Taste Test: 7-Eleven

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Last weekend, while I was eating a swath through the Eastern seaboard, something ironic occurred.

The scene was the DC/Baltimore area, where I and a small group had been gastro-touristing with our phasers set on "glutton." As we were wobbling away from lunch one day and attempting to squeeze our newly enhanced selves into a defenseless little car, inevitably the topic of our next meal urgently popped up. Here's where the irony kicks in.

Just after one of my gracious hosts had finished lengthily and excitedly describing our next dining destination - which would turn out to be probably the most firmly committed sourced/sustainable/locavorish high-end restaurant I've ever eaten at (see my blog Under the Table for details) -she cocked her head toward a convenience store we were just passing by and murmured, "Oh, I love their Burrito Rollers."

What I tried: 7-Eleven's Breakfast Burrito Rollers and Jalapeno Cream Cheese Taquitos (2 for $2)

On a roll: After successive beats of in-car laughter, puzzled silence and more in-car laughter, my host went on to explain that of course she knew it was just "crap food" but sometimes she liked "crap food." And besides, she wasn't always in the mood for a big to-do of a meal.

"Oh, and did I mention they were only a dollar?" she giggled.

After detailing the makeup of these breakfast 7-Eleveners, my hosting friend admitted to enjoying another variety of "roller." She said, "Mmmm, the taquitos are full of yummy cream cheese and spicy jalapeno. Oh, and did I mention they were only a dollar?"

Roller coasting: As I stumbled past my local, back-to-Columbus 7-Eleven counter - which was manned by a stone-faced, half-asleep worker - I eyeballed the unholy rollers and was momentarily seized with panic and fear.

The six-inch industrial-looking tubes - which were positioned next to fat and blistered sausages leaking grease and also spinning slowly (who knows for how long?) - were interminably turning in a fashion I hoped wouldn't be the model for my stomach the rest of the day.

I ordered two different Rollers, and as I was making my escape, noticed the Buster Keaton-faced worker laconically dip his hand into a plain brown box and plop three more tubes onto the "griddle." Here's what I tasted.

Scrambled egg, sausage and cheese: A thin burrito/long eggroll-like object was speckled with black pepper on its too-thick and floury tasting wrapper. Inside were salty and sagey sausage pellets plus blots of nondescript melty yellow cheese and barely there pieces of egg. Mostly I just tasted the floury wrapper.

Jalapeno and Cream Cheese: A fairly tangy and surprisingly spicy cream cheese and hot jalapeno filling - a goodly pocket of it -was much better able to stand up to its crispy, golden-browned and (in this case) chili-powdery-tasting wrapper.

Would I eat them again?: I might roll back another jalapeno-and-cream-cheeser, but only after I'd had a few too many, and only under cover of night.

Spot a new menu item you'd like Taste Test to try? E-mail gbenton@columbusalive.com