Nov 30, 2009

Review: Houston's - Cheeseburger

My Favorite Chain Burger

Houston's Cheeseburger is probably a top ten burger for me. It is a bit on the pricey side though and doesn't deliver a good bang for you buck at $14 dollars though I suppose the hurt is slightly lessened by your choice of a side: coucous, coleslaw, shoestring french fries, or seasonal veggies.
The Houston's Cheeseburger is your traditional burger done well. It features a toasted, egg-washed sesame bun, a thick (1/2 pound), juicy, charred patty of coarse-ground chuck, a slice of cheddar cheese, fresh, crisp, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, pickles, and diced onions, and mustard. Everything is well-balanced (if you couldn't tell by now, I'm a big fan of well-balanced). There's a variety of textures from the squishiness of the bun to the crunchy drizzle of lettuce to the choppy bits of the juicy patty. If you want something more exotic from your burger, this isn't it. But, if you want an honest to good, hand-crafted hamburger, Houston's Cheeseburger is a fine choice as long as you can foot the bill.
Nov 27, 2009

Review: El Pollo Loco - BRC Burrito

To polish off what is turning to be a burrito week, this review takes a look at El Pollo Loco's BRC Burrito off of El Pollo Loco's "Loco Dollar" value menu. The BRC stands for Beans, Rice, and Cheese which means you get protein, carbs, and calcium or PCC.... haha, look I made a funny!
So how does it taste? Pretty good unless you hate bean burritos! Everything has a noticeable flavor and texture so it goes well together. Not much to complain about for a buck. It's not fancy eats but it'll do when you want a cheap burrito.

El Pollo Loco Store Locator
Nov 25, 2009

Review: Qdoba - Ancho Chile BBQ Burrito

Qdoba's Ancho Chile BBQ Burrito suffered from the same defects as its Fajita Ranchera Burrito. I actually tried both at the same time because they had a discount at the time specific to my local Qdoba. I think it was buy one, get one half off plus get a free drink with a student ID (luckily, I save mines!).

Billed as a "slighty sweet, molé inspired BBQ sauce with chiles, hickory and smoky mesquite", the burrito could has used more sauce and a bit more heat. I picked shredded beef as my choice of meat, (they also offer grilled steak, grilled chicken, pulled pork, shredded beef, seasoned ground beef, and guacomole AKA the vegetarian option) not that it mattered, there was so little of it compared to how much rice you get. I think their burritos might be better if they added less rice but I doubt I'd ever come back to find out, it was that disappointing.
Nov 23, 2009

Review: Qdoba - Fajita Ranchera Burrito

Qdoba is a Mexican fast casual chain along the lines of Rubio's, Baja Fresh, and Chipotle that is owned by Jack in the Box. In terms of ingredients individually, everything in their Fajita Ranchera Burrito (basically a burrito with fajita style ingredients; in this case, grilled bell peppers and red onions) tasted fine. The problem was when combined together in a tortilla, the taste was off balance and the ingredients didn't really sing. I couldn't really get a good bite; there was too much rice and not enough meat (I picked grilled steak) to complement it.

If you look at the picture, you can see how the ingredients are somewhat sectioned off in the wrapping process which hinders the blending of flavors that I consider the whole point of a burrito. If you're looking for a good burrito, I'd suggest you pass on this one and try another chain or explore your local taquerias if available.
Nov 20, 2009

Review: Wendy's - Sausage Biscuit

Honestly, every fast food sausage patty I've eaten has tasted the same, salty with a bit of pepper. Wendy's Sausage Biscuit does not buck the trend. Mine in particular came with a Frescuit instead of a biscuit because they ran out of biscuits.

Nov 18, 2009

Review: Burger King - Whopper Jr.

It's a Whopper but smaller! Actually, I prefer Burger King's Whopper Jr. to the regular Whopper. The smaller size makes me feel like less of a glutton. Also, unlike the Whopper, which is somewhat wide and flat, the Whopper Jr. doesn't flop under its own weight and feels more solid.  Plus it checks in at a nice and easy 99 cents.

Nov 16, 2009

Review: Popeyes - Chicken Biscuit

Yum! Chicken in a biscuit. Popeyes' biscuits are a bit different from KFCs; it's less bready, has more crunch and the butter is concentrated on the top and bottom of the biscuit. It's more coarse in texture as well but still good.  It's currently 99 cents as part of Big Deals Popeyes' value menu.

 A crunchy chicken strip is placed inside a split biscuit. The chicken can be a bit dry sometimes depending on your luck, but it has a good spiciness to it. If you like Popeyes' biscuits and you like their chicken strips, you'll like the chicken biscuit.
Nov 13, 2009

Review: Taco Bell - Grande Quesadilla

It's like a quesadilla except with a gordita-like flatbread! Beyond that Taco Bell's Grande Quesadilla also has a tangy sauce to accompany the melted cheese and your choice of chicken or steak.
The pillowy bread is pressed and somewhat crisp on the outside but still soft.
It's more like a sandwich really. I prefer a regular flour tortilla over the flat bread for my quesadilla but maybe I'm just a traditionalist. I chose the steak but it didn't really taste like steak, it was a bit too squishy but I don't expect much from "steak" at a fast food joint. All-in-all, I think your money is better spent on a regular chicken quesadilla.
Nov 11, 2009

