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OT: Guilty Pleasures - Regional Fast Food


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Out here in the wastelands of inland Southern California we've been seeing more and more fast food chains coming in from other parts of the U.S. (Chik-Fil-A is the latest to test the waters out this way).

 

It's always nice to have a new choice in town to complement the old faves...but I still enjoy those treats that have traditionally been exclusive to my neighborhood (In N' Out Burger and Tommy's to name a couple of the sentimental faves).

:D

 

One of the coolest things about travel (for me, at least) is checking out the local "flavor."

 

So what's the food like where you are? Has anyone ever really had a Steak AND a Shake? What's it like to get tired of White Castle? And is that little square Crystal burger better than a White Castle? And how about San Antonio, where every freeway exit has a Taco Cabana AND a Bob Miller BBQ?

 

You know it's bad for you but it's OH so tasty!

 

Tell me more....

this house is empty now...
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In-And-Out: That's what a hamburger's all about! :thu:

 

Make mine a 4X4, rake the leaves, animal style on the sauce and onions. I'd like a chocolate shake with that please... but hold the fries. Their fries are the weak link on the menu IMO. People either love 'em or hate 'em, but they always taste "burnt" to me somehow, even though they don't appear to be burned.

 

Tommy's? Only the original will do. I don't like the Tommy's in Hacienda Heights as much as the original. But a good Chilliburger in Hollywood? YUM!

 

Good topic!

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Dunno. I don't do McDonalds and Burger King, may they rot in hell.

 

Dominics in Anlaby do a decent ham, pepperoni and extra cheese pizza though.

"That's what the internet is for. Slandering others anonymously." - Banky Edwards.
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Originally posted by Philip O'Keefe:

No good fish and chips recommendations for us if we're ever in Hull Rog? ;)

Lots of good fish and chips here if you wanna lose that marine physique and become a sumo ;)

 

The 'dish' was invented during WWII. Dirt cheap and enough fat and protein to keep you battling the hun.

 

I'm not sure if it will help in the fight against 'global terrorism' though ;)

 

Hull's speciality is Patties - potato and sage deep fried. Not as bad as it sounds.

"That's what the internet is for. Slandering others anonymously." - Banky Edwards.
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Here in the midwest we don't have Carl's Jr...

 

There is a Hardee's, which is also Karl Karcher Enterprises, but the burgers are fried instead of char-broiled, and there are no criss-cut fries. IMHO, if i'm eating a burger, steak or other big slab of meat, it needs to be charred with real fire.

 

I've been jonesing for a Western Bacon Cheeseburger or a Chicken Club for ages.

 

One of the better kept secrets of the PacNW (where i grew up) is the pizza, particularly the varieties that folks in other parts of the country would curl their lips up at. BBQ beef, Roast Beef, tofu, apples n onions, etc.... and it is customary to dip pizza in ranch dressing to cool it off before you bite into it. Most pizza joints have the pump-o-dressing with a stack of lil bowls next to it.

 

It's not fast food, but I went to a restaurant once (i think in Portland) that had a giant open fishtank around the perimeter of the floor. There were tons of salmon, bass, trout and various other freshwater creatures swimming around. If you ordered a fish plate called "catch of the day" or something, they'd promptly bring you a net and tell you to get to it.

 

---

 

Where i am in Wisconsin, there is a chain that i know started in WI at least, but i haven't seen them outside of here. They're called Culver's (www.culvers.com). They take an interesting approach to fast food- Everything is prepared, but nothing is cooked until you actually order it. Takes a little while, but works out ok, i spose. Unfortunately, we are talking fried vs. grilled, so Culver's doesn't impress me with their Butterburgers. They've got a few specialty sandwiches that are alright, and their fries are excellent. I'm borderline hypoglycemic so i haven't looked into too many of their shakes or malts.

