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The Top Ten Fast Food Sauces

The Top Ten Fast Food Sauces

Man, I really should not write food-related stuff while I’m starving.  Oatmeal (with peanut butter for zest) doesn’t really cut it when I’m reflecting on the deliciousness that is widely available to everyone that doesn’t live in NYC.  My love for culinary accoutrements started early, perhaps when I was given my first trifold pack of Fun Dip.  How good was dunking that edible utensil (composition: 100% sugar) into three different colors of sugar?  Plenty of mix and match opportunities, the whole thing was meant to be eaten, and you were more worked up than the dude from Crank for the next 17-18 hours.  That love of dipping stuff carries over to present day, and I consider myself somewhat an expert in the area of condiments.  Of course there’s only one you’ll truly ever need, but not everyone has home and away bottles of The Rooster.

10.  Domino’s Cinna Stix Sweet Icing

It tastes better than it looks
Go ahead and try it, at least

This isn’t really in the same realm as the other entries, but I have to give Domino’s props: Cinna Stix look fucking disgusting, but taste fucking delicious.  How so?  The sweet-assed icing, plus the added interactive element of dipping said Stix into the the Sweet Icing – practically Fun Dip revisited.  Likely this first entry has you questioning my taste, but go ahead and fire up some Cinna Stix tonight and see if you can refute my claim tomorrow.

9.  McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce

Tubs: the perfect packaging.
Tubs: the perfect packaging

The Run – DMC of sauces, we must remember and praise the old school, even as their offerings are diminished with time.  I don’t eat that many McNuggets these days, what with the advancements in nugget technology and the superior offerings available elsewhere, but I do fondly recall the introduction of McNuggets in the early 80’s and the delicious and exotic tub of flavor that came with them (assuming of course, you chose the exotic S&S over the more widely accepted Barbecue).  The S&S sauce nicely balances the chickenesque food substances that comprise a McNugget, and also pairs well with a french fry if one is looking for a unique taste sensation.

8.  Wendy’s Barbeque Sauce

Wendy's nuggets are always bridesmaids
Wendy's nuggets are always bridesmaids

Of course a barbecue sauce has to be represented on this list, it’s the most widely utilized of all of the tubs (closely followed by Ranch, and the fast-rising Honey Mustard).  Wendy’s barbeque sauce is a little smokier and packs more zing than some competitors’ offerings.  Wendy’s nuggets have always been underrated, and vastly so when considering their location on the value menu – one of the few places you can get legitimately full for $3.

7.  Del Taco Del Scorcho

Del Scorcho elevates the entire DT experience
Del Scorcho elevates the entire DT experience

Fucking A, I really enjoy Del Taco.  Maybe it’s because it’s only available on the west coast, and I’m usually in a good mood when I’m on the west coast?  I’m not certain.  The food is in no way superior to the Bell and the locations in San Diego, at least, tend to be a hotspot for the mentally deranged, but DT is open like 28 hours/day and they DO offer some excellent crinkle cut fries.  For an orgy of fry-dipping deliciousness, mix one package of mild DT sauce and two packs of Del Scorcho (clearly this is just a ratio as any red-blooded human is gonna need like 25-30 packets total).  Enjoy – and remember, do not make eye contact with any of the other folks in Del Taco.

6.  53rd and Sixth Halal Cart White and Red Sauce

You have to have connections to own these
You have to have connections to own these

This stuff probably isn’t widely available enough to be on this list, but these two are some of the most popular and controversial condiments in NYC.  Plus, I get to make the rules since it’s my list.  Also, I have these bottles IN MY REFRIGERATOR.  That’s right, I own these huge fucking bottles of white sauce and red sauce.  They make any shitty gyro into a true culinary tribute to Greek food-that-isn’t-really-Greek-but-actually-stems-from-some-guy-in-Chicago’s-decision-to-put-random-meatstuffs-on-a-rotisserie.  The controversy comes from the long-standing debate on whether the white sauce is yogurt-based or (blech) may0-based.  Good god I hope it’s yogurt.  The red sauce is the hottest hot sauce I’ve ever had outside of a specialty store looking to set scoville records.  Consider this when applying to your food – don’t be a hero.

