Been & Going

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Year 6 Round Up

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Jersey Joe has new information on several blogs from the past season.


THE 411

Name: Kicking Back with Jersey Joe

What: weekly blog on & show on Youtube

Time: new editions post Thursday at Noon Eastern / 9am Pacific


Thanks again for all your support and for checking out my blog.  I love how we get to chat like this each week.  As always, feel free to comment below each post or reach out to me on twitter @jerseyjoe50

season 2 round up

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Burger King Halloween Whopper Taste Test

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In this SPECIAL EDITION, Jersey Joe taste tests Burger King’s new Halloween Whopper sandwich.  The first ever fast food sandwich with an all black bun in the US.

Specialty hamburgers with black buns have been featured as promotional items at fast food restaurants overseas for years.  The first, a Star Wars Darth Vador burger was sold by Quick restaurants in France in 2012.  Burger King immediately followed the same year in Japan, with a Premium Kuro Burger (which means Black Burger in English.)

However, the Burger King Halloween Whopper marks the first time a black burger has appeared in the United States.  Taco Bell did sell a blackjack, black colored taco shell, back in 2009.

THE 411

Name: Halloween Whopper

Restaurant: Burger King

Price: $4.99 sandwich only (value meals start at $7.99)




It’s a fun, novelty item for Halloween.  Give it a try.  I also like the addition of the A-1 sauce, instead of ketchup on a traditional Whopper.  A word or warning… the internet rumors are true.  Not to be gross, but it does turn an interesting color coming out the other end!  You’ll see!

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Year Four Rewind

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Here it is – my fourth official season finale!  True, I’ve only been writing on Been and Going since it launched about a year ago, but this blog has now been online for four complete years.  It all started 182 editions ago on  As my season wraps, I always go back and update what I’ve written about.  So, get ready as we take a quick look back…

You can click on the title of each blog to check out the original post.


Blogumn #134 – April 12, 2013


This blogumn looked at the new Judge Judy slot machines that had just hit casino floors.  At the time, the machines were highly popular and can still be found in most major casinos.


The popularity of this slot machine continues today.  During a recent visit to Atlantic City, there was always somebody playing them and still had a line of spectators watching at both banks of machines I found at Bally’s and the Golden Nugget.



Blogumn #139 – May 17, 2013


This blogumn took a look at one of my favorite video games of all time, Burger Time.  The game is simple, you are the chef and your job is to assemble hamburgers in a crazy kitchen where the ingredients have come to life and are after you!


I love to play this game at Barcade, in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Barcade is a cross between a bar and arcade that thankfully, is for adults only.


Sadly, the machine has gone missing from this location.  Barcade is in the process of opening a new location in Manhattan and I can only hope that it will end up there.  Both locations will only be a PATH train ride away.



Blogumn #140 – May 21, 2013


In this special edition, I discussed the new Burger King Rib Sandwich that the fast food chain had added to their menu.  It was their first big jab at McDonald’s by creating their own version of McDonald’s legendary McRib.


The Burger King Rib Sandwich was added to last summer’s menu and I judged it to be far superior to the McRib.  While it did sell well, the sandwich finished its summer run and was removed from BK’s menu early last fall.  Sadly, it has not returned and there have been no plans announced to bring it back.  I hope that Burger King reconsiders and makes this a permanent addition to their menu.



Blog #157 – December 5, 2013


In a little over a week after online gambling was legalized and officially launched in New Jersey, I tested out a few sites to see what all the hype was about.


Like it or hate it, online gambling has generated extra revenue for both the state and the Atlantic City casinos who took part in it.  Sadly, the state overestimated how much revenue would be brought in.


The state was estimating that $10.6 million would be earned in just six weeks.  The total earned was $7.3 million, which is still a success.  The revenue earned from legal online gambling has saw steady growth from January – March, with April being the first to see a slight decline in the amount wagered.  The state still expects continued growth moving forward.



Blog #162 – January 9, 2014


This blog took a look back at the night I was there for the final moments of the Sands casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  With my old camera phone, I captured the final blackjack hand and security ushering everyone out, while the slots were being turned off.  The casino was closed for a project, that was to build a mega casino and hotel in it’s place.  Sadly, the economy went bust and the project never happened.


The Madison House, a hotel that is located across the street from the site, was once used as an additional hotel tower for the Sands.  It closed when the casino did, but finally reopened this past January.  Sadly, Tripadvisor reviews of the initial opening were terrible.  Guests complained of slow elevators, filthy and outdated rooms, and a strong cigarette smoke smell.  Many guests have commented that a renovation has begun and hopefully this will be a step in the right direction for the historic property.  I plan to check it out as some point in the future.


The Sands site still sits unused, outside of a light up artist installation.



Blog #169 – February 27, 2014


In this hilarious video I found online, we get to see TV’s Judge Joe Brown all liquored up and hitting on a group of women at some kind of resort.  Joe even makes fun of his old TV show.