 

There's also a lil hole-in-the-wall mexican place out here in Genoa City called Pancho's Burrito Veloz. It reminds me of the places on the leftcoast- the plywood menu on the walls, mariachi music going on in the kitchen, etc..

 

The place is really clean, which worried me at first, because back home it seemed the best mexican food always came from the filthiest of places. My favourite bill of fare here is their chorizo quesadillas. I probably shave a month off of my life expectancy every time i eat one, but ooooh are they good.

 

Interestingly, (yes i did learn this the hard way) out here the green sauce is mild, and the red sauce is hot. Maybe it's different everywhere, but where i grew up it was always

 

red == mild

green == hot

orange == OMGWTFBBQ

 

everything is made there, though. If you order something with guacamole, it's not like they open a can. Some d00d goes in the back and starts peeling and pitting avacados. And singing and dancing. They are always so happy in that place.

 

With all the bantering on about "Chicago Style Pizza", i've got to give a thumbs down to any pizza i've ever eaten in Chicagoland. That said, there are a smattering of italian restaurants that make some insanely good non-pizza food there. A buddy of mine (the one that was recently killed in Iraq) owned a shipping store in Barrington Ill. Right next door was a really great Italian food place. Kinda shady, and lots of smartly-dressed guys in high-dollar luxury cars were coming in and out of the back all the time, but damn could they whip up some awesome stromboli, calzones, or fetticini alfredo. I ate so much alfredo from that place i'm surprised i haven't died. They also had this other dish, whos name escapes me, but essentially it is similar to the way they make "pizza" in Italy, as far as i've heard. It's either goat or lamb meat with spices and vegetables cooked up inside a giant pot-pie type affair.

Messy as hell, but always a good choice.

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WWND?

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One of my favorite fast food places is Mr.Hero, I love their cheeseburgers. I've even tried duplicating them at home, close, but haven't found the perfect cheese yet. It's a Wisconsin cheese, but there are like 350 varities of Wisconsin cheese.

 

We also have the White Castle's here. I have been able to duplicate them at home. I found their recipe at a copycat recipe website and perfected it, just for the fun of it.

 

KFC still makes the best Fried Chicken, but for rotiserie chicken, it's the Swiss Chalet chain in Toronto. Sadly, there's none here in Ohio. I can duplicate the Swiss Chalet's chicken, but KFC's is cheaper to buy already made, as there is a lot of prep work and spices involved.

 

I've also got Honey Baked Ham Company's ham recipe almost perfected, but not yet 100% perfect.

 

McDonald's Chocolate Milkshakes ?? Perfected.

 

Mountain Jack's is famous for their fabulous Prime Rib..I'm working on it, and have come close.

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Down on the Gulf coast it's "Whataburger"...a chain I believe is based out of Texas. Big hamburgers.

 

Up in my little hometown of Port Huron, Michigan, it's Powers Hamburgers. There are two in Port Huron...and curiously, I think I saw one in Indiana, so it originally might have been a few restaurants scattered about. But, in P.H., it's a 50s vintage greasy spoon where you order little gut bombs by the bagful.

 

I also remember going to White Castle, ordering two chocolate shakes, giving the lady a 20, and asking for my change in White Castles.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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That reminds of a hamburger eating contest we had one time many years ago, at a similar place called "Royal Castle". Same type little square burgers.

 

The deal was, there were three of us, and whoever could eat the most burgers got to eat for free and the other two had to pay for all of them.

I wimped out after eating 6 or 7, the next guy started barfing after 11, and the winner went on to eat 13 or 14 of them.

heheheehee !!! :P

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In my hometown of Indianapolis, I used to enjoy Steak 'n' Shake and occasionally a White Castle. What's it like to get tired of White Castle? Well...imagine your legs falling asleep from sitting on the oval assmaster because you ate a bag. You CANNOT eat at White Castle unless one of these conditions exist:

1) You have been drinking, and it's past 1:00 a.m.

