Five Really Cool Things I Heard While Camping Out For Free Chick-Fil-A

Far more than at other fast food places, amazing things happen at Chick-Fil-A. A worker may come by your table to refill your drink, as though you were at a sit-down restaurant. A worker may walk you to your car in the rain holding an umbrella for you.  People may start singing beautiful a cappella together.

The data that proves that Chick-Fil-A is on another planet as far as atmosphere and customer service is only surpassed by the thousands of stories people have told about the restaurant. The amount of videos and posts I’ve seen about it just on Facebook is astronomical. Their ‘Second Mile Service’ is legendary across the U.S.[1. I feel at this point my friend Josh Crowe would add that their mission statement is about glorifying God through stewardship and influence and doesn’t even include anything about making chicken.].


By 2011, I had lived in Chicago nine years. The city was different back then. The Cubs lost 91 games that year, in the middle of a five-year run of finishing 5th in the NL Central, and extended their World Series drought to 103 years. Richard Daley announced he would step down after over two decades years of being mayor. The phrase “Willis Tower” still tasted bad on the lips of many Chicagoans. 

And back then, if I wanted Chick-Fil-A I had to drive 53.6 miles to Racine, WI, to get it. And you better believe I did. Often with large groups of people. Back then I was a youth pastor and road trips to Chick-Fil-A were on the church calendar every year. I love the food more than anything not from Yvonne Cannon’s kitchen and I would do whatever I could to get it. I knew where every CFA was in the tristate area, down to exits on the interstate[2. The one off of Exit 172 at West Lafayette, IN is still my favorite one not located in or around Nashville.].

Then, around late 2010, it happened: After a massive grassroots movement on Facebook and YouTube to bring it to Chicago, a couple of them popped up in distant suburbs. And then—insert Hallelujah chorus—it was announced that a Chick-Fil-A was coming to downtown Chicago in June 2011. I knew about the promotion that the first 100 customers got free food for a year and that you had to camp out to do it.

And I did it. The idea of being one of the first 100 at Chicago’s very first CFA was more than I could stand. It started at 6 PM on Friday night and I got there three hours early. There was a raffle because there was far more than 100 people and they called my number (39) pretty quickly. And as I waited in line for 12 hours I discovered that even when you have to stay up all night to wait for glorious free sandwiches, CFA still has a way of amazing you. From the comments of owner Dan Cathy and the people around me, I realized just how special this place was.

Here are five things I heard that night that made me smile:


“My husband and I had a bet as to which would happen first…the Cubs winning the World Series or Chicago getting a Chick-Fil-A. Never bet on the Cubs.” [Lady in line ahead of me]

The Cubs finally cracked through in 2016. Chick-Fil-A won the race by over five years.


“I don’t care how much sleep you get tonight, if you’re married you better be nice to your wife tomorrow.” [CEO Dan Cathy]

I loved this. He is a businessman, but for this moment he was preacher and pastor to 100+ CFA addicts.


“I go to our restaurants and I get in line like everyone else, I order like everyone else and I pay like everyone else.” [Dan Cathy]

I could shed a tear every time I think of this. This past Sunday I preached from Philippians 2:1-11 and when I got to “Have this attitude in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being by very nature God, didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped,” I used this as an illustration. It is a Christian virtue.


“The CEO is at the corner of Wabash and Chicago in Chick-Fil-A pajama pants and a cow hat. He wasn’t kidding when he said they do things differently.” [Man at the table next to mine, when they fed us at midnight]

It should be obvious by now that Dan Cathy was the star of the night.


“I had to cover one of these things for another restaurant that offered a prize for the first 100, and when I showed up at 6:00 AM there were only 28 people in line.  So I shot the story, then got in line and got the prize. That never happens at Chick-Fil-A.”  [Undisclosed local TV station camera man]

The man made us promise we wouldn’t say who he was to anyone because he could get in trouble, and maybe the statute of limitations has passed. But I will keep my promise.


Truly an unforgettable night at an amazing place.


REO Top Ten: Pies

Thanksgiving may primarily be about a heart attitude, but is there any image we associate more with the day than food?  And is there any food other than turkey that we think about more than dessert? And is there any dessert we love more at Thanksgiving than pie?

With that in mind, REO had another round of voting with abrasive arguments, snide comments and manhood questioning. All over pie. Here are the ten that came out on top, in reverse order:

 10. Apple Pie

Gowdy and I had a hard fought battle over who would write a tribute to the goodly apple pie. In the end, I slew him with my gleaming scimitar and then ate some apple pie. Kidding. I didn’t slay him and I haven’t had apple pie in some time.

