May My Pancreas Forgive: My Exploration Into The World of “Hidden Menus”
My husband and I have a pretty peaceful marriage. We have almost identical taste in beer and music, we don’t fight about money or chores, and neither of us are stingy with oral sex. There are however two persisting points of contention. One is that he refuses to grasp the importance of a top sheet. The other is In & Out.
I grew up in Los Angeles (mostly) and besides Zankou Chicken and this Shabu Shabu place I used to go to, I would say I miss In & Out the most. Sean insists that Wendy’s is far superior. He doesn’t state it as a preference; he states it as a scientific fact.
It fills me with such rage that I’m about to pick a fight with him about it right now. I understand that preferences can’t technically be wrong (but really, if you prefer REO Speedwagon to The Rolling Stones I can’t really take any of your other preferences seriously) but there is an arrogance in his voice when he says it.
But enough about that piece of jerk toast.
One of the reasons I love In & Out is that I can order everything “animal style,” covering my burger and fries in melted cheese, grilled onions, and thousand island dressing. Wash all that down with a Neapolitan shake and oh my damn this is my jam.
This exact order cannot be found on the menu. It is part of the (not so) secret menu that all the cool kids know about. I will admit that I am borderline gleeful when I realize that someone doesn’t know about “animal style.” It almost feels like I am de-virginzing someone, saying all the while “You didn’t know it could be this good, did you?”
Claire Fact: I have de-virginized exactly one person in my life and he turned out to be gay. It was upsetting at the time, but looking back, I’m glad I was able to help him figure it out.
ANYWHEY. I was pretty excited when I saw this article, which touted a whole new world of secret menus.
This is the story of my quest into that world. I’m pretty sure my pancreas fled halfway through, mumbling “If you’re not even going to TRY bitch…”
1. Burger King
I set out to get the BK Chicken Club (original chicken sandwich with cheese, mayo, bacon and tomato) and Frings (Fries + Rings). The Club was shot down immediately. I tried next for what I considered to be the easiest “hidden” item for them to make, the Mustard Whopper (a Whopper with mustard instead of the usual half-gallon of mayo). I had to explain my terms, but I was humored, and I did get Frings.
This was the “Mustard Whopper” I was given.
The next day, I went back and ordered a veggie burger with cheese and bacon. My order was filled. It seems you can order whatever you want, but you don’t get to use any cool secret passwords, and that is part of the fun for me.
Hidden Menu Grade: Have it your way, indeed.
Panera’s Hidden Menu is hidden on the Internet, the best place to hide things, and it is surprisingly healthy. I really wanted the Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak, but I don’t get up before noon on the weekend, so I ordered the Power Steak Lettuce Wraps last Friday night.
It was serviceable, and tasted okay, but I was literally hungry 15 minutes later.
Hidden Menu Grade: I wish Panera had dirtier secrets.
3. Taco Bell
I was really excited about this one, guys. I aimed to get the Enchirito, a burrito/enchilada hybrid containing ground meat, refried beans, cheese and onions, and then topped with red sauce and more cheese. It was no longer on the menu, but apparently those “in the know” could still obtain it. This was that same Friday night, and after consuming a bottle of wine at a friend’s, Drunk Claire really wanted an Enchirito. Not only was it going to be delicious it was fulfilling a “work commitment.”
It was on the fucking menu.
Drunk Claire panicked, she had no back-up plan, and added a Cool Ranch Taco to her order. The hidden menu would remain hidden on this night.
Both items were really delicious.
Hidden Menu Grade: I wanted it to be OUR SPECIAL SECRET, Taco Bell.
Starbucks is adamant as all get-out that they DO NOT have a secret menu, guys. Don’t even TRY IT, they said. Except, I tried it. I used to order Black Eyes (drip coffee with two shots of espresso) all the time when I was an idiotic teenager who thought I was sooooo busy and needed all the caffeine to turn my to-do list (dishes, homework and planning my wedding to Mick Jagger) into a to-done list. I ended up having issues with my adrenal glands.
Anyballs, I was pretty confident I could get a Raspberry Cheesecake Frappuccino, which is just as disgusting as it sounds, by requesting it by name. I didn’t even bother to find out what was in it; I was that cocky.
I did not get a Raspberry Cheesecake Frap that night. I should have left it alone. But, no. I couldn’t. Instead, I Googled that alchemy and discovered that it was simply a White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino with Raspberry Syrup. So I ordered that at the Barnes & Noble Starbucks one night and it was regrettable. Combine the awful taste with the fact that I didn’t get to use any secret passwords and I was disappointed.
Hidden Menu Grade: Just order your Pink Eye, or whatever.
Had my initial plan come to fruition, this would have been my favorite hidden item of all.
I was told I could get an Apple Pie McFlurry by the Internet. I was told I could not get an Apple McFlurry by Diane, my neighborhood McDonald’s cashier. No rejection has ever hurt as much as this rejection hurt.
I consoled myself with a Neapolitan Shake, which raised Diane’s eyebrows, and found it to be soothing.
Hidden Menu Grade: I just want an Apple Pie McFlurry
I conclude my journey on a victorious note: The Quesarito.
It goes down thusly: They make a quesadilla (which itself is not on the menu), they open the quesadilla, and they put the burrito fillings inside this opened quesadilla.
I added more cheese in the burrito part because if I do something, I do it correctly.
This was really enjoyable to masticate. I couldn’t quite finish it, but I had fun trying. The only downside is that they charge you for both a quesadilla and a burrito, but I was so excited by the concept I would have agreed to anything in that moment just before they acquiesced.
Hidden Menu Grade: WHY WOULD YOU HIDE THIS?
And that, my friends, is all my body could take. I’m going to go gnaw on a broccoli stem.
Also: Sorry if I offended any REO Speedwagon fans, but I stand by my statement.
@Clairelizzie tweets pics of gross food. It can be sexy, I promise.