2) You are ravenously hungry while running errands

3) You are working from change found while doing the laundry

 

Getting the White Castle recipe for home may be all well and good, but part of the magic comes from those well-seasoned grilles. Can't really do it without 'em.

 

Steak 'n' Shake is also a late-nighter, but can be patronized at any time of the day due to the notion that the food is generally better than WC (which also stands for 'Water Closet', and not by coincidence...). Their fries are the coolest...long, skinny, and in a huge pile.

 

Hardee's were formerly known as Burger Chef; Burger Chef was great...Hardee's is/was an abomination. Somewhere, I still have a couple of 'Burger Chef and Jeff' frisbees.

 

As a little kid in a rural Indiana town--Lebanon--my favorite FF joint was Shortstop. Don't know if it was a chain, but it was depressing to see it go under. The BEST hamburgers, and crinkle-cut fries.

 

These days, all your fast food joints belong to suck. :cry:

I've upped my standards; now, up yours.
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I have a well seasoned grill my grandmother used to own. It was purchased in the 1940's, it fit's over two burners on a conventional stove, gas or electric, and heats up like any other restaurant grill.

 

The secret to White Castle burgers though is they are ... whoops ..I can't tell you, sorry.

Living' in the shadow,

of someone else's dream....

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Y'know, the McD's salads have more fat than their burgers. Imagine that.

 

We've got Tom's Drive In around Wisconsin maybe elsewhere. Good fast food except it costs more than the big franchises, which is just bullshit because - Tom's is just down the street from where I live.

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As a kid growing up in the mid-west... it was a blast doing the A&W thing... with the window trays, that ICY great tasting root beer and those killer onion rings. Who knew back then about calories?

 

When I migrated to SoCal, my friends introduced me to In N Out. It always amazes me that there's usually a McD's nearby... and BOTH are doing big biz. Who would eat a McD burger when there's an In N Out 100 feet away? Just a simple Double Double with Grilled Onions and one of those real ice cream chocolate shakes will do me fine!

 

Fish Tacos. If you don't live in SoCal, you may NEVER have tried these things. Just like burgers, there are different "quality"... Down here in San Diego, we've got a little chain called "Fins" that makes the BEST fast food version IMHO!

 

Rubio's is the big chain, and they're ok in a pinch! You can even buy them at the ball park...

 

Many of the sitdown franchise restaurants use grilled mahi or shark or some other nice fish, and hands down... they're the best... but don't really qualify as "fast food".

 

Do many folks have access to Egg Burritos? Del Taco is my fast food "Egg-burt" favorite, but I know they're not everywhere!

 

It sounds disgusting until you try one!

 

guitplayer

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Check out my music if you like...

 

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fish tacos, yeah...

 

We got a left-coast chain called Taco Del Mar...best studio-session meal ever made. You can work for 4 hours after eating one of their burritos. Good beans, no gas.

 

Under 5 bucks, double-punch Mondays, every tenth one is free...

SC

 

"If the machine produces tranquillity, it's right."

---Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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In-And-Out: That's what a hamburger's all about!

 

Make mine a 4X4, rake the leaves, animal style on the sauce and onions. I'd like a chocolate shake with that please... but hold the fries. Their fries are the weak link on the menu IMO. People either love 'em or hate 'em, but they always taste "burnt" to me somehow, even though they don't appear to be burned.

 

Tommy's? Only the original will do. I don't like the Tommy's in Hacienda Heights as much as the original. But a good Chilliburger in Hollywood? YUM!

 

Good topic!

Damn Phil you read my mind

Add to that Freewayburger with chili cheese fries and a box of alka-seltzer and you got my list

 

Living here in Spain, I only get to indulge about once a year (when I'm in LA) but what can you do?

 

More than the hamburgers though, I really miss good Mexican food.

MMMMMMMMMM Chimichunga!

