Tag Archives: Restaurant

Free Play At Dave And Busters

Last week my good friend Vito Grandolfo and I took advantage of a couple of great freebie coupon deals, one was for Smashburger, and the other at Dave And Buster’s. The offer from Dave and Buster’s was for $10 worth of free play on their arcade just for signing up at FreePlayDay.com. For those not quite familiar with Dave and Buster’s, they are essentially a similar to a kid oriented Chuck E. Cheese restaurant which is basically a restaurant combined with a arcade of video games and games of skill. The difference is that Dave and Buster’s is for adults. Instead of crappy pizza, they have a full menu of a wide variety of food options, and a full bar to serve any kind of alcoholic drink you could want. Not that Dave and Buster’s doesn’t cater to kids, but they do reach a point where kids get kicked out and only people over 21 can go there.

While moving I found all my old Dave and Buster cards, including a couple of unused play cards from the birthday party I had there several years ago. I figured they probably had no value left and all the previously collected tickets that were put on my card, I was sure after this long they’d probably been wiped out. To Dave and Buster’s credit, all the points were still on the cards and I still had tons of tickets to redeem on the crap they have available to redeem points for. But I always like to collect the tickets and so I opted mostly to play the games that spew out the tickets and I was surprised my old favorite machines that were cash cows for tickets for me in the past were now down to only one machine and it wasn’t working. I was disappointed with that.

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A&W Root Beer Served The Way Root Beer Should Be Served

On my way out of Palm Springs along Interstate 10, I found an A&W Restaurant just outside the Morongo Hotel And Casino. This was not a combination A&W store with another one of Yum! brands like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Taco Bell, Long John Silvers, etc. This was an A&W restaurant that was just an A&W restaurant. This was exciting since all the San Diego A&W’s were combination stores and all of them withdrew the A&W portion of the stores, it means the only chance to sample A&W is on the road outside of San Diego.

When I got there, it was about a half hour before they opened. I was surprised they weren’t opened earlier as it was 10:30 am when I stopped by. I didn’t want to just find the next A&W because I might not see another one on the road ahead, so I went for a quick fill up on gasoline at Morongo’s gas station and then just waited for the A&W to open. At about 10 minutes left to go before the placed opened there was a line forming outside the door. Apparently I wasn’t alone in my want for A&W Food. Sure it’s not what I really should be eating but it’s an out of town treat.

Once it opened, I opted to get a burger combo and removed the bun, like I usually do at burger joints. But I was interested in the upgrade of the fries to Wisconsin Cheese Curds. Thanks to my friend Caroline Bender for introducing me to what Cheese Curds really are, I was anxious to try these. I had never tried Cheese Curds until Caroline introduced me to them because I didn’t know what a curd was and it sounded disgusting. So now that I’ve been corrected and know that cheese curds are delicious plain, let alone deep fried like they were here at A&W.

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PureVia Now Available At Costco

When I originally started on Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure Program just about a year ago, the large majority of people weren’t yet aware how dangerous sugar can be to the human body. While it’s still arguable how well aware the public is now, it’s considerably more aware now than a year ago. Truvia and PureVia were just hitting the market and most people still unaware the Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola are the major backers behind the companies that make these Erythritol and Stevia combinations and helped push their rapid approval through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used as a sweetener.

A year ago, you’d be just starting to see Truvia and PureVia hitting the shelves of the average supermarket, and now they’re pretty much a guarantee to be seen there. Both are starting to make their way into beverage products made by the respective cola giants although they’re yet to make their way into the cola giant’s diet versions of their signature products. Perhaps one of the signs that things are changing in a good way is that packets of PureVia are now available in the bulk purchasing giant warehouses of Costco. The super-sized boxes of packets which contain 300 packets are humongous compared to the 40 and 80 count boxes you can typically find in a regular supermarket.

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Where Have All The A&W’s Gone?