I have never made an apple pie, but I have had the honor and privilege of being on the receiving end of masters of the art of apple pie cookery. In my mind, there are few pies as American as apple pie. Maybe pumpkin, pecan, or cherry. For my money, though, apple pie beats out these worthy opponents as far as U.S. citizenship. The apple pie can be deserved in a variety of different and very delicious ways. I have personally had so many superb types and styles that it is difficult to say an apple pie absolutely has to be in such and such a way to be a work of art. Two things, however, I do consider crucial in all varieties of apple pie: 1) A good, substantial crust and 2) a side helping of vanilla ice cream. This second is an extremely important issue. There is no adequate substitute. Anything else is uncivilized and un-American. (Ben Plunkett)

9. Key Lime Pie

I will be the first to admit that Key Lime pie is not for everyone. Unfortunately, all great people and even great foods have their detractors. After all, many are called, but few are chosen. If you like a bit of sour with all that sweet then this is the dessert for you. That delicious graham cracker crust puts it over the top. If Key Lime pie is wrong then I don’t want to be right. (Mike Lytle)

8. Cherry Pie

Maybe apple pie is more “all American” but cherry pie tastes so much better that it should be the pie that represents our great nation in all international pie competitions. Nothing says THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA better than a homemade cherry pie with lattice crust cooling on the window sill of a little house out in the country. Topped with vanilla ice cream or even whipped cream cherry pie never disappoints. The awful 80s rock band Warrant named a terrible song (and album) after this great dessert but even that travesty could not ruin it for me. My only regret is that I did not fight harder to move this higher up on our list.  (Mike Lytle)

7. Snickers Pie

Snickers won our best candy bracket so the built-in taste of Snickers in anything is going to be gold. I didn’t grow up with it in pie form so for the last few years I have had to make up for decades of no Snickers pie. I often look for Snickers flavored anything when going to a place that offers deserts and I am often rewarded. So putting the best candy with one of the best forms of a dessert is a can’t miss. And it didn’t miss, landing in our Top Ten. (Gowdy Cannon)

6. Cheesecake

Back in 2016 I did a March Madness bracket on best dessert and cheesecake won. By a landslide. It dominated the field like the ’98 Yankees. The final score of the championship was 74-43. It was like watching Reagan vs. Mondale.

I heartily concurred with the result. Candy excluded, I don’t know that there is anything I enjoy more for the old sweet tooth than a well-done cheesecake. Having Eli’s and the Cheesecake Factory close to my Chicago address is sublime. Heck, I’ll even take the $8.99 version from Aldi. Cheesecake is that good.

True story: one of my friends that used to live in Chicago wept the first time she saw a cheesecake at Eli’s. Literally cried. I mean real tears, streaming down the face as if watching the Friends episode where Ross and Rachel break up. What more can you say for this dessert?  (Gowdy Cannon)

5. Peanut Butter Pie

I’ve always enjoyed Peanut Butter pie. I’m a big fan of pie and of peanut butter, so the combination of the two is right in my wheelhouse. That said, a few years ago, I was at my mother’s house and she had baked a pie earlier that day from a new recipe. It was a peanut butter pie with around half the sugar as the typical peanut butter pie. My mom is a great cook but I doubted that a pie with half the sugar would be something I would enjoy. I also was pretty confident it was another of my mother’s attempts to help me to do something about some of my baby fat that had proven dreadfully difficult to get rid of. [1. Side note: When baby fat hangs around for nearly 40 years, can we honestly still call it baby fat? I contend that’s a bit of a gray area.] My love of pie overruled my suspicion of my mother’s true motives and I ate the pie. After two pieces, I pushed away from the table with complete confidence that it was the best peanut butter pie I had ever tasted. (Phill Lytle)

4. Fudge


We were unable to find a volunteer to write the blurb for Fudge Pie, even though it finished in our top five. So, in place of another well-written, witty, and intelligent blurb, we are going to peel back the curtain and let you see how the sausage is made at REO. Here is a sampling of our discussion about who should write the blurb:


Mike Lytle: I like fudge pie alright but not enough to write a blurb for it. Who was pushing it during the bracket?

Ben Plunkett: Good question. I don’t even remember ever eating it.

Phill Lytle: Fudge beat out:

Banana Cream (1st round)
Strawberry (2nd round)
Peanut Butter (3rd round)

It lost to Pecan in the Final Four.

I’m pretty sure I voted for it in the first two rounds as I don’t like those other pies. I know I voted for Peanut Butter over it. (I was the only one evidently as PB lost 1-5 against Fudge in the elite 8.)

