The Mirador Fast Food Survival Guide

If+Burger+King%27s+Bacon+Double+Cheeseburger+doesn%27t+scare+you%2C+nothing+will.

C. Sitar

If Burger King’s Bacon Double Cheeseburger doesn’t scare you, nothing will.

Cole Sitar, Staff Writer

It’s 8 p.m., and getting food is now a question of survival. Joey paces around the kitchen, stopping occasionally to stare mournfully into the empty fridge. Katie, having exhausted the supply of Triscuits, now shakes the vacant box hoping to salvage a crumb or two. After a heated conversation about the Donner Party, Freddie and Lauren have begun sprinkling herbs and seasonings on Billy, who is asleep on the couch. Something has to be done. But when everyone throws their money down on the kitchen table, the cash only totals to $12. How can you make it through the night? Don’t worry, the Mirador has your back. After a thorough investigation and cost-calorie analyses of value menu food from local fast food joints, we are proud to present “The Mirador Guide to Fast Food Survival”:

Taco Bell: Taco Bell is the Holy Land of cheap, arguably disgusting food. It is safe to assume that most of what you eat here has been grown in a lab, and will most likely do horrible things to your body and health. However, the calorie to dollar ratio at T-Bell is off the charts at an awe-inspiring 319 calories per dollar. That’s more than 120 calories more than any other fast food we investigated. And, crimes against nature notwithstanding, Taco Bell is clearly the best food for the truly broke. Recommendation: 5 Layer Burrito at 319 calories per dollar

Jack in the Box:   Jack in the Box is usually hit or miss. Although it is always cheap, quality varies a lot throughout the menu. The Jumbo Jack seems to be a decent, low priced, calorie packed option, and a box of Jack in the Box curly fries can feed a couple of people. Avoid the cheeseburgers at all cost. You have been warned. Recommendation: Jumbo Jack at 175 calories per dollar

Subway: Subway is the Nicholas Cage of fast food. It’s not particularly expensive and is never terrible, but isn’t great and certainly isn’t very interesting either. There just isn’t any novelty in a fast food restaurant that only serves decent sandwiches, and with all the fast food options available, there isn’t much of a reason to go to Subway. Recommendation: Meatball Marinara Footlong at 160 calories per dollar

Nation’s Hamburgers: The quality of this Orinda classic can’t be beat. Consistently delicious custom made burgers, friendly workers, and very flexible business hours make Nation’s Giant Hamburgers a great choice for those willing to pay a little extra. And, with locations in Orinda and Moraga, Nations is often the fastest food you can get.  Recommendation: Nations Burger at 143 calories per dollar

Burger King: When was the last time you ate at Burger King? Do you ever wonder if you’re missing out on something by not going to Burger King? Stop worrying, because you’re not. Burger King’s value menu burgers are high in calories, but are almost inedible. The patties could probably be replaced with cardboard without anyone noticing. Even if it’s a last resort, you should think long and hard about going to Burger King, because starvation may actually be your best option. Recommendation: Bacon Double Cheeseburger at 185 calories per dollar