Fast Times

Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Almost-Not-Quite Pretzel-y, Bacon-y

I am really starting to become a sucker for promotional burgers. Lately, every time I go through the drive-thru with Good Salad Intentions I end up with whatever special burger promotion is going on. This time, it was Wendy's--because who can resist a bacon cheddar burger, especially when it comes on a pretzel bun?

Wendy's calls the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger "a delicious new twist on our classic hot-n-juicy cheeseburger with a sweet & smoky honey mustard sauce, melted cheddar cheese and applewood smoked bacon all on a warm, soft pretzel bun."

Let's explore the accuracy of that statement.

Basing a "new" burger entirely on simply changing the bun is a tricky strategy, because that bun had better be pretty epic. I certainly liked the look of my Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger -- a dark, caramelized bun that housed a beef patty; melted cheddar cheese; dark and leafy lettuce (green and purple!); and visual evidence of the aforementioned "sweet & smoky honey mustard sauce."

Unfortunately, the visuals do not translate into a winning cheeseburger. You can see the honey mustard sauce, but it gets lost in the more-than-a-little-greasy cheese. And you know what else doesn't work? A dry hamburger patty paired with cheese grease. The bottom of the to-go container was covered in a slick of grease that, as close as I could tell, was coming from the layer of cheese between the burger patty and the bun -- the burger was so dry, how could it possibly be coming from the meat? It was a strange, and unpleasant, combination of textures.

As for the bacon, I finally found some around the fifth or sixth bite, but again, we're talking about an ingredient that gets largely lost in the grease pit. Finally, the star of the show, the "soft pretzel bun." Soft is not a word I would use to describe the bun; in fact, it was a lot closer to an actual pretzel than to a pretzel roll -- dry, chalky, almost dusty when tasted on its own. I think you have to skip this one, guys -- I expect a lot more for my 680 fast-food calories than grease and cheese.

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Christina Uticone