Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The price of fast food

On Saturday, my husband and I were out running some errands. We were in Kerrville, Tx at lunchtime, and since it had been ages since we indulged in bad-for-us fast food, we decided to have a quick lunch at Jack In The Box.

A quick back story to fill in the blanks: I grew up in Southern California. There was a Jack In The Box across the street from my high school- also a Del Taco, but I've been over that. Anyway, when I was a kid, sometimes my dad would have to work late, and miss dinner with my mom and I. He would stop by Jack In The Box on his way home to pick up food for himself, and he would get me a taco. I would either stay up late, or wake up when I heard his truck pull into the drive. To this day, I still get late night cravings for Jack In The Box tacos.

It's been nearly a year since we've eaten at Jack In The Box.

I thought it was a little odd to walk into a food eatery at 12:40 on a Saturday afternoon, and have it be near empty. There was a small group waiting for their food, a lady waiting at the counter to give her order with her family sitting at a table, and us. Second in line.

No employees.

We waited.

A woman who smelled strongly of cigarette smoke went to the counter and yelled to someone at the back. A young man came out from the kitchen, gave her hug, and went back while she left. I noticed the "B" rating from the health department and briefly wondered if he would wash his hands before going back to cooking.

Finally, an employee came out and took the lady's order. She wandered off to wait some more, and we approached the counter where we were told we would have to wait some more.

We waited.

We waited for 15 minutes from the time we walked in the door, until we could finally give our order to an incredibly rude worker. She approached the counter, crouched down to do something behind there, then yelled out to Pedro, "Yo, Pedro! You want me to take them? They're the last ones!" I could only assume she was referring to us as there was no one else in line. Sure enough, she hopped on the register and said, "What do want?"

Customer service at it's finest.

My husband went first, ordering chicken strips, stuffed jalapenos, and a small soda.

"How many you want?"

Thus ensued a farce of epic proportions. Eventually, however, he was able to order the amounts of chicken strips and stuffed jalapenos he wanted.

"Alright, I only heard chicken and jalapenos, you want anything else?"

Oh my.

Then it was my turn, oh joy! Since we'd been waiting so long, I'd been doing eeny meeny miny moe, trying to decide if I wanted tacos or a spicy chicken sandwich. I made the wrong choice. Although, that being said, I don't know if there was a right choice at this particular establishment.

I ordered the chicken sandwich. So here's my next complaint. The spicy chicken sandwich meal, a number 10, is priced at $6.79. I got curly fries, said yes to cheese, and when was asked if I wanted medium or large, I said medium. My meal cost $8.18. I know the "upgrade" to curly fries is 40 cents extra, but what the heck? The only thing I can figure is there's a third option they don't tell you, which is small, and it's ridiculously expensive cheese.

After Miss Rude took our payment and handed me the receipt, she then said, "It'll be a while. You're like the last ones."

Last ones? I'm still not sure what she meant. The hours clearly stated they're open until late at night.

Anyway, we got our drinks and sat down to wait.

For 35 minutes!

Some fast food. It's the only time I've ever finished my soda while waiting for food!

A couple came in a while after we'd been sitting. The woman went to the restroom to wash her hands, and came back gagging. She reported that the restroom smelled awful and she had to hold her breath the whole time. My husband had been to the men's room when we came in, and he confirmed that the men's room also smelled horrible, and the door was falling off the hinges.

The couple was getting impatient for their food, when our number was called. Except it wasn't our number, it was their's. They had lost our order.

Now is about the time we should have demanded a refund and left, but we'd invested time. We had to see this through.

Miss Rude was again at the counter when my husband brought the error to her attention. "Give me the receipt!" No apologies. No respect.

He sat back down to wait some more.

The manager, Pedro, came over with a tray. Finally, lunch is served.

Nope. Not our's. It was the wrong order. I don't think there was a single thing on that tray that we'd actually ordered.

Finally, finally, finally, he brought the correct order. Again no apologies, just something half mumbled about two orders being similar. At least it was hot. Except my curly fries that were cold, soggy, and disgusting. And that really expensive cheese? Yeah, I didn't get it. The lettuce was also brown and tasted like lime. All in all, it was extremely disappointing.

