2017-10-08 Five Guys Burgers and Fries.. 2.5

How many guys does it take to make an above average cheeseburger? More than Five Guys apparently. 😛

Of all the burger joints in all the world, how did THIS one become a national chain?

For starters, the atmosphere is “meh” at best, very fast-food-ish which I guess might be what they were going for considering you order at the counter. They get a plus in my book for the peanuts, but it seems really odd and not necessary unless they are expecting people are so starved when they arrive and have to wait in a long line (which we did not thank goodness).

The menu was also meh.. it’s a burger joint, so that’s their main thing but very one-trick-pony in that you order a single or a double and then choose any toppings you want. This philosophy is OK for people who eat a lot and consume a lot of toppings, however, me and my people don’t so having to pay for someone else’s toppings with that outrageous price point was incredibly off-putting.

Case in point.. Z gets a single hamburger, plain (YES I said PLAIN??!) and we pay just as much for that (5+ bucks) as my cheeseburger with onions and pickles and peppers and tomato and mustard and cheese. Just wrong. Same story for C only a touch worse because he did not even get a burger, he ordered a hot dog. What is wrong with my children?!

Anyway, for that price I would expect a really great cheeseburger because that’s the caliber of place this is. It’s a step above fast food and a step below an average dine-in, serve you at the table restaurant. Sadly, the burger fell short of average.

The bun was OK, there was not enough cheese (IMO), and nothing so special about the seasonings or the toppings. I’m writing this 24 hours past my experience and I can’t think of a damn thing noteworthy to say about it. Hence the below average rating.

I’m not quite done with my rant about the price though. The entire meal, which consisted of two “small” burgers, a small fry, two drinks and a hot dog came to 30 dollars. WHAT???!!! How in the Fuck did that happen? I’ve never in my life spent 30 bucks at a fast food place for me and my kids before and quite literally don’t even spend that much when we go to a restaurant normally. I could have had three complete burger meals at Red Robin for that price which would have all included bottomless fries.

Oh, and speaking of the fries, they are terrible. Overly seasoned and not crispy enough at all. I originally wanted to score this a 2.75 but now that I’ve remembered everything, I am going to go with a 2.5.

This is an over-rated franchise,
With prices that make me agonize
Burgers that won’t win any prize
And just down-right terrible Fries.
I’ve given this place one to many tries.
Time to say never again.. to Five Guys.

Never Again!
~Miss SugarCookie

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2017-09-17 Austin: The P.Terry’s Cheeseburger.. 3

Saturday morning we went to the soccer fields to watch Rebecca’s daughter play her very first soccer game ever. It was hot, and muggy, and the sun felt like it was burning our skin. And that was before it was even 11AM. When it was over, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat and the choice was a burger place I had never been to before.. how perfect.

P. Terry’s is apparently a local Austin chain and I’m not sure if it extends anywhere else outside the city limits. We did the drive through so I have no comment on the restaurant itself, but from the looks of it, I would have put it on par with a regular fast-food burger chain. I was pleasantly surprised that it exceeded my expectations.

I had a regular single cheeseburger which normally comes with lettuce, tomato, and special sauce but I elected to skip the lettuce. I was assured that the sauce was good, so I was ok sticking with that. I also added pickles.

When we arrived home, I dig right in and it was gone in about three minutes. I was apparently hungry. So hungry that I hardly took the time to savor it and really give a lot of thought to it, but I would not have devoured it so fast if it was not good.

Rebecca tells me that all the ingredients are fresh and that they cook your food when you order which is rare for a fast food place. If I was comparing it to other “drive-through” places, I would probably rate it higher, but my rating scale is all cheeseburger experiences from a wide variety of places ranging from basic to high-end. With that in mind, I’m giving it a 3. I concur with my friend, the special sauce was really good.

If I lived here, I would go back, but when I compare this cheeseburger to my home town “Runza” Cheeseburger, it was not as good. One of these days I’m going to have to pay Runza a visit again just so I can write about it. Hmmm.. maybe one day this week.

