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Chick Fil-AWHAT IS IT?
A fast food franchise that serves chicken, kind of like KFC, only "better" and with more sandwiches.
To start off, the employees are a bit fanatical. Unofficial motto of the company is: "if you don’t plan on being here for life, you needn’t apply". And the official corporate mission emblazoned on the company plaque at headquarters? "Glorify God." Which explains why it's closed on Sundays. The company believes that wholesome marriages and relationships fuel good business and for the most part, franchise owners are happily married. In that case, Chick-fil-a doesn’t butt into their lives, which its been known to do if they suspect an employer. You can’t moonlight if you work at a Chick-fil-a. It may be delicious, but it is watching you.
Read the article from Forbes.
Aside from this, and being a Taco Bell-esque "Stoner Food", Chick Fil-A enthusiasts honestly just believe that it is the best fried chicken experience and that it is better than any other chicken franchise.
It might come from brand loyalty, it might come from the hype, but either way people like the ones in this embedded video (who stood and camped out in front of a Chick Fil-A for 24 hours to get some free food) will go to great lengths to get the food that they are so loyal to.
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In-N-Out BurgerWHAT IS IT?
Absolutely delicious hamburgers that are made fresh, not from pre-shaped meat. Great french fries that are made to order from potatoes that are cut right in front of you.
This popular (Mormon) California fast food chain has converted thousands of followers, who will pass a thousand other commerical chains in order to reach an In-N-Out. Case in point: When In-N-Out expanded to other states, the good people of Scottsdale, AZ waited in line for four hours while helicopters whirred above capturing footage of the almighty In-N-Out finally opening its doors to the public.
People love the taste of the burgers, the "secret sauce" (thousand island dressing with relish in it), and the freshness of the entire franchise. Also, the fact that the uniform hasn't changed since its 1948 inception and the fact that their menu has remained extremely minimalistic and simplistic since, are staples of the In-N-Out dining experience.
And, of course, people flock to In-N-Out (after their first time) to partake in being "in" on the (now not-so) secret menu that includes a Neopolitan milkshake, lettuce instead of buns, cheese fries with sauce and grilled onions on them, and a hamburger containing up to 100 burger patties and 100 slices of cheese. Take THAT, hungry children in the Third World!
Check out the embedded video for an explanation of In-N-Out's "secret" menu.
The cult of In-N-Out has been strictly word-of-mouth and they really spend minimal time advertising, so much that catching an In-N-Out commercial on television is extremely rare. When it DOES happen, though, you get a taste of the minimalism you'll get when you get to a restaurant itself. How?
The In-N-Out commercial (that has been ostensibly running for YEARS) is just a camera panning around an amazing looking hamburger while an abbreviated version of their jingle plays in the background which simply says "That's what a hamburger's all about." Brilliant.
Even the popular online video site CollegeHumor.com pulled its April's Fools prank on the East Coast by announcing that In-N-Out Burger would be coming to New York in 2010... and then revealed that it was a cruel, cruel joke. The fact that one of the most popular websites on the internet, frequented by millions of people every month, would base its entire April's Fools prank on teasing this restaurant is testament to its word-of-mouth glitz, glamour, hype and, most importantly, cult status.
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Mexican CokeWHAT IS IT?
Well, it's basically Coca Cola Classic that doesn't use fake sugar, but cane sugar, and isn't kept in a can for weeks, but is actually bottled into durable, taste-preserving glass instead of cheap aluminum cans. It's called Mexican Coke because the Coke's that are bottled in Mexico have these properties, uniquely (to the U.S. at least), and can be moderately easily acquired.
Why do people love Mexican Coke so much? Its taste.
American coke is produced using high-fructose corn syrup. Mexican coke instead uses real cane sugar. Real, not artificial. If you live anywhere in proximity of the border, you’ve most likely heard of the legendary Mexican coke.
The Coca-Cola company denies that the differences in ingredients create any perceptible taste differences, but to the cult behind Mexican Coke, this is a lie.
Most people will give you a taste or a sip of their Coke if you ask... unless they are drinking Mexican Coke. If that's what they're enjoying and you're thirsty, then you are most likely on your own.
Mexican Coke gets kitsch-value bonus for coming in vintage, thick glass bottles and for fusing the label permanently into the glass. You can’t screw off the metal cap, you need a bottle opener, which makes the drink a little more "serious" than your regular Coca Cola. Also, there are no nutrition facts which makes this drink 100% bad-ass.
The most remarkable thing about the phenomenon is how much more people are willing to pay for "Mexican Coke". A 12 pack of Coca Cola (canned, American, or even plastic-bottled, American) will cost you less than $10 most places. A pack of Mexican Coke will run you over $20 and sometimes $30 (depending on the availability and where you are in the U.S.).
