Monday, September 22, 2008

TBG Eats: Jack in the Box's Cheesy Macaroni Bites

Current Weight: 168.8 lbs.

One of my greatest regrets of the year was not being able to locate the fried macaroni and cheese stand at this summer's San Diego Fair. How can you go wrong with any edible item that includes the words "fried" and "cheese"?

After my Saturday morning barbershop stop, I drove a few blocks west and pulled into a Jack in the Box drive-thru for some 11:00 AM pieces of grease. There were about five cars in front of me, which seemed unusual for that time of day, and after five minutes the line hadn't moved. Was the cashier getting robbed? Did the driver of the lead car have a heart attack? I can't be bothered to care as I pull out of the line and make a hasty, expletive-filled escape.

Thankfully, this is Southern California and there's another JitB about 10 minutes away.

I'm faced with choosing between the three-piece and six-piece Macaroni Bites. Remembering my initial orgy with Burger King's all-kinds-of-awesome Cheesy Tots, I jumped in with a six-pack and a Dr. Pepper.

I reached into the bag at the first red light and was mildly surprised to find two packets of ranch dressing. This seemed…weird. Sure, ranch dressing is the dipping sauce default for fast food establishments, but macaroni and cheese and…ranch? Even deep fried, I couldn't reconcile the two together in my mind.

Opening the container, I was taken aback by how brown my meal looked. Growing up in a family that ate fried chicken once a week, every week for 20 f'n years, I know how much neglect it takes to burn something in scalding hot oil. And, over time, I learned to be the first to the dinner table so I could avoid breasts blacker'n Bernie Mac's.

These Cheesy Macaroni Bites weren't burned, but they were certainly circling the ol' scorched runway. After my first bite, I knew I'd made a horrible, horrible mistake. It reminded me of old Crisco with semi-molten faux cheese innards that vaguely tasted like the Kraft box it came from.

It's been awhile since I'd tapped out to the rancid taste of any fast food, so I frantically reached for the ranch dressing in an attempt to salvage my $2.99. The dippin' took the harsh aftertaste down a bit, but after a few more bites it came right back.

I managed to gag down three of these bronzed turds, before tossing everything back into the bag, balling it all up and purging it…from my memory. There simply won't be a more disappointing new fast food menu item this year, kids. These hurt my heart in a way that had nothing to do with my usual arterial blockages. For shame, JitB, for shame.

Grade: -5 (out of 5)


JPinAZ said...

The Arby's circular in yesterday's paper was pushing their take on fried mac & cheese. I await your review.

That Bootleg Guy said...

"I'm so hungry,I could eat at Arby's."

Smith swears by the place, so maybe my bias towards their roast beef sandwiches (90% bread) and imaginary shake flavors ("Jamocha"?) will have to be set aside for a few minutes...

Mathan said...

Man, I so miss Jack in the Box, it's not funny.

Plus fall is right around the corner. Why did I move back to Baltimore?

That Bootleg Guy said...

I'd still love to post your top five (ten?) things you'll miss about the west coast, Math.

Also, for those who don't know, Mathan is a couple of inches taller than me (I'm 6'0") and I'd guess 5-10 lbs. thinner.

Yet he eats Jack in the Box and Del Taco!

Well, he used to eat there...