Enjoying Life, One Cheeseburger at a Time,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-29 It’s a Doozie.. 1.5

Yesterday I had plans to take the kids to go have lunch with my Dad and his wife and they live across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I let them pick the place and of course, they pick someplace in Council Bluffs because for some reason they rarely come across to this side of the river for anything. They picked a place that I guess is relatively new down in the Manawa lake area called Doozies. I had not heard of it before and had no idea what to expect.

When we arrived, which was about 1:20 in the afternoon well past a typical lunch rush we were surprised to walk in and find the three or four booths they had inside already occupied. Well, there was one “three quarter” bench right by the door with no one at it but the table was clearly dirty. The kids sat down there while I stood by the wall to look at the menu. It’s one of those places you order at the counter and they bring your food to you.

I was pleased to find that besides ice-cream being their main go-to, they also had cheeseburgers and sandwiches and fries and the like. There was one gal sort of rushing around in a very stressed out way cleaning off a high chair and I let her know about the dirty table and she said she was getting to that next.

Z elected to get the chicken strip basket, C had a grill-cheese basket, and I of course ordered a single cheeseburger, no basket). It was the same gal at the counter who took our order and she again seemed a little put off. The place started to fill up behind us and the kids went outside to a larger umbrella table that would accommodate all five of us.

My dad and his wife were a touch late but it was OK because it took a long time for our food to come out and by the time it did, all of the tables outside had filled up too. I was shocked to see such a crowd in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday, but perhaps that meant it was a place worth coming to. Sadly that was not the case.

The food was sub-par. The burger I ordered was not good and the kids did not seem to care for theirs either. The fries were greasy and limp. The burger was completely underwhelming. Nothing special about any of it. It was like they went to the grocery and got all the right ingredients, but somehow it just didn’t come together.

It was a 1/3 pound lifeless patty probably fried up on a flat-iron and devoid of any seasonings. It was done well through and piled with tomato, cheese, pickle, and onion, which also seemed to be void of flavor. I mean, pickles and onions have a distinct flavor but I couldn’t taste it. Z had a side of ranch for her chicken strips which the stressed-out lady at the counter made me choose and so I ended up dipping the burger in that which had at least some flavor.

In all fairness, I ordered it without the “Doozie” sauce which I guess is a catsup/mayo combo or something, so perhaps that would have been better but I don’t like catsup or mayo. I would say the next time I will try it, but I am never going back.

At one point my Dad’s wife made a comment about “this place affecting Cristy Creme’s business”. In my head I’m thinking, this place can’t touch Cristy Creme, but I kept that one to myself. Now that the idea is in my head, we might just have to do that one next time we are back in CB.

Anyway, Z refused to eat her chicken fingers after the first couple of bites and told me in the car on the way home she found several hairs in her food. C ate all of his grilled cheese, but as usual had nothing to say about it. Neither one of them even made a dent in their fries which makes a statement as well.

When we were on vacation we went to that really terrible burger place in a town just off the coast and I didn’t write a review of it because I felt it wasn’t worth it, but I’ve now decided that I should take the time to hash over the bad as well as the good in order to properly fill out the scale of possibilities. Considering the food, and the place, and the service, I would probably only go as high as 1.5 on this one.

My grand recommendation for Doozies is to stick with the ice cream. We did not have any, but it most certainly has to be better than their food (and it is tough to server bad ice cream).

One and Done,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-23 The Mantra Cheeseburger.. 3.5

There’s this restaurant on Maple street I’ve driven past dozens of times before. They have a tree out front that is artificial and lights up year round (not a Christmas tree). I’ve never looked up the name or thought to stop before to see what it was like, even though I have thought about it. Last night that is where my date suggested we go for dinner.

When he suggested it, I googled the place and looked at their menu and it reminded me of more of an upscale bar and grill. I mean anyplace that has crab cakes and escargot on their app menu isn’t just your average hole-in-the-wall bar. I was immediately challenged by the fact that they had both crab cakes and a cheeseburger on their menu and I have a rule about ordering both of those if they are offered. But of course I had to go with the Cheeseburger because that’s my thang.

