Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wendy's - Hall of Shame Worthy?

When it comes to fast food, I've always been a McDonald's guy.  The grease, the cheapness, the fat - I just wanna submerge myself in it all and bathe in the glory.  I think the fast food that you tend to grow up on as a special once-in-a-while treat is the fast food you wind up sticking with at least until your taste buds change and you don't like it anymore.  McDonald's has always been my guilty pleasure, occasionally Burger King or Jack in the Box (until my last three visits went something along the lines of violently ill, waited 20 minutes in the drive thru, violently ill) were my choices, and then In-N-Out became the special when I moved to the Sacramento area and subsequently to Southern California.

Wendy's, however, was never on the radar simply because it was never high up in the chain of fast food command.  It would go McDonald's-Roundtable-Pool of others.  I ate there maybe once as a kid.  That's it.  But ever since I've been training pit bulls on Saturday morning, I've been within walking distance of Wendy's and twice I've gone to this establishment and twice I've been left feeling like Morgan Spurlock in Super Size Me when he couldn't keep the double quarter pounder down.  Back in May I made a post titled "There is Such a Thing as Too Much Good Stuff," where I went on a rant about Wendy's disgusting attempt at recreating Fat Bastard's appetizers with the Baconator.  Here's a picture of the monstrosity:

I can just hear the chorus of burps and belches

Two thick beef patties, several slices of bacon, and a bunch of mayonnaise.  You'd think this would be the coolest thing next to Franklin Roosevelt's pwnage of the 1936 Presidential Election, but instead it was like a kick in the crotch from Justin Bieber or something.  This thing was an epic fail on so many levels and I seriously can't fathom how any restaurant could churn out a product so horrible.  Honestly, of all the things I've tried since launching this blog - everything from goat to pigs lips - this may be the most disgusting.  I couldn't even finish this Mount Crapcake of a burger, that's how gross it was.  You know who eats these things?  People like this guy (thanks, YouTube, for the unnecessary site design changes).  Seriously though, this dude is pretty funny.  He's the ultimate Internet troll. 

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago.  I had about 30 minutes until I was to speak at an orientation so I wanted to get some food fast and, oh hey, Wendy's is right down the street.  I figured maybe the Baconator was just an anomaly and their regular stuff is okay so I gave them another shot.  And again they let me down.

So first thing's first; my friend Hawk is a vegetarian so I picked up a "cheeseburger without the burger".  A grilled cheese basically.  You know how much I paid?  FOUR BUCKS!!! For a grilled frickin' cheese??  Hey, Wendy, you bitch, I'm ordering it WITHOUT the beef.  That should make the price GO DOWN, right??  I'm trying to find a pricing chart online but am having trouble.  If someone knows - what's the usual price of a standard Wendy's cheeseburger?  From what I can gather it's about $3-4.  Look, I know I regularly trash the whole "let's make the fast food industry produce healthier food" movement, but on the other side of the coin for Wendy's to be so inept over a grilled cheese is unacceptable.  Four dollars?  Eat me.

The other half of the meal is what I got.  I ordered a pair of chicken sandwiches from their dollar menu since I figured they'd be really tiny.  While they were a fair size, they tasted like a football that had been grilling on a donkey's ass on a 95 degree day:

These were not good at all.  The sandwiches were bad.  The fries were bad.  Wendy's is bad and I'm really surprised I'm saying that.  I've always had the perception that Wendy's was more of a "premium" fast food joint with better quality ingredients but clearly I was wrong.  I've always been a fan of their not-overly-cheesy commercials and Dave Thomas was a G (Subway's Jared Douche Sandwich and Domino's J. Patrick Dingleberry could learn a thing or two).  I never ventured to Wendy's as a kid so I've never really tasted the food until just recently.  Man.  

