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Chows & Chains - A year later

About a year ago I asked people how often they go to chains/Fast food for meals (not for coffee). My list over the course of a year was 20 stops. So I started thinking about this year and it's a much shorter list.

Burger King - 1
McDonald's - 1
KFC - 1
Subway - 2
T.G.I.Friday's - 1
Cracker Barrel -1

I've kinda turned my back on chains completely. One is because I didn't have a car this year and two, I just always feel disgusted after eating fast food. With the exception of KFC and Friday's all the others were halfway through long car rides with my brother (who is a health nut).

So anyone else refraining from the Fast Food world or does it play a role in your daily or weekly life?

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  1. I go to chains a few times per year. I am a total health nut. I like junk food but can't bring myself to eat it much.

    For some reason, It is tradition to have a McDonalds drive through breakfast before an early morning flight. So, that happens a few times a year. I like a filet o fish a few times per year too, so McDonalds is definitely my most frequent FF stop. I have actually never eaten a Big Mac.

    I will go to either Burger King, Taco Time or Jack in the Box for lunch maybe once a year, but the food is so thick with grease that I feel yucky after eating it. Tastes good though. This year, I went to Taco Time...got a tummy ache later.

    I eat at Olive Garden and Red Robin maybe once every year or three.

    Sometimes I will try a chain restaurant that I have never been to. This year I tried the Cheesecake Factory and Five Guys. Both places were good for corp food, at least I didn't feel sick afterward.

    I would like to try Popeyes chicken once.

    1. I gave fast food up years ago. I never go. Really, never.

      I do go to chains once and awhile as a lot of my friends have get togethers there and I don't always want to direct the activity. But if someone tried to get me to go to Subway I'd be like, no, I don't eat there.

      1. The role of fast food in my life has diminished significantly since I retired. I have more time to shop for groceries and cook at home. I do, however, greatly miss my morning sausage biscuit from Hardees. There is only one Hardees in my city and now that I am no longer commuting to work it isn't a convenient option. Probably for the best, as those biscuits are (albeit delicious) giant carb/fat bombs.

        With the arrival of spring (finally!) I will be doing a lot of yardwork. I will probably be having more McDonald's McDoubles and Culvers Snack Packs via their drivethrus when I am too tired to cook and too dirty to get out of my car.

        On the other hand, several KFCs in my area are being converted to Popeyes, so I anticipate an uptick there (never liked KFC but have fond memories of Popeyes from many years ago).

        1. Once a week I eat Chipotle, but that's about it. Some weeks I might sub in a local fast casual chain for the Chipotle.

          "Drive Thru" type fast food is mostly limited to road trips. When I'm sick with a cold I love having a McDonald's chicken nugget meal. I think it's the saltiness. Also when we go out to eat it's often a chain (places like Old Chicago or Texas Roadhouse), basically because unless we want mexican or asian, those are the only options that are closeish to our house. When SO's dad comes to visit we always go to Olive Garden because he loves it and doesn't have it where he lives. If we are downtown though, we will do non-chains.

          My birthday is coming up though, and I have already decided that Popeyes is on the menu for one of my birthday dinners (I get two because my actual birthday is on a weeknight, so the nicer dinner will come on a weekend).

          1. Since I no longer travel for work all the time, my chain visits have reduced dramatically. In fact, most of my recent visits have been chowhound/chow inspired.

            If have been to McD's for the Fish McBites which were discussed extensively here and I eventually had to try them.

            Most recently stopped at Carl's Jr. to try the Bourbon Burger and Cod sandwich, both of which were reviewed by the Chow Supertaster. SO said the Bourbon sauce was too sweet and he would have preferred the regular burger. I thought the cod sandwich was good, nice grilled fish with tartar sauce, lettuce and tomato. I would get that again.

            We have also had 5 Guys and Popeye's in the last year (like both of these places) and I think that's about it. Most of these visits were when were on long drives and needed a quick stop.

            When I want a quick meal while at home I will usually go to one of several independent places nearby that do takeout.

            1. I also do much less chain/fast food than I used to and it's probably barely once every 2 or 3 months now. It all just makes my stomach irritable and I've found that most of it can be recreated at home with 1) better quality and fewer ingredients, 2) fewer unnecessary calories and most importantly 3) better flavor. It has become somewhat interesting at work as most of the social gatherings and conference food resolves around takeout and mediocre quality food which never really tastes good and wrecks havoc on my system so I always bring lunch and just deal with the comments. I think the only chain/takeout we still eat is Chipotle and Popeye's occasionally. We used to have a weekly Chinese food night but even that hasn't appeared for several months.

              1. The only time I ever eat at chains is when I feel like it, which also appears to be the case for all the apologists here.

                1. I enjoyed a delicious salad at California Pizza Kitchen in Philly last week.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: HillJ

                    I go to the California Pizza Kitchen in Jakarta about once a year, same with one in Manhattan. It's mainly for either of the chopped salads and dessert. Depends on the company.

                    Also in Southeast Asia, if I want garlic bread, the easiest place to find it is often a BreadTalk. I've had much better at nondescript bakeries in Japan, but that's...also an understatement.


                    1. re: BuildingMyBento

                      Then you are familiar with their Moroccan chopped salad? I order it without dressing so I can enjoy all the fixings and half will keep on the ride home. I noticed the salad menu now includes a grilled peach chopped salad-next for me to try.

                  2. I like to get a chicken fresco taco at Taco Bell every so often.

                    1. Once a week I hit JimmyJohn's for the Italian sub with extra hot peppers and extra sauce. It's quite good. Nice crusty bread w/o the foul smell of Subway.....

                      Once in a great while I'll do the pork tenderloin sandwich at Culver's.

                      Once in blue-moon I'll do Arby's or DQ or Taco Bell ...

                      1. I've only been to one this year, because my elderly MIL with dementia loved it, Seasons 52. And maybe Legal Seafoods with her, once.

                        I can't stand either place at dinner time, but lunch can be nice at either one.

                        The other chain I once liked, Outback got so lousy, and I just prefer the quality of steak I can make at home.

                        Most chains gross me out, too.

                        1. The last fast food I had was 5 guys and it made me physically ill. I think I posted about it but too lazy to search, my margarita is kicking in, LOL.

                          Other than that the only "chains" I think I have eaten at this past year have been local- Legals, Burtons and Rustic Kitchen. I might have had a buster bar from DQ last summer but I can't remember. How bad is that? Must not have been that memorable if I can't.

                          ETA: does DD or Starbucks count? If they do I go 3-5 days a week but for coffee only, not food.

                          1. I go with some frequency compared to the other posters here so far. I go to Applebees every few months. If you sit at the bar and order a drink the apps are half price. And drafts are buy one get one. I can't beat the cheap eats. I hit taco bell the most, probably once a month. McDonalds would ring in next at once every four to six weeks. Burger King a few times a year and Wendy's and Checkers almost never.