Vote Now: Best Fast Food Item Ever!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I think I know what the Florida elections board must have felt like during the 2000 presidential election. For the past 45 minutes I have been typing every one of the 102 fast food nominations into an Excel spreadsheet, developing a scoring system, and then sorting and scoring the data. The results have been interesting. And delicious. And really, really unhealthy.

Please vote for your overall favorite fast food item and favorite restaurant using the polls on the right-hand side of the blog. The last day to vote is 5/17. The eight most popular menu items from the comments that came in are:

Whopper Jr. (BK)
Western Bacon Cheeseburger (Carl’s Jr.)
Chicken Sandwich (Chick-Fil-A)
Cheeseburger (In-N-Out)
Big Mac (McDonald's)
Sausage Egg McMuffin (McDonald's)
Bean Burrito (Taco Bell)
Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger (Wendy's)

While we await the poll results and crown the winner, there are three other fast-food related issues that I felt needed to be addressed:

First, what the heck is “Animal Style” from In-N-Out? I am envisioning something that involves a blender, salsa and a Muppet, but I’m probably a little off base. There were a few comments that reassured me that I am not the only person on the plant asking this question. (I never would have broached the subject on my own after how much fun so many of you had at my expense when I admitted that I did not know what ROTFLOL stood for.) So can some of you too-cool-for-school Californians enlighten the rest of us hillbillies? With all of the California state taxes, smog, traffic, cost of living, and being home to the Clippers, I am pretty sure after reading your comments that many of you only continue to live there because of In-N-Out. I think I have only been to In-N-Out once in my life, and it had to have been more than ten years ago. Next time I head to Pasadena I promise to go there and get something “Animal Style”, unless it really does involve the blender, salsa and a Muppet.

With regards to beverages, a few of you mentioned that you would wash down your favorite menu items with a cup of water. An anonymous commenter even mentioned starting a fast food joint and having water as the only beverage available. If the rest of you are like me, I almost exclusively just drink water when I get fast food. This is especially true when I am on an “El Cheapo” run (yes, that’s what happens to your Spanish when you’ve been home from your mission for 12 years) trying to get a meal for less than $2.50. How can you justify spending $1.19 for a Sprite when your menu items are all on the $1 menu? Even if I were willing to splurge on a soda, I would still stick with water when ordering a Taco Bell Bean burrito. There is just something magical about the Bean Burrito and water combination. You cannot top it. Unless the water is “Animal Style”, of course.

The third point has to do with my anger toward Subway, which is currently hotter than a toasted Spicy Italian sub. Subway is running a promotion that clearly promises, "Any regular foot-long sandwich for $5". When I saw the first commercial advertising the “Any Foot Long for $5”, I was thrilled because I could get something with steak in it for the price of a cold cut. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I actually went to Subway and learned that by “any regular foot-long”, what they really mean is any Cold Cut, Ham, Tuna, Vegetarian, and sandwiches made from horse meat and compressed wood chips. Subway should be ashamed for being so willfully deceitful with this campaign. It is obviously a bait-and-switch designed to increase customer visits by making us believe that we can get a premium sandwich (e.g. philly cheese steak, steak and cheese, chicken & bacon ranch, etc.) for only $5. You would expect an underhanded move like this from Quick Eddie’s Used Cars and Bail Bonds, but not from my beloved Subway. Am I the only person who was fooled by this ploy, or were any of you suckered as well? I am still so mad about this that if I ever see Jared from Subway walking down the street, I am totally going “Animal Style” on him (after all, I'm pretty sure that I can take him now that he has withered away to about 87 pounds and no longer has any muscle mass in his body. Yep, I'm a real tough guy.)

Thanks for all of the comments and good luck voting. May the best item win.

All of this typing is making me hungry. I wonder how long it would take me to get to Taco Bell...