I'm not yet inducting Wendy's into the Hall of Shame, but they're on the bubble.  Bad food and paying the same price for a grilled cheese that I'd pay for a cheeseburger.  A four dollar grilled cheese?  At a fast food restaurant?  Come on.  I'd say the Tourette's Guy had it right:

The newb that uploaded this video says that he's having drive-thru troubles at Burger King, but anyone with any knowledge of anything knows that "Biggie Fries" comes from Wendy's.  

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Best Meal of the Year

So I had a great Thanksgiving and I hope you did as well.  Is Thanksgiving the best meal of the year?  I think so.  Sure, you've got Christmas, July 4th, Festivus, etc., etc., but Thanksgiving, I think, is the best for two reasons.  1) It's the one meal of the year where we have an acceptable reason to stuff our faces and 2) there's leftovers for days.

While I always say that I like to pretend that I know how to cook, I actually assisted in preparing the dinner.  I made the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, and this:

All Thanksgiving Dessert

If this looks familiar, it should.  This is actually an altered version of the All American Dessert that I featured for July 4th.  I altered the Jello colors for the season (orange and black cherry) and used different fruits (blackberry, banana, and kiwi on top).  The bananas, I think, gave this version more flavor.  Really, really good.

Anyway, onto the meal:

All of the essentials; drumstick, potatoes, and stuffing smothered in gravy with a pair of rolls

Second plate; I actually managed to squeeze some salad in there.  I know, I'm as shocked as you are

The turkey was delicious.  My mom thought it stunk but she says that about all of her food (she's a really good chef).  Halfway through cooking I insisted on flipping it as, I think in theory, that allows the juices to reach all points of the bird for a more flavorful taste.  

Leftovers for breakfast

Christmas Sandwiches - turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy packed into a roll

I've never understood why stuffing is referred to as dressing.  Dressing, to me, indicates the stuff you put on a salad.  Stuffing, even if it's not stuffed into something, is still stuffing.  

The other drumstick and goodies

Wings and a pair of Christmas Sandwiches

The last of the leftovers...yeah, you can tell there wasn't much left

My mashed potatoes.  They're pretty much the equivalent of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

And, of course, the turkey.  The reason for the torn skin is due to flipping it with these giant fork things

It was a great Thanksgiving.  Last year was marred by the half-baked rolls from Lake Murray Cafe and my subsequent boycott of them.  This year we had a total of 36 rolls; 12 from Albertsons, 12 from Sara Lee, and 12 from Charlie's Best Bread...and they all sucked.  Seriously.  Charlie's, which usually puts out great stuff, gave me a dozen hard rosemary rolls lacking in flavor.  The Albertsons ones felt like tortilla chips and the Sara Lee's, easily the best of the bunch, were just mediocre.  Very disappointing.  If you know of some good rolls, please do let me know.  

But overall a terrific day.  I'm thankful for my family, friends, and of course good food!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pigs Lips

A couple announcements real quick:

1) I've received about 15 pictures for the November Shirt Giveaway and want more!  Thanksgiving is the meal of all meals, so send in those pictures for a chance to win a free Greg's Gourmet t-shirt!

2) I'm happy to introduce a new feature to the site: the Dictionary!  It includes phrases and terms frequently used that new readers may not understand.  Give it a quick look-over!

I've been trying a lot of new foods since I launched this blog.  Swordfish.  Taco Yucky.  Yogurt Soda.  But now it seems we're starting to slip into the realm of Man vs. Wild where I'll put any disgusting food item into my mouth. Enter the pigs lips.  Bone Crusher gave me a jar of Pickled Pigs Lips.  Why?  Because clearly she sees a jar of pigs lips and is reminded of Greg's Gourmet.  I told a bunch of people about them; "I've got pigs lips, wanna try some?" "What are pigs lips?" "Lips of a pig."  It's one of those items that's so bizarre that no one really believes it until they see it.

