5.031 Baconator Mushroom Melt

Cycle 5 – Item 31

5 (Wed) February 2014

Baconator Mushroom Melt


at Wendy’s

(Robinsons Place)

-Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-


Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place (11) (see also TERRP).

In Manila through October under my current consultancy contract with WHO, living above Robinsons Place, I’m eating my way through all the restaurants in the mall.

This branch on the 1st floor, another branch is located on the 4th floor.

Wendy’s is an American fast food chain.  Founded 1969 in the USA.  Currently with about 7,000 locations across the globe, including a million in the Philippines, Wendy’s is world’s the third largest chain, after McDonald’s with 31,000 and Burger King with 12,000.  Nothing special, no signature items, except the square patty.  Supposedly named after the founder’s daughter Wendy, even though her name was actually Melinda Lou.

Notice the sign promising “Biggie Blow Out”: 2-for-1 fries/drink.

When I was in high school at Seoul International School (1987-1991), we had a Wendy’s in the cafeteria instead of a standard food service.  And I don’t mean just Wendy’s products prepackaged and ready-to-go, I mean an actual restaurant right there on the premises, with the uniformed employees and the signage and the backlit menus and the grills and the soda fountains and everything.  One good thing about Wendy’s, the only thing, compared to other fast food chains, was that it had a slightly broader choice of items, beyond burgers, such as baked potatoes and salads.  Estimating 36 weeks in an academic year, 144 weeks in 4 years of high school, about 4 times a week – maybe more, but accounting for truancy, illness, field trips, away games (sports), the occasional brown-bag – that’s 576 lunches at Wendy’s.  I can’t recall thinking that eating fast food everyday was a bad idea, such were the times.

Tonight was the first time that I’ve eaten at Wendy’s since graduating high school in May 1991.

The Baconator Mushroom Melt is a Wendy’s burger.  2 beef patties + 2 slices of cheese + mushrooms + bacon + kaiser roll.  246 pesos for just the burger, 298 pesos with drink and fries.

Point-of-sale marketing: actually, this ad is what had caught my attention – not that it looked good, quite the opposite – but I ordered the wrong item.  Funny that they’re proud of “100% imported beef.”
Point-of-sale marketing: this kind of promotional tie-in is dangerous, which is why t-shirts with Joe Camel and the Marlboro logo are largely banned in tobacco legislation around the world.

Terrible.  Just 1 slice of processed American cheese on one layer and cheese sauce on the other.  The mushrooms were from a can, which can be okay sometimes – say, in a Chinese stir-fry – but here, buried under everything else, they didn’t taste like anything and just felt kinda rubbery.  The beef patties were totally dry, like square meat bricks.  And after a few bites, the bun began to crumble.  No matter, because I was sick of it by that point and put it down, good riddance.

All You Can Eat is a food program on the History Channel.  Each episode of AYCE focuses on some type of food (e.g., desserts) and goes around the United States to showcase restaurants that are famous for it.

Generally, although I do love cooking programs more than anything, I hate programs about restaurants – what’s the point of looking at other people eat food that I’ll probably never get a chance to experience myself?

I don’t really watch the program.  Beyond the content, the host is a total dweeb, one of those comedians who tries to be funny in obvious ways, like with silly facial expressions.  But I’ve caught a couple episodes because my TV is set to the History Channel.

OVER 350 LBS EATS FREE – this is outright mean/cruel/spiteful/malicious/obnoxious; for this reason alone, I would never ever set foot in this restaurant.

In the episode on EXTREME FOODS, the first segment features Heart Attack Grill, a burger joint in Chicago.  The gimmick, not so much tongue-in-cheek as in-your face, is that everything is medically themed: the servers are dressed as nurses, the cooks as doctors, the customers as patients, and the signature item is the Quadruple Bypass Burger.  Frankly, I don’t think that a four-patty burger would taste very good; at that point, it’s just a big pile of ground beef.

I would actually like to taste the Flatliner Fries – “fried in pure lard” – maybe just a handful.

What I found so disturbing is the perverse pleasure that the host, and presumably the audience, takes in such disgusting, unhealthy behavior.  This kind of food, even without going to the extremes, just a single patty at a time, once a day, everyday -like, say, for lunch throughout high school – is hurting people.  Why be so proud of it?  In fact, the founder of Heart Attack Grill famously died of a heart attack last year, a point that the host mentions with glee, like a punchline.  I mean, imagine a program that shows heroin addicts shooting up with a shared needle, or bulimic teenagers binging and purging themselves, and then laughs at them and applauds them and encourages them.  Obscene.

(See also FAST FOOD)



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