I have a confession to make, and I make it with not the slightest bit of shame: I love fast food. I know it’s horrible for me, but I figure that I’m young and still have a decent enough metabolism to handle a few trips a week to the fast food joint when I’m craving something greasy and delicious and I don’t feel like making it myself. I know a lot of people look down on fast food, because they say it’s low quality and it will make you feel sick. I see where they’re coming from, but what cracks me up is when these people lie to themselves by saying that the food is gross so that they won’t indulge themselves. Like I said, I think fast food is great, and I don’t care who knows it!
About a month ago or so, a delicious new sandwich was introduced by Kentucky Fried Chicken that immediately had my eyes popping out of my head when I saw it. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the “Double Down” and how it’s loaded with calories and especially sodium. When I finally made my pilgrimage to KFC to try this fabled sandwich, I walked up to the counter and when I was asked what I wanted, I simply replied, “The Double Down”. Before the girl behind the counter could respond to me, another KFC employee who would be best described as a 300 pound “Pat” (he/she sounded a lot like a woman, but mostly looked like a man. I honestly can’t guess either way) from further back behind the counter immediately interjected, “It’s the best thing you’ll ever eat!” The girl taking my order also mentioned at least twice that the Double Down was awesome. I realize that they could have been toeing the company line by promoting their own products, but I had just received the ringing endorsement of a sandwich from someone who had clearly enjoyed all that KFC had to offer at one point or another and so I knew I had a winner on my hands before I even got to bring it home and sink my teeth into it. I hope that story didn’t come off as mean spirited, because I’m just being honest about not being able to figure out the employee’s gender, and let’s not kid ourselves and pretend that someone who works at KFC doesn’t eat a lot of KFC. Anyhow, after hearing that statement of “It’s the best thing you’ll ever eat!” and then me going on to love that sandwich like it was my first born son, I began to ponder where the Double Down should rank amongst the great fast food sandwiches of my lifetime. Since not every delicious fast food comes in the form of a sandwich, I’m including those as well in this top ten list. Let’s do this.
10. Steak Quesadilla – Taco Bell
I’ve actually never been a huge fan of Taco Bell despite loving Mexican food. Although, that’s probably because it’s not really anything like authentic Mexican food. However, my love of the steak quesadillas at T-Bell is enough for me to crave that restaurant every now and then to get my Mexican fast food fix. I think one of the reasons why I love them so much is because they contain only meat, cheese, and that delicious sauce inside the grilled tortilla (no vegetables, specifically onions).
9. The Big Carl – Carl’s Jr.
Carl’s Jr. decided to rip off the Big Mac, and I am so grateful that they did. They removed the middle piece of bread, flame broiled the burger patties, and can’t quite pull off the special sauce exactly, but the most important change is actually the biggest improvement: they use way bigger patties of beef, and so the Big Carl doesn’t leave me so hungry like the not so appropriately named Big Mac does. I hope the Big Carl is here to stay, because I don’t like Carl’s Jr. too much besides this sandwich.
8. The Whopper – Burger King
Of course, my favorite version of The Whopper is the triple Whopper with cheese minus the pickles and onions. It’s Burger King’s classic flame broiled burger, and they do it quite well. Add an order of their french fries on the side, and it’s a satisfying meal to say the least.
7. The Baconnator – Wendy’s
Unless you’re a strict orthodox Jew or a Muslim, you really can’t argue with the logic of the Baconnator (even the name sounds sinful). Just take something awesome, a Wendy’s double cheeseburger, and then throw enough strips of bacon on there to make Jim Gaffigan blush. I applaud thee, Wendy’s, for this magnificent sandwich that has earned the number seven spot on my list.
6. Steak Burrito – Chipotle
I have to admit, I kind of didn’t like Chipotle very much when I first started going there. I don’t know how it happened, but almost overnight everything changed and one time I went there and I loved their burritos, and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like them before. Chipotle’s big weakness is that since they don’t have a side that can compare to french fries (and even if you want chips and salsa or guacamole, you would have to pay extra and end up with a meal costing nearly $10 with a drink) and so I always end up hungry after eating one of their small (in my opinion) burritos. I was so hungry once, that I immediately went back up to the counter and ordered a second and threw that down (I was full, but not stuffed). If they could stop skimping on the amounts of meat, cheese, and sour cream, I would be tempted to eat there far more often, and this burrito would be higher on this list.
