Kenzie Ziegler Weighs In On Sheetz Vs. Wawa Debate And Shares Her Ketchup On Mac & Cheese Addiction

Mackenzie Ziegler (whose artist name is stylized simply ‘kenzie’) is prepping for her first album rollout and, as someone who has spent most of her life in the limelight, she’s calmly poised for music stardom. Unlike many famous-in-pop-culture children who transition into pop music celebrity, kenzie, at only 19, can really sing and write. With her debut album biting my tongue, ready to drop this summer, you can sense her relief that today she’ll mainly be discussing her food and snack habits with us.

In our conversation, kenzie has confessed to her love of the PB&J in the past, but we also learned she also has a weakness for the American classic, chicken tenders and fries, as well as Starbucks’ famous pink drinks. Kenzie also shared with us the joy that comes from baking from scratch, as well as buying pastries from Trader Joe’s (which also ties in nicely with the cover art for her upcoming album “biting my tongue“).

Later in the interview, we found out about some of her more unusual preferences like ketchup on mac and cheese and her desire to get in on the cottage cheese and mustard craze. In addition to her snack habits, kenzie shared with us some of her favorite spots in LA and her hometown Pittsburgh, and new discoveries she made while touring abroad in London. Lastly and most importantly, we learned where she stands in the eternal Pennsylvania debate between the best convenience stores in the United States; Sheetz versus Wawa.

What is on your rider when it comes to food and drinks when you’re on tour?

That’s actually a really funny question because every time I tell someone what’s on my rider, they laugh. I grew up eating peanut butter and jelly religiously, and it’s my comfort snack. And my mom is usually on set with me and she makes the best peanut butter and jellies. So, peanut butter and jelly. And then, I have fruit, always. And I usually have Sprite, which is interesting. But that’s really it. I usually do Jif Peanut Butter, which might be a little controversial. It’s usually strawberry jelly and just sourdough bread.

On the fruit side of things, are there any fruits that need to be in your green room?

It’s usually strawberries or watermelon. Those are my favorites.

On the drink side, just water?

Water. And then, sometimes Sprite. And then, usually we get Starbucks before I shoot, and I usually get a Pink Drink.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Starbucks (@starbucks)

When you’re in the studio are there any foods or snacks that you need to get the energy flowing?

I always need a coffee, but the studio where I usually work, they make homemade cookies every day. That’s kind of become a staple. We get a cookie before we go in, and that’s basically it. If I’m trying to think of another snack that I would want to eat, it would just be a good chip. I love Doritos. I like Cool Ranch Doritos. But recently… I don’t know what they’re called, but it’s the Purple Doritos.

Sweet Chili.

Yes. I had those recently for the first time ever, and they’re so good – they’re worth the hype. You need to try them.

When you went on tour did you have the same type of food on the road?

Yes, absolutely. When I was younger I would eat any snack. I also have a really big sweet tooth, so I love Hershey bars. Snickers are really good. I think that’s what I was eating religiously on tour. And the Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Cups.

You said you favor sweet snacks over savory, is that right? Or it’s like 50-50?

I think it just depends on my mood, honestly. I feel like I do sometimes get a sweet tooth, but most of the time I feel like I like a good chip.

And when you get your sweet cravings, you’re going more for chocolate and cookies than gummy candy and ice cream?

Yeah, it’s actually really interesting. I hate fruit snacks. I hate anything really gummy, unless it’s like the gummy worms… What is it? They’re the sugary gummy worms, like the Trolli’s. I can eat those, but I don’t like anything gummy. I think it is a texture thing.

When you’re traveling for work and you get to a hotel or a destination, is there any food or snacks that you have to have in your room or are you hitting up the mini-bar?

I don’t know if I have a certain regimen, but at the airport I always get Chex Mix. But I never would get it at any other place. At the airport, it’s a staple because I know it’s always going to be good.

A lot of artists that we’ve spoken to don’t necessarily want to eat before they perform because they don’t want their stomach to feel funny. So, after your shows, are you typically going out to eat, or getting room service, or do you just go to bed and pass out?

