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Old 02-26-2010, 08:40 AM   #51
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If you can't pack your own food in a cooler (first choice), then I'd get take out from a restaurant that serves local fresh food
I would love to do this, but when you are on the road it's hard to know where you can find a good local restaurant with fresh food! That is part of the reason that McDs thrives. It is consistent. Consistently bad and unhealthy, but consistent! And happy meals and a Playplace don't hurt when you have a minivan full of kids. I like to try to scout out the area I am traveling though so I can find such a place as you suggest. Not always possible though. When all cars have built in internet and Google, I won't have to rely on the golden arches to feed my unruly clan.
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:45 AM   #52
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That is part of the reason that McDs thrives. It is consistent.
I have never bought this argument. I think the reason it thrives is because the menu is the same everywhere. I would hardly call them consistent though. You can go to the same store ever day for a month and never get a meal the same way twice. The first time the food may be cold. The next time the food could be hot, but the cheese not melted. The next time there is too much ketchup and not enough mustard. The following time it is perfect. Then the fried are too salty. Then they are not salty enough. Then they are cold and oily. They they are hot and crisp. Etc.
You just never know what you are going to end up with.
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:59 AM   #53
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I have never bought this argument.
Well, all I can tell you is that is he perception. It's a familiar place for people on the road.

Wouldn't it be nice if someone franchised a resraurant that made fresh, healthy food? Then you could go there with the expectation of something better! Then I guess it would take 50 years for it to be nationwide and established like McDonalds, eh? And I won't be around to see it!
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:02 AM   #54
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Well, all I can tell you is that is he perception. It's a familiar place for people on the road.
I do not think the perception is that you get the same thing every time. I think the perception is that you know what is on a Big Mac when you order it in Boise or LA or Kittery. I think that is why people go there. They know what to expect in the way of ingredients. Not that they are going to get a consistently good meal.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:06 AM   #55
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I would love to do this, but when you are on the road it's hard to know where you can find a good local restaurant with fresh food! That is part of the reason that McDs thrives. It is consistent. Consistently bad and unhealthy, but consistent! And happy meals and a Playplace don't hurt when you have a minivan full of kids. I like to try to scout out the area I am traveling though so I can find such a place as you suggest. Not always possible though. When all cars have built in internet and Google, I won't have to rely on the golden arches to feed my unruly clan.
Actually, any time we go somewhere new, we never google for restaurants. I've been doing this long before there even was an internet. We don't plan in advance and don't bother scouting out any places because we never know where we're going to be when we want to stop.

We just ask the locals. We avoid what's at the exit (all fast food and truck stop junk) and drive the 3 miles into the town, then stop and ask somebody where you can get good, fresh food. 9 out of 10 times, this has worked well for us. If the weather is nice, we also ask where the local park is and get take out to picnic. It's a nice break for the kiddo and us both.

In that 10th case, when there isn't a decent restaurant, there's always at least a grocery with a deli.

These days, at a minimum, there are locally-owned Mexican restaurants in even the smallest towns... those are much fresher and healthier than fast food... and just as fast usually. We just don't eat fast food and have never had a problem avoiding it on the road.

Consistency is not an argument that will convince me. Sorry. Being in a car all day is unpleasant enough and to add indigestion on top is no fun, IMHO.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:25 AM   #56
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We just ask the locals. We avoid what's at the exit (all fast food and truck stop junk) and drive the 3 miles into the town, then stop and ask somebody where you can get good, fresh food. 9 out of 10 times, this has worked well for us. If the weather is nice, we also ask where the local park is and get take out to picnic. It's a nice break for the kiddo and us both.
That's a great idea! Taking it to the park is good too.

GB, that is what I have found in my experience. I posted my opinion based on my 38 years on this planet, and my travels through most states in the US, and a number of foreign countries. McDs has been fairly consistent in my opinion. I'm not going to argue about it.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:46 AM   #57
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GB, that is what I have found in my experience. I posted my opinion based on my 38 years on this planet, and my travels through most states in the US, and a number of foreign countries. McDs has been fairly consistent in my opinion. I'm not going to argue about it.
I am not looking to argue either so that is great. You expressed your opinion and I expressed mine. It is a great country we live in that we are able to do that.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:21 AM   #58
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I have family members who always go to the same few restaurants and always order the same things when they go there. It's because they don't want to "waste" a restaurant visit by getting a meal they may not enjoy.