Ben Plunkett: What in the world was I thinking? Not only haven’t I tried Fudge Pie, I love Peanut Butter Pie.

after a few minutes of doing a bit more research on how the vote went down…

Phill Lytle: I was wrong. I voted for Fudge. I know why. At that time, I hadn’t tasted my mom’s Peanut Butter pie – which is far superior to any Fudge pie I have ever had. Ben, you voted for PB over fudge. You were the lone PB supporter.

Nathan Patton: FWIW (I don’t know if it’s already been mentioned, but I’m too lazy to check) today is National Peanut Butter Fudge Day… also National Absurdity Day, though that’s not as relevant… though maybe it is…


And there’s your blurb for Fudge Pie.

3. Chess Pie

Chess pie is above all the tired and mealy-mouthed protestations made by foodies, elitists, and health conscious. They decry its simplicity. They denounce its unashamed reliance on ingredients we have been told are no longer acceptable to a refined and mature palate. Chess pie hears their high-pitched, meddlesome squawking and rises above the fray. Chess pie hears the noise and responds with silence. Chess pie is itself the answer. Before its face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?

Check mate. (Phill Lytle)

2. Pumpkin Pie

This remains by far my favorite kind of pie. My love affair with this slice of lusciousness began with my mom’s masterpieces. These have yet to be beat in mine eyes. However, (and this an incredibly strong “however.”) there is something about any pumpkin pie when capably done that earns it this elite place on our list. That flawless blend of pumpkin and spices. That sweet, sweet ooze in the mouth. That harnessing in pie form of the fall and Thanksgiving spirit. Perfection. (Ben Plunkett)

1. Pecan Pie

A great pecan pie can be difficult to make.  Actually, I don’t know this to be true from first-hand experience.  I’ve learned it’s best to only be involved in the of eating of pies and not the process of making pies.  Which is fortunate for me because I get to reap the delicious rewards from excellent bakers like my wife and mother.  It’s also fortunate for the world because they are not subjected to my pitiful culinary creations.  Some of my baking attempts ended up as twisted monstrosities.  I’ve yet to see masses brandishing pitchforks and torches gathered outside my house, though the sight wouldn’t surprise me.  But I digress!  My taste buds tell me that not all pies are created equal.  Some varieties are better than others.  And even among a specific variety like pecan, some turn out superior to others.  They also inform me that when a pecan pie has just the right balance of taste, consistency, and sweetness then it’s the pie which all others look up to in envy!  Like so many things in life balance is the key.  “I am one with the Pie and the Pie is with me.”  “May the Pie be with you… always.” (Mark Sass)

The Five Best Reasons To Go To Peru

Warm hearted welcomes, the ruins of the greatest pre-Columbian Native civilization, sunsets on the beach, mountain hikes, and jungle adventures—these are all great reason to take to trip the heart of Spain’s former Empire in South America. As attractive as these may be, I offer five even better reasons to go to Peru. Because, after all, just about every country has nice people and cool things to see. Only Peru has:

1.   Lomo Saltado

This is the nation’s signature dish. It’s a beef stir-fry with tomatoes and onions, served over garlic rice and crispy fries. Just about anywhere you go, Peruvians know how to season this dish perfectly. It’s the perfect fusion of Latin American tastes like cilantro and garlic with soy sauce borrowed from Chinese immigrants. Perhaps even better is Lomo Saltado’s cousin Tallarin Saltado, which is basically the same stir-fry mixed with noodles instead of rice and fries.

2.   El Chicharron

Like so many words in Latin America Chicharron means something different everywhere you go. In Peru, it is not simply fried pork rinds, but rather the most delicious sandwich you’ve probably never tasted. It begins with crisping up some slow cooked pork belly, but the outcome is much more meat than fat. You place this bit of magic on a nice French bread roll along with some slices of boiled sweet potato. You have sweet, you have salty-fatty, and now it’s time for something bold: salsa criolla.

Salsa criolla is a condiment that’s ubiquitous in Peru and makes everything taste better. Criolla is thinly sliced red onion, cilantro, key lime, and some aji (spicy yellow pepper). Make sure whoever serves it to you applies plenty of the salsa on there. These three flavors placed in-between the French bread roll unite to form something truly special.  Peruvians eat it for breakfast, which sounds to me like the best way to possibly start your day.

3.   Tallarin Verde

The Chinese were not the only immigrant population to make Peru taste better. The Italians brought pesto and Peruvians perfected it. Peruvian pesto is creamy, making genius use of traditional Latin American cheese, queso fresco. You can find generous portions of Tallarin Verde at just about any Menu del Dia restaurant where it is served with a thinly pounded, breaded chicken breast cutlet and salsa criolla. If you are lucky, you may even be able to get an over-easy egg on top to make your pasta sauce even more incredible.

