Wendy’s Bacon Queso Crap: A Review

IMG_4100I went to Wendy’s for dinner last night, not because I like Wendy’s, in fact among popular fast food restaurants they are near the bottom on my list of favorites if they aren’t my absolute least favorite, but because it’s that one time of year when corporate realizes they have way too much extra cheese and bacon that is going to go bad soon so they roll out a new product that features these two ingredients. I don’t know why I keep going back time and time again, thinking that maybe I’ll be blown away by the combination of flavors that remain the same despite the changing the name of the product they are selling. This year is the bacon and queso family of products which includes a burger, a chicken sandwich, and of course French fries, all topped with the disgustingly delicious amounts of the stuff, so naturally, I had to try it.

I got the chicken sandwich, because the burger just looked a heart attack waiting to happen, and since I don’t know where I really stand karmically, I figured it was best not to tempt fate with an easy way to get rid of me.  Over the speaker a question was directed at me, “do you want the chicken sandwich regular or spicy?” and since I knew that this meal would likely end with me on the toilet regretting my decision to eat there in the first place, I decided to just go for it, so I confidently replied spicy. I got the fries too, because again, if the canon is going to blow either way, you might as well stuff it full of as much gun powder as you can cram inside.  It was 9.59 for the sandwich and fries, a little more expensive than a regular meal, but I pulled around and gladly paid it, thinking the increased price would translate to more enjoyment of the food, but I’ve been wrong before, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that I was wrong again.

Let’s start with the positives, because at my core, that is what I am truly about, always looking for positivity in negative situations and never complaining because it won’t do any good anyway. The chicken sandwich was great. As I’m not a frequent visitor of Wendy’s I’d forgotten how much I liked their chicken sandwich but it was actually really juicy, with just the right amount of spice, topped with a queso cheese sauce that was also somewhat spicy, and a couple strips of crispy bacon. I was pleasantly surprised by the queso, that it actually tasted like something you might actually find at a low quality Mexican restaurant which was a step up from what I was expecting. If I were just basing my recommendation on the sandwich alone I would definitely encourage you to try it because it actually was surprisingly good, but we haven’t even discussed the fries yet, so buckle up, we’re just getting started.

You might be thinking to yourself, I wonder why Kendall doesn’t go to Wendy’s more because he clearly likes their chicken sandwich, and let me set the record straight, I do, but the main reason I don’t go there is because of the fries, which in my humblest of opinions are the worst fast food fries that exist within the vast tapestry of American fast food chains. They are the most flavorless pieces of sadness that I’ve ever had alongside a burger, but I thought, add queso and bacon and perhaps they will be better. I’ve fallen into this trip before, going to Wendy’s to try the chili cheese fries, the ghost pepper fries, and even the baconator fries that are a mainstay of the menu, none of which couldn’t overpower the underwhelming quality of these horrible fries, but I thought that perhaps this time might be different. I was wrong. While the queso cheese sauce and the bacon pieces were delicious, it wasn’t enough to make the Wendy’s fries edible, so the queso bacon fries can be considered nothing but a colossal failure. So next time you’re thinking about picking up some fast food, I would highly recommend going to an establishment with a more well rounded menu, where the fries and sandwiches are both good, because with all of the options out there today, there really isn’t any reason to limit yourself by sacrificing half of your meal on a mediocre side dish. Maybe Wendy’s will step up their game sometime in the future, but until that time I’m going to be staying far away, until of course they need to get rid of some more bacon and cheese again next year.

What I Didn’t Know About the Solar Eclipse

I don’t normally watch the news, mostly because the anchors tend to annoy me with their over dramatized reporting of insignificant things like “Find out who’s been going through your trash. Is your identity safe? Find out next.” When the commercial break ends it’s a story about raccoons caught on camera digging through a dumpster, so that’s why I prefer to read my news so I’m able to draw my own conclusions on the seriousness of the story rather than having a talking head trying to worry me, but Monday afternoon when I got home from work the news just happened to be on. We keep the TV on during the day for the benefit of the dogs, using it to stifle any noise outside the apartment which would drive them into fits of frightened barking which would in turn make the neighbors hate us, so when I sat down in my chair I heard something that was actually important information for me to find out and it literally saved me from doing something really stupid that would change my life forever. 
    Did you hear about the solar eclipse coming up next week? I don’t know how you couldn’t have heard, because it seems like everyday I hear something about it, but until Monday I wasn’t really paying much attention to it other than the date thinking it would be pretty cool to see when it happens since it’s apparently a once in a lifetime thing. I figured I would just show up to work and when it got unusually dark outside I would rush out to the parking lot to behold the miraculous event. I’m an idiot, which I know is probably a shock to a lot of you since I normally come across as one of the most intelligent people to ever stumble through life, but sadly my complete self confidence was shattered the moment I heard the news report. I don’t remember who was reporting the story about the solar eclipse being a week away, but whomever it was I owe a great deal of gratitude for saving my eyesight. Apparently if you look at the eclipse directly you will become blind, a fact that apparently everyone but myself knows because trust me, I’ve asked around since then, and every person I ask about it looks at me like I’m a complete moron, which I obviously can’t argue against.