Every once in a while I get a craving and generally nothing really satisfies it until I get what I’m craving. And today I was just getting the bug to have some food from an A&W restaurant. I grew up in Canada and A&W’s are one of the first and larger fast food chains in Canada. I’d even go so far as to say they are far more popular in Canada than I’ve seen here in the United States (using in Southern California anyway). Usually when I get a craving for A&W its due to nostalgia for the Canadian A&Ws. I know the last time I got a craving for A&W and went to one of the ones here in San Diego I was disappointed because American A&Ws are nothing like the Canadian ones. The menus don’t offer the same items and the food doesn’t even taste the same. So I knew I was probably setting myself up for another disappointment but it’s been a couple of years since I last went to A&W but I was willing to chance it.

These days A&W is one of the “brands” of restaurants part of the YUM! Corporation which consists of all the restaurant brands bought up by the Pepsi Corporation. (In Canada, A&W’s were started by the American A&W’s but were sold off in 1972 and have no ties to the American A&W operations) I’m not sure if YUM! is just a new name for the division, a spun off & separate company, or even sold off, but anyway, they are home to familiar restaurant names, like Kentucky Fried Chicken (or KFC), Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, A&W, and Long John Silvers. Pepsi originally bought up these restaurants so they could ensure these restaurants served only Pepsi products as beverages. One of the concepts YUM has been doing in recent years is putting in single locations that offer more than one brand in one restaurant. Usually it ends up being a KFC or Taco Bell co-branded with one of the other not quite as popular brands.

In any case, all of the ones in San Diego county were KFC/A&W’s and oddly enough all of them are in the South part of the county, none of them were in North County. So none of the locations are conveniently located for me. So I headed off to the closest location that Google maps pointed me to. I even checked it on the street view to see the location before going there and sure enough, there was a KFC & A&W combination store. However, when I got there, the signage for the A&W was gone, just the KFC remained. From the dirt on the walls where the signs used to be, it looked like it must have been a recent removal. Continue reading Where Have All The A&W’s Gone?

Trying Out Smoothie King

Smoothie KingLast year I had purchased a San Diego edition of the Entertainment coupon book, and hadn’t used it much, so I spent the better part of October trying to use as many of the coupons as possible to at least recoup the purchase price of the coupon book. I had kept the coupon book in my car to make it easier to use the coupons but it seemed the book ended up stuck between the center console and the passenger seat of my car forgotten for most of the year.

Prior to the start of October, the only coupon I had used was a discount on some Cinnabon cinnamon rolls I purchased last year for Thanksgiving when my roommates and I ended up hosting some fellow co-workers for Thanksgiving. So I was a little miffed about having spent about $40 for the coupon book and only used $3 worth of savings from it. So the challenge was on to use enough coupons to make the original $40’s spent on the book worth the price I paid before most of the coupons in the book expired on November 1, 2009.

The problem with most of the coupons is that they are two for one offers and generally the only coupons out of there I use are the restaurant coupons. And since I often just hit restaurants alone, using the coupons isn’t the most convenient option. Another challenge is that with 2009 being such a rough year, some of the businesses featured in the coupon book had closed down during the year. And some of the coupons for chain locations were only good at specific locations. All of which are barriers for ease of use. And few coupons were redeemable close to where I live in Poway too.

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Junior’s Sugar Free Cheesecake Arrives In San Diego

Whole Junior's CheesecakeWhen I was in New York, I went to a Junior’s restaurant specifically to try a slice of their sugar free cheesecake. It was absolutely incredible as I detailed previously on my blog. (Click here to see my entry about the Junior’s Sugar Free Cheesecake. So needless to say, I decided it was time to order a whole cheesecake and it was definitely good enough to justify a price tag of $29.95 plus $11.00 for shipping.

I placed the order for the cheesecake a week ago and picked to have it shipped on Monday, October 19th, for delivery today, October 21st. I had actually forgotten I had ordered it by the time the email from Junior’s showed up in my e-mail box to indicate the cheesecake had shipped and the e-mail also provided the UPS tracking number so I could monitor it’s progress on its way across the country to me here in San Diego.

I watched the cheesecake progress from it’s arrival at the Lawnside, New Jersey UPS center, it’s transfer to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania processing center, where it was loaded onto a airplane and arrived at the Ontario, California processing center. As soon as it arrived there, I even reported to co-workers I told about the cheesecake that my cheesecake had landed in California. And soon after the cheesecake was sent to the UPS center in San Diego where it was loaded into a truck and arrived at my door in a brightly colored box in the Junior’s colors.

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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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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