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Outrageously Expensive Fast Foods Slideshow

Outrageously Expensive Fast Foods Slideshow

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Fish Taco

Created by: The Brentwood
Location: Los Angeles' Westside
Price: $28.50

The Brentwood restaurant has served the culinary needs of Los Angeles' Westside clientele since 1999. Its menu includes every comfort food conceivable, from burgers and fries to macaroni and cheese, and everything in between. However, just because they serve comfort food, don’t expect to be presented with a $10 check from your server when you’re done eating.

The Brentwood is located in one of the most upscale areas in the U.S., so the food is priced accordingly. On the menu, a $28.50 fish taco sits alongside a $24.50 plate of fried chicken and a $16.50 shrimp cocktail. At one point, the restaurant offered a filet mignon taco sold for $38.50, but sadly it no longer appears on their menu.

Hot Dog

Created by: Stephen Bruce
Location: Serendipity 3, New York City
Price: $69

Serendipity 3 has been a New York City institution since 1954. It’s a popular tourist attraction that was frequented by such legends as Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Andy Warhol, and served as the setting for multiple films, most notably the 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsdale.

Owner Stephen Bruce has always known the value of a good publicity stunt, so on June 23, 2010, otherwise known as National Hot Dog Day, the restaurant offered the "Haute Dog," a foot-long frank grilled in white truffle butter and covered in black truffles and foie gras. It sold for $69, earning the Guinness World Record for the most expensive hot dog in the world.

Macaroni and Cheese

Created by: Melisse
Location: Santa Monica, Calif.
Price: $95

Melisse is a French restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, Calif. It specializes in seasonal entrées, and in the time that it’s been open for business it’s won two Michelin Star Awards. It's also been rated the number one restaurant in Los Angeles by Zagat.

One of the seasonal delicacies that Melisse offers is a white truffle, which is only available from October through December. During those months, the restaurant serves it in a macaroni and cheese entrée that costs $95 a plate.


Coffee - Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty; ImagesInset - Sunny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images

Created by: The Asian Palm Civet
Location: Southeast Asia
Price: $600 a pound

Today’s coffee drinker has more options than ever before. The most demanding caffeine connoisseur can find the exact one-pound blend of espresso-roasted, half-French, quarter-Colombian, quarter-Ethiopian beans his or her heart desires, simply by handing the Starbucks barista $2 for a cup. However, only the true sophisticate knows about civet coffee, the rarest variety on Earth, which can sell for as much as $600 a pound.

Civet coffee’s outrageous price tag is due to its rarity and its unorthodox harvesting method. It comes from a coffee cherry that only grows in Southeast Asia, and the tree is inhabited by a weasel known as the Asian Palm Civet. The animal eats the cherries, digests them, and then excretes the hard centers . Harvesting the undigested portion, though highly unappetizing, yields a final product that can sell for as much as $50 a cup.


Created by: Frank Tujague
Location: The Westin New York at Times Square, New York City
Price: $1,000

Few foods are as heavily identified with New York City as the bagel. Other cities have their own variations on it, all profitably sold and happily consumed. However, no other U.S. city has ever come close to capturing that certain je ne sais quoi particular to the New York bagel.

Although the bagel is readily available at any time of day or night to anyone with a dollar to spend, Frank Tujague, executive chef at the Westin New York at Times Square, decided to deviate from its standard business model in 2007. He fashioned the world’s most expensive bagel by topping it with white truffle cream cheese, goji berry jelly, and gold leaves. The price for this creation was $1,000 and all proceeds from its sale were donated to the Les Amis d’Escoffier Scholarship, a charity benefiting impoverished culinary students.

The Most Expensive Item at Every Fast Food Chain

We think of fast food as cheap as well as fast, but chain prices have risen over the years with everything else. Some items now top $10, steep for something that may not be exactly healthy. We looked at national fast-food chains to find the most expensive item at each — excluding items designed to serve multiple people such as orders of 40 chicken nuggets, combo meals, and limited-time offers — with results that may surprise you (or may just make you hungry).