4.   Empanadas

Sure, these are not unique to Peru, but Peru does them better than anyone. (I mean, my Peruvian wife does them better than anyone.)  Sometimes on the street, you can find some pretty subpar empanadas in Peru, but you don’t have to look hard to find a good bakery or sandwich place that makes the empanadas that will change you life. A beautiful little pastry with ground beef, onions, and olive inside. What makes Peruvian empanadas so unique is that they are savory but sprinkled with powered sugar and garnished with key lime. The result is a great flavor combo that makes a great snack.

5.   Anticuchos

One of the best foods in any country is usually grilled meat on a sick. This is certainly true of Peru. Anticuchos are made with beef heart, which has a texture that is a cross between tenderloin and calamari. Peruvian Anticuchos are marinated in vinegar, cumin, garlic, and chilies. They are a tangy and succulent street food that is often served over crisped-up slices of boiled potato. Although just about all Peruvian food boasts bold flavors, Anticuchos are a delicious cut above.

Easter Poll: What Is Your Favorite Easter Food?

Eating is fun. Food is good. Is there anyone out there that is going to argue with those two statements? As Americans, we love to eat. We will use any event as an excuse to eat. Here at REO, we respect and honor that tradition. So, in light of our shared love of food and eating, we have prepared a poll to determine the most important part of the Easter dinner. Every family will have its own unique spin on what you eat at Easter, so in an attempt to keep this as simple as possible, we have decided to use the most common dishes found in Easter dinners all over the country. You only get one vote. Vote for your favorite. Some of the options are as general as possible to include the most possible responses. See “potatoes” for instance. If you have a specific potato dish that is your favorite, vote for “potatoes” and then post your dish in the comment section. If you can’t find any option that works for you, select “other” and explain your selection in the comment section. If that is too difficult for you, then you are very lazy.

Let’s hear it people! What is your favorite part of the Easter dinner?


Favorite Easter Dinner Food

View Results

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500 Words or Less Reviews: The Jack in the Box Taco

Dear Jack in the Box,
Your tacos are cheap and delicious. Never change them.

Now, I hear the precious foodies sputter and stammer, as they shudder in disgust at the description of the aforementioned tacos. “They are loathsome!” they bemoan. “How dare they call these monstrosities food?” they rage. I have no problem admitting that the Jack in the Box tacos leave something to be desired from a purely aesthetic perspective. They are rather ugly. I would even go one-step further and posit that broken down into each ingredient, these tacos should not work. Allow me to elaborate.

Examine the shell. It is a corn-like substance that is one part hard as a rock–risking dental injury if you bite down too aggressively–and one part oily mess. Typically, I avoid foods that are dripping in grease and this taco is a major offender in this regard. Somehow, on the Jack in the Box taco, the grease is inviting and seductive. It is a siren call that unexpected pleasure is waiting just inside the soft and soggy center. I have repeatedly succumbed to the call and am not remotely ashamed.

Next, consider the “meat.” We are all adults here, so I will be as frank as possible: I am dubious of Jack in the Box’s claim that there is any meat in this substance. At my most generous, I can only call it a brownish paste. I say brownish because I rarely even see the “meat” when I am shoveling one of them in my mouth. The deep fried, hard and soggy shell does a fantastic job of hiding the meat from plain site. From a biological standpoint, I believe that Jack in the Box uses this meat paste in an effort to assist in the digestive process. The meat paste needs no additional digestion to work its way through the body.

Finally, we have the toppings: American cheese, lettuce, and sauce. American cheese is the Ringo Starr of cheese. Yes, we all know who he is. We hear him play on most Beatles’ songs. Yet, nobody loves Ringo. He’s just there. It is pretty clear the shredded lettuce comes from scraps they use for other food items, tossed on the tacos to make them appear a little more legitimate. And the sauce is just their pre-packaged taco sauce–mostly bland and innocuous.

Based on this description, you would think the Jack in the Box taco is unpalatable. You would be utterly mistaken. The disparate ingredients, all more unbecoming and repulsive than the last, form a scrumptious and supremely satisfying delight.

Jack in the Box; do not bend to modern whims. Do not attempt to “jazz” up your taco recipe. Do not make it healthier by using fresh ingredients. Flee from any requests to take it off the menu because it is probably killing people. A death by the Jack in the Box taco would be a worthy death.

Long live the Jack in the Box taco!