My date asked me how adventurous I was about different food, and I said I wasn’t too adventurous but willing to try whatever so he ordered the escargot. I’ve had that one time before but this was smothered with butter and garlic and cheese and very tasty. It took the wait staff a long time to take our order because we were apparently enjoying ourselves so much with our drinks and conversation and the snails. Eventually I got around to ordering the “Mantra Burger” which is one “half pound” patty served on a pretzel bun with whatever extras you want on it plus a side of fries. I ordered it cooked medium with cheddar cheese.

First of all, there is no way the patty was 1/2 pound of beef, probably more like a quarter. Secondly, it was pretty flat and well done. Not a lot of juice. I had not had a pretzel bun before so that was different, but good and there could have been more cheese, but it was an acceptable amount. I put a few onions on as everything was on the side when it was served (I like tomato but always eat that separately). It came with some house made asian style bbq sauce which was also on the side and I actually liked that better then I thought I would.

The taste of the burger was OK. Not a lot of flavor to it without dipping in the sauce. It was good, but not great. My expectations were high and I was underwhelmed. I think I enjoyed the cocktail and the escargot much more than the burger, and that is making a statement. Still, it was not bad, so I would have to go middle of the road on this one and give it a 3.5.

I’d probably say the same thing about the date itself. I would see him again, but can’t see myself choosing that as my only meal for a long period of time. I would definitely go back to Mantra though but the next time I am going to try the crab cakes!

Cheers to Too Many Choices,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-14 PNW Day 4: I’ve Come a Long Way Baby…

… Literally. Yesterday I drove from Rockaway to Crescent City, Ca and what should have been a 6.5 hour drive took us 12 hours. We checked out of one motel at 11AM and checked into the next at 11PM. We made so many stops along the way. Some were good and some were bad, some were necessary and some were not. In the end, It was dark and I was sleepy and all I wanted to do was get to that dingy motel so I could sleep.

At dinner-time I got a craving for a cheeseburger and typed that into the GPS and ended up at a place called “Shake and Burger”. The service was the VERY WORST I have had in a long, long time. The burger was sub-par and the place was really kind of a dump. I’m not even going to dedicate an individual post to it because it was not even worthy (probably a 2 for the record – 1.5 if you factor in the service). I would have thought a place with “burger” in the name would hit at least a 3. Yowza.

Anyway, I did all that driving so I could wake up today and just zip down to the Redwood National Park and hike amongst the giant redwood trees. Sure enough, I was not one mile into the park on scenic 101 that I got that very goosebumps feeling that I get when something amazing is happening. I do love the Redwood forest. It’s just so awe-inspiring

I barely thought at all about the last time I was there, which was in 2012 with Matt. This is proof that either the Forests powers are just that strong or that I’m really starting to just be over him. Either way I have come a long way.

The plan was supposed to be that we would arrive in Seattle on Friday, but when we were still in California at about 2PM today, it was very clear that was not going to happen. I was already sick of driving after yesterday and could only take about 4 or 5 hours in the car today so we stopped in Eugene Oregon for the night. We will make it the rest of the way tomorrow.

On that note, I need a good night sleep to get me in better shape for tomorrow and the weekend. It is my turn to be solo in the bed (we’ve been taking turns sharing a bed).

Nighty-Night,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-13 Sand Dollar Sunset Cheeseburger.. 4.25

I ended up booking a hotel in Rockaway Oregon because there were no rooms in Manzanita. Insert super sad face here but it’s good because I need to learn to branch out and try new things. I am now glad that I did because if it went differently I never would have experienced the Sand Dollar Cheeseburger.

The kids and I checked into the Silver Sands Motel around 5:30 PM and they immediately put their swim suits on and headed for the pool. The motel offered an indoor pool and hot tub which is, I think, pretty rare for these beach town motels. The pool was OK, and after I surveyed that they would be safe there, I wandered up and down the beach a bit. We spent so much time at the first beach we went to, the kids had no interest in this one, but that’s OK.