Prices and availability change often and are often up to individual store owners, so they may vary in your area.

1 of 36

Sheet Pan Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

One-dish dinners are a dream come true for busy cooks. You can cook everything you need for your meal&mdashin this case, chicken leg quarters and sweet potato wedges&mdashat the same time, and on the same dish. This saves you time, mess, and a whole lot of effort. This dish is quite simple, which is why it&rsquos so great for weeknights. You can change up the herbs (it calls for sage, but rosemary would be good, too) and switch the greens from watercress to butter lettuce or anything you have on hand.

This recipe calls for dark chocolate in the ganache to balance out the sweetness of the Nutella. For a more kid-friendly cake, use milk chocolate. This is part of BA's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

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From a $50 burger to a $398 tasting menu: S.F.'s most outrageously priced food

Fog catchers installed around San Francisco captured the "valuable" droplets of fog that are blended into the Hangar 1 vodka used in this swanky cocktail. "It’s fragrant (for vodka), with a sweet aroma that suggests a dewy flower petal," writes Esther Mobley, the SF Chronicle's wine, beer in a Faintly, I can smell rose, verbena. On the palate, it’s round, delicate, clean. Its glassy texture builds to a chalkiness on the finish, giving the impression of minerality."

John Storey/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 54 $165, Hyogo Kobe Japan steak at Alexander's Steakhouse

4 of 54 $200, Yamato tasting menu at Omakase, $80 extra for sake pairing

5 of 54 $50, Rosinni Burger at Burger Bar

, Chili at Old Bus Tavern
"I’ve judged a few chili cook offs in my time, but few recipes are better than what [chef Max] Snyder makes here," writes SF Chronicle food writer Michael Bauer. "There are no beans and very little liquid it’s more like an intense braised beef stew served on a retro flowered china plate with a crisp round tortilla standing at attention on the rim. Turns out the owners are chili heads and have entered many contests. This passion is on full display here." Note: Menu changes regularly. Old Bus Tavern, Mission, 3193 Mission St., (415) 843-1938

8 of 54 $10.45, pizza slice at Serrano's

10 of 54 $398, tasting menu at Saison

Each dish features a glistening little jewel box of food: a mini mountain of reserve caviar, a handful of lightly grilled lobster pieces, a square of sea bream in a pool of yogurt, citrus sauce. The portions are tiny and the preparations meticulous. New York Times reviewer Pete Wells gave thesai restaurant a rave review. "Facing down more than 15 courses, I wasn't bored once, and several times I was on the edge of my seat," Wells wrote. (pictured: Uni Toast) Saison, SoMa, 178 Townsend, (415) 828-7990

John Storey/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

11 of 54 $16, Port of Mokha coffee at Blue Bottle

13 of 54 $4, toast at The Mill

16 of 54 Dinner at Saison: $398 for the weekday tasting menu. This is without wine. Throw in drinks and you're easily spending over $1,000 for dinner for two. John Storey/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

17 of 54 Dinner at Yamo: $6 per entree. The lines are out the door at this tasty Mission District spot where you can order an entree every night for over two months for the cost of one night's tasting menu at Saison. Show More Show Less

19 of 54 Buy Photo Seat at a game: $28,000. Warriors' courtside seats for Game 7 against the Thunder were off the charts. But for that you may have gotten to high-five Steph after his trey doomed OKC. Michael Macor/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

20 of 54 Seat at a game: $5. And, at A's $5 dollar Wednesdays you don't just get a seat to yourself, you can have an entire row. Just think, for the cost of one Warriors game you could see over 5,000 A's games on Wednesdays. Don Feria/Getty Images Show More Show Less

22 of 54 Cost of a pizza: $100. Tony's Pizza in North Beach had this offer going as part of a Super Bowl 50 promotion. Why so much? As 7x7 explained: "Well, the 'Super Gold Pizza' is a wood-fired pie topped with gold flakes(!), white truffles (!!), and 24-month Danielle Prosciutto(. )" But after a few beers, whatever. Show More Show Less