 

    There was a news story on my USA Today app a week or so ago with a headline that said something about a company selling solar eclipse glasses and without actually clicking to read the story I just assumed it was a scam or a joke used by some company to cash in out the latest fad that’s taking the world by storm, but now I know that it was an actual legitimate thing and it was I who was being scammed by my idiotic mind. I’m not going to buy a pair of eclipse viewing glasses, so I suppose I’ll miss out on this once in a lifetime experience, but at least I’ll keep my eyesight, which seems like a fair enough trade.

Winning a Marital Disagreement

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For all of the people out there in relationships that are full of disagreements and conflicting opinions, who believe that no matter what, your significant other will never come around to feeling the way you do on certain issues, there is hope. Until today I never would have believed it and have given up on even trying to sway my wife’s opinion, but rejoice my friends because today it actually happened. Over the course of our relationship, my wife and I have had many disagreements over things, some small, like where to go for dinner or how to load the dishwasher, and some big, like whether Lord of the Rings is the greatest movie trilogy of all time, or if we should get dogs or not. Well we’ve never sat down and watched Lord of the Rings together and we now have two chihuahuas so it’s safe to say that I lose a lot more than I win, but today I won, and it feels fantastic.

The biggest fundamental difference of opinion that we have is far bigger than dogs or movies or how to load a dishwasher to make sure that everything gets clean (Seriously why does it matter how you put a spoon in? They’re not that expensive we could just buy more spoons), but rather where the ideal place to live is based on the weather. My wife was born in California and lived there for nine years before moving to Florida where she lived the rest of her life before we moved to Memphis last year, so her opinion was completely biased based on the surroundings she grew up with. She loves hot weather, so between Florida and Southern California that are two of the consistently warm climates in the country, she didn’t think it could get any better. I on the other hand like the cold. I absolutely loved living in Minnesota during the winter of my freshman year of college where snow stayed on the ground for the better part of three months, whereas the four years spent in Florida were some of the most miserable of my life, so we had to come up with a compromise, find a place where we could both get what we wanted, so we moved to Memphis.

We moved here in July, which was perfect for her so she could go from one hellishly hot place to another, but then fall rolled around and the heat relented and I was suddenly a much happier man, my first taste of cool fall air in four years. Last winter was a pretty mild one save for the week where it was consistently in the upper 20’s, but it was nice to have the cold for at least a little while, and to my wife’s surprise, she survived it. Now that it’s miserably hot again she was really enjoying it for a little while, but lately hasn’t been as happy about it, and today she texted me from work telling me that she can’t wait for winter and said she actually appreciates the changing seasons now, so take that Florida and California, Memphis wins (at least in that respect)! That just goes to show you that changes of opinions or preferences can change over the course of a relationship, so don’t give up hope and maybe, just maybe, you will be as happy as I am today.

When in Doubt Leave the Vegetables Out

IMG_4070An immediate stomach ache that hits you as soon as you leave a restaurant and a desperate need to find a bathroom as quickly as possible, are two telltale signs that the meal you just ate went terribly awry. Unfortunately, both of these symptoms hit me like a ton of bricks, or more specifically a plate of nachos as soon as I left El Porton, a Mexican restaurant where we ate dinner last night. My wife and I met the rest of the family there, gathering to celebrate the birthday of both my grandpa and cousin. I’m always in the mood for Mexican food and had actually been craving it lately, so when I was told that we would be having that for dinner, I was pretty excited, to the point where I actually caught myself thinking at random intervals throughout my day about what I might get to eat that night. The chips and salsa arrived before the drinks, as is typically custom at Mexican restaurants, but I showed a great deal of restraint that I normally lack, by waiting to dig in until my water arrived, which turned out to be a good call on my part since the salsa was a little spicier than I remembered.

