At some point near the turn of the century, it seems the decision makers for all the fast food chains in the country looked out upon their works and sighed. The public, they decided, must have grown tired of simply caring about quality of food. “Let’s just get weird with it,” they must have said at this secret meeting.
From sandwiches using fried chicken as the bun to tacos made from flavored tortilla chips, there seems no end to the onslaught. Here are some of the newer options and let’s see how they stacked up.
Taco Bell Waffle Taco
While the Doritos Locos Tacos were a huge runaway hit for Taco Bell, they’ve recently focused their efforts towards their breakfast menu. The flagship item that gained the most attention at the launch, a few months back, was the Waffle Taco. Although it sounds bizarre, the waffle taco is actually just about the most plain item on the entire breakfast menu. It is literally a single waffle with a piece of sausage or bacon, and some scrambled eggs. For all the fanfare, it feels like something you could easily whip up at home and for a fraction of the cost. If you’re making a ‘run for the border’ at breakfast, you’ll probably be much happier sticking to the much more common breakfast burritos, which at least have some sauce and spice to them.
Taco Bell Quesarito
Not willing to abandon their prime time menu to the wolves just yet, Taco Bell has also launched the Quesarito. It’s a fairly basic burrito with meat and rice that’s wrapped inside a quesadilla. This item is directly targeting rival Chipotle, who’ve had a similar option available as a ‘secret menu’ item for years. Originally offering it just with ground beef, Taco Bell has recently expanded their Quesarito options to include chicken and steak and even a breakfast option in some test markets. The menu pictures make it appear to be a burrito dripping with cheese. In reality, while it’s tasty and not a bad amount of food for the price, the amount of cheese can really vary and often you’re left with twice the tortilla. A fun item to have once or twice, but you’ll quickly realize the same flavor could be had with a grilled burrito with cheese stuffed inside.
The Jack in the Box Munchie Meal
Good lord. The Munchie Meals throw down the crazy food gauntlets like perhaps no other fast food chain has before. Not even shying away from the fact that the target audience for these meals are potheads, Jack in the Box even features a stoner puppet version of their Jack icon in the commercials. Each Munchie Meal comes with a mix of regular and curly fries, a pair of tacos, a soft drink and a choice of entree. You can choose from a burger with a grilled cheese sandwich for a bun, a chicken sandwich with mozzarella sticks added to it, and an item so obvious that it’s shocking that it took until this decade for it to exist, the Loaded Chicken Nuggets. Literally just chicken nuggets with bacon, cheese, and ranch dressing. Seriously, how did this just now come into existence?
My personal favorite item on the menu is the Brunch Burger – a bacon cheeseburger which uses a croissant for the bun, topped with a hashbrown patty and fried egg. The calorie count on this meal all together is 1,708. And you can taste every delicious, self-hating one of them.
Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger
Wendy’s has brought back its popular pretzel bread to use as a bun on both a burger and a chicken sandwich. As it turns out, this is a fairly straightforward bacon cheeseburger with a tangy smoky flavored honey mustard sauce and fresh crisp veggies. It’s a fairly smart move on the part of Wendy’s to not try to overdo it, but rather, just let the bun itself shine. Complimented by the honey mustard, the unique pretzel flavor and texture gives the burger enough of an identity without needing anything else. Plus, at 680 calories, this is actually one of Wendy’s more moderate options in their Hot N Juicy burger line. Despite this costing the least of all the meals I tried, it was by far my favorite. There is still something to be said to sticking to what you do best.
Rye Silverman is a writer and comedian based in Los Angeles. Rye has been seen on the Fusion channel, is a contributor to the Huffington Post and runs a blog about style, pop culture, and gender called Chick Like Me.