Fast Food

KFC Is Testing Secret Recipe FRIES In Select Locations

Photo: Peter Pham

I’m not ashamed to admit that Kentucky Fried Chicken’s potato wedges have hit the spot on more than one occasion when I’m trying to get my fried potato fix. While I’ll always pick fries over wedges, KFC hasn’t really given consumers the option of fries. At least, not until now.

The fast food fried chicken chain has begun testing SECRET RECIPE FRIES at select locations across the United States.

KFC’s new fries are apparently seasoned the same way as their prolific fried chicken — with 11 herbs and spices. I drove out to the nearest test location that offered them and can attest that they do have notes of the Colonel’s secret recipe, although I would have loved a more assertive presence of its flavor. Still, not bad. Coming from a textural standpoint, they’re not too different from Popeyes’ Cajun fries.

I wonder if Popeye’s recent fried chicken sandwich breaking the Internet has guided KFC to shaking up their menu? Rumor has it that these fries may be edging out KFC’s iconic potato wedges.

You can order the fries three ways: Small (in a paper bag), Individual (in a cardboard fry container), or Large (which comes in a large box). So far, these fries have been spotted in California, Indiana, and Michigan.

Cravings Restaurants What's New

Tear Into These Gooey Chicken Parmesan Fries

Give me a plate of fries any day of the week and consider me a content fellow. Now that we live in a renaissance of food, fries have become a canvas for artists to paint their palates.

Big Pink in Miami, FL, is shaking up the French fry game by creating Chicken Parm Fries.

The restaurant starts with thick cut fries that are tossed into hot oil and seasoned. Chunks of chicken are then breaded and deep-fried before joining their potato brethren. Scoops of marinara sauce and a blend of mozzarella and parmesan cheese are added on top of the fries before tossed into the oven. Finally, the dish is finished with a handful of shredded basil leaves.

For fans of the celebrated Italian dish, this iteration of chicken parm is definitely something worth checking out — especially since you can never go wrong with fries.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the world needs to be able to enjoy more foods in French Fry form.

Cravings Restaurants

Chicken Tender Stuffed ‘FAT TACO’ Is The Hangover Cure We Need To Drown In Salsa

Photo courtesy of Tito’s Burritos and Wings

When going on a taco run, I never come home with less than four of any type of taco. I may want to reconsider that rule after laying my eyes on this hard-shelled behemoth.

New Jersey is home to Tito’s Burritos and Wings, a restaurant chain that specializes in massive menu items that are hands-down not for the faint of heart. One of their newest items, the Fat Amy Taco, is one you’d have to step back to be able to take in.

Known for naming items after celebrities and fictional movie characters, Tito’s taco is also inspired by local favorites. It takes it name from the tradition of the “fat sandwich,” a New Jersey staple of stuffing sandwiches with an excess of fried foods as a means to cure the dreaded hangover. It is also influenced by the fictional character “Fat Amy” from the Pitch Perfect film series, whose personality is “loud and proud” — just how the restaurant describes this massive taco.

At 12 inches, the tortilla shell is deep fried and stuffed with fried chicken tenders, hand-cut French fries, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo salsa, cheese, and a spicy chipotle sauce.

The Fat Amy Taco can be found at all five of Tito’s New Jersey locations (Summit, Morristown, Ridgewood, Boonton, and South Orange). You can bring a friend and share, but tackling the massive taco on your own is also a true culinary feat.

Fast Food

McDonald’s Japan Is Smothering Their Fries In Carbonara Sauce

Photo courtesy of McDonald’s Japan

When it comes to fast food fries, McDonald’s is pretty high up on the list for me. Just give me a piping hot batch straight from the fryer, a generous amount of salt, and some packets of Sweet ‘n Sour sauce and I’m set.

There’s isn’t much to pull me out of my fry routine at McDonald’s, but their newest offering in Japan may make me want to reconsider: Carbonara Fries.

While the sauce isn’t the traditional version made with eggs and pancetta, the Japanese variation features a three-cheese blend made with milk, smoked bacon, and black pepper.

Not too long ago, McDonald’s Japan had a similar offering they called “Try [and] Pour Some Cheese Bolognese” which essentially had guests pouring a cheesy bolognese directly onto their fries. If this loaded fry trend continues in Japan, I’m anxious to see it potentially arrive in the United States.

I guess time will tell, but until then, Mcdonald’s Carbonara fries will be available at participating locations in Japan for a limited time.

