Good morning everyone.  It’s been really such a crazy time, but I do want to keep up with the writing end of things as much as possible, so I continue on posting.  I have missed many of my blogging friends, so I am sorry if I haven’t gotten back to you right away on things.  Some things in your life throw you off balance and dealing with a father in and out of the hospital and needing heart surgery does make one take a step back for things.  But like with everything else, we need some balance in our lives.  This provides me with some balance.  And even if a couple of days behind, I am welcoming you to another in a series of posts on one of my favorite subjects: food.  Because we do have to celebrate good things in our lives even in difficult times.   So this week we will be celebrating a food holiday that we have all taken advantage of at one time in our lives, fast food.  And on Thursday, November 16th, we celebrate National Fast Food Day.
As far as my experience with fast food (or as some people may call fat food), I have been eating it at some point as long as I could remember.  We didn’t do it all that often when I was a child.  Mostly, we went maybe once or twice a month on some special occasion.  But as my mother started going back to work, we did tend to go to fast food more and more.  We do this because of the one promise fast food makes good on, convenience.  We all find the food that we get from these quick and painless, except for maybe our waistlines.
The best memories I have growing up at fast food joints was going to Carl’s Jr. and getting myself a Superstar with cheese or a famous star while my mom would always get things from the salad bar.  And if I was really hungry, she may let me take something from the all you can eat salad she would get.  These were the days before Carl’s began glorifying the mess that their burgers would make all over the place and use hot models writhing on cars while the burger dripped onto the hood of the car.  Whoever thought this was a great marketing campaign ought to be shot.  Besides, it’s one thing to know that the sauce is unhealthy.  You achieve an entirely different reaction when she shoves the fact that they overload the burger up with sauce in your face.  (Can I have a burger with my sauce, please?  Anyone?  Anyone?)
When it comes to my daughter, I would say she has two different fast food memories.  The first one would be all the times at McDonald’s.  We used to joke that our daughter was an Atkins child because she would want to get the McNuggets, but then make me peel off all of the breading before she would eat the chicken.  Given the healthiness of the breading, I did not complain at this task.  And of course, there were all the fabulous play places, until they would get wrecked because they were not properly cleaned or sanitized.
The second such place would have to be Chick ‘Fil A.  We just moved out from my parents, which would take another blog post to relate.  And we moved out to Costa Mesa into a two bedroom apartment in a pretty nice area of town.  They had some bankrupt businesses who had abandoned many of the buildings on the street.  And quickly upon moving in, they tore down these structures to put up new ones.  It just so happened that every new structure would be a fast food place.  I used to jokingly call it fast food row.  But the one business who caught our attention the most was Chick ‘Fil A.  Aside from their chicken, they had events and community projects they supported.  We went to movie nights and costume events.  My daughter had a blast and quickly grew to love this little fast food joint on the corner.
As with all food holidays, the Guide makes sure to bring you the best of fake food history.  We want to make sure you know all the fake truth that’s fit to print.  Whether this is completely accurate is secondary to the story we find on the harbinger of the great fake truth: the internet.  We scour the depths of the deep web to bring you the best in fake news fare.  And unlike some new competitor’s claims, we are completely unfair and totally unbalanced.  (Whether this means unhinged or not, you can decide.)  So without further ado, the Guide presents to you the best in the history of fake food.  Or is it fake history?  With fast food, one is never sure.

