Tag: Fast Food

Forgotten Food: Fast Food Edition

 

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written before, then you already know that I associate nostalgic feelings and memories with food more than any other subject.  I’ve written several pieces in the past diving into the subject, and today, I’m going a little deeper.  This isn’t going to be like the mega post, Back When Pizza Hut Was an Experience, or an angry diatribe like Why Wendy’s Ain’t Like It Used to Be.  No, this is going to be some quick hits about some old fast food choices that I loved, but are no longer available.  As you also know, there are plenty more foods that I miss, but for today, let’s just hit these bygone classics.


 

McDLT

The McDonald’s McDLT gets mentioned on it’s fair share of fondly remembered foods list, and for good reason. Of all the great, and horrible, things to ever grace the menu of McDonalds, the McDLT was one of the best items they created.

It was a burger in similar size as Burger King’s Whopper sandwich, and featured mostly the same ingredients. A quarter pound beef patty, lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese, pickles, and ketchup on a toasted sesame seed bun. The beauty of the McDLT though was it’s packaging. It came in one of McDonald’s signature styrofoam containers. But this one was slightly different. It featured two separate compartments instead of one.

On one side, the bottom bun and burger patty rested, while on the other was the rest of the toppings and the top bun. This allowed the hot parts to remain separate from the cold parts until you were ready to put it together and eat. And that was the brilliance of it all. A fresh tasting McDLT when the hot patty met the cold toppings.  What I could never figure out though, was why the slice of cheese was included on the cold side.  To me it would have made much more sense to put it on top of the patty on the hot side so it could get all melty.  But apparently, I’m not a genius like the burger builders at McDonald’s.

It was released in the early 80’s to much fanfare, but was eventually pulled in 1990 due to pressure from environmental groups protesting their use of the styrofoam containers. Once the divided container was gone, so was the magic of this burger. It was later re-released as the Big ‘n’ Tasty burger, but without the separated ingredients, the burger fell flat.

 

More Forgotten Food  |  The Time McDonald’s Tried to Sell McPasta

 

When I first discovered it as a kid, I was at the age where I was getting a little old for Happy Meals, and found the McDLT to be a perfectly acceptable replacement for it. I’m guessing it was basically the novelty of it that turned me on to it, but it was a great burger in it’s own right so that kept me coming back for more.

As a side note, McDonald’s lost a little luster to me with the fall of those original containers. Each container was a different color to represent what was held inside, and even the McNuggets had a little compartment built-in to hold the sauce cup. I understand the environmental impact and agree with the decision to stop using them, but dang, they looked cool, and figure prominently in my memories of McDonald’s and childhood in general.

The timing of the fall of the McDLT kind of lines up perfectly with my ascent to teenager from childhood.  Maybe that’s why it holds such a special place in my memories, and why I miss it so.


Hardee's Patty Melt

Back in 1992, Hardee’s stumbled across a major hit when it introduced it’s now legendary Frisco Burger.  They combined grilled sourdough bread (in a round slice) with a 1/4 lb burger patty, two slices of Swiss cheese, bacon, mayo, and tomatoes and turned them into a culinary masterpiece.  After strong sales upon release, they were looking to duplicate that success. Enter the New York Rye Patty Melt.

Introduced roughly 4 months after the launch of the Frisco burger, the New York Patty Melt was the heir apparent to their first hit.  Unfortunately, it was not to be. Sales of the Patty Melt didn’t come close to those of the Frisco burger, and it was dropped from the menu about 6 months after it’s introduction.  But man, that was a great six months.

The New York Rye Patty Melt borrowed from its famous cousin and used a regional favorite bread by using New York Rye.  Sliced the same way as the Frisco (round), it too was grilled and paired with a 1/4 lb beef patty. A layer of melted cheese, along with soft grilled onions finished off this burger.  Like most kids, I wasn’t a big fan of onions, but on this burger, they fit right in. But for me, the real star of this taste sensation was the rye bread. I had never had it before, but this burger moved the bread up my list of favorites in a hurry.

As is the case when doing a piece like this, I was quite disappointed when I went to order it one time only to be told that it was no longer available.  If my Father hadn’t been standing there beside me, my fourteen year old self may have let out a string of curse words aimed in the cashier’s direction. Luckily however, the Frisco Burger was still available, and it ranked pretty high on my list back then too.  But for me, the Frisco Burger was always the Sundance Kid to the New York Patty Melt’s Butch Cassidy.