23 of 54 Great greasy slice: $2.50. Arinell Pizza on Valencia near 16th Street has been voted 'the best greasy pizza in San Francisco" (Bay List) and for that price you can feed 40 of your friends for the price of a single gold-flaked pie. MIKE KEPKA/SFC Show More Show Less

25 of 54 Monthly rent: $30,000. That's what this home is going for in tony Pacific Heights. Show More Show Less

26 of 54 Monthly rent: $800. You may not have known that places under $1,000 actually exist! In every respect, it's a long ways from Pacific Heights to Ocean Avenue. Show More Show Less

28 of 54 Buy Photo The $15 cup of coffee: The Finca Sophia at Equator Coffee has gotten plenty of attention for its eye-popping price, but its caffeine-crazed customers don't blink an eye. Santiago Mejia/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

The $2 cup of coffee at Peet's: Surrounded by so many high-end coffee businesses, the local chain born in Berkeley is starting to look like a pretty good deal.

31 of 54 Buy Photo Cost of parking: $120. Parking for Giants games at AT&T Park is always high. But when they make the playoffs, the price will set you back, back, way back. Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Cost of parking: $2 per hour: A cheap alternative. Leave your car at the very reasonable Mission-Bartlett Garage (at 21st Street) and hop on Muni down to the ballpark, or wherever you're going in the city.

34 of 54 One year of private high school: $44,000. At San Francisco University High School, this is what it costs. But you are getting quality for your money: UHS is considered among the best private high schools in the U.S. Google Maps Show More Show Less

35 of 54 Buy Photo Public high school: Free. Lowell High School has long been a premier public high school and was recently rated as the number 3 public high school in California. Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

37 of 54 Minecraft Camp: $799-$1,249 per week: For 7-9-year-old gamers that deserve the best, ID Tech camps are offering all-day screen-time out at SF State. Lunch is $60 extra. Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press Show More Show Less

38 of 54 Neighborhood Day Camp: $143 per week. This camp offered by San Francisco Recreation & Parks is a bargain. They're offering a wide variety of summer camps at varying prices. Take a look at their Summer Day Camp Guide. Show More Show Less

40 of 54 Hotel with amazing view: $18,000 per night. Well, it's more of a 6,000-sq-foot suite, but that is what a night at the Fairmont's historic penthouse will set you back. During the recent Super Bowl, the price rose to $1 mil for the week. (Game tickets were included) Kat Wade/SFC Show More Show Less

41 of 54 Motor lodge with kind of a view: $169. The Great Highway Inn is a low-rise structure right across from Ocean Beach. Stand on your tiptoes and you can see the Pacific over the massive sand dune that lies between you and the ocean. Show More Show Less

43 of 54 Luxury car: $195,000. That is, if you're buying a Flying Spur from San Francisco Bentley. Show More Show Less

44 of 54 Car that works: $1,995: That is, if you want a 1992 Buick Century from TD Auto Wholesale (while available) in the Outer Mission. Why get a Bentley when you could own close to 100 Centurys? Show More Show Less

Cost of a piece of toast: $4.00: The prices at The Mill on Divisadero St. have received a huge amount of criticism and people have said it is emblematic of why techies are ruining San Francisco. Fortunately.

The Chronicle / Paolo Lucchesi Show More Show Less

47 of 54 Cost of a piece of toast: $1.00. Actually, at Denny's you get two pieces of toast for $1.99. But you do have to deal with a lower quality jam. Show More Show Less

49 of 54 Cost of New York steak: $35 per pound: If you can afford it, you'll have no beef with the New York cut at Bryan's in Presidio Heights. Show More Show Less

50 of 54 New York steak you can almost afford: $22.50 per pound at Costco. But you have to buy a 6-pack of 10 oz. steaks. Still. Mark Bugnaski/Associated Press Show More Show Less

52 of 54 Cost of seeing a play: $700. 'Hamilton' is coming to SF and if you want to go, you have to join SHN and pay for a season's subscription that includes a ticket to the mega-super smash hit musical. This is the cost of an orchestra seat on the weekend so you will be styling. Joan Marcus/Associated Press Show More Show Less

53 of 54 Cost of seeing a play: $10. You don't need to break the bank to get some culture. Affordable, high quality shows, like The Cutting Ball Theater's "Dream Play," abound in San Francisco. And if you want to see a play for free, SF Mime Troupe's latest will be coming soon to a park near you. Rob Melrose Show More Show Less

Even in a high-priced city like San Francisco where studio apartments easily rent for $2,500 a month, $43 seems like a lot for a martini.