Anyway, Josh in Japan and LandonWhereBrandon agreed to partake in the taste testing and we got it all on video.  Check it out:

While these things look disgusting, they really didn't taste as bad as you may think, but that's not saying much. The texture is weird, like Joaquin Phoenix pretending to retire to be a rapper weird.  The taste is overpowered by vinegar and it sticks to your hands and dwells in your breath.  I would like to meet the people who regularly snack on this stuff.  They probably smell like the equivalent of Pauly Shore's career.

Looks like a regurgitated lamb heart which probably tastes exactly the same

I still have nearly a full jar of these left, so if you're interested in trying one, let me know.  I'm not sure why you would want to, but just in case, the offer is there.  Maybe just to say that you've tried pigs lips. 

Big Gulp

Maybe I could fool somebody into believing this is really fruit punch...

An interesting experience.  Next I'll need to try pig snout which, as creepy as it is, does exist

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 21, 2011

RIP Prime Rib Buffet :(

The All-You-Can-Eat Prime Rib Buffet for $11.75 down at the Oceanview no more.  Sadly, the buffet shut off its prime rib ovens on Wednesday and shut its doors for good on Thursday.  I gotta say - I'm very disappointed.  These kinds of buffets are rare.  Sure, you got buffets that provide all you can eat breakfasts and you have establishments such as the Great Plaza Buffet...but all the prime rib you can eat?  For $11.75?  I openly challenge anyone to find me a better deal in the San Diego area.  If you do, I'll buy you lunch.

My initial goal was to go into the last buffet and attempt to beat my record of 4 prime ribs.  Unfortunately, I guess word spread of the buffet's closing, so it was ridiculously busy.  It's like wow - where have you all been?  Seriously, they should have waited outside for me to eat my steak and then come in.  My dad and I are celebrities there, not to mention our eating partner, Mr. Tom Jones.  Seriously.  Let's just say it's not unusual to have prime rib when Tom Jones is in the house.  So I wanted to down 5 steaks...but then I thought 3 would be sufficient...but then...they ran out...

The last prime rib plate of the All-You-Can-Eat Prime Rib Buffet for $11.75

I was held to only 2 steaks, which, I think, is a career low.  They were just bombarded with customers and simply ran out.  But before they did, here's what I ate:

Steak 1.  They had already resorted to grilling the roast to get it out faster by the time we arrived

The buffet is open from 11-1 and if they typically don't resort to grilling entire roasts until 12:30 or so.  However, by the time we arrived, at noon, they were well underway as you can see.  

Steak 2

And that was it.  No more steak.  They had chicken, but who goes to an All-You-Can-Eat Prime Rib Buffet for $11.75 for chicken?  Why did the buffet shut down?  They simply didn't do enough business to cover their costs.  As early as last year they had buffets 5 days a week (Italian, Mexican, Prime Rib, Seafood, BBQ).  Then that shrunk to 3 days a week (Prime Rib would be on Tuesday and Wednesday and Seafood would be Thursday.  BBQ eventually took Tuesday so the Prime Rib was just once a week).  However, while there were talks about relocating the buffet and innovating new ideas, they just weren't making enough money.  

And really, we'd usually walk in at noon and a majority of the lunch crowd would be on their way out.  It was usually always wide open.  Another issue in addition to the money is the fact that this place didn't perform well when it was busy.  Running out of steak didn't happen until that last visit, but sometimes it would be a good 10  minute wait between roasts which, at a buffet on a federal Navy base, is a lot.  And then when they'd get busy, tables wouldn't get cleaned.  Used plates, silverware, napkins, glasses, and other trash were everywhere so you just had to find a relatively clean seat.  You were on your own.  How can you succeed if you're at your worst when you're making money?

Don't get me wrong - the staff was immensely friendly (I'll miss you, Cita!), but they could have used some help.  Maybe another person or two so the dining room wouldn't collapse when it got busy.  

Cake and peaches

Ice cream with a little bit of everything

I'll miss you too :(

This is interesting.  The caterer, it seems, will remain in the area, but the buffets are done for good.  We thought maybe they were relocating but no, they're done.  

