Archive for category The Junkie
Monthly Feature, By Jim Rassinier
Does anyone else watch food reviews on YouTube? I’ve been watching certain ones for years. One of my favorite channels is Daym Drops, where he reviews fast food items roughly three times a week. He’s normally been on point with his reviews, so when he proclaimed the new KFC Georgia Gold as one of the best pieces of fried chicken he’d ever had? I knew I had to try it.
First off, I’d like to tell a bit of history about KFC or Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was started by Colonel Harland Sanders in 1939 as an actual sit-down restaurant. Sales were quite good until 1950, when an interstate built around him, all but destroying his sales, and he eventually auctioned it off, at a considerable loss. But he also had another plan: franchising. In 1952, he went to a friend who owned a restaurant in Utah and taught him his secret recipe. The said business increased so much that in just four years, eight other restaurants were using his recipe and process, which involved the 11 herbs and spices, and a pressure cooker. That was it. The Colonel got 4 cents for every piece of chicken. Less than eight years into the business, he had over 600 franchisees.
Another fun fact was that the Colonel used to randomly stop by Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets and sample the gravy. If the gravy wasn’t up to his standards, he’d stop the restaurantuer right there and reteach how to make the gravy. I so wish I’d had that gravy way back then. (I still always have to get their mashed potatoes.)
Anyhoo, I digress. I went into KFC with excited expectations. “Best chicken ever?” That is a bold statement, but I had enjoyed their Nashville Hot, so I was definitely expecting something special.
Oh, how wrong I was.
Georgia Gold, put simply, is just a regular Extra Crispy piece of chicken doused in an oily as hell, greasy, honey mustard barbecue sauce. I found the flavor very off-putting. The worst part? The only bite I mildly liked was when I paired in with the pickle slice. Problem was, they only gave me one measly, little, pathetic pickle slice. I will say that the oil and grease didn’t keep the chicken from being crunchy; it still had a very nice crunch. It was the flavor of that sauce that I found so unappealing.
Would I recommend this? Here’s the thing … I’ve seen several well-respected folks online that said they loved it. I’m not in that group of people. So, no, I absolutely would not recommend. However, if you’re someone who really likes honey mustard barbecue, maybe this is for you.
My only two suggestions: Try the sauce before you order it. And make sure they give you extra pickles!
Guest Post by Jim Rassinier
To preface this, I wrote an article a couple years ago about discontinued fast food items that I thought should be brought back. I felt all were good options, but never did I think that I would actually see one make a comeback. (C’mon cheesarito!)
For those unaware, Burger King created the Yumbo in 1968, and, sadly, only stayed on their menu until 1974. (I was only 2 at the time…) It was a great idea; simply put: a hot ham and cheese sandwich. Well, 40 years later, they decided to put it back on the menu, albeit slightly altered by placing it in their chicken sandwich bun and serving it with authentic black forest ham for those who might think BK is cutting corners. I’m personally not a fan of these being served on this particular sandwich bread. (Does Burger King still let you have it “your way?” I may have to go back and see. I think this would go so much better on a burger bun.)
Regardless, in honor of this resurrection, I chose to try Burger King once again and purchase an almighty Yumbo, along with their Big Fish sandwich on the “2 for $5 menu.”
First off, this is a damn good sandwich for the normal price of $3.69, much less $2.50. It’s always great to be able to go into a drive through and get something actually different than the typical burger or chicken sandwich.
My biggest issue was the bread: It wasn’t awful, but I’ve never been a fan of the bread. I went twice with two other folks and we all agreed it was a tad “bready.” Otherwise, spot on. I’m thinking I’ll have to do an update to see if they’ll switch the bread out, and if there will be an extra cost.
As for the Big Fish? Pretty good and better than Wendy’s current iteration. I’m still a huge fan of Chick-fil-a’s, if you’re curious about which drive-thru to go to during Lent. But all that said, you’re not going to get a better fish sandwich for $2.50, period. I’m a fan of this current strategy, especially since Subway ended their $5 foot long campaign. I’m also really impressed with their new “10 nuggets for $1.50.” Not sure where you’re getting your meat, BK, but it’s working for ya.
Overall though, I’d say that the new Yumbo is a must try these days for folks that are tired of the same old, same old. It’s new, it’s refreshing, and it’s actually pretty damn good!
Now we just need to get other fast food franchises to follow suit.
And fun fact: Burger King franchised off to Australia in the 80’s. Only one problem: there was already a “Burger King” there. (small mom & pop store.) So Burger King had to come up with a different name over there. They Let their Aussie partners choose amongst a litany of their “franchise names.” Their choice? Hungry Jack … yes … the biscuit company.
Our good friend Fatty FatBastard is back..and this month he’s taking his fast food act off menu!
For the past few years, I have heard my friends on the Pacific Coast go on and on about In-N-Out burgers and how superior to all other franchises anywhere. The one thing that In-N-Out is notorious for is their “secret menu”…stuff that isn’t listed on their actual menu, but that you can order anyway. For some reason, folks thought that it made this Cali chain have a “coolness” factor; except it didn’t.
Pretty much EVERY fast food chain has a “secret menu.” Here are my top 10 items. To have fun, I’ve listed another off-menu pairing for each. Bon appetit.
10. Jack in the Box: Ultimate Cheeseburger on Sourdough Bread
JITB takes this classic known for its meat and cheese only attitude and pumps it to an 11 with the addition of the sourdough bread. This is honestly the best combination of Jack’s two best sandwiches, and worthy of a purchase at least once. Enjoy with a Mint Oreo cookie shake.
