3hree Things: Riley vs. the Carl's Jr. Loaded Burrito

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, in which Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.

In an effort to regain whatever 3hree Things mojo I had prior to my hiatus, I started perusing some old columns to see which ones you guys enjoyed, which ones were out-and-out duds (you know, the ones on this music blog that were actually about . . . uh . . . music), and which ones were semi-entertaining without me having to resort to describing the genitalia of actors from '90s sitcoms or sharing YouTube clips of apes forcing amphibians to fellate them in front of horrified children at a Hawaiian zoo. It didn't take long for me to stumble across the column from November about my losing battle against the McRib.

I'm no Adam Richman of Man vs. Food. I'm just a fleshy pile of gastrointestinal uncertainty that is willing to take a food bullet for his readers. Sir Shartsalot vs. Mouth Garbage? Mr. Tum Tum vs. Unhappy Meals? Captain SadFanny vs. Gutbusters?

Without further ado, let's eat some garbage!


1) The Mission

As I mentioned in the column about the McRib, I'm not much of a fast-food fan, save a few emergency meals on tour, and since Carl's Jr. is primarily a West Coast chain, it's really never been a part of those emergency I've-been-in-transit-for-14-hours-and-ended-up-in-a-strange-midwestern-town-and-will-pass-out-if-I-don't-eat-something-right-this-second meals. And thanks to an ad campaign centered on scantily clad women, the generalization that all men are culinarily challenged, the presumption that all humans eat like slobs, and the belief that one should pile as much random greasy shit in between two buns as possible (The Pimento Loaf, Head Cheese, & Turkey Bacon Stork Burger with Bee Penis Chipotle Ginger Ranch, and Chedderella Jalapeño Popper Pepper Jack), I've managed to resist even the slightest temptation to indulge in the sort of  alcohol-fueled/judgement-impaired Western-Bacon Cheeseburger-at-11-p.m. face-stuffing that folks are wont to do from time to time. But for the sake of this week's column, I decided to break my streak of good judgment and give the Carl's Jr. breakfast menu a try.

My first thought was to battle the Big Country Breakfast Burrito because it looks like a horrifying pile of discarded Waffle House breakfasts crammed into a flour tortilla, but as I pulled up to the menu board at the drive-thru, the shame, anxiety and embarrassment I felt rendered me temporarily unable to process a simple picture menu. I didn't see a picture of the Big Country Burrito, couldn't bring myself to ask for it by name, and with my stomach screaming, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!”, I ordered a Loaded Breakfast Burrito instead and hung my head in shame as I slowly pulled up to the window. A minute later, a friendly Carl's Jr. employee with a smile that screamed, “You silly, fat, sad little man. You have no idea what you're about to do to yourself” handed me a warm bag of remorse. I plopped it down on the passenger seat and sped home.

2) The Immaculate Consumption

It's a loaded burrito all right. Loaded with regret, plus scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, bacon bits, hash-brown nuggets, and shredded jack cheddar cheeses, and “fresh” salsa (as in, “the gallon bottle was freshly opened sometime last week”) all wrapped up in a warm flour tortilla. Mmm. Bundled shame. Have some.

It's also loaded with 780 calories, 430 of which are from fat, a whopping 510 mg of cholesterol (almost double the Recommended Daily Intake, the equivalent of eating two sticks of butter . . . ugh) and 1460 mg of sodium. Listen closely. That's the sound of your heart exploding.

I tried to eat the entire thing. I really did. But I failed. Miserably. And it wasn't because it tasted bad. I maintain that breakfast meats are some of the most glorious, irresistible foodstuffs in existence, but not when you're eating ALL OF THEM AT ONCE, resting on a bed of impossibly greasy hash-brown nuggets in a burrito held together by a generous slathering of cheese glue. Each sad, slow bite got a little bit more difficult for me to choke down, each swallow a little more shame-filled. I could see my life expectancy dropping with each bite: 72 . . . 71 . . . 70 . . . By the time I got about two-thirds of the way through the burrito (64?), I had to take a knee. I couldn't handle any more. The damage had been done, and all there was left to do was wait and see just how much.

3) The Unfortunate Aftermath
Knowing what was likely to happen after stuffing myself with a bad decision, I cleared my schedule for the day so I wouldn't have to deal with the aftermath of the Loaded Breakfast Burrito while stuck in traffic on the 405 or in the middle of a meeting or in a crowded retailer while running errands. If I'm going to birth a food baby (in this case, quadruplets), I'd prefer to do so in the comfort of my home (as opposed to, say, my pants). Eggs can turn even the most rectally sound folks into involuntary cropdusters, so as a “whatever's the opposite of rectally sound” kind of guy, I fully expected to spend most of the rest of my day defiling my couch cushions and fogging the halls of my house (much to my lady's dismay). And that's exactly what happened. All. Day. Long. I'll spare you the gory details of just how “loaded” my toilet ended up being after the Loaded Burrito had made its way though me, but I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that I heard something happen in my bathroom that sounded like a bulldog barking into a bowl of oatmeal. And that it happened several times throughout the day. So often that I completely lost my appetite and couldn't muster the energy to do anything other than hate (and curse) myself from the comfort of my couch (and toilet) for the remainder of the day.

In short, too much of a good thing is always a bad thing. In this case, it was breakfast meats and eggs and cheese and . . . and . . . and . . .

I hope that my intestinal despair is your enjoyable reading.

Until next time . . .

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