5.  Taco Bell Mild Sauce

Stupid aphorisms don't affect taste
The stupid aphorisms don't affect taste

I used to work at TBell when this stuff still came in little tubs.  Those things were awesome, I wish taco sauce still came in tubs – it was such an event just opening the package.  Sure, it was probably a lot more expensive, and messier, and tubs probably make more sense if you are dipping as opposed to pouring, but still – tubs.  Sigh.  Anyway, TB’s mild sauce deserves its own entry instead of being lumped together with the other offerings (some good, some not).  Despite my typical longings for sinus-clearing hotness, I’ve found (through countless hours of experimentation) that the mild sauce provides a taste amplification in certain situations.  For example, to take your Nachos Supreme (not Bell Grande, the chips/meat/cheese ratios are out of whack compared to the simple elegance of the Supreme) to the next level, I recommend starting with a base of about 8 packets of mild sauce.  Then you throw on about 10 packs of Fire; the melange becomes a delicious red hollandaise the remnants of which are  nicely paired with a Meximelt.  Thank me later.

4.  Hibachi-san “sriracha” packets

I know, this doesn't even have any "sriracha" on it, but still - delicious
I know, this doesn't even have any "sriracha" on it, but still - delicious

Sorry I can’t produce any photographic evidence, but at least at the Hibachi-san in the Borgata, they offer “sriracha” in packet form that is a pretty reasonable facsimile of the original.  I’m usually a big hater of non-green-topped “sriracha” but Hibachi-san so far has produced the only exception.  A little darker than the original, but just as fiery, goes well with the 3.5 pounds of chicken and rice you’re about to eat.  (Double meat only $1!)

3.  Papa John’s Garlic Sauce

Suitable for drinking, if needed
Suitable for drinking

We’ve all had the same thoughts upon eating this stuff: “Good lord, am I going to die tonight from eating this?  Is this butter-infused butter, somehow?  Have I just gained seven pounds?”  Sensational work, John.  Would be higher up on this list if not for the likelihood that this garlic butter has spiked national heart disease stats since introduction.

On a side note – the other night, in a nod to “healthiness”, I decided to try a thin crust pizza at PJ’s.  What the hell?  It was terrible – and came with no garlic butter!  That stuff can redeem any disappointing pizza and they don’t provide with the thin crust?!?  Horrible – what a waste of a meal.  After all the good times we’ve had together?

2.  Arby’s Sauce

Puddy was right
Puddy was right

I love Arby’s and, sadly, there aren’t any left in NYC.  There used to be one in the Manhattan Mall, but given that the clientele at that place makes a typical Del Taco look like a J Crew catalog, I typically didn’t venture in there too often.  (And the fact that there was an Arby’s AND a Sarku Japan left me with a Sophie-like dilemma).  But when I go home I hit up the big A quite often, and with good reason: if you steer clear of the fries and whatnot, I don’t think it’s that bad for you.  Sure, I get a large roast beef, which used to be called the Big Montana (they used to give you a sticker to wear if you ate one, as if a fat ass wasn’t an identifying-enough characteristic), but lean roast beef on a bun doesn’t seem so bad to me.  Particularly when adorned/slathered/bathed in Arby’s sauce, a spicier, thinner take on barbeque sauce.  Also goes good with fries/potato cakes if you find yourself in that particular situation.  Damn I’m hungry now.

1.  Taco Bell Fire Sauce

Notice the Hot is mired in the background, as it should be
Notice the Hot is mired in the background, as it should be

So fucking good.  Without embarrassment, I generally take 300-400 packets of these home when I make my way to the Bell.  Goes great with all the T-Bell items, of course, but can also improve many a hum-drum occasion in your kitchen.  In a pinch, fire sauce can make a homemade quesadilla so good you will consider making another one ten seconds after finishing the first one.  I used to keep several thousand packages in my office for those unfortunate moments when I was forced to grab a “wrap” or similar from the cafeteria.  Armed with some Fire sauce (and, of course, the trusty work bottle of Sriracha) my spirit was never completely broken.

It’s time to hit the taco truck,


The Events of Last Friday

The Events of Last Friday

So as you may recall, I had a goal of running 100 miles in May.  A modest goal, no doubt, but for one so ample of belly and short of restraint, it would prove difficult.  And so it was – as the LA/Vegas/AC trips cost me 10 days of running.  I still had 20 miles to go after running a 6 miler Wednesday.  How best to apportion those remaining miles when you are sore as hell with four days to go?

