It’s true, Wendy’s is by far my favorite of the mega-fast food chains. It would be difficult to improve upon their classic #1 combo with cheese, no pickles, and a Coke. That, my friends, is perfection in a sack. And their chicken sandwiches, salads, and even French fries are all shockingly good. If I wasn’t so fat and easily winded, I’d threaten to fight anyone who disparaged the good name of Wendy’s.
On Saturday I went there with my younger son, for a quick and easy lunch. And even though I watch almost no television, this commercial had somehow tunneled its way into my brain, and caused me to commit a tragic error.
Clearly I wasn’t paying close attention, but latched on to the phrase “steakhouse.” I didn’t understand what that meant, really, but liked it. It triggered thoughts of no-nonsense all-American food, in generous portions. Maybe even hints of a greasy barroom burger wrapped in wax paper and nestled in a filthy basket. Oh yeah, “steakhouse” was flipping all manner o’ switches inside my brain, and causing my mouth to water.
So, I ordered three of those bad boys – two for me, one for the youngling. Plus, a medium fry to share, and a couple of sodas. And we settled in with our hand-pumped condiments by the window, said a prayer to the gods of heart valve replacement, and dove in.
And what in the everlovin’ shit?! I was expecting a delectable combination of ground beef, lettuce, tomato, and onion. But I got instead a powerful blast of spices, and GARLIC. Freaking garlic, on a fast food burger! Somebody should be tried at The Hague, and sent to a South American prison.
My lower jaw retracted, which meant a vomit sequence had been set into motion. But I’ve got skillz, and was able to maintain. I ejected the foul intruder into a napkin, sat there silently for a couple of seconds while regaining my composure, and finally began howling in protest.
The boy also had a look of confusion and alarm on his face, and we started dismantling our lunches.
There was some kind of white goo on top of the tomatoes and stuff. Was Satan himself in the kitchen, polishing his staff? I gave it a sniff, and it was clearly the source of the overpowering garlic. And what the hell?? Garlic has insinuated itself into all walks of life by this late date. Can’t it at least leave our burgers alone?
The boy shouted, “Look underneath!”
I lifted the burger, and there was a thick coating of black spices on the bottom bun. My mind was having trouble processing what my eyes were seeing. Seriously: WTF? What demented person conceived of such a thing? And how did it make it all the way to market?!
Next time I’m in a Wendy’s I’m going to pay special attention to the photo of Dave Thomas in the dining room; I have no doubt there will be actual tears falling from his eyes, dampening the carpet underneath.
I grabbed my phone. I needed to find out what I’d just half-eaten, half-hocked into a napkin. The website says something about “garlic aioli.” I have no idea what that is, but in my mind it falls into the same category as ethnic cleansing.
And that crap at the bottom? “Steakhouse seasoning.” To my knowledge, there is no such thing. It’s like saying “hardware store seasoning,” or “post office zestiness.” They’re just stringing random words together at this point.
In a panic, I threw my almost-two burgers into the trash, and had nothing to eat for lunch – except for half an order of medium fries. I considered returning to the counter and buying a normal-people burger, like the ones they enjoy on planet Earth. But there were a bunch of portly lasses up there, with dingy once-white bra straps exposed. NOT a good look. And by the size of those ladies, I knew the kitchen crew had their hands full. So, screw it.
I sat there while the boy actually ate his entire burger, occasionally wincing and grimacing… And that taste! Why wouldn’t it fade? Shouldn’t it be fading by now?! Would my life ever be the same again? I was belching up despair.
When I got home I went straight upstairs, and brushed me teeth. When I spit there was a load of black dots in the sink. Then I used mouthwash, and let it slosh around in there for a good five minutes. Again: a load of dots. Fuck me!
I’m not kidding, this is not hyperbole… the new Wendy’s Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger is one of the worst things I’ve ever tasted. And I tried those booger, vomit, and earwax Jelly Bellys a few years ago. Blecch!
The guy below actually likes it, which blows my mind. HOW?! I think he farts at the 21 second point, and again at 28. I’m not sure if that’s relevant or not, but thought it was worth mentioning.
Heck, maybe I’m the strange one? Maybe I’m that one-in-a-million guy who doesn’t like to bite into a hamburger and get knocked across the room by a garlic wallop and the contents of an entire spice rack?
I wear it like a badge of honor.
Buy something cool at Amazon! It’s the American way.