The Top Ten Cereals of All Time

We love cereal. When you read the blurbs below you will come upon descriptions that compare eating a bowl of cereal to heaven or angels singing. We stand by those descriptions completely and feel no shame in how absurd they might seem to others. To us, cereal is one of the great inventions of mankind. It is efficient, cheap, flexible, and above all else, ridiculously tasty. This Top Ten was a labor of love, with intense debate, robust disagreement, and a shared sense of profound duty. We did not take our charge lightly. We never do. We spent countless hours crafting and forming this list for you, our dear readers. We hope that perhaps, one day, when you are part of a conversation that turns to the world of cereal, this Top Ten list will be a light and boon to bolster your position in the debate. So, read on friends and enjoy a bowl of your favorite cereal in honor of this momentous occasion. We proudly present to the world The Top Ten Cereals of All Time!

original-crunch10. Cap’n Crunch

O Captain! my Captain! our tasty trip is done,
Your crunch has weather’d every bite, the prize I sought is won,
The end is near, the slurp I hear, the taste buds all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady spoon, the final bite is nearing;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the sweetened drops of dairy,
Where in the bowl my Captain lies,
Extraordinary.[1. Inspired by the classic Walt Whitman poem “Oh Captain! My Captain!”]

– Phill Lytle

honey_smacks9. Honey Smacks

Puffed wheat covered in sugar. What could possibly be wrong with that? Honey Smacks has so much sugar per serving that Consumer Reports recommended that parents find an alternative cereal for their children. Look, I get trying to be healthy and all that, but cereal is not a health food. And cereals that are really healthy taste like dirt. Or worse. Parents just need to step up and actually parent: Don’t let your kid eat ONLY Honey Smacks. After doing some research for this blurb, my respect for Honey Smacks has increased tenfold. They haven’t succumbed to the “healthification” movement that has plagued our great nation. No, they still have way too much sugar in each serving. They still feature a weird frog as their spokesperson. The only thing that could improve their standing in my eyes is to change their name back to Sugar Smacks and just embrace the fact that one serving of their glorious sugar covered wheat puffs contain as much sugar as a glazed donut. – Phill Lytle

trix8. Trix

You know that silly rabbit, the one whose always trying to get a bowl of Trix only to be foiled by pesky kids? My heart aches for him. Do they think Trix are just for kids? I think not. Me and the silly rabbit, we’re bros, we’re pals. Trix, the object of our great desire, first popped onto the scene in 1955 and have since popped their lasting iconic stamp on the breakfast cereal world. While not my personal veeeery favorite of the many outstanding cold cereals out there, it is a very worthy addition to our apex of cereal greatness. I don’t know about y’all, but these fruity balls of deliciousness have an open invitation to my breakfast bowl today and forevermore! Don’t you worry none, silly rabbit, you’ll foil them pesky kids one day. – Benjamin Plunkett


post-cocoa-pebbles-cereal-11-ounce-boxes-pack-of-4-0-07. Cocoa Pebbles

The voters who were most passionate about Cocoa Pebbles were too lazy to write a blurb for it. We gave it a really small picture as well because…laziness. –


screen-shot-2015-07-31-at-11_29_35-am6. Lucky Charms

This cereal has captivated me since the 80s. And like many classic cereals, it had some rad commercials back in the day. I mean, that Lucky the Leprachaun was such a rascal, trying to keep his delicious blend of toasted oats and marshmallows away from those kids. What a selfish jerk!  And who could forget those epic moments when Lucky Charms shocked the Saturday morning cartoon crowd with new marshmallows?!?!?  I remember being totally blown away when they added the red balloon. Like, “Let’s miss the rest of Thundercats and run to the Turbeville IGA right now and get some” excited. And then, they added the yellow star inside the red balloon!  A MARSHMALLOW INSIDE A MARSHMALLOW.  HAVE WE DIED AND GONE TO CEREAL HEAVEN?  For real, who were these wizard level magic marketing geniuses? Thirty years later they still have me hooked, and thanks to YouTube, I’m just a click away from hearing those nostalgic words that deeply altered my childhood: Frosted Lucky Charms, They’re Magically Delicious! – Gowdy Cannon

81gmr7fqgol__sy679_5. Peanut Butter Crunch

I did no research for this blurb (see my previous blurb on Honey Smacks for a blurb chock full of research). I wanted to write this one from the heart. When I take a bite of PBC, my soul smiles. The crunchy, peanut buttery goodness explodes in my mouth like the singing of a thousand angels. It is one of the few cereals that retains its crunch throughout the entire bowl. No soggy nonsense for PBC! In a world of chocolaty and fruity flavors, PBC blazes its own trail with its own unique peanut butter flavor. There are some that don’t like peanut butter flavor very much and therefore reject PBC. It would be wise to question their judgment and sanity. PBC is sweet enough for kids to enjoy and tasty enough for grown men to savor. PBC is a joy to eat each and every time. Down with the haters of all things peanut butter and up with Peanut Butter Crunch! – Phill Lytle



