May 31, 2008

Review: Z Pizza - Pepperoni Pizza

I'm a simple guy and the pepperoni slice is the standard to which I hold all pizza places. While out in Upland, WC mentioned that she remembered Z Pizza being good so I decided to try it.

The chain started out of Laguna Beach, California and touts its premium ingredients such as "award-winning skim mozzarella from Wisconsin, certified organic tomato sauce, MSG-free pepperoni, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce." Basically stuff I don't really care about.

I'd say the pizza slice ($2.65) was about average, nothing special, about the same as you'd get in your standard mom-and-pop pizzeria. I didn't care for the sauce too much, it was tart but didn't have that slight sweetness that I like or the taste of oregano for that matter. The crust was doughy and a bit on the chewy side. All-in-all it was just "okay" for me.

Z Pizza does offer the more Californian-type frou-frou pizzas popularized by Wolfgang Puck and CPK. WC was tempted to try such offerings, which ranged from the most notably named "Berkeley Soy Veggie Cheese" to the California standard "ZBQ" (BBQ Chicken Pizza), but decided that it was pricey compared to her (and my) favorite: Bollini's (see her write up on Bollini's here).

Z Pizza
May 30, 2008

Rant: I Hate Sonic - America's Drive-In

If you happen to live in southern California, you might hate Sonic too. Why? Because even though the nearest Sonic is in Anaheim (the only Sonic in the LAish area actually), Sonic airs its commercials through out southern California. Most of the California locations are in or around Bakersfield for some reason. When I lived in the SF Bay Area, they did the same thing! The nearest Sonic up there was in Tracy a good 40, 50 miles out!

In fact, I've only been to Sonic once! While passing through Bakersfield... The food is pretty good for fast food, plus there are a fair amount of choices. Also, Sonic has its Limeades in a variety of flavors. They have carhops! Carhops! They always advertise interesting new items that I want to try but they don't have any locations nearby! Vexing! In conclusion, I hate Sonic!
May 29, 2008

Homemade Recipe: Ginger Chicken

Ginger Chicken served on a bed of steamed white rice. This is something I first made for a quick and easy dinner for one a few years ago. It's pretty simple. You'll need (these are rough estimates... I don't really measure anything):
  • a 1/4 inch of ginger minced
  • a clove of garlic minced
  • a tablespoon of sesame oil
  • a chicken breast (boned preferably but that's really up to you)
Put all of the ingredient in a small ziplock bag shake it and put it in the fridge for 30 mins, you can do it ahead of time but I wouldn't store it for any longer than 2 or 3 days in the fridge.
When you're hungry, just take the chicken out of the bag, put a little oil in a pan, and fry it at medium heat for 5 minutes a side or when the you poke it with a fork and the juices run clear (again rough estimates... I don't really time myself either). That's it. It's done. Cut it, shred it, or serve it as is, for a quick bite.
May 28, 2008

For Here or To Go: California's Sales Tax for Food Products Demystified

You should always get your food "to go" in California.

I found out back in undergrad that if you order a "cold" sandwich at Subway, you didn't have to pay sales tax. The owner of said Subway posted a flyer next to the cash register stating that all cold (non-heated) sandwiches would be sold "to go" unless otherwise requested and explained that no sales tax would be assessed on those sandwiches. I figured that to mean that as long as a sandwich was not "cooked" at the store and the order was not made to be eaten on the premise, there would be no sales tax. In that sense, the effect would be the same as if you bought a sandwich from a supermarket pre-wrapped.

May 27, 2008

Review: Taco Bell - Big Bell Box Meal

So I tried Taco Bell's Big Bell Box Meal for $4.99 billed as "the meal that's made for men."

May 26, 2008

Review: Wendy's - Chicken Go Wraps

Following on the heels of McDonald's Snack Wraps ($1.39) and KFC's Toasted Wraps ($1.29), Wendy's Go Wraps ($1.49) feature half of a chicken patty (grilled, homestyle, or grilled) usuallly found in Wendy's chicken sandwiches, lettuce, cheddar cheese, and a zesty ranch sauce, all wrapped up in a flour tortilla.

May 23, 2008

News: White Castle Offers 27 Cent Burgers in Honor of National Hamburger Month

Apparently, it's National Burger Month and White Castle, as the official sponsor of National Burger Month, is celebrating by offering its slider burgers (dubbed "Slyders") for 27 cents on May 27th from 2:00 pm - 3:27 pm. I'm not sure what the significance of the number 27 is for National Burger Month but there it is.

May 22, 2008

News: Carl's Jr.'s New "Fake Restaurant" Ad Campaign Punks Customers

I thought this was interesting... Carl's Jr.'s (or Hardee's depending on where you live) new campaign, called "Fake Restaurant," catches on hidden camera customers who believed they were eating super-expensive burgers at a fancy pants restaurant only to find out they were really enjoying Carl's Jr. Six Dollar Burgers.

They set up a restaurant called Grade A Restaurant, was created for the experiment in Malibu, CA and went all out, even including a website

Like the MTV show Punk'd, guests were brought to the set by an "accomplice," a friend who was in on the ruse, to experience a fine meal of specialty hamburgers from a top-notch chef. The charbroiled, Angus beef burgers listed on the menu, which were actually Carl's Jr. burgers., ranged in price from $14 to $20. It wasn't until after the guests had paid the checks that the truth was revealed to them.

