Tag Archives: flavor


J emails me on Monday with this:

F— you Checkers. F— you and everything you stand for. OK, honestly I’m not sure what Checker’s restaurant stands for. I don’t see many signs that say “Eat Checkers and Free Tibet,” or “Eat Checkers–It’s What Nelson Mandela Does,” so admittedly there’s no moral equivalent to eating at Checkers. Maybe that’s why I went there.

Checkers is one of those places I keep meaning to go to. Unlike Sonic, which has brilliant advertising but no locations anywhere near me when I’m hungry, Checkers is conveniently located about a mile from both my jobs, so, theoretically, I could eat dinner there every night on the way home.

But having a Checkers so close by is a lot like living in a town with a major tourist attraction or knowing a hot girl who is terminally single. You could always see the Liberty Bell, or go out with her, so while you keep meaning to you never really do and then one day they either board up the museum due to budget cuts or she gets married and suddenly you’re left with the friggin pancakes and no syrup–don’t try to find the analogy, pervert, it’s not there.

So tonight, I went to Checkers.

Checkers has this unique system where there is no place to sit down. It’s just a drive-in. I guess some consultant in New York City told them, “You want to get an edge on all the other restaurant chains? The most profitable part of any fast food business is the drive-thru. If you want to make serious bank, have JUST A DRIVE-THRU!!!.”

“That’s brilliant,” said all the suits around the table.

“So what should we name this place?”

“Hey how about Checkers?”

It wasn’t a great idea, but the guy who brought it up had been dating the hot, terminally single girl from accounting thus taking her out of the pool and everyone hated him for it. They figured the boss would smoke him out for the weinie he was, but he didn’t.

No one knew why, but they suspect it was because the boss was already calculating what he could buy with the $7.10 an hour he could save by not having to hire someone to mop the floors of a restaurant so he said, “Sure, what the hell, Checkers it is.”

What the hell indeed.

So tonight, I went to Checkers.

Doesn't the neon glow just make want to go in, sit down, and grab a burger? Well, you can't.

The first thing that should have tipped me off is their menu variety. Checkers has a lot of stuff on their menu. An overwhelming amount of stuff in fact.

Here’s a rule of fast food. Fast food is for burgers, and maybe chicken sandwiches. I know a lot of them serve fish sandwiches, but the less said about that the better, especially with the Lenten season almost upon us. Out of respect for my Catholic brethren who necessitated the Filet-O-Fish in the first place, I’ll defer.

Checkers sells buffalo wings, both boned and boneless variety, and they sell them in five different flavors. I love boneless wings. I love the fact that someone came up with the idea of boneless wings, because what they are really saying is, “Look pal, we know you’re too lazy to throw the bones away or put in the extra effort to get the meat off the bone, so we’ll go ahead and make some illegal immigrant in Lake Titicaca do it for you and, just to keep the joke between us, we’ll still let you call it a wing? OK pal?” Lazy bastards.

Needless to say I ordered the boneless buffalo wings. I got them in garlic parmeasan flavor, which I shouldn’t have done, but I did. I’m not proud of it, but I did.

Here’s the thing. I’m just putting this out there as an unpaid consultant. If I am going to make a restaurant where people can’t sit down, I’m only going to sell things that you can eat in your car. So I got the box of boneless wings out and the sauce starting dripping out of the box and onto my jacket.


Oh well, I thought. I’ll wait until I get to work. If the sauce is dripping out of the box, they must really lather it on, this must be good.

I think you probably know where this story goes. The wing sauce, that managed to drip all over my coat, did not manage to coat a single boness wing. And they were dry.

Moreover, I had been talked into upsizing to “large,” so the whole experience cost me $9.39. What did I get for “large?” No extra boneless wings. Maybe I’ve been conditioned by the tub of fries you get at most fast food places, but the french fries hardly seemed abundant either. What I got was a giant soda that made me want to pee so bad by vision started to blur.

So what have we learned today?

Don’t eat at Checkers.

Go see the Liberty Bell.

And for the love of God man, just ask her out, she’s not going to wait for you forever.

Now who wants pie?

The Good People at HERRS

I took a sick day yesterday, and thus, was out of the office. When I returned I had several emails from J, 2 of which are related and posted here.