4. Froot Loops

It is usually the case that the most iconic cereals have the most memorable commercials. That is why old Toucan Sam (“Follow my nose! It always knows!”) is always synonymous to Fruit Loops to me. And I’ll tell you something else, he’s trustworthy that old bird. The nose surely does know in this case. Thank you, John Kellogg for giving us many years of doughnut-shaped fruit-flavored joy. Thank you for these crunchy rings of truth…yes, they ring true. You have earned a place on the Christmas card list of our hearts and a spot on this here Rambling Ever On Top Ten list. And Sam, may your nose ever know..and grow and glow…and stuff. – Benjamin Plunkett



3. Frosted Flakes

Dr. John H. Kellogg invented Corn Flakes in 1894. They had a terrible taste, but a lot of things were terrible in 1894 so people did not seem to mind. It took another 58 years and two world wars for the fine folks at Kellogg’s to realize that by coating their corn flakes with sugar the taste would be greatly improved. Sugar Frosted Flakes were born in 1952 and the world has never been the same. They removed the word sugar from the name in 1983 so now they are simply known as Frosted Flakes. Thankfully they did not remove any actual sugar from the product so they are still delicious. It also doesn’t hurt having the greatest product spokesman in the history of cereal. Tony the Tiger has convinced generations of children that Frosted Flakes are indeed Gr–r–reat! – Michael Lytle


2. Apple Jacks

There are plenty of cereals that are shaped like the letter “O”. None of them are as delicious as Apple Jacks though. This cereal was invented by an MIT professor and he put his vast brainpower into creating something unforgettable. What sets Apple Jacks apart from all its “O” shaped cereal brethren? Many have speculated that it is the slightly darker flecks of flavor in each Jack. Are those flecks bits of real apple? Maybe. Others have theorized that the flecks might be angel tears or perhaps even the shavings off of the horn of a unicorn. Whatever they are we are thankful for them this holiday season. – Michael Lytle



1. Cinnamon Toast Crunch

CTC is the Elvis of breakfast cereals.  It’s the 1972 Dolphins.  I have never seen it beaten in a tournament.  I’m sure it has happened but I have participated in or observed at least 10 cereal tournaments and it is undefeated.  A friend in Virginia says the same thing.  It’s the undisputed champion of this category to me.  There’s not much you can about it that isn’t obvious; that’s part of the beauty of the draw to it.  They took sugar and cinnamon and made it into a cereal.  No Toucan Sam or Dig Em or Silly Rabbits or Snap or Crackle or Pop.  No timeless commercials.  No convoluted jingle.  Just two main ingredient that cause many people to describe this cereal as you would a drug.  More than any other cereal, I can put down half a box without thinking by eating it out of the box with no bowl or no milk.  And I am definitely a bowl and milk guy.  But CTC is special.  And I can’t see it being anywhere on this list other than #1.  Long live the King. – Gowdy Cannon




“It’s all about that taste.”

We have all heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Generally this saying is accompanied by a lecture, article or news story reminding us of the importance of eating a healthy meal in the morning to provide energy and help speed up metabolism. I am not here to lecture you so this is definitely not that type of article. Today we are only concerned with taste. Consequently everything on our list will be bad for you.[1. I don’t actually know if these items are bad for you because, once again, this article is about taste.]

This list contains the five best breakfast sandwiches served at nationwide fast food chains. This leaves out many great local places that serve amazing breakfasts, but since our audience is global we want to include places that many of you could reasonably visit without having to travel to another city, state or country. I’ve also only included standard menu items. I would hate to list something here and get your hopes up only to dash them because the restaurant only served the item for a limited time. In order to add some variety, I have decided not to include any restaurant more than once on this list. Enough preliminaries, let’s get this party started.

5. Chicken Bacon Sandwich – Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts is primarily known for two things. 1. Having coffee that is not as good as Starbucks, and 2. Having donuts that are not as good as Krispy Kreme[2. I don’t drink coffee but my wife assures me this is true. I do eat donuts though so I know about the superiority of Krispy Kreme from personal experience.] Thankfully, they now have a line of hot and delicious breakfast sandwiches and this is probably the best of the bunch. A chicken breast topped with bacon and cheese and served inside a flaky and buttery croissant. What could be better than that? Well, four things actually . . .

