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And the winner is……Iced Tea-Baggers

August 20, 2010

My original plan was to write something witty about my meeting with our pattern maker today – but I’m not in the mood.  I’m sitting on my porch with a glass of Sauvignon blanc Thursday evening trying to decompress, but the mosquitos are not helping my mood!

While Spinner is still on the beach, I had a few Smashing meetings this morning and then needed to taxi my sons around the remainder of the day and all told – traveled 120 local miles with 6 hours of physically being in the car in horrendous traffic.  Why does every road need repaving the same week?  I could not get anywhere on time today, and I’m the person who is always 10 minutes early – my average mph was 20!  

When you’re in the car for the day – you get thirsty and I often find the need to drive-thru someplace to get a refreshing iced tea.    In fact, whenever the 3 of us are travelling together – whether in the same car or separate cars – one of our first decisions is where is the closest drive-thru iced tea, unsweetened of course.  However, I must often nix the first choice, as I need to find the first one that is on the right side of the road.  This does drive my partners crazy, but we drive on a lot of 4-lane, divided highways and a left-turn into traffic can add a lot of time to your journey.  (I’m wondering if this is why they’ve decided to follow me in some cases.)

This summer, we’ve covered a lot of miles and have drunk a lot of drive-thru iced tea. I feel that we now have some expertise on this great matter.  While stuck in traffic, we’ve debated the various establishments and have decided who brews the best iced tea, and the words you must utter into the drive-thru box to get the right concoction.  Ace swears that you must say, “extra, extra, extra ice”, and I must admit to being a bit skeptical at first that saying “extra ice” three times was necessary – but she’s right on this one.  We tested this theory – she ordered  “extra, extra, extra ice” and I ordered  just “extra ice”.  On her receipt, the word “extra” was indeed repeated three times and she had the ideal ice to tea ratio! 

Neither Ace nor Spinner care if their iced tea has lemon, but I do and that must be right as well – so this adds to the complexity of the order.  It must be two slices of lemon – squeezed!  A lot of places will happily throw in 2 slices of lemon – but unless it’s squeezed into the tea – you are not going to taste it.  Most drive-thrus do not understand my request – so it ends up being a DIY thing.  Word of warning – If you want real lemon slices – DO NOT go to Burger King, as they will give you a little white packet of lemon-flavored stuff.  So this further complicates our drive-thru choices and frustrates my non-lemony partners.  So if Burger King is a No Drive-Thru Zone – who are the winners? 

My personal favorite is the Portillos – they always get my order right.  Unfortunately, they are not often on our routes, or perhaps unluckily on the left side of the highway.  Culver’s – if I’m very specific with my ordering – will usually deliver the goods.  But again, they are not frequently enough found for us – I do not allow detours!  (On the other hand, if I’m craving frozen custard – I head to the nearest Culver’s, which is 8 miles from my house.  Along the way you pass a DQ, an Oberweis and a Baskin Robins – don’t care.  Hands down, Culver’s has the best frozen concoction! In fact, if it were not for Culver’s frozen custard – I swear I’d be a size 6!)

So for the most reliable drive-thru iced tea in Chicagoland – we give the prize to McDonalds!  Which is remarkable – because I don’t go there for anything else, seriously!  I’ve managed to brainwash my kids into thinking that they would grow extra extremities if they ate McDonalds fast food.  (Unfortunately – Both have food sensitivities, so it might actually be true!)  In fact, I absent-mindedly approached a McDonalds the other day with them in the car and they both screamed. “Mom – What are you doing?” 

I explained my research and assured them that the iced tea was OK – but everything else there was hazardous to our health.  I think they bought it – but I’ll have to be more careful if they’re in the car and an iced tea craving hits.  I might have to actually park a car somewhere and go inside!  By the way, I’ve done some extra credit research on non-drive thru iced tea.  Panera is the winner hands down – though they are helped by the fact that you get your own tea and ice, and control the lemon count and squeezing yourself, so it is probably not a fair comparison!

Have a Smashing weekend!

PS  I’m Baffled – Why in the 30 miles I drive from South Barrington to Glenview to meet with our pattern-maker along major roads, is there not a drive thru McDonalds?   Doesn’t make any difference if you’re going east or west – I might actually have made a left turn today.  It’s an iced tea wasteland!

PSS I’ve decide to erase my inappropriate joke about the tea-baggers & tea-bagging – so feel free to think of your own right now and laugh out loud!

2010 Copyright Smashing LLC 2010 Copyright

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