-jolene, jana, and makakona: Come on guys, let's get the story straight on what Animal Style really is. After reading all of the conflicting descriptions, I am starting to believe that "Animal Style" is the equivalent to something called "Magic Spaghetti" in our home. One night our kids were not thrilled about eating the spaghetti that I had made for dinner, so I asked them to come into the kitchen and put a magic spell on it. We all stood over the pot, waved our fingers, and simultaneously chanted, "magic spaghetti, magic spaghetti, MAGIC SPAGHETTI!" (The ritual stopped there. It did not involve goat's blood, candles, levitating pasta, or anything creepy like that.) Three years later and the kids still make sure the spaghetti is "magic" before we eat it. Both of the kids think the magic spell makes the spaghetti taste better, even though it doesn't really have any influence on the taste. I am now beginning to believe that Animal Style has the same effect. There really is no such thing. You are just eating a plan cheeseburger, but your brain is just tricking you into thinking your bland burger is smothered with grilled onions, fried mustard, enchanted pickles, mystical tomatoes, and supernatural thousand island dressing.

-Travis, Andymann, and Mama Cow: Thank you for sharing your anger toward Subway's promotion and for letting me know about the new Quizno's $5 deal. I decided to go online to do some additional research about both promotions, and now I am even more upset with Subway! Not only are they lying about the $5 promotion, they are completely demeaning Pres. Abraham Lincoln in their online ad campaign. It is horrible. Look at the tasteless way they have shamed one of our most beloved Presidents in their callous effort to hawk more subs:

What's worse, when you go to, the insulting caricature of Pres. Lincoln starts talking like a ghetto slob and tells you that you can, "text a holla to your crew", about the $5 campaign. At least Quizno's explicitly states that their $5 subs only include four sandwiches, with the premium subs costing $7 and $9. The next time I'm craving a sub, I am avoiding Subway simply out of spite. Hmmm...maybe a good blog post could stem from me calling Subway's corporate headquarters with my complaints and see how they respond. We'll see.


Jolene said...

I eat In-n-Out in Arizona! They are no longer solely California burgers!

Animal Style is the burger with tomato, lettuce, pickles, a thousand-island type sauce and sauteed or caramelized onions! It makes a regular burger AWESOME.

You can also order your fries Animal Style and they come covered with the onions, sauce and cheese! You have to use a fork to eat them.

Animal style is not to be confused with monster style which is just double the mustard, ketchup etc...

10:02 PM
Jami said...

I almost was fooled by the Subway $5 ploy. But once I heard the ad I immediately picked up on the word "regular," which is always code for "not the kind you really want."

11:25 PM
Megan said...

Dude, I explained Animal Style in my original vote. No blenders or muppets. I promise to buy you one if you visit with us on your next trip out! Deal??? The line at our local In-N-Out is so long at peak hours, all we'll need to do is visit while waiting in the car. Of course you can always visit longer but it doesn't sound like your spare moments are much longer than moments.

Our Subway honors the $5 subs (should you have more than one meal moment to spare). The only ones that aren't $5, I believe, are the double meat ones.

There are perks to living where we do... :)

11:28 PM
Jana said...

Animal style is when they cook the patty in mustard and add extra pickles and grilled onions.

I dont know if I am a traitor to my California home but to be honest in-n-out is just alright. The burgers are good but the fries are like deep fried packing peanuts, so if you go, get them well done because that makes them a little less styrofoamy.

Just google in-n-out secret menu and you can see everything they have.

12:22 AM
makakona said...

ah, you guys are all SO close! animal style is: patty grilled in mustard, extra spread, pickles, and grilled onions. SO good! i had one today! YUM!!!

what's a "monster style?" that must be something new, as i, the in-n-out afficianado, have never heard of it! (well, i've HEARD of it, i've just always heard that it doesn't really exist..)

our subway does the $5.00, but a local chain (submarina) and quizno's have both caught on and subway's back in the tank. can't do their cardboard bread!

1:41 AM
Carolyn said...

animal style...couldn't they have come up with a less gross sounding name for this??

4:27 AM
Earl & Vickie said...

Where's Jack in the Box and Panda Express?

7:15 AM
Sara said...

Yack in the Box is rightfully left off the list.

8:19 AM
Wendy said...

I respectfully disagree with your bean burrito and water combination. Taco Bell burritos deserve a cold fizzy diet pepsi to go with it!

Frankly a diet cola fits nicely with any fast food, and is typically the reason I order off the dollar menu (so I have enough $$ to buy the $3 giant soda).

We should explore the best places to get a GREAT Diet Cola . . .

9:11 AM
Travis said...

Subway sucks, and has for the last 6 years or so.

3:30 PM
mama cow said...

Quiznos now has the $5 sub as well but I am not sure of the lenght. I just saw a commercial for it.

