Monday, April 4, 2011

So... What's for lunch?

Yep, it's about lunch time, and I'm sitting here hungry as balls and thinking about all the delicious stuff that I could eat and I was like ok, I guess I could blog about this, why the hell not?  The great thing about living in America is all the wonderful, awful fast food that we have access too and how it has turned the simple task of deciding what to have for lunch into a brain-melting nightmare of indecision.  So, to help make that decision a little easier, I present to you Dave's choice for the best things to order at fast food places.  Your stomach will thank me later and your arteries are already writing me hate mail.

Double Double, Animal Style, In n Out.

I had to start with the master of all burgers.  No building up to an emotional climax here, I'm going right for the pot of gold at the end of the double rainbow.  Simply put, there is no other fast food burger that can top the double double, animal style.  It's about as close to a perfect drive-thru burger as you can get.  For everyone who doesn't live in CA or one of the few areas of the western U.S. that currently has an In n Out, sorry about your luck kid, maybe you should re-evaluate the shitholes you reside in.  For everyone else who does live near an In n Out, you're already deciding to have one of these bad boys just from seeing this picture.  That's how good In n Out is, you just see a picture of it, or hear someone talking about it and you're like oh fuck yeah, I'm gonna go get me some right now.  So, what makes this fucker such a warlock of deliciousness?  Tempt your fuckin tummy's boys and girls.  First off, you have two mustard-grilled burger patties.  What that means is they take the patty, slap mustard on it, then fry that shit so the mustard crusts all into the meat and make it taste like I don't even know what... angel labias or something.  It's beefy and delicious but with a little zingy kick from the mustard, it's just great that's all.  Second, see those little golden-brown nuggets in that layer of melted cheese up at the top there?  Those are grilled onions.  When you order a burger animal style, everyone in the place knows someone is about to get hooked up because they start grilling those onions and the smell cruises out from the kitchen and sits on your face and starts to wiggle.  Third, see all that pink shit slopping out of the bottom?  That's In n Out's secret sauce, called simply "spread", and it makes McDonald's secret sauce look like man gravy.  Order your burger animal style and they go apeshit on the spread, with the wonderful pictured results.  You will need some napkins for an animal style burger, but that's what makes a great burger, sloppy goodness.  Next, see that golden mass of melted awesome that's housing all those carmelized chunks of oniony bad-assery?  Fuck yeah son, that's real American cheese.  "Sweet land of liiii-bertyyyy..."  Holy ass cocks, I can taste this thing, my mind-buds are so perfectly attuned to the flavorgasm that is this burger that I have like taste memory and shit.  Ok, next we have pickles.  Normally not a big deal, pretty standard on most burgers, but at In n Out pickles are optional.  Not on an animal style burger though, the only option on an animal style burger is how many of these babies are you gonna cram in your food hole.  Those are good ass pickles too, no shitty end pieces with little bits of stem on them, no gross half-brown sickly slices.  Lastly, it's all wrapped up in a perfectly-toasted bun.  Just toasted enough to keep the sauce and juices from soaking in and turning the bun into pink dough, but not so toasted that it's like eating croutons.  This thing is perfection, period.  I purposely excluded the lettuce and tomato because frankly those just take up room in the burger that could be better used to hold 2 more beef patties and slices of cheese.  4x4 ANIMAL STYLE BITCHES!  Order this burger with fries animal style and go enjoy your non-stop mouth orgy of awesomeness.  What are fries animal style you say?  Oh, nothing much, just fries with melted cheese, spread and grilled onions slathered on top.  Sounds gross?  Maybe.  Looks gross?  Definitely.  Tastes?  Like God came in your mouth.

The Double Down, KFC.