This specialty cocktail cut with droplets of the city's infamous fog is the latest high-priced novelty food item to make news headlines.

"Behold the fruit of your techie utopia: A $43 San Francisco fog-infused martini," read the headline on a U.K. news site.

The $16 cup of coffee at Blue Bottle was another one. "Blue Bottle's new $16 coffee is so SF," was the headline on SF Eater. That dethroned Equator's $15 cup for priciest.

Like everything else in a city fueled by Google salaries, the price of dining out in San Francisco has gone through the roof in recent years.

18 of the Most Outrageously Expensive Dishes and Drinks Around the World

Sure, you can go to Masa and drop $1,160 on dinner for two, but why stop there when you can order a frittata, pizza, or ice cream sundae for nearly that much each? Or, even better, why not just go all in by burning through $3.95 million on a strawberry dessert? Restaurants from New York and Las Vegas to Sri Lanka and beyond compete to create the world's most outrageously expensive dishes — some certified, some not, but certainly all over-the-top. Some use gold leaf and foie gras to jack up the prices, while others go for pricey cuts of meat or rare wines to accompany. Plus, of course, there are the diamond engagement specials.

Eater reached out to restaurants and bars around the world who are known for their high-rolling ways to find out the story behind their whale-friendly dishes — and see how many of these they actually sell. Here now, 18 of the most expensive dishes and drinks in the world — and in the interest of not having entirely steaks and burgers on the list, some honorable mentions, too:

[Photo: DougieDog]

18. DougieDog, Vancouver — $100 Dragon Dog

When DougieDog owner Dougie Luv set out to make the world's most expensive hot dog, he didn't want to use some of the ingredients restaurants traditionally use to kick up their prices such as caviar. But, as he tells Eater, he sure didn't mind high-end meat. So this $100 foot-long bratwurst is infused with hundred-year-old Louis XIII cognac and topped with fresh lobster, picante sauce and Kobe beef seared in olive and truffle oil. Luv says he has sold 783 of these dogs since creating them last year and while he usually requests 12 hours notice the restaurant does keep three on hand just in case.

[Photos: Barclay Prime]

17. Barclay Prime, Philadelphia — $100 cheesesteak

Stephen Starr's Barclay Prime dresses up the Philadelphia classic cheesesteak with wage ribeye cut down with foie gras and topped with truffled homemade fontina cheese on a sesame roll. It also comes with a glass of Dom Perignon 2000 and comes out to the tune of $100. According to a rep, people order the cheesesteak pretty often and usually in groups. There's no need to order it in advance.

[Photo: Facebook]

16. Kai Mayfair, London — $170 Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup

The Guinness World Record for the world's most expensive soup belongs to London's Kai Mayfair, though some changes have been made since that record was logged in 2005. While the dish once contained shark's fin, an employee tells Eater that particular (and controversial) ingredient has been replaced with noodles to go along with the abalone, Japanese flower mushroom, sea cucumber, dried scallops, chicken, huan ham, pork and ginseng. It must be ordered with five days' notice and sells for £108 ($170).

[Photo: Bar Masa, Las Vegas]

15. Bar Masa, New York City — $240 Masa toro with caviar

It's pretty easy to rack up quite a bill at New York City's Bar Masa, but it'll go a lot quicker with just one order of the Masa toro with caviar roll. This is an eight-piece roll that will set you back $240 because, well, fatty tuna and caviar are not cheap. It's also on the menu at Bar Masa's Vegas outpost, and is served with a crispy, buttery brioche.