After we choked down as much as we were able and got out of there as fast as we could, we went down the road to our next stop on our errands list. Which is when my stomach let me know it was not happy. Luckily, nothing messy happened, but it was painful, noisy, and embarrassing.

Final verdict: I will never go to the Kerrville, Tx Jack In The Box again. When I feel that craving, I'll make the trip into Cedar Park.

In the interest of fairness, though, I should mention that Pedro did try to make amends. With a free chocolate cake. The smallest chocolate I've ever seen. I guess to be split between the two of us? That would be about half a bite each. It's still in the refrigerator. After what the meal did to my stomach, I'm a little afraid to try it.

I don't give stars, but if I did, I'd give this one a black hole. The absence of light. A soul sucking void.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Give me good tortillas and I'll love you forever!

Way back in another life, my family lived in Cedar Park, Tx. Well, technically it was Leander, but it was the Cedar Park edge of Leander so all the stores and places and things were in Cedar Park. It doesn't really matter, though, so forget I said anything.

Anyway, the Costco that we usually go to is still the Cedar Park store. Now instead of being 2.8 miles away, it's 70 miles away; which makes shopping a full day chore.  A few weeks ago, my husband was off from work on vacation, and we had to do a Costco shop, so he got dragged along with. Because if I have to be miserable at Costco, we all have to be miserable at Costco.

It also meant we could have a proper sit down meal!

Rosa's Cafe and Tortilla Factory! It quickly became a family favorite while we lived in Leander/Cedar Park/Soul Sucking Suburbia, and we like to go there on occasion. For the three of us- yes, we forced my son to come, too- we each got more food than we could finish and drinks for around $30. That's not bad! And the food is divine! I've never had anything there that wasn't heavenly. Although, if I had to pick just one it would be the fajita plate, but please don't ask me to decide between beef or chicken. That has to be settled with a coin flip.

The bonus, though? Tortillas! Hand made, fresh, OMNOMNOM in flat bread form. I could fill up on just tortillas and salsa bar. Oh man! The salsa bar! I'm drooling just thinking about the salsa bar and tortillas. It's almost worth the 70 mile each way trip just for those!

Since we went there for lunch and are currently attempting to pretend like we're not alcoholics, we had sodas for drinks. However, speaking from past experience, their margaritas are pretty damned good, too.

It doesn't matter if you're in a bit of a rush, either. They do take away ('to go' if you prefer), they have a drive through, and even if you do want to sit in the delightfully decorated restaurant (bordering on tacky in such a great way), the service is muy rapido! (That's "very fast" if you weren't sure.) Despite the short wait time, though, the quality of food does not suffer. It's a proper meal served quick. Actually, they're a lot fast than Carl Jr's, but that's a whole different story!

So, the next time you're passing through Cedar Park, Texas, and are in the mood for some really good Mexican food, and freaking delicious tortillas (when are you NOT in the mood for Mexican? Especially when it comes with amazing tortillas!), I can highly recommend Rosa's.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Better Burger

A few weeks ago I had to go into town to run errands, aka monthly Costco shopping trip. I used to go to Costco once a week when I lived in suburbia, but now living in the middle of nowhere, it's a monthly trip. Most people don't particularly enjoy shopping at Costco, but most people don't have to drive 70 miles just to get there!

It does mean I try to combine errands in town, and usually includes lunch.

With my son.

My very picky son.

Normally, we just get a slice of pizza each at Costco. Although not the healthiest option (yes, they do offer a salad), there's something about the greasy, cheesy goodness of giant pizza that I just can't resist. Lately, however, my son has gone off the pizza and wants to go to other places. Like Jack in the Box. I wasn't about to drive all the way there, though. Too far. So he suggested Del Taco and my heart sang a little.

I grew up in Southern California, and there was a Del Taco across the street from my high school. I LOVE Del Taco. Is it great food? Not really. Is it healthy? Not what I order! Red burrito, classic taco, and chili cheese fries. My mouth waters just thinking about it!

But as I drove to Del Taco, the world crashed down around me- it was gone! There's no more Del Taco. What the heck? I pulled out the cell phone and did a quick search online only to confirm that Del Taco is no longer in the Austin area. That's just crap. The closest one now is in Dallas.

Can anyone say road trip?