3:54 PM
Andymann said...

I still go to Subway. I don't think they are being so strict in Arizona. I agree the bread has its problems, and goes stale in just a few minutes, or you can speed up the process and just get it toasted. I have noticed that Quiznos is doing the same kind of Deal in Phoenix with $5 sandwiches, but I haven't been near one to try them out.

I have to agree also with drinking water and fast food. Any kind of soda with my lunch and I get a stomach ache. My wife and I gave up on soda about 6 months ago and haven't really wanted one.

If you go to the link mentioned above, there is a whole menu for In-n-Out that you would never know otherwise.

4:06 PM
bioman75 said...

Once again a great post. I lived on Taco Bell the last week of my freshman year on basically pocket lint.

Moved out of Arizona right after In-n-Out moved in and never got the animal style. I am so going back for that one.

8:20 PM
mama cow said...

This just in!!! I just saw a commercial for the $5 footlong saying that it is going to be a permanent menu item and the picture they showed of the sandwiches had about 40 pounds of meat on them. Now that is just not right! I would also like to know if anyone else has expeienced a resturaunt that does not honor the advertized value. For example you can not get a $5 pizza from little cezars in St George they are $5.99. The two Taco Bells here are about a dollar more expensive then in Phoenix on their value menu also. And I heard that the guy who owns the Little Cezars just built a huge fancy pool in his backyard. Now I know why he had to raise his prices.

11:59 AM
Scrap Happy said...

I'm starting to think you have WAY too much time on your hands... a spreadsheet? Really?

1:00 PM
Lindsay said...

No votes for Popeyes? I love their mashed potatoes--so much better than KFC. Alas, I live in Utah, and the nearest Popeyes is in Vegas.

But I'd have to say my ultimate fast food pick is the Blimpie Best. Mmm...many types of meat...

1:35 PM
Sandy said...

Seriously...Panda Express Orange Chicken didn't make the list? I'm so disappointed.

I haven't been to Subway for their $5 deal yet...but I always just get that considered "regular"? I should try Quiznos - haven't ever been there.

I'm from California. I have been to In-n-Out. I seriously thought they only had like 5 things on the menu - french fries, cheeseburger, milkshake, hamburger and double cheeseburger. To mix it up, you could add such things as ketchup or thousand island. I guess I haven't been there in a while - sounds like they've upgraded.

7:58 PM
Asenath said...

I think I'm going to stop going to Subway just because of what they did to President Lincoln. I mean honestly. Have they no shame?

3:14 AM
Anonymous said...

In-N-Out's always had the same menu, Sandy, there are just "secret" variations. And Utah will never get a Popeye's, as they place their stores in areas with large African American populations.

3:27 PM
Queen of Chaos said...

The first time I heard "Animal Style' on my In and Out burger I was very leary about what was going to happen to my hamburger! But once I tasted it- I can't go back. The sauteed onions on top of a burger make it a heavenly burger.

Cool votes on the side...I just cast mine. Looks as if In and Out is in the it should be! Sorry for all you who haven't experienced one of these burgers. They're killer burgers---really. Eat more then one a month and you're so dead from heart failure! haha

And I just have to add that in my opinion eating fast food with water is SO GROSS! YUCKA!!
I HAVE to have a soda with my fast food.

7:20 AM
Cassie L. said...

Ok...I wonder if we just lucked out because my husband has sure gotten "premium" subs during the $5 deal for $5 without a hassle. The only problems I have heard of with it up until now is the double meat. We will be taking advantage of the Quizno's deal too - thanks for letting us all know!! Love your blog - having fun reading old posts!

11:44 AM
Anonymous said...

What about the Northwests pride and joy Burgerville? Tillamook Cheeseburger, with a side of Walla Walla sweet onion rings, yukon gold fries or sweet potato fries and wash it all down with a fresh raspberry milkshake.
And hey, why not have a hazelnut chocolate milkshake for dessert. :)

2:19 PM
shan said...

another unique, unknown menu item at In-N-Out is the "20 by 20". Here's a video of my brothers ordering one a few years ago.

And I have to give a vote for the Tillmook Cheeseburger at Burgerville. It is amazing!

4:17 PM
Leann said...

As good as all that other food is... hands down... gimme an Eegee's Strawberry/Lemon mix and Fries with Ranch.

4:20 PM