The Poorman's OC '4 Under $6': The Fast Food Breakfast Battle '4 Under $3'
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Welcome to another edition of The Poorman's OC '4 Under $6', where you'll always enjoy an experience in fine living without a budget. Yes, even being broke is glamorous in one of the most expensive counties in the nation. I'm an expert at it. The ultimate goal of this column is to become the "Zagat Of Cheap". The idea for this week was suggested by one of my Facebook friends Steve Boehmke. He sent me an IM: "Congrats on the new OC Weekly gig! Here's a tip. I always have a hard time eating breakfast. I'm not hungry when I get up, and I don't want cereal; so on my way to the office or wherever, I drive through..." The remainder of the IM praised a specific fast food breakfast spot where he dines for under $3. So without further ado, we bring you The Fast Food Breakfast Battle '4 Under $3'. And the winner is...
Yes, you are reading correctly. This is not an OC Weekly misprint. Good ol' Del Taco, in business since 1964, absolutely dominates your morning commute meal. It is a winner in the epic culinary battle of fast, inexpensive, and good breakfast.
Concluding what my Facebook friend Steve Boehmke had to say: "On my way to the office or wherever, I drive through Del Taco, order a breakfast burrito (80 cents) and add beans (40 cents) for $1.20. It's an egg, bean, and cheese burrito! Then I add a $1 medium 32 oz. iced tea, and I'm totally good til lunch... and semi-healthy too...Total $2.20 plus tax."
Before you guys go crazy and leap to conclusions, remember what we are looking for. This is 'fast food breakfast', not a sit-down five-course-meal with grog! You are not going to get laid after a morning drive breakfast, no matter where you eat. More than likely, romance is the furthest thing from your mind at 8 a.m. on a week day, anyway. Most of you are in a rush. You won't go wrong with Del Taco. Let's get into it, and I'll tell you why they are the winner.
What was really surprising when I began this Fast Food Breakfast Battle were the lack of restaurant suggestions. This was in sharp contrast to the article I did a few weeks ago on $1 Tacos. I have 5000 Facebook friends, and there were only a smattering of recommendations. It seems that people really don't have much of a clue as to where to eat in the morning. Del Taco received the most response by far. It was an easy #1 pick.
We based our decision on six poor-criteria: quality, price, menu; taste, service and speed.
I visited Del Taco within a day of writing this column, ordered one of everything off their Buck And Under Menu, and thought the quality of food was excellent!
Here's the official word on food quality from Del Taco corporate: "Many people are not aware of the great lengths Del Taco goes to in order to deliver quality, made-to-order menu items created with ingredients freshly-prepared in Del Taco restaurants every day. Menu items include fresh ingredients such as cheddar cheese grated from 40-pound blocks, hand-made pico de gallo salsa, lard-free beans slow cooked from scratch, hand-chopped fresh tomatoes and cilantro, and marinated chicken grilled in the restaurant. The all-beef burgers don't hit the grill until they are ordered, and the burgers never sit under heat lamps. All egg dishes are made to order. The eggs are already cracked but they don't hit the grill until someone places an order."
This is where Del Taco really separates itself from the pack. Whereas other fast food breakfast spots have a few items under $3, Del Taco has most of an extensive breakfast menu under $3. They also have a Buck And Under Menu that is insanely inexpensive! Yesterday, I went 'drive thru' ordering all five Buck And Under items at the 17th Street and Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa location (See Buck And Under Menu In Pic).
I even substituted the $1 iced coffee for a 32 ounce iced tea not on the menu, also $1. The super friendly lady on the speaker told me to tweak my order and it'd even be cheaper! When all was said and done, each item averaged 89 cents. Ridiculous! I REALLY FELT LIKE A RICHMAN!!!!! Another one of my FB friends ,Rick Willey, commented "I work at Del Taco. Not only is this post totally true but the whole breakfast menu has great deals on it. I don't think [you] can find a fast food place for a cheaper breakfast."