Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quizno's Subs, Riverside

I love two types of food above all others. A great sandwich, and a great bowl of soup. I could eat soup almost anytime anymeal. In fact, I am involved in a life long work of perfecting a breakfast soup. And right up there with soup is a sandwich, and especially a Sub. Now, I have a mighty bias, as I grew up in San Pedro, California, which boasts the incredible Busy Bee Market, home to some of the very best, and when it comes to the meatball THE very best sandwiches in the world. Fresh soft bread, fresh cut meats. Just pure bliss. So, be aware of my sandwich bias.
Anyway, we just got back in town and nobody wanted to cook, and I wanted a sandwich. Surprisingly hard to come by in my neck of the woods. So, it's basically a coin toss between Subway and Quizno's, or the hassle of the Von's deli (which is very good, just agonizingly slow). I opt for the toasted subs of Quizno's.
There is good parking in Lowe's Center, so I start off on a high note. There is no crowd. Even happier as I walk in. This is going to be GREAT!
So the guy sweeping mutters a hello, and instantly I am brought low again. My wife eats the most boring sandwich I can think of. Ham and Swiss w/ mayo. That's it. For myself, I ordered the Tuscan Chicken on Rosemary Parmesan bread, a bowl of chili and chips.
It was typical Quizno's fare. I can always tell who shreds their own lettuce and who buys shredded lettuce in a bag. The roasted red pepper sauce on the Tuscan is a little too thick for me. I prefer the chili at Wendy's, and wish I'd have gone for the chicken soup. It's pretty good though, for what it is. I enjoyed the meal when I got it home.
The problem is, sweeper guy is the cashier. And he appears even less interested in ringing. Though HE personally ladles my chili, he forgets to charge me for it. No sooner does he fix that than he tries to charge me for a third sandwich from somebody's phone-in order. (Apparently at some stores you can also order from the web. Dunno if I'll use that). Then the kicker, he shoves my wife's sandwich and cookie, my sandwich, chips and chili all into a single small-ish bag (it appears as though he has never seen a bag before). I don't care that he crushes my Baked Lays, as I crush them myself to put on the sandwich for a little crunch, but, he manages to stack it all in such a way that my chili is sure to spill on the way home. So, I awkwardly carry the bag out to the car so I can repack it before I drive off. Now, I did this job (albeit at a subway) in my youth. I know it's no fun sometimes and it doesn't pay too well. But, I also know, hard work and good attitude makes the job more bareable and eventually more profitable. I took serious pride in my sandwiches, and I had a few people who came in that asked for me by name to fix them up. I wish this kid had some of that kind of gumption, because I left with that "Will I ever come back?" kind of feeling. Now, of course I will, because as I said, I love subs, and it's close. But Subway is comparable as far as I am concerned, and the drive is not so different. Maybe I'll let them try and impress me next time.
Still, I wish there was a nice mom and pop type sandwich shop in my area. The Sub Stop on Pierce and Magnolia used to be awesome, but it changed hands and I wasn't as impressed with the new cook. If you've got any ideas, feel free to drop them in the comments.
This particular Quizno's is located at 9867 Magnolia Ave Ste B, Riverside.

That's it, thanks. I'm stuffed.

Brian Norwood

Platypi Online: The Platypus Portal

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chili's Bar and Grill, Corona

I'm a little late with this one, it's been a rough couple days. So, we had Chili's after church last Sunday. This is a dangerous proposition, as there are a few large churches in the region, so Chili's, Macaroni Grill, and On The Border in the Crossings at Corona all tend to get pretty piled up on a Sunday afternoon. But, we lucked out and were seated almost immediately. But not before seeing some woman make sure that two elderly ladies knew in no uncertain terms she was ahead of them. She then drilled into her husband for not standing more aggressively in line. Makes the world a better place, don't it?
Anyway, sat properly, drinks came quick. The menu seemed overwhelming to me. The layout looked like it was pasted up manually and then the designer tripped right before he got to the camera. It was jumbled and hard to read. I'm all for avant design, it HAS to be functional. Anyway, I settled on a bowl of the Chicken Enchilada soup and the Chicken Tacos.
I don't really believe they made the soup from scratch. It had that 100 gallon batch feel to it. But they top it off with fresh cheese and it really was delicious. In fact after watching me have my bowl and another person in our party have a cup, a third person ordered a cup for himself.
The tacos came, and they were fine. Still, if you screw up a chicken soft taco.... I mean, even fast food does this pretty well. But they were pretty good, although not superb. And, the black beans on the side, very yummy. The side of rice, however. I dunno, it seemed like something I'd make at home out of a box. I know it's only a side, but it was a bit of a bummer.
My wife had salad and a bowl of chili. It looked great, and she seemed to enjoy it. A third person ordered a Chicken Fried Steak that I absolutely will order next time. The last member of the party had a sandwich. All I remember is that it had bacon.
So, the service was... How can I describe it? It wasn't bad. It was... adequate. Which again, isn't bad. But it was nothing to write about, which is why I am having trouble.
Friendly enough, drinks were filled often enough, and they gave my daughter a balloon she loved. And, for bonus points, they didn't offer her any crayons to chew up. I have reached the old age, however, where the waitresses in these places look to me like they are violating child labor laws. Of course 18 was half a life time ago for me, so I'm sure they were legal.
Chili's is in The Crossings at Corona, at 3579 Grand Oaks Corona, CA

That's it, thanks. I'm stuffed.