Four 5 milers seemed logical, but I sensed that I needed a day off in there, as I am lazy and needed some drinks too.  Two 7 milers and a 6?  Nah – I went straight Hoover High/Slim Shady on the motherfucker.  Two a day Thursday.  8 mile.  Central Park outer on Saturday (with no shirt, giving something back to the bear lovers out there) and a little 6 miler on the t-mill sunday.  Done.  Now I’m shooting for another 50 before the next trip to The Cove on the 12th.  We’ll see, it’s possible I’ll need full shin/calf transplants soon (getting old blows).

So after the second 4 mile run on Thursday, I decided to reward myself with a little bit of wine and some homemade tacos.  Settled in to watch The Cougar and So You Think You Can Dance.  I know that night sounds pretty wild, but honestly that’s kind of the norm around here.  Unemployed life is basically Plato’s Retreat reincarnate – such hedonism will likely result in the fall of society as we know it.  The wine was delightful and was paired well with two Coronas and two enormous Dark and Stormies.  Ultimately, it was one of those nights when you have this conversation:

Me: “I cannot believe it’s 4:00 AM already, I’m not even tired.”

SO: “Yeah, let’s watch Harold & Kumar 2.”

So why am I telling you all this boring shit?  Basically to establish my excuse for not posting on Friday – it’s pretty difficult to post when you wake up at 2:30 PM.  But I did have a pretty sweet day after finally waking up, and it’s the kind of purely NYC day that you can’t experience anywhere else.

A Friday Afternoon in the Life

2:30 PM:  Where to eat?  SO suggested the quaint little French place down the street which serves a pretty strong croque monsieur.  Not a bad idea, but I had a better one.  That’s modest – my idea was essentially a quantum leap forward on the gastonomical spectrum.  NYC has some specific strengths as far as food goes: a wide diversity of offerings, plently of expensive highbrow fare that actually tastes like shit and the occasional hidden delight that gets overexposed and eventually turns shitty.  Cheap, quick food – almost “fast” – is not found in abundance, with the exception of Subway.  (I believe they just opened a Subway in our bathroom)  Anyway, on this fateful Friday afternoon, I recovered a repressed memory at the optimal time (and it didn’t even involve getting beaten with a hanger!).

I recalled seeing a Taco Bell in Union Square.  Now, if you are reading this in Bumfuck, Egypt or wherever, that may not sound like a big deal.  But in NYC, traditional fast food spots are on the major wane – THERE IS NO ARBY’S IN NYC NOW!  Plus, I had stopped into this place (full disclosure: T-Bell/Pizza Hut) when I initially saw it to verify that it was suitable for food consumption.  It was clean, well-lit, had an operating restroom, and only 2-3 homeless people appeared to be squatting there.  Usually I’m not a fan of these “combo” stores – the T-Bell/Dunkin Donuts on 8th and 30th is a less appetizing place to eat than a turkey processing plant – but this place was legit.

And, as you may be aware if you have a television or are otherwise subjected to advertisements, Taco Bell has a new menu item out: the Volcano Double Beef Burrito.  I am morally and contractually obligated to try any new T-Bell item and this thing looked pretty fucking delicious.  Apparently the lava sauce is much hotter than even their Fire sauce (800 Scoville units vs. 500 for Fire) which I find to be decently warm.  Plus – tortilla strips inside the burrito!  Fuck yeah!  I am a big proponent of chips inside burritos, even though this controversial stance has cost me some good standing within the U.S. Burrito Commission.

So how was it?  Well, let me say that the pic below came from (thanks!) – mine definitely didn’t look like this.  Mine looked a lot like a folded up tortilla – literally halfway through I was still all dough.  Was okay once I got to the heart of the matter, but it was no Cheesy Beefy Melt (that thing was uber-delicious but made you feel 1-2 minutes from a myocardial infarction).  I was pretty disappointed, honestly.  Will I try it again?  Maybe, we’ll see.  The T-Bell was decent though; maybe the Pizza Hut classes it up a bit.  Oh yeah – Pizza Hut, how about bringing back the pork topping???  That shit was awesome – thin crust, pork+mushroom was the bomb.


mine looked like this, with the exception of the meat and cheese
Mine looked like this, with the exception of not having the meat or cheese. Lots of tortilla, though

3:30 PM:  What now?  I strongly considered a nap, but we decided to carpe diem the motherfucker.  “Let’s go to Trader Joe’s” she said.  Unsuspecting, I agreed.  Now, I’ve been to Trader Joe’s once before, in LA, and it was a madhouse, but I attributed that largely to the insanely high concentration of granola hippies in California.  In NYC, once the newness wears off, the crowds typically swarm to another hipper, more expensive destination in an effort to attain the holy grail of apparent exclusivity.  Since the NYC Trader Joes had been open for about three years, I wasn’t really sweating it.

