#949 Ordering off the menu at fast food restaurants

McDonald's Neopolitan Shake

Ever had a neopolitan milkshake from McDonald’s?

One where they layer the chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavors in the same cup, creating a thick, icy, slow-moving light-brown-swirls-with-pink-flecks taste sensation? Yeah, my friend Chad was a regular customer of those. Of course, when he was working at McDonald’s he got sick of the regular menu pretty quickly and started tinkering in the back like a mad scientist with his coworkers, developing exotic, unstable, and unpredictable meal creations with the ingredients on hand. Yes, there were failed attempts, like the Chicken McNugget Flurry, but sometimes they struck gold and created a new off-the-menu line extension. I guess this is fairly common, because there are reports of online McDonald’s employee communities, where insider recipes such as the McBrushetta and McPancakeBatterFunnelCakes are shared.

Now, my world opened up when I first realized with Chad that you could order off-the-menu at fast food restaurants. Since that time I’ve learned about a few other secret options around. Like for instance:

Wendy’s – The Grand Slam. If the single, double, or triple hamburgers at Wendy’s just don’t cut it for you, just go all out and order the massive four-patty grand slam. Also known as the Classic Quadruple or The Meat Cube.Freshly squeezed and piping room temperature

McDonald’s – Fries with Big Mac Sauce. Lots of people put fries right on the burger, which I agree tastes delicious. But this technique allows you to switch things up a bit and put some of your burger’s best feature right on your fries. Try to ignore protests from your arteries, and just ask for that a little cup of Big Mac Sauce on the side for dipping.

Starbucks – The Red Eye. A cup of coffee with a shot of espresso dumped in. Now, I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but apparently you can even upgrade this to two shots which is called a Black Eye. I presume upgrading to three shots is called a Jumpy, Unblinking Eye.

Most Fish & Chip places – Batter Bits. I knew a girl who was all over these. She’d lean in and guiltily ask in a hushed whisper and the guy behind the counter would nod slowly and hand over a wet, greasy paper bag full of all the batter drippings that fell into the oil by accident. Yeah, this is the bottom of the barrel of off-the-menu stylings. It ain’t always pretty out there.

In N' Out's famous animal-style burger

In-N-Out Burger – Animal Style Hamburger. The well-known ‘secret menu‘ at In-N-Out features this heavenly gem — their regular burger patty cooked in mustard, then topped with extra pickles, extra spread, and grilled onions. Yessir, In-N-Out will whip anything up — including messy Animal Style Fries or even a 100×100 order (100 patties and 100 slices of dee-licious cheese.)

Subway – The Pizza Sub. Apparently this one’s like sasquatch. There are scattered sightings everywhere and a few grainy videos that may have been tampered with. Another favorite from Subway, though not technically a menu item, is simply ‘the old cut’, where they dig a trench in your bread instead of just slicing it, leading to better cold cut and veggie distribution. Also known for causing The Wing Effect, where your bologna hangs out the sides of your sandwich for some tasty pre-nibbles.

McDonald’s – Big Mac with Quarter Pounder patties. One last McDonald’s fixture — the ol’ bun-heavy Big Mac surgically altered to become a meat-heavy Big Mac with Quarter Pounder patties instead. Now you’re much less likely to get that dreaded All-Bun first bite.

Starbucks secret short cup

Starbucks – The Short Cup. Even though the smallest size on the Starbucks menu is a ‘Tall’, they do offer a secret ‘Short’ size behind the counter. Perfect for that between-coffee-breaks coffee.

Now, I’m only one man, so I’m sure there are hundreds of great off-the-menu gems that I’ve never heard of or know about. But that’s the beauty! There are all these little surprises just waiting to be discovered. What possible fast-food mouth love will we discover next?

Ordering off the menu at fast food restaurants is a great deal. Maybe you’re the loyal customer looking for that new taste. Maybe you have strict dietary restrictions so it’s either off-the-menu or no-menu-at-all. Or maybe you’re just a grumpy guy who makes flippant off-the-menu requests with a deep scowl and a foot-stomp.

But whatever the case, whatever your background, whatever your taste, I think we can all agree that it sure is nice getting a little something special for lunch now and then.