Yesterday at 3:58 pm J writes:

Food is just not living up to its responsibilities. I just ate a bag of Herr’s jalapeno poppers flavored cheese curls. They were stale. So I called the customer service line to complain. No one was available to take my call. What kind of crap is that? I ask you. I don’t have an answer; I’m just asking the question.

He also wrote this, at 4:10 pm:

Picked up when I called again. Don’t ask me how many times I called; it’s none of your business. They are very sorry for my inconvenience and they would like to send me a coupon for a replacement bag. They took my name and address and asked for the expiration date. They said they would send a coupon out in seven to ten business days, so I’m sort of excited that I have that to look forward to.

Here’s the kick in the ass, they asked me what size bag it was. Are they going to send a coupon for that exact bag?

This is the second time in my life I’ve called a customer service line about being dissatisfied with a snack product. The first time was Frito Lay. My Doritos had what I thought to be insufficient flavor and since 99 cents was a lot of money to me at the time (I was in college) I called them and let them know about it. They took down a lot of information and I mean a lot of information; they may have asked what I was doing when I ate the bag I don’t really remember.

When the coupon arrived though it was for ANY FRITO LAY PRODUCT. Man, I was in flavor country. My roommate and I drove right out to the grocery store and selected the largest bag of whatever we could find. We ate the whole thing when we got back to the dorm while watching really bad television.

I’m hoping HERRS will be as generous.

I write today, at 9:27 am:

There’s something magical about eating a ton of junk food while watching really bad television in college that somehow loses its appeal once you hit “The Real World” (not the bad television, the soul sucking abyss of personal responsibility and bill-paying).

J writes back a minute later:

The year after college is always the hardest socially. All the things that were fun and cool in college suddenly seem really dumb. You don’t bull until 4:00 a.m. because you have to get up for work in the morning. You don’t eat a lot of junk food because suddenly you’re not on a meal plan anymore and you have to budget for groceries.

It’s true. So readers, what was YOUR favorite bad food/TV combo in college?

Mine was chicken wing/mashed potato night and watching South Park (which isn’t actually bad television, but I sat on my floor while I ate it).

John Madden’s Doritos

J writes via email yesterday at 1:37 p.m.:

Doritos just can’t seem to leave well enough alone. After the travesty that was the flavor combination craze, they have decided to put John Madden’s name on a new line of product retools. I don’t know much about John Madden. I seem to recall he has something to do with football, but I wouldn’t know him if he kicked me in the mouth, and I fail to see how football prowess, assuming that’s what he’s famous for and not just one of those people who are famous for being famous, translates into an expertise on corn chips. I mean, why should I care what he thinks about my Doritos?

Anyway, Doritos has introduced two new flavors. Tailgater Bar-B-Q and Stadium Nacho. According to their press release (yes I looked for the press release), these flavors will only be available for a limited time, which I figure means limited to the number that people will buy. I’m not fooled.

I had some of the Nacho ones today with my lunch and it was with some trepidation. Nacho Doritos and I have a long history, going back to my childhood. I was skeptical when they introduced Nacho Cheesier, and I still have not warmed to the Spicy Nacho variety. But I figured, what the heck.

And here’s the thing—THEY ARE REALLY GOOD!!! Doritos has somehow managed to capture the taste that comes when you dip corn chips in that yellow substance that is not quite cheese but is oh so good. It might be vegan for all I know, although I hope not because if being Vegan meant eating stadium nacho cheese for lunch and dinner I might be willing to give it a shot.

They are even the right color.

So congratulations to the Doritos flavorists. They managed to score a touchdown this time.

And Good Night, Mr. Madden, wherever you are.

By the way…

Via e-mail at 3:24 p.m.
J writes:

…you’d be proud of me. I had a chicken cutlet sandwich for lunch. It had broccoli rabe on it. I ate the first half of the sandwich with the broccoli rabe on it. Not the second half, but the first half I did. It’s growth man, growth.
I respond:

I AM so proud!