Um, I was fucking wrong.  The technical term for it was gagglefuck.  The line permeated through the entire store, to the point where two employees had to walk around with signs on poles showing where the current end of the line was.  The line seriously wove through the entire store, up/down every aisle.  I find the food offerings at TJ’s to be pretty weak, it looked like a bunch of shit you don’t really need (save produce, but I don’t really need that myself) that they wear you down with as you wait in the interminable line.  Since I was all good on the “gorgonzola, organic chicken and pear frozen omelette” front, we decided to get the fuck out of there.


Enjoy your shopping!  Hey, olives stuffed with farm-raised figs!
Enjoy your shopping! Hey, olives stuffed with farm-raised figs!

Props to Trader Joe’s though, for pure marketing brilliance.  They have convinced the masses that they have the highest quality, most environmentally-conscious products at the absolute cheapest prices available on the planet.  You’re doing a great thing by shopping there – getting healthier, reducing dolphin asphyxiation and keeping a few sheckels in your bank account to boot!  Unreal.  Good thing you guys are reading this website, which is free, is full of health tips and is environmentally friendly (I turned off most of the lights to write this.  But since it’s 4:51 AM i guess that doesn’t count for as much).  Whole Foods, you could’ve learned from TJ’s – you wore the mantle of “a little more expensive, but worth it” a little too smugly.

4:00 PM: We stop by the farmer’s market at Union Square.  There is a gentleman in a Boba Fett helmet playing Star Wars tunes on the accordion.  He is accompanied by a homeless man wearing sandals (apparently he was an uninivited guest rapper of sorts – nice dance moves though).  I liked his rendition of the cantina song. 

4:30 PM: Cocktail hour.  I did buy some wine at the Trader Joe’s wine shop.  They have the best wines at the lowest prices!  And they have quirky written signs all over the place with folksy witticisms.  Joy!  Through this experience I learned that “table wine” means “god awful-tasting liquid.”  Got better by the fourth glass, but still.

5:30 PM:  Text some folks, try to line shit up for the evening.  Feeling a bit sleepy.

7:00 PM:  Arise from short nap.  Since 85-90% of my meals consist of some combination of: chicken, hot sauce, rice, tortilla I decided I needed to try a little variety.   Indian food would be a nice departure from my norm, wouldn’t it? I recall something I read on Midtown Lunch.  Phall curry at Brick Lane Curry House is alleged to be the hottest in NYC (they even give you a free beer if you finish it!).  My man C to join us even though he has already eaten and the trip to the dreaded east side will be about 8 hours round trip for him – way to man up C!

7:30 PM:  Have a Dark and Stormy and read some of the internet that I haven’t read yet.

7:52 PM:  Have a Corona (yeah, I’m on a bit of a Corona kick right now) and read some more of the internet.

8:10 PM:  Have a Dark and Stormy and read reviews of this shirt.  Consider buying 3-5 of these shirts.

9:00 PM:  Get our Brick Lane on.  They have a disclaimer that the Phall actually tastes like shit and is just really, really hot.  I love Vindaloo.  Love.  I’m torn, I wanted to try the Phall to see what is what.  Bloody brilliant – a side order of the Phall for $5!  Vindy+Phall = a whole new kind of eating sensation!  Chicken, rice, potatoes, naan – this is a massive departure from my norm!  I’m basically Anthony Bourdain!  (Although I’d probably prefer warthog rectum to some onion/tomato mixture)


The non-burrito
The non-burrito

9:10 PM:  Damn, that Phall shit is hot.  But they are correct, it’s all fire, no real taste.  Reminds me a bit of Dave’s Insanity sauce.  

9:12 PM:  Dude, just drop the pitcher off here, okay?

9:20 PM:  If I had a hat on, I would have sweated through it.  The verdict?  Fucking delicious.  May not need the Phall though, it appears the Vindaloo can stand on its own.  I only ate about 1/5th of the Phall anyway, using it in a condiment-like manner, as this place is Sriracha-free.

9:20 + PM:  I’ve already written 1700+ words on this night, so the rest will have to remain a mystery.  Let’s just say it involved a Trailer Park, a jump rope and three boxes of cat litter.


Chilly17, one who has wasted potential