Now that the holiday season has ended, I'm reflecting on the many amazing foods I ate over the break. Since I traveled during the whole break, there really wasn't much time for grocery shopping or cooking, and sometimes, when stuck driving on super desolate roads, the only food options available were fast food, which I ended up eating maybe too much of. I'm not proud of this, but it led me to some stunning realizations. Often, I would have leftovers from a previous meal that I could mix in with the meal I was currently eating. Some of these creations were some of the best food ideas I've ever had. I want to share the five fast food mash-ups that I believe are worth trying from my travels. 

Zaxby’s Boneless Buffalo Wings & Taco Bell's Loaded Potato Griller

rice, shrimp, tacos, chicken
Tabatha Marks

For my first fast food hybrid, I decided to mix the tangy Tongue Torch Boneless Buffalo wings from Zaxby’s with Taco Bell’s Loaded Potato Griller. The griller is full of bacon, potatoes, cheese and sour cream. So, I thought the kick of the buffalo would sit perfectly in the wrap. And for any fellow ranch fans, pour a little of Zaxby’s ranch in it before re-wrapping the griller for a little extra creaminess. This combo was definitely the most exciting and bold-tasting of the mash-ups I created. The crunch of the wings fit perfectly in with the softer texture of the potatoes, while the creaminess of the sour cream and cheese accented all the flavors very well.

Chick-Fil-A Strips & Jimmy John’s Turkey Tom

fish, sandwich, chicken
Tabatha Marks

For my next creation, I decided to take a Jimmy John’s Turkey Tom and put Chick-Fil-A strips in the middle. With mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes and onions, I was ready to chomp on this glorious sandwich. Upon my first bite, I immediately loved the flavors that filled my taste buds. It was very similar to how a McDonald’s chicken sandwich would taste. If I were ever to add one sub to Jimmy John’s menu, it would be this beast; the taste is incredible and classic.

Five Guys' Hamburger & Moe’s Queso

Tabatha Marks

Fast food is notorious for epic burgers, and there is no better way to enhance Five Guys than to replace its cheese with Moe’s queso. I loaded my burger with onions, pickles, ketchup and mustard. After that, I drizzled some of Moe’s deliciously creamy queso on top. The first bite very much tasted like a normal cheeseburger, but with a gooey consistency at the top. However, the backend of the bite is when the Tex-Mex flavor of the cheese really came out, providing a much bolder flavor than the one a normal cheeseburger provides. My only recommendation (that I unfortunately missed out on) is to top the burger with Tex-Mex ingredients such as jalapeños, peppers and onions for a really great Mexican taste.

McDonald’s Fries & Wendy’s Chili

bacon, cheese, poutine
Tabatha Marks

Chili fries are an American classic, but not too many fast-food chains offer the famous dish. So, I decided to try to make it myself by pouring Wendy’s chili on top of some crispy McDonald’s fries. While this was a decent hybrid, it was definitely my least favorite of the five. The chili is a little too runny for the fries. A thicker chili or some cheese would really give this dish the necessary thickness it needs. Nonetheless, it is still a tasty unity of flavors.

Chipotle’s Barbacoa Bowl & Pollo Tropical’s Mojo Roast Pork TropiChop

fried rice, chicken, rice
Tabatha Marks

Finally, I combined two of my favorite chain’s bowls: Chipotle’s Barbacoa bowl, topped with mild salsa, corn and cheese, and Pollo Tropical’s Mojo Roast Pork bowl, topped with corn, onions and tomatoes. Together, the bowl tasted phenomenal and even better than the two dishes ever did independently. The proteins of both bowls complement each other perfectly, as they both hone in on a roasted Latin-inspired flavor. Of all the combinations, this one was definitely my favorite. The juiciness of the meat, smoothness of rice and freshness of all the ingredients provided a deliciously addictive flavor that left me pleasantly stuffed. 

It is crazy how well certain chains pair with others. I’m glad I accidentally slopped a bunch of food together this winter break, and after combining so many different fast-food dishes, I seriously cannot wait to create more hybrids. Each time I stop at a chain, I search its menu looking for something to pair with items on other menus. I have started a ridiculously delicious new hobby, and I definitely cannot get enough.