A few years ago, a man named Morgan Spurlock made a documentary called "Supersize Me" about the extremely unhealthy nature of fast food in America.  In the wake of this film, many fast food resturants - including and especially McDonald's, who was prominently targetted in the movie - made a number of changes to their menus.  Smaller sides, low-calorie options, the removal of some of the worst, most unhealthy items from their menus altogether, and most notably the increased addition of nutritional information that has now resulted in most fast food places showing calorie counts next to each item.  It seemed as though the fast food industry was turning a new chapter and American fast food places were finally following the lead set by their overseas chains by cooking healthier and providing more healthy options for customers.  However, one thing about America though... Corporate America is like a bratty kid, in that when a kid gets in trouble, they apologize and act contrite and go through the motions of changing their behavior, but as soon as they realize they aren't being watched like a hawk anymore, they slowly start going back to their old ways until not only are they just as bad as they were when they first got in trouble, they're actually even worse.  Case in point, KFC.  Back when all the fast food hullabaloo started, KFC was still called Kentucky Fried Chicken.  After the mock outrage over unhealthy fast food hit, "OMG, we had NO IDEA that a double quater pounder and a lb of fries with a 44oz coke was bad for you!" KFC went through a re-imaging of sorts.  First, they announced that they were using cooking oil without trans-fats, finally achieving the standards set in Europe like a decade or so ago.  Next, they decided it was time to rebrand the name.  Somehow, Kentucky Fried Chicken was seen as a polarizing name... I dunno, what about southern fried chicken, served primarily in and to low-income areas and families, with an old, white plantation owner as your mascot seems polarizing or controversial?  I don't get it...  But, at any rate, those hyper-sensitive PC liberal homos decided that maybe a name change was in order.  They were smart enough to realize that "KFC" was how they were known, so they had to try a name that still used those familiar initials.  Thus followed the incredibly short-lived reign of "Kitchen Fresh Chicken."  That's right, in an attempt to rebrand themselves as a healthier resturant, KFC trademarked and began an ad campaign where they would now be known as "Kitchen Fresh Chicken."  Needless to say, that movement didn't even last the summer.  The public basically laughed KFC back to the drawing board, where they decided if they couldn't shake the "Kentucky Fried Chicken" legacy, they could at least sweep it mostly under the rug, and thus they became simply "KFC."  Yes, KFC was ready to jump on the bandwagon of healthier, more responsible fast food with both feet.

That was sooo 2000's...

Towards the end of the first decade of the new millenium, fast food companies started to realize that the eagle eye of healthy eating advocacy groups was turning away from them.  Morgan Spurlock had long since been paid off to stop doing anti-fast food exposé's, and frankly I think that whole thing was just a scam in the first place, secretly funded by McDonalds and other fast food companies to give them an excuse to stop selling such huge fry and soda sides so they could charge the same price for 30% less product and say they were looking out for the health of their customers... as if that's ever been a factor in any decision a corporation has ever made.  McDonalds would sell fucking Soylent Green Big Macs if they could get away with it and you know it.  At any rate, like the bratty kids they are, big business slowly started creeping back to it's old ways until finally it was time to just stick that shit right under the nose of mommy and daddy, and thus we have this new renaissance of ungodly fast food menu items that are like little food demons, sent from hell to corrupt your stomach's eternal soul.  Among the legion is the arch-demon known as the Double Down.

Was that the most long-winded setup for a fast-food item ever?

KFC has officially said "Fuck you, health!" with the double down.  Realizing that the use of pussy shit like "buns" just gets in the way of more chicken, KFC has created a masterpiece of artery-clogging goodness.  It's essentially a bacon and cheese sandwich between two chicken breasts.  There's a zesty sauce that's gooder than hell and it comes in two styles, original recipe and grilled.  KFC's grilled chicken is a joke.  I dunno, maybe it tastes good to some people, but you don't order a double down and then ask for it to be made with grilled chicken, that's like ordering a double down and then asking for a diet pepsi to drink with it.  Like, really?  Putting away over 1000 calories worth of cheese, fried chicken and bacon is ok, but hold the extra 200 calories of soda cuz you're watching your weight?  Whatever.  Anyway, this thing is glorious and completely wrong, and destined to leave you feeling nothing but guilt and remorse afterwards, like getting really good head from a tranny hooker.  And, just like that tranny hooker, the next time you have $10 in your pocket, you're going right back for more...

Western Bacon Cheeseburger, Carl's Jr.

