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An Impossible Slider and Improbable Coke

September 18, 2019

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there isn’t a single White Castle in the Capital Region. It’s not that the area is bereft of sliders. Over the years I became a big fan of Slidin’ Dirty, and if you recall, we had them cater my son’s bar mitzvah. Although once when passing through town, Jim Leff insightfully called out Slidin’ Dirty for selling gourmet mini burgers and not actual sliders. However, I’m not here to quibble about semantics.

The year we were on sabbatical New Jersey, I was delighted to find it to be White Castle territory. However, despite my best intentions, I never made it into one of those temples of onions and grease during our time there. It turns out that I’m just more into exploring regional foods than a taste of the past at a national chain.

Well, we have White Castle here in Ann Arbor too, and in fact there is one just down the street from our new credit union. This time, I had a reason more powerful than nostalgia to visit. White Castle is now selling an Impossible Slider. That would be one made from Impossible Foods’ Impossible Burger. Oh yeah, and somehow I got a BOGO coupon in the mail to encourage me to try it.

Who was I to say no?

The last time I set foot into a White Castle was over twenty years ago. I do have a vague memory of once trying the White Castle frozen sliders from the supermarket to scratch the itch of these unique bites, some time in my early twenties.

The first time I set foot into a White Castle was in college. My friend Matt was a freaky weirdo with a car, who kept late hours, and had a penchant for post midnight slider runs to a twenty four hour WC in a bad part of Philly. Even at the time, I recognized the burgers themselves were pretty sketchy. Those days I was subsisting on ramen noodles, Taco Bell bean burritos, and potato salad sandwiches. So these warm, soft, “meaty”, fast-food grease-bombs were a particular treat.

Because it had been so long since my last visit, and I wanted to see how the Impossible Slider stacks up to the White Castle original, it was important for me to order a traditional slider as well.

Dear God! Were they always this gross? Please tell me they have gone downhill in the past two decades. Seriously, if you blindly gave me a piece of that beef patty, I wouldn’t be able to identify it as something which came from a cow. But it wasn’t just the beef. The whole thing was pretty vile. Even the onions were acrid. And neither the delightfully soft steamed buns, or the few slices of bright crunchy pickle, were able to save it.

In the end, I side with Eater. While I may not go so far as to call the Impossible Slider one of America’s Best Fast-Food Burgers, it’s clearly the very best thing at White Castle. Sorry, Pete. Not only is it not absolutely disgusting, it’s actually tasty. Part of that is the smoked cheese that graces the patty, but it’s also about proportion. Because there’s more than just a sliver of protein between those fluffy carbs.

What I miss on the Impossible Sliders are the traditional five holes drilled into the patties, which allow the bun to soak up some of White Castle’s signature onion grease and become so comfortingly soft. But that’s a small nit. I’m happy to pay over twice the price of a traditional slider for one without meat, because not only is it tastier, it’s also more filling.

Does it actually taste like beef? Well, more than the traditional White Castle slider, which isn’t saying much. But the Impossible Slider isn’t nearly as beefy as those beefy beefy patties at Five Guys, or you know, actual beef. And that’s fine. The Impossible Burger isn’t beef. When I want dead cow, I’ll eat dead cow. When I want something resembling a burger without all that beef fat, I’ll seek out another Impossible Slider, because for $2 it’s a tasty snack, and for $4 it’s an inexpensive light meal.

But wait, there’s more.

As it turns out, the Impossible Slider isn’t the only new thing to appear at White Castle over the past two decades. Because to wash down this fast food was an improbable beverage. I’m under the impression that it’s a regional thing after talking with a Michigander who was surprised to hear that the words “Frozen Coke” were new to my ears.

Coke Slurpees I know quite well. Coke Icees are also familiar to me, although as a child I remember considering them to be inferior to the 7-Eleven classic. But the generic “Frozen Coke” as a beverage you might expect to find at a fast food restaurant? This is new ground for me.

Yet in this Ann Arbor White Castle, “Frozen Coke” was right up there on the menu. Long gone are the days when Slurpees were a regular indulgence for me, so my ability to critique taste and texture of the form are more limited. That said, the large cup we received was very well frozen, beautifully fluffy, and maintained its flavor without the syrup dropping out of suspension for the life of the drink.

Apparently, “Frozen Coke” can also be found in local Burger Kings and other places as well. Who knows? But now I’m going to keep an eye out, although I can’t say why I might ever venture into BK. Well, maybe for the Impossible Whopper, if that’s still a thing. I heard it was a limited time offering. The last few times I tried beloved favorites from my childhood at Burger King, they have been exceptionally awful. So it may still take me a while to make it through their doors.

We’ll see.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ryan permalink
    September 18, 2019 5:44 pm

    The frozen Coke at BK is one of the few things worth getting there. Of course, in true fast food fashion, the machine is broken half the time.

  2. September 24, 2019 1:51 am

    Nice write up, Daniel. Now try the chicken rings! They’re like nothing else. Nothing.

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