Wayback: Taco John’s

We’re all in agreement that 2020 sucks at this point, right? And it’s really not looking like 2021 is going to be any better. Aren’t you getting tired of this bullshit? Wouldn’t you like to go back?

Great news: there’s a magical website called the Wayback Machine where you can go almost anywhere you want, to almost any point in time where the internet existed. So as long as your fond memories aren’t from before the technological corruption of society, you have a chance to get away from this madness, even if just for a little bit.

Maybe unsurprisingly, I’ve been using the Machine a lot recently to escape the monotony of everyday horror. Today, I’d love to take you on a journey with me. This time I’m going to the website for the midwestern fast food chain Taco John’s, all the way back in 2004 – before online apps were a thing, and before competitor Taco Bell fucking betrayed all of us when we needed them the most.

Let’s go back… wayback!

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FOOD: Wendy’s – Breakfast Baconator

I’ve had enough chicken! It’s breakfast time, boys! Wendy’s recently debuted an all-new breakfast menu, hoping to keep up with the rising trend of fast food breakfasts. Wendy’s for a long time has been the only member of the Big Three burger chains to not serve breakfast. While McDonald’s and Burger King have been slinging sausage for years, Wendy’s has only had Breakfast on and off through the decades. They tried in 2005, but pulled it in 2006 after bad reception. They tried in 2012, but stopped in 2013 after concerns that the breakfast menu was distracting from their main menu. They couldn’t seem to find the right balance that the other chains could.

Now they’re giving it another crack, with an all-new menu. This time it seems like Wendy’s knows what the people like, because the headliner attraction is a little concoction known as the Breakfast Baconator. Oh yes, that legendary mountain of meat gets a breakfast counterpart.  

Hit the jump to find out if Wendy can finally get this breakfast thing right.

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FOOD: KFC – Chicken & Donuts Sandwich

Are you tired of chicken yet? Chicken sandwiches have truly taken over fast food. I mean, how many of the most recent reviews we’ve done have been chicken sandwiches? 2019 was the Year of the Chicken Sandwich and 2020 is the first year truly affected by this paradigm shift. Naturally, those benefiting from this change in America’s tastes are the classic chicken joints. But where has that most classic of chicken chains gone off to? If you know anything about eating fast food, you’ll know KFC has undergone some serious rebranding in the past few years in an attempt to shed its filthy, greasy image. A greater focus on the Colonel as their mascot, a revamp of the recipe, a complete overhaul of their visual image – the works.

But KFC is still Kentucky Fried Chicken, and this is the restaurant that invented the Double Down. KFC wants to clad itself in a new image of cleaner, better food, but still market the occasional high-caloric nightmare to clog up America’s valves. The Chicken & Donuts sandwich is yet another attempt to keep heart disease as the number one killer of people across the country.

Is it even good, or is it just another tacky gimmick? Hit the jump to find out.

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FOOD: Taco Bell – Buffalo Chicken Nacho Fries and Buffalo Chicken Nacho Fries Burrito

Taco Bell, PLEASE just add Nacho Fries to your full time menu. We know you want to. Everybody loves them. Everybody wants them. You’ve been coasting off of the McRib effect for long enough and it’s time to just add Nacho Fries full time and make everybody happy.

In case you eat like a functioning person and didn’t know, Nacho Fries are basically the best french fries in fast food right now. They’re crisp, soft, and seasoned with a delicious blend of spices that add a dimension of flavor beyond the basic salted fries offered by every fast food chain that isn’t Arby’s or Rally’s/Checkers. They even come with their own side of nacho cheese to dip! How can you argue against that?

Taco Bell is obviously proud of their Nacho Fries and sometimes will mix things up with the addition of other ingredients. We had tried the Rattlesnake Steak fries, to good results; we had missed out on the Reaper Nacho Fries, to our disappointment. When they make these additions to the Nacho Fry formula, they also offer them wrapped up in a tortilla as a burrito too. We love the idea of a french fry burrito. It’s something to distinctively Taco Bell, something that vaguely has the shape of “Mexican food” but is so distantly detached from authenticity as to become a new kind of cuisine all together. 

So now that Nacho Fries are back, they’ve come with a new version to try: the Buffalo Chicken Nacho Fries, complete with Buffalo Chicken Nacho Fries Burrito. They can’t screw this up. They physically can’t make a Nacho Fries that is not good to eat. They can’t.

They can’t.