Available in 4 versions - single, double, six-dollar and double six-dollar sizes, the western bacon cheeseburger is a cornerstone of the Carl's Jr. (Or Hardees if you aren't lucky enough to live out wesss) menu.  It's been around in different incarnations about as long as I've been aware of the existence of the resturant.  Back when I was young, the western bacon cheeseburger was a long burger, served on a hoagie-style roll, kind of like a steak sandwich only with a burger patty.  Sometime in the 90's it became the standard burger version we see today and those hoagie rolls saw a brief comeback with the limited-time steak sandwiches, which incidentally were great and also had a western bacon version that was awesome.  Regardless, the western bacon is the shit.  I mean really, let's take a look at this culinary masterpiece.  First off, you don't see any pussy ass vegetables on this bitch.  The only thing that even comes close to a vegetable is the onions, and they are safely contained in a case of fried breading, lest their pinko vegetarian idealogy infect the utopia of meats, cheese and sawss that coexist in perfect harmony under that sesame seed ceiling.  Next, everything else in this fucker is perfect, charbroiled burger - the closest thing to a bbq'ed burger taste you can find at a fast food place, bacon - the essential supporting meat to any great burger, cheese, onion rings and sawss... delicious, smoky, spicy bbq sawsss!  The sauce on the western bacon is probably the best bbq sauce of any fast food burger place ever.  Others imitate, but never duplicate the original western bacon cheeseburger.  I get that fucker with extra sauce so that it's dripping out all over the place and I can dip my fries in that shit.  Carl's Jr. used to have the greatest slogan ever "If it doesn't get all over the place, it doesn't belong in your face."  Truer words were never spoken.  Anyone who appreciates a good burger knows that the messier and saucier a burger is, the better.  Again, just like with the double double, I've eaten so many of these fucks that I can taste that sauce in my mind just thinking about it.  Right now the Carl's Jr.'s in my area have the single-patty western bacons for 2 for $5, which is their way of saying "We want you to die of a heart attack before you're 40, Dave."  And honestly, if I could go out with a western bacon in one hand, a fat joint in the other and a Thai hooker working my shaft, I think I'd go right into that light...

The McRib, McDonalds

For the most part, McDonald's menu is for pussies.  It's not that they don't have some good stuff, besides their legendary and awesome fries.  I happen to be particularly addicted to Chicken McNuggets, for example.  And speaking of McNuggets, McDonald's is the only fast food place with decent chicken nuggets.  I'm not talking about chicken strips, which a few different places do well, I'm talking about plain old chicken nuggets.  Nowhere else has nuggets worth a shit compared to the McNugget.  Wendy's?  Nope.  Burger King?  Fuck off.  Talk all the shit you want about processed chicken chunks mashed together and formed into one of two nugget shapes - either ovular or rhomboid - but McNuggets are the shit, and with that sweet & sour sauce, forget about it.  But, I digress, this is about the McRib, about the only other thing on the McDonald's menu worth getting worked up over and feeling any kind of remorse after eating whatsoever.  Back when McDonald's sold the double quarter pounder, that kind of contended for the sort of accolades I'm dishing out here, but the problem with the quarter pounder is that McDonald's burgers basically taste like shit.  If the patty is thick enough to actually taste the meat, you quickly realize their meat isn't worth tasting, and when you double up on the shittiness, the result is, well, doubly shitty.  Don't even get me started on the angus beef burgers or whatever the fuck they're called.  I don't even understand how those things are still on the menu.  I don't know anyone who likes them.  I've tried them a handful of times when they had a deal on them or I thought hey maybe this new bacon cheddar angus burger will be different from the other ones and taste good... nope, still shitty.  McDonald's needs to stick to what they do best, making cheap, unhealthy, shit food that doesn't try to pretend it's anything else, and this is why the McRib rises above and why McDonald's has made it the longest-lasting "limited time only" menu item ever.  The McRib represents the pinnacle of McDonald's golden age of reckless, unhealthy abandon.  It's a processed pork patty shaped to look somewhat like a rack of ribs, slathered in bbq sauce that isn't fit to hold Carl's Jr.'s bbq sauce's dick, but is good enough for it's intended purpose on this sandwich.  There are some raw, white onions in there and a bunch of pickles and that's it.  It's simple, amazingly good when you're stoned and unhealthy as all hell.  It tastes great with fries, but then again I think human flesh would taste good with McD's fries on the side.  Wash this fucker down with a Shamrock Shake and it's like you're 12 years old again and the concept of fattening foods is as foreign as deoderant.