A 100x100 burger at In 'N' Out

Hey everyone,

Gretchen Rubin is a longtime friend and fan of 1000 Awesome Things and I’m excited to announce that she has an awesome new book out this week! It’s called Happier at Home and is a follow-up to her mega-bestselling book The Happiness Project which has been tag-team partner of The Book of Awesome on the bestseller lists for the past couple years.

To celebrate we’re giving away five copies of Happier at Home! Let’s pick a winner from the comments each day this week. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with one thing you do in your life that makes you happier. There’s no limit to entries! Just make sure you’ve got the correct email address so we can contact you if you win…

Good luck!


Photos from: here, here, and here

71 thoughts on “#949 Ordering off the menu at fast food restaurants

  1. I like to sit in “my chair” with the TV remote, a blanket draped over my lap, a remote to the living room ceiling fan and light combo, and everyone a in bed asleep. Then, I click my way to 300-channelbliss until I wake up at 3:00 am precisely and slog off to bed. It makes me happy!

  2. My happy thing… Getting a squish
    From my nephew whos 3. And when he says
    I love you! Added happy bonus:) it doesnt matter what mood im in, he can turn it around fast!

  3. I’m smack-dab in the middle of a divorce, and I have a 3-year-old son who’s also stuck in the middle. To make my home and my life, as well as his, just a little bit happier, we added a fun little game to our daily routine. No matter how busy or stressed I am, we sit down and cuddle, I tell him NOT to laugh and proceed to do any and everything I know will crack him up (he’s 3, doesn’t take much). We’ve both become so fond of our little game and both look forward to it. It’s at least 20 minutes of my day I know I’ll be smiling and happy, inside and out.

  4. Awesome thing in life:
    That first piece of popcorn you snag before you go inside the theatre, when the bag is sitting there on the counter by the cashier, overflowing with hot buttery popped corn, with even a few hanging off the edge by a corner. Those are the ones where you look around, make sure you’re descreet then quickly snatch it away and pop it into your mouth and just get a small yet satisfying burst of salty flavor. Mmmmm!!!!

  5. Baking cookies makes me/us/everyone happy! There’s singing, dancing, story telling and heart to heart sharing time. Inventing new recipes such as the Triple S cookies, which stands for Sienna’s Special Secret cookies, were created by my grand-daughter, Sienna. Most of the ingredients are secrets, but the special mini marshmallow, stands right out there center stage:) This week I a new birdnest was created with jam in the center of a peanut butter cookie! Sweet happiness happens while baking cookies…it’s a real nice way to-be:)

  6. Watching any of my treasured comedy dvds: Animal House, Spies Like Us, The Hollywood Knights, Vacation, Caddyshack, and any Marx Bros. Hey, what can I say, I love cheesy!

    1. For sure! Blast from the past, split belly every time, my fav. and it’s inter-generational hilarity too…de-light-ful!

  7. I wake up every morning to go to work knowing that despite all the hard work and the studying I’m still going through, my career choice was a good one after all :D

  8. Getting my puppy was one of the best things I could have done for myself. Coming home to her after a rough day is the best thing ever. She will always be happy to see me and cheer me up!

  9. Maybe sounds a bit selfish, but as a mom of 2 under 3, right now one thing that makes me happy is in the morning when my husband takes both kids downstairs and feeds them breakfast and I get 20 minutes to laze in bed or read. The day is so much easier when I get those few minutes to myself before having to get up.

    1. Oh, man! My dear husband does the same thing! It’s pure bliss NOT being responsible for anything other than me, if only for half an hour or so.

  10. Going outside to check or pick the tomatoes I grow in the summer! Or if it’s winter, dream about the tomatoes I’m going to grow in the summer!

    I loved The Happiness Project, can’t wait to read this one!

  11. I like to order salads at pizza places and I always ask for shredded pizza cheese on the salad – some of my favorite places do it automatically when I order there.

  12. I love the moment on Saturday mornings when, rather than rushing out the door, I sit down in the window seat with the newspaper opened to the Sudoku puzzle and a hot cup of coffee at my side.

  13. This made me really, really hungry. I’ve heard that In-N-Out Burger is the best fast-food joint in the universe, but I’ve never ever seen one. C’est la vie.

