Taco Bell’s menu annihilation, one item at a time

Disclaimer: I can’t believe this needs to be said, but please don’t get mad at fast food employees over menu changes. Seriously. The people making and serving your food have no control over this, and there are even plenty of them just as upset as you are.

Taco Bell, why have you seen fit to forsake us? We were so kind to you, weren’t we? During this whole fucked up pandemic, we ate at you loyally, and you sustained us so kindly. Was that not enough for you? What have we done to stir up such resentment in you? Why are you doing this to us?

A post on /r/LivingMas (Reddit’s board for Taco Bell fans) posited a rumor that Taco Bell would be making some… changes to their menu. No, they’re not adding anything new. They’re ripping the menu to shreds. Absolutely decimating it! Taco Bell has decided, in its infinite wisdom, to take apart some of the best things that they have to offer. Why? What are they thinking? We’re going to break down these rumors one piece at a time over the jump.

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Trying goat at the Tandoor Restaurant

You may have heard of the Gandhi Mahal, an Indian restaurant in Minneapolis that was burned down in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. They now have a fundraiser for the rebuilding fees you can donate to, and have stood in support of the protests.

We had eaten at the Gandhi Mahal before, and found the food there excellent. It was a sobering reminder for us of just how real the whole event was. It was also a reminder for us that the Gandhi Mahal is actually really great. We don’t eat at our local Indian restaurants as often as we should, which is a huge mark of shame for us. This train of thought is what brought us to an even more local place in Bloomington: equal parts ‘a desire to help’, and ‘a deep anxiety that local food will be lost in the pandemic’.

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Furries harassed a married cereal mascot in #TonyTigerGate

Frosted Flakes is one of the most popular cereals in the world, and Tony the Tiger has been its solid mascot since the 50s. It’s a bit perplexing why they chose a tall, muscular tiger-man as the mascot for a very simple flakes-style cereal, but you can’t argue with success. Whether or not he’s the person to best represent sugary corn-bits, he is popular, and he’s even popular with a very specific subset of people: furries.

Really, who can blame them? Tony represents a beloved principle of furryness: an attractive anthropomorphic animal-person who is both friendly and approachable. The worship of food mascots has been a long-running tradition of furry fandom, but Tony has held a special place in this world for as long as furries have existed.

If you’ve ever interacted with the furry fandom’s broader-reaching internet presence or especially its more cherished traditions, you can probably already see where this is going.

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Eating at El Loro is great, even if you can’t eat AT El Loro

We miss sitting down at a real restaurant. We don’t mind takeout, we love it, but sometimes we really do want a regular, sit-down experience. Don’t worry, we’re not one of those people who will start bullying restaurants to open back up – we know this lockdown is for a good reason – but it does make us sad. If we’re struggling with this, imagine how the restaurants themselves are handling it! The answer is, for the most part, “poorly.” Restaurants that simply do not work as take-out joints have been forced to transition, and it’s not going smoothly for most places. This can be a problem with multiple factors: the food isn’t suited for take-out, they don’t have any ecosystem in place for take-out or delivery, or the owners don’t want to work out the business plan for transition.

One restaurant we’ve been wanting to go to, El Loro in Bloomington, is a sit-down Mexican place that has made the transition to take out. Have they managed to crack the code? Hit the jump to find out.

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Scott Ja-Mama’s packs big barbecue into a tiny package

We discovered Scott Ja-Mama’s by complete chance. Driving down the road, as we are wont to do, we simply came to the intersection of Diamond Lake and Nicollet and were forced to stop at its red light. While waiting, Paula turned their head and said, “Now that looks like a hole in the wall!” There was the neon sign of Scott Ja-Mama’s, promising hot barbecue with a one-of-a-kind name. We had never before gotten so immediately excited over a restaurant we had seen on the street. It is our fervent belief that the smaller a restaurant is, the better its food is. And we’re talking about floor space, not just the amount of business it does. Scott Ja-Mama’s looked like it could hold barely five people, maybe seven if they were slim.

So, of course, we were instantly enamored and had to order from there soon. And two days later, we had put the order in. We were going to find out what Scott Ja-Mama’s was all about.

But what is Scott Ja-Mama’s all about? What even is it? Hit the jump to find out.

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Why did Burger King bring back its spicy nuggets, here and now?

Burger King brought its spicy nuggets back. You didn’t know they had left? You didn’t even know that Burger King even had spicy nuggets? We can’t blame you. Burger King introduced spicy nuggets back in 2017, shortly after Wendy’s discontinued their nuggets, in a naked cash-grab. 

We’re not really in a position where going outside to grab a handful of chicken nuggets is something you can do in a lark anymore. Going out for Burger King is a thing now, like literally any reason you go outside. You gotta bring your mask, and your hand sanitizer, and carefully plan to make sure you don’t get too close to anybody else… it gets exhausting. You need a good reason if you’re going outside. Like, perhaps, Burger King offering those spicy nuggets at an unbelievably cheap price: eight for a dollar? We’ve had these nuggets before, but it had been years since we last tasted one… Well, grab your mask and hit the jump, what is there to lose?

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Uptown’s Burger Jones meats its maker for good

Horrible news, fans of hamburgers and weirdly charged environments: the Burger Jones in south Minneapolis has closed down permanently. Yes, due to the COVID-19 situation they’ve decided that keeping the second location open makes little economic sense and have chosen to turn in their badge. No more getting burgers forcefully crammed into your mouth on Lake Street, that’s for sure.

Parasole Restaurant Holdings, a major player in the Minneapolis-area restaurant scene and the owner of both Burger Jones restaurants, has been struggling with the repercussions of COVID-19 for a while now. Parasole had been looking to sell itself to an equity firm, but the deal had been walked back in the face of the pandemic. 

We had liked the time we spent at the Burger Jones location in Burnsville, and are saddened to hear the other space is now gone. We were sincerely planning to go there someday, because it had a few features the Burnsville location did not – namely, a delicious sounding orange creamsicle milkshake we were very much looking forward to trying. But now, the coronavirus has taken another good thing away from us. That’s not even to mention all the poor workers who are now out of a job!

It’s weird, and honestly a little horrifying, to see the spread of COVID-19’s destruction well beyond just the immediate disease. It was hard enough at first to understand that these places would be closed, but the fact that plenty of them will never open again is frightful to comprehend. Burger Jones is just one restaurant out of many – we’ve come to understand there are plenty of places that we will never be able to go to, because they will be gone forever. Things are different now. We can only hope to give support to the community where we can.

But don’t despair, fans of enormous, greasy, juicy hamburgers. The Burger Jones in Burnsville is hopefully going to remain open as their flagship location. Who knows when it’ll open its doors back up, but you can get burgers to go and go Full Jones on them on your own time while social distancing. And if you’re really missing out on the atmosphere, why not check out our review of the place, right before all the shit hit the fan? Be warned, it is not for the kids!