Archive for the 'Fastfood' Category

Scenes: Saigon Food Court

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For a quick refreshment break our Food Court on the 3rd Floor of the Diamond Department Store provides international convenience food including pizza, pasta, Lotteria hamburgers, Korean specialties, ice cream, fruit juice and coffee. For customers with a taste for chicken, a KFC Restaurant is located on the 4th Floor. Coffee and light snacks can be enjoyed in the open air at Highlands Coffee, adjacent to the Department Store main entrance.

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Taylor’s Automatic Refresher

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July 8, 2007
Cuisine: Burgers, Sandwiches

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco 94111

Phone: 866-328-3663
Website: www.taylorsrefresher.com

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Garlic Fries Tossed in garlic butter & parsley ($2.99)

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Fried Calamari With aioli & lemon ($6.49)

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Onion Rings Thick, beer batter style ($3.99)

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Chicken Fingers (2) served with honey mustard fries ($4.99)

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Western Bacon Blue Ring – a burger topped with an onion ring, crumbled blue cheese, bacon, pickles, red onion & BBQ sauce on a toasted egg bun ($8.99)

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Ahi Burger – Fresh Ahi tuna seared rare with ginger wasabi mayo & Asian slaw on a toasted egg bun ($13.99)

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Blue Cheese Burger – topped with a pile of crumbled blue, lettuce, tomato, pickles & secret sauce on a toasted egg bun ($7.25)   

A trip to The Bay just wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Ferry Building. The Astronomer and I had a ball there last spring pursuing the shops and sampling a plethora of gourmet goodness. Even though my aunt and uncle reside only a short drive from the Ferry Building, this was their first trip to the gastronomic Mecca. Since we were in the neighborhood, we picked up Cousin Timmy at SFSU to join us for lunch.

During my previous visit to the Ferry Building, The Astronomer and I constructed a multi-course lunch from a number of different vendors. This time, the majority of my family was in the mood for Taylor’s Automatic Refresher, so I figured it would be best to join them rather than venturing on my own. You know how it is in big groups…

I ordered the Ahi Burger, which was the priciest item on the menu. The seared tuna’s flesh was pleasantly pink and a refreshing alternative to a standard beef patty. I’ve consumed a lot of seared tuna in my days, but never in between two pieces of bread so I was pleasantly surprised by how well the combination worked. The slaw was crisp and dressed in a soy vinaigrette, while the ginger and wasabi mayonnaise was relatively mild. All of Taylor’s burgers are served on a toasted egg bun, which was terrific. Overall a solid burger, but perhaps priced a bit too high.

Uncle Brian enjoyed his Western Bacon Blue Ring enormously. The one bite I had was really great—the onion ring and BBQ sauce hit all the right flavors and textures. The burger reminded me of the ones served up at Carl’s Junior, but much more satisfying and dramatically less messy. Cousin Timmy ordered the Blue Cheese Burger, which he liked, but I didn’t get the impression that it blew him away. Cousins Megan and Madison both ate Chicken Fingers (surprise, surprise). The honey mustard sauce that accompanied the fingers was sweet, tangy, and so downright delectable that I had to dip everything in sight.

The table shared an order of garlic fries, calamari, and onion rings, which were all very good. My favorite was the onion rings, which were spectacular with ketchup. My uncle didn’t care much for the onion rings because the batter wasn’t crunchy enough for his tastes. Rather than serving neat little rings of calamari like most restaurants do, Taylor’s served up squid heads! The calamari was well-seasoned and softer than I expected. I’m not too big on fries, but the garlic fries held their own.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am definitely a fan of high-end renditions of classic American junk food.

