Okay, first things first: My apologies for this update coming so late. I know I said on Twitter that I would have something new up a lot sooner, and I had every intention of it, but working on other things has sapped my writing energy when it came time to turn my attention here. I might try to make PMO more of a weekend thing to the more weekday-oriented everything else I do, but I don’t want to make the mistake of locking myself into something here.

Suffice to say, I’ll try to keep things more frequent than… sheesh, 11 days ago? Again, my apologies.

That said, I’m trying something new here: Food reviews! But don’t think I’m turning PMO into some sort of food-oriented website– for one thing, I imagine the name “Poison Mushroom” already doesn’t lend itself well to sounding appetizing, but I just wanted to try this out to expand my horizons, and… well, who doesn’t like food anyway?

Personally speaking, I love fast food. I don’t eat it too often, and certainly not as much as I used to, but I do enjoy the opportunity to go out somewhere and eat when it comes. And, being the more affordable option, fast food is more often than not the place I go. Even then, I at least try (a little) to keep from killing myself with what is on the menu, but more on that in a moment.

The focus of this article is on a new taste introduced by Burger King in Canada. As far as I know, it’s not in the States; if you’re reading this from south of that border, well, you got bacon sundaes. Perhaps we’ll see by the end of the article who came out ahead.

In truth, these items are less like new dishes and more like modifying existing ones. If you’ve ever had a Whopper, an Original Chicken Sandwich, or a Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich, then you already know the base experience before Burger King adds the ingredients to make them a Maple BBQ Whopper, Original Chicken Sandwich, or Tendercrisp Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich.

Following is the description for the Tendercrisp version offered on their website:

Thicker Hardwood Smoked Bacon, Gourmet Maple BBQ Sauce and 100% Real Canadian Cheddar combined with a premium white meat chicken filet with crisp breading, fresh lettuce, red ripe tomatoes and mayo all on a corn-dusted bun. A savory sandwich that’s sure to delight.

Seen above are the two promotional images for the Maple BBQ Original Chicken Sandwich and the Maple BBQ Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich. For some reason, interestingly enough, they do not offer a Tendergrill version, much to my initial disappointment. As I said above, I usually do like to eat a little healthier at times when I’m doing the fast food thing, and I figure if I’m going to be eating thick bacon and cheddar cheese on top of everything else, I’d like to cut something out somewhere to make up for it.

Thankfully, the people at this BK were understanding and made accommodations to my order, truly allowing me to “have it my way.” And so I opted for the Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich with the additional Maple BBQ toppings, and they just charged me the difference. Customer service at its finest.

On your left is a promotional image of the Maple BBQ Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich, and on the right is such an image of their Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich. Here is how I figure they would want my sandwich to appear in this idealized form:

And here is what mine looked like:

Click to enlarge.

Of course, I’m under no disillusionment that the food I’m going to eat is going to look like what is featured in ads and promotional materials; McDonald’s Canada was kind enough to recently go into detail about how they manage to pull off the perfect look, as well as how long it takes. Expecting every sandwich to come out of a restaurant to look like the pictures is like expecting every woman you meet on the street to have the same Photoshopped “perfect” (your mileage may vary) look you’ll find in magazines.

If there is any issue I take between the two, it’s with the lettuce. Burger King (and McDonald’s) tend to use a more shredded lettuce, as you can see in the picture at the right; personally, I prefer a nice leaf of lettuce, much like what Wendy’s typically features on their sandwiches. It’s generally less messy, and except in rarer instances, I find that there usually tends to be less of the “white” part of the lettuce; the green is simply tastier, as lettuce goes.

Those who have tasted a Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich before no doubt know what to expect. It’s a fairly decent grilled chicken breast, though it unfortunately falls a little short of covering the entire bun, leaving you with bites of “lettuce sandwich,” for lack of a better term. At least in this instance, with the right placement, you can get a nice BLT out of these pockets of non-chicken sandwich. Nonetheless, it does make me miss the BK Broiler, whose grilled chicken patty seemed to cover more of the Whopper-style bun.

The other factors of note were the included tomatoes and “corn-dusted bun,” which differs from the normal sesame-seen bun most of their other sandwiches come with. The tomatoes were good, if perhaps slightly too abundant (I’m very particular about my tomatoes, and even then only want them in moderation); fortunately, my wife has no such compunctions with the fruit, so she gladly helped herself to the slices I didn’t want. The bun was decent; it did its job well, and while not outstanding, nor was it offensive in any way.

Now we come to the part which sets the Maple BBQ sandwiches apart form their normal counterparts. Namely, the inclusion of “thick, hardwood smoked bacon,” cheddar cheese (100% real), and the “gourmet maple BBQ sauce.” All together, it was good. The bacon was meaty, and the cheddar had a slightly stronger, sharper (but not too sharp) taste that the normal American cheese lacks. The Maple BBQ sauce is a bit of a double-edged sword, however.

Simply put, the sauce– while tasty– is just a little bit too strong. It does contain a nice barbeque flavor with a hint of maple, but unfortunately overpowered the rest of the sandwich. The main elements which seemed to stick out were, ironically, the bacon and the cheddar cheese, but only just; it felt more like the flavors of those two parts were clawing to reach the surface (i.e. my taste buds), but just barely make it.

I should mention that I would discover only later that the normal Maple BBQ sandwiches each still contained mayonnaise, an ingredient my sandwich lacked. Such is the risk of a special order, I suppose, but now I’m left wondering if perhaps the mayo would balance out the Maple BBQ sauce somehow, making it less overpowering. Then again, it could be that the Tendergrill doesn’t hold up as well as its fried chicken contemporaries, or the flame-broiled beef of a Whopper patty, though that wouldn’t explain how it fared with the cheese and bacon.

With any luck, I’ll be afforded the opportunity to give it another try and I can update this review with my findings.

In the end, though, I can still give the Maple BBQ treatment a hearty recommendation for those looking for a little something extra on their Whopper or chicken sandwiches. It’s unfortunately available for only an unspecified limited time, though I hope to see it have the staying power of the Angry Whopper, whose duration annoyed me to no end, as I can’t really handle that level of peppers and such. Hopefully demand for this one will remain as high.

The cheese would make an interesting addition to more of their sandwiches, and if they could find a way to dial back how strong the sauce is compared to other ingredients, it would be a more welcome addition. As it is, if you get the opportunity to try a Maple BBQ anything, you might want to order your sandwich “easy on the sauce” to get the flavor and hopefully not overpower the rest of it.