One of us suggested an alternative: How about we devour the KFC Double Down, instead? (This was the summer of that hideous Kentucky Fried Chicken “sandwich” that featured two pieces of fried chicken in place of bread buns.) Or we could try the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Burger Melt from Friendly’s—a cheeseburger with mayo, lettuce, and tomato packed between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Or, there was a 2,500-calorie “pizza burger” made by a Burger King in New York that featured four quarter-pound patties topped with mozzarella, pepperoni, and marinara sauce between two 9-and-a-half-inch wide sesame seed buns and cut into slices.There was no shortage of gut-busting fast food creations; they seemed to be the only thing worth advertising and getting excited about amid the recession. Billboards and TV ads heralded the latest beefy, cheesy, bacon-y food atrocity that one franchise or another had invented, each seemingly to try and top each other in a race to create the worst meal imaginable. We had arrived in flavor country.Yet for every Burger King or Chick-Fil-A or Hardee’s we passed on the road, there was a shuttered strip mall or going-out-of-business sale or car dealership lot packed with unsold cars. In 2004, Harold and Kumar may have encountered an escaped cheetah and Neil Patrick Harris on their trip to White Castle. But all around us on that trip in 2010, what we saw were the effects of a diminished America.
Billboards and TV ads heralded the latest beefy, cheesy, bacon-y food atrocity that one franchise or another had invented, each seemingly to try and top each other in a race to create the worst meal imaginable.
Our road trip ended in New York City, where we selected a Midtown Manhattan White Castle to attempt the challenge. Ordering the 100-slider “Crave Crate” offered three of us 30 burgers each (with ten burgers extra for the two friends who just wanted lunch), plus fries and sodas. In Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Neil Patrick Harris shells out about $50 for this burger cornucopia, but in 2010, it all came out to about $130, an inordinate amount of money that could’ve bought us a pretty good spread at a steakhouse. Ultimately, the price was irrelevant—at this point, we were locked in.It took the hard-working staff about 20 minutes to prep all 100 sliders. Despite our hesitation with the challenge, we had still been thinking about White Castle for three days straight and those first few bites did not disappoint. When they brought out the microwave-sized box, my friends and I spent a solid 20 minutes tearing through the tender, savory beef topped with melted cheese, pickles, and those tiny diced onions nestled between two soft bread buns.
A single White Castle cheese slider contains 160 calories, 500 milligrams of sodium, and nine grams of fat. So for 30 cheese sliders, you can make that 4,800 calories, 15,000 milligrams of sodium—and 270 grams of fat.