Most Underrated Item: Orange Hi-C at McDonald's from Best Non-Burger Fast-Food Dishes Slideshow

Best Non-Burger Fast-Food Dishes Slideshow

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Most Underrated Item: Orange Hi-C at McDonald's

The Orange Hi-C just doesn't seem to be something most people know about. And those who do know about it seem to think it's some kids' drink, like Juicy Juice. You have to be a huge fan of this fruity drink, not only because it tastes terrific, but because it feels healthy going down. It's non-carbonated and digests easily with no bubbling stomach aftereffects.

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Most Overrated: Quarter Pounder at McDonald's

The diced onions on these don't jump out like those on the regular McDonald's cheeseburger, so it tastes plain. And though it sounds big, you're better off just ordering the smaller ones, and ordering two — the ratio of toppings is better. Also, ordering two Quarter Pounders is just too embarrassing. Another overrated burger is Burger King's Whopper — there's way too much going on with this one. It's a great name for a burger, but it doesn't deliver on the promise.

Flickr/AlishaV

Best Regular Cheeseburger: McDonald's

Forget all the hype about the Quarter Pounder with Cheese and the Big Mac. The thin, old-school regular cheeseburger stands out compared to them. Why? Three reasons: First, you can eat one in three bites. Second, for some inexplicable reason, the diced onions taste better than those on a Quarter Pounder. And third, you can order two of them and not feel like you're hoarding, because they're smaller.

Flickr/Eli Hodapp

Best Tricked Out Burger: Wendy's

Everyone has an opinion about what makes the best burger and who makes the best. I've had many types in my lifetime, but during the past month,  I've met the Baconator at Wendy's, and if you haven't tasted it, you'll be stunned at how good it is. Get the triple-decker — it's three thick slabs of burger, topped with strips of bacon and special sauce. No lettuce, no pickles, no tomatoes. Just beef inside the buns; as pure as a winter snow.

Flickr/theimpulsivebuy

Best Fries: French Fries at Wendy's

If you want that feeling of eating salty-air-boardwalk-fries when you're not on the boardwalk, these are the best around. Newly introduced in the past few months, these fries are, arguably, as delicious as the all-time classics that McDonald's has been making forever. Bravo to Wendy's for bringing that boardwalk, almost roasted taste to the fast-food arena. A masterful achievement against the industry tycoon known as McDonald's.

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Best Shake: Frosty at Wendy's

No one makes a thicker, more ice-cream-like shake than Wendy’s. It’s the Michael Jordan of the milk shake segment. And as anyone who loves fries knows, it even makes for a great dip.

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Best Drive-Thru: McDonald's

Save a few nuances, and idiosyncratic layouts, as at Sonic and Checker's, they're all pretty much the same, with a few small differences. At all of them, you'll find that you have to repeat your order twice, because either the microphones don't work too well or, because outside, the wind, car engines, or even raccoons in nearby trees are muffling the sounds. Taco Bell's driveway is typically especially narrow, but not a real hindrance, if this matters to you. Wendy's is sort of out there, bare, and more people may see you waiting in line than you might want who aren't even at Wendy's. I've found that the folks working the McDonald's drive-thrus to be especially friendly (then again, that's maybe just because after I've been there so many times, they just know me and appreciate all my business).

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Best Fast-Food Drink: Caramel Frappé at McDonald's

The best fast-food drink has to be the Caramel Frappé at McDonald's. Order it with extra caramel and you'll be addicted to this like nothing else you've ever sipped. Everything about it is delicious. It's sweet with a slight coffee twist, a touch of caramel, and soft whipped cream — it's like having dessert for breakfast.

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9. Burger King's Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Swimming in mayonnaise, this sandwich on a soft hoagie-like bun does wonders. Never mind the crispy part that is, arguably, less healthy than the grilled version. Have it with what tastes better, the crispy one, and don’t let everyone scare you away by saying that this sandwich isn’t healthy and will get you ill. No it won’t, you'll feel great.

Burger King

8. Burger King's Blueberry Biscuits

Half-decent by themselves, these biscuits soar when dipped in icing sauce. With these biscuits, you get the added psychological benefits of knowing youre having your fruit for the day. These are soft and warm and go down like dinner biscuits at a fine restaurant.

Facebook/Sonic

7. Sonic's Tater Tots

Soft, always hot, and with a texture that just disappears in your mouth once you get past that initial crunch. In many ways, the Sonic tater tots are better than fast-food french fries because they are rounder and plumper — you feel you're getting more bang for your buck than with those stringy, thin fries. Plus, because tater tots are so rarely offered at fast-food joints, they always seem like a delicacy, or even a wild dive into the unknown.

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6. Sonic's Chili Hot Dog

Almost like a Sloppy Joe, this frankfurter bathed in chili is just about the most delicious thing you've ever tasted. Messy, for sure — the chili gushes over the side of the bun. You can hardly see the hot dog, but besides that it's all good. Napkins are paramount.

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5. Burger King's Cini-Minis

The only dessert on this list of the top 10 non-burger, -fry, and -shake fast food, and it's because of the iced, sweet dipping sauce that comes with the little cinnamon rolls. The rolls are pedestrian, but they taste 100 times better with the sauce. After eating these, you'll be so full of vigor and joy and devoid of concerns about responsibilities, that you're likely to just skip going back to work.

Facebook/Dunkin' Donuts

4. Big and Tasty (Dunkin' Donuts)

Dunkin' Donuts' proud slogan, "America Runs on Dunkin'" may refer more to the chain's coffee than anything else they offer, but those who explore the food options are likely to find that there's more at Dunkin' than just the ordinary-tasting doughnuts. One of the best items on their menu is the Big and Tasty Breakfast Sandwich. While the egg and sausage are good, it's the greasy, toasted sourdough roll that puts this into the higher echelon of fast foods.

Facebook/Wendy's

3. Chili at Wendy's

The chili at Wendy's isn't exactly new, but is sure is fantastic. It has delicious beans, fresh meat, and some sort of celery chunks, which makes me feel as if I'm getting my vegetables, and the spice is at the just the right level. This dish is highly recommended during the upcoming winter months.

Facebook/Taco Bell

2. Taco Bell's Triple Steak Burrito

The first time I tasted this, it shocked me more than any other food on this list. I wasn't expecting much, not being a big Taco Bell guy, but it sounded good, so I tried it. Marvelous, so much so that I remember eating my first one while driving my car and gesturing joyously at no one in particular, "This tastes incredibly good. I can't believe how great this tastes. Why have I been avoiding Taco Bell all these years?" I went back for four more of them during the next two weeks. Fresh steak strips, loaded bean burrito, sour cream, and traces of some other spicy sauce. Unbelievably good.

Flickr/David McKelvey

1. Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddle at McDonald's

There is something about the combination of something slightly sweet and slightly salty in one bite that makes something so good that it's almost beyond description — the perfect storm of food combinations, if you will. This Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddle (which I hesitate to tell you I've eaten about 40 of this year) is an egg and sausage patty wrapped in pillow-soft French toast-tasting bread. It's like pouring syrup on bacon, ham, or sausage — the ultimate taste-bud rock concert.

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10. Sausage Biscuit at McDonald's

Absurdly simple, amazingly delicious. The sausage is slightly spicy, the biscuit soft and buttery. A classic breakfast with no frills that gushes with taste and fulfilling sensations. A minimalist's dream meal.

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Best Non-Burger Fast-Food Dishes Slideshow