Fast food is great because by its nature, it is cheap, easy to get, and you can eat it within a matter of minutes. That is, unless you order these gourmet and over-the-top versions of common fast food items. What do you think? Do these look good or are they a complete waste of money? Feel free to share in the comments.
10. Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is popular among kids, and also college students living on their own for the first time because of how cheap and easy it is to make. Perhaps because it’s so basic that means the only thing you can do with it is make it fancier, which is exactly what Mélisse in Santa Monica, California, did with their mac and cheese.
Their version is made using fresh pasta, Parmesan cheese, brown-butter truffle froth, and shaved white truffles. Also, the mac and cheese is only available between October and December because of truffle season; so start saving because it will cost you $95 for a single serving.
Tacos are notoriously cheap. After all, how do you think Taco Bell has stayed in business for over 50 years? You know, other than potheads. At one point they had to explain they weren’t serving Grade D meat to their customers because so many people believed that it was possible, so we’ll assume their price helped quite a bit.
Café on the Green in Dallas, Texas, is trying to stay as far from Taco Bell as possible in both quality and price. They have three tacos for the staggering price of $100. Each taco is different: one is made with wagyu beef with micro cilantro and a truffle-béarnaise sauce; the second is the Hudson Valley Foie Gras Taco, which is made with duck meat and a Valrhona chocolate mole; and finally the third is made with Maine lobster, caviar pearls, and Aleppo chili. The tacos are served with a special margarita called the “4150,” which is made from Don Julio 1942 tequila, Cointreau triple sec, lime juice, and agave nectar. The restaurant also said that 20 percent of the profits will be donated to charity.
Soups are great because they are so versatile and you can make some great soups from scratch with only a few ingredients. There are some tasty soups that come in a can that are usually less than a dollar to purchase. Or, if you’re not in the mood to heat something up and you’re looking for some amazingly mediocre soup, Subways around the world are open 24/7.
If none of those options sound appealing to you, you could always buy a ridiculously expensive soup like the one served at the Kai Mayfair restaurant in London, England. The Chinese food restaurant has one Michelin Star and their version of the soup Buddha Jumps Over the Wall holds the Guinness World Record for most expensive soup. The soup is made from shark fin, abalone, Japanese flower mushroom, sea cucumber, dried scallops, chicken, huan ham, pork, and ginseng. In order to enjoy this soup, you’ll need $190 and to call five days in advance to order it.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are so simple that most people don’t even order them at a restaurant because you can do it yourself at home in minutes. You get two pieces of bread, one slice of cheese (at least), butter the outside of the sandwich, and stick the cheese in the middle (that part is key), place the sandwich in a frying pan and then cook it on either side until your sandwich is golden brown. Or, if you’re a slobbish character in a movie, you just use a clothes iron and press it in seconds. Despite the ease of people making their own, that didn’t stop Serendipity 3 in New York City from creating the most expensive grilled cheese sandwich in the world. They call it the Quintessential Grilled Cheese, because of course they do.
The sandwich is made using French Pullman bread that is infused with Dom Perignon champagne and 24 karat gold flakes. The butter is a white truffle spread and the cheese is Caciocavallo Podolico, which is a rare Italian cheese that is made from the milk of free-range cows that are fed an aromatic diet of fennel grasses and wild strawberries. If that isn’t enough, the sandwich is then dipped in gold leaf. The good news is that your golden grilled cheese comes with soup. It’s Campbell’s tomato soup, straight from the can. No, not really. It is a tomato soup with South African lobster and truffle oil. One soup and sandwich will cost you $214, which is about $13 a bite.
6. Baked Potato
Besides butter, chives, sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, and maybe some chili, how fancy could a baked potato get? After all, it’s just a lowly potato baked in an oven for an hour.
Not taking “it’s just a potato baked in an oven for an hour” as a fact, the Caviar Kaspia Restaurant in Paris, France, has a baked potato that is twice-baked then topped with beluga caviar and crème fraîche. To eat it, customers are given a mother-of-pearl spoon. For just the baked potato, it’s $460, which is the cost of several steak dinners with baked potatoes at a lot of traditional steakhouses.
