Saturday, October 26, 2019

Fast Bites Frozen Cheeseburger (Dollar Tree)

Kind of looks and tastes like a cheeseburger, but without the soul of a cheeseburger.

I was inside Dollar Tree, looking for something quick and convenient, when I finally just opted to grab a Fast Bites cheeseburger. I’ve had a couple other items from their lineup before, and found them to be quite hit-or-miss, but for the price point, there’s not really any sort of heavy risk involved. After checking out Dollar Tree’s selection, I opted for their cheeseburger, which I’m not sure I’ve had before.

As with everything in that line, prepwork is almost too easy: open one end of the packaging, pop on a microwave-safe plate (or paper towel, or whatever), and cook for 60 seconds. Once the minute is up, let it sit for a bit, because this sucker is going to be scalding hot—once it cools down a bit, it's ready to eat.

I didn't bring any accouterments, so I instead had to scavenge around the breakroom at work for some kind of condiment that could liven this up a little bit—thankfully, there was plenty of ketchup available. I unloaded a packet of ketchup onto the burger, and dove right in.

Okay, the flavor is actually eerily similar to that of a flame-broiled patty, which is probably due to natural flavoring…it’s amazing how accurate synthetic flavors can be these days. Same with the grill marks, which are obviously added on afterwards as a way to insinuate that you're eating an actual piece of food, instead of a mass-produced science experiment.

As usual, it’s the bun that kind of ruins the whole fa├žade of eating a real burger. It’s not that it’s super-gross—frozen bread technology has apparently come quite a ways from even a few years ago—but it’s noticeably tasteless, with a texture that’s slightly chewier and tougher than a “real” bun. And no amount of sesame seeds are going to make it seem any more legitimate. But, I guess that comes with the territory.

Overall, the taste is fairly decent, and for merely $1 and 80 seconds of microwave time, there’s no doubting its convenience. But in this day and age, you can get something that at least tastes better from virtually any fast food establishment, and for around the same price. It should go without saying that calorie count is high, and that these aren’t good for you, but some categories are actually a lot lower than I was expecting, like there’s “only” 560mg of sodium (24%...I was expecting closer to the 50% range or even higher). Protein is also pretty high, at 16g (29%), and 3g of dietary fiber even make an appearance. (On the flip side, there is 0.5g of trans fat, to go along with 6g of saturated.)

I don’t think many people purchasing a sandwich from Dollar Tree—especially one called “Fast Bites”—is going to expect anything gourmet. Actually, I really don’t even think people buying these are going to expect anything all that good. And that’s what they’ll get: a mysterious food-looking item that looks like a cheeseburger, and tastes like a cheeseburger, but without the soul of a cheeseburger.

Overall: 5/10. Sometimes, all we’re looking for is a quick, cheap bite, and Fast Bites—purveyor of all things fast and cheap—is always at the ready to fulfill those unlofty demands. Here they serve up a cheeseburger, with the appropriate look, feel, and taste, but one that lacks any sort of character. Considering better tasting options are available for around the same price at virtually every fast food establishment, there isn't much here to recommend on a consistent basis, but it fills the void on those days you want something easy, and don't want to leave the house. Which, come to think of it, pretty much sums me up every single day.

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