  14. Blowing Iridescent Bubbles always brings on a centered in the moment happiness.
    Iridescence is the colour of Faith.
    This wonderful past-time has also been known to bring relief to and even bring an asthma attack to arrest!
    Imagine blowing bubbles in the middle of congested traffic. During an argument or in front of a grumpy boss.
    Come rain, snow or shine, Oh so many awesomes can be found in blowing bubbles, anytime:)

  15. Neapolitan milkshakes! Seriously, they have an awesome memory of a friend who is long time gone now, but when “we” were just 12 yearsold, I’m certain she inventedwe them! Neopolitan milkshakes are the yummiest and remembering my brilliant best friend makes me smile, very happy!

  16. Big dinners with many guests, whether hosted or a Potluck, brings so much joy happiness!
    One of my favorites is Thanks Giving, with the leaves changing and the
    foods all being so fresh from local gardens at Harvest time. There are many happies within.

  17. When you’re going through something frightening and someone you know you can trust says, “*WE* are going to get through this”, and helps to plan.

  18. Fishing. Although catching is fun too, I don’t really care because being out there beside river or stream, or being on the water in my canoe; no noise-powered anything around, only the sounds of nature, animals and others enjoying their time, brings me great happiness!

  19. The sincere warm welcome, healing,feeling,love and intention for people, creatures and our planet; bannock with fresh huckleberry jam; dancing, singing, drumming, as well as the arts and crafts of a Pow wow brings me great happiness!

  20. We live in a small apartment, but when we get in each other’s way, we take advantage of the opportunity for a caress, a hug, or a smooch.
    We live in a shoebox, but it’s a loving, happy shoebox, so who cares!?

  21. One of my favorite things to do on a weekend is sit with my french press full of coffee replenishing my beautiful mug while I read through my favorite blogs.

  22. my family goes swimming, and I (the mom) bring a book. but whenever i actually do go in with them, it is a real family time.

  23. Making my bed in the morning. It makes me feel like I have some control in my life and that anything is possible!

  24. Long, hot showers are the perfect antidote to toxic days. Warm water on demand is a luxury my grandfolks didn’t enjoy and it’s one I don’t take for granted. So thankful for shampoo, liquid soap… and of course, electric heaters.

    Fresh and awesome!

  25. I bought a copy of your book, “The Book of Awesome” and I went to Staples and had it bound in spiral so I could leave it open and turn the page each day. It makes me happy.

  26. I play my piano. For years I’ve been trying to learn the guitar but could never attach myself to it. Then, my friend taught me how to play a song she wrote and since then I’ve been absolutely in love with the piano. I get this high that’s unlike anything I’ve ever felt!

  27. Thing that made me happy: having to take a thought patterns course in school! In the midst of dry topics I got a course so inspiring that it’s literally been changing my life!

  28. Figuring out where my spiritual beliefs lie has made me much happier! I was always a very spiritual person, left a religion and then stopped being spiritual. Now I realize that one needs spirituality to be balanced!

  29. One of the things I do each day to make me happier is read 1000 awesome things daily…they never fail to add a smile to my day!!

  30. hiking in the quarry at a geologic wonder. A huge glacial deposit of marble. So white and smooth it looks like a glacier! But it’s marble! AWESOME

  31. Every time i see my neighbor’s large black and white dog with shaggy fur it makes me smile. That dog is always happy and it is the only dog that my dog does not want to attack, another reason to be happy!

  32. I always order a Misto at Starbucks. Everywhere else in the world, this is a cafe au lait or cafe con leche, but Starbucks has to muck with the name AND leave it off the menu. The Genius though is that it works everywhere. I’ve even ordered this in Japan! This makes me happy. Oh, and so does reading your blog AND Gretchen’s! I think you’re both brilliant.

  33. Bruce Springsteen music. Seriously, have you all ever really listened to and heard the lyrics, the ballads, music, songs…the passion!!! He is healing and spiritually moving I tell you! Not just beautiful on the outside but his entire being! Every single album is a story for everyone, everywhere, as universal as love,play, a smile and and laughter, across the universe! Bruce Springsteen music and lyrics makes me very VERY happy!=))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

  34. I said, I hear flip phones are soon going to be obselete!
    Daughter rants, WHAT?! Naw way! That can’t be!!! Army and Navy always have them for about 5 bucks! I just can’t believe that! I’m going to have to go down there and buy a caselot to last me the rest of my life time because frankly I cannot live without my flip-flops!!!
    *Now this one was funny, but sometimes it can be more serious and even devistating to a relationship.
    A communication breakdown or misunderstanding being resolved/cleared up, brings great awesome happiness!

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