Limited Time Only

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Hong Kong Airport McDonald's

“This is the worst McDonald’s in Hong Kong”, a young businessman with an American accent jokes beside me. “Hah, yeah, of all the places in the airport I don’t know why I decided to dine here”, I lie, “hahahaha”, and we both laugh, while my eyes remain sternly fixated on the lightbox advertising their limited time only Spicy Beef Burger. I’ve been in line for what seems like 20 minutes, it’s a bloody outrage, or at least that’s what I’d be saying if I were at home in ‘Straya.

I receive my order and apparently accidentally ordered a really large Coke – I offload the enormous cup to my new corporate friend and find a seat to dissect this international oddity before my flight to London. There’s only room in my stomach for one piece of garbage tonight.

Firstly, why the hell is Shrek on the box? Secondly, the “green” iceberg lettuce is more desaturated than a Kinfolk feature on whimsical rooftop gardens. Thirdly, the generous lashings of beef as advertised are actually four limp, perfectly square beef “patties”, the texture as manufactured as discarded, worn out yoga mats (not that I’d really know what that feels like), or some odd, old, thick cut lumpy brown ham. Biting into four back-to-back layers of spongy post-it-note sized beef flaps has me imagining some sort of gross mille-feuille in a bizarro parallel universe.

The sauce is sweet, and to their credit is at least a little spicy.

I nurse the sad burger in one apathetic hand and at a glance notice four floppy beefy tongues sluggishly toppling over one another. Four stupid razzing tongues right up in my face. They look like four :P emoticons. Oh god. The worst emoticon of all time, used solely by awkward boys and wielded exclusively by fedora-wearing men dipping their terrible toes into the unpredictable waters of female companionship via MSN Messenger or text message (“you’d have a nice time if you came to my bedroom haha :P”). Cannot unsee. :P is the biggest cop out, a linguistic tool reserved only for the spineless. I’ve never met a good man who used :P and I’ve never ended a friendship on good terms with a man who used it frequently. I remember them all. :P is not cute and this burger reminds me of the lame boys I used to know offline and converse with online: cautiously gauging interest, lacking the ability to stand by their own tasteless convictions and instead opting to hide behind the world’s most cowardly suffix of an emoticon. A tepid, confused and flaccid mess.

The above is an excerpt from my self-published book Holiday Notes.

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“Here’s something a little bit Cheesy for Father’s Day”, quoth the internet. Pizza Hut, I’m so tired of taking photos of you.

It’s Fathers Day in Australia and I’ve just returned after a lovely breakfast at my family home. My dad is a good man, his work ethic and hobbyist camera wielding probably have something to do with where I am today (admittedly lying on the floor beside a half chewed pizza), so I cannot help but take offence when comparisons are drawn between him and these Chillidog and Cheesydog Hotdog Stuffed Crust Pizza creations via Pizza Hut’s Facebook page via a Sponsored Post. It’s another postmodern copycat wank, this time taking inspiration from KFC’s Aussies like it HOT!! mentality.

I’d post sentiments accompanied by a retro 80s photo of my dad on instagram which I know he’ll never see over ordering some more first-world slop anyday; but as usual The Blog Life wins and I reluctantly supply my credit card number for home delivery by way of beating my head against the keyboard as I contemplate which emojis represent my father best (camera, soccer ball, dog, smiley face).

When I open the pizza box I am not greeted with luscious waves of gaudy mustard and ketchup as advertised, instead lies a dank pizza with a couple of sauce sachets on the side. Nothing particularly offensive to look at, no vortex to hell, no means to perform a seance around later on. I prise each bloated crust open like a blooming meaty flower and behold the putrid symmetry before me. I’ll sum up the flavour in three words: needs more dog. I’ve never experienced mystery meat quite as mysterious as this. Please don’t try this at home. Or anywhere.

