Fast food. Is there anything better than the feeling of tearing into a burger wrapper and going to town? McDonalds, Taco Bell and Jack in the Box are as ubiquitous as air. As our favorite fast food places grow and evolve, there will be nowhere left on the planet to hide from their deep-fried and delicious haze. And evolve they have. We’ve come a long way from Ray Kroc's vision of a simple hamburger on every plate. These restaurants make all kinds of nutty stuff now. Some of these, um, unique ideas have become mainstays in the cultural landscape. Others, however, have crashed and burned harder than a Titanic made out of Chicken McNuggets. Join us as we count down the best (and worst) innovations in fast food. Calories indicated where available.
KFC – Double Down (540 Calories)
A lot of health groups come down on this monstrosity. After all, it’s a bacon, cheese and sauce sandwich with fried chicken patties as buns. But how bad can it be for you, really? There is no bread! Somewhere, Dr. Atkins is gently smiling down on us all. Shine on you crazy diamond.
Pizza Hut – Double Roll Pizza (646 Calories per slice)
The Japanese get all the luck. First, they get most video games before the rest of the world, and now this. The Pizza Hut Double Roll. Take a look at this picture and try not to marvel at Pizza Hut's stuft crust cajones. This beast has bacon-wrapped hot dogs in the crust and it’s topped with mini-hamburgers, mushrooms, soy beans, corn, paprika, garlic chips, green peppers, and pepperoni. Somebody call the dude from "Man vs Food."
White Castle – Chicken Rings (530 Calories - 6 rings)
What a gross idea, right? Like, onion rings, but with, you know, meat. Well leave it to the culinary masters at WhiteCastle. There is a reason the place was the inspiration for the best stoner film in recent memory. These things are surprisingly good! So, so wrong yet so, so right.
McDonalds – McGriddles (420 Calories - Bacon, Egg, and Cheese)
When the McGriddle launched it befuddled regular eaters and fascinated those solely dedicated to culinary irony. It’s easy to see why. These sandwiches are like old-school McD's breakfast sandwiches, but the breads are syrup-infused pancakes. You read that right. Not only are they pancakes, they are infused with syrup. Science! Also, McGriddles taste great. Just be careful of the patented "McDonald's breakfast stomach ache" that follows.
In-N-Out – "Animal Style" Fries (560 Calories)
How do you make In-N-Out’s fresh-cut fries even more delicious? Dump melted cheese, spread, and grilled onions on top! Fries "Animal Style", found on the company’s "Secret Menu", are a fan favorite at this popular West-coast food chain. Ask for them by name.
Fatburger – XXXL Burger
The greatest invention in fast food history is probably the really, really big burger. Is there anything more American? In that case, call Fatburger Thomas Jefferson. They created the big daddy to end all big daddies, The XXXL Burger. This 24 oz burger holds three patties, eggs, bacon, cheese and some "vegetables" so you can feel good about yourself. This may be a heart attack waiting to happen, but at least it’ll be a tasty one.
Burger King – Chicken Fries (380 Calories - 9 pieces)
French fries can get boring. They are always the sad little potato. We aren't in Ireland anymore, guys. It's time to advance the aesthetic. Burger King, in their infinite wisdom, decided to take matters in their own hands. They mashed up some chicken parts, squashed them into fry-shapes and deep-fried them. Voila, Chicken Fries were born. Great with ranch sauce.
Jack in the Box – Pita Snacks (407 Calories - Crispy Chicken)
These "snacks" are actually "tacos" with pita bread instead of tortillas. Shh. Still, the heaviness of the pita bread works well with the various meat fillings. A surprisingly delicious, um, snack. Jack should just call them pita tacos or something though.
Kenny Rogers Roasters - Muffin Submarine
I don't know what is weirder: The fact that this wondrous ice-cream treat is available only in Malaysia or the fact that they have Kenny Rogers Roasters in Malaysia. This treat features three scoops of ice cream floating over a bed of, well, muffins. Kind of cool, right? Thanks Kenny!
McDonalds – McRib (500 Calories)
McRib sandwiches are the rare Pokemon of the fast food world. They poke their heads out a couple of times a year, and it’s up to you to catch ‘em. This tasty rib sandwich resembles a school lunch in the best way possible. Keep an eye out at your local McDonalds for the next time it’ll make an appearance.
McDonalds – McLobster
Seriously, if you want lobster are you going to go to McDonalds to get it? This sandwich was doomed from the beginning. It didn't help that it’s basically some days-old lobster thrown on a bun with virtually no accoutrements. Keep an eye out for McFoisGras and McTruffles coming soon.
Chick-Fil-A – Carrot and Raisin Salad (170 Calories)
Chick-Fil-A has some of the best fried-chicken sandwiches in the world. There is no arguing that fact. They shouldn’t be wasting their time with this rabbit food. Well made versions of this weird veggie and dried fruit salad may be a staple in southern homes, but it sure feels out of place in a deep-fried wonderland.
Domino's – Bread Bowl Pasta (670 - 740 Calories)
"So good," the tagline goes, "you’ll devour the bowl." Then you’ll double over in pain and marvel at your brand new chin. It’s a bunch of gross Domino’s pasta inside of a gross Domino’s bread bowl. The worst of both worlds. Avoid this at all costs, unless you hate yourself.
Burger King – Burger King dinner service
In the halcyon days of 1993. Burger King decided to get classy. They started hiring waiters and dropping bowls of popcorn on every table. They wanted to reinvent themselves as a real restaurant. There was only one problem. It was still Burger King. The experiment was soon discontinued and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
McDonalds – Hula Burger
Ray Kroc was a genius, but the man was not infallible. His idea to attract Roman Catholics who avoided meat on Fridays was this, um, Hulaburger. The sandwich was basically a cheeseburger but with a thick slice of pineapple instead of meat. Customers rejected the sandwich and it was soon discontinued. However, the McFish served the same role and continues to dominate to this day.
Taco Bell – Pacific Shrimp Taco (180 Calories)
This sounds great on paper. A soft-shell taco filled with six marinated shrimp, lettuce, salsa and avocado ranch sauce. This fantasy ends, however, as soon as you take a bite. Let’s put it this way, seafood and Taco Bell aren’t exactly bosom buddies. They are more like sworn life-long enemies.
KFC – Famous Mashed Potato Bowl (700 Calories)
This product combines mashed potatoes, chicken, corn, cheese and gravy. Then it piles it all together into a bowl. Then you eat it and curse your maker. It’s sort of like watching your alcoholic father sadly pile food into his gullet with the sole purpose of getting his body ready for a night of binge drinking. Sigh.
Long John Silver's – Baja Fish Taco (250 Calories)
Fast food and fish go together like happiness and life-debilitating stomach aches. This one adds insult to injury by inexplicably adding "crumblies." These "crumblies" are just pieces of fried god-knows-what that were trucked in from god-knows-where. It’s the deep-fried equivalent of "mystery meat."
Burger King – BK Veggie Burger (420 Calories)
The story goes that this vegetarian burger used to actually taste pretty good. However, vegetarian groups began protesting that the burger was grilled in the same location as the meat products, thus compromising it’s vegetarian-ness. Burger King’s solution? Cook that sucker in the microwave. You'd be hard pressed to find a blander tasting item at a fast food joint.
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