These days, the Frisco Burger is still on the menu, and since it has been a top item for over 26 years, Burger has gotten in on the action with their Bacon Swiss King burger.  If you would happen to be wondering how it compares to the original Frisco burger, you can check out the comparison video my daughter and I filmed for her food review Youtube channel.


Chilito

Ah, the Chili Cheese Burrito from Taco Bell.  A lot of people in this world only know it by that name, but back in my day, it was known as “The Chilito”.

It featured chili flavored beef, Taco Bell’s iconic red sauce, and melted cheese rolled up in a soft flour tortilla and would run you anywhere from $0.69 to $0.99, depending on the time frame when you enjoyed them.  For me, that time frame was the mid-90’s after I started driving. My friends and I on small budgets, due to part-time jobs, would load up on these due to their cheapness on nights of cruising around.  Way back then, you could count on Taco Bell to deliver the goods, not only in taste, but in value as well.

 

More Forgotten Food  |  KFC’s Modern Chicken Littles Have Nothing on the Originals From the 1980’s

 

Taco Bell had these available from the late 80’s through the early 90’s before discontinuing them as a regular menu item.  Some franchises decided to keep them however, and you can still find them on the menu in roughly 12% of Taco Bell stores nationwide.  A while back though, while traveling in North Carolina, I was in a Taco Bell that had a poster up celebrating the triumphant return of the Chilito.  Unfortunately though, I didn’t even notice the poster until I had already placed my order.  Maybe I should have placed a second order, with which I might could have recaptured that magical taste and feeling of the Chilito.  Or, maybe I would have been disappointed by this newer version at a much higher price.  I decided to let things be, and wait until another time to sample the modern Chilito.  I still haven’t, and am not sure I should.  Sometimes the memories are better than what you find today.

Now, at least I stop at just writing about missing the Chilito, but here’s a dude who wrote a whole song about Taco Bell taking it from the menu:


McDonald's Super Hero Burger

Historically, the Big Mac has always been the largest burger on McDonald’s menu.  But for one glorious month in 1995, it played second fiddle to the Super Hero Burger.  With it’s 3 (that’s right, 3!) burger patties on a hoagie length bun, with two different slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo….this sucker was a monster.

The Super Hero burger had two promotional tie-ins attached to it.  First and foremost, it was available during the release of the movie Batman Forever, and Batman, Robin, Riddler, and Two-Face all figure prominently in the advertising spots for this burger.  Secondly, 1995 was the year that McDonald’s released a different burger every month, and this was the Burger of the Month.

I was driving by this point in life, so that meant I spent a fair amount of time “cruising” through town.  Most nights, a stop by the local Mickey D’s was how we ended our night, and for that month that this super burger was on the menu, it was what we ordered.   We probably could have kept this item on the menu all by ourselves based on how many of them we consumed, but as expected, when the month ended, so did the Super Hero Burger.  Alas, another fast food item was added to my list of fondly remembered food from back in the day.

I’m not the only super fan of the Super Hero Burger, and someone over at DudeFoods.com got tired of waiting for McDonald’s to bring it back, so they tried their hand at creating their own.  You can watch the video here.


In closing, I want to say that I’m thankful to have even gotten to try all of these items in the first place.  My dad would take us out to eat on the weekends when he was in town, and that provided ample opportunity to indulge in so many great menu items from a variety of places.  And as the saying goes, it’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.

So tell me, what extinct fast food items do you miss and wish was still around?  What memories do you associate with them?  We all have a story, and I would love to hear yours!  Just drop me a line in the comments below, and tell me that story.  Heck, I probably have memories of YOUR favorite too.  Also, did you have any experiences with the items on my list above?  Tell me that too!  The next time I talk about food here, it’ll probably be about dining experiences that no longer exist, or my favorite snacks, or something else of the sort.  But until that time comes, hit me up in the comments below, or on Twitter @yesterdayville.

