you have to admit…

…We’ve all been there. You know, those days where you just want to eat the fuck out of some taco bell or McDonald’s or you just want a whopper. There is definitely something inherently wrong about these places, and I’m not talking about weight gain. I think about my blood flow, my heart, my DNA — but I know that eating faux food every once in a while isn’t such a bad thing. It keeps me in line and I don’t sell out to the foodies of San Francisco. When everyone judges the lower class for eating fast food, I understand that sometimes you need to eat a meal for under $4 and there aren’t daily farmers markets in the ghetto. But I still sneak in and out of Mickey D’s, feeling the foodies’ judging eyes. Even now, while confessing these urges to the Internet, I feel the guilt tingling my hands as I type. Maybe that’s the heart disease. Do your hands tingle when you have heart disease? That seems like something that should happen.

Fortunately, I’m not alone. Even celebrities, such as uber-famous comedian, Michael Ian Black, fall victim to the hunger. Michael explains his thought process while visiting a taco bell out of convenience:

The other day I told my wife I was going to the bank, which I did. But then I also went to Taco Bell without telling her. I felt extremely guilty about that, like I had betrayed some kind of trust. I had, but it was with my lower intestine, not with her. When I got back, she didn’t ask why the trip had taken so long and I didn’t volunteer the information. Had she asked, I would have told her and she would not have cared but it is hard to maintain emotional neutrality about Taco Bell; I don’t think there is a person on this earth who can say, “I just ate at Taco Bell” without wincing.

Click the link to read about a few of my favorite heart-stopping popular fast food joints (in no particular order).

taco hell
taco hell

First, I usually love to get three tacos and a tostada from taco bell. The tacos are like taking a hit of ecstasy. Every bit of flavor runs through your mouth, titillating your taste buds. The meat has a smooth consistency and looks exactly like what I feed my cat, only more affordable. The lettuce dominates the tostadas over tastefully flavorless pre-bagged, refried beans. That’s good eatin’. I’ve never been able to stomach a burrito from outside the bun. The three taco + tostada combination is as far as I’ve been able to make it across the border.

The only logical thing to follow taco bell would be McDonald’s. Since they are practically the same thing, I’m also going to include Wendy’s. Since we’re in a recession, it’s totally justifiable to head on over to Mickey D’s and grab a mini-meal. The portions are also a bit closer to those of the 50’s, or whenever McD’s was established. I also don’t stray too far from the classics. The chicken mcnuggets are a staple; I can eat those things like potato chips. The double cheeseburger was always a little too much for me — keep in mind, I didn’t start putting cheese on my hamburgers until I was about 20. Since they revised the recipe for the double chee, using one slice of cheese rather than two, I can eat me some fucking mcdoubles all day. Not literally. But you get the idea. With a place like McDonald’s, where food is so inexpensive and disgustingly delicious, I have to set down ground rules. I am only allowed to “love it” when broke (I only have $4 in my bank account until Thursday and it’s Sunday broke) and when I’m hungover beyond all reason. This seems to work. Where Wendy’s comes into play is when it comes to chicken sandwiches. McDonald’s chicken breast doesn’t quite cut it. Wendy’s, on the other hand, has mastered the art of the breaded and friend breast of chicken. My mouth waters when I think about the number 6 combo. You know, the spicy chicken. In San Francisco, you have to drive to the outskirts of the city to find a Wendy’s, and compared to ones you find in Texas or Ohio, the home base of Wendy’s, it’s mediocre.

what a burger, indeed.
what a burger, indeed.

What you will not find in California or anywhere beyond Arkansas is a mother fuckin’ Whataburger. This is not a guilty pleasure. I would shout “Whataburger!” from the rooftops, if I had roof access. If I still lived in Texas, I’d be dead from the ungodly amounts of Whataburger I would consume each week. This is a brilliant, made to order, kick ass fast food burger that is the size of your head. I always get the number 1 combo. A Whataburger, fries, and a coke. If inflation hasn’t kicked in, this combo is still around $5. The icing on the cake, or the mustard on the sandwich if you will, is that they don’t default to mayonnaise. No way. Mustard. Mustard. Mustard comes on your sandwich without having to clarify that you do not want any of that creamy, white nonsense anywhere near your food. I openly admit to hating mayo, and if you are someone that loves eating mayonnaise on your french fries, well, then you are on my “to kill” list. But I digress.

Since I live in California, I have to include in-n-out burger. What I’m realizing while writing this piece is that I don’t vary too much in what I get. I like simple treats. In N Out makes this easy for me. Their menu is small, simple, and excellent. I can barely say that I’ve ordered from the secret menu since ordering a double double with no cheese shouldn’t count. It’s really just a double. But you are given the option of ordering things such as grilled cheese or the ever-popular animal fries. Animal fries have the secret sauce on top, which is mayonnaise based, so you know I have nothing to do with that crap. I always ask to hold the dressing on my burger. When I first experienced In N Out, I was in San Diego, and they did not have the option to hold the dressing. I was looked at like a freak when I said those three dreaded words. I’m glad this has changed. Whataburger still makes a better burger.

Taco Bueno. The name says it all. Good. Fucking. Tacos. Crunchy tacos. Not good tacos like you’d find at a taqueria. When I frequent this establishment, only when I’m visiting Texas, I order two bean burritos and one taco. The bean burritos are simple. Tortilla+refried beans+some sort of chili meat+cheese=taste bud orgasm. The beans have a lot more flavor than you’d find at taco bell. I think they add more salt. The meat is also significantly better than taco bell’s. It feels like actual ground beef rather than canned cat food. One thing that I never got but looked amazing was the grilled chicken nacho salad. My sister always got this. I bet she had one this week during her Texas visit. I have no idea why Taco Bueno isn’t a national phenomenon. The place is so much better than Taco Bell. I bet if we conducted a national taste test things would be different.

I guess I don’t really have to feel guilty when I go to these sorts of places in Texas. The fast food industry is thriving there and the idea of sustainable agriculture is laughable. Maybe I’m a product of my environment and my guilt and disgust stems from being around so many foodies. I just know that, having been educated in an area with a lot of accessible community supported agriculture, I’ve become hyper aware of the sort of food that’s taking over our bodies; granted, this is something I became concerned with relatively recently. I never took advantage of the CSAs while in college, nor have I been able to in the age of food politics. There’s no better time to start than now, I guess. But maybe I’ll head out, incognito, and grab me some fucking mcnuggets.


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