Chili Cheese Dog, Weinerschnitzel

There are two distinct categories to great, decadent fast food - wonderfully loaded down and beautifully simple.  The double double, animal style, with it's piles of amazing and delicious toppings is wonderfully loaded down.  The classic chili cheese dog from Weinerschnitzel is beautifully simple.  It's a hot dog with cheese and chili, boom.  What makes it amazing is first, it's cheap.  Often these babies are 5 for $5 or something similar, and on "Chili dog Sunday" you can get a basic chili dog for like 59 cents and then add cheese for a minor additional charge.  As awesome as cheap chili dogs are though, these fuckers wouldn't be worth the turds they make if they didn't taste good, and that's where the chili cheese dog rises to the occasion.  Weinerschnitzel has the best tasting chili of any fast food place that I can think of.  I've never had chili this good anywhere else at least.  It's because of this chili, in fact, that my favorite guilty pleasure meal at the Schnitzel is the trifecta - chili cheese dog, chili cheese burger and, of course, chili cheese fries.  Weinerschnitzel recently added a double chili cheese burger to its menu, another shot across the bow at my cardivascular health, but the chili cheese dog is the OG.  It's epic drunk and stoned food, and unlike about 90% of all fast food out there, it still tastes good microwaved the next day.  I think I could win a chili cheese dog eating contest, or explode my stomach trying.  These babies are in the same category as Jack in the Box tacos, I know they aren't healthy and I don't care because they're good as hell and the more I've had to drink the better they taste.  Speaking of Jack in the Box...

Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger, Jack in the Box

I couldn't do a tribute to terribly unhealthy, yet wonderfully addicting fast food without including Jack in the Crack.  I am fond of a number of items on their menu, from the tacos I previously mentioned, to the highly underrated spicy chicken sandwich to this meaty, triumphant bastard right here.  Jack in the Box has recovered from one of the worst image hits ever - a huge e-coli outbreak that resulted in the deaths of a few kids and old people back in the early 90's - and in the span of a decade they had one of the biggest and most successful comebacks in fast food history.  The "return" of Jack and their blueprint of making food that is basically catered to drunks and stoners and poor people - cheap, greasy, good and open anywhere from late nights to 24 hours.  Jack knows his demographics and he gives the people what they want.  Back when the bacon ultimate cheeseburger debuted, it was called The Colossus and was a limited time menu item.  The popularity of the burger made it a permanent fixture and since it was basically just an ultimate cheeseburger with bacon, it became simply the bacon ultimate cheeseburger.  Unfortunately, there is one thing about this burger that has knocked it down a step from the glory days...  Not too long ago, Jack in the Box made the decision to start adding ketchup to it's burgers that didn't used to have ketchup on them.  Now normally ketchup on a burger is not a problem for me, in fact I tend to like the extra juiciness that ketchup adds to a good burger, but ketchup on Jack's burgers doesn't work for me at all.  It's something about the way the ketchup tastes with the onion mayo that grosses me right the fuck out and almost ruined this burger and the Jumbo Jack entirely for me.  It's not that I can't just simply order my burgers without ketchup from there, because I do every time, it's that - with the exception of In n Out who never get an order wrong - you never know when you're going to get some mouth breather on the line who just slobs that ketchup on there anyway and thus ruins what would have otherwise been a great, guilty meal.  The Jacks in my town (there are 2) are both particularly unpredictable in this regards and if I happen to forget to ask for no ketchup, I'm going to be treated to a ketchup fucking showcase, it's like they have a quota of ketchup gallons that must be consumed per month and they pad that shit every chance they get or something.  However, if they get my order right, the bacon ultimate cheeseburger is a fantastic way to tell your heart to go fuck itself.  Add a side of bacon and cheddar potato wedges and a milkshake and you may as well start ordering that XXXL coffin right now.

The Baconator, Wendy's

Fucking.  A. 