Review: Taco Bell - Strawberry Lemonade Frutista

This one was just okay. I much rather prefer the Strawberry Frutista Freeze. It's basically a lemon-flavored slush drink with some strawberry and strawberry syrup. The lemonade flavor isn't that tart, it might be that the machine was off but consistency counts! My slush seemed a little bit on the dry side i.e. not that much juice.
As you can see, it doesn't look as good either. They even skimped on the strawberries!
Nov 9, 2009

Review: El Pollo Loco - Cheese Quesadilla

A cheap snack off of El Pollo Loco's Loco Value Menu, the Cheese Quesadilla features a blend of jack and cheddar cheese folded in a grilled flour tortilla. The Cheese Quesadilla is grilled with a bit of char which is quite nice. The flour tortilla is still soft but has a slight crust.  They cut it up into thirds for you.  You can get it spicy or regular.

It's simple but good; not too much cheese but not too little either.  A good cheap snack when you're not too hungry or are a light eater.

El Pollo Loco Store Locator
Nov 6, 2009

Review: Taco Bell - Cheesy Double Beef Burrito

Another cheap snack or small meal from Taco Bell's "Why Pay More" Value Menu. Honestly, when I'm not that hungry, I can be pretty satisfied with just one Cheesy Beefy Burrito. But usually my eyes are bigger than my stomach and the menu is just so cheap that I order at least three items. At 89 cents, it's cheaper than a bean burrito and less stinky later on to boot!
Taco Bell's Cheesy Beefy Burrito is simplicity in itself; Just a double helping of seasoned beef and nacho cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla. If you like nacho cheese and Taco Bell seasoned ground beef, you'll like the Cheesy Beefy Burrito.
Nov 5, 2009

News: McCormick & Schmick's Hosts Free Meal for Veterans - 11/8/09

On Sunday, 11/8/09, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants are hosting their 11th Annual Veterans Appreciation Event. Veterans will be able to choose a free entree from a special menu. Selections include Cashew-crusted Tilapia, Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Seafood Fettuccini Alfredo, and Cedar-planked Salmon.

Veterans will be required to show some proper ID of their status such as a VA card, discharge papers, etc.

Details and participation locations are available here:

Review: KFC Snacker

A value option sandwich at KFC, the KFC Snacker sells for 99 cents. It is basically a KFC Chicken Strip, shredded lettuce, and pepper mayo sandwiched inside a sesame dinner roll.

Nov 4, 2009

Review: Taco Bell - Black Jack Taco

For those who missed out on the free Halloween giveaway of Taco Bell's Black Jack Taco, I decided to give the gimmicky taco a go myself. At first blush, the Black Jack Taco is the basic Taco Bell Crunchy Taco but with a black taco shell (otherwise it would just be the Jack Taco and Jack in the Box would get free advertising...). Upon closer inspection, the Black Jack Taco also contains some shredded Pepper Jack and mozzarella cheese in addition to the normal cheddar and a healthy and somewhat pungent Pepper Jack sauce.

How does it taste? While you get a taste of all the ingredients, the Pepper Jack sauce is quite strong (some might find it overpowering) and is "zesty" as Taco Bell describes. While it's a nice change of pace for those looking for something new, I still prefer the regular Crunchy Taco. Still both cost the same at a reasonable 89 cents, making the Black Jack Taco worth a try.
Nov 3, 2009

News: Former and Current Military Eat Free at Applebee's - 11/11/09

On Veteran's Day, Wednesday, 11/11/09, Applebee's is offering a free meal to all U.S. Veterans as well as current active duty military personnel. Proof of military service is required and can be show by the following:
  • U.S. Uniform Services ID Card
  • U.S. Uniform Services Retired ID Card
  • Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
  • Veterans Organization Card (i.e. American Legion and VFW)
  • Photograph in uniform
  • Wearing uniform
  • DD214
  • Citation or Commendation
Veterans and current military personnel will be able to choose from one of six entrees: Three-Cheese Chicken Penne, Fire Pit Bacon Burger, Fiesta Lime Chicken, Chicken Tenders Platter, 7 oz. House Sirloin, or Oriental Chicken Salad.

Fine Print - "Available during business hours on November 11, 2009 at participating Applebee’s only. Dine-in from limited menu only. Beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service."

News: Free Whataburger for Dressing in Orange - 11/10/09

Texas-based burger chain Whataburger is offering a free Whataburger to fans decked out "from head to toe" in the chain's signature orange for dine-in service on Tuesday, 11/10/09 from 5pm to 8pm. Whataburger has dubbed the night "Orange Night Out." The chain is privately-held so it should be valid at all 700 plus locations.

Nov 2, 2009

Review: El Pollo Loco - Churro

El Pollo Loco's Churro off of their Loco Value Menu places a distance third to the churros at Baja Fresh and Costco.  For $1, you get two churros.
El Pollo Loco's churros are only a little bit better than the churros you can buy frozen at the supermarket (for all I know, they might be the same churros you buy at the supermarket). They are just warm and kind of chewy. It does have the requisite coating of sugar and cinnamon.  But all in all, El Pollo Loco's Churro is pretty disappointing though not bad at two for $1.  Then again, you can get two deep-fried apple pies for $1 as well.

El Pollo Loco Store Locator