I take photos of this pizza on the very wrapping paper I nestled my gift for my dad in today: my caring, thoughtful, gift, now tainted with the most manchildish of all food. You know when people fall to their knees and weep? In this case you would fall to your knees and shit your pants. Like a baby. A big, stupid baby. This pizza is the equivalent of a mancave. This pizza is the pizza equivalent of shopping for undies on Target’s online store with the search option set to Sort by: Price Low-High. This pizza is the equivalent of a restaurant argument about splitting the bill because somebody in your party ordered an extra Coke. No, not a Coke, something more juvenile; like Mountain Dew, a Pepsi, or creaming soda. In some form of sick metamorphosis the addition of this grotesque pizza has instantly mutated my home into the fabled mancave. The collection of craft beers that hang from the shelves are transformed into tinnies and Crownies and all sense of responsibility for my family dissipates as I enter an hotdog-induced utopia of fake wood, topless waitresses and poorly prepared nachos. Warney is a deadset legend. I’m commissioning a mural with a topless Angelina Jolie. I… I… I’m purchasing a pool table from eBay, a bar fridge, and a neon sign which reads “It’s 5:00 somewhere“. No chickflicks allowed. The toilet seat stays up. MY CAVE, MY RULES.

The Pizza Hut Chilldog Hotdog Stuffed Crust Pizza is 35 years old and still wears Homer Simpson boxer shorts to bed. How coincidental I seem to be left with a pile of limp dicks sprawled on the floor.

Happy Father’s Day, everyone.

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#tbt to 2009. I was sprawled before the television on the share house futon, my housemate’s Minneapolas-born girlfriend sprawled on the share house floor, when an Old El Paso commercial aired. “Por que no los dos?” the little girl announced, and everybody cheered, and I stared blankly into the abyss of repetitive advertising, yet my housemate’s American girlfriend stiffened, slack jawed, lost for words, and after a few moments finally uttered “that’s… so racist”.

Like Eve to the tree of knowledge I lunged for the proverbial leaf to hide my shame. “I, uhh… oh yeah. Wow. Jeez.”

Fast forward to last night: an obnoxious version of myself was particularly pleased after an evening of indulgent $23 ironically named cocktails, designer soft serve ice cream and one of Sydney’s Best Burgers. Not one for existing with wind in the sails a deep part of me insisted I detour past a local belt of popular fast-food chains to return to the hideous grease trap from which I was so tragically spawned. My ego required deflating after the holy trinity of white people delights and I was lured into KFC for one final Saturday Night indignity.

From limited research I understand the KFC Zinger™ Taco was “created” to cater to those Aussies who enjoy their food a little spicier“we’ve taken a classic taco and given it a KFC twist for Zinger™-loving Aussies”. A Zinger™ chicken fillet is bestowed atop “salsa sauce”, tomato and lettuce, encased in a hard shell taco and a layer of “super-charged sauce” to glue a soft tortilla on the outer. Tsk tsk tsk, no no no. And this has nothing to do with my pet-hate regarding the redundant “sauce” suffix, i.e. “tzatziki sauce” a la Pete Evans circa My Kitchen Rules 2014.

Please allow me to dissect the beast as frankly as possible:
The soft outer tortilla is brittle in a number of places.
The super-charged sauce glue is a vinegar bomb.
The taco shell, a Stand ‘n Stuff Old El Paso taco (hahahah A STAND ‘N STUFF TACO), is chewy and stale.
The salsa sauce is taken straight from the Doritos jar (to their credit it’s at least a little spicy).
The Zinger™ fillet has no chilli.
The salad is minimal.
In a soggy nutshell: many mouthfuls of mediocrity.

Do you think the indigenous civilisations of Mexico, one of the first cultures in history to develop an independent writing system, carved KFC ZINGER™ TACO in eternal stone for all to behold for centuries to come? Emblazoned with the comical flames spouting from Zinger™ and all?? It isn’t advertised however there is conclusive evidence to suggest Old El Paso has a grubby hand in this. The double. That Stand ‘N Stuff Taco. I simply cannot get over it.

