Burger King Table Service

Remembering Burger King Table Service

My family enjoyed going out for fast food. We liked the price and we really enjoyed the taste. It was not something we did all the time, but when we did, we made an event out of it. So when Burger King Table Service began we were drawn to it immediately.

Burger King Table Service was part of their move to go slightly upscale. It mostly revolved around their BK Dinner Baskets. It was a short-lived experiment. Starting in 1992 through 1994 and ending quickly thereafter. They really did not change the Burger Kings themselves, just the food options and how they served it.

During dinner hours, between 4pm and 8pm, you would order your food just like normal. Then things started to change. They would give you a number for your table and a basket of popcorn to munch on while you waited. Then a few minutes later a person would bring your food in baskets to your table.

Those baskets has a lot of the standard Burger King food, but with some new options on the side. You could get choice of Fries, Baked Potato AND Cole Slaw or Side Salad. I never got any of those sides and stuck to my normal cheeseburger meal. My family on the other hand were thrilled at trying their baked potato and side salads. Although in the end they would going running back to the fries option, but at least they tried.

The basket options, not counting any regional options, included:

  • Whopper Dinner Basket
  • Steak Sandwich Dinner Basket
  • Chicken Dinner Basket
  • Shrimp Dinner Basket

They might have also had a meatloaf sandwich at the time, but not sure if that was a regional offering. I recall the meatloaf sandwich being enjoyed a bit by my Grandmother. Mostly because we mocked her a bit for getting a meatloaf sandwich. For most of the meals during this offer, the rest of my family got the Whopper.

Never got to try BK Dinner baskets the accompanying Burger King Table Service, but still remember it? That is because they had some high energy commercials during their “I Love this Place” phase of advertising featuring Dan Cortese as Dan the Whopper Man. They were part of that obnoxious high-energy attempt to try figure out how to sell to Generation X.

Besides the grating tone, the commercials were good in that they did spell out the exact process and food available. Enjoy this collection of Burger King Table Service commercials.

Burger King Table Service Commercials

Since I mentioned the Meatloaf Sandwich, here is a little commercial about that short-lived gem starring Mr. Baseball, Bob Eucker.

Weird it is done in the same style at the Dan Cortese commercials, but with Euker.

dinner baskets at Burger King

Mayfair Candy Corn

Mayfair Candy Corn is delightfully retro

Halloween shopping keeps starting earlier each year. Despite my love for the holiday, I do try to limit my browsing until the month of October. I violated that rule (again) today at the supermarket today after spotting the retro packaging of Mayfair Candy Corn.

It was not even in the main Halloween candy spot, just in some random shelf that happened to have some Halloween candy. I was immediately smitten. The graphics, the colors and the price made for an irresistible combination. I scooped up two bags and immediately ran over to the main Halloween section of the store to find more pseudo retro offerings.

Sadly nothing matched the retro fun of Mayfair Candy Corn. Still, it did get me in the mood for the holiday season.

While I drove home I tore open one of the bags and ate my first candy corn of the year. How is Mayfair Candy Corn? It is average. Not as good as Brachs or Jelly Belly, but completely edible.

While not high praise, I would still tell everyone who see it to buy a bag. The remarkable retro label more than makes up for the quality of the candy. And at one dollar a bag, you really can’t go wrong.

McDonald's Happy Meal Spaceship

McDonald’s Happy Meal Spaceship!

I have wanted one of these forever! I mean that, like forever. Here’s the problem. I didn’t know what to call them. What it is if you aren’t sure is a Mcdonald’s Happy Meal Spaceship. It’s the first Happy Meal that I ever remember getting back when I lived in Illinois. This was way back in 1982.

See, when I would do searches on it I was always looking for Mcdonald’s Happy Meal UFO. That’s what I remember them being called. U.F.O’s, when in reality they are called, McDonald’s Happy Meal Spaceships. That’s a good name too.
McDonald's Happy Meal Spaceship

This was the one that I had and I had if for YEARS! I mean that, years. I loved the shape of it and I loved that it was green. That’s my favorite color. I do prefer a darker shade, more like forest as opposed to neon but Green is Green, I guess.

What I really loved about it though was that besides carrying hamburgers and fries it also made for a really great action figure space ship! See, it opens and you can put dudes inside! How great is that? Totally great!
McDonald's Happy Meal Spaceship

It doesn’t have seats or anything, that’d be too much to ask for but you could fit a whole grip of figures in there. I remember that my Fisher Price Adventure People would zip around the living room inside of here and later my Star Wars dudes did the same thing. I had a bunch of Star Wars guys but only had one ship, Darth Vader’s Tie-Fighter so when Luke wanted to fight back against The Empire he did it inside of a Happy Meal..
McDonald's Happy Meal Spaceship

Another cool thing about it was that it floated so it also got to double up as a boat when it was bathtub play time. Now that I think about it Mcdonald’s eventually made boat Happy Meals too. I’m not sure if I ever had one. If I did, it didn’t make the impact on my life that this green space ship did.

