Turns out the Carl’s headquarters are located just 12 miles southish of me in Carpinteria, California, so my allegedly realistic-looking coupon arrived the very next day. (Yes, that’s a paper burger in my lap.) I love instant gratification. I texted Naseem and we set up a lunch date for the next week.
Now, Naseem and I have each been on our own version of a health kick. We talk a lot about salads and calorie counts and Naseem actually s. Regularly. She’s crazy like that. But for this free burger we decided to have a “cheat” day. A SERIOUS cheat day including fast food lunch and a 4 pm margarita & tapas happy hour. Heady, no? Exercise
So Naseem picks me up last Friday and we head to the nearest Carl’s Jr. There are giant images of burgers all over that restaurant, and by the time we had placed our order, we were starving. The Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger comes in a single, a double and a “six dollar” version. I don’t really know the difference between the three, as we went for the biggest and baddest burger we could get. We decided to split the one burger and top it with large fries because, you know, saving room for happy hour. Of course it didn’t look like the coupon, but I wasn’t fazed. Marketing images are always over-glossed
My past experience with so-called grilled burgers has been kind of gross. The buns are usually super greasy, more like deep-fried toast, but I think I’m thinking of Jack-in-the-Box. Anyway, the flat sourdough-type bread was not greasy. One point for Carl’s. There really was a ton of cheese. Another big point. The burger was flame-broiled and there were three slices of tasty, albeit thin, bacon. Point and point. I mean, if you’re going to eat fast food, these are all good things. This burger has no condiments of any sort, just bread, cheese, bacon and burger.
Now to address the claim of being anything like a grilled cheese. First of all, though I like that it wasn’t greasy, that’s exactly what a grilled cheese would be. And really, with the sparse construction, it reminded me mostly of Jack-in-the-Box’s Ultimate Cheeseburger, but with better bread and a tastier, flame-broiled burger. I did love that there were four slices of cheese; it was so rich that I was really glad we were splitting it. Add a bunch of fries to that and we were both stuffed.
So my overall opinion was that this IS a tasty burger. The next time I find myself at a Carl’s on a road trip, there’s a good chance this will be the burger I order. (Farewell, Western Bacon Cheeseburger, it’s been nice knowing you.)
*Interesting side note: the Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger was created when the food inventors at CKE decided to make something for the vegetarians. Why not a really killer grilled cheese? Who doesn’t love it? Unsurprisingly, during the testing phase someone said, “This is good, but you know what would make it better? A burger and bacon.” And that was that. For those vegetarians out there, if you order a grilled cheese, they’ll gladly make you one.