5. McKinley Mac – McDonald’s
I mentioned earlier that the Big Carl was an improved Big Mac because it has more meat. Well up here in Alaska, they decided to give the state’s McDonald’s’s (how do you make that plural?) a signature sandwich that is basically just a Big Mac with quarter pound beef patties. It’s fantastic. I love Big Macs, but they are too small and overpriced, but the McKinley Mac allows me to be satisfied and enjoy that great Big Mac flavor. It’s the redeeming quality of Alaska’s version of McDonald’s, since we don’t get dollar menus up here (more like $1.50 or $1.60 menus) and everything else on the menu is at least 15% more expensive as well. Unfortunately, this sandwich is only found up here, and so I will miss it dearly when the day comes that I end up moving from Alaska.
4. The Double Down – Kentucky Fried Chicken
So no, the Double Down is not the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten, but it is darn good and has certainly earned its #4 position on this list. The Double Down doesn’t leave me so stuffed that I can’t eat any more, but when you throw in the amazing potato wedges and a drink, the meal does leave me more than satisfied. The sandwich is so legendary because it swapped the bread for pieces of chicken, but let’s not forget the awesome stuff that’s in between that “bread”: two strips of bacon, a slice of pepper jack, a slice of monterey jack, and the underrated part of the sandwich to me, Colonel’s Sauce. It’s not only delicious, but it adds the needed amount of moisture for those two big all white meat pieces of chicken that can be just a tad dry. My tweak would be to add a little bit more sauce, but there’s just not really much more room to do this! I just hope Michelle Obama’s war on childhood obesity doesn’t cause her to villainize this sandwich and ralley to remove it from the menu at KFC, because now that I’ve tasted the Double Down, I don’t want to live in a world in which it doesn’t exist.
3. Classic Triple – Wendy’s
Wendy’s makes some of the best burgers in the fast food business, and Dave Thomas’ masterpiece is the Classic Triple. It’s loaded with 3/4 pound of beef, two slices of cheese, and the works. My version has no pickles and no onions, but I definitely appreciate the fresh lettuce and tomato, despite my carnivorous tendencies. I can’t have enough of these.
2. Butterburger Cheese – Culver’s
There’s nothing spectacular about the state of Wisconsin’s greatest contribution to society known as Culver’s, but it’s the little things that put their food a notch above the rest of the competition. There’s probably no greater example of this than their famous butterburger, which for whatever reason just tastes better than other fast food burgers. I guess the secret is that they lightly butter the toasted bun, but something tells me there’s more to it than that. Again, my favorite version comes with three patties, ketchup, and mayo. Culver’s weaknesses are that they take a little longer to get you your food, and they charge more than most fast food joints too, but I’ll gladly accept those shortcomings to eat burgers this good. And, by the way, the frozen custard at Culver’s is a better option for dessert than you can find at any other fast food restaurant, and it’s not even close.
1. The Caniac – Raisin’ Cane’s
Is this a bigger upset than Golden State over Dallas in ’07? I just put a non-cheeseburger on the top of my fast food list, and the cheeseburger is my favorite food in the world. But Raisin’ Cane’s chicken fingers are off the chart! The Caniac gives you six of their world class (by my assessment) chicken fingers along with crinkle-cut french fries, Texas toast, and the greatest substance known to man: Cane’s Sauce, to dip your chicken and fries in, thus, making it the best meal of fast food I could ever dream to eat. The key here is simply quality. Since there are no Raisin’ Canes in Alaska, I can’t enjoy their amazing chicken fingers, but I survive by making their delicious sauce at home and dip everything in sight in it. Here’s a link to the recipe, if you want to give it a try yourself.
Well, there’s my top ten list. I imagine you’ll either want to give me your changes to my list, or tell me that I’m going to die by age 45 if I keep this up.