Unveiled in August, the Fried Cheese Melt is a fine example of restaurants taking two fairly boring menu items and slapping them together to form a new product. This is an ideal sandwich for someone who is unable to decide between mozzarella sticks and a grilled cheese sandwich -- and that's exactly what this is: mozzarella sticks inside a grilled cheese sandwich. Because, you know, grilled cheese sandwiches never have enough cheese.
FRIENDLY'S ULTIMATE GRILLED CHEESE BURGER MELT
You are hungry for a burger. No, wait. You are hungry for a grilled cheese. No, actually, you are really hungry and want two grilled-cheese sandwiches. But maybe that burger, too. You are in luck, because East Coast chain Friendly's this year announced the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Burger Melt. This conglomeration uses two grilled-cheese sandwiches as the bun. It is also served with a totally unnecessary order of fries. Calories: 1,500; 870 of which are from fat; 97 grams of fat; 2,090 milligrams of sodium.
KFC's DOUBLE DOWN
KFC's low-carb (and Atkins-friendly?) Double Down -- two pieces of bacon and slices of cheese sandwiched between two fried chicken breasts -- generated major buzz when it came on the scene earlier this year. It was beloved by some, reviled by others. But its calorie count is low when stacked against most of the items on this list. At 540 calories, the Double Down contains nearly half the calories of the Friendly's Mac & Cheese Quesadilla, below.
FRIENDLY'S MAC AND CHEESE QUESADILLA
It's one thing to offer outrageous items on the regular menu. It is quite another to place such items on the children's menu. Friendly's earlier in the year introduced the Mac and Cheese Quesadilla. According to the menu, it's "a cheese quesadilla filled with mac and cheese. Add bacon or a Friendly Frank to get to the next level!" The basic mac and cheese quesadilla -- without the Friendly Frank, side or drink -- contains more than 1,000 calories.
HARDEE'S LOADED BISCUITS 'N' GRAVY
Hardee's Loaded Biscuit 'N' Gravy, introduced in April, consists of two eggs and two sausage patties served open-faced on a biscuit, covered with a liberally applied serving of sausage gravy. This seems fairly innocuous until further examination. Not only does it seem redundant to have two sausage patties and sausage gravy, but the meal has 1,000 calories and 75 grams of fat.
BURGER KING ULTIMATE BREAKFAST PLATTER
Among the new breakfast items offered by BK is the Ultimate Breakfast Platter: scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, fluffy pancakes and a superfluous biscuit. It seems identical to McDonald's Big Breakfast but somehow packs in 220 more calories: 1,310 calories and 79 grams of fat.
SONIC'S TEX MEX FOOTLONG QUARTER POUND CONEY
Sonic this year introduced its limited-time Tex Mex Footlong Quarter-pound Coney, a foot-long hot dog topped with chili, jalapenos, onions, Fritos, cheese and a Southwest chipotle sauce. This menacing hot dog contains 1,134 calories, 80 grams of fat and 2,551 milligrams of sodium.
CARL'S JR. FOOT-LONG CHEESEBURGER
Carl's Jr. is no stranger to over-the-top menu items geared toward teenage/young (and possibly stoned) men. This year was no exception with its limited-time offer of a foot-long cheeseburger, tested in Southern California and Indiana. It's three hamburger patties on a foot-long sub roll. There's not much more to say except . . . it's a foot-long cheeseburger.
SONIC'S HOLIDAY SPICED SUGAR COOKIE BLAST
File under: For Those Looking to Get Diabetes During the Holidays. Sonic's limited-time Holiday Spiced Sugar Cookie Blast, made with spiced caramel-flavored ice cream, sugar-cookie pieces and whipped topping, boasts a whopping 829 calories, 91 grams of sugar and 40 grams of fat. For reference, the Food and Drug Administration recommends adults do not exceed a daily intake of . . . 40 grams of sugar.
HARDEE'S DOUBLE SAUSAGE EGG 'N' CHEESE BISCUIT
Apparently Hardee's is on a rampage with its breakfast-menu items. Hardee's in January released its Double Sausage Egg 'N' Cheese Biscuit. From the press release: "Our Sausage and Egg Biscuit has been a staple item on the breakfast menu for years ... the only way to improve a classic was to make it twice as meaty, and therefore, twice as delicious. It won't take two of these to fill you up in the morning." No, it certainly will not.