Since then, Judge Joe has gone back to being a lawyer in Memphis, Tennessee.  Back in March, during a court child support preceding, he went on a tirade against the judge and it got him thrown in jail.  (You can hear TMZ’s copy of the court room audio here.) He was sentenced to five days, but was released in a couple of hours.  He is also running for District Attorney in Shelby County.  Could it have all been a publicity stunt?


THE 411


Name: Kicking Back with Jersey Joe


What: weekly blog on


Time: new editions post Thursday at Noon Eastern / 9am Pacific




Thanks again for all your support and for checking out my blog.  I love how we get to chat like this each week.  As always, feel free to comment below each post or reach out to me on twitter @jerseyjoe50.


This summer, I have a quite a treat for all of you TV fans.  Starting with next week’s blog, I am going to post 10 at a time, my 100 favorite TV show theme songs.  You’ll get to see show opens from some of your favorite series and a few that I’m sure you’ve forgotten.  Don’t miss it – starting next week!


Image credits – Chris Marquardt, Kathrina Birkenbach,

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] A Chicken Big Mac?

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Just about all of us have had a meal at McDonald’s at one point in our lives.  Everyone is equally familiar with their signature Big Mac sandwich.  Those two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion, on a sesame seed bun.  The sandwich has gone unchanged for half a century, but now thanks to competition – another restaurant is trying to “one up” the Golden Arches, by replacing those beef patties – with chicken!


The McDonald's Big Mac

The McDonald’s Big Mac

The Big Mac was developed by a Pennsylvania McDonald’s franchisee in the 1950’s.  The special or secret sauce that makes up the sandwich is rarely used by McDonald’s on any other products.


In fact, it has happened only twice.


McDonald’s once sold a Mac Jr., which was a single cheeseburger, topped with the Mac sauce, lettuce, and pickles.  For a brief time in 2011, a Mac Snack wrap was also sold which featured half of a hamburger patty, the secret sauce, cheese, lettuce, pickles, and onion wrapped up in a flour tortilla.


This year, McDonald’s has expanded their Quarter Pounder sandwich line by offering a new Bacon Clubhouse burger which features a quarter pound beef patty, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and the Big Mac secret sauce on a special Kaiser roll.  This is the first time the sauce has ever been used on different burger.  McDonalds also has a chicken option, where you can get chicken instead of beef, but with the secret sauce the taste, just isn’t very good.


The Big Mac is sold at most worldwide McDonald’s locations, but there are several variations, including versions that replace the beef with a chicken patty and more.  (read more about the international versions here).  But, none of these have ever been sold in the United States.


McDonald’s has been facing some stiff competition lately in a fast food burger war, by their greatest opponent – Burger King.


The Burger King Whopper sandwich.

The Burger King Whopper sandwich.

Burger King has its own signature sandwich, The Whopper.  But, they’ve fired a torpedo at the Golden Arches by creating their Big Mac knockoff – the Big King.


The Big King was first introduced back in the 1990’s, but was reformulated and only sold for a limited time.  However, it made a big return last year worldwide and is now once again assembled identically to a Big Mac.


For my money, the Big King just tastes better.  I like the flavor or BK’s flame broiled patties and I think their sauce is just a hint more subtle.  I think you can swap Big Mac sauce for regular tartar sauce and not know the difference.  BK’s sauce is more similar to Thousand Island salad dressing. (which, maybe it is?)


The Chicken Big King.

The Chicken Big King.

Burger King is going for round 2 in the burger war, by adding a chicken version to their menu.  Introduced a couple weeks ago, America can now feast on the Chicken Big King.


I decided to finally give one a try and Burger King is making it easy by offering two for $5 as a special, which really is a deal.  The sandwich uses two of the basic lightly spiced chicken patty BK uses on their value chicken sandwiches.


Once again though, I don’t think the special sauce works with chicken.  It tastes like a fish sandwich with tarter sauce.


That was the same issue I had with the chicken version of McDonald’s Chicken Clubhouse sandwich (which they gave me by mistake the time I ordered, but I tried it anyway.)  The special sauce just doesn’t work for chicken.  The taste reminds me of the Filet-O-Fish.


But, for a limited time BK is selling these on their 2 for $5 promotional menu.  These items rotate on a regular basis, so if you are interested in trying one, I wouldn’t wait around that long.  The sandwich is sold for a limited time only.


But, thanks to the fast food war, Americans can now experience what diners in other countries have for years and that’s the chicken version of the Big Mac or Big King.


The Chicken Big King contains 660 calories and 37g fat.


THE 411


Name: Chicken Big King


What: chicken version of McDonald’s Big Mac or Burger Kings Big King sandwiches


Where served: Burger King restaurants worldwide


Introduced: 2014


Availability: Limited Time Only




While I again applaud Burger King for trying and testing a new sandwich, I say skip this one.  You’re better off just going for the regular Big King.