4. Sausage McMuffin with Egg – McDonalds. The Egg McMuffin came first, but when McDonalds upgraded that thin piece of ham[3. Or Canadian bacon for the sophisticated among you.] with a delicious sausage patty they changed everything. The crispy English muffin and griddle fried egg make it different than most other breakfast sandwiches. Other fast food joints have tried to duplicate it and failed miserably[4. I’m looking at you Jack in the Box and Burger King!] Too bad McDonalds doesn’t serve this all day[5. In some parts of the country they do serve this all day, but for some reason the McDonalds in the Middle Tennessee area refuse to do so. If you live in a part of the country (or world) where McDonalds serves this item all day then you are indeed blessed.]

3. Steak Breakfast Crunch Wrap – Taco Bell. Many of you are wondering if you should finish reading this since I am recommending something from the Taco Bell breakfast menu. Please bear with me. While Taco Bell still struggles with many of their breakfast items, they hit a home run with this one. Putting a hash brown inside a breakfast sandwich was a bold move. Combining it with steak, egg and cheese took it up a notch, but placing all of that in a delicious tortilla and having it shaped like a hexagon seals the deal. At least for me it does. I never knew geometry could taste so good!

2. Country Fried Steak Biscuit – Hardees.[6. This may also be available at Carl’s Jr. in the western part of the United States. They have most of the same items, but I did not find it on their menu when I looked online so I only listed Hardees.] The biscuits are made from scratch daily, and you can taste it. The country fried steak has a wonderful peppery flavor that keeps you coming back for more. You can even add egg and/or cheese to this if you are feeling especially adventurous, but to be completely honest this sandwich is perfect the way it is. The greatness of this sandwich even overcomes Hardees’ terrible commercials. It is so good in fact that I debated placing it at number one, but it was just barely beat out by . . .

1. Spicy Chicken Biscuit – Chick Fil A. The actual biscuit is not quite as good as Hardees, but still extremely tasty. The hunk of spicy chicken they put on here is the real show stopper though. I could talk about their friendly service or how quickly they move people through long drive thru lines, but as I promised this article is all about taste. Chick Fil A has mastered the art of making a wonderful chicken sandwich and have transferred that knowledge to breakfast. Adding a spicy kick to what they do is so good it should be illegal.

Did I miss any great options? Let me know and I will go try them immediately. This website gives me a pretty sizable breakfast stipend so money is no object! If you disagree please remember that these are the opinions of a solitary man living in a messy apartment that may or may not contain a chicken.


The Rambling Ever On Top Ten: Candy

We at Rambling Ever On are not immune to chocolaty decadence, nor are we safe from the siren call of fruity goodness. When candy of any form calls, weeeeeeeell, we hearken and obey. I tell you, son, we gots to have something for that old sweet tooth whenever it beckons. But we do have our favorites. And you know how it is with us, we’re obsessed with making rankings of our favorite stuff. So what we have here for you, my friends, is a list of not one, not two, not three or four, not even 11 or 12, but 10—10!—of our favorite delicacies in the candy kingdom. We hope that this pays adequate homage to what we consider the greatest sweet things of all time! (Ben Plunkett)


10. Reese’s Nutrageous

Reese's-NutRageous-SmallWhile they are certainly not as well-known as the other choices on our list, Nutrageous is a worthy addition and definitely belongs on any list of the best candies. Nutrageous combines the best elements of Payday, Twix, and Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups into one delicious candy experience. If you have never tried one please stop reading this and head to your nearest candy retailer immediately! (Michael Lytle)


9. Almond Joy

Almond-Joy-Wrapper-SmallThe name says it all. It has almonds. And joy. What more could you want? Oh, you want more? Ok. Fine. Well, it has chocolate. That’s pretty awesome by itself, but combined with almonds and we’re talking about a taste explosion. But that’s not it. Not even close. It also has coconut. Stop it, Almond Joy! It’s too much goodness. Almond Joy sees and hears our pleas, so it comes in two smaller sized bars in each package. You eat one, pass out in some sort of happiness-induced coma, wake up a few hours later–and then eat the other one.  (Phill Lytle)


8.  Zero

Yeah, Zero is a wonderful thing.
In fact, Zero is my hero!”

Zero-Wrapper-SmallThe ZERO candy bar is the oldest candy in our list (introduced in 1920) and remains, to this day, one of the most unique candy bars available. The name is derived from “cool as zero degrees.” It was marketed as a refreshing summer treat because its white fudge coating has a much higher melting point than the milk chocolate of most other candy bars. Underneath the delicious white fudge is a layer of caramel over a mixture of almond nougat and peanuts. The white fudge obviously makes the ZERO bar visually distinctive, but the almond flavor (a favorite secret ingredient in many of my grandmother’s dessert recipes) in the nougat is, in my opinion, what makes the ZERO bar the best tasting candy bar available.