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Western NY, of course, claims authorship of the now thoroughly nationalized "Buffalo Wing," and if you've never been to Western NY it's quite possible that you have no idea what a wing is supposed to taste like. No one else seems to get it quite right. (Not that there aren't some good variants.) I actually live in southern NY, and even here we misfire on the Buffalo sauce.

 

What about a pecan roll from Stuckey's? Or Shoney's breakfast buffet? I love going south.

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I knew starting this thread was going to make me hungry.

 

Magpel mentioned Stuckey's. I loved their Pecan Rolls but it was always bad news to hit their snack bar. By the way, I notice your in New Paltz - I love those NY diners...24 hours and 6 to 8 page menus.

 

Not fast food, but how about Waffle House? Now there's something I wish we had in So Cal (the nearest is the off the 10 in Goodyear, AZ and don't ask why I know, thanks).

 

guitplayer - if you ever get up to the Inland Empire you gotta check out the Egg-burts at Baker's. They're one of our better regional chains, one of the first with the dual kitchen (mexican/american) concept.

 

Del Taco also has its roots out here - the first was in Barstow circa 1958. In the late '60s one of the original partners struck out on his own with Naugles - basically Del Taco with higher quality food and larger portions. Eventually they were all swallowed up by Del Taco in the early '90s. Phil and I often wax nostalgic about the Naugles creed: "Serve Customers Fast, Serve Food Fresh, Keep Place Clean."

 

Ted - gottalove those Whataburgers. Look for the W. Often featured in "King of the Hill" episodes.

 

phaeton - I thought Carl Karcher had char-broilers in Hardee's by now. Didn't they start serving the old Burger Chef menu? Culver's looks pretty tasty...

 

There are a number of "ethnic" fast food chains that are beginning to show up in the LA area. Jollibee (Phillipines) has a few stores and L&L Hawaiian BBQ is here now from the Big Island.

 

Wow...going on 6AM. Maybe I should run out for a quick breakfast? :D

this house is empty now...
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Hey Songrytr - it's Krystal with a 'k', and yes, they are better than White Castles. Fluffier bun, less greasy. By the way, the correct term for any little square burger bought by the bagful, available 24 hours a day, whether Krystal or White Castle, is "gutbomber."

 

My regional favorites? First of all, Sonic drive-in. Some of the best burgers in the business (fried, but that's okay), great desserts that rival Dairy Queen, unquestionably THE best onion rings in the western hemisphere, and - ta daa! - tater tots! :thu:

 

This one you have to look a little harder for: Ward's. Their specialties are awesome chili dogs and an exclusive homemade root beer recipe, served in a frosted mug, natch. Based out of Hattiesburg, MS, and usually not found in towns over population 10,000. Awesome food, though.

 

And of course, you can't go to Atlanta without a trip to the Varsity. "What'll ya have?"

 

Phaeton, I don't know how you managed to get a fried Hardee's burger. I grew up on them, and they've been char-broiled for as long as I can remember.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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Too bad Songrytr - I would have done IHOP or Norm's with you, but I just made myself some eggs. They were tasty.

 

Songrytr's more knowledgeable about the history of some of the fast food chains than anyone I've ever met. I have no idea where he learned all that stuff, but he's a fount of knowledge on the subject.

 

Most missed fast food chain in one word:

 

Nagles :cry:

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Ewww... Krystal just sucks. So does White Castle. Nasty.

 

But here in the South we have WAFFLE HOUSE!! It is a musicians' paradise. Open 24/7, cheap, and the food really ain't bad at all, especially the breakfast food. I think it's a legal requirement in the South that there has to be a Waffle House at least every 150 yards, so you will never be long in searching for one. Waffle House RuLeZ!!!

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Regional -

 

BoJangles Cajun chicken & buscuits - great biscuits like the Cajun Fillet or Steak biscuit.

Captain D's - Fish & Chips

Frank & Stein - Beer & Hotdawgs (what else?)