The entire concoction reeks of KFC desperately clawing for relevance (again), carting out a mediocre product, leaping for that junk-food-fusion-mash-up bandwagon but instead of soaring like the majestic corporate pigs of do-no-wrong McDonald’s or everythingisfucked Pizza Hut they miss by as many meters as there are calories in a Zinger™ Tower Burger and fall face first into the dirt with no theatre, no majesty, no lols. Old El Paso is synonymous with families who gloat about having home cinemas installed in their unnecessarily massive homes who ride their high horse of modern sensibilities anyway, literally the worst of the worst street food offerings to date. “Isn’t it so wonderful we can eat ethnic foods in this country?” they coo, chomping on chewy Zinger™ Tacos. But you already knew that. Toss the moist towelette wrapper into the ring like a used condom and call it a day.

Empty out its contents and hold this taco to your ear like a seashell: I guarantee you can hear the sweet Old El Paso girl sobbing all the way from cardboard-stage-Mexico. Stop the boats. Stop the godamn Soft Taco Tortilla Boats before KFC get their hands on them as well.

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I’ve finally worked it out: bad food bloggers are fedora wearers.

The dish they idolise, two-hatted or casual feed, is the woman on the pedestal.

If they don’t get what they want, boom. Down she falls in a torrent of angry online reviews, slamming the dish, the restaurant, the ambiance, everything, all via misplaced expectations. The guilt trips, the shaming. The food blogger is a “nice guy” until they are friend zoned by a soufflé lacking “depth of flavour”.

But this… this. What is this? Who is the key demographic here? Meninists, online reviewers, ironic stoners? How could someone, anybody, review this seriously, without their fingertips being matted in doritos cheese crumbs? Welcome, Pizza Hut Four’N Twenty Stuffed Crust Pizza.

This starburst of horror, “Australia’s favourite lovechild” (gross), between Pizza Hut and Four’N Twenty pies, already exists as a parody of itself. I order it online in its Hawaiian incarnation, the ultimate insult. When it arrives my home is perfumed with stale meat yet I dive in with the contempt of a million home-owning “you don’t know how easy you have it” boomers. The pies are easily extracted from each slimy slice’s obnoxious gaping mouth, the pastry even soggier than the pizza’s. The bare minimum of meat is nestled inside its dank home like a nasty surprise and after a while the cavity begins to resemble something like a terrifying oversized belly button.

There’s very little to add to this devastating pile of western, first-world developed rubbish. Is this what we’ve come to, really? This is dinner? This is what we’re cramming into our already filthy bodies, for the lolz or otherwise? It even comes with two tomato sauce sachets – how ungenerous, how bloody ‘strayan. brb, cancelling the Italy leg of my Europe trip this year as true perfecto authentico lies a mere mouse click and $17.95 away. We’re even inspiring America, my lord, we are inspiring America.

I don’t want to imagine the flurry of emotional abuse that came about when conceiving this deliberate mess of a “lovechild”. “Who am I? What am I?”, I imagine the pizza remnants singing from my K-Mart garbage bin beneath the kitchen sink, “why does this keep happening? Please, put me out of my misery once and for all”. Well done Pizza Hut, I am finally disgusted. Congratulations on your attempted high-vis couture you monsters. You are no longer RSL Chic, next level irony, or even worthy of cry-eating. You’ve jumped the shark except this shark represents every played out meme of Tony Abbott in speed dealer sunnies, only this time it’s not even funny.

M’lady.

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In 2003 one of south-west Sydney’s original food trends burst forth into Australia. Lines would snake around the cut-and-paste All American Diner that is Krispy Kreme and free doughnuts would be awarded to keen and patient punters. Multiple faces pressed against the glass, the excitement of the live glazing carousel was just too much – circles and circles and circles of doughnuts being churned out, like shimmering rounds of hope and wonder, was the closest thing to a modern-day Willy Wonka factory we’d ever have.