Fast Food

McDonald’s Creates Halloween Version of Their Iconic Monopoly Game

Now that Halloween is approaching, McDonald’s has decided to put a seasonal spin on their beloved peel and play gaming system. While fans of the franchise are most familiar with the yearly Monopoly offering, McDonald’s has just launched a new Halloween-inspired variation they’re calling “Trick. Treat. Win!

The new game will also integrate with McDonald’s mobile app, sparing you from having to lug around a paper board to keep track of your progress.

There are two ways to play the game:

  • You can order your food at the restaurant and peel off the game pieces to reveal food prizes such as Big Macs, breakfast sandwiches, fries, McCafe beverages, or McFlurrys. You can also win non-food prizes like cash or gift cards.
  • If you didn’t win anything from the peel off portion of the game, you can redeem the pieces on the McDonald’s mobile app for “Entry Tokens” that let you enter a daily sweepstakes. The sweepstakes prizes include cars, resort vacations, theme park trips, and cash.

According to McDonald’s official rules, the odds of winning instantly are 1 in 4, though those are mostly food prizes. Probably won’t hold out for that car or resort trip, but I’ll be perfectly happy with an order of small fries to get me through my commute home.

The Trick. Treat. Win! promotion will be around through the end of October, with more details on how to play can be found here.

Design Fast Food

Students Pull Off Fake McDonald’s Ad Prank That Goes Viral

When I visit a McDonald’s, I usually don’t pay too much attention to the decor around the lobby of the restaurant. Pretty sure most people don’t either. Therein lies the magic of this viral Mcdonald’s poster “prank.”

Jevh Maravilla, a student at the University of Houston, created a fake poster with his friend Christian Toledo to hang on the wall of a local McDonald’s. What they didn’t expect, however, was that the poster would hang there unnoticed for 51 days.

In the behind-the-scenes video below, Maravilla reveals that they created the poster as a way to represent Asian-Americans in McDonald’s advertisements. The idea came as they noticed there were no Asians depicted in the store’s decorative images.

The process to hang the poster on the wall was pretty elaborate — from a campus photoshoot to editing realistic looking fries into the image. Maravilla even went out and bought a McDonald’s uniform so he could masquerade as an employee of the fast food chain while his friends hung the poster up.

For nearly two months, no one in the store took down the poster.

A noble goal behind a pretty hilarious prank. I wonder if the McDonald’s will just end up keeping this on their wall?

#foodbeast Cravings Features

Foodbeast Guide To 2018’s OC Fair Food

While I shed a tear for the beach bod I never really got this summer, I take solace in the fact that it’s fair season and I can just try again in the fall.

Yes, that means we’re ready to be buried in fried foods, sweets, and snacks, not unlike that kid from Kazaam.

On Friday, June 13, the Orange County Fair opened its gates to the public and we eagerly high-tailed it into the fairgrounds.

Returning are some all-star vendors like Chicken Charlie’s and Biggy’s — the Deep Fry King and Sultan of Turkey Legs, respectively, and they’ve added a handful of new items that had us wiping drool from our chins.

Check out all the new foods and returning favorites served that this year’s OC Fair. Just be sure to leave some time between snacking, for rides and games.

Deep Fried Filet Mignon (Chicken Charlie’s)

Photo: Peter Pham

This year’s star dish from Chicken Charlie’s booth is the deep fried filet mignon. Hulked out medallions are skewered together, breaded, and deep fried. Imagine eating chicken fried steak on a stick, because that’s essentially what this is. Just wish we had some sausage gravy to dunk those steaks in. Next year, Charlie.

Caramel Crack Fries (Biggy’s)

Photo: Peter Pham

I’ve always been a fan of the marriage between sweet and salty. Give me some kettle corn or a maple bacon donut and I’m a happy dude. Biggy’s new Caramel Crack Fries is a stunning example of sweet and salty that combines salty cinnamon sugar fries, a generous drizzle of caramel, whipped cream, and Fruity Pebbles cereal.

Deep Fried Pineapple (Chicken Charlie’s)

Many feel pineapple doesn’t belong on a pizza, but no one said you can’t deep fry it. Chicken Charlie’s is offering freshly sliced pineapples that are plunged into Charlie’s special pancake batter and dunked in a vat of hot oil — the origins of a delicious fruit-themed superhero.

