Starbucks "Short" and other Secrets

Small kitchen got you eating out a lot? When dining on a shoestring (and aren't we all these days), how is a budget gourmand to achieve a truly customized meal experience? Easy: learn the "secret" lingo for some of your favorite chain restaurants.

It's a little-known fact that most of the big chains offer an off-menu selection of food and beverages for their die-hard fans. Some of the choices will save you money, but all of them will make you feel like a V.I.P. for just a couple of bucks. To wit:

  • If you're not into Starbucks' new Via instant coffee, save some change by ordering the quietly-offered Short size coffee. Not to mention, the Short finally makes some sense out of the fact that Starbuck's smallest menu offering is called the Tall.
  • Chipotle's policy is to make anything for a customer if they have the ingredients on-hand. This might also be a good way to avoid racking up 1,900 calories from one of their standard burritos (shock yourself with this Chipotle calculator!) and keeping the tab under $9.
  • Hit up McDonald's or In-N-Out Burger for a custom-mixed "Neopolitan" shake. It's sort of like getting 3 shakes for the price of one!

See the full list of the top ten "secret" menus, and feel free to give your own special request a try next time you're out. It can't hurt to ask, and you might just start the next underground menu sensation.

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