I ordered fajita nachos with steak, because steak sounded really good to me but more so for the cheese dip that I’d been thinking about relentlessly throughout the day. I had the choice of ordering the nachos with or without vegetables, and despite the kid in me screaming that vegetables are gross, I ordered them anyway, to prove, if only to myself, that I am in fact an adult and vegetables actually aren’t all that bad. I was expecting some diced tomatoes, lettuce, jalapeños, and maybe even some onions, but in my haste to order the food, my brain neglected to register that the vegetables served with the fajita nachos would be just that, vegetables typically found in a steaming pan of fajitas, but don’t worry, I found out soon enough. The food arrived and I tried to not pre-judge my nachos based on appearance with the huge chunks of onion, tomato, and bell pepper being the most visible and populous foods on my plate, something that might have been aesthetically pleasing to a strict vegetarian, but I myself found it to be very unattractive.

The steak was delicious but the pieces of juicy meat were far overpowered by the crunchiness of the peppers and onions that I was desperately trying to make an asset of the dish but was rather hindering and taking away from the best ingredient. The cheese dip of course was amazing, because white cheese dip has a way of never letting you down, but again the giant vegetables were doing their best to make themselves known above all else. I gave some of the onions and peppers to my mimi and wife, the only two people at the table of nine who wanted anything to do with them, and finished my nachos in peace. Not long after, the storm hit and I was clutching my stomach which hurt like I’d eaten a half dozen creme filled doughnuts that were a few days old for breakfast and washed it down with a big glass of expired milk, not that I would know from experience. I don’t know if my body was having that reaction because it was shocked by my vegetable intake after years of neglecting healthy food or if something else was causing my growing discomfort, but I was completely miserable. The one good thing to come from this terrible experience was a valuable life lesson that I won’t soon forget; when in doubt leave the vegetables out.

Ginny Lane: Terrible Tacos

IMG_3785Repeat after me; go with what you know. It seems pretty simple enough, but it’s something I tend to forget, especially when eating at restaurants that I’ve been to before. If I eat somewhere and have something that is great, I my mind does this crazy thing where it decides that everything else there must be just as good, despite this rarely ever being the case no matter how many times I disappoint myself, which unfortunately happens to me quite a bit, most likely because i’m an idiot that doesn’t learn his lesson. Last month, when I was on a family vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama, I made this critical mistake at a restaurant I loved, and it turned out just as terrible as the rest of the times I did this. Here’s the story.

Ginny Lane happens to be one of my favorite restaurants on the Gulf Coast, so while we were down there for a week it was imperative that we go eat there, so one afternoon, my wife and I went. They gave me a menu, which is where the problems started, so I guess I can safely blame them for everything, because up until that moment, I knew exactly what I was going to eat. I’ve been to many restaurants in that area, and I can tell you with all sincerity that Ginny Lane has the absolute fried shrimp that I’ve ever eaten on the Gulf Coast, which is saying something as you can’t toss a seashell in any direction without hitting a seafood restaurant. The whole drive to the restaurant I was thinking about the shrimp, but once the menu was placed before me, I began to look at some of the other options, thinking that blackened fish tacos would be fantastic. They were not.

The food arrived pretty quickly, and I immediately regretted my decision when I saw that the three tacos were in one of those three slotted metallic devices that are intended to keep the tacos upright. Surely I’m not the only person who hates these right? They’re great until you take a bite of the taco then you run into the problem of needing to set it down but the bitten tortilla never fits cleanly back into it’s slot, and contents of the taco inevitably spill out onto the taco holder. It’s a disaster, but determined not to let that bother me, I began my meal. For me there is no better seafood than blackened fish that is freshly caught, but unfortunately this particular restaurant sinfully overcooked it, giving it an almost chewy texture. The other huge downside that there was way more lettuce and tomatoes on the taco than the really small portion of fish, which didn’t really matter since the fish wasn’t that good to begin with. My wife ordered the same thing, and she was just as displeased with her tacos as I was, so suffice it to say, it was a pretty terrible meal. Hopefully I’ll learn my lesson moving forward and stick to ordering things that I know are great.