[Photo: The Old Homestead Steakhouse]

14. The Old Homestead Steakhouse, NYC — $350 steak

For those whales who love to drop a lot of money of expensive cuts of meat, August 2012 brought some very good news. That was when the US Department of Agriculture lifted its import ban on Japanese beef, meaning the great return of Wagyu beef — for those who can afford it. Old Homestead Steakhouse's New York City location offers the A5 Kobe served NY Strip-style in a 12-ounce portion for $350. They recommend to reserve the Wagyu steak in advance as apparently "steaks fly off the grill as quickly as the beef arrives" at the restaurant. According to a rep, on any given night, they sell as many as 25 Wagyu steaks.

Decadence D'Or [Photo: Sweet Surrender], Cupcakes [Photo: Foursquare]

13. Sweet Surrender, Las Vegas — $750 cupcake

Chef Olivier Dubreuil of the Venetian and Palazzo created the Decadence D'Or cupcake for Sweet Surrender at the Palazzo in Vegas three years ago, and it seems to be selling just fine. This $750 cupcake is created from chocolate made from Venezuela's rare Porcelana Criollo bean, topped with Tahitian Gold Vanilla Caviar and edible gold flakes. It also includes Louis XIII de Remy Martin Cognac and comes in a hand blown sugar Fleur-de-Lis. An employee explains to Eater that the cupcake requires 48 hours advance notice.

Serendipity 3 [Photo: Facebook]

12. Serendipity 3, New York City — $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae

Perhaps the most well known of all these dishes is the $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae at New York's Serendipity 3. First created in 2004 for the restaurant's 50th anniversary, the Golden Opulence involves three scoops of Tahitian vanilla ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla beans, topped in 23K edible gold leaf, sprinkled with a couple of expensive and rare chocolates? plus there's the candied fruits, gold dragets, chocolate truffles and bowl of caviar. It's sold in a Baccarat Harcourt goblet with an 18K gold spoon, naturally. About 200 of these have been sold in the nine years since it was created, according to a rep, who adds that there are two more reservations coming up on Valentine's Day. These sundaes require 48 hour advance reservation because the ice cream and caviar are flown in.

[Photo: Nino's]

11. Nino's Bellissima, New York City — $1,000 pizza

Nino's Bellissima is home of one of the world's most oft-cited expensive dishes — a pizza that costs $1,000. As a manager explains to Eater, the pizza comes topped with four types of caviar plus some lobster tail for good measure. Order it a few days in advance.

[Photo: Facebook]

10. Norma's, New York City — $1,000 Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata

There are two versions of Norma's frittata for high-rollers: there's a $100 frittata with only one ounce of caviar on it or the $1,000 frittata topped with 10 ounces of caviar. The latter is officially the world's most expensive omelette, according to the Guinness Book of Records, and also involves one pound of lobster covered in egg on a bed of fried potatoes. According to a rep, the restaurant at New York's Le Parker Meridien sells about 10-12 of the $1,000 Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittatas throughout the course of a year — and that same number per month for the $100 dish. There's no need to order in advance.

[Photo: Margo's]

9. Margo's, Malta —$2,420 White truffle and gold pizza

An employee who answered the phone at Margo's Malta tells Eater that the pizzeria needs one week advance notice to make its white truffle and gold pizza — only available during truffle season from October through May. As its menu indicates, the truffles are flown in from Piemonte and its minimum price is €1,800 ($2,420), depending on the price of white truffles. The pizza is topped with organic water buffalo mozzarella and 24K gold leaf. As the menu reads, "This is not just a pizza, this is a sign from God telling us how great She is."

[Photo: Fleur]

8. Fleur, Las Vegas — $5,000 FleurBurger

Part of chef Hubert Keller's inspiration for the eye-popping $5,000 Fleur Burger 5000 at his Las Vegas restaurant Fleur was borne out of competition: In 2005, Keller noticed Daniel Boulud had a burger that was $100 and wanted to beat it. So this Kobe beef burger comes topped with seared foie gras and truffles on a brioche truffle bun. But what really jacks up the price is a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus wine and the two crystal stemware glasses that the restaurant delivers to the home of anyone who orders the burger. So far, a rep tells Eater the restaurant has sold about 26 Fleur Burger 5000s and there is no need to order in advance.