Yet 13 years on, like an optimistic food truck lacking any finesse, Krispy Kreme have attempted to fuse two of Sydney’s most popular dishes: burgers and donuts. Claiming to Trick your Taste Buds, the #kirspykremejoy Grilled range includes a Krispy Slider (what is this, 2012?) and Glazed Dog. Take note of the fake ingredients constrained in quotation marks for some real-life Heston Blumenthal alchemy:

This isn’t your normal hotdog. The Krispy Kreme version is a sweet treat you’ll love. A ring doughnut is compressed and iced with caramel glaze icing and topped with a cream ‘sausage’ and ‘mustard’.

Don’t be fooled, this sweet sensation will keep you guessing. A shell doughnut is cut in half, filled with a mini Mudcake doughnut ‘patty’, cream ‘ketchup’, ‘cheese’ and ‘lettuce’. The ‘bun’ is topped with sweet sugar crystals to finish off this sweet treat.

The topography of Mascot’s Krispy Kreme is delightful: shadowed by both a Formulae 1 motel and big planes housed by the adjacent Sydney Airport. The service is so friendly a pang of guilt resonates from my skepticism as I order a box of their Grilled range and a flat white. However the barista’s lack of urgency has forced me beside a mammoth flickering sign, KRISPY KREME ORIGINAL GLAZE HOT NOW, the fast-food equivalent of GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS. My eye begins to twitch scorched by red light and any semblance of innocence I carried for this brand is being swept away in an eternity of milk frothing. I am finally released from the neon prison that is the hot beverage waiting pen.

Now, there is a thing to be said for balance, decadence and indulgence, but these donuts tick none of those boxes. The Glazed Dog is fine for what it is, the caramel donut is nostalgic, it’s symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing, kinda cute. My main gripe lies with the Krispy Slider. Where do I begin? Imitation is the lowest form of flattery. The bloated sensibilities of this bastard are rife and each mouthful is 70% heavily dyed cream. After one enthusiastic bite there are smears of red, green and yellow, the “ketchup”, “lettuce” and “cheese”, all over my hands, face and arms. If glitter is the herpes of the craft world then I’ve just become acquainted with its buttery equivalent. Is there a poltergeist in the room? The experience is pornographic and the sugar granules adorning the slider are crunchy and unnecessary. Buttercream is oozing everywhere. The thing is sticky from all angles, there’s residue everywhere, it’s clingy, it’s repulsive – I bet this slider takes too many selfies with its spouse at other people’s weddings and has an inflated sense of strong personal brand.

Against the backdrop of balletic soaring planes I hurl a Glazed Dog to the sky in a final flourish – “be free! Reach your potential! Glass ceilings answer to nobody but yourself! I believe in you!!”, I shout with more fake encouragement than a clean-eating inspired social channel, my voice bleating with the calligraphic strokes of watercolored re-blogged sentiments scheduled for peak times of user engagement. It hits the road, cracked and bruised, much like anybody who naively submerges themselves in the feeds of manufactured wellness warriors and pseudo-science expecting wholesome changes in their life overnight. High hopes for any fad issue is destined to plummet back down to earth in a huge mess – just look at Belle Gibson – empty words will never defy gravity and the pedestal will inevitably topple. Infinite encouragement on social media is about as shallow and fake as this Krispy Slider, literally.

As I try to leave this place a large truck screeches before me in the parking lot and I fall to my knees. “EAT DOUGHNUTS”. I discover more red stains on my hands and my clothes. Mocked by mock cream I’m flailing, a sensory overload of a dismal dystopian buttercream filled future. Lukewarm coffee is pooling into a nearby drain beside me. This red cream still won’t come off, it’s smeared everywhere and is staining everything. Like blood on my hands I close my eyes and it’s all I see. By disrespecting both my body and profession I’ve asked for this, but do I deserve it? I’ve just discovered more on my sleeve. The relentless buttercream just won’t let me forget what I’ve done as I stand alone amongst bushes in the middle of the night, wearing red on my skin. Redrum. Redrum. Redrum.