Retro Round Table: Foods We Miss

It’s time once again for another Retro Round Table!  This time, we’re talking about our most missed foods from day’s gone by.  There have been a lot of fast food choices and snacks that have come and gone over the years, and we are all nostalgic about one or more of them.  I write all the time about foods I miss, and could do an entire list by myself.  But there’s more than just me in this world that miss these great old snacks, so once again I invited some friend to share their memories too.  I’m joined today as usual by Hoju Koolander from the SequelQuest Podcast, Jason Gross from Rediscover the 80’s, Eric Vardeman from Eric V Music, and new to the round table starting this week, we welcome in Spyda-Man from the great retro blog, 20 Years Before 2000!  Let’s get to it and see what we miss!


Crunch Tators

The retro food I miss most has to be Crunch Tators by Frito Lays. They were hot and spicy potato chips with a really hard crunch and were available in the late 80’s and early 90’s. There was an alligator on the front of the bag for some odd reason that I could never figure out and they came in two flavors: “Hoppin’ Jalapeno” and “Mighty Mesquite BBQ”. They remind me of my freshman and sophomore years of college. Ate ’em all the time.
Incidentally, A bag of the “Mighty Mesquite BBQ” flavor chips can be seen in Home Alone (probably my all time favorite Christmas movie) in the scene where Kevin is watching Angels with Filthy Souls and eating a rather large ice cream sundae.
– Eric Vardeman
Give Eric a follow on Twitter at @Eric_Vardeman, and you can find his retro memories right here on Retro Ramblings!  His new weekly feature here on Retro Ramblings, Music Mondays, is awesome too.  He looks back at the songs gracing the Top 40 list from 35 years ago in 1983!  He’s also a talented singer/songwriter, and you should check out his music at EricVMusic

McJordan Special

Let me set the stage for you…The year was 1992 and The Dream Team was taking the world by storm in Barcelona, the Chicago Bulls were coming off their second consecutive NBA championship and Michael Jordan was the biggest sports figure in the universe! Jordan’s celebrity led to endorsement deals including everything from NIKE to Gatorade to McDonalds! Not one to pass on a cash grab, McDonalds created the McJordan Special burger in his Airness’s honor! This exquisite burger consisted of a quarter pound beef patty, cheese, onions, pickles, bacon and a special BBQ sauce! Jugs of this limited-edition BBQ sauce show up on eBay from time to time, but you’ll have to spend a few grand to grab one. Why did I choose this particular burger? Because in the summer of ’92 my family vacationed in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We drove from Jersey to NC and along the way we stopped at numerous McDonalds restaurants not only to get a taste of the limited edition McJordan Special, but to collect the Dream Team collectors cups you would get with every meal order! We ended up collecting the whole set and I still drink from them every now and then and when I do it reminds me of the tangy, bacony goodness that was born in the early 90s to capitalize off the greatest basketball player of all-time, Mr. Michael Jeffrey Jordan!

– Spyda-Man

You can check out Spyda-Man’s retro home on the web at 20 Years Before 2000.  You can also follow him on twitter @20_Years_Before.


Slice

Since we’ve had several drinks resurrected in the past two years, I’m longing for another soda I remember from my childhood, Slice. Technically, Pepsi has only discontinued Slice in the past decade after a failed attempt in diet soda market. Of course, Sierra Mist and even Tropicana has taken over Slice flavors from PepsiCo over the years but we’ve never seen the full line of flavors I remember in the ’80s.

With successful comebacks of Ecto Cooler, New York Seltzer, Jolt Cola, Surge, and Crystal Pepsi over the last couple years, now is the time for a Slice revival. Give us some of the traditional flavors like Apple Slice, Mandarin Orange Slice, Pineapple Slice, Fruit Punch Slice. If you need to add more than 10% juice it had back in the day to satisfy the health nuts, that’s fine. But if we get the Slice back, please give me the commercials with fruit being launched into streams of water.

– Jason Gross

Jason is the creative force behind Rediscover the 80’s and is always posting some of the best retro content you’ll find anywhere on the web.  His twitter feed is a heavenly slice of the 80’s, so you should give him a follow there at @rd80s.  He and I collaborated last year to compile out list of our ten favorite episodes of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.  Check out his five here, and then give my five favorites a look too!