Click here for the full story, research and a Coke spokesperson's denial/explanation of why Mexican Coke is unique.
Click here to buy an entire case of Mexican Coke to try it for yourself. It's actually 100% worth it.
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Sonic Burgers, Drinks and ShakesWHAT IS IT?
If you live on the West Coast, you most likely see the commercials on TV, and they look absolutely delicious. They seem to have the best shakes, the best slushies and the most inventive and succulent, savory, satisfying hamburgers in all of creation... but you’ve never actually seen a Sonic franchise anywhere (see commercial).
The company says they have 168,894 flavor combinations possible. Which might explain the reaction San Diego county had when a Sonic opened in their whereabouts. Previously, they drove all the way up to neighboring Orange County (about 2 hours away) to get their fix.
But to the rest of us on the West Coast, driving 50 miles to get a Cherry Limeade doesn’t seem appealing... a lot of other people feel VERY differently.
Aside from the insane flavor-possibilities of the drinks, the popularity of the chain stems partly from its carhop service, which features service on skates at some sites -- reminiscent of old drive-ins from the 1940s and '50s (kind of like in The Flintstones' Intro)
All of this overhead, as well as competition from a lot of regional chains, explains why you don’t see many Sonics in the West Coast, or near Coastal Cities in general, but hear about them often anyway: because there are crazy people who will journey HOURS to get a cool drink in a classic way.
The full story on West Coast California City San Diego getting a Sonic.
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The McRibWHAT IS IT?
A barbeque boneless pork sandwich served at McDonald's that is produced to be shaped like a rack of ribs that is heated up most-likey in a microwave, slathered in BBQ sauce, put on a long bun with pickles and onions. The McRib has been around since 1981, but only this last week has been available again (this time in ALL McDonald's stores for the first time ever).
The elusive McRib has been hard to come by in recent years and the 6-week tease-stint we're all used to by now always feels like going on an amazing date only to be dropped off with a one-armed hug.
So rare has this for-some-reason beloved sandwich become that an entire website has been devoted to its location:
One man even drove 10 hours (as seen in the Young Turks episode embedded here, devoted exclusively to the McRib) just to get a McRib (using the locator, of course). He bought a whole bunch of them and then brought them back to his California home (after driving to Oregon for a McRib).
Accused by Stephen Colbert (in this video) as a ploy by Democrats to lessen conservative votes, 2010's Election Day nation-wide resurrection of the McRib has reminded the country of its pop culture significance.
Most Americans long all year to hear those beautiful, unique and meaningful three words: McRib is Back.
Parodied by the Simpsons in an almost nightmarish sequence where Homer can't stop eating McRib style sandwiches and actually becomes addicted (here's the Spanish version, which adds a little bit of a WTF nature), the McRib has penetrated pop culture to the point of being a phenomenon on television.
Part of America's consciousness is that we love the McRib... even if we don't. Famous for being a tasty rib sandwich - without the ribs, no one knows what the McRib is made of and more importantly, no one cares. But all that mysteriousness is all part of its general appeal and what's made it hold on in the popular consciousness for years. This sandwich is so entrancing so that once its gone in December, the country might possibly go into chaos and people will have to go back to CIA-levels of McRib surveillance to find the sandwich.
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WhataburgerWHAT IS IT?
A hamburger joint that serves fresh-made hamburgers of great quality.
The rival to In-N-Out in terms of fresh quality, and pure taste, Whataburger caters to its cult following by offering them free coffee mugs, which eventually become collectors' items. They keep tabs on their loyal customers by changing the design as the years go by.
In true Mid-west/Southern tradition, the restaurant encourages the customers to chill out and spend a lot of time at the restaurant, contradicting its fast food principles but successful nevertheless... and this is why people loiter outside them so often.
They also hold a free burger Tuesday once a year where they hold insane demonstrations like this one where three guys spin a cute girl around a bunch, almost hitting her head on the floor about 5 times.
And where did the inspiration for the horrible Nickelodeon skit/movie Goodburger come from? Whataburger. What is the most frequented real fast food chain on King of the Hill? Whataburger.
By the way, here's the trailer in case you missed this gem from the late 90s: Good Burger Trailer (featuring Kenan Thompson of current SNL almost-fame)
Tthe chain is known for its distinctive A-frame structure, which kind of appeals to its Bible Belt audience in that it actually, therefore, kind of looks like a church, which, given its loyal following, makes perfect sense.
Click here to see what a Whataburger store looks like from the outside.
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