Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

Trying The Which Wich? In Santa Ana

Which Wich? Santa AnaSince originally being introduced to Which Wich? sandwich shops by Brian Hill, I’ve also become a fan of the shops and have recently made a point to try out all three of the Which Wich? locations here in San Diego. And since there’s just one additional location in California at the present time, I thought I might as well check it out too, since I’d be in the area to visit Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland for my birthday.

As I wrapped up my afternoon at Knott’s Berry Farm, I punched in Which Wich? into the Google Maps on my iPhone and it pulled up the Santa Ana location and I used the directions feature to tell me how to get there from Knott’s Berry Farm. It was just a short little drive down the Interstate 5, past Disneyland, and once I found the right highway exit, just a couple of miles to the East of the highway.

I got there in no time at all and despite the relative emptiness of the shopping center in general, the Which Wich? location was actually busy. There were a couple of people waiting for sandwiches to be made, one at the register, and a couple filling out bags for their orders and a number of people at the various tables in the shop. There even was a California Highway Patrol officer enjoying a sandwich in there at the time.

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Attack Of The Birthday Offers From Restaurants

Birthday BurgerIn today’s world of viral marketing we find businesses wanting more than ever to make their interactions with their customers more personal. It’s not unusual to find opt-in subscription boxes on many of their websites and in addition to asking for your name and e-mail address, they often ask you for your birthday and or anniversary dates as well so they can make additional offers to you to celebrate your significant personal holidays in addition to all the public holidays.

It seems that a lot of restaurants in particular operate their Internet mailing lists through an Auto-Responder called Fishbowl. So it ended up being highly amusing that today, I all of a sudden go hit with several birthday offers all starting today and ended on two weeks from today on September 10th, with my actual birthday being one week away on September 3rd. So I have two whole weeks to celebrate with the various restaurants that I have signed up to be on their lists at some point in time.

With so many offers coming in all at the same time, it’s kind of interesting to look at the various offers to see which restaurants are being more generous than others. Some are free meal offers with no strings attached, some require another meal be purchased as a buy one, get one free kind of deal, some its a free dessert, and one offered a straight up discount up to a certain amount. So let’s take a look at the various offers, I’ve received, keeping in mind, I am currently single, not dating anyone at the moment, and I have a job where I work late night hours, so not the most conducive for having someone join me if I take up any of these offers.

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Officially Been To Every Which Wich? In San Diego

Which WichI have officially now tried each and every Which Wich? location in the San Diego area. To date there are three locations. The first location to open was the Hillcrest location on 5th Avenue. The second location to open was the Pacific Beach location off of Garnet. And the newest addition to the San Diego Which Wich? family is the Carlsbad location located in the Forum shopping center off of Calle Barcelona. However, I didn’t visit them in the order of their openings, I started with the Hillcrest location, then tried the Carlsbad location, before finally making it to the Pacific Beach location.

As a new and up and coming chain of sandwich shops here in San Diego, I have become a big fan of their concept as a sandwich shop. The premise that you set foot in the shop, grab a Which Wich? bag for one of the ten sandwich categories or get the bag for their signature sandwich, “The Wicked” and a red sharpie and you proceed to check off the condiments and toppings you’d like on your sandwich. I’ve included a photograph of one of my sandwich bags for a Roast Beef sandwich I had on one of my visits. From there you take your bag to the register and purchase the sandwich and if you like you can add on your choice of chips, cookies, sodas, iced teas, and milkshakes and then relax while the sandwich experts behind the counter make your sandwich completely customized to your order. There’s no need to point at ingredients or shout over a sneeze guard like at other sandwich shops. Your sandwich comes out how you want it, and when you write your name on the bag, you get the extra personal touch of having your sandwich called out by your name.

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Pet Peeve: Restaurants Who Face Their Entrances To The Street

Elephant BarEvery once in a while I get in one of those moods where I really start to question the logic of how things get done. Today happens to be one of those days. It seems that the latest trend in restaurants in the suburb strip malls is that they now situate the free standing restaurants so that the main entrance seems to be at the furthest possible point from the parking lot. To me this just seems really stupid.

I do realize that the restaurants are trying to create an impression for people driving by in the hopes that people will stop in and catch a meal there, but to me it seems rather counter intuitive to situate a building facing the street and have a section of parking to the side of the building but put the actual entrance on the opposite side furthest away from the parking. And then they will often do elaborate landscaping and curvy sidewalks so getting to the entrance from the parking lot is an adventure in itself.

