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Old 12-01-2007, 06:54 PM   #31
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Even the venerable hamburger and hot dog have fallen prey. The old style A&W's or any of the local hamburger joints sold food that was far tastier than our current fast-food places. And there used to be this place called Vick's Chicken, before KFC came to town that had wonderful fried chicken, and the best baked beans on the planet. It was simple, delicious, and was owned by the cook.

There are still gems to be found, like the Grinder, in El Cajon, Ca, or La Cotija, in the same town, just a few doors down. Carlos & Totos has the best fried ice cream I've ever eaten, located in Barstow, Ca. Anthony's Fish Grotto has some great seafood down San Diego way. I had this steak sandwich on Broadway Ave. in San Diego, way back in 76. I still remember it to this day. It didn't cost much, and was made of a grilled New York strip, cooked perfectly medium rare, on a wonderful hoagie bun with A1 Steak Sauce. The steak was about 1/2 inch thick. It was wonderful, especially to a 21 year-old sailor looking for a quick and cheap way to fill his belly. There used to be (and it's still there, but not as good as it once was) a place in Barbeau, Michigan called "The Wigwam Restaurant". When I was a teen, they served all the battered, deep-fried perch you could eat for $1.25. Between a cousin and myself, we pollished off 5 platters of fish, with three side orders of french fries. There were from 7 to 8 pieces of fish on each platter.

Of course, prices are up and I can't eat nearly as much as I could back then. I just couldn't gain weight, no matter how I tried in those days. Wish I had that problem now.

I miss the innocence, and the wonderful foods that were available, not only at local restaurants, but in the grocery stores as well. I remember clearly those great tasting ripe tomatoes, and plumbs that were as sweet as honey, and juicy-sweet oranges, and deep orange carrots, and, and...

I may have more variety now, but the quality isn't the same. And I'll trade quality for a host of low quality foods any day of the weak.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:08 PM   #32
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I have never eaten at many chain restaurants like Applebees,Red Lobster,Olive Garden,Chilis etc.I have not heard good things about RL or Olive Garden but dang the commercials make it look soo good.So whats the word on Outback Steak House?
Ive always said the better the quality of the ingredients the easier it is to make food taste good.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:27 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by jpmcgrew View Post
I have never eaten at many chain restaurants like Applebees,Red Lobster,Olive Garden,Chilis etc.I have not heard good things about RL or Olive Garden but dang the commercials make it look soo good.So whats the word on Outback Steak House?
Ive always said the better the quality of the ingredients the easier it is to make food taste good.
JP,
Outback is pretty good here where we are..I think these type restaurants depend a lot on who is in that kitchen! I've had there steaks, salmon, which I"m not a fan of salmon but this was outstanding, coconut shrimp all very good...Salads crisp and plentiful,soups served hot and good, I like homemade better though...DH has a chicken dish that they make that he loves...of the franchises around here I'll take Outback over most of the others.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:34 PM   #34
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JP,
Outback is pretty good here where we are..I think these type restaurants depend a lot on who is in that kitchen! I've had there steaks, salmon, which I"m not a fan of salmon but this was outstanding, coconut shrimp all very good...Salads crisp and plentiful,soups served hot and good, I like homemade better though...DH has a chicken dish that they make that he loves...of the franchises around here I'll take Outback over most of the others.
kadesma
If I ever get somewhere they have one I would like to maybe try it.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:51 PM   #35
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Buck and I are fortunate, in that the folks we hang out with are discerning foodies. Most of the time we cook together instead of eating out. But when we eat out, we agree on the restaurant. No chains. We're blessed to have a bunch of fabulous restaurants with a wide range of cuisines in our rural area.

Even so, there are plenty of Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc. types. Buck and I have had good meals at them, but never dinner. We don't eat dinner, just lunch, which is usually quite a different menu.

Having said all that, we have an Outback Steakhouse here and have enjoyed wonderful dinners there. Great food, well-seasoned, served beautifully, service perfect. As a matter of fact, that's where we've decided to go for our anniversary dinner later this month.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:33 AM   #36
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Most of the time we cook together instead of eating out.
This is the preference of most of my friends, as well... some of them will buy the groceries for me to cook rather than eating out!

jp.... the Outback nearest my home is one I would not go back to, so what Katie said certainly holds true. However, most of these national chains have central commissaries where all the food is prepped, frozen and sent out to their outposts. so food is often just "reconstituted" by the kitchen staff, who are not chefs in any way... sad but true.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:40 AM   #37
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There are actually a lot of chains that are good. You just need to know what to look for. To be a chain, the restaurant just needs to have 3 locations. That is the only criteria to being a chain. There are a lot of local places that people do not consider chains, but they actually are.

I hate the large chains (for the most part) Like Olive Garden, Applebys, and others like that. I have had good meals at the steakhouse chains though. No always of course, but I never expect any kitchen to always put out a perfect meal. What I don't like about the steak house chains though are the prices and the wait. It seems that if you go at normal eating times you have to wait at least an hour, sometimes at much as 2 more more even.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:50 AM   #38
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Outside of fast food, we don't have that many chain restaurants here and those we do are pretty much family restaurants and are often budget-friendly. What I have found with them is that it is very reliant on what you order as to the standard. The chain restaurant closest to me does pizza, pasta, seafood, chicken and steak. I have heard good things about the pizza but never tried it. The pasta I can miss by several miles - why not, they seem to have! The seafood is the best bit, with the chicken and steak dishes after that. They do a beautiful bowl of chilli mussels for under A$15 and it is freshly cooked to order - well the mussels are, not the sauce. But all of these places it is really a case of eliminating chunks of the menu and then selecting from what's left. Completely opposite to a real restaurant.
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Old 12-02-2007, 03:56 PM   #39
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Thirty pounds per person is 'staggeringly cheap'? Is my sarcasm detector borked again or were you serious?

If you were serious I'd love to have your resteraunt budget... roughly $60 US per person is up there in the 'once a year... maybe... if I'm good and do all my chores...' bracket for me.

Staggeringly cheap would be on the order of $15-20 per person for a nice restaraunt and good amount of food.
I was serious .....the restaurant was inCovent Garden (prices for the tourist trade, or the people who go there trying to be cool, or the really cool but very richrich!) I would have expected to pay far more for good food in that area. My restaurant budget is rarely under Covent Garden pressure in a year! DH and I eat out not so often in UK as when in Italy because of the prices, but I'd rather go half as often and eat twice as well. The same equates for shopping. We find the 'number' we spend in Euros, Dollars or sterling is the same in most places but the currency is different so the value is.

Eating well in England is increasingly available, at a price but generally cost of living in UK, particually the South East is very expensive. In the key areas of London...more again. Our local pub in our village in SW UK (ok its a fairly renowned gastropub but still a pub) would cost at least that for the same number of courses and coffee.

I'm going out with this bunch of people again in the new year...I'm arming myself with suggestions for other places to eat...this time!
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