Monday, February 18, 2008

Since You've Been Gone: Discontinued, Rebranded, and Changed for the Worse (Part III)

Restaurant chains do stupid stuff. A prime--yet arguable, to some--example: the McRib. Others contest that McDonald's old fries, the ones boiled in tasty, tasty lard, were the greatest thing ever to grace a fast-food tray.

For one reason or another, such as lack of popularity or the artery-clogging factor, chain restaurants discontinue or change certain menu items. Although the McRib surfaces annually in certain locations, you won't find the lard fries anywhere. I mourn the loss/change of other items.

The first item is the old McDonald's McNugget. A few years ago, I remember McDonald's started advertising their new all-white-meat chicken nuggets. I hadn't eaten their nuggets for a good number of years, but I remembered them as processed, mystery-meat-filled morsels that were shaped either like ovals or the state of Louisiana. Regardless of shape, the coating was usually crisp, and the "meat" inside was spongy, yet moist and flavorful. Flash forward March 2007. I made my annual pilgrimage to McDonald's for a Shamrock Shake. I had some coupons, so I got some McNuggets, too. It had been a good five years or so since I'd tasted one of these bad boys, which were still formed into those unnatural, yet familiar shapes. I bit into one of the Louisianas first. The chicken inside was definitely white, but it was still processed and spongy. I could've dealt w/sponginess, but I needed some flavor! Apparently the flavor in McNuggets used to come from meats/items that don't fall into the category of "white meat," perhaps falling instead into the category of "dark meat, organs, and lymph nodes." I'd take Mystery Nuggets over the all-white-meat McNuggets any day; what I don't know won't hurt me. (Photo courtesy of www.wowdavao.com.)

While we're on the subject of fast-food chicken products, I found out something disturbing the other day: Burger King discontinued their Chicken Tenders. I wanted to be absolutely sure that BK had discontinued another item (which I will talk about below), so I went to their website. The menu lists "Chicken Fries" and "Chicken Crowns" on the menu, but Chicken Tenders were nowhere to be found. I won't even get started on my feelings on chicken shaped like a fry and a crown, but I'll say just one word: huh??? Chicken Tenders at BK were about three times as long as they were wide, and they were a mix of processed chicken and real chicken. They were spongier than McNuggets, but tasted a billion times better than those when plucked right from a vat of boiling fat. Come to think of it, they weren't so bad cold, either. As the years went on, the real chicken in the tenders was phased out, meaning a better name for them would've been Chicken-Flavored Sponges. (Photo of crown-shaped "chicken" courtesy of www.bp2.blogger.com.)

Continuing w/Burger King, what happened to their Sourdough Bacon Cheeseburger? This was the burger that actually got me to like burgers! It was my gateway burger! Who can resist uber-buttery toasted sourdough rounds, cheese, bacon, and some meaty patties? Um, not me, for one. I introduced my friend Rob to these edible coronaries, and we still talk about their glory 6+ years later. I give credit to BK for helping me to learn the beauty that is the bacon cheeseburger, but I also blame them for taking away their greatest sandwich ever. The photo here is not of the original Sourdough Bacon Cheeseburger, but rather a decent photo of what it might have looked like it its heyday. Imagine that sandwich...but compressed to about 1/4" thick, 'cause real burgers never look the same in person as they do in photos. (Photo courtesy of www.foodfacts.info.)

Although the Cheesecake Factory makes these Buffalo Blasts things that I love more than some of my family members (I will boycott if they get rid of these, too--seriously), they committed a huuuuge crime in my book. Their Triple Chocolate Chip Cheesecake was my favorite dessert there, but in honor of Godiva's 25th anniversary or something equally unimportant, they got rid of the Triple Chocolate Chip and replaced it with a Godiva Cheesecake. I don't even like Godiva chocolate, so this was a real slap in the face. Why get rid of tiny chocolate chips, normal chocolate chips, and jumbo chocolate chips??? Just to do some cross-promotion w/Godiva? Bullroar, as my dad would say. (Photo courtesy of reviewsby.us.com.)