Take the photo of the Elephant Bar restaurant that’s pictured above, they have one that looks very similar in San Marcos, California. In this picture the entrance looks to be centered on the building but it’s actually to the right as the round curved section to the right which is an enclosed by outdoor bar area obscures how far to the left the building actually extends. The way the restaurant is set up, the parking lot is off to the left of the building outside of view in this picture. It just seems really dumb to be putting the main entrance so far from where people park.

I’m not against having to walk a little bit further, but it just strikes me as not very customer friendly a tactic to do this. If you want to attract drive by traffic then I think the approach to facing the entrance towards the street actually works against you during the peak hours of the restaurant. You may have a lot of people waiting outside the restaurant for tables, and it would seem to me that having that visible to the street would make a person feel more inclined to pass on that restaurant than stop and put their name on the wait list. With an entrance facing the parking lot, you could at least hide the overflow of waiting people long enough for drive by diners to have at least pulled into the parking lot before showing them they might be in for a bit of a wait. Continue reading Pet Peeve: Restaurants Who Face Their Entrances To The Street

KFC Rain Check Arrives To Replace The Oprah Coupon

KFC Rain CheckAs you may recall, I wrote about on May 5th, that Oprah Winfrey was partnering up with Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC to offer coupons for a free Grilled Chicken meal to celebrate the nationwide launch of KFC’s new Grilled Chicken. (Click here to read that blog entry.) The coupons caused a frenzy and basically became a nightmare for KFC and Oprah Winfrey. KFC shut down the redeeming of the coupons and began collecting them along with mailing information for each customer presenting them so that they could mail them a “Rain check” voucher which would now include a Pepsi where the original offer didn’t include a beverage. And on May 8th I reported about the very rude KFC employee I encountered when I presented my coupon. (Click here to read the blog entry for that.)

Considering how rude the employee at the Poway KFC that I went to with my original coupon was, I was beginning to have my doubts that I was going to receive my rain check as I was supposed to. I just didn’t trust that the store was going to send in the coupons to the main office they said they would and just when I was beginning to feel that my wait had been a bit excessive and I was starting to think about writing a complaint letter to the company, my rain check voucher showed up in the mail.

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Which Wich? Comes To Carlsbad

Which Wich CarlsbadI’m excited to report that the folks of San Diego’s North County now have their first Which Wich? Sandwich shop. I’ve previously reported about my first experience at the Hillcrest Which Wich? shop. (Click here to read about my first visit to Which Wich?). For those unfamiliar with the concept of how Which Wich? works, you enter the store and grab a bag for the category of sandwich you want, then using a supplied Red Sharpie pen, you check off all the toppings and condiments you want on the sandwich as well as your name at the bottom, then take the bag to the register to pay and then the sandwich will be prepared exactly to your specifications while you wait a couple of short minutes. No muss, no fuss, no having to shout over a glass separator and pointing at toppings, just a sandwich made exactly how you want it.

With my good friend Patsy Ledene from my hometown of Calgary, I wanted to introduce her to Which Wich? and their amazing sandwiches. Since she was already in Carlsbad staying with another friend of hers in the San Diego area, it seemed almost funny that when I went to pick her up, the Forum shopping center that Which Wich is in, just happens to be the closest shopping center to where I was meeting Patsy. Our first order of business was finding where in the shopping center Which Wich? is located. We ended up driving past several shops before we finally found it.

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Red Robin Bottomless Fries Are A Guilty Pleasure

Red RobinOne of the indulgences my roommate and I have liked to do since we’ve been roommates is a make a run to Red Robin for bottomless fries and milkshakes. We would do this about every couple of months or so. But when I decided to start a running program in December and my roommate getting a little more serious about his fitness level as well, we hadn’t been to Red Robin since 2008. So we decided it was time to make another trip to Red Robin.

However, the only problem now is that I’ve been working hard on Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure program for the last couple of months and now that I’ve officially lost 37 pounds in two months time, I was a bit torn if I should allow myself this indulgence. It’s not so much the Red Robin‘s wonderful streak cut french fries, as a couple of baskets isn’t going to ruin my program. It’s the milkshake that’s going to completely blow the program because it’s going to be loaded with sugar, not only from the ice cream, but also the added milk and flavoring as I usually like to get a chocolate one. Granted, the Belly Fat Cure allows me 15 grams of sugar per day and I have only used my full day’s allotment once since being on the program, I could theoretically enjoy one with all the sugar grams I’ve saved over the last two months.

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