… redrum.

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Announced online on March 25th I wondered why? Why debut the Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie now? Are we celebrating the changing of the season a month late to parallel the earth-in-crisis weather experienced in Sydney? Is this a feeble attempt at a sweet autumnal dish? Could this be a chocolate/Easter tie-in? As a keen fan of variety it’s unfortunate most of these posts have been centered around Pizza Hut, but they’re the only fast-food joint brave enough to churn out limited time only specials frequently.

Online the Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie is nestled between soft drinks and large oven baked chips in the extras column. Coincidentally their hero shot of this monstrosity is delicately bestowed upon the holy wooden board (torn baking paper and all, so now), beside a glass of both lemonade and coke. Three arrive at my door (that’s 18,876kj for $28.40) and the scent of cooking chocolate fills my home. It measures 19cm wide, significantly smaller than the usual Pizza Hut pizza with more calories than most savoury offerings in their range, minus the iota of nutritional value of scant vegetables at least a supreme pizza would provide.

The flavour? Sugar. The texture? Gritty sugar. I’ve never consumed anything so sugary. The pieces are soft, around 1cm thick, and crumble the moment you attempt to lift them from their aluminium home. I’m well familiar with the supple bite of a soft Mrs Field’s cookie or the unfathomable chewy stretch of some Momofuku alchemy, but this a whole new genre of biscuit I’m coining sugar mush. Not even dedicated years of cryeating nor all of my miserable unhealthy food conquests combined will even compare to the enormous malnourishing zero-return in this “cookie”. All the calories, none of the perks. No flavour, just sugar. I can still feel the granules clinging to my teeth after a liberal bowl of olives to cleanse myself afterwards. I read a comment stating it’s “great with ice cream” – I hurl ice cubes at the thing in immature retaliation, some leaves from nearby shrubbery don’t go astray either.

Pizza Hut’s Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie is akin to the sloppy romance of chocolate covered strawberries or sparkling wine in the bedroom. It reminds me of men who are exclusively into women in g-bangers, and exclusively talk to their mates about women in g-bangers, womanising loudly. It is a loathsome, offensive brute disguised in a pious white box. Can somebody please post one of these to I Quit Sugar HQ and watch world World War III erupt? Hurl one at paleo Pete Evans and maybe his face will melt off like the Wicked Witch of the West. Some men just want to watch the world burn. I tug my hypothetical collar awkwardly just thinking of the children who will be subjected to this disgusting thing. I try a piece that had been refrigerated for a few hours and I reel back and swear louder than usual – still bad, just hard.

“1. Do not microwave. You and the cookie deserve better” declares a Pizza Hut’s social media on March 30th. Do you yourself a favour: Do not consume, if in the presence of said cookie place into the nearest garbage receptacle immediately. There’s something to be said about cryeating, but if this cookie arrives in your company abort immediately for the good of both your physical and mental wellbeing, for the love of God, lest you wish to be transcended to hell and back in a few mere bites.

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Australia Day is to fast food outlets as Valentine’s Day is to Hallmark, let’s ca$h in on this! From Australiana cultural cliché on steroids, or its irony-shrouded gentrified cousin what I’ve coined RSL Chic™ (gourmet meat trays, pop-up drive in movies, the resurgence of Shane Warne, etc) bursts forth Pizza Hut’s Mitey Stuffed Crust, a pizza with a crust stuffed with cheese and our finest export, Vegemite. Immaculate art direction sees slices of this pizza branded with miniature Australian flags before backdrops of green and gold splattered all over the Pizza Hut Australia Facebook page, and surely an art graduate who’s soul has been ravaged by the advertising world has envisioned these slices lumped together to form a greasy rendition of the Opera House sails. Here are some backpackers cringing at the taste of this thing soundtracked to didgeridoo playing, two Australian guys claiming it’s “nice” as an edgy coda with even more green and gold. “Made for Australia”? Cool cultural identity, let’s run with that.

