McDonalds: Main Street, Anytown, Worldwide
Best Meal: I find the Big Mac Value Meal to be the best bang for your buck, but watch out for dripping special sauce, which will plop on to your lap and stain your dress pants on your lunch break.
If you’re looking for lighter fare, go with 6-piece McNuggets, which comes with complimentary fine dipping sauce of your choice, and small fries.
Foodie Find: The Shamrock Shake, a seasonal item, is a delight to the palate.
Burger King: Main Street, Two Doors Down from McDonalds
Best Meal: Hands down, the Whopper Value Meal, a.k.a. Number One with Fries and Drink, is your best culinary choice here. Add cheese and bacon to this flame broiled delicacy for a burst of smoky heaven on your sandwich.
If you’re looking for lighter fare, sample theWhopper Jr. and apple fries. The apple fries come with a light caramel sauce that gives you a touch of decadence at only 35 calories a packet, so don’t be afraid to slurp that extra sauce straight from the plastic pouch.
Foodie Find: The cookie dough pie, a seasonal item, is so smooth and creamy, you’ll want to order two slices.
Wendy’s: Other Side of the Street from McDonalds, USA
Best Meal: This fine dining option caters to the Weight Watchers junkie. Try a baked potato with cheese and chives or a bowl of chili for a low-calorie yet filling lunch.
For higher calorie fare, go with a Bacon Cheeseburger – Wendy’s is one of the only “quick service” restaurants that offers this option. Again, you may want to opt for the baked potato here instead of the fries, as Wendy’s, while doing a fine job offering a variety of baked potato selections, serves fries that taste like salt-free sticks of processed potato pulp. Reviewer’s Note: I’m told that Wendy’s is working to improve their fries, offering natural fries with sea salt these days, but I have a migraine today and I don’t want to get out of bed, much less drive down to Wendy’s and take the risk that the fries are still horrible. So you, gentle reader, will just have to make that judgment call on your own.
Foodie Find: Order up a vanilla Frosty Floatwith root beer to be transported back to the days when root beer floats were available at every corner soda shop. I’m told those days once existed; Lord knows I’m far too young to remember that.
Taco Bell: Often paired with Kentucky Fried Chicken (see below)
Best Meal: The traditional Taco Supremewith savory seasonings and sour cream is a scrumptious serving of taco goodness. Order three; they’re cheap.
If you’re looking for lighter fare, order theFresco Taco, which substitutes a chunky tomato salsa for the sour cream. However, if you’re a sour cream aficionado like me, you’ll insist on the original, and worry about calories later when your pantyhose cut off the circulation to your torso. Yum!
Foodie Find: The Nachos Supreme offers a variety of textures and flavors for the discriminating palate. Melted orange cheese, globs of refried beans, and taco sauce all come together on a crunchy corn chip for an indulgent treat reminiscent of ancient Mayan fare. (Probably. I don't really know what the Mayans ate.)
Kentucky Fried Chicken: Found in the parking lots of grocery stores nationwide
Best Meal: Nothing appeals to the discriminating gourmet quite like a Bucket of Chicken. Go for traditional or get a little crazy and order up the extra-crispy; either way, you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re looking for lighter fare, go back to Taco Bell – everything on the menu here promises tons of high-calorie depravity. You will leave this fine dining experience with greasy fingers and a smile on your face.
Foodie Find: You can’t go wrong with a side order of mashed potatoes and gravy. Don’t be afraid to ask for the mashed potatoes as all three of your sides when you order your chicken bucket.
I hope this has inspired you to sample some new foods available to you on every street corner of your closest town. Next week: The Obesity Trend in America - Where is This Coming From?