I've found myself unconsciously singing the annoyingly catchy Jack In The Box ad jingle in the car dozens of times since first viewing the commercial above. I hate myself for it. But as deep as my self-loathing goes, my morbid curiosity runs even deeper. (See also: the Skittles burger.)
Like many Americans, a good portion of the money my parents gave me in college that wasn't spent on gas for surreptitious road trips to Austin on the weekends was spent on 99-cent Jack In The Box tacos in the wee small hours of the morning. I have a love-hate relationship with the things, as I'm convinced that they're nothing more than deep-fried cat-food shells but occasionally eat them -- with relish! -- nevertheless.
Nostalgia makes us do dumb things.
Naturally, after enough viewings of the Jumbaco commercial, I decided it was time to make a Jumbaco for myself. I'm neither the first nor the last to do so, but you can't put off morbid curiosity like this just because some other fools on the Internet tried the same thing. I can see their pictures, but I can't taste the Jumbaco for myself.
As it turns out, the Jumbaco tastes awful. (Like you were expecting a different conclusion to arise from this experiment.) The Jumbo Jack with cheese is already a weird enough burger -- mayo and ketchup...yeah, not in Texas -- and it doesn't need the crunch of deep-fried "taco shells" further skewing its flavor profile. And those hot mess tacos are not improved by the added starch from the doughy-soft Jumbo Jack buns or the ketchup-mayo combination.
It's a lose-lose scenario.
I only took one bite, and it was enough. Trying to find someone at the office to eat the rest of the Jumbaco was a losing proposition too. My co-workers regarded the sandwich as if it were the remains of an aborted Telepod experiment like the one in which Seth Brundle was hideously combined with a housefly.
Craig Hlavaty finally relented. "Do you want the whole Jumbaco?" I asked, excited.
"No," he shot back. "But I'll eat the meat out of it."
Which meat? It didn't matter. All that matters is that Jack's fake marketing team in the ad was right: Normal people like the regular old Jumbo deal. Jack's a good dad for supporting his son's idea, but he should also consider the possibility that there's something profoundly wrong with his offspring.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.