Friday, June 11, 2010

Punishment for Being a Bad Boy

This burger--which is not the one I ate--is from It looks so much like the Sonic Burger I just choked down that I thought I'd run the photo.^

There was a time when breaking the rules was what I did. It was as natural to me as waking up to a warm beer, a deep cough and a bitingly bitter cigarette.

'Course all that's changed because I'm so damn old and have had to give up just about everything I once held dear--most of which held me at gunpoint.

So today, I'm out doing some work and can't make it back into town in time to wander down to Roanoke City Market for a healthy lunch. I got this long-forgotten craving for one of those things I'm not supposed to do: eat really awful food. It came just as I passed a Sonic and here I fond my steering wheel pulling into the parking lot and there was nothing I could do about it except order the worst possible meal on the menu: A burger with chili, mustard, pickle and onion and a bucket of fries.

We won't even get into how wrong that is for a diabetic with high blood pressure and cholesterol issues who hadn't even done his minimum 10,000-step walk today.

What we will discuss, instead, is the sad, sad state of the fast food industry. When I was breaking in on fast food burgers, I could get a Whopper on a real bun that tasted like heaven. I ate four of them at a sitting when I was about 20 after a bunch of us had been playing basketball all day. I chased the Whoppers with four large orders of fries and three large Cokes. Then I went home and ate supper.

Times have changed, boys and girls, and not always for the better.

The burger I got today showed up in a foil bag and when I pulled it out, the dang thing looked like somebody had sat on it. At first, I thought they'd put it on flatbread. The bun was chewy, as if it hadn't been fully cooked. The burger had about a teaspoon of chili on it (for which I was charged an extra 50 cents; there was no discount for the fact that I gave back the lettuce, tomato and mayo). The kid who put this thing together, slapped cheese on it. Uh, let's not insult cheese. He put something yellow on it that I didn't order. Kind of sticky and it tasted like fiberboard.

The burger was almost tasteless, except for the fiberboard, which I don't lean to much. Even the chili was chili in name only. Tasteless. How the hell can chili be tasteless? One of life's little food miracles.

So I wind up paying $3 for a burger that I can't eat, $1.50 for fries I shouldn't eat and 20 cents for water, which is good for me. I drank all the water. I'll tell my doctor that. May she won't kill me.


  1. Dan, you don't say whether you finished the burger and fries. Did you?

    I recently discovered Sonic makes grilled cheese. Like your burger, it comes in that foil wrapping, and it's completely messy and floppy. You can't hold it like a sandwich. It falls around your fingers. You're better off folding it up and eating it that way. But, I have to say, I like it as a guilty pleasure. The cheese isn't the best, but it's not that bad.

    What I really think is a shame is Sonic's ice cream. It's dense and tasteless. This is too bad, because they're willing to serve it in tiny $1 sizes for kids, with all kinds of candy toppings - even whipped cream and a cherry. But the ice cream itself is so bad I won't be ordering another one.

    Anyway, here is your punishment: A walk with me on the greenway!

  2. Dan, like you, I have a weakness for the fast-food cheeseburger. And like you, I have been disappointed by Sonic. I don't go there any more, partly because I (like you) have cleaned up my diet, but mostly because it's not good. And finding a good Carolina-style cheeseburger can be tough in and of itself without Sonic making it even harder.

    Which Sonic was it? If it was Brambleton, you could have ducked into nearby Burger in the Square instead; if it was Salem, then Five Guys on West Main was the adjacent alternative. Either joint would have gotten you a better burger (and some damn good fries at Five Guys--beach style and cooked in cholesterol and trans fat-free peanut oil).

    If it makes you feel any better, I noticed the Sonic on Brandon/Apperson by Keagy Rd. has closed. Serves them right.

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  4. Dave: The Sonic was on Franklin Road. I had actually stopped in at Burger King there first, but the guy behind the counter told me--and I'm not making this up--"we don't have burgers today." That would have been my story on a normal, but it didn't even make the cut with the awful level Sonic set with the burger.

    Jill: Next time you want a grilled cheese, for heaven's sake, call me and I'll make you one. I use cheddar or Swiss (or both), homemade (low fat) dill mayo, whole grain bread and Fleishman's olive oil margarine. Good stuff. Let's walk.