The Fake History Of Fast Food

While the U.S.A. may be the harbingers of the Apocalypse with the vast array of fast food we provide and propagate on the rest of the world, the Guide found them not to be the inventors of this food revolution.  (Whew!)  For this, you can give credit to (or blame) on those crazy Italians.  Because the history of fast food coincides with the history of the inner city and its growth.  While inner cities can provide many beautiful things like arts and culture, when it comes to food choices, people end up finding they have needed fast and convenient.
Cities have existed for as long as we have had recorded existence, but the first nation to really coalesce and enforce civilization on the rest of the world would be the Italians.  As the cities grew, specialty shops would pop up to try to take advantage of the needs that many travelers would have within these compacted centers.   And one of the most basic needs we have is food.  So food carts and stands would pop up outside venues.  (The truly original pop up shops.)
And for the first fast-food titan, we can blame a little Italian named Vino Paneci.  He would stand out in front of the Coliseum all day and see the hot crowd pack into the stadium and some of them would pass out from heat and hunger exhaustion after the game.  His wife used to bake little pieces of bread for him and the family when they were home.  She would send a little bit of bread with him to take out when he was trying to find a job in the market square.  He had two little ones to raise and he didn’t have regular work.  So he needed to find some person who would take him in to help daily.
Every morning he would pass the Coliseum.  And every night he would see the parched people exiting and barely able to stand.  If he had an extra piece of bread on him, he would help giving out a bite or two to the maddening crowd.  All of a sudden he was struck with the idea.  He had a friend who could get wine cheaply from a local vineyard.  The vineyard would give leftover wine at a reduced rate to some of the local merchants.  They would then bring them into the city and sell it to the poorer peoples and would go to the local dive bars.  If he could join with him they could make money selling to the people before coming into the stadium.
This lasted for several months until one time the Caesar came through the streets and ended up seeing Vino with his partner selling wine and bread out of a cart.  He yelled to have him arrested, but then they took off running. They ran all the way around the Coliseum faster than one of the Olympians running a race. In fact, they ran around the Coliseum multiple times.  When the guards caught up with them, Caesar insisted that they be put in the pit to be eaten by the lions along with all of the Christians.
The one thing Caesar did notice was that the crowd in the Coliseum was unusually subdued that day.  He was kind of disappointed by all of the various early events, he decided to move up the Christians and Lions to earlier in the day.  So he was excited to finally bring them out for the midday events.  Unfortunately for Caesar, the moment the crowd noticed Vino they turned on Caesar.  It looked like they were going to get violent and rush the floor ready to take our his prize lions.  So he started polling the crowd about who they wanted to be released.
When they got to Vino all of a sudden the crowd roared with approval.  But Caesar was really angry for what had happened.  He didn’t know what to do.  He looked forward to hurting anyone who crossed him, but he realized that if he didn’t let this man go, he might not leave with his life either.  Never before had he feared the people of Rome.  And in this moment, Caesar showed weakness.  He had to let him go.  Or at least, he couldn’t execute him there on the spot.
So he released Vino back to his guards and had him thrown into prison until he could deal with him.  Caesar went to his advisors on all issues regarding punishments.  And they thought and thought until his chief advisor Busi Ness Taxicus had a bright idea.  He thought to charge them as a business and make him pay taxes to Caesar for selling food at a cart outside his Coliseum.  All of his leaders agreed.
Vino and his partner were then taken back to the woodshed and beaten with whips and released out into the streets.  They then informed them they had to pay them 50 percent of their profits.  Vino and partner left the grounds thankful that they were able to get away from their life and came home, unsure of what they should do.  But the amount of money they made for the last few months made them go back to the Coliseum the next day.  The crowd definitely appreciated the bread dipped in wine as they entered the Coliseum. And Caesar appreciated the energy in the crowd once again.  And the extra money in his coffers.
A funny addendum, they started calling their food cart, fast food, because of the chase that they made around the Coliseum.

Top Ranked Fast Food Places In Southern California

The Guide prides itself on giving our audience some additional fun information when we do our Food Holiday series.  Not only do we give you the best in fake food histories, we make sure to give you something else, whether it be recipes or some local fare that serves the best in those types of foods.  This food holiday is a little different in as much as we do not discuss a particular food but an entire food category. We figured we would rank the top-rated fast food restaurants for classes of restaurants like pizza, burgers, Asian food, chicken, etc.  To give more than the top one, with all of the crazy amounts of fast food we have would be insane.  And I know my brain would explode.  So we at the Guide wisely decided just to list the top of each category in Southern California.  Sorry if we missed your favorite.  These are our favorite places. So without further ado, the Guide presents the top-ranked fast food places in Southern California.

Best Burgers – In And Out

With all apologies to those who love Five Guys Burgers and fries, that grease fest holds nothing to the tasty deliciousness that is In and Out.  People have included In and Out in song.  When I see Five Guys in a song I will think about it.  And while other people may have more variants on their orders, In and Out has an extra large hidden menu of items to tickle your taste buds.  Among our favorites are animal style, and protein style.  If you are ever in Southern California, In and Out is a definite must.

