrito Supreme and a drink.

I like the Chicken Chips, mostly without the cheesy dipping sauce, and the Crunchy Taco. After all, that taco is their original product they built their business on. However, the Burrito Supreme was a joke.

They show a picture of an open-ended burrito with meat, lettuce, tomato and cheese, but what I got was a folded over burrito mostly filled with beans. Now and then I would come across something similar in texture to a piece of tomato or lettuce, but that was it.

I went back and asked if what I was served was the Burrito Supreme and was told, “Yes.” Okay, I won’t try that again. The dollar menu half-pound bean burrito from Del Taco is better.

The best deals at Taco Bell are their four “Meal Deals,” which cost under three dollars and come with a drink, a bag of Doritos and, depending on the location, either a Chicken Burrito, a Double Decker Taco, a Gordita Supreme or a Beefy Five Layer Burrito.

If you recall, they started out at $2 about seven years ago and have slowly climbed upwards in price, but still remain cheap. You can always add something if that isn’t enough food.

I especially like the Gordita Supreme, which is Meal Deal “C.”. I usually take the chips home for later.

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