This week the internet erupted with the news that Burger King, trailing in the footsteps of the Doritos Locos tacos from Taco Bell (which you should totally try with Diablo sauce), has launched this brand new monstrosity:
I personally didn’t find out about this new menu item from the internet, I found out about it the old fashioned way, by driving past a Burger King on my commute Tuesday night. My immediate reaction, which I shouted in my car to no one, was “Oh go fuck yourself.”
Every single time one of these new weird fast food menu items comes out, I feel more and more like the R&D departments of these companies just absolutely hate us and are slowly trying to kill us.
This is an indictment on all of us.
I will admit to some bias here. I’ve long said that if 90% of the stuff we mock from fast food places was sold on a food truck instead, we’d all line up to buy it, spend $10 more than we would through the window, and Yelp about how great it was. In my hometown of Columbus, Ohio there’s a popular local pizza joint, Mikey’s Late Night Slice, that sells a hot dog and uses pizza for the bun. I waited in line at 1 AM once to get it.
But when Pizza Hut sold this, there was no limit to my scorn:
I have also been to a gastropub that incorporated Cheetos into their baked mac and cheese, essentially in place of bread crumbs, with fresh Cheetos on top as a garnish. So I decided that I should, for the sake of our readers who might be morbidly curious about this new middle finger of a food, give it a taste test. Actual purchased Mac and Cheetos pictured below:
Here’s the thing, they’re extremely disappointing. They don’t deliver what they should in either direction. These things needed to be so amazing that after eating them you feel like “Okay, Burger King, fair play!” or they needed to be so disgusting that you don’t want anyone to look at you (which I did say to the drive thru employee at BK when she handed me them). Instead, what you’re really getting is just mac and cheese bites, the same kind of fried mac and cheese bites you’ve probably already gotten at a casual chain restaurant or from Trader Joe’s or from that last office potluck you went to where you only brought store-made cookies in those plastic bakery containers. Think about those mac and cheese bites and then imagine if the batter tasted vaguely a little more like burnt cheese.
What made the Doritos Locos work is that the taco shell, by virtue of being a crunchy piece of tortilla, manages to maintain the same texture and flavor as a Dorito chip. It’s a big chip that’s been folded and filled with meat, cheese, and lettuce. It’s exactly what a “Dorito taco” sounds like it would be. The Mac and Cheetos can’t really be the Cheeto version of that. There’s likely no way for Burger King to get the bites crispy enough to simulate the sensation of biting into a crunchy Cheeto without burning the insides. Plus, there’s no way they’d ever be able to season it with enough of that powdered cheese without forever coating everything in the restaurant with it.
Final summary, if you’re just looking for a quick snack after soccer practice and you hate your kids, get them these; they’ll probably love them. But if you’re a gross gluttonous adult, like myself, who needs this kind of shit food to feel alive, you’re better off making mac and cheese at home, crushing up a bag of Cheetos and mixing it in with the cheese sauce. Yeah, I know I just blew some of your minds.
Or better yet, find a place like The Attic in Long Beach, CA that’ll do some magic like this: