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Random Reflections on My Return to Fast Food

Posted by CMH Gourmand on July 27, 2014


I have a dark secret. I spent the last month eating a lot of fast food, almost daily. This confession could easily get me kicked out of the Foodie Hipster Club. I’m neither proud nor forsaken of my choices. I’ve always been an equal opportunity eater but I’ve rarely steered myself to the drive in window. Over the last decade I’ve probably averaged 1-2 trips to Wendy’s a month or an occasional White Castle run.

But Mrs. Gourmand and I bought a new house in June and we had a month to get a lot of work completed on it until we moved in. We both averaged 8-12 hours a day working on the house – it was hot, sweaty and relentless work. We looked bad and at least one of us smelled bad. The new house was not ready for cooking and at the old house we were avoiding buying anything from the store we would have to move. So the perfect storm was created to dive into the world of the drive thru window. It was ironic because Mrs. Gourmand and I had just returned from Italy where we were living the Slow Food life.

These are my observations:

Taco Bell

Mrs. Gourmand loves Taco Bell. There is also a food writer in town whose love of Taco Bell is notorious but she fears that it would become public knowledge and then people would judge her. I don’t judge her and I hope, if you ever find out, that you will not either. I took the opportunity to explore the menu – trying a few different items on each different trip but I could not find anything that would make me want to make an intentional trip back. Nothing about Taco Bell tastes like it is real. But I have some mental barriers that keep me from connecting with Taco Bell. I live within a mile of a pretty good Taco Truck. More importantly I have never forgiven Taco Bell for contributing to the demise of Zantigo in Ohio. I miss Zantigo. I miss it a lot. And I am one to hold a grudge.

Burger King

I had not been to Burger King in ages, and I had not had a Whopper in an ever longer period of time. The Whopper is pretty darn good. All hail to the king. I think it is a matter of the whole being much, much better than the sum of the parts. If you have not had a Whopper – there is something about how the large gobs of ketchup and mayo mix together with the other topping that creates an explosion of flavor. And I really like the Burger King Bun it may be the best in the mass produced burger business. Another discovery was a frozen orange drink they have for the summer. Mrs. Gourmand, thinks if tastes like Bayer baby aspirin (in a good way), I can’t think anything thing else that I want to drink when it is over 85 degrees.


Wendy’s has been my go to for this century. When I’m running late their dollar menu, especially when the double stack was a buck, was my savior. I can’t think of another fast food place that consistently tastes as fresh as Wendys. But now that I have spread my fast food wings for a brief while, I think Wendy’s needs a new bun, and they should source them from Burger King.


We didn’t make any trips to McDonald’s. McDonald’s sucks.

We are mostly moved in now. Mrs. Gourmand christened the new place by falling down the stairs and fractured her ankle and tibia and getting a load of hardware to put it back in to place. I’m still working on the house but our house is full of food brought in by a horde of relatives and friends – so instead of fast food we are living off of free home-cooked fare and we are both happy to be eating real food again.

9 Responses to “Random Reflections on My Return to Fast Food”

  1. Cindy said

    Hilarious! (Hope Mrs. Gourmand is well on the mend!) People used to ask me “What did you miss most when you lived in Israel?” And my answer, hands down, was “Taco Bell Drive-Through.” And I miss the green bean burrito from Zantigo, too!

  2. robbinchamberlain said

    I think about Zantigo on a monthly, sometimes weekly, basis. We frequented the S. High location probably too much. When the building was vacant (It just recently was renovated into a daycare or preschool) I imagined buying it and living there… Damn you Taco Bell. Damn you.

    • I thought Zantigo was descreased but there appear to be 5 left in the great Minneapolis area – if only I had know known I was there I would have gone everyday.

  3. John Schumacher said

    My guilty pleasure is the Original Chicken Sandwich from BK; nothing fresh about it (including the wilted shredded lettuce slathered in mayo), but damned if I don’t have periodic cravings for those.

  4. Ha! Ain’t nothing wrong with some fast food from time to time. Wendy’s is usually our go-to for food (the new pretzel bun is a nice upgrade from the old) though Anne has a guilty pleasure in the McDonald’s Caramel Frappe drinks. I used to love McD’s as a kid, but anymore it’s just not good at all. I agree that BK is solid for a cheap fix, though no one else in my family likes BK, so that trip is rare. Taco Bell has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, but you certainly continue to taste it for hours after eating it, so I limit it to a twice-a-year trip. 😉

    Props for keeping it honest, regardless of what the foodie scene might think. 😉

  5. I can’t help myself but to drive thru McDonald’s every so often for one of their greasy breakfast sandwiches, or their biscuit w/ sausage gravy (It’s the best!!). I do concur with your assessment though that the rest of thier food sucks!

  6. CMHMOM said

    Try McD’s Southwest Salad: (grilled or crispy chicken, corn, black beans some nice greens, chips, a slice of lime and Paul Newmans Dressing). Not bad. Also, for a quick breakfast; try Hot Cakes, those little fried pies, or a Cinnamelt.

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