Today all the on-point cafés of Australia are instagramming their bespoke Australia Day goods; lamington cronuts, pavlova cocktails and kangaroo pies are rolled out just for the occasion. Pizza Hut have instead developed a pizza aimed at either kind families with young children wanting to try something different, or a pizza absolutely perfect for casual racists. “Prosciutto? Not on my pizza!”

Target demographic aside, it’s honestly not that bad. I opt for a straight up cheese pizza and while it arrives as a greasy puddle of mess the crust is the best part; the cheese so generous in the stuffed crust it can literally be extracted like a thick snotty strand (pictured), however the Australia Day version of a Valentine’s Day card it is not. “I could easily improve this”, I think to myself, eyes glazed over, as I smash a lamington over the top of what remains of the pizza (most of it) with the heel of my hand. It’s drizzled liberally with beer and that garlic bread to make up the minimum delivery fee makes a torn appearance as well. The dish is then finished with lashings of gaudy green, gold and navy tinsel. Grouse. A marked improvement, and I laugh and laugh and laugh to myself for a few minutes until I realise I need to clean up this enormous mess off my floor.

This pizza represents my shirtless, inconsiderate Sunday-Seshing neighbours.
This pizza represents those Triple J Hottest 100 announcers praising “their boy Chef Faker” for “taking it home”.
This pizza represents all the ironic “Bowling Shane” comments on Warnie’s instagram account.
This pizza represents all those $24.99 on pick up with bonus Viennetta offers of the times of yore.
This pizza represents Ken Done’s small fortune.
This pizza represents the illusive Green and Gold Gaytime I can never seem to find.

Dear Pizza Hut: try harder next time.

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I promise it’s only coincidental my recent disgust with both my physical health and appearance has emerged on the first day of this year. I’m yet to splurge on a January Gym Membership but the copious amounts of whole foods in my fridge speak louder than perverse faux-spirational social media posts ever could. Despite this, a heart full of aspirations and a head bursting with shredded brussels sprout recipes had not hindered my curiosity surrounding Pizza Hut’s Doritos Crunchy Crust pizza.

A caveat: pizza is my least favourite fast food. Long story short, it made me vom as a kid and has left me subconsciously scarred and discriminatory against tomato sauce.

Anyway, despite my 2015 hopes and dreams for A Better Me™ I was delighted by the thought of enjoying a true slice of modern Americana, a campaign backed food and brand mash-up in my own home. Slowly but surely I felt the fedora descending on my head as my cursor hovered over a BBQ Meatlovers Doritos Crunchy Crust Pizza as well as a serve of Double Choc Cookie Shots to make up the additional few dollars of minimum delivery. “This had better be the best $25 I’ve ever spent”, I proudly declare to Facebook, relishing in the self-aware irony of a #foodie ordering a fad #pizza online and attempting to rid myself grubby feels. Likes began rolling in as I research what I’d just ordered: “As you bite into the crust you’ll be blown away by the crunch – it’s not only seriously loud, but delicious.” 20 minutes later, much like that fateful night when I was seven years old, the delivery guy raps at my door. This time there were no voms, just expectations of mind-blowing aural aesthetics.

Navigating the delicate topography of this pizza… it tastes exactly like a usual BBQ meatlovers pizza. Where are the brain crushing acoustics? Where are all the Doritos I was promised? The grandeur of immaculate lashings of cheesy crisps has been replaced by a minuscule amount of burnt crackers barely crowding the rim of my pizza. What the hell, Pizza Hut? The outer diameter tastes like a 50c cheese melt from the school canteen, but burnt. Nostalgic, but inappropriate. The dual textured delight of molten mozzarella and crunchy Doritos covered in cheddar fell flat – if that Apple / young-startup keynote inspired advert is anything to go by then this is the iPhone 6 Plus of pizzas. A severe letdown. Oh, and those Double Choc Cookie Shots? They look like just the turd emoji, and tasted, without sounding too much like a disgruntled Urbanspoon user attempting to describe a lacklustre coffee again, burnt.

