Early 2014 Fast Food News Indicates We Actually Live Inside a Stuffed Dorito

Taco Bell / AP
Waffle Taco, how do you stand on your own? Tell us more, sweet Waffle Taco.
We're nearly three months into the new year, and the most commonly used suffix must be "pocalypse." So, send in Godzilla: these things have all happened in the year-to-date. We've got:

- Cinnabon-scented air fresheners

- Tacos named after extra, extra large t-shirts

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Queensland Scientist Create Hydrating Beer by Taking Out the Most Important Ingredient. Thanks!

Thumbnail image for Strangeways Peticolus Velver Hammer.JPG
Scott Reitz
Peticolas' Velvet Hammer
The kids down under at the Sydney Morning Herald reported that some "clever Queensland scientists" have discovered way to rehydrate with beer, noting that "quenching a hard earned thirst with a big cold beer just got better for you."

Did it though? Did it?

See also: Dallas' Five Best Beer Bars

Researchers at Griffith University, who certainly coordinate weekly happy hours, figured out a way to improve the hydrating effects of beer. First, they added electrolytes, which replenish the body's fluids. Brilliant. Sort of like cutting a beer with a Gatorade.

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How to Use a Real Maraschino Cherry in a Cocktail, Courtesy of The People's Last Stand

Old Fashioned from The People's Last Stand
A few weeks ago Alex Fletcher of The People's Last Stand made us a proper piña colada that any manly-man would be proud to order. While it didn't come with a colorful paper umbrella, there was a delicate purple flower along with a pineapple wedge and cherry atop the glass.

Today's focus is on that cherry. Because while the piña colada was great, that dark cherry was sumptuous. Fletcher pulled it out of a mason jar he keeps behind the bar, one of the many from-scratch ingredients he uses at his cocktail den.

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Taste of the NFL Helps Feed the Hungry: By the Numbers, with Photos

Last weekend's Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Cowboys Tailgate Party offered up celebrity, entertainment and gourmet eats in a surprisingly badass setting at the Glass Cactus. And while my focus tends to be on cuisine at these sort of events, I'd like to tell you about the stuff that really matters: the event's impact on the cause of hunger, through its support for the North Texas Food Bank. OK, with a few choice details and food photos peppered throughout, just for fun.

the number of chef stations at the event

1 in 4
the number of children in the state of Texas who are at risk of hunger

47 million
the number of meals provided by the NTFB in its first 30 years

the approximate number of single women who sighed audibly when Dallas star and friend of the NTFB Jesse Metcalf mentioned his girlfriend in the first four words of his speech

Kobe beef brochette with cipollini onion, shisito pepper and soy demi-glace by chef Scott Gottlich of The Second Floor
the percentage of dollars raised at the event that went directly to the North Texas Food Bank

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Black Swan Saloon's Hemingway Book Club and Fine Cocktails to Tempt Your Literary Skills

I recently heard (somewhere) that keeping secrets is freedom. And I sort of feel like this is a good secret, but I thought I'd go ahead and share it anyway, despite possible imprisonment. The Black Swan Saloon, which has been included in a plethora of Best of lists here at the Observer (like, Best Thing That Ever Came Out of the Ghostbar) is now hosting a bimonthly book club. Yes, a book club. At a bar.

Funny thing, I've been chided for that before: "Oh sure. You're going to book club. At a bar... sure."

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Doritos is Actually Making Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos Chips

Doritos Facebook
Doritos, following the success of Taco Bell's Doritos Locos and continuing the trend of making food taste like more, other foods, is actually making Doritos Locos Tacos Chips which will be flavored like Doritos Chips and Taco Bell's Doritos Locos. Now, let's be clear: Doritos is extracting the flavor out of a Taco Bell shell, NOT the Doritos Locos Taco bell shell which already has Doritos. So, the Taco Bell flavor will combine with the already Dorito-ed Doritos, and form the flavor of the original, new Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos in a dual-chipped Dorito.

Using the Inception model of how you create and perceive reality instantly in dreams, we can now see the Frito-Lay model that they've been using all along:

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Pizza Hut Creates Singularity with Pizza in a Pizza: The "Double Sensation"

Pizza Hut Singapore
In Latin, the word simulacrum means "likeness" or "similarity." It's a term often used by philosophers and social theorists (see: Baudrillard) to exemplify the hyper-real. To boil it down: a simulacrum can often be a perverted version of reality.

See also: The 10 Worst Fast Food Trends of 2012

So, right as we wash away the fear of the Mayan apocalypse crushing Earth like a soda can, we can now acknowledge Pizza Hut for creating a simulacrum. Over in Singapore, Pizza Hut has spawned a quandary that pizza philosophers will puzzle over: the pizza within the pizza. Others have named it Inception Pizza. I know you want to study this further, so here's some academic bullet points that illustrate what this pizza is:

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The 10 Worst Fast Food Trends of 2012

McDonald's China via Eater
Because nothing's more appetizing than obsidian and tooth-colored food
If civilization does collapse on Friday, December 21, 2012, which is the day the Mayans were all like Hey guys! Earth's gonna explode in a fiery saucer of flames and stuff!, then any remaining future humans (or any aliens stopping on the burnt husk of Earth to take a leak) will be able to read the signs that predicted the end: the ridiculous fast food trends of 2012.

See also:
- The 10 Worst Fast Food Trends of 2011

In 2010, we got such gems as the KFC Double Down, and in 2011 Taco Bell decided go ahead and test the taco with the shell made of Doritos. Well, sweet fancy Moses 2012, you really stepped it up this year. You are the galloping, burning-horse-of-a-year that saw a Hobbit-themed Denny's menu, a Pizza Hut presidential debate challenge and a mothafuckin' fast food burger with pumpkin.

If this is to be the final few weeks of our lives here on Earth, one certainly can't argue fast food didn't go out with a bang. For now, we're pointing our finger at you, This Year. Here are the most insane, over-the-top conceptual abominations and trends of 2012:

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Twitter Reactions to Hurricane Sandy: The Foodie Version

Austin Dill @ instagram

A few hours ago I searched #BringItSandy on Twitter and, at the time, there were about 40 tweets. It's lighting up now though. The kids in the northeast have got their game-face on and are preparing in earnest. When life hands you a hurricane, buy Bud Light. Maybe a princess flashlight and some Sour Patch Kids.

A guy just used wire to tie his propane barbecue pit to his wooden deck... hmm...

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Fort Worth Man Ate 20 Hot Dogs in Five Minutes to Win Kobayashi's State Fair Hot Dog Contest

Jay Barker
Hofmann Hot Dog contest winner, Barlas Yuce
I've learned a few things from competitive eaters lately. There's some interesting psychology at play in the sport, which arise from two opposite camps: some take a certain laissez-fair approach, while others embrace the masochism for all its worth.

See Also: Interview with Kobayashi

Makes sense, right? It's either: "I'm in training and I'll suffer for the next day in order to win," or "Maybe I'll have a big lunch and just forget about it."

So, prior to the State Fair hot dog-eating contest I talked to four different people who were getting ready for the feast. One was Kobayashi. And even though for him it was a light day, just a "demonstration," he was all business at an interview that morning. No smiles, no jokes. His game face was on. And he ate 60 hot dogs in 5 minutes.

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