(tiny, suit-wearing clown not actually included)
It wouldn't be right to celebrate this holiday without mentioning charred animal flesh of some description. Besides, if you want fireworks in your mouth and fireworks in your butthole, you need to read along for your chance to have both at once. That's right, Jack in the Box - you got me at both ends. And I'd do it again, too. Some kind of glutton, I.
Potato wedges are seriously the worst kind of fast food fries there are, so my only conclusion is that they must be cheap, because they usually taste like sand inside. Remembering the halcyon days when JitB did chili cheese curly fries (and chicken caesar pitas - a perfect combo that exists only in perfect memories), I am dismayed to see the wedges usurp that place on the cardboard throne of righteous takeaway. However, Jack has made these as palatable as possible - the wedges would seem to have a light sprinkling of batter to make them crispier, and are then fried to a crunch, minimizing ashiness. Good step one.
Step two is coverage in chili, cheese sauce, grated cheese (that combo of sauce and grated is genius, and unique to Jack, I think, at least among major chains), jalapenos and raw onion slivers. The last one I like least, but it's a fool's game picking them all out. I suggest removing a few off the top, while letting the ones drowned in chili be. Jack doesn't have chili on anything else, but someone who worked at Wendy's once told me that burgers left out longer than the maximum allowable time got chopped up into chili, and that seems a perfectly reasonable way to recycle slightly cold burger patty. I don't think it's like that here - we're talking a paste-like chili of the sort that goes on hot dogs - but even if it is, I don't have an issue with it.
Now, "loaded" can mean a lot of things in fast food language - in the case of Taco Bell "loaded" grillers it means "terrible" - but here, it would seem to actually signify quantity, as none of my wedges felt like they were going lacking in topping amount.
There's just one drawback: you finish this, and you're nearly full. And I had that giant fucking burger still on my tray. Meanwhile, the wedges were making their way through my digestive tract in what seemed like it might be record time. I could not wait around.
But dammit, I am a journalist and a scholar of this shiznit! So I'll be damned if the call of nature was going to stop me at least tasting the thing. I laid into that sucker enough to take out at least a third of it, and can report the following:
-The lengthwise slices of pickle and the mustard give it a nice vinegary note, to counteract the extra "seasoning" (salt) Jack insists on adding to the meat.
-The breading on the onion rings is a bit much, giving things a hint of staleness. Grilled onions would have been better, and complemented the onion mayo that is Jack's go-to burger sauce.
-The cheese was welcome, and tasty. The sourdough bun I liked a lot, as I think thin and stretchy beats big and crumbly when holding a giant burger together.
-The rest of the burger was my dinner and my late-night snack. If you eat this all at once you might be fat as fuck. Across three meals I think I may have done okay.
And I didn't even miss my beloved stuffed jalapenos. A wedges-based side rivaling my favorite fast food thing? That's handshake worthy, and I will pump the hell out of that clown's mitt if I ever run into him.
Cthulhu Bless America.