As I remove what remains in the pizza box to a more appropriate receptacle, the slices reveal my greasy, pizza horoscope – a bloated figure trapped within a rounded frame. Story of my 2014? Maybe, but hopefully not a premonition of 2015.

In the cruel light of day the next morning I send a message to my brother offering the rest of the pizza sitting in the fridge – “I have two slices left if you want them, or else they’re going in the bin”. Hours later he arrives, hot, starving, craving leftovers. “This crust is amazing”, sighs the student-who-lives-out-of-home, “so much better than the last hotdog and cheeseburger crusts, they were disgusting“.

Maybe it wasn’t that bad after all? Have I lost touch with my junk food appreciation roots? Are my cries of joy surrounding fried things, oily things and sugar-laden things all just a farce?! Maybe the part of myself that exists as a sad girl Tumblr-esque snackcore scenester claiming a stake in the bachelor frog game is but a facade hiding the disgusting reality I’m not as scandalously gross as I often make out to be, in my yuppie home, on my yuppie iMac, surrounded by my yuppie things. Has the Dyson lifestyle ruined me?

That being said, when my brother arrived expecting two pizza slices there was only one left – I claimed it was “for science”, “for research!”, but deep down I knew I wanted to get that soggy burnt cheese in and around my mouth to savour the flavour, once again perpetually stuck, like so many of us are, oscillating between self-loathing and the person we want to be.

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Three-ish years strong and I’ve never posted a review on this ###blog, until now. A car trip in a city where everything closes early resulted an accidental visit to a nearby KFC to be enchanted by their latest offering: the KFC Zinger Pie.

In true highway fashion Five Dock KFC neighbours a McDonald’s and a petrol station, and it’s not surprising KFC is nowhere near as full as its oppressive burger-wielding counterpart. I saunter across the thick shake stained asphalt of a near empty car park and it’s the kind of place where the occasional seagull struts around despite being nowhere near the water – a la Granville station. I’m second in line behind a couple of bros placing a large order but thankfully I’m told there is one last KFC Zinger Pie left tonight – a potential prelude to ill feels, but regardless, ready for two curious yet ultimately trollish mouths. I make myself comfortable beside a bucket and mop outside as kind adolescent boys and a bluetooth clad drive-through manager stack chairs inside.

The pie is presented in a paper bag, obnoxiously declaring it’s “perfect for the HCG (Home Cricket Ground)”. The red tin base is indicitve of the Zinger flavour as opposed to the tamer Kentucky potato and gravy combo, because I guess red is the universal colour for HOT (or STOP).

To say its innards resembled vomit would be too easy, and we can do better than that. You’d be pleasantly surprised if this were a cup-a-soup; chunky chicken pieces shrouded by blandness, an acceptable phenomenon at 3pm at your godforsaken desk job, unremarkable pastry resembling what you’d expect from any other supermarket or convenience store pie. But it’s 10pm and I’m taking photos in a desolate carpark craving malnourishment. A more appropriate critique from a sober human would read more like this: a very vacant (and very abundant) gravy binds chicken bits with arrogant flecks of useless chilli. It’s so soupy, clever handwork is required to avoid being burned by gravity in more ways than one. What lingers is a sleazy aftertaste of that astringent, flavourless chilli, I’m not even sure how they did it – it’s the equivalent of a decaf coffee, you can definitely taste it but it’s not quite right, leaves you unfulfilled and questioning why? And why can I still taste this an hour later?

The whole point of these junk food reviews is to celebrate the nasty, greasy food we ashamedly thrust into our faces – and like many cliché bloggers I’m left saying I really wanted to enjoy this but sadly there’s not much to love about this pie (and I’m a fan of the Zinger enterprise), it’s basically the anaemic cousin of primary school meat pie offerings. I’m not sure whose appetite this is appeasing, besides maybe the lone gull in the car park, so I hope it enjoyed what I left behind.

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