Shake Shack

May 28, 2007
Cuisine: Burgers, Hot Dogs

Madison Square Park, New York 10010
At 23rd St & Madison Ave

Phone: 212-889-6600
Website: www.shakeshacknyc.com

Single Cheeseburger ($4)

French Fries ($2.50)

Hopscotch Concrete – Hot Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Toffee and Valrhona Chocolate Chunks ($6.25)

While interning at YM Magazine during the summer of 2002, I lunched everyday on the benches in Madison Square Park. Since I was paid in nail polish and future recommendations, I usually packed an uneventful PB&J sandwich or bought a hot dog from the vendor located on the park’s edge. Returning to the park five years later, I barely recognized the place.

Ever since Shake Shack sprouted up during the summer of 2004, Madison Square Park has become quite the dining destination. Long gone are the days of urban serenity and in its place are winding lines of hungry diners seeking quality fastfood—the hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, and custard served up at Shake Shack are only made using high-quality ingredients and no trans fats.

After waiting 45 minutes in line to place our order and an additional 10 minutes for our food to be made, we finally sat down to eat. People often complain about the lengthy line at Shake Shack, but the lively ambiance in the park more than makes up for it. My advice is to not arrive too hungry.

I was in the mood for something cool and sweet after the Luger Burger and ordered a Hopscotch Concrete made with Hot Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Toffee and Valrhona Chocolate Chunk. I had never heard of a concrete before ordering one at Shake Shack, but The Astronomer, a St. Louis native, was quite knowledgeable. He informed me that a well-made concrete can be turned upside down without any deliciousness falling out a la Ted Drewes.

Good thing I was dining with a concrete expert because the concrete I received was unacceptably melted. I brought the concrete up to the pick-up window and asked for a new one. A woman in the shack informed me that the concrete was liquid rather than solid due to the hot caramel sauce, so then I requested for my concrete to to be made with caramel on the side. The second concrete I received was a vast improvement, but still wouldn’t pass the upside down cup test. I guess I’ll just have to return to St. Louis for the real deal. Texture aside, the concrete was pretty darn wonderful. The vanilla custard was creamy, the chocolate toffee was crunchy and sweet, and the chocolate chunks were dark and luxurious. I was on a sugar high for a good long while after I polished off the concrete.

The Astronomer ordered a single cheeseburger with a side of fries. The burger was quite good and on par with the ones from In-N-Out. Following the Luger Burger, Shake Shack’s paled in comparison. We admit that it’s unfair to compare a fastfood-type hamburger with a gourmet one, but the Luger Burger was fresh in our minds and on our taste buds. The fries were decent, but The Astronomer prefers his with seasonings. Unless the line at Shake Shack was dramatically shorter, The Astronomer wouldn’t return for the hamburger or fries. However, I would return for the semi-frozen treats.

In-N-Out Burger

January 15, 2007
Cuisine: Fastfood, Burgers

2910 Damon Ave.
Pacific Beach, CA 92109

Phone: 1-800-786-1000
Website: http://www.in-n-out.com

Entree I: Double-Double ($2.75) with Fries ($1.09)

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Entree II: Cheeseburger, Protein Style, Animal Style ($1.85)

Ever since reading Fast-food Nation, I’ve wanted to eat at In-N-Out Burger to support their high food standards and fair employment practices. The Astronomer and I met up with his friend Jason (AKA San Diego H8R) from JBS for a quick lunch at In-N-Out before exploring the wonders of UCSD.

The Astronomer ordered the classic Double-Double and a side of fries. He thought the burger was delicious, even with the Thousand Island dressing. The fries were “nothing special,” but he liked how they were free of nasty trans-fats. Me too.

I normally order a Double-Double, but wanted to try the “secret menu.” I ordered a cheeseburger “Animal Style” (A mustard cooked beef patty served on a bun with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, extra spread and grilled onions) and “Protein Style” (Instead of a bun, the burger is wrapped in lettuce). The burger was very messy to eat due to the extra spread and lack of buns. The grilled onions were fabulous and the burger overall was very good! The secret menu is quite a novelty, but next time I may just go for a plain old Double-Double with grilled onions.