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DRIVE-BY DINING

Battle of the cattle

September 16, 2004|Adam Tschorn | Special to The Times

The fast-food burger battle opened a new front recently when two major chains unleashed dueling Angus burgers. Drawing first ketchup was Burger King with a third-of-a-pound patty. (Burger King claimed it was the first time a national chain has served up a 100% Angus beef burger.) But the glory was short-lived. A month later, rival Carl's Jr. debuted its own bun-busting version -- a double-pattied behemoth that tipped the scales at a full pound of Angus. (Carl's Jr. touts it as "the largest double burger in the country.") Drive-By Dining decided to take it on the chin to find out if bigger was necessarily better.

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The Angus burgers

Taste

**** Burger King:

Grilled onions and steak sauce accent a thick, seasoned piece of meat that tastes surprisingly like a burger you'd make yourself.

** Carl's Jr.: Despite the pedigree, the two half-pound burgers taste like standard-issue meat pucks under lots of American cheese.

Portability

** Burger King:

The steak burger lasted 1.3 miles in stop-and-go traffic heading west on Wilshire Boulevard, with minimal grilled-onion-related incidents.

* Carl's Jr.:

On the I-5 traveling north, it took 16 miles (and much intestinal fortitude) to polish it off. By law, this shouldn't be sold at the drive-up window.

Diet Watch

* Burger King:

Its calories (570) and fat grams (22) hardly make it diet fare -- unless you compare it with the competition.

-* Carl's Jr.:

The only way eating a pound of meat can be considered healthy is if you're a Bengal tiger (1,420 calories and 101 grams of fat).

Hype-O-Meter

**** Burger King:

Burger King's ad campaign features Dr. Angus, an Anthony Robbins-Wink Martindale hybrid who extols the virtues of the Angus Diet with nonsensical mantras.

**** Carl's Jr.:

The TV ads ask: "How do you know if you can eat the largest double burger in the country?" as a young woman wanders on screen, grins and puts her entire left fist into her mouth.

Winner: Burger King takes the crown for best-tasting Angus burger, but Carl's Jr. gets a nod for its ad, sure to be a frat-house favorite.

* Ratings are on a scale of one (lowest) to four (best)

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