I had so much fun with the reactions to my recent column on what I call "nasty-good" food that I want to share some of them with you.

I confessed in that review to my love for Coke Icees from Sam's Club and Burger King and my equally strong infatuation with Burger King's deep-fried, crispy tacos, which cost a dollar for two and contain mushy meat, lettuce, American cheese and spicy sauce.

Lisa Wade of Salt Lake City wrote to express her relief at not being alone in her love for BK tacos.

"(The tacos) are so awful when you list the ingredients, but they are about the only thing I will get when we go to Burger King," she wrote.

"My family is appalled at me for eating them, but I can't help myself! My son worked at BK during high school (our friend owns one), and he knew whenever he wanted something from me, he could butter me up by bringing me two tacos."

Lisa and I share another nasty-good taste, as well: She likes Coke Slurpees, in her case with a hit of cherry Slurpee.

"Thanks for sharing your guilty pleasures with us," she wrote. "It makes me feel more normal (or are we all weird?)."

Probably we're all weird, Lisa. But I'm OK with that — I'd better be, since I doubt my tastes are going to change much at this point!

Mike Loveridge of Salt Lake City riffed on my mention of Sam's Club, writing that "on good days, you can get all your major food groups from eating the samples at Sam's, followed by a 'second helping' up the street at Costco!"

Mike has considered writing a treatise — "for the undiscriminating diner," he says — titled "Fine Dining at Sam's and Costco." This extremely special-interest publication would include tips on treating sample servers courteously and giving them compliments, thereby obtaining a second sample, as well as techniques like approaching a sample server twice — once from the front, once from the rear — to secure two samples.

"Yes, this DOES help cut down our monthly food bill!" Mike wrote, tongue firmly in cheek — at least, I think so.

David Richards of Bountiful finds guilty pleasure in hot dog runs to Maverik, and he has become quite a connoisseur of the valley's best Maverik convenience stores.

"When we want something quick and close, there is nothing better than a Maverik hot dog," David wrote. "Not just for the dog, but for all the fix'ns. You name it, for a good dog fix'n, and Maverik has it. ... There are enough different items that we can almost build a salad on top of the dog."

David particularly recommended Maverik's chili sauce but warned it is not found at all stores. For a bit over two bucks, he wrote, he and his family score a meal of a hot dog and one of Maverik's cranberry cookies.

David's got one more Maverik dining tip: Try the breakfast sandwich, a calzone-like creation stuffed with eggs, cheese and sausage for $2.49. He's only found them at the store at 1700 South and Redwood Road.

Helen White of Bountiful wrote that she will take Taco Time's soft-shell tacos over practically any other Mexican food, fancy or not. But her daughter, Kash Castleberry of North Salt Lake, claims the "great greasy tacos" at Pace's Dairy Ann in Woods Cross are even better than Burger King's.

"Hitting on the memory food chain as I am prone to do," Helen wrote, "I have great memories of going to Grand Central Market on Orchard Drive shortly after we moved to Bountiful in 1960 and buying your nice greasy tacos from a man who sold them for 5 cents apiece right out of his long metal deep fry taco maker. Our large family ate like kings for a dollar. Great fun."

That it is, Helen, and I think that's part of the secret of this whole thing. From the passion and humor of readers' comments, it's clear that not only do plenty of us love food we've got no business loving, but we also invest a lot of time, thought and humor in the procurement of that food. Sure, that doesn't much change the low-quality ingredients or the nasty setting, but it makes us happy, and that's what dining out is all about.


Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: [email protected]