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Fischer’s Friday Five

While out to eat last weekend celebrating Valentine’s Day, at one point during the meal, Maggie says to me “you should do top 5 fast food restaurants for the next Fischer Friday Five.”  A good idea, especially considering how many different fast food joints I’ve eaten at over the years.  Then on Monday, I received this email from Wil in Chicago, “Jarrett, can I have a request for your top5 friday sometime to do your top5 fast food chains.”

Now obviously based on Wil’s fantastic grammar, he’s probably someone who’s eaten a lot of fast food over the years, but more importantly, the coincidence was too good to look past, so…I’m Fischer, it’s Friday, and here’s my top five…

FIVE BEST FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS

Just for the record, I didn’t take Maggie to a fast food restaurant for Valentine’s Day, I’m not that tacky. Instead, we ate standing next to a burrito truck, best $3 I’ve ever spent. (Actually where we ate will be a future restaurant review, and let’s just say I’m going to be even more cynical than normal).

So for this Friday Five, several factors need to be taken into play. First and foremost, it has to be at a place I’ve eaten at a minimum of a dozen times, it only seems fair that I give a place ample opportunities to provide me with food poisoning. Unfortunately for the west coast people, I’m going to have to disqualify places like Jack In A Box and In N’ Out. And also this means that Maggie’s personal favorite, Zaxby’s (which is essentially Chik-Fil-A on crack), isn’t eligible for consideration, but I will say that it is really good and I’m thinking about make the 4 hour drive to the closest one right after this. Second factor is the restaurant’s diversification. I like to have choices, whether it’s for the main part of the meal, or a side dish. Third, cleanliness of the restaurant…uh, nevermind. Fourth factor is a word I’m making up – “cravability” – basically meaning it’s they type of place that at times can make me want to crave their food. Please do not mistake this with “crapability” – which is also a factor I suppose to consider.

Honorable Mention: Burger King (should never have changed their fries), Arby’s (more places should serve curly fries), Quizno’s (better than Subway), Bojangles (100x better than Popeye’s and KFC) and Nathan’s (the best place to eat at on the Jersey Turnpike)

Dishonorable Mention: Checkers (haven’t forgiven them for serving me raw chicken strips 10 years ago)

Sonic Drive-In

Sneaks into the Top 5, primarily because the cleanliness of the place is all dependent on the inside of my car. The only thing that's more lazy than eating fast food while going through a drive-thru, is eating fast food and having the food brought out to your car.  But on the flip side, the food is pretty decent.  Good hamburgers and fries,  great chili cheese hot dogs (once went on a first date with a girl who took me here, yep, there wasn't a second date).  Plus the best part are the lime-ade drinks.  Much better alternative to the usual Coke/Pepsi products that most fast food places offer.  Definitely a big fan of the strawberry lime-ade, somehow it compliments the chili cheese-dogs and doesn't make you sick afterwards.

McDonald's

Burger King has the better burgers (although the McD's angus burgers are now a formidable opponent to the Whooper), the real edge in the fast food wars between the two most popular places are the fries.  I will take McDonald's crispy, golden, very salty french fries.  I am not ashamed I've gone to McDonald's in the past, just to order french fries and nothing else.  Also, two other key factors here, are that whenever I am sick with a fever, both as a kid and now as a 30-year old, I've always gotten McDonald's to make me feel better.  Sounds crazy, but in some ass backwards way, it's worked.  The other thing is McDonald's "invention" of the McGriddle.  Sure it's probably about 3,000 calories, but sausage/egg/cheese smacked between two mini-pancakes filled with syrup pockets is the best (and probably worst) way to start your day!

Chik-Fil-A

I grew up in New York and when I moved to Virginia right before the start of high school, I was bummed, alone in a new world where I knew no one.  But then, I stumbled upon a new friend, it was a billboard featuring a cow holding a sign telling me to eat mor chiken.  Since I'm easily persuaded by good marketing, I was hooked, so I went to go meet my new Virginia friend and try their tasty food.  But it was Sunday, and they were closed.  So I went back the next day, and the day after, and a few more days after that.  Great fast food chicken sandwiches, and the re-birth of waffle fries, made it a common destination for lunch and the occasional dinner.  When I got my driver's license at 16, I went there more than just about anywhere else.  When Maggie and I bought our first house three years ago, we were giddy when we saw that there was a Chik-Fil-A right down the street.  I think I went there so many times while we were painting before we moved in, that the woman at the drive-thru window knew me by name (never a good sign).  Another great part of Chik-Fil-A (or Chik-Fil-Ah as my dad calls it...he also calls John Smoltz - John Schmoltz), are the milkshakes.  I'm a big fan of the cookies n' cream shakes with globs of whipped cream.  But of course the biggest downfall from keeping this chicken joint from holding the top spot is that it's only available 6 days a week.  I can't even begin to count how many Sundays I've had a craving for their nuggets with honey mustard sauce only to be disappointed.  An additional side note - I think their chicken nuggets/sandwiches are on the decline.  The last few times I've eaten there, it's been less chicken and more heavily breaded.  But still I'll keep going back, especially since they've got a good breakfast menu too.