Hometown - (Gastonia, NC)

 

Tony's Icecream (Milkshakes & sandwiches)

RO's BBQ (try the BBQ slaw)

Villa Roma (lasagna & Angelo's feast & pizza)

Los Arcos (authentic Mexican - Chimi-Changa!!)

BlueStrat

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And how about San Antonio, where every freeway exit has a Taco Cabana AND a Bob Miller BBQ
Songster

..it's Bill Millers (who cares)...think he's got 33 of them Now! Both of em are based here is SA. And I cant' figure this SA BBQ thing, you can get BBQ, Fried Chicken and Fried Catfish at the same place -What's with that? In Dallas you get BBQ - Beef Brisket ,Pork Ribs or Chicken!!!! and that's it ( Sonny Bryan's was my fave - especially while he was alive - I think the Kids have diversified it too much)

 

Down on the Gulf coast it's "Whataburger"...a chain I believe is based out of Texas. Big hamburgers.
Yep Tedster...Corpus Christi...they've have run Burger King Out of Town (seriously). Give me a DOUBLE DOUBLE an Onion Rings please!

 

Guitplayer

 

Do many folks have access to Egg Burritos? Del Taco is my fast food "Egg-burt" favorite, but I know they're not everywhere!
Down here they're called Breakfast Tacos, and there are maybe 500 Taco Joints in SA that open at 6 and close at 1 - and that's pretty much all they serve... If someone says 'Lets Get Breakfast - you're gonna get Tacos ;)

My favorite is Chorizo and egg - or Chorizo and Potato. Used to be BARBACOA - but it's hard to get since the Mad Cow deal :rolleyes:

 

Magpel...been to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo many times - An American Tradition! There is also a place in Pittsburgh called Quaker Steak and Lube (I think) that had great wings.

 

Speaking of Pittsburgh / Buffalo.... What about "Big Fish Sandwiches, Beef on Wick...and what is that Sandwich place in Pitt down on the riverfront (Premonti Brothers?) that serves the meat, cheese slaw AND fries piled up on the Hoagie...Incredible stuff.

 

Damn, I'm hungry now, better go get a Breakfast Taco

:wave:

LynnG

Lynn G
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Maybe i've just been unfortunate at the Hardee's...

 

They're actually quite rare out here too, so i haven't been to very many (one in Sturdevant, the one in Burlington closed)... Maybe you folks know better than me about the char-broiling, but those burgers sure looked and tasted fried. I mean, they were better than McD's, but just didn't have that crunchy blackness around the edges, nor any char-broiling marks.

 

I could also be wrong (and i hope i am) about some report i was reading regarding Burger King... That in order to cut costs, a lot of their restaurants have frozen (but pre-broiled) burgers shipped to them, and they simply reheat them to serve.

 

That is just wrong!

 

Another oddity i notice here v.s. other places i've been..

 

Just about every fast food joint (mcd, bk, kfc, wendys) in this area has Coke products for a drink. Note that some of those restaurants are *owned* by pepsico. I don't understand it. And even more scarce than pepsi is Dr. Pepper, which is my drink of choice..

 

I've found only one convenience store in a 50 mile radius that has Dr Pepper as a fountain drink choice. There are 3 in that same radius that offer Pepsi.

 

Phoenix AZ was like that too- Coke Country.

 

Back on topic though, Let's not forget the almighty Chinese Fast Food... Not the short-order traditional type, but more the "10-selection buffet/premade type" that is just saturated with MSG and cooking oil. Usually found in the food courts of Malls and airports. Mmmmm mmmm gooood...

Dr. Seuss: The Original White Rapper

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WWND?

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Oddities: In San Antonio they sell more BIG RED than Coca Cola

 

must be the Hispanic thing

 

iirc Big Red is made in Waco, TX. Not sure how i know that, but wtf...

 

I like big red, but it gives me serious heartburn.

Dr. Seuss: The Original White Rapper

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WWND?

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