Whenever someone says "Taco Bell," my ears perk up, if only because it's among the worst food ever created and I never want to miss anyone roasting it.
So this was... a bit surprising:
I recently found a recipe for homemade Crunchwrap Supremes. Spoiler alert: there are several more tortillas involved than you'd think. Although delicious, these Crunchwraps are surprisingly labor-intensive, so I still hit up Taco Bell whenever I'm crunched for time. (You're welcome.) Thanks to a new popup in my area, I might now have a third option. Founded by The Office star BJ Novak, Chain promises to replicate fast food favorites with high-quality ingredients. And rather than...
Ummm hold on a second.
BJ Novak founded a "popup" company that "promises to replicate fast food favorites with high-quality ingredients?" What? Huh?
But yes, it's true:
On March 7, B.J. Novak, with Otium chef Tim Hollingsworth, launched Chain, a WeHo pop-up that serves gourmet takes on dishes from TGIFridays, Chili's, California Pizza Kitchen and the like. Chain debuted with a limited-quantities version of Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion (dubbed the Bustin' Onion), followed by a March 21 drop of "The Sauce Box" with chicken tenders, french fries and a trio of BBQ, sweet truffle honey and black garlic ranch sauces.
The goods, which can only be preordered on Chain's private Instagram account (selling out in minutes, with The Sauce Box at $20), have gotten boosts from Mindy Kaling, John Mayer, Kaitlyn Dever, Ike Barinholtz and Kiernan Shipka posting the red-and-white takeout boxes on social media, despite ownership keeping a low profile.
Okay, this probably explains why I missed this one: It looks to be an expensive, pseudo-kitschy experience where you spend a lot more money for what is, let's be honest, probably more or less the same food.
There's only so many ways you can make a Bloomin' Onion, after all, and unless they're using local onions and lard from silvopastured pigs raised on truffles, I'm not sure the extra price tag is worth it.
Still... it's kind of a cool idea. I don't hate it. Good for you, Ryan Howard.
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