Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Food Bucket List

It's January 31st, so you know what that means: It's National Gorilla Suit Day!

And in Fester Bestertester's honor, I'll celebrate this momentous day by telling you what weird food I'd like to eat in my lifetime. It's the last of the month and I got an itch to do an old-fashioned blog entry about something I've been meaning to write down! Let's go!

1) Mickey Waffles

courtesy of

Sure, I could just BUY waffles in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head or make them myself, but it's not the same unless I'm paying $12 for it at Disney World. I've got all sorts of Disney food I'd like to eat the next time I get to a park, like Dole Whip, School Bread, and anything from one of Epcot's festivals. It all looks great, and I'm stuck in New York like some kind of sucker.

2) The Arch Deluxe

I forget if I mentioned it here (I've been doing this for TEN years), but one of my major regrets in life is not trying an Arch Deluxe when I had my chance back in the 90s.

Back in the 90s, McDonald's tried to change its image of being for families and children and created a line of sandwiches for the "sophisticated" adult eater that goes to a place that's headed by a clown and a guy who steals his burgers, with the Arch Deluxe as the centerpiece. Yeah, not many people remember that they made "Deluxe" versions of the Chicken and Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, too, probably because the basic forms are still around. From what I remember, they looked like the regular sandwiches, but with the Arch Deluxe bun in place of the normal ones.

McDonald's soon realized that the grown-ups who eat there like the Big Macs and the McNuggets like everyone else, and it went away as quickly as it arrived, joining the hall of fame of junk food failures with New Coke and Burger King's "Where's Herb?" campaign.

With all the recent artisnal burger crap McDs keeps throwing at us, it seems that it's a lesson they refuse to learn after twenty years. I wasn't much of a burger eater when it came around, and I was with a friend that ordered one, but I never got to try it myself. If I came across a time machine, I'd hit 1996 to get to the sandwich as quickly as possible (not unlike Rick Sanchez and his beloved Szechuan Sauce). Fortunately, the news coming down the wire suggests that might be coming back soon as the Archburger. There hasn't been much news about it in the past few weeks, only that it's been brought out in test markets, but I'm seriously hyped for this.

3) In n Out

In n Out is a chain that's mostly on the west coast, and it's something that I've only seen in pictures. I got close to one ONCE, in Las Vegas.

If I ever do go to one, I'd have to get at least a double double, animal style of course. I don't CARE if it turns out to be mediocre, I want to judge for myself! Is that so wrong?

The same goes with another regional chain, Bob's Big Boy.

Again, the "real" Bob's Big Boys are mostly in California, but there's a long and complicated history behind the company and the various franchises around the country which I'm not gonna delve in to right now, but rather redirect you to the Wikipedia article about it. I KNEW that rest stops on the NY Thruway had Big Boy restaurants, but they weren't called Bob's, so I figured they wouldn't be the same. Again, I wasn't much of a burger eater in my younger days when my family took trips through that part of the state, so I missed out on them.

Yes, you're not seeing things, the famous "Big Boy Burger" looks exactly like the Big Mac but predates it by about 30 years. Again, I know it's a fast food burger, but it's one I'm itching to try myself.

4) The Boysenberry Festival

Knott's Berry Farm is famous for a few things: The theme park, the fried chicken, and the boysenberry. The boysenberry is a mutant berry hybrid between the raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, and American dewberry. As a result, this freak of nature is incredibly fragile and hard to cultivate, which is why you don't see it in the produce section. And since Knott's (now owned by Smuckers) created it, it's not seen much outside of the famous farm in California and the west coast since they're one of the sole growers of it in the country. Mrs. Knott started making preserves out of them back in the day, which started the company down the road to become the empire it's known for today.

For the past few years, Knott's Berry Farm has thrown the Boysenberry Festival, which is a food festival offering up dozens of weird concoctions made with boysenberries. Sure, you have standard fare like ice cream, cheesecake, pies, putting it in beer and frappucinos, and then there's a giant cinnamon roll/funnel cake hybrid known as the Fun Bun.

The boysenberry is in the cream cheese dressing.

But then the chefs started getting creative, like mixing it into a glaze and putting it on burgers, ribs, meatballs, and my favorite: a dipping sauce for deep-fried alligator.

You heard me. A handy list of these and other concoctions can be found here. A few years back I went to an IHOP that somehow had Boysenberry syrup and it was honestly one of the best things I've tasted from there. Way better than the blueberry syrup, it was something completely different and I knew I had to find it again. Knowing there's a entire festival dedicated to it, and usually held around my birthday? I want to make plans to go, STAT.

5) Ninja Turtle Pudding Pies

I actually ate these all the time as a kid, but with the reboots going around and the new Ninja Turtles movies and cartoons being made, I was sure that this would be a shoo-in to come back. If Ecto Cooler, Surge, and Crystal Pepsi can all come back within the same year, surely it was the pie’s time to shine again. But sadly, it hasn’t come to pass. Yet.

If you've never had these pudding pies, you missed out big time. I have no idea if Hostess even makes the regular kind anymore, but basically, imagine instead of the apple pies, it was pudding, and everything was green. I still remember how it tastes, and I would give anything to experience that again. So what if the recipe would be tweaked to fit today's standards, as long as it came back, I'd be happy.

6) Primanti Brothers

This is something that gets on the Travel Channel a bunch, and for good reason. Look how this sandwich looks! It's a sandwich, but with fries in it! How could I not want one?

Essentially, the origin of the sandwiches is that they were made for Pittsburgh truckers who could eat a whole meal while driving. I just love necessity, don't you?

7) Authentic Southern Barbecue

Rendezvous was just the first example I could think of.

Specifically ribs, but I won't be picky. I live in New York, so what I see as "Authentic Southern BBQ" isn't really the same as if I went some hole in the wall down south who had been smoking meats since Jim Crow was still a thing.

Again, most of what I see comes from stuff like the Travel Channel, but these places keep getting covered for a reason: They're good! And the great thing about this unlike all of the other places is that not one place is the same, and everyone will argue about what's the best. Call me greedy, but I'd want to try them all before a doctor tells me that I shouldn’t. Or until my heart explodes, whichever comes first.

I hope you enjoyed my bucket list, and if you ever want to help me out, you know where to find me. I don't leave.

Do YOU have a food bucket list? Share it in the comments!

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