We ate at dozens of fast-food chains in 2017 -- here are the 9 absolute worst things we tried

Hollis Johnson
  • We ate at dozens of fast-food restaurants in 2017.
  • Some highly hyped new menu items were duds.
  • Other chains clearly need to clean up their act, as some iconic items have lost their lustre.

A lot of bad things happened in 2017.

Riots broke out over the lack of Szechuan sauce at McDonald’s. When Chipotle needed a saviour most, its queso condemned the chain to further derision. We discovered our president’s diet is disconcertingly dominated by fast food.

As these horrors played out in headlines throughout the year, we choked down meals at restaurants across the country. Dozens of trips to fast-food chains later, we’ve distilled these meals down to the worst of the worst.

Here are the worst things we ate – or imbibed – in 2017.

Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino

Kate Taylor

A unicorn is one in a million – and the horridly sour, mouth-puckering taste of this limited-time drink was similarly unique in the worst possible way.

Starbucks introduced the frappuccino in April for just a few days. Taste testers hated it and baristas loathed it, but Instagrammers couldn’t get enough.

Starbucks’ Zombie Frappuccino

Hollis Johnson

The Unicorn Frappuccino birthed a sad, saccharine trend for Starbucks as it began peddling sugary and disturbing drinks to attract Instagram-obsessed customers.

The Zombie Frappuccino had a similar lifespan, and it was just as grotesquely flavored. Here’s hoping it stays dead.

Bojangles’ Bo-Berry Biscuit

Hollis Johnson

This bold and brash biscuit is a gilded folly of sugary icing and suspicious blueberries. It’s sickly sweet and ostentatious. It should be banned from breakfast and seriously reconsidered as a dessert. Eat it with the utmost caution and disregard for your health.

Kate has abstained from this opinion as she needs to return to North Carolina to celebrate the holidays with her family and does not wish to be detained by angry Bo-Berry fans at the airport.

Chipotle’s queso

Hollis Johnson

Be careful what you wish for – it may come true.

Chipotle fans had long clamored for queso, and this year the chain delivered. And yet, when we showed up at Chipotle’s test kitchen eager to try the new addition, what we found was not queso but an abomination to the very concept. It was grainy and soupy, more akin to a broccoli-cheddar soup from Panera than to a cheese dip.

Now that the chain has doctored the recipe, the quality has improved somewhat – but there was no bigger disappointment in 2017 than that first rancid scoop.

Long John Silver’s fried shrimp

Hollis Johnson

Long John Silver’s was overall one of our most disappointing chain visits of the year. And while the fried fish flopped and the hush puppies floundered, the fried shrimp truly scraped the bottom of the barrel.

As we noted at the time, they tasted like “shrimp that you found under the seat of your car while looking for lost change amongst the dusty grime.”

White Castle’s veggie slider

Hollis Johnson

We’re all for more vegetarian options in fast-food, but … not like this.

White Castle’s vegetarian attempt was vile. The texture was somehow mushy and crispy at the same time. It’s reminiscent of “fried slime,” as Kate recalls with a shudder.

Sheetz’s hamburger

Hollis Johnson

We’ve eaten many a bad burger in our time, and we can say with all honesty that Sheetz has one of the worst. This bland, boiled burger played a crucial part in our Wawa versus Sheetz debate, tipping the scale hugely in Wawa’s favour.

The Boom Boom sauce could not save this doom-doomed burger.

Arby’s fish sandwich

Hollis Johnson

On Hollis’ nautical odyssey to try all the major chains’ fish sandwiches, he came across this Charybdis of fast food. This joyless sandwich had a gelatinous texture that only a blobfish could accurately replicate, with any flavour seemingly lost at sea.

Arby’s may have the meats, but it should throw the fish back.

Honorable mention: Trump Grill martini

Hollis Johnson

This is an honorable mention for two reasons. First, we drank this in December 2016 (though it reverberated in our culinary conscience for months after). Second, Trump Grill(e?) is not a chain, so it’s unfair to officially include it.

Still, this alcoholic beverage remains the worst thing we have consumed since Kate received a bottle of Cinnabon vodka. Rubbing alcohol with three olives plopped in would be preferable, and it might have allowed us to leave Trump Tower that day with our dignity intact. Alas, it was not to be.

Happy 2017, everyone!

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