At many fast food burger places across America, you can get a burger from the value menu for about $1. Or, for the price of 5,000 McDonald’s BBQ Ranch Burgers, you can get the Fleurburger 5000 at the Fleur de Lys restaurant in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The price is actually kind of misleading, because served with the burger is a bottle of Chateau Petrus wine that is $5,000 alone, so the burger is actually free. That being said, it does not make the Fleurburger 5000 any less extravagant. The burger is made from Kobe beef and then topped with sautéed truffles and duck foie gras and it is served on a toasted brioche bun.
As for the most expensive burger without wine as the side, that is probably the eloquently named Douche Burger from the 666 Burger food truck in New York City. It’s made of a Kobe beef patty seasoned with Himalayan rock salt, wrapped in gold leaf, and topped with foie gras, caviar, lobster, truffles, and imported, aged gruyere cheese that is melted with champagne steam. The barbeque sauce is made from the most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak. The owner of the truck admits it may not taste good, but it will make you feel rich when you eat it. Hopefully the feeling is worth it, because you’ll be $666 poorer after eating one.
4. Ice Cream
Variations of ice cream have been around since 200 B.C., and it is a fairly simple and inexpensive treat that is served in many fast food restaurants and food trucks throughout the world. Looking to take it to the next level is the Black Diamond sundae at Scoopi Café in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The ice cream itself is high quality Madagascar vanilla bean, which is then topped with Italian truffles, rare ambrosial Iranian saffron, and 23-kart edible gold flakes. One scoop costs $817, but the good news is you get to keep the bowl and the spoon, which are both made by Versace. Because who doesn’t love reminders of that time you grew your belly while shrinking your wallet?
Pizza is the ultimate cheap food. For the price of a meal at other fast food places, you can usually buy one pizza with at least one topping that is big enough to feed at least two people. But for those with more expensive tastes, they should visit Steveston Pizza in Richmond, British Columbia.
Their SeeNay pizza is for that cross section of people who have a lot of money and like seafood on pizza. The pizza is topped with tiger prawns, lobster Ratatouille, smoked Chilean steelhead, Russian caviar, and then sprinkled with Italian white truffles. One 12-inch pizza will set you back $850.
Pancakes are pretty easy to make from scratch and millions of people buy pre-made mix that makes the process even easier. Needless to say, pancakes are such a simple food that usually only people with serious pancake hankerings order them at restaurants, because what is the restaurant going to do better than what you can make at home? But perhaps you might not be able to recreate the pancakes they serve at the Opus One at the Radisson Blu Edwardian in Manchester, UK.
The pancakes that are the base are fairly traditional, but they have some very high-end extras that include Scottish Native Paradise lobster, Russian beluga caviar, Hulle Verge truffles, Scottish mussels, and Langoustine prawns. It’s served with hollandaise sauce made with Dom Perignon Rose. While the pancakes aren’t on the menu, they can be made with items on hand in 20 minutes if the customer asks for them and if they are willing to drop $1,350 (which doesn’t include tax or the tip).
1. Hot Dog
Hot dogs are a favorite of the ballpark and an incredibly cheap meal. We won’t go into detail about what parts of the animal hot dogs are made of, or how they’re made, but there is a reason they are so cheap. And this is why it is so amazing that there are a few gourmet hot dogs in the culinary world.
By far, the most expensive one is sold at 230 Fifth in New York City. It is a foot-long made from marbled wagyu beef that is dry aged for 60 days and laced with black truffles. It is placed in a brioche bun, where it’s smeared with white-truffle butter, and organic ketchup and mustard that is imported from France. It’s topped with onions that have been caramelized in Dom Perignon and balsamic vinegar that costs $389 per bottle. Beside the onions, there’s sauerkraut that’s made with platinum oscetra caviar and, finally, it’s garnished with edible gold leaf. One dog costs $2,300 and the profits go to City Harvest, which is a non-profit organization committed to feeding the hungry.