Image credits – Don, Chandra Marsono

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Burger King Tries to Invent a Healthier French Fry & Goes to War

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BK satisfries 3Can you take the classic deep fried, golden brown French fry and make it even healthier?  Burger King thinks so with what they are calling “Satisfries.”  I find out exactly how much healthier they are and if you should make the switch.


Burger King, opened their first restaurant known as Insta-Burger King in Jacksonville, Florida back in 1953.  After the first concept failed, a year later the restaurant was re-launched as simply Burger King focusing on fast food hamburgers, fries, sodas, and milkshakes.


Many people now simply refer to it as BK for short.


French fries have been a fast food meal staple since the launch of the drive thru restaurant concept in the 1950’s.  Before that, they can be traced all the way back to Belgium in the 17th century, where they were often deep fried alongside fish as a meal for the poor.


French fries eventually made their way to the Americas and were even served at a White House dinner by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802.


Generally regarded as not the healthiest of meal options, the thin sliced potatoes are deep fried in oil or fat, until crisp and a golden brown.  They are then generally seasoned with salt and served with ketchup.  (Yes, I know some people love gravy, cheese, mayonnaise, etc.)


Burger King has decided they want to offer a healthier French fry and have created a version that they advertise as 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than McDonald’s fries.


BK introduced the Satisfries on September 24th as part of a end of the year marketing push with a big media blitz.  The restaurant sent hot samples to many TV shows and food critics.   They also gave away free samples at restaurants.



My friend Max, along with several others who seem to be concerned about my terrible eating, gave me the suggestion to give them a try.  For those who’ve read this blog for years, know that I am generally open to trying a new fast food item.


The Burger King restaurant located next to the World Trade Center construction site in New York City.

The two level Burger King restaurant located next to the World Trade Center construction site in New York City.

On a recent commute home from work, I stopped by the Burger King restaurant located directly next to the World Trade Center construction site in New York City.  4 World Trade Center now towers high above the two story restaurant.


I went inside a little before 7pm and there were hardly any customers.  I was greeted by two BK employees arguing in the back, while others watched and laughed.  The whole place had an extremely unprofessional feel, but I was promptly greeted at the cash register.


I placed an order for a sandwich and a side of medium Satisfries.  She did the usual, try to get me to buy the value meal speech, but I didn’t want to handle a drink on the train.  I placed my order, paid and then waited… and waited… and waited… and waited.


The idea of being a fast food restaurant, means serving up fast food.  While they had an entire bin of regular fries ready to go, they had to special make the Satisfries.  It took about 7 minutes and multiple times yelling at the back to get my order complete.


An order of Burger King Satisfries

An order of Burger King Satisfries.

The first thing I noticed is that these fries are crinkle cut, as opposed to the straight slim cuts of BK’s regular fries.  BK did this on purpose, so employees are quickly able to distinguish between the two.


I took a bite and they are quite good, but nothing special.  The taste honestly reminds me of opening a bag of frozen Ore-Ida fries from the freezer section of my local grocery store.  To me, there is really no difference is taste or shape.


The cost for my medium order of Satisfries was $2.89, while a medium order of regular Burger King fries was $2.59 according to the price posted on the menu board.  That’s a 30 cent markup for health.


And now the health breakdown:

BK satisfries breakdown


Judging by information provided on both restaurants’ websites, the Satisfries are much healthier than the regular BK fries and it does appear they are 30% healthier than McDonald’s as advertised.  It’s up to you if the extra time and cost are worth it.


Burger King BBQ Rib Sandwich, their take on the McDonald's McRib.

Burger King BBQ Rib Sandwich, their take on the McDonald’s McRib.

The Big King, Burger King's take on the McDonald's Big Mac.

The Big King, Burger King’s take on the McDonald’s Big Mac.












And Burger King is not done yet.  They’re in the process of dropping a bomb in the fast food war against McDonald’s by adding the new Big King and BBQ Rib sandwiches to their menu.  They are BK’s version of the popular Big Mac and McRib sandwiches.  BK has already scored a victory in the harsh New York City market, by getting their items in the hands of hungry customers, first.  MYC is still patiently waiting for the McRib, while BK is already offering theirs for a $1 bargain.

BK satisfries 2

THE 411


Name: Satisfries


What: healthier French fries served at Burger King restaurants


Cost: $2.59 for medium order in NYC




Skip these.  They may be a little healthier, but they’re really no different from frozen fries you can buy in the grocery store.  They are also not worth the wait.  This is fast food, after all.  And if you are a health nut, you’re most likely skipping the fast food fries, anyhow.

And for some fun, flip over the wrapper for the BBQ Rib Sandwich and you’ll find a surprise!  BK restaurants in Wisconsin and Illinois are also serving a Bratwurst Sandwich, which consists of 2 Johnsonville Brats, mustard, onions, and pickle on a long roll for football season.  It is currently not a nationwide promotion.

Inverse side of the BBQ Rib Sandwich wrapper which could also be used for the Bratwurst sandwich.

Inverse side of the BBQ Rib Sandwich wrapper which could also be used for the Bratwurst sandwich.