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Eight Secret Off-the-Menu Fast-Food Items

August 22, 2013  |  3:57pm

Last month, Paste headed out West for a few fantastic performances as a part of our ongoing Live at Aloft Series. As an Atlanta native, I’m not accustomed to the ways of the West Coast: dry heat in Arizona, a distinct lack of sugary-enough sweet tea. But the most ignorant I felt was when we pulled up to In-N-Out, a culinary experience I’d been anticipating from the moment we booked my ticket West. I’d heard there was a secret menu, and as a serious case of FOMO began to set in I frantically Googled what I could, eager to see just how many calorie-rich, creatively-named items I could include in my order. It turns out, secret menus aren’t limited to this Cali burger chain, though—you can find special items at several national chains, too. Here are eight of the most food-coma-worthy (or, in some cases, gluttonously shocking) rumored secret menu items I stumbled upon.

1. “Animal Style” – In-N-Out
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What it is: A mustard-grilled patty on a lightly toasted bun covered with cheese, pickles, extra spread, and chopped-up grilled onions
Pros: It’s the most famous secret menu item for a reason. Even if you’re iffy on one of the ingredients, try it once.This burger is more than the sum of its parts.
Cons: This is the most boringly unsecret secret menu item out there.

2. “The Quesarito” – Chipotle
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What it is:A burrito-quesadilla hybrid that’s clearly the stuff of hungover dreams. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a burrito wrapped in a quesadilla.
Pros: Calcium! A way to add cheese to my regular burrito-with-extra-cheese-and-scoop-of-queso.
Cons: Messy. Is it just me, or does it seem like fitting all of my calories into one neatly-wrapped burrito is challenging enough without the added logistics of a quesadilla wrapping?

3. “Green Eye” – Starbucks
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What it is: Three espresso shots in a drip coffee
Pros: CAFFEINE
Cons: It’s not really all that interesting to have a weird order at Starbucks, and you could easily just order a drip coffee with three shots. Also I guess too much caffeine can be “dangerous” or something.

4. “The Hulk” – Taco Bell
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What it is: Bean and cheese burrito with a hulking serving of guacamole
Pros: Remember when the “Taco Bell Diet” was a thing? Avocados have all of the good fats.
Cons: If you’re already eating at Taco Bell, let’s not act like adding guacamole is going to make or break you. NO CONS.

5. Chicken and Waffle Sandwich – McDonald’s
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What it is: A chicken patty sandwiched between two McGriddles
Pros: A little something sweet with the syrup, a little something salty with the chicken. A classic Southern pairing available in sandwich form? Yes, please.
Cons: No cool name. Where’s the fun in that?

6. “The Meat Cube” (Also referred to as “The Grand Slam”) – Wendy’s
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What It Is: A hamburger with four patties. Yep, four.
Pros: Wendy’s hamburgers are square-shaped because they ‘don’t cut corners.’ Why not take the punny humor and make it 3D?
Cons: It’s called a “Meat Cube” so I will allow you to draw your own conclusions about its potential health drawbacks.

7. “Power Breakfast Egg Bowl” – Panera
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What It Is: “Two all-natural eggs, seared top sirloin, sliced avocado and tomato”
Pros: Lots of protein for you Atkins-friendly folks.
Cons: Panera wrote up a press release for its ‘secret menu’ and lists items on their website. Does this even count?

8. “Naked Chicken” – Popeye’s
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What It Is: Chicken without any breading
Pros: Congratulations, you’re ordering something healthy at Popeye’s.
Cons: If you’re skipping the breading on your chicken you’re probably also skipping the biscuits. Rookie move.

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