The Trilogy ring. [Photo: Gleneagles]

7. The Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland —$5,102 Trilogy

This luxury hotel in Scotland teamed up with in-house jewelers Mappin & Webb a couple of years back on a line of cocktails named The Luxury Collection. The Trilogy comes in first at £3,250 ($5,102) and is comprised of Stolichnaya Elite vodka with a twist of lemon and an 18K white gold ring as a garnish with a baguette and pave diamonds. Meanwhile, for £2,750 ($4,317), The Romance involves No3 gin, maraschino liqueur, Parfait Amour and lemon juice to go with its white gold diamond-encrusted pendant from Florence. Gleneagles sells about one or two a year, per a rep.

[Photo: Salvatore Calabrese]

6. Salvatore at Playboy, London —$8,633 Salvatore's Legacy

Salvatore Calabrese broke the Guinness World Record for the world's most expensive cocktail last year with the creation of his £5,500 ($8,633) Salvatore's Legacy. It's also apparently the world's oldest cocktail, created with rare booze such as 1788 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 Kummel Liqueur, 1860 Dubb Orange Curacao and early 20th century Angostura Bitters. This cocktail can be found at Salvatore at Playboy, and a spokesperson explains that the cocktail is ordered with Salvatore's approval. A total of three have been ordered since the cocktail's inception.

[Photo: Facebook]

5. Algonquin Hotel, New York City — $10,000 martini

Give New York City's Algonquin Hotel three days' notice and a $10,000 diamond-studded martini will await at the Blue Bar. A spokesperson tells Eater that the bar and hotel works with an in-house jeweler to procure the customizable diamond, which is then placed within the cocktail.

[Photos: XS Nightclub]

4. XS Nightclub, Las Vegas — $10,000 Ono

As Eater Vegas reported a few months back, the XS Nightclub at Encore Las Vegas has its own $10,000 drink, the Ono. This cocktail features Charles Heidsieck Champagne Charlie 1981 and Louis XIII de Remy Martin Black Pearl cognac — oh, and it comes with a pair of men's silver cufflinks and a woman's 18K white-gold chain with a black pearl pendant. Not too shabby.

[Photo: Fortress Resort & Spa]

3. The Fortress Resort & Spa, Sri Lanka — $14,500 Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence Dessert

The Fortress Resort & Spa in Sri Lanka offers its high-rollers a dessert that it describes as more of "a challenge for those adventurous as heart." The Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence is made with gold leaf Italian cassata, flavored with fruit-infused Irish cream. There's a fruit compote, a Dom Perignon champagne sabayon at the base and a handmade chocolate carving in the shape of a local stilt fisherman. Oh, and it's adorned with an 80 carat Aquamarine gemstone whose diameter "spans the head of a soup spoon." The dessert costs $14,500 at DUO restaurant, according to a spokesperson for the resort, and orders must be placed a day in advance.

Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel & Restaurant [Photo: Facebook]

2. Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel, England — $35,000 Pudding

Chef Marc Guibert of the Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel in England's Lake District went after the world's most expensive dessert title in late 2011 with a chocolate pudding that costs £22,000 ($34,531). Shaped to look like a Faberge egg, the pudding is made with high-end chocolate, gold leaf, champagne, caviar and a diamond. It's layered with champagne jelly and laced with edible gold. So far, a rep tells Eater Guibert has sold just one egg. The dessert must be ordered two weeks in advance.

