with chef & columnist Martha McMatthews
SEPTEMBER 2023 -- Lattes & Tacos & Beans, Oh My!
It’s your favorite food news amuse-bouche Martha McMatthews here!
In this month’s edition, I’m discussing three exciting new fast food & fast casual dining innovations.
But before we begin, a quick reminder that you can preorder a copy of my new ebook, Martha and Me: Learning to Love My Inner Truth, starting this Wednesday.
Okay, let’s get into it!
Double the Taco, Double the Taste?
Waco Taco™ has long been lauded for its constant experimentation in the Tex-Mex space, but their latest creation has even the most ardent fans scratching their heads.
In a press release on Monday, Chief Creativity Officer George Lang announced a new item coming to their menu for a limited time: the Double Taco.
It is at this point I would like to ask my readers to close their eyes and imagine in their mind palace what exactly a "Double Taco" could be.
Whatever image popped into your head after that mental exercise probably makes more sense than the reality:
Yes, reader, that is a hard shell taco filled with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese... with another hard shell placed unceremoniously on top.
After having experienced this bi-directional taco innovation, I can only say this: 2 much crunch.
Like a Kite in the Wind (or a Drip in the Carafe)
I love a good latte in the morning and I love drama TV at night.
So it was quite the head-turner for me when I heard that Perico Coffee Co. were making special drinks inspired by my favorite teen drama Love at First Kite!
Now I’m not usually “in the know” with the latest movies & TV, but I saw my daughter watching an episode of the show last time she visited and decided I should have a look. I quickly caught up on Season 1, and now I sit with a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine every Thursday night, ready for the next chapter in this juicy tale.
Anyhoo, back to the subject at hand: caffeinated adaptations.
These are two diametrically-opposed drinks, each inspired by the two love interests in protagonist Mandy’s love triangle:
The Bad Boy Blueberry cold brew, inspired by #TeamCole, and the Kind & Courteous Caramel latte, inspired by #TeamDaniel.
While I may have a bias toward one of these love interests (I found myself a Daniel 25 years ago <3), I must say, both of these drinks are a delight.
Befuddling Beans, Batman!
I’ll be honest, reader: this last piece of fast food flotsam in has me puzzled, and, based on the rest of the internet’s reaction, I’m not the only one!
Earlier this month, the west coast pizza chain Pepperonio’s teased a big reveal when they added a countdown timer to their webpage and phone app.
Social media and pizza forums were abuzz with speculation. Could it be a new topping? Perhaps a whole new menu item?
Fans wouldn’t have to hold their breaths for too much longer. Just seven days later, the timer ticked down to 00:00:00. And then, the big reveal:
But not on a pizza, nor as a side dish.
No--these beans come in the form of streetwear. You can buy a hoodie featuring a sort of bean-camouflage pattern for $199.99 or a t-shirt that says “Too Deep in the Beans” for just $99.99.
These items (and more) are part of a whole line of bean inspired merchandise that will be sold in limited-supply product drops on the brand’s website.
“Why beans?” you might ask, and rightfully so, considering nary a legume nor lentil appears on Pepperonio’s menu.
Well, this comestibles columnist had the very same thought, which is why I did a little digging around.
I managed to get in contact with an ex-employee of Tryangulate Marketing, the firm that created and placed the campaign.
The former employee wished to stay anonymous, but was willing to give me insight to what happened here.
It would seem that Tryangulate was quickly spending all of their project budget on the designing, manufacturing, and printing of the streetwear. Pepperonio’s, which recently closed down about 15% of their stores, then gave the marketing firm another cash infusion to make sure the clothes would be ready on time.
In all of this overspending, it would seem that someone forgot to buy any actual beans to put on the pizzas, resulting in merchandise advertising a product that doesn’t exist.
-- Martha McMatthews