I am the same. I don’t usually like to eat a bunch of food before I go on stage. I do drink tea before I go on stage, but afterward I feel like I just want a big meal. I feel like my comfort meal is always chicken tenders and fries. That’s the best to get after a show, or a good burger.

What’s your go-to tea before a show? Are you drinking Throat Coat and all that?

I do use Throat Coat. I put some ginger in there, lots of honey. Sometimes I even just do a spoonful of honey before I go on stage. Manuka honey, that’s my favorite.

Where’s your go-to for chicken tenders and fries? Obviously it changes around the country, but where are some of your favorites?

Ooh, that’s so hard. I feel like just at any diner. I always get them at a diner. When I go to Mel’s Drive-In in California, I always get the chicken tenders and fries.

What about burgers? Do you have a go-to Burger spot in LA or when you’re traveling?

I will say I am obsessed with In-N-Out. I would die for In-N-Out. So, when it’s not at other places… Which I’m from Pittsburgh originally, and they don’t have it there. So, when I moved out here, it was like, “Wow, this is a whole new thing for me.”

Are you ordering on or off the menu at In-N-Out? What’s your go-to there?

I am a very simple person when it comes to In-N-Out. I just get a cheeseburger with ketchup only, and then I get animal-style fries. But recently, I have discovered the Flying Dutchman, which is on their secret menu.

Instead of the bun, it’s an onion. Not a raw onion. That would be awful. No. It’s like a cooked onion and then, if you ask for it animal-style, they put the really good sauce with caramelized onions on. It’s so good.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rostislava Garofano (@thediningdolls)

In your most recent music release there is a cake in the artwork. You said you’re big on sweets. Are you big on cakes and pastries? Obviously that’s not why the cake is on your cover, but is that something that you’re into?

Yeah, so for a few months now, I’ve been throwing dinner parties for me and my friends, so that’s kind of why we did the dinner party setting, and I always get a cake for it. I just think especially how the cake was in the photo, that’s the cake that I always order. It has a little heart with some bows on it, very aesthetically pleasing. But I am a big cake person. I love cake.

Do you have a favorite bakery that you can share?

Totally. Well, I really love SusieCakes, they have great cakes and pastries. I mean, honestly, this might be crazy, but Trader Joe’s has the best bakery. They have really good pastries. I always get my cookies and my pastries from Trader Joe’s.

And what cake is your go-to? Is it vanilla or chocolate? What are we doing?

I love funfetti. That’s my fave all the way.

I also heard that you love to bake yourself and baked a lot during the pandemic. Are you still baking on a consistent basis or is that just something that you do randomly when you have time?

I guess it is randomly or whenever my friends are over and we want to bake something together. My friends are also really big into baking. But I was baking a lot of banana bread in quarantine. I think I’ve mastered my banana bread.

My mom is really into making everything from scratch, so I’ve been interested and been wanting to do that more. I think the only thing that’s complicated for me is banana bread, but it is pretty easy.

What’s something that some people may find gross that you really love either as a snack or to eat?

When I was in quarantine, I have a few friends from Canada, and they would eat mac and cheese with ketchup. And I’m a big ketchup person and I tried it, and it’s great. And so, I ate that a lot in quarantine, and I got a lot of hate for that. Which is understandable.

Do you have a go-to mac and cheese? Are you doing Kraft Mac & Cheese?

Kraft Mac & Cheese, yeah.


#stitch with @Natalie Ludwig 10/10 combo!🤌🏼✨

♬ original sound – Emily🌱

What’s something that a lot of people like that you find kind of gross or weird?

Oof. My taste buds have changed a lot, especially these past few years. So, I’ve been starting to like a lot more things, but I hate olives and I hate cucumbers.

Are there any snack trends or things that you’ve seen going on that are just like, “Hmm, this is interesting or weird,” or, “Yes, I would love to try this”?