9. Dairy Queen: Peanut Buster Parfait
Even though this has been off DQ’s menu for over a decade, you can still order it, as they still have all ingredients on hand. Perfect for those that like the salty-sweet combination. Get this with a chocolate chip blizzard, but instead of chocolate chips, add the bits of syrup that would usually harden over the cones.
8. Taco Bell: Cheesarito
I’ve mentioned this one before for its awesomeness, but it can still be ordered there even if the newbie behind the counter isn’t aware. The ingredients are simply extra cheese, green onions, and Mexican pizza sauce thrown into the Meximelt heater. You will be astounded that this is not a menu regular when you try it. Add a “Superman” to your order while you’re there (a Burrito Supreme with double the beef, potatoes, sour cream, guacamole and tortilla strips).
7. Wendy’s: Barnyard
Imagine this: A spicy chicken filet topped in ascending order: ham, cheese, bacon, cheese, a 1/4-lb. patty, and yes…cheese. A gut-bomb of epic delicious proportions. Not enough? Grab a Grand Slam, while you’re at it, which is fiyr 1/4-lb patties along with four slices of cheese. There is a reason neither of these is publicized. Have you seen Wendy recently?
6. Potbelly: Cheeseburger
Potbelly? A Deli shop with a cheeseburger? That’s what I initially thought. But, yes Virginia, there is a cheeseburger option. Potbelly cuts their meatballs in half, and then adds bacon, American cheese, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Pretty interesting, eh? You can’t add much to this other than the “Wrecking Ball,” which simply combines their “wreck” sandwich with the meatballs. Cool name though. Get peppers on the side, just because you can.
5. McDonald’s: McKinley Mac
The genius of this is that it takes the enormousness that was the Big Mac in the 70’s and re-imagines it for the new millenium. This iteration is nothing more than a Big Mac, with one small exception. See if you can tell the difference in the jingle: “Two all beef ¼-lb. patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a Sesame seed bun.” I truly wish I knew about this one back in college. Get this with a root beer float (yes, they will make you on).
4: Burger King: BLT
That’s right folks. You can get a BLT at Burger King. It is as simple as it sounds. You can get this with or without a burger, but I choose to go sans patty, because it is incredibly cheap. Close to $1.50 last I went. Get this with their Frings (half fries/half onion rings mixed together).
3. Popeye’s: Naked Items
Yes, this will be the only “healthy” choice in this column. That said, Popeye’s will let you order any chickenwithout breading. Popeye’s chicken that I can order a hair more healthy? I’ll take it! Order alongside red beans & rice with chicken fried bits. You’ve earned it!
2. Chipotle: Quesarito
For those unaware, Chipotle is willing to put anything together that you ask, but who would think of wrapping a burrito in a quesadilla rather than a tortilla?!? Well, someone did, and it makes for an ingenious concept, and one I applaud. Have this one with Chipotle nachos (yes, they’ll make these too).
1. Whataburger: Double Double
I love to come full-circle with something when I can, and this time I was able to successfully find that Whataburger will indeed make it “just like you like it,” and that includes a variation on In-N-Out’s most famous “off menu” option. And, yes, that even includes a “Thousand Island-style” secret sauce. They could never advertise it, as that would encroach on the trademark In-N-Out has. But it is there, In-N-Out fans. Even on Texas toast, or with grilled onions, or everything else that makes Whataburger superior. Enjoy this with a sense of smugness that you live near a Whataburger, and they don’t.
For those unaware, Jack in the Box has been running this viral commercial about a fake creation called the “Jumbaco.” It’s a catchy enough slogan and the song tends to stick into your head like glue. The gist is that you take a taco and apply one to the top and bottom of your burger; similar to what KFC did with chicken patties a couple years ago. It’s a fun novelty concept, regardless of whether it is actually good or not.
But I have always been a fan of adding the unusual. Have you ever added Frito’s to a sandwich? It is breathtaking. So I was intrigued. I’ve always loved the tacos, but hated the Jumbo Jack. My thoughts on my visit were no different. The entire thing fell flat. The tacos on their own are fine, but added to a crap sandwich they just made the final product lackluster at best. It wasn’t Gawd-awful, but I would never recommend it to anyone.
And still, the concept still seemed like it might work. And with that in mind, I headed out to two places that I think do both foods well (and they happened to be within walking distance in Midtown.) I made a gourmet Jumbaco with two tacos from Cyclone Anaya’s with a cheeseburger from Christian’s Tailgate.
First off, the coolness factor was obvious. I felt like I was the host of ‘Man vs. Food.’ People kept coming over to ask about it. I even had one say ‘I can’t stop looking at it.’ It was indeed an awesome sight. So awesome, in fact, that it proved impossible to eat in its entirety, so I had to settle for eating the burger with one taco at a time.
This, in my opinion, proved to be the better choice. Much like I enjoy Frito’s on my sandwiches, the one crispy taco and seasoned meat added a new dimension to an already great burger. Had I had to try both tacos with the burger it would have been overload. I was very happy I decided to throw these together. And oddly enough, one taco tends to go perfectly with half of a Tailgate sandwich, so I was able to technically eat the Jumbaco; just not in the way originally conceived.
The one downside? This was one expensive proposal. This turned out to be around $16 when all was said and done. That said, I know both places. If this ever did become a thing, I guarantee both would accommodate.
So my opinion? Screw the JITB version and go gourmet like I did. It really does turn heads and, believe it or not, was pretty damn good. Jumbaco! Jumbaco! Jumbaco!
*Editor’s Note: TMR gives a tip of the cap to Fatty and his act of culinary bravery.