Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

Trying Out The First Five Guys Burger Shop In San Diego

Five Guys NAS CoranadoThe big news in town this week with a lot of my friends, especially the ones from the Midwest and East Coast, is that a Five Guys Burger And Fries shop has opened in San Diego. It apparently opened about three weeks ago, but the reason why it was not really discovered until this week with my friends is because this first location in San Diego is tucked away in the food court of Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado. They aren’t advertising to the public because it’s on a military base and as a member of the general public you can’t just go on to a military base just because you want to try their new burger joint. You need someone with a Department of Defense sticker on their vehicle to get access to the base.

I wasn’t originally planning on heading out yesterday, but needed to head down to the county courthouse for some information and saw that one of my local friends, Dan Baggett, was planning on going and was looking to see if anyone wanted to join him. He said his friend Jack was going to join him and I decided I would meet up with them so that we could ride over to the base and check it out. It definitely sounded like a must try event since my other friend Joe Gray has posted to his Facebook account that he’s already been there twice in less than 48 hours and that in June when he was in Tennessee he went to a Five Guys three days in a row for lunch. So with that kind of recommendation, I had to check it out.

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The Big Carl Is Quite Awesome – Belly Fat Cure Compliant If Customized

Big CarlWhen McDonald’s started selling Angus One-Third Pound Burgers, it took a page from West Coast burger chain, Carl’s Jr, which introduced sit-down restaurant style burgers a few years ago under the name “The Six Dollar Burger” which they were selling for $3.99. So in response to McDonald’s introduction of similar premium burgers, Carl’s Jr decided to take on McDonald’s head on by introducing their own version of the Big Mac called “The Big Carl.”

The Big Carl takes on the Big Mac, blatantly with a lot of the advertising for it offering side by side comparisons to the Big Mac, some done humorously as if the burgers were talking to each other (think the Apple commercials with Mac vs. Windows except instead of two actors, it’s just closeups of the burgers with voiceovers.) And others use Carl’s Jr.’s more signature sarcastically toned humor as seen in the commercial below which compares the burgers with a take on the old Big Mac song. I particularly like Carl’s more sarcastically toned commercials ever since they introduced a campaign showcasing a guy looking clueless in a supermarket with the slogan, “Without us, some guys would starve.”

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Trying Hodad’s, One Of CNN’s Top 5 Burgers In America

Hodad's BurgerIn one of those the truth is so strange it sounds like fiction moments, I was listening to Mary Occhino on my Sirius Satellite Radio because I woke up fairly early this morning. Her show now airs here in California between 4 am and 7 am due to the recent addition of Rosie O’Donnell to the Sirius XM Stars channel lineup. I decided to give Rosie O’Donnell’s program a try and stayed listening to her show.

During the Rosie Radio show, she was discussing how she and her daughter are addicted to one of the coffee style drinks at Dunkin’ Donuts. So I ended up checking out Dunkin’ Donuts webpage and on a long shot checked to see if any were in town. And it came up with no results. But a Google search yielded some different results, and so I ended up on Yelp.com where some local reviewers of some local donut shop were reminiscing about how that particular shop used to be Dunkin’ Donuts at one point in time. On the right hand side of the page was a Canadian Maple Leaf that caught my eye. Naturally as a Canadian, I had to see why there was a Canadian Maple Leaf on this page of reviews for a local donut shop that used to be a Dunkin’ Donuts however many years ago.

The Maple Leaf image was basically being used as a profile picture and it was tied to a list called “Comfort Foods” that was under a header called “Related Lists.” So whoever this person is had prepared a list of locations on Yelp, that he or she felt were great comfort food locations in San Diego, so out of curiosity, I clicked on because I’m assuming that he or she is also Canadian like me, so maybe they would have similar tastes.

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Amazing Sugar Free Cheesecake From Junior’s Cheesecakes

Junior's Sugar Free CheesecakeMy mom is an avid fan of QVC and about a month ago, I somehow ended up on QVC’s website and one of the items that popped up to look at was a Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse Cake from Junior’s Cheesecakes of New York. I ended up clicking on it just to check it out and it looked amazingly good. There were endless reviews of how wonderful the cake was, so I was intrigued. I saw they also had a Sugar Free Cheesecake listed that also was highly reviewed. As I am on a low sugar program I thought it might be worth trying one of these, but I was a bit hesitant to spend $30-$35 plus another $11 for shipping for a whole cake and QVC also charges tax, so a few more dollars on top of it for something I haven’t tried. Plus that’s a huge chunk of money for a single cake.

