Jack in the Box's Munchie Meals Barely Hide Stoner Marketing

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The Guilty Pleasure: Jack's Munchie Meals Where to Get It: Jack in the Box, locations Valleywide Price: $6. What it Really Costs: Staggering amounts of calories, fat, and sodium. If you're in the target demographic, you won't care.

Jack in the Box doesn't usually do much to advertise to folks who enjoy late-night recreation of the herbal variety. Granted, they don't need to. Those two-for-99-cents tacos are quite the late-night munchie fix. And when it's extra-late, it's pretty much either Jack or your favorite Something-berto's.

Now, Jack is going all-out with Jack's Munchie Meals. Ads feature obviously stoned relaxed guys on a bachelor pad sofa, talking to a puppet version of the Jack spokesperson. As a clever marketing ploy, the meals are available only from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.. But that begs the question: Who the hell would order one of these in broad daylight?

You have your choice of four different entrées. All of them are comically over the top, from a burger topped with a grilled cheese sandwich to chicken nuggets smothered with cheese sauce, ranch dressing, and bacon. In addition to the main course, you get a pile of fries (half regular, half curly), two of those notorious tacos, and a beverage of your choosing, all for the grand sum of six bucks plus tax.

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When I first looked at the offerings, I was, to say the least, horrified. These are some of the most calorific combos I've seen, clocking in anywhere from just under 1,600 calories for one of the chicken choices and an iced tea or diet drink, all the way to over 1,900 calories (and a whopping 100 grams of fat and about 3,000 milligrams of sodium) for the brunch burger with a soda. That's almost an entire day's worth of caloric intake (and over a day and a half's worth of fat and sodium) in one convenient box. All the better to soak up the excess smoke, I suppose.

After a while, my shock turned into morbid(ly obese) curiosity. How did these grotesque creations taste? I rounded up a friend, and we tried the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger, and the Exploding Cheesy Chicken sandwich.

The burger was surprisingly decent. The grilled cheese sandwich brings an extra layer of crisp from the grilled bread, all the better for overall texture. If you're wondering why they didn't go all-out and use two grilled cheese sandwiches, it's because people would cry out "Where's the beef?!" with all that bread in the way. The third slice of bread is still a hair too much, but not offensively so. The way it is, the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger reminded me quite a bit of a straightforward diner-style burger. Certainly nothing wrong with that.

The Exploding Cheesy Chicken, on the other hand, was an outright disaster. They took a whole bunch of things that weren't all that flavorful on their own, and mashed them together. The chicken patty (brought in from the 99-cent value menu model) provided little more than a chewy base for the sandwich, and the shredded iceberg lettuce turned limp and slimy from all the cheese sauce. The cheesy elements (mozzarella sticks and cheese sauce) amalgamated into a clump that was just soft and bland. Maybe a slice of tomato or some marinara sauce would help the sandwich, but I feel like either is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. There are certainly better ways to blow 1,600 calories than that mess.

But let's be honest. Once you're stoned enough to think that consuming one of these artery-clogging beasts is an amazing idea, anything I say about them isn't going to matter a damn bit.

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