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April 5th, 2010:

Army orders Burger King, TGI Fridays, Dairy Queen out of Afghanistan [setbacks]

As anyone who has traveled overseas knows, there is nothing like some good old fast food to bring back the warm glow of America to homesick travelers. But our men and women fighting in Afghanistan won’t be able to enjoy that reminder of home much longer because of a new military policy.

Reuters has the story:

Fast food joints where soldiers wolf down burgers and pizza will soon be a thing of the past at bases in Afghanistan, as the U.S. military reminds soldiers they are at war and not in “an amusement park.”

In the sprawling military base at Kandahar, the fast food outlets facing the axe include Burger King, Pizza Hut, and the U.S. chain restaurant T.G.I. Friday’s that features a bar with alcohol-free margaritas and other drinks — all set along the bustling “Boardwalk” area of the base.

On any given day, the giant square-shaped walkway features the surreal sight of soldiers sipping gourmet coffee and eating chocolate pastries with guns slung across their shoulders, while Canadians play ice hockey at a nearby rink and fighter jets thunder overhead.

The U.S. military says its beef with the burger joints is that they take up valuable resources like water, power, flight and convoy space and that cutting back on non-essentials is key to running an efficient military operation.

“This is a war zone — not an amusement park,” Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Hall wrote in a blog earlier this year.

It may be a war zone, but if we are giving up are Whoppers, haven’t the terrorists already won?

[via Consumerist]

The KFC Double Down is coming soon!

It is real.

KFC announced that its much anticipated new offering, the Double Down Sandwich, is going to be rolled out nationwide. In less than a week! Holy shit! Mark your calendars!

KFC has a helpful countdown clock to help you keep track of how munch longer you’ll be waiting for this bad boy (unfortunately, it is not embeddable).  I don’t know about you, but I’ll be queuing up outside my local KFC early for this one. It is going to be a big deal, probably a bigger deal than the iPad. So get there early.

For those of you who don’t dream of this sandwich every night, the Double Down is a typical bacon and cheddar sandwich, except with two pieces of fried chicken as the bread!

God Bless America!

[previous Double Down sandwich coverage]

Has Parisian dining jumped the shark?

Au BougnatGuardian writer Michael Tomasky recently got back from a trip to Paris and he is not happy with the restaurant scene in the self-proclaimed “food capital of the world.”

In fact we ate a lot of mediocre meals, and one outright awful one, at a brasserie in St. Germain that was close to disgusting. I have two main complaints.

First, the menus are really limited. There’s a steak, a piece of veal, a chicken, maybe a cut of lamb. Two fishes. That’s it. I’m aware that this is the tradition. But some traditions are bad. It’s not too much to ask that there be several choices on a menu.

Second, they don’t bring you vegetables. In America, at any good restaurant, your main course will come with a starch and a vegetable. There are exceptions, like steak houses, where everything is a la carte (or, come to think of it, at places that affect to be haute French). But basically, in the US, if you order a pork tenderloin, you’ll get a few potatoes and a respectable little clump of spinach or Swiss chard, something like that. I eat badly in some ways, but I love my greens, and a meal feels really incomplete without them.

Like Matt Yglesias, I am going to disagree with Tomasky’s critique of the short menu. The expansive menu found at the typical American diner is great and all, but only because we all know what is on it (breakfast, sandwiches, burgers, cheap meat). But at a new restaurant a long menu can be daunting. And as an American who has trouble making choices, I appreciate when places severely limit my options (this is why Chipotle is excellent–you can get whatever you want, but only 2 things are on the menu).

But his second critique is right on the money. Restaurants shouldn’t try to nickel and dime you. God knows the French do enough of that with their pay toilets, credit card minimums and lack of free refills.

Dinner should come with fixin’s–and plenty of them. Thankfully in America, it does.*

*Except in trendy NYC restaurants

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