Well since I had an upcoming trip to New York, I decided I was going to wait on these expensive cakes and take advantage of the fact Junior’s has restaurants in New York and hunt one of the restaurants down while in New York and try a slice of their cheesecake. I looked up Junior’s website and found they have several restaurants in the New York area and it looked like for my visit to New York, my best option was to find the one in Times Square, so I added it to my agenda for New York.

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Enjoying An In Flight Which Wich? Sandwich

In flight Which WichYou might be asking since when does United Airlines serve Which Wich? sandwiches on their flights. How on Earth would they be able to customize a “hot wich” mid flight? Unfortunately, that’s not (yet) a service they offer. I can just imagine a flight where every seat back is equipped with a Which Wich? bag, and a red Sharpie for passengers to check a page in the flight magazine to write out the basic type of sandwich they want and then use the bag’s check boxes to further customize the rest of the bag and write on a seat number instead of a name so that an inflight Which Wich? attendant could prepare the sandwiches and have them delivered hot and fresh to passengers in flight, but unfortunately that’s just a dream at this point.

In the era of airlines trying to nickel and dime their passengers for all the formerly included services, such as food offerings on cross country flights, the good thing is they allow you to bring your own food on board. So which airport offers Which Wich? in the terminal? Well none in California at the moment. How I got a Which Wich? sandwich on board my red eye flight from Los Angeles International (LAX) to Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) was stopping at the Which Wich store in Carlsbad, California where I had bought two sandwiches, one to enjoy hot and fresh there in the restaurant and the other to take with me on my flights.

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Asking McDonald’s To Do A Lettuce Wrapped Burger

McDonald's Angus BurgerAfter the disappointing attempt at getting a lettuce wrapped burger at Burger King, it seemed it would only be fair to try the same thing at McDonald’s and see what the world’s top selling fast food restaurant does when presented with the challenge of being asked to wrap their burger in lettuce instead of a bun.

I decided to try one of the one-third pound Angus, Bacon and Cheese burger, which granted is a bit more of a premium burger than Burger King’s Whopper, but when I asked at the counter at Poway’s McDonald’s, it did seem to be an interesting challenge for them as well. The clerk behind the counter didn’t know if they could and asked one of the managers, and the woman who was managing said it would be no problem. The clerk wasn’t sure how to ring in the customization and finally they just resorted to just telling the cooks verbally to use lettuce to wrap the burger instead of a bun. Or at least, I’m guessing it was said verbally as the discussion was held completely in Spanish, but the guy who would ultimately be assembling the burger didn’t seemed phased at all by the request, and made it without any look of confusion.

I decided to take the burger home so the reveal was delayed a little bit, and sure enough, the burger was put between a couple of the leaves of lettuce that they use on the premium burgers. Fortunately it was sized quite a bit larger than the hand shredded lettuce they just threw on the patty at Burger King. It wasn’t quite a perfect lettuce wrap like they do at Carl’s Jr, In-N-Out Burger, and Red Robin, but this was definitely a much better effort on McDonald’s part than Burger King attempted. As the picture shows, the lettuce on the top side was skimpy but fortunately they used a much larger piece of lettuce on the bottom which was better able to contain the burger.

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At Burger King You Can Have It Your Way Unless You Want It Lettuce Wrapped

Lettuce WhopperBurger King’s claim to fame is their slogan where they invite you to “Have It Your Way” where they encourage you to customize your burger or other food items to however you like it. They even go so far as to claim there are over 240,000 different combinations of how to customize the items on their menu. And despite all this, when I decided to stop at my local Burger King in Poway, they failed miserably on the customization I was seeking.

