It was a Fry Girl first: I felt out of place at a fast-food joint. I felt out of place at Wendy's.
Well, it wasn't really Wendy's — not this morning. It was Breakfast Experience Wendy's, an event for "VIPs" and media only. The redhead was dressed to impress for a tasting of her new breakfast fare and, boy, that girl did a number on the joint: glass plates, silverware, cloth napkins, place cards, even an ice sculpture of the Wendy's logo.
Fry Girl was not ready for this.
Want to know what not to wear when attending VIP Breakfast Experience? Motorcycle boots, Levi's, a black T, and a studded leather belt. I realized that the business-suit media reps and silk-tie franchisees were shaking my hand not because they wanted to meet me, but because they wanted to get close enough to read the nametag on the didn't-get-the-memo gal.
"New Times, eh?" one radio guy remarked. "The Howard Stern of newspapers."
A few minutes later, I accidentally — I swear — spilled a goblet of water on Radio Guy during the sit-down breakfast presentation, breaking the glass, soaking his lap, and bringing our host's speech to a screeching halt.
At this point, I'm mortified, hot, uncomfortably wedged in at a table of six, and desperately trying to work Machete into conversation with the suits, who ain't havin' it. Thankfully, the food, served in bite-size pieces from silver platters, arrived when it did.
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I gotta hand it to Wendy's: Its attempt at fresh fast food seems to be working — and breakfast was no exception. I tasted a difference in the quality of such key ingredients as eggs, bread, and cheese. Overall, nothing was greasy or tasted like processed food. The Fire-Roasted Burrito, with its poblano chiles and homemade hot sauce, was the best of the bunch, while the Artisan Egg Sandwich and Mornin' Melt Panini featured Asiago cheese and eggs and tasted unlike any fast-food breakfast I've had.
And props to the redhead for her home-style potatoes, a must-try side, and for upping the flavor ante on coffee and serving Simply Orange natural orange juice.
After the gala, I was introduced to a Wendy's spokeswoman, who talked about fast-food rivals with air quotes around the word competition. But she may as well as have been talking to a Frosty with hair because I simply could not wait to bolt this VIP scene. On my way out, I was handed a sealed white box, whose contents included a Styrofoam egg with a Wendy's breakfast brochure inside.
That's VIP swag, my friends. Next time, I'll wear a clean T-shirt.