“Et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad astra, forever and ever,
With zero, my hero, how wonderful you are.”[1. My Hero, Zero by Bob Dorough, performed by Schoolhouse Rock, appears on the album Multiplication Rock (1973)]

(Nathan Patton)


7. Skittles.
Skittles-Wrapper-SmallLook, the commercials are insane and actually seem like they are trying to get people to NOT buy the product. Yet somehow, those little rainbow colored candies overcome that marketing stupidity and remain relevant and awesome. Chocolate wins the day in most of the Best Candy tournaments, and the market is flooded with more and more chocolate bars, candies and whatnot. But Skittles is brave enough to change the game. No chocolate. No nougat. No peanut butter. Only fruit flavors and copious amounts of sugar. Taste the rainbow indeed. (Skittles would like to remind everyone that one serving of Skittle contains 64% of your daily Vitamin C. Can you say “Health food”? No. No you can’t. Nice try though Skittles.) (Phill Lytle)


6. Kit Kat:

KitKat_MilkChocolate1My wife working out six days a week, eating ‘clean’ and not nagging me has really improved the way I eat. However, I will never forget the look of horror on her face the first time I bought an eight pack of Kit Kats. It wasn’t that I purchased them so much as that I planned to eat all of them in one sitting. To paraphrase Brian Regan, I can eat Kit Kats by the sleeve. So when I feel the need to be given a break, I don’t reach for the football cream or the Fancy Feast. I reach for chocolate plus wafers plus Van Damme plus immaculate deliciousness. And most of my cohorts agree, making it one of our Top Ten candies of all time.  (Gowdy Cannon)


5. Plain M&M’s

im-mmsMaybe it is their small size, but these wonderful candies are often overlooked in favor of Peanut M&M’s. Let’s be honest, though, do we really want to promote a candy that contains an ingredient that can kill millions of Americans? From the extensive research we have done, nobody is allergic to Plain M&M’s. The simplicity of chocolate covered in a colorful candy coating is hard to top. If these are good enough for Tattoo on Fantasy Island, they are good enough for me. (Michael Lytle)



4. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Reese's-PB-Cups-Wrapper-SmallIt is no coincidence that three of the top five candy bars in this list involve the beauteous fusion of chocolate and peanuts in some way. Peanuts and chocolate is the world’s best combo. Josh wrote his blurbs before me and stole the perfect analogy of marriage. He stole it from us, my precious. Blast! Marriage is a really great way to describe the holy union of chocolate and peanut. But it isn’t the only way. I shall liken it to the unity of body and soul with the subtle chocolate exterior being the body and the delicious peanut buttery innards being the soul. And also it is truly my soul mate. With RPBC by my side, my heart will go on. I absolutely love several other treats on this list, but I gotta be honest about that. (Ben Plunkett)


3. Twix:

240px-Twix-Wrapper-Small“They were all Twix!! It was a set up!!”  And with those 9 words, George Costanza involved one of the greatest candies ever in one of the funniest TV moments ever. But make no mistake, Twix gets props on its own for its milk chocolate and caramel and being the only candy bar with the cookie crunch.  My pastor regularly buys me Twix and leaves them in my mailbox at church, not just so he can quote Seinfeld, but because he knows I love them things. I love them so much he bought me three feet worth of them for Christmas! And I’m telling you, if I saw one dangling in the machine and I got myself a freebie, I’d totally take it. If it’s good enough for Kip, Ned, or Mo (short name), it’s good enough for me.   (Gowdy Cannon)


2. Peanut M&M

220px-Candy-Peanut-MMs-Wrapper-SmallDeep in the heartland of Georgia a farmer plucks a shell covered legume from a plant. The peanut; not a pea, nor a nut, it’s nature’s utility food. Far, far away in the Amazon basin a tree grows that bears a fruit full of seducing power. The cocoa bean; nature’s crack rock. These two are combined in many forms of matrimony, but none, none I say, are as pure and refined as that of the peanut being covered by a thin shell of chocolate. By the handful or by the bag, these snacks are so much more than just junk food. They’re the convergence of two great individual ingredients into one perfect marriage.  (Josh Crowe)


1. Snickers

Snickers_wrappedI have already expressed my undying love for RPBC. However, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the classic of classics. It truly deserves this spot. And there is a reason this classic is at the apex of candy bar greatness. It is the royalty of chocolates, the king of candies, the duke of delicious, the knight of nougat. So graceful and refined is it that Mr. Pitt deigned to eat it with a knife and a fork. Yet it is so potent that it is reputed to possess eagle powers. One thing is undeniable: It truly satisfies. Plus it gives us an excuse to say nougat, itself one of the greatest words ever. Nougat. (Ben Plunkett)