Little Caesar's pizza pales in comparison to Pizzeria Bianco's, but the one thing they used to do right was Chocolate Ravioli. Instead of pasta, the "dough" was white chocolate; instead of meat or cheese, the "filling" was chocolate truffle. How brilliant is that? The little ravioli were sold two to a pack for a buck. Each ravioli was the size of a normal frozen one you'd find at the grocery store, and because they came in pairs, they made a perfect little snack for me and my brother. I remember eating Chocolate Ravioli when I was 6 or 7, probably, but to this day I remember them as being extremely delicious. I loved eating the edges, which appeared to be cut with pinking shears, and which didn't contain any of the "filling." These things looked like real ravioli but tasted way better than your store-bought stuff. I'd like to find a ravioli-shaped chocolate mold so I could make these at home. There's no record of these things online, either in writing or in photo form, it appears, so here's some generic ravioli. Pretend they're made completely of chocolate. (Photo courtesy of www.orderpasta.com.)

Have popular chain restaurants discontinued your favorite sandwich? Have they changed the recipe for their fries or their chicken fingers? Have they done anything else to their food to piss you off? Lemme know what you miss!

10 comments:

Sean said...

While it has been years since I've stepped foot in a fast food restaurant of any variety (or as a vegan for three years now, eaten animal products), I must agree with the Chicken McNuggets and BK Chicken Tenders. I was always disappointed as a child to get the white meat McNuggets, greatly preferring the dark/mystery meat variety for its actual flavor and moist interior. The BK tenders on the other hand tasted more like chicken with an addictive pepper bite. Oh and by the way, regarding McDonald's fries, while they may not be fried in beef tallow anymore, they do contain natural beef flavoring to make up some of the difference in taste which makes them the only fast food fries I know of that are NOT vegetarian (they were actually sued over lieing about this and lost several years ago).

Nic said...

Oh, yes, I forgot to mention the pepperiness of BK's Chicken Tenders. That was a big hit w/me. Thanks for reminding me of that, Sean!

Anonymous said...

I remember the Little Caesars chocolate ravioli...and I have been searching for it lol...I wish there was some cany similar to it because even though it was years ago...I remember how good it was.

Kayla said...

I also remember those chocolate raviolis, and everyone looks at me like I'm nuts whenever I bring it up. I'm glad I'm not alone in remembering the sheer deliciousness of those little buggers.

Here's a recipe if you wanna try to make something similar yourself:
http://www.bigoven.com/14088-White-Chocolate-Ravioli-recipe.html

Anonymous said...

I miss chocolate ravioli as well... I ask if people remember them, and they think I am crazy... Im glad there are more ravioli lovers out there!

Wahya said...

I just came across this article today. I googled "Little Caesars chocolate ravioli" specifically because there are those amongst us who insist these wonderful things never existed. I knew there had to be someone out there who remembered them. Now, it looks like I'm in good company. I'm just happy I'm not actually going nuts.

Anonymous said...

I will not lie - I still like the McNuggets! I do sorely miss being able to get honey as a sauce for them. I used to dip my fries in it, too! Now, I just get them to-go and get the honey at home! Soooo good.

jonno said...

Hi,
There are many food.This food is very useful for health.Foods name is burgers, cake, chicken, chocolate, snacks etc.Burgers is very sweets food.I like Burgers.My Favorite food is cake.

Anonymous said...

I miss the sourdough so much! To this day I still want one!

Anonymous said...

^^me too. Til this day my favorite sandwich. Used to get one almost every day back in elementary school. No clue why they would discontinue it. They should bring that and jalapeƱo poppers back!

I'm also in a similar situation as far as a product there seems to be no trace of anywhere. McDonald's fish sticks. I remember they were only in stores for a week, I guess as some sort of product test, but they were actually pretty good and NO ONE remembers them.