Now, where Del Taco used to be is a place called Taco Shack. They may have perfectly good food, but neither my son nor I were in a forgiving mood- they replaced Del Taco and that's just not cool.

So, I suggested a new place. I'd been there once before when we were moving house and had to turn in our cable box to the store which happens to be in the same shopping center of the burger joint, but we'd only gotten shakes there. But I remembered the place smelled amazing and the shakes were really good. About half way there, I realized that the Jack in the Box had probably been closer, but it was too late now.

We got to Mooyah's just in time for lunch. Now, I know what you're thinking: Mooyah's? Who in their right mind would eat at a place called Mooyah's? But stay with me.

It's one of those new styled burger places where you order one patty or two, beef, turkey, or veggie burger, white, whole wheat, or lettuce wrap. Then you can pay extra for cheese, bacon, and/or avocado. Then there's a whole list of toppings that are free and you can load your burger up with as much as you'd like. I'm not a huge fan of this style since the only one I've been to before was Five Guys, and I'm not a fan of their's (I'll discuss that some other time, though).

My son, being the picky eater that he is, ordered a cheese burger with ketchup. Boring! I ordered a cheese burger with sauteed mushrooms and onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, and Mooyah sauce. The Mooyah sauce turned out to be similar to watered down thousand island dressing, but it was good. We also got a medium order of fries to share since the description of the fries said medium feeds 1-2 people.

Next time we'll get a small!

Along with two small shakes, the order total came to about $25. I was thinking that was pretty pricey for a burger meal, but food has gotten much more expensive these days!

When the food came, I realized the money was totally worth it! The burgers were huge and there was a mountain of fries on both our plates- actually trays. It's an entire tray of food. There was a LOT of food! Even better? It's good! The bun was soft, fluffy, and tasty. The patty was perfectly cooked. The fries were not soggy with grease, they were flavorful. Also, they weren't gritty with salt, you could add your own.

Even my picky son said we should come back. That's high praise!

So, although the name is a little corny, I do recommend Mooyah's. I also recommend trying new things from time to time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tasty tasty goodness

Well, hello there!

I bet you're wondering who I am, aren't you? Or, if you weren't, you are now! The answer is simple: I'm nobody!

So why in the world do you care what I think of restaurants? Well, because I'm nobody, silly! I'm not a food critic that has my nose so far up in the air that I can't even smell the food and only rate restaurants on how well they kiss my ass. I'm not a failed chef that's bitter at those who are working. And I'm not some sort of lofty rich bitch connoisseur of fine dining establishments. Nope! I'm just a housewife, on a budget, who really enjoys good food and good service. Now, because of that budget, I don't get to go out to eat a lot, and usually when I do it's to a humble eatery, but that doesn't mean I expect less in the way of tasty food and good service!

To begin, I will give my opinion on Panda, a Chinese and Sushi restaurant in Fredericksburg, Tx.

I first went to Panda for my birthday dinner a few months ago, and ate so much sushi I thought I was going to pop! My son doesn't care for sushi, so he ordered pork dumplings. I had one of those as well and OMNOMNOM! They were delicious!

Last Friday, my husband and I decided to stop by Panda to pick up dinner after doing the grocery shopping. We've started shopping on Friday after he finishes work to avoid the crowds on Saturday. Plus, we always have far too much work to do on the weekends, and grocery shopping always seems to take most of the day when we do it on Saturday.

Anyway, we picked up a Subway sandwich for my son because he's the world's pickiest eater, and swung by Panda on the way home for take away (to go, if you prefer). Like I said, last time we went, for the full sit down experience, we ate too much. It was stunningly delicious, but we didn't want to go over board this time. So, we ordered a 16 piece sashimi with a California roll to split between us, which came with a soup or salad- we got a miso soup. It was plenty! And not bad for $30 dinner for two!

It was going to be 15-20 minutes, because the sushi chef prepares it all fresh- of course! So we each got a Sapporo beer and sat down at the bar to chat with the hostess and bar tender. They were fabulous! Everyone is so laid back and friendly- typical Texas hospitality!

If you don't care for sushi, don't fear! They have an extensive menu with all your favorite Asian cuisine. Eventually, I may even try something not sushi- it's just I don't have the opportunity to enjoy sushi very often and I do so love it.

In conclusion, if you haven't been to Panda, plan to soon!