[Photo: Facebook]

1. Arnaud's, New Orleans — $3.95 million Strawberries Arnaud

Arnaud's in New Orleans no longer offers the $1.4 million dessert that gained it notoriety years ago. Nope, now that dessert is worth a staggering $3.95 million. Co-owner Katy Casbarian explains to Eater that the historic New Orleans restaurant partnered years ago with MS Rau antiques on a proposal package that includes their signature Strawberries Arnaud dessert and a diamond ring. While the original 4.71 carat ring is no longer available, it has been replaced with a 7.09 carat pink diamond to accompany the dish of strawberries served in a marinade of port, red wine, spices and citrus with vanilla ice cream. "Needless to say," she writes, "it is our worst selling dessert."

Honorable Mentions (repeat categories)

Serendipity 3's $295 Le Burger Extravagant (NYC) Joel Robuchon's $235 L'Oeuf de Poule (Las Vegas) Le Burger Brasserie's $777 Kobe beef and Maine lobster burger (Las Vegas) Oishii's $250 steak with black truffles (Boston)

Nando's: The surprising story of the rise and rise of peri-peri chicken

It's hard to imagine now, but there was a time when there was no such thing as a ‘cheeky Nando’s’, and the options for so-called "exotic" food on the British high street largely boiled down to a Chinese and Indian takeaways or a kebab.

Now, Nando’s and other restaurants serving chicken seasoned with hot peri-peri spices, a bowl of tangy slaw and peppery chips for less than a tenner have been adopted into our melting pot of food culture. There are around 340 Nando's stores in the UK: a third of the world's total.

So, how did this fiery chicken graudally take over our palettes, and where did it come from in the first place?


Nando ’s opened its first UK restaurant in Ealing in 1992. "Any move into a new country is a risky move in some ways, but we were confident our peri-peri chicken would go down well in the UK with its combination of heat and flavour,” a spokesperson for Nando's told The Independent . Peri-peri chicken entered the British market at a time when ‘fast-casual dining’ exploded against a consumer backlash directed against McDonald’s, explains George Shaw, a food journalist and a judge on the Asian Curry Awards.

By that time, British taste buds had already become accustomed to spices, heat and a variety of flavours thanks to South Asian food. Unfortunately, adds Shaw, the mainly Bangladeshi curry houses across the country are now struggling to keep up with the changing demands of consumers who enjoy spiced food in a market they helped to create.

The most outrageously expensive food on the planet

1 /8 The most outrageously expensive food on the planet

The most outrageously expensive food on the planet

The most outrageously expensive food on the planet

The most outrageously expensive food on the planet

The most outrageously expensive food on the planet

The most outrageously expensive food on the planet

The most outrageously expensive food on the planet

The most outrageously expensive food on the planet

The most outrageously expensive food on the planet

Grand Velas Los Cabos Resort

"With the Asian Catering Federation, we run road shows urging owners and chefs to change with the times. Some are doing great things, others haven't changed their menus in 20 years, and are nowhere near as busy, with two closing every week,” adds Shaw.

The success of Nando's, which caused other smaller peri-peri chicken outlets to spring up in its path, plays on the narrative surrounding the flavouring's multicultural origins, s ays Professor Rebecca Earle, a food historian at the University of Warwick.

"The owners have mythologised a back story as the ‘home of the legendary Portuguese flame-grilled peri-peri chicken”. Peri-peri is swahili for pepper. It suggests a Mozambique heritage although the founders are South African," she adds. Peri-peri as a term derives from Swahili and other African languages for the type of chile used in the sauce.

“Chile peppers originated in the Americas, and peri-peri sauce is similar in some ways to the ‘salsas’ typical of many parts of Latin America, with its combination of spicy chiles, a source of sourness such as vinegar, and chopped onions and herbs. Chiles were spread across southern Africa as a result of the trade links that resulted from European colonisation of the Americas and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.


“Similar forces took both chiles and peri peri chicken to Portuguese settlements in Goa, India, and beyond. Peri peri chicken is thus one of the few positive consequences of colonialism,” she adds.

Fast forward a few centuries, and Nando's has hit a dining sweetspot which has seen it open over 1,000 stores across the world.

