Burger King Says No To Horsemeat; McDonald’s Says Yes To Sustainable Fish

It’s been quite a week for fast food companies around the world. After finding traces of horse and pig DNA in meat last week, British grocery chain Tesco recalled all its meat products made from a questionable producers. Now, Burger King has dropped Silvercrest Foods, one of its main meat suppliers in the U.K. and Ireland, for selling meat of the same kind. The restaurant chain issued a statement that there was “no evidence to suggest any of the product supplied to Burger King was affected” but the AP reported Silvercrest shut down its production line and recalled 10 million burgers from supermarkets in Britain and Ireland.

McDonald’s too is concerned with what they’re selling these days. According to the Chicago Tribune, McDonald’s will now only sell “sustainable fish” in their Filet-o-Fish and fish McBites, which will launch in February. From now on, representatives say the Golden Arches will only sell sustainable wild-caught Alaskan pollock. This comes just days after the Australian branch of the chain announced a new app to track where your McD’s ingredients come from. Could concern for sourcing and sustainability be the future of fast food?


Get Your Pumpkin Burger At Burger King . . . In Japan

Pumpkin is all the rage these days, and Burger King is taking advantage of that. As usual, this product cannot be found in the United States. It will be sold in Japan.

The pumpkin-shaped burger will feature two slices of kabocha (a Japanese pumpkin), bacon, lettuce, a beef patty, and a creamy nut sauce (with sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts).

The burger costs around $3.90 USD.


Vagina Onion Ring Could Be Yours For $9,100

If you look at two onion rings fried together and instantly think “vagina,” you’ve got a problem. If you’re willing to cough up more than $9,000 to buy two onion rings fried together that kinda look like a vagina, you’ve got a disease for which there is no cure: stupidity.

For sale on eBay right now is “vagina onion ring.” The top bid, sadly, is $9,100.

According to the eBay post — first discovered by our pal Claire Lawton at the Phoenix New Times (click the link for a few other interesting eBay purchases) —  the seller got an order of onion rings at Burger King last month and decided that two of them that apparently were fried together look like a vagina. If you ask us, it looks more like a sad-clown mouth than a vagina, but there are certain clitoral/Georgia O’Keeffe-y properties.

“Selling my Va-jay jay Onion Ring,” the Ohio-based seller writes in the official Vagina Onion Ring description. “Went to that restaurant where you have it your way on 8/27/2012 for a small order of Onion Rings. I got more than I bargained for.”

The bidding started at 99 cents on August 27. It quickly jumped to $5,000 just a few days later, and is now at $9,100 with about 10 hours left to bid.

But what do you even do with a vagina onion ring? Put it on the mantle? Your desk? Keep it in your parents basement next to a photo of “the one who got away” and a box of tissues? There are so many questions — most of which we’re pretty sure we don’t want the answer to.

In any event, see the vagina onion ring below.

If you put ketchup on this thing, you're absolutely disgusting.
If you put ketchup on this thing, you’re absolutely disgusting.

Burger King’s Limited-Addition Chicken Menu for the Fall

Burger King is introducing a bunch of new chicken dishes for a limited-edition menu in the fall. It’s the largest chicken menu roll out in the company’s history.

The menu includes the chicken Parmesan sandwich composed of “tangy marinara, melted mozzarella, and Parmesan,” as well as popcorn chicken with eight dipping-sauce options. Other menu items include salad wraps, an Italian breakfast burrito, and a raspberry smoothie made with real fruit.

Insiders have compared the new menu roll out to that of McDonalds’s recent addition. But according to Darren Tristano, executive vice president at restaurant industry research firm Technomic, the menu isn’t reactionary to Burger King’s competitors. Rather, it’s a product of listening to its own consumers.

“It’s not about doing it first; it’s about doing it right,” he told Nation’s Restaurant News. “We want to give the consumer what they want.”



Burger King Promises to Stop Use of Caged Pigs and Hens

Following in McDonald’s footsteps, Burger King has announced that it will only serve cage-free eggs and pork from suppliers who have banned gestation crates in its restaurants nationwide. Burger King is now the only fast-food restaurant that has committed to selling cage-free products.

These changes, which are expected to take place within five years, should make the folks at the Humane Society happy. Wayne Pacelle, the CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, congratulated Burger King for setting “a new standard for animal care in the food retail sector” in a post on his blog. Relentless as ever, he then continued to scold other restaurant chains like Bob Evans, Tim Hortons, and Domino’s for not following Burger King’s example.



BK Bacon Sundae Revealed

Amid frantic corporate restructuring, as reported by The New York Times, and a sagging market share, the Burger King in bending over backwards to delight foodies with a new genre that might be dubbed “extreme fast food.”

