I'm sure that, by now, you have seen or heard about the latest crazy taste sensation that is sweeping the nation: Burger King's Mac 'n' Cheetos. I have been excited for these orange nuggets of glory for some time now, and on June 27th, 2016, I finally got to mash 'em up in my chops.
I was about halfway through my Monday when I realized it was the 27th, aka "Mac 'n' Cheetos Release Day." Uncertain of whether or not my local Burger King would be one of lucky "participating locations," I gave the restaurant a quick call to confirm the cheesy delights were indeed present at the corner of SE Hawthorne and Grand.
"Hi!" I squeaked, "I was wondering if you had the Mac 'n' Cheetos?"
"Yes, ma'am, indeed we do."
"Fantastic!" I'll see you soon!" I said, most likely in a way that sounded a lot more menacing than I intended.
Sometimes, when out in the real world, I forget that the average person on the street has no idea what I do for a living, and are not expecting the level of intensity and focus I bring to a fast food establishment. As such, I apologize to the fine people at the southeast Portland Burger King for the crazed expression and very serious voice that accompanied my order, as well as all of the photo taking.
So let's get down to it. Should you spend your hard-earned half a Lincoln to obtain five of these little Cheetos-encrusted, mozzarella stick-inspired, macaroni and cheese-filled treasures?
Should you do it more than once?
I liked them but, maybe this is because my standards for stunt food are much too high, I didn't love them. Believe me, I wanted to love them. I wanted to take a bite and hear a chorus of angels singing "You Sexy Thing," but instead I heard my own, terrible voice singing "I Don't Really Love You Anymore."
Here's what I liked: the innards. The macaroni and cheese was surprisingly on point. It was rich and cheesy, if slightly congealed, with a violently orange hue reminiscent of the mac of my youth. It was exactly what I expected it to be, and I wouldn't change anything about the Velveeta-y interior.
If this product had simply been marketed as "fried mac 'n' cheese," I would have to say the Burger King hit it out of the park, but they didn't. They marketed it as "Mac 'n' Cheetos," and it is in Cheetos department that I find them wanting.
The texture of the breading is substantial and crunchy, and I would be happy to find it on any mozzarella stick, but the flavor is less "Cheetos" and more "Cheeto-scented fried stuff."
Look, I have eaten way too many Cheetos Puffs in my life, so I can say with confidence that these failed to bring it in the synthetic cheesy tang department. They didn't even turn my fingers orange. The sad thing is, all that it would have taken to make these "mind-blowingly fantastic" instead of just "good," is a quick toss in some Cheeto dust. I don't know how practical that would be for Burger King employees, but I know what my taste buds tell me, and my taste buds tell me it would be worth it. Because here's the thing: though I enjoyed my Mac 'n' Cheetos experience, I only ate half of my order, and I won't be going back for another one.
However, if you're looking for fried mac 'n' cheese, you really can't beat these at this price point (about $2.50 for five). Just set the bar low in terms of Cheetos realness and you won't be disappointed.