It's too bad.  It really is.  A clientele of Navy officers, located right on the water, and views of all kinds of military ships coming in and out of the harbor.  Not to mention all the prime rib you can eat for $11.75.  I'll miss it.  But Prime Rib Buffet - Greg's Gourmet salutes you.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Slobberasauras

I want to take a break from the artery clogging immaturity to share something a little different today but still loosely food related.  You know how dogs tend to compulsively glom on pretty much anything and everything?  It's like their primary objective is to leave a trail of slimy residue on toys, furniture, and clothing in an effort to make people grunt, complain, and then be forced to do some cleaning.  My dog growing up, Jodie, a golden retriever whose birthday is actually today, was an expert at this phenomenon, so much so that my family experimented with creating a toy based on her slobbering tendencies.  This, my friends, is Jodie the Slobberasauras:

These are prototypes of a prospective plush toy we were playing around with.  The face of the animal is designed to resemble that of Jodie and then put on a body that's a morph between a dog and a tyrannosaurus.  Naturally, one prototype was all gold to resemble the golden retriever and the other features a green lower body to resemble the dinosaur.  

The Golden Slobber-er

The Green Slobber-er

What do you think?  Pretty cool, huh?  This is one of my least favorite words to say, but they're even a little cute.  And they also accurately resemble Jodie.  Check it out:

The manufacturer, someone from Korea, did a terrific job.  Notice the attention to detail with the area around the eyes.  

Maybe there's a market for these?  What do you think?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cross Fiyaah!

The other day a few of us set out for an expedition at Woodstock's Pizza over by State.  A couple weeks back, Josh in Japan notified me of a trivia contest they hold every Tuesday night.  So last week I made it out not just for the trivia but for, of course, the frickin' pizza.

I'll probably get ostracized for this, but I think the pizza is kind of overrated.  The cheese slips off, the crust is too thick, and in my humble opinion it could use some more seasoning.  But it's not bad.  Plus for 20 bucks you get the extra large pizza (which supposedly feeds 4-6 people), a salad, and these cinnamon bread things. I kind of already forgot what they were:

The cinnamon bread things

Here's the salad, even though I know no one comes to this site for the vegetables

So after eating it was time to compete in the trivia contest.  The format is four 10-question rounds with a fifth bonus.  Whoever has the most points at the end wins.  After going through several possible team names, such as Rick Astley is My Homeboy, Napkin Holder, and Van Halen, we settled on CROSS FIYAAH!  Not Crossfire, mind you, but CROSS FIYAAH!  For our inspiration behind CROSS-FIYAAH! check out this mid-90s commercial of the game:

Get caught up in it

I think I played this game once as a kid with Rolf Geezen.  The only real difference between the commercial and actually playing it is we didn't fly in on those star platforms, there wasn't any spontaneous fire or lightning, and Rolf didn't vanish into oblivion when I won.  We also weren't dressed like greasers from the 1950s.  I have no idea what Milton Bradley was going for there. 

Anyway, we got off to a blazin' start, correctly answering 16 of the first 20 questions through the first two rounds.  The categories were famous people with facial hair and sports nicknames - easy.  So you had stuff like "What's the nickname of the longtime Atlanta Brave Larry Jones?"  The answer is Chipper.  Or, "who's the actor who talks to chairs on Skype and kisses monkeys and acts really weird?"  The answer is Zach Galifanadfafablahblahacheeseballdafjlkafboobs.  So yeah, we were doing good for a while.  But the last two categories, "Call of Duty" and "Las Vegas" we completely bombed on and the bonus round, which was to list as many Las Vegas casinos in two minutes as we could, didn't do us much help either.

Clearly we were on the butt-end of a conspiracy.  You know why?  BECAUSE WE CAME IN LAST FRICKIN' PLACE!!!  While the guys calling the game got the reference of our team name, this is how I felt when the dude said "and in last place with 28 points is CROSS FIYAAH!":

The name of the team that won was "It's Always Sunny in San Diego".  Wow, how original.  They also got 43 points.  They were probably using their phones to cheat or something.  How else can CROSS FIYAAH! come in last place?  I guess we got too caught up in it.