Brian Norwood

Platypi Online: The Platypus Portal

Monday, April 7, 2008

Arby's, Riverside

Well, I had a meeting over lunch today, and we settled on the Arby's on Hole Ave.(10160 Hole Ave., Riverside). I like Arby's well enough. It's something different from the usual fast food fare. I had the Pop Corn Chicken Shakers with Bar-B-Q sauce, A Beef and Cheddar sandwich, Curly Fries and a drink.

Immediately, I wished I'd have gone for the buffalo sauce with the chicken. I'm a sucker for good buffalo chicken. Still, it was hot and fresh, and pretty tasty. I've had this item before and this was neither the best or worst Pop Corn Chicken they have served me. I like the shaker cup. It lets you coat the chicken with sauce, without needing a ton of napkins afterward.

What Arby's does consistently well is roast beef sandwiches. I know, they have really diversified their menu, but they have the roast beef down pat. The Beef and Cheddar was great, hot roast beef, creamy melted cheddar sauce, and a very soft onion roll. I'm not sure I believe there is such a thing as too much Arby Sauce, but today I did not supplement it.

I wasn't feeling the fries. Usually when I come in, it's pretty quiet and they drop and order of fries just for me. Today they weren't super fresh, and I think maybe I wasn't really feeling like fries in the first place. (I actually dislike regular fries, and only tolerate the seasoned criss-cut or curly variety)

I like that the Soft Drink bar at this location is always really clean and never out of ice. In fact, cleanliness is something this location does very well. And that's pretty important to me. I hate sticky tables, and unless it's moments after the lunch rush, they are pretty inexcusable.

Service can be hit or miss at this location, but today it was right on. Our order was ready before I poured my drink. The staff was upbeat and friendly. My associate had a spill at the beverage bar on the way out, and they were on it pretty quick. We tried to clean up a bit, but they woman insisted it was ok and that she'd get it. I guess I spent about 16 bucks picking up the tab for both of us. Not too bad.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Anchos Southwest Grill, Riverside

If you've never had Anchos, don't start going now. Why? Because, we can always get a table without a wait and I don't want you screwing it up for me.

In all seriousness, I love this place. We pulled in after church today, and of course, they sat us immediately. They accommodate our 10 month old well although every one wants to give her those dang crayons. Drink and chips and salsa came almost immediately. The salsa is made fresh, so you can expect it to vary from mild to fairly spicy. It's blended, and I prefer chunky, but the recipe is tasty, so I'm ok with it.

It's about this time that one of the great treats of eating at Anchos shows up. A tortilla maker sits in the middle of the dining room, churning out hot, fresh flour tortillas which they serve with pats of real butter. Honestly, I could just feast on these, with a side of their fantastic pinto beans, but that might not be the kind of customer they're looking for.

Anyway I had the #2 Combo, Two Chicken Enchiladas, a chicken taco, and a pork tamale with rice and beans. The rice is fair, but I really like their beans. It's enough food that even a big guy like me took some home. My wife had 3 seafood enchiladas with beans and rice. She ate 1 there and had the other two for dinner. It's a lot of food, especially when you factor in the chips and salsa and hot tortillas (which we asked for a second helping). So, we usually get out of here for about 16 bucks when the wife has 1 ala carte Seafood Enchilada and I have the Special, but today it was about 30. When you consider we got lunch and dinner out of it, not too bad.

The service here is always great. I mentioned a couple of times we never wait for a table here. The refills come quick and the food comes really fast. And, you are never looking around for your server when you need something as they come by often. I can't recommend it enough. Anchos Southwest Bar and Grill is located at 10773 Hole Ave.

Market Broiler, Riverside

This was my first time to Riverside Market Broiler since the big remodel. They redid the dinning room to make it more inline with what is apparently now the flagship Ontario Mills location. The dining room does look more upscale, but in truth, I liked the rustic feel of the previous design. While the bar and Fish Market remain, everything has been updated. Also gone are the days of the wild Hawaiian Print Shirts. Solid black with an apron is standard for the wait staff now. Again, classy, but less unique. Child accommodations were clean, easy and effortless, although they assumed she was a much older child, leaving a children's menu and crayons for our 10 month old.

We were there for lunch. The menu has changed. Sadly the dinner salad is no longer an included side dish option. It'll cost you two bucks to add a side salad now. The wife and I both ordered Atlantic Salmon with a shrimp skewer (I think they call it "The Atlantic Catch" but don't quote me on that. I had cottage cheese and tomato slices on the side and the wife had the red potatoes. Service was friendly and prompt, but this is to be expected by now. I've never had bad service at this location.

The meal was also typical of the quality I have come to expect when I eat here. The Salmon fillet was generous, full flavored and expertly prepared. The shrimp were ample and savory. As for the sides, I chose them to be more health conscious. I don't know that I believe there is such a thing as "exceptional" cottage cheese. To me, it is what it is. Next time, I'll pony up the two bills for the salad.

You can expect to pay about 12 to 15 dollars per person, and the place can get very busy at lunch time so plan ahead. Market Broiler is located at 3525 Merrill Street
Riverside, CA 92506, Across from the Riverside Plaza.

Why another blog?

Well, I'm starting my 3rd blog. "Platypi Muse", "Growing Up Dad" and now, "Eating I.E.". Why start another? I barely write in the other two.
Well, we eat out a lot. Sit down, fast food, whatever. So, I figured, why not document these various outings to provide something useful to diners in the Inland Empire. Prices, quality of service, seating times.
And on the upside, if it slows down the eating out, that's just money in the pocket.
So here we go. Dining adventure awaits.