Hearing rumors that Burger King had introduced a new avocado & Swiss Whopper, as well as molten fudge desserts, tater tots with the cheese baked into them and tempura-ish battered chicken nuggets, I decided to forgive that whole bacon sundae debacle and visit the Burger King kingdom at 3200 Downing Street.
See also: -Burger King brings back the California Whopper -- and rolls out Cinnabon -Burger King's new summer menu is both sweet and sour -Burger King's new bacon sundae -- thievery for no good reason
As soon as I hit the counter, I ordered the new avocado & Swiss Whopper, both new desserts -- the molten fudge bites and the molten fudge bite sundae -- as well as an order of cheesy tots and a twenty-piece order of BK's new recipe chicken nuggets (what if the first nineteen nuggets don't give me the full flavor profile, right?). And since I also noticed that there was a buy-one-get-one deal with two new chicken sandwiches, the Italian and Philly, I did a little impulse buy and got both.
So far, so good. But then I asked for BK's signature Kung Pao nugget dipping sauce, and got shut down like a garage door. They didn't have even one little tub to give me. "It's not popular here," said the well-meaning cashier.
For those of you who have yet to try the deliciousness that is the Kung Pao sauce, it's a salty, tangy, gingery, spicy tub of dark brown goo that's a little bit Teriyaki -- and a little bit rock and roll. It's the best sauce for nugget dipping I've tried -- it even edges out McDonald's sweet chili sauce. Instead, I settled for the jalapeno barbeque.
While I was waiting for my order, I parked at a table in the middle of the almost empty dining room and fiddled with my phone until I looked up and saw a complete stranger sitting down right next to me -- really, really close to me, and he was really, really drunk.
"Who the f*ck are you, and what are doing?" I asked him, impolitely.
"Marhashup, dinglebrahmo-wedoopapanoo," he replied.
"Outta here, dude--personal space; check into it," I told him as I got up to move away.
"Okay, you can't be hassling my customers!" my new favorite BK cashier hollered as she kicked him out the door. The Downing store: It's just like being at the Colfax store, without the couple extra miles.
I thanked my hero cashier and picked up my food. The desserts got my attention first: I guessed that BK had christened them "molten fudge" bites because somebody somewhere must have trademarked "chocolate lava," but that's pretty much what they were. These balls were heavy with crisp outsides dusted with powdered sugar and hot, melty chocolate middles -- there were like enchanting little brownie balls with the warm icing on the insides. The bites were yummy, and the sundae was BK's regular, thankfully non-baconed, vanilla/hot fudge/caramel confection with two molten fudge bites stuck to the top of it -- but the lack of creativity didn't make this sundae any less delicious.
I suspected that the new avocado & Swiss garnished Whopper would probably be a regular Whopper smeared with an inadequate amount of institutional-tasting guacamole; an overly-adequate amount of mayo; a scraggly half-leaf of iceberg lettuce (ew); a single under-ripe tomato slice; some cold, chewy bacon; and a slice of rubbery, not-really-melted processed white cheese.
I was correct.
But those cheesy tots were everything I wanted and more. They were small, fried potato tots with cheese on the insides, and they needed no ketchup to enjoy. And enjoy them I did.
Then came the darkest moment of my meal: unwrapping the Italian chicken sandwich. It was a mess of preformed breaded chicken patty with a timid smear of insipid, watery tomato sauce, and more of that nasty white cheese on a bun. And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, it did. I unwrapped the Philly chicken sandwich and found the same setup as with the Italian, but substitute unmelted processed yellow cheese, a smudge of nacho cheese sauce that looked like snot, and a tablespoon or so of some wilted, minced red and green bell peppers (ew) and onions.
I licked both of them a little, on the edges, but could not bring myself to take even two nibbles.
Thankfully, the new chicken nuggets were not just great, but really f*cking great! The magical test-kitchen elves got the breading right -- light, crisp, well-seasoned, not too salty. I would venture to say that these new and improved nuggets are pretty close to being as addictively good as McDonald's nuggs, and the missing Kung Pao sauce would have put them over the top.
My kingdom for a single tub of BK Kung Pao dipping sauce!
To make sure, I packed up the nuggets, tossed the chicken sammies into the trash -- I hope they didn't melt the trash bag -- and drove to the Burger King at 1680 East Colfax Avenue to get that sauce.
I went through the drive-thru and explained to the puzzled cashier that I just wanted some Kung Pao sauce. I held up my crinkled BK bag, told him the other store was out, and he laughed his ass off at me. But he brought me a single tub of Kung Pao sauce.
The first nugget meeting this sauce was epic. And so was the last one. My evening with Burger King was over, but the memory of cheesy tots, fudgy bites and the impressive new nuggets with that Kung Pao sauce remained.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
I'm going to mentally block all the other parts of this BK visit, because I'm a forgiving person.