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FOOD: McDonald’s – McChicken Biscuit and Chicken McGriddle

From where we are in 2020, it’s hard to imagine McDonald’s was once a major innovator in the world of fast food. The McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc were the inventors of the fast food concept, after all! The modern-day craze for chicken can even be traced back to the Chicken McNugget, which solidified the idea of molded ground chicken products into the consciousness of America. Now, it is lonely at the top, and McDonald’s is looking more and more decrepit in the face of fresher competitors. Without a doubt the biggest thorn in their side is Chick-fil-A, the notoriously homophobic fried chicken sandwich business that is the most beloved fast food chain in America.

McDonald’s has been desperate for a decent chicken offering to keep up with modern tastes, but nothing has really landed. They’ve tried chicken wings, chicken tenders, all kinds of new chicken sandwiches, but none of them have compared to the juggernaut power of established chicken chains. But there’s another front to the fast food war going on: breakfast. Taco Bell introduced a new breakfast menu in 2014, and Wendy’s is planning to bring back breakfast this year – so why not, McDonalds thinks, combine the two hot new things?

And here we are, with McDonald’s adding the new McChicken Biscuits and Chicken McGriddles to their menu. If there’s anything McDonald’s has been solidly entrenched in, it’s breakfast. Their Egg McMuffins are still the byword for “fast food breakfast”. What could go wrong? 

Well, a lot.

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FOOD: Popeyes – The Sandwich

Chicken is the most popular meat in the world. Its meteoric rise to the top has been compounded by a number of factors: a general desire to eat “healthier”, the growing pressure of climate change and the impact of the beef industry upon it, the plummeting prices of chicken meat as a commodity…. It goes on and on. Chicken is the king, and every restaurant is trying to get in on this action.

“This action” is, almost always, a kind of chicken sandwich based upon the kind offered by Chick-fil-A. If chicken is king, Chick-fil-A is its greatest kingdom; it is without a doubt the most popular restaurant in America. Its chicken sandwich is considered one of the finest among the fast food art form, and the service exhibited at its restaurant is said to be unparalleled.

Unfortunately, Chick-fil-A is incredibly homophobic.

Chick-fil-A- was founded by S. Truett Cathy, a devout Southern Baptist. It still holds on to its southern Christian heritage to this day by closing on Sunday, printing bible verses on its cups, and donating to Christian anti-LGBT hate groups. Despite these misgivings, Chick-fil-A maintains its top position in the fast food world with this winning combination: ardent homophobic supporters; people who simply do not care; and myopic poultryvores who apparently think the food really is just that good.

Popeyes, on the other hand, is not openly homophobic. It’s not the most popular chicken restaurant in America, either, but it’s got a loyal following for its unique ‘Louisiana-style’ chicken. Being a chicken restaurant, it was only natural that they would get in on the sandwich craze. But not even Popeyes could’ve expected the massive response when they released the sandwich back in August. It exploded in popularity, fermenting a sharp war between Chick-fil-A loyalists and Popeyes fans across the nation; it was so popular that every restaurant in the nation ran out of sandwiches before the promotion was even slated to end.

Now it’s back, as a permanent menu item. We tried and failed to get it when it was new, forcing us to suffer through lengthy waits at two different restaurants with advertisements still proudly posted in their windows, but now it’s up for grabs whenever. Does it live up to the incredible hype? Can it topple the Chick-fil-A throne? Find out after the cut.

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FOOD: Taco Bell – Nacho Fries


Nacho Fries! They’re back!

Then again, we didn’t really notice they were ever gone. And from the looks of it, they came back in July, so we dropped the ball on this one right through the floor. Whoops!

Nacho Fries first popped up back in January of 2018, filling a long-pondered-about hole in Taco Bell’s menu. Taco Bell, ostensibly being a Mexican-themed restaurant, has never before offered French fries in America. Their staple cheese-saturated side dish has always been their nachos (officially, ‘Chips and Nacho Cheese Sauce’). But we, as Americans, have a long and storied love of the fried potato that extends back generations; just about every other fast food restaurant has to serve french fries whether they want to or not.

Recognizing this, Taco Bell has added other potato-based dishes to their menu – first and most notably the home fries-esque “Fiesta potatoes”, as well as breakfast hash browns – but the addition of real French fries is a genuine first for the chain.

The real question is, should they have added fries at all? This “nacho” style is an interesting Taco Bell-themed twist on regular French fries, but was it the right choice to move further away from their already distorted view on Tex-Mex cuisine? Let’s find out how we feel about this.

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