Look, I try to eat and drink well (if not always healthfully) whenever I can, but there are times when certain fast food, cheap drinks, and situational indulgences are simply unavoidable and, in most cases, more than pleasurable.
El Pollo Loco: I drive for work. A lot. And in Los Angeles that means sitting in a lot of traffic while being in a position where my only time to eat is in the car between appointments. I usually just snack on granola or trail mix, but if I forget to grab something before I leave in the morning, I usually find myself really fucking hungry around 2PM and fast food burritos are the ideal food for some high-quality car eatin’. Taco Bell and Del Taco will do in a pinch, but I’ll make a point to seek out El Pollo Loco whenever I can. Their chicken is rotisserie roasted and pulled from the bone instead of the spongy pieces of breast meat you get at Taco Bell and everything about the burrito is fresher. The only downside is that at $5-$6 a pop, they’re more expensive than a good taco truck burrito, but good luck eating an al pastor burrito from 7th & Mateo in traffic on I-10.
Dodger Dogs. Even though I think I’ve eaten (at least) one at literally every Dodger game I’ve been to, it wasn’t until last week when I had a grilled Dodger Dog, picante style, that I was convinced of its primacy in the world of cheap sports mystery meat. The snap is good, it actually tastes like meat (not just salt and other preservatives), and the spicy version has a good little baseline of heat. Look for the grilled Dodger Dog stations (located on the upper decks and toward the back of the stadium) for a version far superior to the gummy steamed dogs available at most of the stands.
Hite. I’m sort of going through a reactionary beer phase right now, avoiding the high gravity hoppy and Belgian-style beers that have recently been en vogue in favor of classic Anglo-German styles like pilsners, pale ales, bitters, lagers, session beers and the like. But the most important style of beer and the one that is the hardest to perfect is the Good Cheap Beer. The Korean beer Hite takes this title, hands down. Typically available for under ten bucks for a 12 pack (or $2.99 for 1.6 liter plastic “pitcher”), it’s less expensive than most American piss beers and it gets the job done on a hot summer day or over piles of Korean barbecue.
So those’re just a few of my guilty pleasures. What’re yours?