I stopped in to my local Burger King and after reviewing the nutritional information they had posted on the wall, it looked like the only way I was going to be able to get a burger with relatively no sugar, was to ask and see if they could wrap the burger in lettuce instead of a bun. I went to the counter and asked if it was possible to have the burgers wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun, the girl at the counter didn’t know, asked her manager as she had no idea how to even ring in the burger and have it wrapped in lettuce. The manager said it would be possible and that she would take care of letting the staff in back that would be assembling the burger know to use lettuce instead of a bun.

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The Downside Of 100+ Coca-Cola Freestyle Fountain Flavors

Coke Freestyle Jack In The BoxToday I decided to introduce my co-worker and roommate to the Coca-Cola Freestyle Fountain machine (which I previously wrote about, click here to read that blog entry). Since there are three Jack In The Box locations in Escondido that have the machine and Escondido is on the way home, we stopped at one just to get drinks to try out the machine. Unfortunately, we ran into one of the downsides of the machine.

The main downside of the machine is that because the Jack In The Box locations get a lot more traffic of visitors than the one I encountered at the Noodles & Company restaurant in San Marcos, the fountain was “Sold Out” of a lot of flavors. Here it is a Sunday morning and all the Fanta Zero flavors are sold out, both regular and diet Barq’s Root Beer are sold out, as well as several other variations which limits the choices. The menu screen doesn’t hide the unavailable choices, but rather changes them to grayed out options that it won’t allow you to select. So you just get stuck knowing there are choices you can’t have at the moment. (Probably a secret plot to make you want those flavors even more.)

Additionally, the busier Jack In The Box locations also meant it was kind of a slow process to get the drink because there was a small line for the machine as each person spent a little bit longer than a traditional fountain to pick and chose what flavors under the various brand labels and in the case of the sold out status of a lot of the more exotic flavor choices many had to go into other menus to pick something else because they weren’t able to try what they wanted from each menu.

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Birthday Burger At Red Robin

Birthday BurgerYesterday I decided to redeem the wonderful free burger coupon I got from Red Robin restaurant on my birthday. It had been a while since I last visited Red Robin. Usually I go with my roommate but today I went by myself.

I waited to go until about 1 in the afternoon so that I’d miss out on the lunch crowds. No need to tolerate a busy restaurant when you don’t have to that’s for sure. When I got there, there were just a handful of tables filled with people which was perfect. I got seated in a booth well away from the others already there, which was great.

My server ended up being a woman named Amy. She was the friendliest server I’ve ever had at Red Robin, which is a great compliment because I’ve had a lot of really friendly servers over the years of visiting Red Robin. In fact, I only once had a bad server at Red Robin and I never saw that guy working there again, so I can’t complain about Red Robin.

Amy saw I had one of the email coupons with me and asked to have it when I ordered so that she could get it entered right away instead of at the end. I think she assumed initially it was one of the current email coupons for $5.99 burgers as was surprised it was the birthday coupon. She immediately asked if it was my birthday that day to which I said it wasn’t. I mentioned I had gone up to Disneyland on the day of my birthday. She said her son was currently up at Disneyland that day to celebrate his birthday. She also said that he was an annual pass holder, so he was using the option of getting an additional admission to the park for a friend of his that didn’t have the money for the admission to go with him.

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Coca-Cola Freestyle Fountain – The Future Of Soda Fountains

Coke Freestyle FountainThe future of Soda Fountain dispensing has arrived, at least in beta testing form. When I stopped at the San Marcos, California location of Noodles & Company to redeem the free bowl of pasta offer I received for my birthday from the chain, I discovered they have installed a new soda fountain machine which according the signs offers over 100 different flavor combinations. Amazingly the machine didn’t seem to be much any bigger space wise than a traditional fountain machine except for the fact it was freestanding instead of having to be mounted on a counter. The opening within which to place the cup seemed to be styled from the “Men In Black” school of retro looking futuristic designs.

Instead of offering individual taps for each of the 100+ flavors, there was just a single opening in the Coca-Cola Freestyle Fountain. You just insert the cup against the lever in the back to have ice drop through the machine into your cup, then just allow the cup to sit in the center while using the touchscreen to pick the brand of beverage to bring up a sub menu of available flavors from which you can choose to fill the cup with. Many of the flavor choices are ones that aren’t available in retail stores as bottled choices because there simply is no way any store would ever carry that many different flavors.

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