Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On fast food

While this certainly wasn't the best-written piece on Rock Is Dead - Long Live Rock, it was definitely one of the most original. This goes out to Chris Willie Williams, aka Disclaimerwill, who mentioned these reviews in his kindly write-up about my site, writing: "I love the way he puts the word vegetables in quotation marks when describing the Whopper. Punctuation jokes always make me laugh. Because I'm a dork."

Fast Food Reviews
****DISCLAIMER****By writing and posting these reviews, I am not condoning the eating of fast food. Fast food is generally bad for you and considering that most North Americans are fat, I recommend you avoid fast food places as best you can. Me, I’m allowed to eat whatever I want. I’m a teenager and I have a six-pack. Of abs, I mean. Being an 18-year old male who is constantly on the go (or just trying to kill time on the weekends), I’ve become quite the connoisseur of fast-food restaurants. So I’ve
decided, for the benefit of my loyal readers and fans, to design a little page to direct those of you in need of a quick hunger fix. I’ve rated 5 of the top fast-food chains in North America based on the following three criteria: quality of food, cost, and menu variety. The score is out of 5 stars. So enjoy the reviews and happy artery clogging!

McDonald’s ***1/2
The most recognizable and profitable fast-food chain in the world, McDonald’s has built its reputation on being the “family restaurant”; the comfortable, friendly fast-food chain. The speed of service at McDonald’s is usually quite good although the fact that the customer can’t look into the back always makes me feel a little uneasy. There are normally 10 combos available (almost all based on the burger,-fries- drink format) plus things like McFlurries (ice cream), apple pies and vanilla cones. Cost is actually quite good. The most expensive combo is the Crispy Chicken which will go for around $5.35 (CDN.) while the Big Extra combo is the bargain of the menu, costing a low $3.99. The option of purchasing a Big Extra and McChicken for $1.50 each is a nice bonus when you’re low on cash and late for band practice.

As for the food, McDonald’s strength lies in its french fries. Thin, nicely salted and crisp, the golden fries are the best in the world; when served hot. I recommend you wait for a new batch rather than rush to your meal with cold potatoes soaked in oil. As for the burgers, well, I doubt there is much nutritional value in there and served without condiments, they are horrendous. Imagine a Big Mac without the sauce. Wait! No! Don’t! You’ll ralph! Then again, the sauces are all quite tasty. The mac sauce is for those who like a tang while the more conventional burger eater is better off with the ketchup/mustard combo of the Quarter Pounder or the mayo, lettuce, and tomato on the big extra. Overall, McDonald’s offers a decent tasting, filling and generally cheap meal although I wouldn’t recommend it for someone looking for a quality meal. Best for those on the go.

Burger King **1/2
Burger King has risen in popularity over the past few years and for a while there were actually looking like they could be gaining on McDonald’s. Then people realized that the food sucks and the abundance of mayonnaise has a tendency to make the eater feel a little queasy once he’s done scarfing. I believe there are 8 combos at BK, based on the typical burger, fries, pop formula. Of course, in the end, almost everyone goes for the Whopper, either the junior or the senior. The predecessor to the aforementioned Big Extra, the senior Whopper offers a fairly large burger topped with mayo, ketchup and some “vegetables”. Pretty decent except for the fact that the meat is often burnt. And of course, the extremely cheap Jr. Whopper (an unbelievable 99c(why don’t they have a cents sign on the keyboard) here in Canada) opens the door to the deadly sin of gluttony.

BK does offer some other burger options, including a chicken burger that’s on par with the McChicken and the “Big King”, which is definitely not on par with the Big Mac. Also, the fries suck quite a bit being oily and way too crunchy for my tastes. The pop is good though. And you get free refills, which is always nice. Service is kind of slow, especially based on the weakness of the food and in comparison to McDonald’s. Best for the days when your rushing over a friend’s house to do a project after work and want to stuff your face with four Jr. Whoppers.