But really, it was kind of surprising.  Yeah, all the scores were clumped together so in reality last place isn't really that far off from the average, but still.  We're gonna keep going back there until we win it.  GREG'S GOURMET DOES NOT FINISH LAST.  NOR DOES CROSS-FIYAAH!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chicken Sandwich and Waffle Fries...FOR FREE!

The other day, Josh in Japan, LandonWhereBrandon, What If Featuring Amar Pawar, and I went to Chick fil-A, some place near the Sports Arena (which was once home to the San Diego Rockets and San Diego Clippers before they bolted for Houston and Los Angeles).  When we got there, Landon was like "what's that smell like?"  We're like "well, it's the Sports Arena."  He was like "whatever".

In true Unforgivable spirit, I ordered a chicken sandwich with some waffle fries and a Dr. Pepper, as seen here:

FO' FREE!!!!

So you're probably reading this and wondering what the hell I'm talking about.  There's a popular series of short videos on YouTube called "Unforgivable."  The first and most widely known video contains the meme dialogue of "get me a chicken sandwich and waffle fries...FOR FREE!"  The video went viral in 2006 and prior to its release I had no idea what Chick fil-A was.  And, oh yeah, it features extreme profanity, strong sexual dialogue, and crude racial/sexual stereotyping, so if you're offended by any of that then this definitely isn't for you.  However, if you have an immature sense of humor such as I do, then you may actually enjoy its underlying comedy.  Click here to check out the video.  If you're gonna skip it, here's the guy in the video discussing his day:

Yeah, he didn't have a very good day, but the food was probably good

This particular video was first introduced to me by BrandonWhereLandon (LandonWhereBrandon's former roommate).  Recently we discovered that there's a local Chick fil-A and decided to give it a try.  Well, actually, Landon, Amar, and I decided to give it a try.  Josh was already well familiar with this chain and repeatedly chastised us for being such newbs.  

The quality of food was impressive.  I really wasn't expecting this stuff to taste as good as it did.  The chicken was moist and "cooked" perfectly (I highly doubt they cook anything in the traditional sense).  The waffle fries were delicious.  Heck, even the Dr. Pepper, which I only ordered because that's what the Unforgivable Guy orders, tasted alright.  A little on the pricey side for fast food, but the quality I think is worth it.

Now, there's one other thing that we got into a debate over.  Chick fil-A claims "We Didn't Invent the Chicken, Just the Chicken Sandwich."  Josh believes this to be fact.  As he put it: "It's obviously 100% fact."  However, I call shenanigans on the whole thing.  You're telling me that 1.8 million years of human history and not once prior to 1940-whatever did some jerk somewhere cook a chicken and put it on bread?  I don't buy that for a second.  Josh suggests that until Chick fil-A opened, chicken sandwiches never appeared on menus anywhere, so in business terms, Chick fil-A did invent the sandwich.  Perhaps that's true in some sense, but to take full credit for it?  I don't buy it.  What do you think?

And just FYI - the guy in the video is an actor. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Not All Prime Rib Is Equal

A couple announcements before we dive into the "meat" of this post.

1. The November Shirt Giveaway is ON!  Send me pictures of the food you eat this month for a chance at winning a free Greg's Gourmet t-shirt.  It's so free I'm practically giving it away!  Click the shirt picture to the right to go to the post with all of the information.

2. Friend and frequent contributor to Greg's Gourmet, LandonWhereBrandon, is launching a new website to showcase his work.  Examples include a "verlet-integration-based physics engine".  Translation: It's this really cool application where you can crash balls into each other.  Kinda like a Flash game.  Just check it out.

3. What's up with these ridiculous "fees" that banks are enacting?  Debit fees?  Monthly maintenance fees?  Are you kidding me?  If anything, I hope these "fees" maintain a record of how many customers switch banks because of this nonsense.

