Steve Eighinger

Those complementary fast-food items are key

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 14, 2019 8:10 am

Maybe it's the demands of my job, or possibly the preference of my palate, but over the years I feel I have become a connoisseur of quick-service restaurants.

Sort of a fast-food LeBron James, if you will.

What separates most of these establishments -- and may I say I pretty much love them all -- are some of the second-level offerings.

For the most part, all burgers, buns and fries are created relatively equal. Sure, some of the sauces and textures differ from one location to the other, but the bottom line is we're always dealing with burgers, fries and some of their fast-food cousins.

Where we find some major differences are among the supplemental items on these fast-food menus, which also may include pizza and chicken as the main entrees. Since we're nearing postseason time in college basketball, I thought a final-four theme would best serve our culinary conversation.

The principal sandwiches and other main menu enticements aside, here are my four finalists from my favorite fast-food wish list:

1. All-day breakfast foods at McDonald's: I will be forever grateful to the Golden Arches for adding breakfast to the all-day menu, roughly four years ago. There are some afternoons and evenings when I simply need one of those biscuits with sausage and egg.

Whoever decided that breakfast had to end at 10:30 in the morning was wrong.

2. Popcorn chicken at KFC: It's hard to believe this delicacy has been around since 1991.

"In the early '90s, Kentucky Fried Chicken re-branded as KFC and gave the United States precisely what it needed: a faster, simpler way to eat fried chicken," wrote pop culture writer Joe Fleming. "You couldn't really eat the Colonel's chicken on the go before, with all of those leftover leg, thigh and wing bones. Popcorn chicken is fried chicken for the hungry person traveling the land in their automobile. In fact, popcorn chicken is America."

I couldn't have said it better, Joe.

3. Crazy bread at Little Caesars: Raise your hand if the packet of crazy bread you order with one of those pepperoni pizzas rarely makes it home. You can't wait to eat those bread sticks, can you? And I'm right with you, pal.

Little Caesars may -- or may not, depending on your preference -- rank behind some of its rivals in popularity when it comes to the pizza itself, but when we're talking bread sticks, Little Caesars leads the way.

For the record, Little Caesars introduced its garlicky bread sticks way back in 1979.

4. Chicken fries at Burger King: It was only about a year ago I discovered these little dandies. They're a perfect in-car snack.

"French fries can get boring," according to "They are always the sad little potato ... It's time to advance the aesthetic. Burger King, in their infinite wisdom, decided to take matters in their own hands. They mashed up some chicken parts, squashed them into fry-shapes and deep-fried them. Voila, chicken fries were born."

And the world, as they say, was a better place.