Later as the sun started to set it was time to figure out the dinner situation. I made the kids eat a piece of fruit while we talked about it. All they really wanted was french fries and I was in no mood to argue about it so I said I would find a place and bring them back some. The lady at the motel desk recommended the Sand Dollar, which was a convenient two block walk away.

Just as I arrived the sun was very low and I opted to sit out on the patio and have my cheeseburger while the sun set. It was a very generous patty cooked medium at my request. And for the first time in a while, it was actually served medium like they knew what they were doing. I ordered just the basic burger which came with Tillamook cheddar cheese (of course), onion, tomato, and house aioli (no lettuce at my request). It was served on a fresh and tasty bun. I ordered it with fries, which were cooked to perfection and had some really nice seasoning.

The first thing I did was cut the burger in half because it was quite large and I was sure that was all I would be able to eat. It was juicy but not too juicy and the sauce was really good, but not overpowering. The flavor of the burger came through nicely. At some places all you can taste is the sauce or the bun or something else, but this was just right. It was the perfect proportion of all the ingredients.

The sun set while I was waiting for my food and the place closes at 9PM. I did not want to linger and overstay their hospitality for allowing me to order so late so I quickly finished my half burger and took the rest to-go with an extra side of fries for the kids.

When I arrived back at the motel, they were starving and it had only been about 15 minutes since I left the restaurant but I opted to eat the other half of the burger right then. It was so good. The kids did not care for the seasoning on the fries, but what do they know, they are just kids. 😛

I would highly recommend this restaurant, not just for the food, but also the friendly service and wonderful view. I give it a solid 4.25. My only other comment would be to arrive early enough that you relax on the patio and enjoy the view while you dine. I would definitely go there again.

Cheers,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-06-16 Lot 2 – Delayed Review.. 2.5

This one kinda makes me a little sad. I remember when I first had the Lot 2 cheeseburger a couple of years ago and thought it was the bomb. Something about the sauce and the way it was cooked. It was juicy and tasty and the fries and mustard dip were also amazing. But when I had it this week (and it has been quite a while since I have been to Lot 2), it was disappointing.

I went with my friend Amy earlier this week after seeing a show in Benson and so it was late and there were not a lot of people there. Our waiter was good-looking, and nice, and helpful. He was also patient while we deliberated over what drinks to order from the cocktail menu. I ordered the one with vodka as the base, since I’m a vodka girl and the name of it was something so appropriate, like “My own complication”. I don’t remember, I’ll have to call and ask because I remember thinking “That is so me”.

Unfortunately, the waiter and the cocktails were the highlight and perhaps the kale salad coming in third. The salad was exactly how I had remembered and aside from having too many capers, it was pretty delicious. The cheeseburger, as I eluded to, was not good.

The first time it came out, it was extremely rare. So rare, infant, that the bottom bun was literally soggy and smashed down flat to the plate. Totally gross. Since we split it, the first thing we did was cut it down the middle and knew immediately it was undercooked. We had asked for medium. I remember that place sort of undercooking before, slightly. Sort of like asking for medium and getting medium rare, but this was totally off.

We had it sent back and asked for a re-do. This is something I “rarely” do. Haha. When it came out the second time, it was like they over-compensated and it was now over-cooked. Not feeling into a three-peat, we went for it. The flavor was OK, but not as good as I remember and the bun to burger ratio was too high. There were bites that were only bun. I don’t remember the cheese situation (and that should always be memorable) and the other toppings, including the sauce, were also not noteworthy.

The fries were still pretty good, but by the time we were having them, they were not hot any longer and kind of limp.

With 3 being the middle of the 5 point scale, I have to come under that on this one and go with 2.5. Again, very disappointing, and that is totally a reflection of the cheeseburger itself and not the experience as a whole. I would definitely go back for more cocktails, the steak and frites main course, and another chat with that waiter. 😃

Check Please,
~Miss SugarCookie