Wendy's

Hands down my favorite of the burger joints (although greasy Five Guys has started to potentially emerge as a new favorite).  But it's not just the burgers that make this one of my most visited fast food places, as they also have the best chicken sandwiches and nuggets for a place not known primarily for chicken.  (Editor's Note: Maggie wants me to mention the special Wendy's that had something called a Super Bar, which consisted of all the fixing to make tacos, spaghetti, pudding, and other assorted crap, none of which I remember, or I've purposefully blocked that out of my memory).  Two of the best things about Wendy's though are they are by far and away the cleanest of all the fast food places.  I wouldn't eat off the floors or anything that fell on to the table, but I also never felt like I needed a tetanus shot before going in there.  The other great thing about Wendy's is the quickness of service.  It's the only place I feel comfortable going to with a long line (both inside and drive-thru), that I know the wait won't be long.  Plus, with it being open til 1 or 2am in most places, it's definitely a good stop for a late night craving instead of having to sit thru terrible service at a diner.

Taco Bell

Ok, it may not always end in positive results, but there's just so much to like about making a run to the border (as long the run doesn't end with the runs).  For starters, it's nice to have a non-burger alternative to the big 3 fast food burger places.  Plus, I'm a big fan of mexican food and for some reason, I actually enjoy Taco Bell's fast food version of mexican food more so than actually going to a real sit-down restaurant.  And outside of the cheesy beef and potato burrito (just say no to that), everything on the menu is fair game to me.  Personally I'm a big fan of crunchy taco supremes, grilled steak stuft burritos and nachos grande.  Now I don't prefer the non-nachos side dishes that they have to offer, nor do I care for any of their so-called "desserts" (cinnamon twists and the I believe now defunct Chaco-Taco), but all that means is that it enables me to get an extra taco or three.  Oh, also, their recently new grilled chicken burrito is delicious, and at only 89 cents!  That's the other beautiful thing, you can get like a 10-course meal there for under six dollars, so you'll have plenty of money left over after to pay for a cab ride to the hospital to get your stomach pumped.  And that absolute best part is the availability.  Most Taco Bell's are open late, even as late as 4am on the weekends, and there is nothing that I crave more at 3 in the morning on a Saturday than a whole bunch of tacos!  Some of the best moments from when I was in high school was making many of those late night border runs with my buddy Pat, especially those nights when we  realized at 3:50am that we only had a few precious minutes to get there and went speeding down Virginia Beach Boulevard.    For what it's worth, it's also Lucie's favorite restaurant (as shown below), BIFF prefers some place called Goats N' Glass.

"My nickname at doggy day care is El Gordito"

5 Responses

  1. Don’t block out the superbar. Anyplace that lets you create a spaghetti and meat sauce burrito when you are seven gets a special place in my heart. And by the way, it sounds ridiculous, but next time you are at a giant buffet place, put spaghetti and meat sauce in a tortilla shell. AWE…..wait for it…SOME!

  2. I totally agree on the McDonald’s making you feel better when you are sick. It has done the same miraculous thing to me on numerous occasions. Don’t know WHAT it is, but a quarter pounder, fries and diet coke can turn the flu into a mild cold. TRUE!!!! Complete comfort food……………….

  3. I absolutely remember the Wendys Super Bar. I never used it myself, but it was there. It goes down in history for me with other salad bars I never made use of such as the ones in Cicis or Sonny’s…. Nasty.

  4. How can you not include Krystal’s or White Castle in the top 5. You know that the food is greasy, cleanlyness is horrible, but it’s open 24 hours and even though you don’t need to order 12 mini burgers you do because it’s better to say “I would like a sac full and some chilli cheesze puffs”. Def a better choice than Sonic. And Wendy’s should be number 1 for the same reasons you stated, “clean, cheap, open late, and lots of choices. There dollar menu is the best.

  5. Yo
    How bout Carls jr.?Out here in sunny SoCal not only is it the best(i don’t eat fastfood)but they have the best commercials…..half naked hot woman………ooohhhh lala!!!!!!!!!!!

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