I am, generally speaking, a proponent of high quality, natural, whole foods. But I also spend hours and hours every week in my car and some times I just need to eat, often in my car. Over the last few years I’ve sussed out a handful of my favorite fast food indulgences.
- El Pollo Loco. Pretty much any burrito from EPL hits the spot, particularly the chicken avocado burrito. Skip the combo meal as their chips are almost always stale. The only other downside is that their burrito is priced comparably to something you can get at a neighborhood taqueria, of course you can’t eat a 10lb Al Pastor burrito while driving down Sunset.
- Popeyes. Quite simply the best fast food fried chicken around. Not good for you–grease soaked through the cardboard box–but moist, crunchy, and perfectly spiced. The chicken strip meal is perfectly portable.
- Burger King Turkey Burger. Although Carl’s Jr.’s turkey burger got more fanfare, much maligned BK’s version is actually superior, I think. Meatier in texture, easier to eat, and pretty classic. No bacon and guacamole, just turkey patty, tomato, lettuce, and mayo.
- Wendy’s Pretzel Chicken Pub Sandwich. Just had this the other day. The pretzel bun makes it, but the chicken is also the spicy crispy chicken breast that Wendy’s is justly remembered for. The honey mustard, bacon, and muenster doesn’t hurt either. Wendy’s doesn’t wrap it though, making it a tough on-the-road meal necessitating a creepy park-side stop off in Moreno Valley to scarf it down.
And that’s the show. McDonald’s has yet to come up with a meal that I wouldn’t feel embarrassed eating and the Jack-in-the-Box $1 chicken sandwich is nice in a pinch but I’m still left feeling dirty afterward. And Taco Bell? Well, I’ll never acknowledge having eaten there in public. Nevertheless, the chicken cantina burrito might be worth it.
But it’s important to remember that fast food is a sometimes food.