Here’s some evidence: the very recent appearance in Nashville, Miami, and other Southern markets of a bacon sundae — soft-serve with complete pieces of bacon (as defined by BK, you’ve seen them in other products before, and they’re fairly short, thin, and fat) radiating from the hump of soft-serve like snakes from the Gorgon’s head. Not sure how you eat this thing, since the strips of bacon aren’t incorporated into the ice cream — guess you just have to pull them out and eat them separately.

Of course, this weird fast-food invention depends entirely on the bacon mania that sprung up among foodies five years ago, the knowledge of which has finally filtered into corporate boardrooms and enabled this sort of culinary free-thinking.

[Via Foodbeast] Thanks to SF correspondent Tracy Van Dyk for the link.



Food and Fashion Don’t Quite Go Together

There’s more to the Internet than food blogs (except this one, of course). If you only read recipes and ogled food porn, you’d miss out on fantastic videos like the ones from MVPleez — their newest opus to ramps, starring Harold Dieterle and Jimmy Bradley, is one to waste a few minutes on. And how could you miss the crazy food and fashion mashups that people came up with this week?

For example: these pants. Posted a few days ago by Perez Hilton, these pants resemble the popular harem style worn by yogis and Soho residents. But sit down cross-legged and they double as a table. Would you picnic with these Pic Nic pants?

They say you can feast with your eyes. But what about putting the feast onto your eyes? It looks like Burger King has done just that in its recent ad, brought to our attention by BuzzFeed. Although we at Fork in the Road have a column devoted to Burgers at Random … this is just, well, random.




Burger King’s New Onion Rings: Blech!

Cooking them a little more probably wouldn’t help.

I love onion rings, and invariably order them whenever they appear on a menu. The trouble is — 95 percent of the rings found in restaurants suck, which means I’m often disappointed. By comparison, 50 percent of restaurant french fries could be classified as decent or better, and of those, 15 percent go all the way to exemplary. The main defects of restaurant onion rings include breadiness, greasiness, and the use of onions with no flavor whatsoever.

So I didn’t have much hope when I sprinted to Burger King to try their new, extensively hyped onion rings, samples of which were being given away free one week ago. The small size ($1.99 plus 18 cents, or $2.17 total) contained 16.5 onion rings, which means that each puny ring costs 13 cents.

Now, onion rings can be either coated with flour, cornmeal, or some combination, or enrobed in a thick batter, often containing beer, which makes them shiny and greasy. BK takes the first route, creating a coating that contains both cornmeal and flour. The rings are not bad to look at, despite a startling smallness.

The problem is, they’re very low on oniony flavor. It made me suspect at first that there was no actual onion in there, but when I surgically dissected one with the help of a penknife, I found what appeared to be botanical material inside. It was pale and broken, but nonetheless actual onion. Maybe freezing had deprived it of flavor, or maybe onions had been selected that were naturally low on flavor, which is weird, because one of the predominant flavor notes of the Whopper is raw onion.

So, look elsewhere for good onion rings. These have only one advantage: relative cheapness.



Wendy’s To Sell $16 Foie Gras Burgers in Japan

Apparently, a smear of fatty duck liver now makes for an “old-fashioned” hamburger.

Two years after saying “sayonara” to Japan, Wendy’s has decided to return to the island nation, and will try to crack the marketplace by selling $16 foie gras burgers, according to Bloomberg.

The flagship store opened Monday, in Tokyo’s ritzy Omotesando shopping district, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. Reports confirm that other offerings include a wasabi avocado burger, and a truffle-and-porcini chicken sandwich.

The chain — said to be the third-largest fast-food company in the U.S. — also plans on shelling out some $200 million in the next several years as part of its Japanese expansion.

The reason for the über-expensive eats?

Analysts say that Wendy’s wants to attract young, single diners — who want good food but can’t necessarily afford an expensive restaurant, the news wire reports.

The news comes on the heels of other major developments for the company: Wendy’s is poised to usurp Burger King’s throne in the U.S. fast-food scene. Industry leaders predict that the corporation will soon become the second-largest such chain in America after McDonald’s, beating Miami-based BK.


This Week’s Specials: Holy Eats, Greeks, and Pizza

And now, a look back at what was on the menu here at Fork in the Road this week.

Sausage fest!
Sausage fest!

Just in time for the holidays, FitR gets Sunday-schooled in this week’s roundup: Our Top 10 Food Moments in the Bible.

Robert Sietsema goes Greek in his review of Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna. He likes the Attic antics served up at this Astoria eatery.

Lauren Shockey gets a Russian lesson at Onegin. Perplexingly Pushkin-themed, she thinks the dishes are decent, though the czarist décor is weird.

Burger King unveils new fries — but can they compete with Mickey D’s?

Boerum Hill has a pizza party with newcomer Sottocasa.

Lauren Bloomberg takes us around the world in far less than 80 days. In a single blog entry, in fact, she explains different countries’ New Year’s traditions — and where to find them in New York.

At long last, researchers have demonstrated that fat chicks make less money.