Overrated/Underrated: Fast Food Edition

Overrated: White Castle

In 2004, the film Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle came to theaters.  Before it came out, I remember reading about the plot to the movie.  A movie about two stoners who go to great lengths to satisfy their craving for their favorite fast food.  Finally, a movie I could relate to (minus the stoner part)!  To me, this was possibly the most brilliant premise for a movie ever created.  Before it even came out, I was thinking it would win multiple Academy Awards and be talked about for decades to come.   It would be mentioned amongst older classics such as Casablanca, The Godfather, and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but the movie turned out to be just okay.  Despite Neil Patrick Harris stealing the show (as he always does), there wasn’t much to say about it.  Though, to be fair, boy did that food look great when they finally got to White Castle.

Looks great right?

Fast Forward to the summer of 2010.  I still had yet to have even seen a White Castle.  I did not even know of places where they existed.  It was in June, when I found myself in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It was a dark and rainy day.  I was hungry.  The perfect occasion for a nice greasy meal.  We leave our hotel and right in front of us stands a White Castle.  The choice was obvious.

Drew and I walked into the White Castle and placed our orders.  Lots of sliders and some fries.  The service was excruciatingly slow.  This only built up the anticipation.  The food was finally served to us.  We took the bags with us and got in the car.  We were heading over to our brother’s place, but we couldn’t resist trying some fries before we got there.

Garbage.  Easily the worst fast food fries I had ever tasted.  It was okay though, fries weren’t what White Castle was known for. I still had hope.  Finally in the confines of my brother’s place, it was time for the sliders.

Disgusting.  The thing tasted like onions.  Except there weren’t any onions on it.  Even the bun tasted like onions.  And I HATE onions.  The patty, if I hadn’t mentioned already, tasted like sick onions.  And it was as thin as a slice of cheese.  Speaking of the cheese, why did the cheese taste like onions?  Now admittedly, I am about as picky as they come when it comes to food, so I asked Drew for his verdict.  He hated it too.

Now this brings me back to the movie.  After tasting this nasty garbage, I lost all respect for that movie.  I put it on the same level of suck as Dirty Dancing. I just thought to myself, “so those two idiots went to all those great lengths just to get the worst tasting fast food in history?”  Why didn’t they just go to the closest McDonald’s five minutes away?  Sure, that would have made the movie about ten minutes long, but at least I would have respected it.  Or maybe that was the whole point of the movie?  The writers knew how much White Castle sucked and that was the whole joke?  Either way, never waste your time at White Castle.  Instead go to……

Underrated: Jack in the Box

Whenever I venture out to the West Coast, my first priority is to make several stops at In-N-Out Burger.  On one specific trip, it had been my first trip to California in quite some time.  After many days of In-N-Out, I decided to change my In-N-Out for lunch, snack, and dinner routine and try something new.  I saw this place called Jack in the Box and decided to give it a try.  Now I had vaguely recalled some sort of E. coli outbreak associated with Jack in the Box in the ’90s, but that was a long time ago and was certainly not gonna stop me.
take advantage of this deal!

The verdict: fast food deliciousness.  So, what made it so good?  Two words: Trans Fat.  It just so happened that when I had Jack in the Box for the first time, most fast food chains were starting to shift away from trans fat.  Places like McDonald’s were starting to offer “healthy” alternatives on their menus under pressure from the general public and doctors everywhere.

And what did Jack in the Box do?  They not only kept all trans fat in their food, but increased their portion sizes as well.  While all these other chains tried to promote themselves with an image of improved nutrition, Jack in the Box kept it real.  They didn’t try to pretend they were something they were not.  Does anyone really buy that McDonald’s and the others were places to go for a nutritious meal?  Of course not.  People aren’t buying the apple crisps and salads there, they’re getting Big Macs and 20 piece nuggets.  So, I applaud Jack in the Box for sticking to their guns.  If you ever see one and want a delicious meal that might take a year or two off your life, give it a try!

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