Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other decidedly unserious news. Last week we discussed the new Taco Bell Cantina in LA, outfitted to host DJ parties.
Americans, savants in the art of the parasocial relationship, have long placed outsized weight on what our nation’s leaders love to eat. Apparently John Adams loved fresh fruit—self-care king. Richard Nixon? Cottage cheese and ketchup. This week saw two more data points added to the record: those of President Joe Biden and unofficial other president, the actor Pedro Pascal. It’s well-established that the former loves ice cream, because he’s a man of the people, of course. But we were ever-so-slightly troubled by recent news that his dinner of choice with Dr. Jill Biden is…two orders of the same main dish. To even float such a proposition at one of my family dinners would induce, and has induced, a Cold War-style rift—a table bristling with tension. Meanwhile, Pascal was seen with a Starbucks cup filled with six shots of espresso over ice, no milk. As concerned as I am for his long-term cardiovascular health, I’d imagine that the task of carrying American pop culture squarely on his shoulders would require no less than an IV drip of caffeine.
Another American fixture, KFC, announced this week that the “Double Down” is back—that is, a sandwich with two fried chicken filets as its buns, bacon and cheese between. Would eat. On the other end of the spectrum of decadence, a man on a flight was served a single banana as his vegan meal. In business class no less! Even better: with a set of chopsticks.
Last released as a viral April Fool’s joke back in 2010 and last seen on KFC’s menu in 2014, the cult-favorite Double Down fried chicken sandwich is triumphantly returning on March 6. The first 2,014 fans who “preorder” this week can get the sandwich a day early. The Double Down still looks pretty cursed: It consists of bacon, cheese, sauce, and two fried chicken strips instead of a bun… probably something that Gordon Ramsay would swear at if he encountered one, although the ingredients themselves don’t seem to be that crazy. Is this a very transparent bid to get headlines as other fried chicken chains like Popeyes and Jollibee get more buzz? Maybe! It may look quite distressing on the outside, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, sodium levels and all. 2.9/5 delicious. —Julia Duarte, art assistant
The internet’s hottest daddy and The Last of Us actor Pedro Pascal has been going nonstop viral lately, and this week’s reason for tabloids to pull Getty images of his warm, welcoming face is his eye-popping Starbucks order: six shots of espresso with extra ice; no milk, no sugar. Eat This, Not That talked to a dietician, whose general response can be described as “Yikes!” If he’s drinking this by himself, he “may be overdoing it in the caffeine department,” the dietician said. People are shocked. Shocked! Have none of you seen his recent red carpet fashion? Did you think a man who takes risks like that would also have normie eating habits? I’m no fashion expert but no person of any gender would wear a yellow sweater tied over their shoulders on top of another yellow shirt in the year 2023 unless they liked to gamble. Anyway, that espresso order is somewhat distressing, but not so distressing as to keep Pedro from being 😋, aka a 5/5 delicious. —Serena Dai, editorial director