Best Mexican Food – Baja Fresh

Of all the fast food Mexican Restaurants, this one has the most virulent following that I have ever found.  Yes, all of their food is very tasty, and their salsas are delicious and fresh.  But the one thing that keeps me coming back for more is doing Enchilada style on their burritos.  Literally, my mouth waters thinking about it all.  Where can find the nearest one again?  Yum!

Best Chicken – El Pollo Loco

I know I could have gone with El Pollo Loco for my favorite Mexican fast food place, but their chicken so outpaces everyone else that I cannot compare it.  While maybe not quite as good as when they first came out with all of the chicken being marinated in fruit juices, they still have the most delicious chicken with the wides variety of sides to choose from.  I know that every family has the go to fast food.  Well, this was it for my family.  If you have never tried El Pollo Loco Chicken before and are in the Southern California area, it’s definitely worth a taste.

Best Pizza – Blaze Pizza

I am not going to pretend I might not choose other pizza places first.  Other pizza places taste delicious, but I wouldn’t consider them fast food per say.  As for those, I would consider fast food, Blaze Pizza tops them all.  Aside from the marvelous pizza and the vast array of toppings they have available, I love their beverage choices and my daughter loves the desserts.  Blaze Pizza offers as much or more than any other fast food pizza order service.

Best Sandwich Shop – Panera

 I remember when the Panera first moved into my neighborhood.  I had gone to several of them like the Atlanta Bread Company or the corner bakery, but Panera seemed to create the most delicious and wide variety of sandwiches and soups out there.   Their steak and arugula sandwiches with broccoli and cheddar soup make my mouth water.  But honestly, between the salads, soups and sandwiches and now adding some amazing quiche in the morning, I love all the delicious variety they have.  And that completely neglects all of the amazing pastries and bagels they have.  If you want to get great sandwiches, don’t go Subway.  Go Panera.

Best Seafood – Rubio’s Baja Grill

I remember the first time I went to Rubio’s.  Baja California is known for the amazing fish tacos that they have to offer.  Every time I have been down to Mexico, I had to get one.  So hearing about a Rubio’s doing fish tacos, I wasn’t sure what to think.  I shouldn’t have worried. They were delicious and amazing.  And they have kept adding to all of the things that they are doing every year.  Between lobster burritos, shrimp taco, and burritos, or adding the chicken and steak street tacos, Rubio’s offers a great panoply of amazing food.  But when it comes to Seafood as fast food, no other place comes close.

Best Coffee Shop – Kean Coffee

I know people have grown to love Starbucks, but honestly, it’s cheap, overly hyped, overly cooked coffee beans which taste burnt unless you load it with so much sugar you become a diabetic one-third of the way through your cup.  Keans has so much more amazing things to offer.  And it all begins with the coffee.  Yes, they have sandwiches, pastries, and tasty treats.  But the coffee beats Starbucks coffee, hands down.  They are better even on Starbucks best day, and their worst.  Located in both Tustin and Newport Beach, they take the best of Deidrich’s coffee and bring it to you.  Personally roasted with complex and rich flavors they make sure to bring the best coffee beans to you when they are in season.  If you want the best coffee in Southern California, it’s Kean’s hand’s down.

Best Chinese – Panda Express

When it comes to quick Chinese, there are a ton of places out there.  I do love myself some Chinese, but there is something about Panda. First, they have a wider variety of the individual dishes with all kinds of different meats.  And I do love to try a variety of different tastes.  Secondly, the oils they use seem to be a bit healthier.  And finally, the individual calorie counts are a ton better, which if you are looking for small victories in fast food, this is one of them.  I also personally prefer the smaller noodles they have in their chow mein.  If you want quick Chinese fast food, you gotta go with the Panda.

Continue The Conversation

So what did you think of the history of fast foods?  Are there some fast food types that I missed?  Should I have broken down the types more like with best tacos instead of best Mexican?  I am sure I would love to hear from you.  Also, list your favorite fast food places in your area if you have any you like.  Or list ones that you remember from when you were a child which were your favorite.

Like / Follow Me

If you liked this post, please follow me here at the Guide, and like the post at the end of this.  Followers will get access to the Dad Rules, ten rules that every dad should know about and follow.  Thank you for stopping by once again.  And thanks for all the good wishes about my dad.   It’s been rough and I have been out of it.  Your support has helped me get through this.

Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life