"Nando's is more upmarket but more classless than most chains, sitting somewhere between McDonald’s and Pizza Express. The food is decent, tasty and healthy where you can eat for sub £8," says Shaw. Its cult status is bolstered by rumours that a select group of celebrities including Ed Sheeran , David Beckham, and Nicola Adams are Black Card owners, which entitles them to free chicken for four guests for life. One particularly dedicated fan tried to eat at every Nando's in the hope he'd get a Black Card, only to learn that the promotion had expired over two years prior. According to Nando ’s Rihanna, Drake and Beyonce all ask for their chicken on their riders when they tour the UK. Reports emerged in 2013 that Queen Bey spent £1,500 at Nando's at V Festival.

On top of that, many of its restaurants are halal , appealing to Muslim customers, and the emergency services, NHS and military personnel get a 20 per cent discount. The origins of peri-peri chicken, and the colourful decor and artwork mean appeals to cash-strapped millennials who value authentic-seeming brands with personality. The almost untranslatlable concept of the "cheeky Nando's", which generally involves a group "lads, lads, lads" eating peri-peri chicken spontaneously, is further proof that it is cemented in the UK culture.

As the popularity of peri-peri chicken shows no sign of fading, Nando's has unveiled new products, including the Peri-Vusa in February, its hottest sauce to date, and smaller peri-peri restaurants are snapping at their heels. And that is how a mid-range chicken shop won over the nation.


Some of the most expensive restaurants in a given state are so outrageously expensive that a dinner for two can cost the same as a MacBook. Some states, on the other hand, just aren’t really home to any outrageously expensive restaurants, so even the priciest spot in the whole state doesn’t break the bank. Read on to see what the most expensive restaurant in your state is, and the next time you have a special occasion to celebrate (or when you win the lottery), you’ll know exactly where to go.

McDonald's Helpfully Illustrates That It's Impossible To Live On A McDonald's "Salary"

Just in case you weren't already aware of how difficult it is to survive on minimum wage, allow McDonald's to lay it all out for you. The fast food giant has partnered with Visa to release a just-shy-of-condescending "budget journal" to help their employees manage their finances. In a hilariously obtuse budget breakdown, the Big Mac purveyor's first piece of advice to employees: get a second job. Yup, even McDonald's knows that workers can't survive on the pittance they make flipping patties and fighting off customers.

Who needs heat?

Let's take a look at what else McDonald's imagines its employees' expenditures should look like. First off, the site sets employees' mortgage/rent at $600, which even if we didn't live in an outrageously expensive city is still a laughably small figure. Next, the site tallies health insurance at a mere $20 per month. Where is this magical land of nearly free independent healthcare? We want Obama's unicorn to fly us there! Also as a McDonald's employee, your cable and phone bills should only come to $100 a month (HA!), your electric bill should hover around $90 (for serious?) and apparently if you work at a fast food chain there's absolutely no need to ever buy any food ever. Maybe they offer employees a lifetime supply of fries?

So tallying up all of these totally realistic expenses, a McDonald's employee would need to net $2,060 per month to make this budget work. Broken down, that would mean working at least 40 hours per week and making at least $15 an hour pre-taxes to earn the necessary $12.86 an hour. Currently, McDonald's workers earn an average of $8.25 per hour, barring any funny business.

Burger Bundles

A slider is a very small hamburger, meant for frenzied consumption in multiple quantities. You don’t order one, or even three — you order ten and devour all of them in less than three minutes, preferably while you’re still in your car at the franchise’s parking lot. In the summer of 1987, Burger King introduced their own sliders, Burger Bundles, and they did a booming business, particularly among teenagers and late night customers.

Despite the Burger Bundles’ popularity, preparing them was more difficult than anyone realized. Line cooks experienced “operational difficulties” when working with the tiny patties, and the undersized burgers frequently fell through the grating of the kitchen’s broilers. Ultimately, the technical demands required to make them proved too much, and they were discontinued just months after they were introduced.


Chipotle suffered a PR nightmare in 2015 after hundreds of customers were affected by an E. coli outbreak spread through its ingredients. But that seems to be a distant memory, with sales climbing back up and customer favorites like the Chipotle Chicken Bowl going strong as ever.