I will say recently I’ve been seeing a lot on TikTok that there’s this girl that eats everything with cottage cheese and mustard. She puts cottage cheese and mustard together and she’ll dip a sausage in it or fruit or vegetables, basically a dip. And I’ve been wanting to try it, it sounds kind of gross. But it seems kind of interesting because a lot of people like it.

Let’s talk about Pittsburgh a little bit, are there any restaurants or places in Pittsburgh that people have to go to when they’re in town?

I will say I have a favorite restaurant there and it’s in a really interesting location. I grew up in Murrysville, which is outside of the city, obviously, and it’s in the Monroeville Mall. It’s not in it, but it’s connected to it and it’s called Sawa and it’s hibachi. And it’s like a tradition. Every time I go home, my parents take me there because it’s my favorite place ever. And they just have such good fried rice and noodles. And if you’re really into hibachi, I think this will be a favorite for sure.

What’s your order besides the rice and noodles that probably come with every dish?

I get a steak as well. Medium-well. No pink. And I also drench my food in yum yum sauce while I’m there. And we always get a soup and salad that comes with it. I also get the Japanese soda (Ramune) because it’s the best.

As far as Pittsburgh food is concerned, is there a signature dish or a local dish that everybody has to try? Besides the fries on the sandwich, which everybody knows about at this point.

I don’t think there’s really a staple Pittsburgh food, but I will say from Philly, everyone loves Philly cheesesteaks there, so that’s a big deal.

I’m from the Philadelphia area, so definitely know a thing or two about those. What about snacks from Pittsburgh? Are there any unique regional things that you can’t get in California that you miss from Pittsburgh?

I don’t know if there’s necessarily a snack, but there is Sheetz. We have Sheetz.

Yeah, I know about Sheetz.

Of course you do. And is there a Wawa in Philly or is it Sheetz?

There’s Wawa in Philly, but if you go start going west, eventually you start seeing Sheetz, and then that’s when the Pennsylvania convenience store civil war begins. What do you get at Sheetz? What’s your go-to?

I always get the mac and cheese bites and the mozzarella sticks. Every time I bring someone home, I’m like, “You need to try Sheetz. It’s so good.”

Are you putting ketchup on the mac and cheese bites now?



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sheetz (@sheetz)

Are there any amazing places that you’ve tried on the road that you could recall?

It’s been so long. I will say when I went to London, I went to Chiltern Firehouse. It’s kind of like a scene restaurant. We have a lot of those out in LA obviously, but the food is delicious and it’s a really cool vibe, and you’ll probably see someone that you want to see while you’re there.

If you head out that way, can you recommend anything to get off the menu or is it hard to remember?

I mean, they have great pasta, I will say. Also, Dishoom is really good in London. It’s an Indian place. It’s the best Indian food I’ve ever had.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dishoom (@dishoom)

How do you feel about the food in LA? Are there any places that you’d say people have to go in LA or is it mostly just that the scene is more the appeal than the food?

I mean, there are a lot of places that are about the scene for sure, which I don’t usually go to. But there is one restaurant in LA that I love very much, and it’s called Craig’s. They have this chicken, it comes on a waffle. It’s like hot honey chicken. It’s so good. And I can’t drink, but apparently they have great drinks there. And their dessert is so good. They have a lot of vegan stuff, vegan dessert, which is awesome. I think Craig’s is my favorite restaurant.

You just said you don’t drink, so when you’re going out with friends and stuff like that, what’s your mocktail or soda/juice?

I love Coke. I always drink Coke.

Last question, if you’re going the fast food route, who’s got the best chicken fingers or chicken nuggets in the game right now? Are we going to Chick-fil-A? Are we going to Raising Cane’s, or somewhere more regional?

I’m torn between Chick-fil-A and Raising Cane’s, because I will say, the sauce at Raising Cane’s is really good. So, I think I’m going to go with Cane’s.

And who’s got the better fries? Crinkle fries or waffle fries, what are we doing?

Ooh, I like waffle fries, so Chick-fil-A.