Sonic isn't really a fast-food joint. I mean sure, technically it is, but the quality and taste of the food elevate it to something a couple of steps above McDonald's and Wendy's. Not only that, but Sonic Beach in Homestead now offers 28 types of beer ($3 to $4), wine, and Dom Pérignon ($175) served with chocolate-covered strawberries and take-home champagne flutes. We're absolutely serious. What says sardonically cool better than ordering champagne at Sonic?
Sonic has also introduced a couple of new items as well as some menu items which are exclusive to the Sonic Beach in Homestead. And once you've tried them, you'll fully comprehend the difference between Sonic Beach and other chains.
The previously initiated have been known to drive over 60 miles for Sonic's ice cream beverages and now we understand why. Sonic offers shakes ($2.49 to $2.99), and 'blasts,' an insanely thick version of a shake which takes a while to drink ($2.89 to $3.49). The new Double Stuf Oreo Blast is ridiculously good. Made with real, quality vanilla ice cream, the blast has tons of Oreos (you'll get cookie in every spoonful), contains "Oreo cream inclusion" (yum), and is topped with real whipped cream. I rarely dig ice cream and I had to go back a couple of days later for another one. The new Turtle Shake, part of the new sundae shakes line up, is full of chocolate, nuts, and caramel, and equally good.
The Baja Dog ($1.99), a beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun with pepper jack cheese, diced white onions, and jalapeños, is pretty good. If you like heat, it gives just the right amount of kick without overwhelming your palate. This dog is available for only a limited time in celebration of National Hot Dog Month.
We had chatted with Bill Wilson, the general manager, and he explained the amount of time and research that went into creating new menu items. This talk is what prepared me mentally for the next two items: a Philly cheesesteak and the Carolina pulled pork sandwich.
Wilson had gone to both Philadelphia and North Carolina to do extensive research into both authentic Philly cheese steak recipes and Carolina barbecue. The results show dedication. The pulled pork sandwich ($4.29) is unlike anything you'll get at any fast-food joint, and I would say rivals that of some down-home barbecue spots. Wilson said, "We tried ten different barbecue recipes for fifty people and this recipe won hands down. It was unanimous."
The Philly, though -- oh, the Philly ($4.99). What a sandwich. You can tell that he really did lurk around the cooks from cheese steak legends, Pat's and Geno's in Philly proper. The ribeye is tender and seasoned perfectly, the cheese balances the steak just right, and all this goodness is held together by the softest, freshest Tuscany roll. OMG.
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These two sandwiches are also exclusive to the Sonic Beach in Homestead, along with one more treat -- the popcorn shrimp ($4.49). Being a fan, I've had popcorn shrimp from New Orleans to Miami, and I'll put my money on Sonic's popcorn shrimp any time.
You can't really consider Sonic your average fast food spot -- although it does offer the same convenience, the food at Sonic is actually well-prepared, delicious, real food that satisfies your palate along with your wallet.