My Fastest Favorites: Top Ten Fast Foods

Categories: Fast Times, Top 10

Photos by Christina Uticone
Not on the list. Gotcha.
A funny thing happened when I sat down to compile a list of my favorite fast-food items: I couldn't think of that many that actually come from fast-food restaurants. Don't get me wrong, there are a few -- some burgers, and of course I included my go-to fast-food taco -- but most of my real favorites are sprinkled throughout the menus of "real" restaurants that I frequent, particularly for lunch.

Calling ahead or ordering online when possible obviously speeds up the process of grabbing "fast" food at "real" restaurants, but in my experience you don't need to wait long.

10. Taco Cabana: Shredded Chicken Taco

A few years ago, former EOW writer Kevin Shalin added the Taco Cabana Shredded Chicken Taco to his list of favorite fast-food chicken dishes, and it has since become a favorite of mine. I especially love to grab them on my way home from the airport when I know I have an empty fridge waiting for me. I've literally never ordered another thing off of their menu.

9. Smashburger: Texas Burger with Veggie Frites

I am a total convert to the "mustard-only" burger thing, in large part because of the Smashburger Texas Burger. I never put ketchup on hamburgers anymore! I just dig the burgers at Smashburger, too; they are fresh and greasy, which is no more an oxymoron than jumbo shrimp, so just accept it.

Add the veggie frites just because they are good, and because they count as a serving of veggies, right? Yes.

8. Aladdin

No specific dish, just Aladdin. I mean, I know I particularly like their tabbouleh and falafel and the Lebanese mashed potatoes. Especially the Lebanese mashed potatoes. Aladdin's cafeteria-style service line keeps things moving along, and they do a brisk to-go business. This is one of my strongest go-to restaurants for a quick "Oh shit, I didn't defrost anything for dinner" dinner.

It's so nice when a healthy one turns out to be so delicious.
7. Snap Kitchen Chili and Eggs

Healthy, filling, delicious and prepared by someone else -- now that's the perfect breakfast. There is nothing better than a warm morning meal, and the Snap Kitchen chili-and-egg combo is a reliable favorite. Great for days when a cold bowl of Cheerios just won't do (which is every morning, I think). The prepared foods at Snap Kitchen can be hit-or-miss, but they are leaps and bounds ahead of anything similar you find at the grocery store -- they are always worth a visit.

Location Info

Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine

912 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Snap Kitchen

3600 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


1834 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Villa Arcos Taquitos

3009 Navigation Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Eatsie Boys

4100 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: General


2211 W. 43rd St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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Clint Mendonça
Clint Mendonça

This list is terrible. I'm not arguing her personal preferences, but some consistency of comparison would be nice. You have individual menu items compared to entire restaurants, and the top listing is a gourmet item from a high end restaurant chef only on sale at a fast food restaurant for about a month?

gossamersixteen topcommenter

10. hogados burrito - berryhill

9. chicken strip box - whataburger

8. steak finger basket - dairy queen

7. ropa vieja or cuban tacos - el rey

6. chili cheeseburger - becks prime (hey they have a drive thru)

5. (tie) fajita nachos - taco cabana / subway club on honey oat.

4. anything at - mytiburger

3. chicago dog and tots - JCI or to a lesser degree sonic

2. beef n' cheddar - arby's

1. brisket sandwich - brisket house


Chacho's would be on my list.  They check all the key "fast food" boxes for me:  good pricing (considering the generous portions), fresh ingredients, extensive menu, breakfast all day, open 24 hours, efficient double drive thru, solid grease content.

texmex01 topcommenter

Order the Patty Melt with the Green Chiles from the Green Chile Burger...Enjoy, then thank me...

Sheri W. Brown
Sheri W. Brown

That would not be my list Leila M Fullwood! They need to try some Chachos, Southwells and Rice Box Truck!

Carrie Doss
Carrie Doss

Alladin's sounds amazing! Bet it's not anywhere near Pasadena though... :(

gossamersixteen topcommenter

Should be whataburger then mytiburger, myti blows the chain out of the water -- try the onion rings..


I might give the whataburger pattymelt a whirl sometime but the rest of their menu is middle of the road at best. The JCI dogs was also a BIG let down. Flavor has all been pretty solid but at $10 its an absolute rip off. Youll walk away unsatisfied with huge buyer's remorse. It's worth 6 at best in my opinion. I dont understand how Aladdin didnt walk away as number one. The place has so many wonderful and amazing dishes. Maybe because you cant eat there via a drive through? The place is excellent with great variety.


I was seriously underwhelmed with the Holy Mole dog at JCI.  There were too many things going on, that all of the sauces made it taste kinda muddy.  Spicy (although not really that much) chicken Andouille sausage, tinga, molé, crema fresca,  And the disks of radish, unevenly sliced, on top were just weird.  

The last two chefs' dogs have been let downs.  I hope it picks up in December.

Oh, and Whataburger over Mytiburger?  That IS an odd choice.

WestSideBob topcommenter

My Whataburger fave is the Green Chili Burger.  Since it's a limited time menu addition, I have to go to Little Bitty for my chili fix when Whataburger drops it.

conebaby topcommenter

@gossamersixteen No lie, I've never eaten a bite from a Dairy Queen. I have no idea why, other than I never lived around them til I got here.

conebaby topcommenter

@gossamersixteen I ate my husband's entire order of onion rings from Myti. They are super good.

conebaby topcommenter

@ComicBookGuy See, and I liked the JCI Holy Mole better than any of the others! I realize this list is totally subjective. I usually only READ the lists posts for the comments!

Mytiburger vs. Whataburger more a geography thing. Now that I live closer to #1 than #2, it probably won't take long for that order to switcheroo.


@conebaby I see what Chef Hugo was trying, but instead of the crema under the tinga (where it seemed to get lost in the mix), I would have gone with some nice fresh Queso Fresco crumbled over the top and maybe a couple of shredded leaves of cilantro instead of the radishes.  That would have brought a much needed pop of freshness, instead of the clunky and out of place radishes and muddy crema.

I understand the subjectivity, and the geography thing, and I agree they do play a big role in any list.

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