I was lucky enough to get this at an Ebay Auction. The sale ended on July 4th so I picked it up for only a couple of dollars while everyone else was out enjoying fireworks and BBQs. I don’t regret it at all.

Here is a TV Spot for these awesome Happy Meals. It’ll really bring you back if you happen to be from that era or it’ll take you there if you’ve never been. Either way, it’s great.

[Via] Robatsea2009

candy buttons

An odd way to eat Candy Buttons

If you are not familiar with candy buttons, they are the little dots of flavored sugar attached to paper. They tend to sell them nowadays at more retro-style candy joints in jars or in drugstores handing from a peg in a bag. When I was a kid, we could get the candy buttons by the foot.

So you would go into our local store and say, give me 4 feet of candy buttons and they would give you 4 pieces of paper all pre-cut. You would then race outside and begin gnawing the bits of hard sugar off of the paper. Often getting more paper in your mouth than candy. This bothered me a great deal as a kid and I took great pains to try to remove the buttons without getting any paper on them. It was tedious work, but it made the buttons last a whole lot longer.

My good friend on the other hand went in the opposite direction. He would rip off maybe 4 inches of buttons paper and then just shove the entire wad of paper in his mouth and begin chewing. When he started eating them this way, he would eventually spit out the paper, but then he got into the habit of just chewing on it until it completely dissolved in his mouth.

I did try this method a few times. I figured it would stretch out the candy a bit longer, but I couldn’t handle it. Even now, I cannot think about this without feeling a little queasy. The paper would get hard and difficult to work and the sweetness would completely disappear. Leaving you with a lump of dyed paper.

It was just one of those weird quirks that has stuck with me over the years. And sometimes when I see a bunch of candy buttons it makes me think of my buddy and I smile. Then I remember the feeling of that wad of paper in my mouth and I gag just a little.

McPasta

The Time McDonald’s Tried to Sell McPasta

McDonald’s has tried a lot of off the wall menu items in their time. Some are fondly remembered like the McD.L.T., and others are still scorned to this day (I’m looking at you here Arch Deluxe). But a few products have come along that most of the population totally missed out on, and McPasta was one of them.

In 1990, McDonald’s decided they would try to add some entrees to their menu that weren’t hamburgers or Chicken McNuggets. They dreamed up this concept of McPasta dishes and roasted chicken legs, and felt sure it would be a big hit. Before they released it to the masses though, they went the test market route.

A small area in New York was selected, as well as chain of franchise stores in Northeast Tennessee for this new line of McPasta products. Fortunately, I lived in a part of southern Virginia where that franchisee had two locations, and they put the product in those two stores as well.

You can check out the New York Post story on this test from 1991 here.

What they offered was a selection of Spaghetti, Spaghetti with Meatballs, Lasagna, and Fettuccine Alfredo. Each dish came with a garlic bread stick as well. They also decided to offer roasted chicken legs as a side item, as well as mashed potatoes. How those last two items fit in to the McPasta lineup I’ve yet to figure out.

To be honest, the only one I ever tried was the Fettuccine…..and I thought it was awesome! For the six month period they were testing the line, it’s what I ordered on every trip to the golden arches. My Mom loved it too, and since my Dad was out-of-town a lot, she felt it was easier to just run to McDonald’s and pick up a couple of Fettuccine platters for the two of us instead of cooking, so I got to have the pasta goodness a lot.

Imagine my sadness one day when I went to order my favorite McPasta dish only to be told it was no longer available. I listened in horror as the lady at the counter relayed the info to my Mom and I that it had been a test product, and she had no way of knowing if it would be added back to the menu or not.

As the weeks and months passed by, I would continue to inquire about it on every trip to Happy Meal land. And every time I was disappointed. After a while, I came to the sad conclusion that McPasta wasn’t coming back at all.

For years I reminisced about it, only to find it strange when other people had no idea what the heck I was talking about. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why no one had even heard of McDonald’s McPasta. Then one day it popped into my brain and I searched it out on the internet. It was there that I discovered that it had been a test product with just a very limited release, and that’s why everyone thought I was crazy when I would bring it up.

To this day I miss that McPasta Fettuccine. But now I look back and realize that the stars were aligned perfectly for me to even have gotten to experience it in the first place. Some say, it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. But for those people who say that, to them I say they never loved McDonald’s Fettuccine Alfredo.

(Sadly, there is virtually no pictures or video of this stuff available to share with this article.)