Fruit Swirl Bars

While many of my favorite childhood flavors like the spicy crunch of Keebler’s Pizzarias have been lost to the ages, there is one combination of fruit flavor and texture that I miss above all others. Coming out of the fruit roll-up craze of the mid-80’s that gave us bizarre variations like Pudding Roll-Ups, Fruit Swirl Bars by Fruit Corners were a delicious anomaly that I’ll never forget. Imagine a lab experiment gone horribly wrong as a mad food scientist tried to combine the dimensions of a granola bar with the sticky sweetness of fruit roll-ups, then dropped a few yogurt covered Sunkist Fun Fruits Creme Supremes into the mix. The results were a deliciously gooey monstrosity that could barely hold it’s form, yet terrorized our tongues in the very best way with a burst of tangy fruit flavor that was mellowed out by the stripes of vanilla cream running throughout. For the short time they were available, these were my go-to pre-school lunch treat and I can’t believe there has never been an off-brand revival of the recipe available at questionable gas stations nationwide. I recently found a commercial for Fruit Swirl Bars on one of my old Saturday Morning VHS tapes so you can enjoy the celebration of this delicious snack in live action here

– Hoju Koolander

You can follow along with all of Hoju’s retro shenanigans on his twitter feed, @hojukoolander, read a lot of his his fine writing on a variety of retro topics at Retro-Daze, keep up with him at PopGeeks, and listen to his awesomely fun pod cast at SequelQuest Podcast where he and his cohorts craft sequels that we never got to movies that we loved!  Be sure to check out his latest piece over at Retro-Daze, Retro Magazine Round-Up: Black Belt! 


Russet Valley Potato Chips

Man I miss a lot of old foods.  Most of the foods I miss don’t really pertain to the taste as much and the nostalgic memories surrounding them.  I could name any number of items as my choice, but for today, I’m really missing the old Eagle Snacks Russet Valley Potato Chips.  Way back in 1979, Anheuser-Busch launched a line of salty snacks to go along with the beer called Eagle Snacks.  One of the snacks they rolled out with was Russet Valley Potato Chips.  They were a kettle cooked chip, and used russet potatoes instead of the more traditional new white potatoes for making their chips.  This gave the chips a distinctive dark color and an amazing taste.

I still remember the first time I ever tried them.  My brother brought home a large metal can adorned with the Anheuser-Busch logo, and inside were two bags of these glorious chips.  From the first one I out in my mouth, I was hooked.  We ate so many bags of those chips in the late 80’s that I started growing potato eyes all over my body.  Sadly, they went away in the early 90’s.  It was years before I found a substitute.  Now while not quite as good as the Russet Valley chips, Cape Cod brand makes a dark russet potato chip that is pretty dang swank.

– Retro Rambler

Of course you can follow along with me here on Retro Ramblings, but you can follow me on twitter @yesterdayville, and like my Facebook page.


Well that does it for our opinions on the matter.  But what about YOU?  What old food or snack do you miss?  Join in on the conversation by leaving your opinion in the comments section below.

KFC’s Modern Chicken Littles Have Nothing on the Originals From the 80’s

Chicken Littles

 

A couple of years ago, the TV was on in the background, and my daughters were watching some show that I usually wouldn’t give two damns about.  It was probably something like iCarly or Hannah Montana, or some other drivel from the embarrassment that is modern Nickelodeon.    The show went to commercial and I carried on with what I was doing. All of a sudden I was hit by a bolt of delicious lightning! For on the tv behind me, I was hearing a commercial for KFC’s return of the Chicken Littles sandwiches!!! I bolted to the tv just to see and hear the end of that commercial that advertised the return of the greatest hand-held chicken sandwich in history.

I immediately started making plans to visit my local KFC to once again dine on this fine treat.  I couldn’t make the trip immediately, and it was a couple of days later before I rolled into my local KFC and ordered my Chicken Littles with great excitement.

More Fast Food:  That Time McDonald’s Tried to Sell McPasta

I was horribly disappointed when I unwrapped the precious sandwich that I had missed for many years.  “What is this? This ain’t no Chicken Little!  What kind of sick joke are these people trying to pull here?”

You see, in the 80’s, when they were known as Kentucky Fried Chicken and not the metro sounding KFC, they had the perfect sandwich. The original Chicken Littles were the size of a common White Castle Slider or Krystal Burger. In fact, it featured the same kind of bun. It had a simple, thin chicken patty on it along with a pickle and a thin spread of mayo. It was simple. It was perfect.

 

Chicken Littles

 

As I’ve stated before, my mother and I ate out a lot when my dad traveled. At the time these were in stores, I want to say you could pick up Chicken Littles for 3 / $1.00 or something like that, which made it a simple choice to say yes to for my mother.

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