When it comes to fast food, I’m a traditionalist at heart-stomach. If I’m headed to McDonald’s, usually at the airport because that seems like a safe sanctuary to eat McDonald’s, I’m sticking to the combo No. 2 (two single cheeseburgers, Coke, fries), which I’ve ordered since high school. New items at McDonald’s are usually the spawn of some dusty hellscape. If I’m headed to to Taco Bell, I’ll pass on the Doritos-encrusted globe or the steak scarf (or whatever their new thing is) and go straight for the sour cream-gunned three supreme taco meal. Give me all of that. If I’m going to Jack in the Box, I’ll continue to keep on driving and not go there, like always.
Whataburger is a different animal. Somehow they’ve found a way to release new burgers and food things that 1) aren’t ridiculous challenge foods to brow-beat you into eating something weird for the marketing 2) are painterly drunk-food perfection. When it comes to Whataburger, I’m a bat: In the dark until I see it, and then I screech loudly and sonar it and devour primitively in a dark, rainy cave. Example: I caught wind of the new Whataburger “Sweet & Spicy” bacon burger.
They have this now. It’s a double cheeseburger with bacon, grilled onions, melted Monterey Jack, American cheese, mustard and a “new Sweet & Spicy Pepper sauce.” You know a fast food burger is going to be good when you unwrap it and melted American cheese is halo-ringed around the golden paper. I think I actually pointed at the burger, and out-loud said “This is happening.”
You actually love this burger already; I already spoke with your mind. There was the two, big patties decked with hot, melted cheese. Then there was of crunchy, thin bacon flanking the new, tangy-ketchup-sweet and smoky sauce. Grilled onions punctuated the sauce, bringing a good, crisp richness to bring it all home.
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I don’t know what code Whataburger has cracked, but they’ve got new fast food by the horns: A steady release of sandwiches and burgers that make sense. There's no weird snacks buried inside the food. The buns haven't been swapped with other, separate foods. Last April, they released a bacon and egg jalapeno cheddar biscuit, complete with the yellowest slice of American cheese since actual sunlight, and it is stupid good. Keep avoiding the challenge food, Whataburger, and we’ll keep swooping in for the kill.