The commercials also serve to promote the Carl's Jr. Prime Rib Six Dollar Burger which comes out in June.

You can check out the commercials and extended footage at
May 21, 2008

Review: Pizza Hut - Tuscani Pasta - Creamy Chicken Alfredo

Pizza Hut has started to offer pasta in addition to its main fare of pizza and its Wing Street concept for hot wings. Pizza Hut actually did an April Fool's Day joke where it gave a press release announcing that it was changing its name to Pasta Hut.

May 20, 2008

Review: McDonald's - Regular Premium Roast Iced Coffee

McDonald's regular Premium Roast Iced Coffee features brewed coffee from Arabica beans, cream, and liquid sugar.

A 22-ounce medium cup sells for $1.99.

May 19, 2008

Homemade Recipe: French Toast

I made French Toast according to this recipe from Alton Brown of Good Eats fame. It's pretty tasty. I deviated from the recipe a bit in using French Toast bread from Ralph's supermarket. Yes, it was actually labeled "California Enriched French Toast Bread" which was pretty lucky on my part because it was the only thick-sliced bread that Ralph's carried. You want a thick-sliced bread because it holds up better in the batter and is less soggy when you cook it.

You can see the toast is a bit shiny... that's not grease... it's sugar! I prefer to caramelize some sugar on one side of the toast rather than eating it sprinkled with powdered sugar or with syrup. It's pretty simple to do: after one side of the bread is toasted, just sprinkle some granulated or brown sugar on one side and sear that side for 20-30 seconds on high heat to burn the sugar a little. It forms a nice shiny crust as it cools.

May 17, 2008

Review: McDonald's - Southern Style Chicken Biscuit

I've always liked the idea of a chicken biscuit... I mean how can you go wrong? It only has two components! The chicken and the biscuit! That being said, I wasn't too impressed with the Southern Style Chicken Biscuit, McDonald's first-ever chicken breakfast offering.

Why? It was a bit dry; I'm sure your mileage may vary but when I had it, it was slightly too dry. The chicken breast filet, while battered, seasoned, and breaded the same as the the Southern Style Chicken Sandwich, was smaller to fit the biscuit, and therefore, easier to overcook.

May 16, 2008

Review: Chick-fil-A - Chicken Sandwich

According to Wikipedia, Chick-fil-A's founder, S. Truett Cathy, is credited with creating and inventing the chicken sandwich. A seasoned, breaded chicken breast is served simply on a toasted, buttered bun with two dill pickle slices. Story has it that it's served with only pickles as a condiment because it was the only condiment Cathy had on hand when he made the sandwich. McDonald's Southern Style Chicken Sandwich is a direct response to Chick-fil-A's Chicken Sandwich via a nearly two year effort by The Greater Atlanta's McDonald's Operators Association.

May 14, 2008

Review: McDonald's - Southern Style Chicken Sandwich

McDonald's Southern Style Chicken Sandwich box.I popped into McDonald's one night and saw something new on the menu, the Southern Style Chicken Sandwich for $2.89. Since I already tried Arby's lackluster Southern Style Chicken Sandwich, I decided to give the McDonald's version a try. As you can see above, the sandwich comes in a Big Mac-style clam shell made of recycled paper.
May 13, 2008

News: Dunkin Donut's Free Iced Coffee Day

Doesn't really apply to me since there are still no Dunkin' Donuts in California, but for those of you that have access to a Dunkin' Donuts, on Thursday, May 15, 2008, Dunkin' Donuts is having its second annual Free Iced Coffee Day. From 10am to 10pm, you can go to any participating location and get a free small 16oz. cup of Dunkin' Donut's original or flavored iced coffee.

Free Iced Coffee Day
Thursday, May 15, 2008 - 10am - 10pm
Store Finder
May 12, 2008

News: Free McDonald's Southern Style Chicken Biscuit or Southern Style Chicken Sandwich with Drink Purchase

In order to promote its new Southern Style Chicken Biscuit and Chicken Sandwich, on Thursday, May 15, at all participating McDonald's locations, you can get a Southern Style Chicken Biscuit for free from 7am to 10:30am with the purchase of any medium drink. From 10:30am to 7pm, you can get the Southern Style Chicken Sandwich for free with the purchase of a medium or large drink.

The fine print says that its limit one per customer/per drink order. I'm think that means you can only get one with each drink you buy but I'm not sure. I guess it doesn't say per visit... Anyway, you'll want to check your local McDonald's to see if they're participating. I'm pretty sure all the ones in southern California are offering the promotion.

Thursday, May 15, 2008
7am to 10:30pm - Free Southern Style Chicken Biscuit with the purchase of a medium or large drink.
10:30pm to 7pm - Free Southern Style Chicken Sandwich with the purchase of a medium or large drink.
Restaurant Locator
May 3, 2008

Homemade Recipe: Brazilian Lemonade

An anonymous commenter recently asked me to post Peach House's recipe for Brazilian Lemonade which, having never worked there, I didn't know. So I did the next best thing... I made a recipe up based on some online research! It's actually a limeade so the name is a bit of a misnomer.