Anyway, onto more pleasant matters.  I don't typically do double features of the same place, but I thought this subject deserved to be touched on.  The other day I went to the $11.75 All-You-Can-Eat Prime Rib Buffet.  I downed my usual three steaks, but what's so vexing this time around is that all three steaks were dramatically different from one another.  For example:

Check out this behemoth of a steak

This was the third steak I had and initially was very excited due to its size and color.  However as I began consuming this miracle of cooked beef, this happened:'s still alive...

I don't mind rare meat.  In fact, I enjoy it.  But when it starts to pulsate blood all over my plate, that's where I draw the line.  Actually, the first half of this steak was really good.  Tender, juicy - all that good stuff.  So while the third steak was still alive in some sort of cooked purgatory, the second steak they went a little too far to the point where it was like chewing on a tire:

Steak 2

This one was well done to the point where it was chewy, tough, and lacked the magical flavor that makes prime rib so delicious.  What makes this case unique is that on my visit prior to this one, the three steaks I had were all well done/overcooked to the point where they simply didn't taste good.  I thought it may have been lack of seasoning initially, but I think it was just cooked too long.  But this is what's kind of weird - see the steak above?  It's got a pinkish hue!  Well done I don't believe has that much pink, if any.  So I don't know.  I know this has to be an exception to the rule because the first steak I had:

It's like learning that Van Halen is finally making a new album - awesome

Absolutely beautiful.  This was an insanely delicious steak.  Tender, juicy, flavorful, big, nice color, and perfectly cooked.  When going to a buffet, it's important that the first plate is delicious.  It's like the lead-off guy in baseball - gets on base to set up run production to win the game.  It's the same with a buffet; the first plate has to be good otherwise it sets the tone for the whole meal.  

Now, these three steaks came from three different roasts.  Maybe they cook them on different temperatures so one is rare, one is medium, and one is well done.  Would they do that, though?  Especially with rare?  Most people order their steaks medium or well done and I'm basing that off of absolutely nothing.  I don't know what happened with that second steak.  Maybe they're cooking the roasts two at a time to meet demand.  Who knows?   Anyway, here's dessert:

A chocolate cake and cherry and peach cobbler

It's hard to lift cobblers, okay?  

Ice cream with a little bit of everything on it

Overall it's a great meal.  Heck, it's prime rib, all you can eat, $11.75!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Shirt Giveaway!


It's time for the second Greg's Gourmet Free Shirt Giveaway, your chance to win a FREE Greg's Gourmet t-shirt or a selection of other awesome egotistical prizes!

Just in time for the holidays, how can you get your hands on one of these beauties?  Simple: Eat some food.  Drink some drink.  But take some pictures beforehand.  Send them into me and at the end of the month I'll go over each one and the photo that makes me drool the most will be declared the winner and the photographer will win a FREE GREG'S GOURMET T-SHIRT (or other product of equal or lesser value).  

E-mail pictures to  Include the name of the dish, the main ingredients, where you purchased it (or if you made it), and a brief review of how it tastes.  Keep in mind that plate presentation counts, so try to keep the food centered and/or create a balance in the pictures.  

Here's the winning dish from the last contest, taken by Kentaro:

Pretty presentation, calm coloring, and centered.  This looks like a good dish.

By sending in a picture you agree that I may post it for people to drool over.  You are not required to be in the photo with the food but it would be cool if you were.  Send in as many as you want between November 1 and November 30.  If you already have a Greg's Gourmet shirt, you are more than welcome to submit for a chance at winning a shirt with a different logo and/or another product from the Gourmet Gear shop.  The winner is also cordially requested to pose in a photo wearing the prize so I may pimp them out in the Gourmet Models page.  Photos of food must be taken on or after November 1.  

Kentaro sporting his prize

Send in those pictures!

Thanks for reading and happy eating!