Lasagna Nachos (Pignotti’s)

Photo: OC Fair

Looks like lasagna nachos are slowly making it into the mainstream and I’m totally on board with it. Pignotti’s version takes deep-fried pieces of lasagna noodles and douses them in a bed of rich marinara sauce before being introduced to a second friend…Mister Cheese Blanket.

Spicy Turkey Leg (Biggy’s)

Photo: Peter Pham

Hardcore carnivores will likely go straight for the massive turkey legs found at Biggy’s. This year, they’re trying something a little spicier with a Cholula hot sauce variation of the classic turkey leg. Don’t worry, you’ll still get the same smokiness and girth as a regular leg, just with a extra helping of heat.

Mermaid Floats (Candy Factory)

Photo: Peter Pham

Between all the salty meats and the scorching summer heat, you’ll probably want to track down something sweet and refreshing to cool off with. Candy Factory has a smorgasbord of floats named after mythical creatures, such as the Unicorn and Mermaid Floats. These multi-colored refreshers feature a sweet soda sprinkled stacked with rainbow toppings and a heap of cotton candy.

Ramen Burritos (Chicken Charlie’s)

Photo: Peter Pham

Another new addition to Chicken Charlie’s lineup are these chicken and shrimp ramen burritos. Ramen noodles and Funyuns are joined with Charlie’s savory grilled chicken or shrimp in a warm tortilla, offering a trio of textures. Charlie tosses the noodles in his famous House Maui sauce and some Sriracha for a gentle hit of flavor.

Spaghetti Donuts (Pignotti’s)

Photo: OC Fair

I never knew spaghetti could be enjoyed without utensils until I saw Pignotti’s spaghetti donuts. The noodles are formed using a donut mold and tossed into the deep fryer with the love of an Italian grandparent. Instead of glaze, they’re topped with traditional pasta sauces — pesto, Alfredo, carbonara, or marinara.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly (Biggy’s)

Photo: Oscar Gonzalez

It’s not really a trip to the fair without some bacon. Biggy’s bacon-wrapped pork belly serves guests a skewer full of bacon inception. The crispy cured strips are wrapped around hunks of tender Duroc pork belly and slow roasted. Bacon lovers will definitely want to zero in on this item.

If that’s not enough to whet your whistle, here’s everything else you need to keep an eye out for at this year’s OC Fair:

  • Ice Cream Tacos (Bacon A Fair)
  • Truffle Tots (Tater Twister)
  • Mac and Cheese Tots (Tater Twister)
  • Cheeseburger Tacos (Juicy’s)
  • Gouda Wontons (Pignotti’s)
  • Gouda Nachos (Pignotti’s)
  • Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches (Totally Baked Cookie Joint)
  • Big Skillet Cookie (Totally Baked Cookie Joint)
  • Bubble Waffle Cone Sundae (Fried Affair 2)
  • PBJ Sriracha Funnel Cake (Dutchman’s Funeral Cake)
  • Deep Fried Cheese Curds (Tasti Burger)
  • Chili Chamoy Candy Capple (Brander Candyland)
  • M&M Donut (Texas Donuts)
  • Unicorn Cotton Candy Donut (Texas Donuts)
  • Holy Coa’s Boba Tea (Pignotti’s)
  • Poke Bowls (Eddie’s)
Cravings Features Restaurants

Here’s Where These Pro Chefs Like To Eat After A Late-Night Shift

We’ve all had that late-night work shift that seems like it carries on for days. You know, the one where you end up so exhausted, that the thought of cooking dinner is simply not an option. When that happens, I have two go-to late night options.

The first is an In-N-Out Double Double with extra grilled onions, extra spread, and extra crispy fries. A tried and true fast food order. The second, if I’m too lazy to drive to In-N-Out, is breakfast at any 24-hour diner chain that serves eggs, bacon, and pancakes. I’m sure I’ve mentioned my love of breakfast at least once in these past six years.

That’s what a food writer’s go-to late night eats is. But have you ever wondered what professional chefs like to indulge in after a long dinner shift?

These nine amazing chefs from around the country share with us their favorite late night go-to’s.

Jason Fullilove (Barbara Jean| Los Angeles, CA)

Photo: Peter Pham

“In Mid-City, my go-to late night spot was El Carmen — great tequila and mezcal selection and tacos,” says chef Jason Fullilove of Barbara Jean LA. “If I feel like balling out I will take my staff to Pizzeria Mozza.”

Chef Fullilove also shares one of his go-to spots when he’s not on the clock.

