Kent Bernhardt: Over one billion served

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 24, 2016

Like most of Americans, I don’t like to admit I eat fast food, but I do. It would be cooler to brag about the kale and carrot salad I packed for my lunch, but I never seem to get out to the kale bush – or whatever it grows on.

I have the usual excuse. My job keeps me on the go a lot, and when I need food , dang it, I need it fast. Hence, I seek the quick and easy route far too often.

I do prefer to pack my own healthier lunch most days, but on that fateful day they find my body slumped over my keyboard, there’s a better than even chance there’ll be a cold French fry in my hand.

I have my favorite go-to places when I do indulge, so I thought I’d take a few moments to rate my favorites in several categories.

As I run through my list, remember that nothing can supplant the toasted pimento cheese sandwich and hot bowl of vegetable soup mom would make on snowy days, or the virtual feast your grandmother would whip up on an almost daily basis. That’s real food.

Fast food is substitute food. Still, there’s much to appreciate in the land of the quick lunch.

My favorite spot for my favorite sandwich is Zaxby’s. I love a good grilled chicken sandwich, and theirs is the best I’ve found to date.

The chicken is always plump, tender, and moist with a little dash of honey mustard on a toasted bun. I give it my highest praise, though I’m disappointed they’ve switched from dark lettuce to iceberg at the location I frequent the most. I hope that’s only temporary. I have written the management. No, they haven’t responded.

For breakfast on the go, I’m a McDonalds guy when I don’t have time for a sit down meal. I like an Egg McMuffin from time to time, and I’ve grown fond of McDonald’s coffee. They also have a pretty good chicken biscuit on the breakfast menu that I like.

All of the main fast food players have a fairly good breakfast menu, except for one I won’t mention because they never should’ve gotten into the breakfast game to start with. When your specialty is lunch and dinner, stay there. Take that, Taco Bell.

Oh, sorry – I wasn’t going to mention them. Love your shredded chicken soft taco though.

I’m not a big French fry eater these days, but McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Zaxby’s seem to offer a cut above the rest. I like a French fry that tastes like a potato, not a potato-like substance. As a rule, local barbeque places turn out better fries than the national chains.

As for burgers, you probably can’t beat Cookout. They literally taste like the burgers you’d get at a cookout, and who doesn’t like those. Don’t like a particular condiment? Tell them to leave it off. It’s simple there.

I have to admit I find it interesting the chains that got into the business years ago on the strength of the simple hamburger have great difficulty turning out a good burger today. The beef seems to taste less beefy at most places.

I won’t rate hot dogs because few of the national chains offer those. Burger King just put them on the menu, but I haven’t had the inclination to try one yet. I’m still upset they brought back that creepy king in their ads.

And speaking of creepy ads, what’s up with KFC’s resurrection of the Colonel? I have two words for them: Please stop. I love your chicken, but please stop. Colonel Sanders died in 1980. Let him rest in peace.

I also give Chester’s Chicken four beaks for their chicken. They have a wonderful recipe.

I haven’t found a good fast food fish sandwich yet. I think fish isn’t meant to be fast food, so most chains struggle with it.   I’d stick to local restaurants for my fish if I were you. You have a better chance of getting it prepared the way you like it.

These are but a few of my thoughts about fast food for those of us who, though we hate to admit it, find ourselves in the drive-thru lane far more often than we’d like.

We might as well make the best of it.

Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury

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