I have a dark little secret, well, not so secret if you know me because I never claimed to be a perfect foodie. Do they exist? I was inspired to write this after sitting down to dinner with a few fellow food enthusiasts and the topic of fast food came up. We all went a little silent for a moment. Well, I didn’t go silent because that is physically impossible for me, but we all divulged our fast food Achilles heel. For one it was Taco Bell, for another it was In n Out and for me it was McDonald’s Filet o Fish, Popeyes chicken and red beans and rice and Tommy’s chili cheeseburger.

I didn’t grow up in the Bay Area and concepts of farm to table, non GMO, organic, sustainable, fair trade etc. are fairly new to me. I grew up eating all of those things on my visits to Colombia or Spain without knowing I was doing it, but when I was stateside in New Mexico, New York and California, I ate fast food occasionally and it left it’s chemical mark on my soul.

Every once in a while, particularly during a certain part of the month, my inner food monster growls for what it wants and I give it her. These indulgences are becoming more and more rare as I become more and more aware, but alas, I am human.


Photo from Serious Eats

McDonald’s Filet O Fish: Fried fish square with processed cheese and tartar sauce you ask? Yes. I really wanted to make a video about my “ritual” of eating a filet o fish, but McDonald’s recently cut the cheese down to half a slice and ruined it for me. I explain to people that fast food companies pay millions of dollars in research to make things taste really good, now if they would only do it without all the bad stuff. I plan on challenging McDonald’s to creating an all organic McDonald’s in SF. What I love about the FOF… the bun is steamed.. when you open the cardboard box, steam wafts out. You grab the sandwich gently and then gingerly squeeze the middle so that the tarter sauce spreads to the extremities of the fish square. When taking a bite, be careful to only use your teeth so that you can experience going through each layer, first the soft and steamy bun, next the creamy sauce, then the thin layer of crunchy breading followed by the moist and succulent mystery white fish (alaskan pollack) and finally through the melty cheese and the bottom pillowy bun. Chew slowly, close your eyes. Swallow and take a sip of ice cold Coca Cola. NEVER eat this sandwich inside a McDonald’s!!! Always drive through.


Photo from Popeye’s

Popeye’s fried chicken and red beans and rice:How can I describe my love for good fried chicken? I specify “good” because I find that 9 out of 10 fried chicken places that claim to be the best, are not. I love Popeye’s, but I don’t eat it very often. I can’t get the factory farm out of my head, but if you have never tried it, and you must try almost everything once, please try Popeye’s. I take a bite of a Popeye’s mild leg and after breaking through the crispy hot skin, I gaze at the flesh. Juices flow freely and steam rises before me. I blow on the leg because a burn to the mouth would be a game changer. I take another bite.

Onto the red beans and rice. If you like bacon and you like beans and rice, then these are for you. I could serve a little bowl of these red beans and rice at the finest of hipster soul food joints and you would instantly Instagram them onto your Facebook with a little tweet to boot. If you don’t have the cojones to go to Popeye’s, my favorite non-toxic fried chicken in San Francisco is from  Little Skillet. They are only open weekdays until 2pm, but their sister resto, Farmer Brown is open for lunch and dinner.


Tommy’s Chili Cheese

Tommy’s chili cheeseburger: This is more of an honorable mention, since Tommy’s only exists in Southern California, but when you see the handful of imitation Tommy’s sprinkled about like, “Tomy’s” , The Real Tawmees” etc., you realize that Tommy’s is something special. Tommy’s Chili cheeseburger is so messy and gloppy, but so good. I have no idea what is in their famous chili and I don’t care. It is creamy and greasy, yes, creamy and greazy and oh so delicious. I am going to have one tonight. I can’t write about it while I am in LA and not eat one? Can I? I may even go with some chili cheese fries and some Tums.





By |2018-10-03T10:21:17-04:00May 15th, 2012|


  1. Katie May 15, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    I love Tommy’s! My guilty pleasures: The A+W chili dog (this was my first fast food), the McDonald’s Egg McMuffin (so satisfying, love the muffin part, and that un holy cheese like slice), but really, the top and still king for me is the Jack n the Box TACO. It’s made with a meat like substance that’s perfection, and some kind of salsa that’s got more viscosity than it should, but the real linchpin is the taco shell–greasy and crispy in just the right way. When I am feeling anxious and hungry, and there’s a Jack in the Box within a mile, I’ll go……

  2. Rodzilla May 15, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    A lot of people seem to think if you’re into fine dining it automatically means your pretentious – not the case at all. My roommate has been to The French Laundry, Per Se, Providence, Alinea…the list goes on. The other night I found the guy eating a 3 day old Big Mac. Not sure people who eat McDs every day would do that.

    I’ve got tons of guilty not guilty pleasures. I like all types of food,I don’t discriminate 🙂

  3. claudia May 15, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    I am with you. Thank you for commenting. I don’t know about a 3 day old Big Mac, but I am not a fan of most things that are three days old. ;O)

  4. Sharon May 15, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    I love Bojangles fried chicken and biscuits! They are fresh,y baked and the chicken does not sit under hot lights all day. They also have yummy breakfast biscuits. Unfortunately, Bojangles are an east cost franchise. I thought about opening one here, but not sure how well it would fare. My favorite fried chicken and waffles is at Hummingbird Cafe in Fairfax. They have yummy gumbo too!

  5. Camille Paradise May 24, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    I love to cook and entertain but I also love fried chicken, and an occasional Mac. Isn’t great to enjoy wholesome great food and also be able to indulged in our favorite fast foods. Thanks for sharing Claudia. Camille

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