Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hardee's Grilled Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

I know, I've said it a Brazilian times, I'm going to stop being disappointed by fast food.
Well, sometimes when you get up early on a Saturday morning and have a hollow tummy and a gummy taste in your mouth, a pre-made breakfast sandwich sounds pretty good.
Angel had just gotten up herself, so I caught her before her usual breakfast, share-a-yogurt-with-Rudy.
"I'm going to Hardee's, would you like something?"
Silly question. She has the yogurt to make her feel better about herself. She wants a breakfast sandwich as badly as I do.
At first she defaulted to the breakfast burrito. Then she changed her mind when she remembered the sign we pass by several tines a week.
"Grilled cheese!"
"Exactly!" I replied.
Hardee's is currently the closest eatery to our house, about five miles away, anchoring Hillsboro's business district. It dominates that part of town, a popular landmark, coffee house, meeting place and an outstanding neutral spot for weekend kid swapping, for separated families. Angel's even done dog swaps there. It's impossible to miss, very much unlike our secluded homestead in the woods.
They've been advertising a grilled cheese breakfast sandwich for a few weeks now. Impossible to completely ignore.
I headed directly to the drive through as I was not exactly fit to make a public appearance. Loose, faded tee shirt, baggy jeans, my favorite crocs and the old and dog hair laden hoody jacket. It's what I wear to be comfy around the house. Also, I hadn't showered yet.
I don't usually like drive-throughs. The speaker system is awful, one must always repeat everything a half dozen times, and very often they get your order wrong. But like I said, I wasn't exactly ready for a grand entrance.
"Would you like to start with one of our grilled cheese sandwiches?" The distorted, squeaky, invisible mind reader shouted through the bullhorn quality sound system.
"Why yes, yes I would!" I screamed.
"Are you still there?" The box inquired.
"May I take your order?"
"Oh, you need more information don't you."
"Okay, I'd like two grilled cheese sandwiches, two tots and a medium coffee. please."
She misread the order back, I re-shouted it.
"Bacon, ham or sausage?" Came the rebuttal.
"Hmmm. sausage I think."
"Did you say sausage?"
"Why yes, that's exactly what I said."
"Your order comes to nine beluga whales and prescient sensibilities." That's what it sounded like anyhow.
I drove up to the window which, as it is 95% of the time in Hillsboro, occupied by a pickup truck.
The wait wasn't long.
A wispy young lady slid open the window and handed me my coffee. Our hands overlapped for a second, a fleeting moment of human to human connection. I was very worried that she, as have many others in the past, might fall instantly in love with me. The moment passed though, I think it was when she looked inside the car, which as on any Saturday, looked like an overturned dumpster. During the week I spend more than entire working day's worth of hours in my little VW, it gets  kind of cluttered and trashy by the weekend.
I swiped what I hoped was the right card through the exterior card eater. ($9.56) It blinked and dinged. She seemed to be satisfied and handed me a warm, aromatic bag. I didn't do the smart thing, which would have been to open it to see how badly they mangled the complex order.
I drove all the way home without succumbing to the temptation to nibble on tots. it was hard, but I'm a real man, able to hold my desires and drives in check.
At home I heard Angel in the shower but I did not wait for her. Poor planning on her part might render her meal cold, not mine. I was confounded and confused when I opened the bag and saw they'd filled the order perfectly.
The bread did look grilled and the cheese was definitely melty. One of the first things many, many dudes learn to cook is grilled cheese. Especially if there are kids in the house.
Though the bread did look grilled, it did so just barely, kind of like half-done toast. A good grilled cheese sammich is best cooked just up to the second it is ready to burst into flames.
The sausage patty extended to the edges for the most part. The bread was square-ish, the patty round. This left dry spots of bread and I do mean dry.
Not that the middle, meaty part was that much better. Very cheesy, but the sausage brought hardly any flavor to the offering. I like a good sage-y sausage. This was more like salty ground pork. the cheese, advertised to be American/Swiss, was more 'Velveetan' in taste. Not that there's anything wrong with Velveeta, but it is a pretty strong flavor. Overall, I was overwhelmed with the blandness of the under-buttered bread and the flatness of the sausage.
Angel, who was a little late to the party, disagreed. She said the sausage brought a nice note of spiciness to the almost overwhelming cheesiness. She agreed though that the bread was way under-cooked, no crunch.
The tots were, well they were tots. Too greasy, too salty, just like we expect and weirdly crave on
rare occasion. Rudy loved the tots Angel shared with him. He seemed to like it as much as the usual yogurt.
In conclusion, I can't say I was disappointed. My expectations were very, very low to begin with. They lived up to those expectations precisely.
Nice try, excellent idea, but fire your chef. You're doing it wrong. Not worth a recommendation.

Hardee's on Urbanspoon

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