Wendy's ups the ante on bacon burgers with this bitch.  Meat, cheese, sawses, done.  No vegetables, nothing fancy, just beef, bacon, cheese, mayo and bread.  I've always been a Wendy's fan.  Ever since I was a kid, my grandpa and dad would always take us to Wendy's when we went to town.  I remember the Wendy's we used to go to in Fresno, it had tables that were covered with prints of old newspaper ads and pictures of Fresno when it was just a small town built around a train station.  I used to fill up a bunch of those little paper cups of ketchup, sit there with my single with cheese - no tomatoes or onions, and eat my fries while reading all those old timey ads.  Eventually all that stuff went to the wayside in favor of the new, remodeled Wendy's image, but I'll always remember all the great lunches the 3 generations of Fountinelle's would have sitting in that Wendy's on Blackstone Ave., across the street from Radcliffe stadium.  Wendy's has had a number of items on it's menu that I have absolutely loved.  As a kid, I was always a single with cheese (no tomatoes or onions) guy.  That changed when I was a little older and Wendy's introduced the chicken parmesean sandwich, which was their crispy chicken breast with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Fucking thing changed my life, and from then on was the only thing I ordered for as long as it was available.  After that, I enjoyed almost every limited time item on the menu, bacon mushroom melt, Monterey ranch chicken sandwich, bacon and bleu cheese burger, and so on.  Even now, one of my current favorites is the Asiago ranch chicken sandwich, a wonderful abomination of chicken, bacon, asiago cheese and parmasean-ranch dressing.  However, Wendy's burgers have always been a favorite and I would never go too long without returning to my old love, the single with cheese.  Wendy's changed the game on all that though when they unleashed the Baconator on an unsuspecting public.  This thing is a behemoth of meaty goodness, available in single, double and triple varieties.  I'm not a big fan of the triple, it's just a little too much even for me, but the double baconator is sick.  Like all good, terrible fast food, you can taste the unhealthiness in every bite.  It's greasy, salty, cheesy, bacony and mayonaisey and it assimilates directly into your bloodstream like snake venom.  One double baconator and an order of fries and I feel like I just had sex with a first cousin or something, real shameful and dirty but at the same time I came so it's like I'm torn.  Unfortunately for Wendy's right now, they recently changed their fry recipe from the amazing, highly underrated and almost perfect version they used to have to a shitty, "natural cut" style with sea salt that, while they may be good in their own right, taste like absolute shit compared to their old recipe.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it Wendy's!  If Dave Thomas were still alive, he'd kick your asses for this shit.

Steak Burrito, Chipotlé

I'm going to end it with this glorious bastard because, frankly, all this talk about food is making me hungry and I spent my entire lunch time and then some working on this post, so it's high time I go stick some empty calories in mah bellay.  For those who aren't fortunate enough to live near a Chipotlé, they are basically the In n Out of burritos y tacos.  Like In n Out, their menu is simple - choose one of 4 meats - chicken, steak, barbecoa or carnitas, prepared one of 3 ways - tacos, burritos or burrito bowls, and then choose your additional ingredients as they move your creation down the line and heap on whatever you want, from black or pinto beans and cilantro rice to salsas of various heat levels and sour cream, cheese, guac, lettuce, etc.  Also, like In n Out, they will accomodate special requests that aren't listed on the menu.  Want a quesadilla?  You got it.  It's just meat and cheese in a warm tortilla.  Want a salad?  They'll heap lettuce into a bowl and pile your choice of meat and toppings on top.  Want a combo burrito?  They'll combine meats, they don't give a fuck!  Want to mix and match your tacos?  Oh... they'll do it, don't even trip homey.  So, much like In n Out, a relatively simple looking menu on the surface can provide limitless possibilities, and also like In n Out, it's FUCKING DELICIOUS!  First off, Chipotlé isn't just a name, it's a chief ingredient in their meats, and the result is the spiciest fucking steak you will ever get from a fast food place.  One time my wife and I were eating at a Chipotlé in Sacramento and the steak was so fucking spicy that a guy at one of the other tables started freaking out and they had to bring him a whole thing of sour cream to pile on his shit to cool it off more and they gave him a free large soda to help as well.  Shit was fire son, no bullshit, even we were like damn this is spicy even for Chipotlé.  They don't fuck around.  Second, it's goddamn yummy.  Fresh made shit, put together freshly in front of you just makes me feel better about eating it.  Not that I have any hangups about my food being prepared in the shadows as is evidenced by the rest of my list here, but it's real nice to tell them how much and of what ingredients I want added to my shit.  It just tastes so awesome, to get a burrito that comes close to Chipotlé I usually have to hit up a roach coach or one of those mom n pop taquerias that you find out about from the locals when you ask where to get the best "beer drinkin" burrito in town.  So, Chipotlé is awesome because it's comparable quality to those places and you don't have to hunt around, use a sherpa and trial and error a bunch of shitty places in a new town to find it.  You just know whenever you see a Chipotlé that it's gonna be epic, spicy as all shit and perfect.  Although it may seem out of place as a seemingly healthy food item on a list full of artery-hardening lifespan shorteners, the Chipotlé burrito is surprisingly high in calories and fat, and the chicken version is even worse, so it actually does earn it's place on this list because eating this shit every day will also eventually kill you.  But hey, who wants to live forever anyway?

There, now go eat something wonderfully bad for you, wash it down with a large cup of empty calories and veg out in front of the TV.  As for me, I'm off to get one of each of these things, mash them together into a single, glorious frankenstein abomination, eat it and have a coronary.  At least there will be awesome food at my funeral!


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