Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Old Favorites

Place: Burger King
Lunch: Whopper (no lettuce, no tomato), 2 BK Tacos, Coke

You know how fans of different fast food chains will start social media threads asking the question "What discontinued menu item do you want brought back?"  And then everybody posts damn near everything every fast food chain ever offered, ahd maybe some items they somehow remember but never existed.  You'll even see some idiot bemoan the loss of the McDonald's Arch Deluxe burger line.  Seriously, people.  You're delusional.

I had a bahit of coming up with items nobody else thought of.  In the case of McDonald's, it was the Steak, Egg & Cheese bagel.  I loved that thing.  But the bagel line, let alone the steak version, were probably fringe items in most of the country (you could actually still get them in limited markets), so I never expected to see it again.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I was watching the Wednesday night game show lineup on ABC and a McDonqld's commercial breezed by advertising breakfast bagels.


I couldn't have seen that right.

But I went down to the local McDonald's in the morning anyway.  And there it was.  My beloved Steak, Egg & Cheese bagel was BACK in my market, and systemwide.  And it was SO GOOD.  From the first bite to the nirvana of the center (where you hit the bagel hole which is filled with cheese and pops a flavor all its own), I savored it all.  And then I went back the next morning.  And the next.  And the next.  I've had close to a dozen of them so far.

In the case of Burger King, my most wanted item was BK Tacos.  You may not be familiar with these.  They've been available regionally since the 1980's.  In fact, the Portland BK's had a whole sidebar Mexican menu back then.  All I remember was the tacos.  They were direct copycats of Jack in the Box tacos at the same 2 for 99 cents price point.  I'd get a pair to side with my Whopper.

The Mexican menu went away, but the tacos stuck around in scattered markets.  They went national once, maybe ten years ago, for about five minutes before disappearing.  Back to a regional favorite, I guess, though I haven't seen a BK selling them in years.

But the other day, people on social media started talking about BK Tacos.  And BK started advertising them.  And I'm like, "Are you kidding me?"  So I headed to my local BK this morning.  And sure enough, there they were.

They're no longer 2 for 99 cents...they're $1 each now.  But they're here, they're real, and I'm eating as many as I can while they're here.

The BK Taco, like Jack in the Box, comes frozen with the meat already in the shell.  They're deep fried at the restaurant, then pinched open to add a little cheese, lettuce, and taco sauce.  They're the ugliest tacos you've ever seen, and they're delicious.  A girl in a WSJ article describing her first experience with Jack in the Box tacos called them "vile and amazing."  That's the perfect description for both brands..

So in just a couple of weeks, two chains brought back items I never expected to see again.  So it seems like a good time to do some fantasy fast food booking.

What else would I like to see come back?

Wisconsin White Cheddar Whooper (Burger King) - While McDonald's was bragging abotu their awful flavorless CBO burger, Burger King rolled out a Whopper that simply had a slice of natural white cheddar on it, and I claimed it may have been the best Whopper ever.  I mean, all you have to do to bring it back is keep around some white cheddar cheese slices in the kitchen...

Western Whopper (Burger King) - The original Western Whopper was a bacon Whopper with a slice of cheddar instead of American cheese and barbecue sauce instead of ketchup.  Pretty simple, right?  So simple, in fact, that I have been known to order a bacon Whopper with no cheese and ketchup and taking it home and making my own original Western Whopper with my own barbecue sauce and a slice of Tillamook cheddar.  Not that hard.  BK later marketed a Western Whopper that had American cheese, making it nothing more than a Bacon Cheese Whopper with barbecue sauce.  No, not ordering that.

Enchrito (Taco Bell) - We're talking the original back from the 80's with a corn shell and three slices of olives on top.  The good news is Taco Casa's Chilada makes an even better substitute.  It has a flour shell, but it's bigger, has better sauce, and unlike Taco Bell's more recent (and also discontinued version), is topped in olives.

Chilito/Chili Cheese Burrito (Taco Bell) - It was a burrito with Taco Bell's mystery chili substance and cheese in it.  Never exactly generous on the portion, but delicious and really a one-of-a-kind item.  Supposedly still available in some markets, or at least was for awhile.

Ultimate Taco (Del Taco) - This was one of the most perfect tacos ever.  It was in a larger shell and included sour cream and a salsa unique to that taco.  Just a perfect balance of flavors.  Del Taco doesn't even offer a supreme taco with sour cream included anymore, though you can add sour cream for an upcharge.  A really ridiculous upcharge if I remember right.  Closest alternatives out there are Taco Bueno's Big Freaking Taco and Taco Casa's Super Taco, but in both cases you're adding sauce yourself.

Bacon & Egg Quesadilla (Del Taco) - I have no idea why Del Taco would pull their breakfast quesadilla from the menu, but they did.  It was bacon, egg, cheese, and green sauce.  It's not like they go rid of the green sauce, they still use it on the chicken quesadilla.

Grilled Cheese Thickburger (Hardee's) - Hardee's has rolled this out as an LTO once in awhile.  It's the Frisco melt with extra cheese and no tomato.  Simple.  So why isn't it just on the menu all the time.  That sandwich drives me to Hardee's.

Bar-B-Que Cheddar (Whataburger) - Greatest Whataburger ever.  A double patty Whataburger with cheddar in between the patties topped with pickles, onions, and barbecue sauce.  Incredible.  Everything on it worked so perfectly together.  I'm not sure I've ever had a BBQ cheddar burger that compared.  I do not understand how this isn't a permanent menu item, especially with Carl's Jr selling a ton of Western Bacon Cheeseburgers in an increasing number of Whataburger markets.

I could probably sit here all day thinking of more.

But I have tacos to eat.