I opined the other day while celebrating Chicken Nugget Day that there exists no real fast food in Warwick, RI because there is no real fast way to get anywhere in Warwick. While there are plenty of options of fast food and fast casual restaurants, the traffic patterns are so congested on the main road that you’re not getting anywhere without stopping at lights and backed-up intersections. But, today was National Fast Food Day and I had to celebrate. I could always go the fast food option for dinner, but I didn’t think I’d be doing Lola (or myself) any favors by bringing home a bucket of chicken from KFC or some fries and a Frostee from Wendy’s for dinner. I decided to keep my fast food tribute to lunch and that was good because I had not brought my lunch to work today. I needed to get something for lunch that was quick, cheap and easy and that’s exactly the convenience that we honor in all fast food restaurants. This would be a true appreciation.
Ideally I would have gone to either McDonald’s or Burger King today. Those restaurants are the true stars of the fast food industry. The OGs. The place where it really began, or really took off. However, both of those location are located in the heart of the traffic nightmare area of town. It was only a mile away but would take me a half-hour to drive there and back. I decided to go more local. Oddly enough, the place for food that is in the closest proximity to my office is the Warwick Mall food court. Seems odd, but it’s about a three minute drive away and they have plenty of fast food options. I made the jaunt around lunchtime. I walked in the food court doors which open to a giant carousel complete with calliope, smiling kids and parents trying to take pictures. Behind that, the court opens up to all my options. I started to walk towards Panda Express. I felt that would be a good place to celebrate National Fast Food Day because it pretty much says it is a place for fast food in the name plus it gives you more options that the typical fast food spot. But then I noticed somebody from my office in line at Panda Express. Eating lunch in the food court is sad enough, I didn’t need to be recognized. I walked past Panda Express turning down their offer for a free taste and made a beeline for Taco Bell. While it wasn’t my first choice, this was fast food. This was just what today was all about. I ordered a hard-shell chicken taco, something called a Quesarito and a Coke. I paid. My food was ready in about a minute and then I took my tray out into the seating area making sure I was not in view of the guy from my office.
Like everything from Taco Bell, this was good. The taco was nice and fresh and a good crunchy shell. The Quesarito was good too. It is essentially a quesadilla that they add meat, rice, sour cream and nacho cheese to, then roll it up like a burrito and grill so the outside gets crunchy. It’s full of flavor although I imagine it tastes the same as any other burrito you get from Taco Bell. Taco Bell all kind of tastes the same (which is not altogether a bad thing). I woofed it all down while playing on my phone to avoid eye contact with anyone. When I was done, I cleaned up my area, tossed out my garbage and returned the tray. A quick shout out to the clean-up team at Warwick Mall who were spraying my table clean within 30 seconds of my departure. It’s an odd little world in the food court.
While we all hear about the negative side about fast food restaurants out there, we sometimes need to appreciate what they bring to our food landscape. They bring us food that we can rely on (to some degree) that’s conveniently available and fast. If you are in a hurry to get anywhere and need something to eat, the choice of going fast food just makes sense because you can get in and out within five minutes and have a complete hot meal in that time. There are feelings of remorse afterwards and even some shame, but it does the job. It brings you food fast which is what you need sometimes. That’s what today’s celebration was about and the folks at Taco Bell delivered. Cheers to all those working hard in the world of fast food – we appreciate all you do!
Next up: National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month