Harvey’s ****1/2
A Canadian franchise that prides itself on serving charbroiled hamburgers and offering a variety of side dishes. The best thing about Harvey’s, though, is that after watching your burger being cooked (yes, you can see into the back), you’re asked what you’d like on your burger and they dress it right in front of you. The burgers are tasty, thick and meaty, and when loaded with everything, it’s like there’s a party in your mouth and everyone’s invited. And not only are the beef burgers great, the health conscious among us can order a veggie burger (looks good) or a chicken burger minus the batter (there’s a name for those but I forgot). On the side, you’re given the choice of regular fries (not the best), home fries (much better), onion rings (good), or a salad with your choice of dressing (lovely).

Being that the food is of a higher quality than at most fast food joints, one would expect the price to be a bit higher. And one would be right. Your normal burger combo goes for around 4 bucks with the prices going up from there. But it’s worth it. So is the wait, which is generally longer than the other places. The main problem with Harvey’s is that the food is almost too good to be “fast food”. And therefore, this is not your best choice on the move. But if you’ve got the time to sit down and enjoy a good burger with your girlfriend, come to Canada and enjoy!

KFC **1/2
We move away from the burger places now and on to a couple of variants on the fast food concept. KFC, formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken, is not the most popular fast food chain here in T.O. but I know it does very well in the Southern U.S. and also does well enough here to sustain it’s Canadian chains.

KFC originally did most of its business as a take-out place, offering buckets of battered chicken, a box of fries and a little bowl of coleslaw in mayo. In recent years, KFC has done a good job of maintaining its standing as a great place for take out while moving into the fast food race. For the solo eater, several types of combos are offered. The 2-piece or 3-piece meal, with fries and “salad” on the side seems to be a popular choice. Of course, the chicken is fattening as fat and the “salad” is absolutely ridiculous and the fries are extremely oily. But that doesn’t seem to bother most people. I’d rather go for the chicken burger with the French Canadian specialty “poutine” (fries with gravy and cheese, tasty but very, very bad for you) and a sperm count reducing (it’s better for me at this age!) Mountain Dew. Prices are on par with most fast food places and service is quick. Of course, seeing the chicken legs sit out under the heater is not very appetising. Avoid KFC as often as possible.

Mr. Sub ****
A submarine, or hogey, or hero sandich place. I’m not sure whether it’s Mr. Sub or Subway that is an American company (or maybe neither one is) but Mr. Sub is the better choice.

Submarine sandwiches tend to be expensive and for a 12-inch turkey sub and a Nestea, the price totals $8! You could go the cheaper route with the assorted sub, but I’m not a fan of strange meats. Mr. Sub offer abotu 15 different subs, including tuna, cold cuts, seafood, pizza, chicken breast, and BLT. There are both 6-inch and 12-inch subs plus the oppurtunity to “super-size” your sub with extra meat and cheese. The toppings are varied and there are a few condiments that will make your sub much tastier. Gotta love secret sauces!

Mr. Sub sandwiches are generally worth what you pay, in that they are filling, relatively healthy (especially compared to the other crap out there) and tasty. Mr. Sub also offers baked fries which are rather sucktacular and really big cookies, which I’m assuming are good, if you like sweets. I don’t. Making a good sub takes time and therefore don’t expect to be in and out within two minutes. Expect a pretty good North American sandwich though. Oh sure, it’s no veal on a panino but it does the job.


Well that’s it. Five of the more popular fast food chains here in Canada. Obviously your best choice is Harvey’s here in Canada but I recommend you try and find yourself a nice, small, family-run hamburger place. There might be rats in the back but at least the food will taste really good and you won’t be supporting heartless multinational corporations. Feel free to comment on these reviews or even add your own fast food reviews!


Blogger barry said...

I got to say I agree with everything minus the Mr. Sub rave. For me, it's Subway or nothing: better, fresher toppings (canned mushrooms at M. Sub? Ick), more choices of bread and the option to grill a la Quizno's. It's a shame they discontinued that "free sub stamp card" policy, though. Sigh.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Marco Ursi said...

I've actually come around to Subway as well - the bread options are a huge selling point and there's just a higher quality to everything.

7:05 AM  

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