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MMMMM-Good!!! The Food Thread Returns

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On 1/4/2020 at 6:10 PM, christopher.annino said:

So burger joints...

In September I drove from Manchester, NH to Anaheim, CA and back for work, and I made it a point consume many burgers I wouldn't otherwise find in New England. It was awesome and terrible, and round 2 is coming up in a few weeks. So, where do I go? 

I should probably mentioned what I tried last time...

* Culver's was the absolute best, double butter burger with bacon fuck yes. I think I actually tried it a different trip, been to the Midwest a lot as well as down to AL and TN recently. Definitely a go to every trip since they don't exist up here.

* Of course I had In-N-Out, tasty but man people make it sound like a religious experience. Probably gonna go again this time because I have no idea when I'll be out that far again.

* Whataburger was good but I was far from blown away.

* Hardee's fucken rocked.

* Steak & Shake was solid but the fries are a bummer.

* We have Five Guys here but it tasted better on the company dime, still pretty damn good though! Same with Red Robin.

* Wings and a burger at Quaker Steak & Lube? Heavenly.

 

Stuff I haven't tried but am curious about: Shake Shack, Rally's, Krystal, Freddy's, BurgerFi, Hopdoddy. Anything else I should definitely check out?

 

They have Red Robin in Cali? Wow, I did not know that. This will make me sound incredibly old, but I remember when Red Robin was a tavern on Lake Union that served a plethora of great burgers (and some really, really odd ones that turned out tasting far better than they had any right to; such as the Peanut-butter Burger (re-christened as the Jimmy Carter Burger in the late 1970s); anyway, I digress... But the original Red Robin, (the tavern with the great burgers), had over thirty specialty burgers on the menu, an amount that was severely reduced when they sold out to Great American Food & Beverage, the first company that saw the dollar signs on the wall and began their expansion. I don't know how many mergers and buy-outs that the chain has been involved in since, and maybe I'm just old and cranky, but it seems like with each change of ownership the quality has dropped just a little bit. A small enough change that you would barely even notice, but if you were to compare the current menu with the original... Holy shit! Now there's a palpable difference, so much so that comparison between the current chain and the original tavern makes the current product just seem to be a grotesque and ghoulish farce. "But wait!" you say; "They still make great burgers!" Well, yeah; sort of... If we are comparing current Red Robin to Five Guys, Whataburger, or New Mexico's gold standard, Blake's LottaBurger; they come out looking pretty good. However,  if we're comparing the current incarnation with the early 1970s tavern with great grub, the early 1970s beer joint wins and wins easily. It was one of those really rare taverns where you would actually go for the food, just as one would go to the Northlake Tavern for the pizza, and one went to Funky Broadway East for the Bar-b-Q, one went to Red Robin for their burgers.

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Red Robin is eeeeeeeeverywhere, and yeah it's basically on par now with TGI Friday's and Chili's. I've been able to hit up a few quality pubs in my travels too, it hasn't all been fast food/casual dining.

Speaking of which, I hadn't heard of Blake's Lotaburger til that mention - I'm staying in Gallup on my third night out so I guess that's something to check out.

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1 hour ago, christopher.annino said:

Red Robin is eeeeeeeeverywhere, and yeah it's basically on par now with TGI Friday's and Chili's. I've been able to hit up a few quality pubs in my travels too, it hasn't all been fast food/casual dining.

Speaking of which, I hadn't heard of Blake's Lotaburger til that mention - I'm staying in Gallup on my third night out so I guess that's something to check out.

Hell, give me a call when you're in town! Given a choice between Blake's Lottaburger and the Rocket Cafe, I'd opt for the Rocket. Blakes is basically a build your own burger joint where pretty much any add-ons are available and will cost you extra, so your basic burger jumps from $3.00 to $6.00 with a quickness that is mind-boggling in both efficiency and avarice. You look at the menu prices at the Rocket and your first thought is $11.00 for a plate of pasta, WTF? $11.00 for a burger? Well, it's a huge plate of pasta, much of which is going home with me and there it's good for two additional meals. $11.00 for a burger? Well, for starters it dwarfs Lottaburger and there's no screwing around with nickels and dimes for "extras". You want onions? Fine. You want extra pickles? Fine. You want bacon? Sorry, that's a protein, we have to charge you fifty cents. Swiss cheese instead of American? Sure, don't worry about it. Red or green or both? If you aren't familiar with this question, you ain't from around these parts. The proper response is "Christmas" (This means that you want both red and green chillies with your food.)

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Heed this advice. Don’t ever go to Rally’s even for curiosity’s sake. Food is only that cheap for a reason and their slogan “Because ya gotta eat” tells you what they think of their own burgers. 
 

Marketing saying you will starve if you don’t ingest food ain’t exactly a ringing endorsement. 
 

We have some good local burger joints but I do like Five Guys quite a bit for chains. 

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34 minutes ago, The Magnificent 7 said:

Heed this advice. Don’t ever go to Rally’s even for curiosity’s sake. Food is only that cheap for a reason and their slogan “Because ya gotta eat” tells you what they think of their own burgers. 
 

Marketing saying you will starve if you don’t ingest food ain’t exactly a ringing endorsement. 
 

We have some good local burger joints but I do like Five Guys quite a bit for chains. 

I am dubious about any marketing strategy that pretty much says, "we aren't even trying to fool you about the quality of our product."  Coors Light, "tastes as cold as the Rockies"...so basically the best thing about your beer is that you can put it in the fridge?  Subway $5 foot longs...All I hear, "if this shit cost $6 you'd never dream of eating it."  

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, The Magnificent 7 said:

Heed this advice. Don’t ever go to Rally’s even for curiosity’s sake. Food is only that cheap for a reason and their slogan “Because ya gotta eat” tells you what they think of their own burgers. 

Not that one is particularly close by, but this is good to know since I was curious, mostly at why they were so cheap. Now I have an answer.

22 hours ago, OSJ said:

If we are comparing current Red Robin to Five Guys, Whataburger, or New Mexico's gold standard, Blake's LottaBurger; they come out looking pretty good.

They do not. They came out rather average compared to Whataburger which I actually just find solid. I do like the amount of variety, but the few times I went the the last two years I found Red Robin decent if kind of forgettable.

Edited by Eivion

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16 hours ago, The Magnificent 7 said:

Heed this advice. Don’t ever go to Rally’s even for curiosity’s sake. Food is only that cheap for a reason and their slogan “Because ya gotta eat” tells you what they think of their own burgers. 
Marketing saying you will starve if you don’t ingest food ain’t exactly a ringing endorsement. 
We have some good local burger joints but I do like Five Guys quite a bit for chains. 

Checker's is pretty much the same place as Rally's and that's what we have around here.  So I can't agree with this enough as while it's cheap even when I was between jobs I wouldn't dare go near it.  Shit, I'll take McDonald's or Burger King any day over that and by no means would I consider them good burger places.

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I haven't lived near a Rally's in a decade or so, but my memory of them is that their fries were the best thing on their menu. Everything else was not good.

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