I believe that's a major reason why people on the road go to chain restaurants. There is a higher percentage chance they will get a meal they like than if the go to a local restaurant. It's the consistency of what's in a Whopper and how it's prepared that makes chains "reliable".

I've wrestled with the same feelings from time to time, but have a slightly more adventurous spirit.

I watch the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show from time to time and try to gauge Guy's reactions to the food he eats to see if he really likes it or is just being polite. He told Jay Leno one night that when he takes a bite then starts listing the ingredients (I can taste the smokiness of the cumin or the cilantro really jumps out at you), you know it's because he has nothing good to say about it.

No one wants to go into a strange place and have to talk about the cumin and cilantro.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:13 AM   #59
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I agree with asking the locals, and that is what we do when we have time. Some times our travels have had expediency involved, and as I mentioned in my first posting I WAS traveling with geriatric dogs. Both have since passed away, and we no longer are tethered to a place where we can grab food and find a place with a picnic bench where we can run the dog(s). I've done car travel so much I am absolutely an expert ... I traveled from France, to the east coast (obviously not by car), then from NH to the Mojave to the Bay Area by car the first time in 1958 when I was 3. The pattern continued throughout my life, every few years, coast to coast, border to border. I have to tell you, some of the chains were a godsend in some years when if you stopped somewhere you were lucky to find a greasy spoon joint that charged five times the going rate for anything and slopped up something inedible (and yes, that's the way it was in the 60s and even the 70s). In those days "great barbeque" meant meat that was boiled with a sweet, liquid smoke, bottled sauce poured over it on a mushy bun.

Now, I'm happy to say, that in even some of the smallest towns we've been able to find enclaves of great ethnic foods; Vietnamese in a very small towns in Texas and Louisiana (they'd come for fishing and meat processing jobs), really great Mexican food all over the country any more.

I always pack a cooler with water, juice, and fruit. Now that we do not have the dogs, much as I miss them, we do try to find a place to sit down and enjoy the local color. Early in our marriage, I did pack lunches in a cooler, but inevitably, whenever I did that, we'd hit a rainstorm or some such. One time we tried to eat on a bluff over the Pecos River, and most of our food went flying and we thought we were going to have to nail our dogs to the table, the wind was so bad. It was a beautiful site, though. But we no longer feel we can plan on picnics when we have no idea of what the weather will be! If it is pretty out, I do stop and buy groceries. But still, sometimes on the road, you just need a fast meal. So I go for my annual fast-food meal. You have to understand that we almost never otherwise eat fast food. We live in a small town, and the fast food is a McDs, a Culvers, and a Subway. Period. Nothing else for miles. I've eaten at each ONE TIME in the 10 yeas I've lived here. And all of them when someone I was with wanted to ("can't we go into town and enjoy a meal?" my plaintive cry!).

To me the best innovation in the fast-food culture is that many, if not most, now carry salads. Yes, most are probably as fattening as the burgers and fries. But I'm a gal who needs a salad fix and I enjoy them. Hubby needs to know the carb counts on foods, by now he can guess most, but I tell him that all the fast food places will provide nutrition counts if asked, and many post them if you know where to look. I still prefer a real, local restaurant, and we always do that for dinners.

But we still sometimes grab an Egg McMuffin or some Taco Bell Tacos ... sometimes it is just a trip down memory lane.

When time allows, though, we stop very early in the day, check into our abodes for the night, have a leisurely drink, then explore the possiblities. Unfortunately, in some places the locals (especially if young) always recommend the chain places! I guess that is what most are looking for. So we wander the back streets, looking for something unusual.
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:32 PM   #60
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Two things Claire: First, sorry about your dogs. It's tough to lose even a fur-friend. And...your town is small with three fast food restaurants? We have two, I guess; Subway and Dunkin' Donuts...if you call Dunkin' Donuts "fast food". So maybe it's only 1 1/2. We must really live in the sticks, huh?
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