It happens to everyone at some point: you leave the bar at 3a, nothing is open, and dammit, a taquito sounds amazing. Even if you have no idea what's in that taquito. So, oh, thank heaven for 7-Eleven... until you're overcome with shame from stooping to the hot dog machine of doom. With that said, we've ranked nine different 7-Eleven items based on the shame people feel when eating them in public, with 1 being "no problem" and 10 being "don't look at me... I'm licking nacho cheese off the sidewalk". Then we curled up in the fetal position for a while.
7-Eleven's greatest contribution to society is its nacho bar, where you -- and you alone -- get to judge how much cheese and chili to dump on an unfairly small bag of stale chips. Sure, it tastes more like the idea of chili & cheese rather than the actual foods, but dammit, America was started on an idea! Or something.
Shame Rating: 0: Initially, there is no shame in eating nachos, which are perhaps the most perfect food group out there. But when you realize that you have approximately 5min to eat them before the cheese takes over and renders them into flaccid corn discs, your shame level can increase up to 8, especially if you discover you're binge-eating on top of a garbage can on a street corner at 3a.
The French Toast Roller
This breakfast item, typically on the rotisserie until about 5p, looks suspiciously like a generic sausage link rolled up in a maple syrup-soaked tortilla and deep-fried... because that's basically what it is. Yet, against all odds, it tastes remarkably like a pancake/sausage rollup with a strange crunch that makes you wonder what would happen if Bryan Adams and Salma Hayek created a fusion brunch place, but didn't put any money into it.
Shame Rating: 5: There's something to be said about giving brunch restaurants the finger for telling us to wait 30min for French toast, but it's really not worth 30min of stomach cramps from eating this thing.
These bite-sized tacos, at $1 for four, seem like a no-brainer, but when you pop one in your mouth, something strange happens: that which looks like shredded meat turns into what tastes like refried beans seasoned w/ meat powder and chalk, lodging itself in your teeth and making sure you taste its wrath for at least an hour later while nursing bleeding gums from stale tortilla shards.
Shame Rating: 7: If you're dumb enough to order these, then you deserve the shame of explaining to the kid at Taco Bell why your mouth is bleeding while you take down a Fiery Locos Taco.
Diablo Chicken Sandwich on a Pretzel Roll
7-Eleven joined the pretzel-bun craze with this $4 gem that tastes like a gas-station chicken sandwich that ditched the white bread for a pretzel bun that seems forged from the leftover salty snacks from a street vendor. It features a Sriracha/ranch mayo that tastes neither like Sriracha nor ranch nor mayo, wilted lettuce, and white cheddar that actually tastes like real cheese, despite all odds.
Shame Rating: 9: While it's true that nobody cares what you eat, they will care that your fingers are covered in a weird pink/orange glaze. That, and the fact that you smell like ranch/hot sauce despite never actually tasting either; this sauce has an odor that totally belies its lack of taste.
These fried wonders taste like pretty much every other chicken tender on the market, with a few notable exceptions. First: they pull apart like a real piece of chicken would, and don't contain a trace of pink slime. Second: they've been under the heat lamp so long that they taste like chicken-tender jerky. That said... four more, please. Also, would it kill you to provide some sauce?!?!
Shame Rating: 2: As James Madison once said, "There's never any shame in purchasing chicken tenders. Or Louisiana."
The 1/4 Big Bite
It's the ultimate convenience-store hot dog... no worse than any dog you'd get at most ball parks, yet about 1/4 the cost. It's the most basic thing on the "menu", and the most consistent; even if it's been roasting for three days, it's still pretty good.
Shame Rating: 0: Unless you want to get weirdly Freudian.
Sometimes you just need pizza, whether it actually tastes like pizza or not. This one actually kind of doestaste like pizza. Sure, it's the kind of half-raw, overly saucy pizza w/ mealy cheese you'd expect from a high school cafeteria, but dammit -- it's still pizza. Or something close enough. Curse my low pizza standards!
Shame Rating: 3: Just make sure nobody asks for a bite and unveils the secret of those low pizza standards.
Monterey Chicken Roller
The taquitos have become a staple of the 7-Eleven diet, but they're also a dubious venture. This one rocks cheese that has likely never been solid, and squirts out of the shell like the world's worst toothpaste. It coats your mouth like caulk, then allows the actual skin burn to be paired w/ a dull spice burn. There's also chicken in here… or what somebody once told a person who had never seen a chicken what chicken tastes like.
Shame Factor: 9: If MTV re-made the late '90s classic The Blame Game show into The Shame Game, it would most likely be about people eating these things. Also, Richard "Humpty" Vission would still be the in-house DJ.
"The taste of a cheeseburger with the convenience of a hot dog" reads the label, and it's true. It actually smells like a burger, but it tastes like somebody sprinkled a piece of foam rubber with fat. It's gray and icky and greasy. If you want a fake burger, spring for the frozen White Castles. Also, why did I finish the whole thing?
Shame Rating: 7: Not only will it leave your mouth and hands smelling like you just cleaned the grill at Dairy Queen, but you'll also have to constantly remind people you're eating a hot dog-shaped cheeseburger... and really, do you need that type of pressure?!?!