“I live in Palms, a bit west of Culver City. I like to hit up Boardwalk 11, they have great burgers and will do them lettuce wrapped if you’re trying to cut weight!”

Eric Renz (Clinton Hall | New York, NY)

Photo: Andrew Werner

Chef Renz of NYC’s creative gastropub Clinton Hall says he always caps his nights at West Village’s Waverly Diner. There, he likes to order the Waverly Melt Sandwich which he pairs with a vanilla egg cream soda.

“The cheesy, greasy sandwich and the the slightly carbonated sweet egg cream always makes me feel genuine happiness after a night out.”

Tony Galzin (Nicky’s Coal Fired | Nashville, TN)


Photo: Danielle Atkins

Nicky’s Coal Fired is probably best known for their pizzas and pasta. Being around pies all day, chef Tony Galzin probably wants to end the night with something a bit different. His preference: fried buffalo wings.

 “They can’t be breaded or boneless though, and I’ll only eat them with traditional buffalo sauce. M.L. Rose in Nashville has the best buffalo wings in my opinion!”

Louis Tikaram (EP & LP | Los Angeles, CA)

Chef Louis Tikaram

Photo: Richard Guinto

EP & LP Asian restaurant and rooftop bar combines Thai cuisine with overtones of Chinese, Fijian, and Vietnamese fusion. The popular Los Angeles restaurant and rooftop bar is run by Australian native Louis Tikaram.

“My favorite late-night spot to take the EP crew post service is Ruen Pair in Thai Town,” the executive chef shares. “Its multi-region Thai menu is spicy, funky, and perfect with a cold beer after a busy week in the kitchen.”

Nick Korbee (Egg Shop | New York, NY)


Photo: Egg Shop

Chef Nick Korbee of Egg Shop in NYC is a man of two cities. Balancing his time between New York City and Los Angeles, Korbee has two late-night loves that he frequents.

“When in L.A., I can’t resist a late night danger dog. I’m not talking about a tourist trap spicy sausage. I’m referring to the bacon-wrapped version, grilled over a trash can on a steel plate.”

While in New York, however, he likes to indulge himself with a large slice of Sicilian pizza topped with tons of chili flakes.

Jeff Axline (Bobby Hotel | Nashville, TN)


Photo: The Bobby Hotel

You’ll find Chef Jeff Axline of the new Bobby Hotel, in Nashville located in Boutique Row, hunting down some spuds after a long shift.

“Any diner with good old-fashioned seasoned curly fries are my late-night staple,” says the executive chef of the boutique hotel’s Bobby’s Tavern. It’s as simple as that.

James Reamy (Meatzilla | Los Angeles, CA)


Photo: James Reamy

Chef James Reamy, known for slinging pizza-topped burgers to the hungry masses in Downtown Los Angeles, says that when he’s off from work super late and looking for cheap comfort food and alcohol, his favorite spot is Nodaji in Rowland Heights.

“It’s nothing special, you won’t see Jonathan Gold chillin’ there or kids who have Eater favorited on their web browser — how I usually like it.”

Reamy says he was introduced to Nodaji by a friend a few years ago and instantly fell in love with the place.

“It’s just a good low-key spot that serves casual Korean/Japanese food late and soju even later to the local community,” Reamy tells FOODBEAST. “They have these trashy bulgogi fries — crinkle cut, canned nacho cheese, you know the drill — that were actually the inspiration for the bulgogi fries I put on the menu at Meatzilla!”

Esther Choi (mŏkbar | New York, NY)


Photo: mŏkbar

Chef Esther Choi of NYC’s mŏkbar specializes in Korean cuisine with a modern approach. When she’s ready to unwind after a long shift or some drinks, however, she says not much holds a candle to Chinese food.

“Let’s be honest, nothing soaks up late night booze like Chinese food.”

Choi says that her favorite late-night spot is Wo Hop City in Chinatown.

Chef Dave Anoia  (DiAnoia’s Eatery | Pittsburgh, PA)


Photo: Hannah Schneider Creative

DiAnoia’s Eatery is an Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh that’s an Italian deli and cafe during the day and a full-on restaurant at night. Chef Dave Anoia, who’s also the owner of DiAnoia’s, likes to treat himself to a little fast food when he closes his doors for the evening.

“My go-to order is the Cheesy Gordita Crunch,” says Anoia who likes to hit up Taco Bell’s drive-thru. “It’s my ultimate guilty pleasure.”