Talking to Strangers

As a child the mantra is hammered into our heads relentlessly. “Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t talk to strangers”, but once you enter the adult world, it turns out that almost every single person there is a stranger, and we have little choice but to talk to them. I get that it’s a necessity to talk to some people we don’t know, the satellite repair guy, the waiter at the restaurant, or the person showing up on your doorstep claiming to be your child, but there are certain instances when I think we should revert back to that childhood saying, ignoring strangers and refusing to talk to them altogether, like this morning for example. I was awakened before six once again by the raccoon that has become my wake up call, scratching the wall near my bed, and since I was up, I figured I would go out for a nice walk to start my Sunday. For the past two weeks I’ve gotten up early Sunday morning to go for a walk, which some might interpret as taking some initiative to exercise and start the day out on the right foot, but let me dissuade you from that notion immediately; the only reason I go so early is because I enjoy being outdoors and anytime after seven is way to hot to leave the house for anything except for ice cream and to get away from the child I previously mentioned, so that is how I came to be walking along the banks of the Mississippi river so early this morning.

There weren’t a lot of people out, but there were definitely enough to annoy me. It’s not that the presence of people is inherently annoying to me, but every time someone is approaching me as I walk I start to get really anxious and nervous, not because I think they mean me any harm, but because I’m wondering if they are going to talk to me or if I should initiate a greeting. This didn’t bother me at all the first time I was out walking, because I didn’t know any better. The first time I was approached I behaved like a normal human, politely looking straight ahead as if that person did not exist, but then I heard the words, “Good morning” he said, and I was completely taken aback. By the time I registered that it was me who he was speaking to we had already past each other, but I turned around and mumbled a feeble “g’morning” in his direction. From that point on I began to overanalyze the coming encounters with people on the trail ahead, and it made me really uncomfortable.

It doesn’t make any sense to me that strangers who have never seen each other before, would say good morning or hello to each other in passing. Is this common human courtesy or a ridiculous tradition that needs to stop immediately? The only time I’ve ever initiated any kind of conversation with a complete stranger was when it was required by my job to do so, because unlike some of these other people populating the earth, I still hold a firm respect for the words my parents spoke to me as a child; “Don’t talk to strangers.” I’ve also been burned on some of these walks too, initiating the greeting only to catch the other person off guard. I want to yell that I didn’t want to say hello in the first place but apparently it’s something we have to do now, but I figured they probably already thought I was crazy enough, so I didn’t divulge this information. Can we just all agree that there is nothing to be gained from talking to strangers in passing? It would make me feel so much better if everyone could just agree to act like everybody else just doesn’t exist.

Last Two Books I’ve Read

IMG_4027Since I have nothing else to talk about, and don’t feel like exerting the energy or effort in to coming up with something, conjuring a funny memory from my past, or an experience I can use to motivate others, who like me, aren’t motivated to do anything, I am going to talk about the books I’ve been reading lately, and you’re going to like it. Or you’re going to absolutely hate it. I have no idea, because as much as I’d like to, I have no idea what you are thinking at any given moment, especially as your read my words from afar. Okay so now that I’ve wasted enough of your time, let’s dive in, shall we? If you answered with a hearty and resounding “yes!” I just want you to know that my question was a rhetorical one and I’m embarrassed for you at your outburst. About a week and a half ago I began reading a book called “Dear American Airlines”, a work of fiction wherein the main character is stranded at the Chicago O’Hare airport and is writing an angry letter to American Airlines. At times it’s funny, but for the most part it drones on and on in a tiresome way, without very long paragraphs and rambling sentences, kind of like this blog. The only reason I read it is because somehow it ended up on my Amazon wish list, and ordered it about a month ago. Perhaps someone recommended it to me, and if that’s the case, whoever you are, you’re recommendations are no longer welcome. The only possible reason you should ever read this book is if you are traveling via American Airlines and become stranded and angry, then perhaps reading the book will bring you some comfort in knowing that you are not alone, but other than that, you would be wise to stay away.

After that atrocity I read “Home is Burning” by Dan Marshall, again a product of somehow ending up on my Amazon list. I knew going in that it was a memoir written by someone whom’s parents both had terminal illnesses, so I thought it might be bleak or inspiring, but I had no idea that it would be so funny. I’m not sure if Marshall has written anything else, but believe me, I am going to find that out because this book by him was very, very funny and well written. It’s the true story Dan, who’s beginning his career in Los Angeles but is summoned home to Salt Lake City to help out around the house when his dad is diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Throughout the course of this disease and the mother’s battle with cancer, the five Marshall children are blindsided by all of the bad luck and have to come to grips with the imminent deaths of both parents, and some family members handle it better than others, although nobody does so with any grace. I would definitely recommend checking this one out if you’re in the mood for a story that is both inspiring and funny, because in “Home is Burning” you will get both, and as a bonus, it’s a pretty quick read.