Could you even taste the rabe? Or was it a texture thing?
J bounces back:

A little of both. My previous experience with broccoli rabe was that it was almost inconsequential. It was small flecks of green stuff that claimed to be broccoli, but I couldn’t tell. More importantly, I couldn’t really taste broccoli, so I just went with it. This sandwich had huge broccoli florets that were impossible to avoid and, well, tasted a lot like broccoli. The problem was this sandwich had the sharp provolone cheese melted on top of it, so you couldn’t just pick the broccoli off without losing the cheese. On the second half of the sandwich I cut my losses.

Actually I spent most of the lunch distracted by the bread crumb in R’s head.
I retort:

Are you one of those people that doesn’t like broccoli? Or more accurately, one of “those people” that despises it?

Because I love Love LOVE broccoli. It’s one of the only vegetables I have liked all of my life. However, I only like it fresh (not cooked).

So I can see how broccoli rabe may have been a challenge for you as far as texture goes. But taste…mmmmm, broccoli tastes delish.

In regards to the cheese on top of the broccoli, I don’t understand why restaurants put cheese anywhere on a sandwich but directly on top (or on bottom) of the hunk of meat the sandwich is built around. I really don’t. This is why Taco Bell confuses me. PUT THE CHEESE DIRECTLY ON TOP OF THE MEAT.  It’s like they don’t want the cheese to melt.

But regardless, I am proud-very. Is Indian food up next?

Also-who is R?
J writes back:

I don’t like broccoli. If that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right. I don’t even like the look or the smell of it.

Your point on how cheese must be on top of meat is valid and well taken. The thing is though, with this sandwich, the cheese had melted on top of the broccoli, but when I attempted to remove the broccoli I managed to save most of the cheese, because as anyone who knows about cheese will tell you, provolone does not melt well.

It also didn’t help that R had ordered a vegetable sandwich; that was two points against her from the start.

I’ve had Indian food. Didn’t I tell you about my adventures at the Indian food buffet?

R is the new ***** ****** person in the ** office.

Herrs Bar-B-Q Chips

Via e-mail today at 3:02 p.m.
J writes:

I love Herrs bar-b-q chips. And if love is too strong a word to describe how I feel about bar-b-q potato chips, it’s only because the English language makes us use the same word to describe the love for our dog that we have for taco bell or our children.

I’ll admit I never understood the flavor of bar-b-q. We’re not grilling them. And I’m not sure I’ve ever used bar-b-q sauce in grilling anyway.

But the Herrs bar-b-q chips (Gold Bag) are a fine product. For 99 cents, quite satisfying.

Know what I like most about them? The dust that collects at the bottom. I wonder if I worked at the Herrs chip factory they’d let me be the guy who puts the flavoring on the chips. Would I get sick of it after a while? Maybe the flavor dust bin is part of the tour.

I can dream.

Stop Messing With Doritos!

Via e-mail at 8:03 a.m.
J writes:

Why can’t the Frito Lay company just leave well enough alone? Yes, I loved it when the classic Nacho Cheese became Nacho Cheesier and the Cool Ranch is a classic, but their product line is littered with failed attempts at greatness and their latest foray is just wrong.

Made a quick trip to Wawa last night for cash and saw that Doritos has now introduced a “second degree burn” line of chips of the buffalo and jalapeño variety. I love buffalo wings and chicken tenders and I pop jalapeno poppers like they are candy, so I was intrigued at what the chips tasted like. I had also recently had a good experience with Herrs jalapeno popper flavored cheese curls.

So I bought a bag of buffalo wing flavored chips and a jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzel (these are a great invention of Wawa) and a raspberry lemonade to wash it all down.

I ate the pretzel without incident and I mention that just to show that I am not a food wuss when it comes to spicy items.

Then I started in on the buffalo chips. It was like my mouth was on fire. I couldn’t even taste the buffalo for the pain it was causing the inside of my mouth. Then I did something I never do; I closed the bag and threw it away. I didn’t even bother to finish it. That’s how awful they were.

I know that there’s a subculture that enjoys eating food so hot it’s painful. I’m usually there. But when I’m eating peppers or other hot things that make your mouth burn I want to be in Mexico or some Mexican themed bar with a group of my friends. I don’t want to be driving home eating a 99 cent bag of chips.

They suck.

To Frito Lay: Knock it off.