With a place like Panera, I’m fortunate to not have to give much of a back story. It’s all over the place, and there’s good reason for it. They make some great breads and soups. And they make those other things that often come with breads: sandwiches. When I trekked out to Panera in North Hollywood, it was the sandwiches I was after.
How many times have you sat around late at night eating either Taco Bell, Doritos or both and thought how amazing it would be to combine the two? I know I have. So when Taco Bell first started testing their new Doritos Locos in Fresno and Bakersfield last year, I was almost tempted to pay one of those cities a visit. Thankfully, I did not make the mistake of setting foot in one of those cities, and the testing was obviously a success, because at midnight this morning Taco Bell rolled out their Doritos Locos Tacos for the nation. If you’re unfamiliar with the Doritos Locos, they are essentially your regular or supreme tacos, but with a giant Nacho Cheese Dorito as the shell. Usually I can wait to try Taco Bell’s new products, but for this I had to be there right at midnight.
About 10 or so years ago, the world began to see commercials for a fast food burger place called Sonic. These commercials were often both funny and hunger-inducing. Unfortunately, though, Sonics were only in select locations throughout the country. Yes it was annoying, but it was also genius, because it whet the appetite for Sonic with people who had never even seen the place. The idea was that when they would finally see one, whether in travel or with a new one being built, they would want nothing more than to devour their burgers. And it worked, at least on me. When I saw my first Sonic years ago while driving through Independence, Missouri, I just had to try it. I remember it being good, but this was pre-meat blog and in the middle of a cross-country road trip, so the memory is mostly blur filled with the knowledge that the meal kept my internal fuel running just as long as I needed it to.
Arby’s has always been kind of a fringe fast food chain. You can find it all over the country, but it isn’t exactly on every corner. Perhaps this is the reason it has taken me so long to review them. Or perhaps the reason is because I once heard their meat begins its life as a liquid. Whatever the case, a golden opportunity to chow down on some potentially formerly liquid meat presented itself at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
Wienerschnitzel and the concept of a hot dog chain restaurant has always intrigued me. Since I was a little kid, I have loved me some hot dogs, and finally I got the opportunity to check out Wienerschnitzel when the bright yellow and red a-frame restaurant in Valley Village called my name loud enough. I had some strange expectations for this place, because it’s really hard to mess up a hot dog, but they can be messed up and it doesn’t matter what ingredients you toss on top if the dogs can’t hold their own.
Yes, you read that right: A First Time for Olive Garden. Somehow this Italian chain restaurant, which finds itself in every big or small city in the country, has evaded me for my whole life. But on Friday that all changed. I found myself at Olive Garden for the first time and I was eager to find out what all the fuss was about. It all started with bread sticks.
Everyone knows The Cheesecake Factory for their namesake. And those people are also probably aware that The Cheesecake Factory is a full-on restaurant with a restaurant about as massive its portions. Sadly, when I went to Cheesecake in Beverly Hills, my stomach wasn’t treating me as well as it usually does. So naturally, as an unvegan, I turned to fried chicken. Yeah, that’s right.
It’s hard to believe that in the year-plus of writing for my meat blog, I have managed to not step foot in Hooters. Yet, somehow, I have avoided that magical land of orange booty shorts and ummm owls. But fear not, because after a little birthday reminder attached to a free entree coupon, I went back to visit my old friend. I took with me one of my only friends who actually appreciates Hooters for what it has to offer.
When we walked into the Santa Monica location, we were greeted by friendly faces. Now to be honest, I didn’t actually find the women working there that impressive. They were definitely friendly and cute, but there are just so many beautiful women in LA that these just didn’t impress too much. This only helped me concentrate on the food to make sure my review was unbiased.
To grab some dinner, and take advantage of one of our seemingly endless restaurant gift cards, the girlfriend and I headed to Maggiano’s Little Italy next to The Grove. When we arrived, there was a pretty long line, but their bar had a first come, first served policy that had the full menu and we quickly found ourselves a nice table there.
Although Maggiano’s is a national chain, I’d never been and dove right in to the menu head first. I found a few things that looked great and had a hard time narrowing down to an appetizer and main course. Fortunately, I found that one of the main courses I was staring down also repeated as an appetizer. Such genius. This was the four cheese ravioli, mmm four cheeses. These were in some pesto-alfredo sauce with mozzarella. After a little browning in the oven, this ravioli looked great and tasted just as good as it looked. The pesto sauce was nice and creamy and although the marinara sauce was unnecessary, it was nice to feel thought-of.
A long time ago, I tried out the BBQ Chicken Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen (CPK). By this time, the restaurant was in Michigan everyone had been raving about it. I tasted it and was really disappointed. Using BBQ sauce instead of tomato sauce disturbed me, and the onions hidden in the cheese made it even worse. Later on, I tried many different pizzas from CPK and was pleased. Yet, since moving to California, I have had very little, if any contact with CPK. Recently, though, I had the chance for a revisit to their Beverly Hills location and decided to once again try out their BBQ Chicken Pizza. But this time, I was prepared.