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Old 11-21-2012, 07:02 PM   #1
Doppleganger
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Food Review Thread

In the Anime forum, most of the regulars act as critics for shows they've seen, and post reviews. It's assumed that with a body of experience and an articulate tongue, critical review can be a substitute for an experience to someone who has yet to invest time or money into an activity. In our case, it's downloading/watching an anime that could potentially be more boring than watching yeast bud, or more painful than electric acupuncture.

So, this thread. I intend it to be a resource or log of interest for individuals looking for the best possible food experience. Keep the level of expertise limited, however - right now, all I intend to talk about are pizza and milkshakes, because I consume a lot of them, at different venues, across the country. Chances are, there's a favourite food or dessert one likes that one can contribute expertise toward. Go with that, but try to keep things minimal. Rank everything and indicate a location, if it's a place of note.

For example, I went to Fenton's Creamery in San Francisco, which was widely lauded as one of the best ice cream parlours in California (even being featured in Pixar's Up) but before the Up exposure, I found it to be highly overrated. One might find it questionable that I'd rank a chain's shakes over a mom 'n pop store, but that's one reason for why this thread exists. In the face of experience, are chain stores' successful because of their ability to market taste, or their ability to market? Or franchise and handle logistics?

List isn't comprehensive yet, but will be updated as I go to places. If I remember an old place or find a receipt, I'll be able to conjure a memory. Chances are, if it wasn't memorable (like Roma Pizza was) it's probably not worth noting, but I'll try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger

Pizza

Roma Pizza, Flagstaff Arizona
Round Table Pizza
Confetti Pasta, New York New York
Rico's Italian Pizza, Chico California
Pizza Guy's
Hungry Howie's
Rico's Italian Pizza
Domino's 2010-
Some carry-out in Pullman, Washington
Another dine-in in Pullman, Washington
A place in Salinas? was on a riverboat
Some vegetarian health buffet place I forgot
Costco Food Court
Little Caesars
Papa John's
Hometown Buffet
Pizza Hut
Lyon's
Sam's Club Take 'n Bake
Costco Take 'n Bake
Red Barron's

Milkshakes

Milos
Jack in the Box
Chik-fil-a
Carl's Jr/Hardees
Depot Burger
Baskin Robins 31
Fenton's Creamery, San Francisco
Murder Burger, Davis
Burger King
In-N-Out Burger
Zen Yogurt
Burgers 'n Brew, Davis
Pizzas as rated were always cheese, milkshakes were always chocolate.

...

I just purchased a Papa John's pizza, after years of fermenting hype ever since Talon said something positive of the chain in 2007/2008. I'd never had the chance to try it out for myself, and I was sadly disappointed. Perhaps it's just local to this store, but given it's a chain, I'd say I'm not generalizing when I'd probably dislike Papa John's across the country. I got an X-large with mushroom.

Papa John's is a typical "sandwich" pizza...I dunno how to characterize it except that I'm eating a sandwich, with the cheese more like a layered singles slice than melted cheese. It's a bland cheese with too much water, so I think when reheating it'll probably melt all over (like Costco pizzas tend to). The crust was flaky and tasteless, but chewy. It was a deep dish pizza, which was good, but the sauce wasn't any better either. It compares almost exactly to the Sam's Club Take 'n Bake pizzas I ate on occasion, meaning it's a pretty bland pizza.

Given the price ($14.95) it was far too expensive and not worth it. I could have purchased two Hungry Howie's pizzas for the same price, more mass and better taste, with (most likely) comparable health pressures.
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:44 PM   #2
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Keep in mind that Papa John's is a MidWest franchise so it could be higher quality here. And even then not everyone here likes them best. I also tend to really hate mom 'n' pop pizzas versus chain pizzas, so there's that. But yeah, Papa John's the Works @ extra sauce is still the best pizza I've ever had. And we're talking:
  • Little Caesar's
  • Noble Roman's
  • Domino's
  • Pizza Hut
  • Pizza King
  • Papa John's
for franchise experience alone. Never mind crappy oven pizzas like:
  • Bobboli
  • Tombstone
  • DiGiornio
or all the mom and pop pizzas I've had in my life.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:08 PM   #3
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Papa Del's on my campus is the best pizza I've ever head. Really thick deep dish, two slices and I'm stuffed.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:22 PM   #4
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There are variations, but it's un-common with large chain stores. For example, there was a Rico's Pizza in Chico CA that had pizza which was WAY WAY better than any other Rico's Pizza I've ever eaten at prior. But keep in mind I'm only two states of separation away from Indiana now, so I'd wager that I'm closer to the midwest product than I would be in California. I won't rule out that Papa John's is superior in the midwest, and I'd be willing to try it over there, but I'm never buying another one outside of that area, for sure.

I don't disagree that chain stores can't be good, either. The general intuition is that franchising, assembly line and standardization leads to an inferior end product. I've been to hundreds of ice cream parlours/burger shops over the years, too many to remember right now, but Jack in the Box still strikes me as a superior product as far as shakes go. It isn't even real ice cream proper, isn't hand-blended etc...but it tastes better, and is a better experience than something with a better "process" like Fenton's. And considering the price, it's a whole lot cheaper, too.

For example, I've never been a fan of "organic" foods...even if we assume the price difference between organic and a GMO is entirely due to the costs incurred to the grower due to risk shouldered by avoiding pesticides and the like (as opposed to a mark-up), the taste/health difference is so miniscule it isn't worth the premium. In fact, health benefits can be increased by consuming GMO's, like certain animals that are bred to produce Omega-3 Fatty Acids. I've heard of pigs like that, though I wouldn't eat a pig ever.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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Hands down, best pizza I've ever had was at a restaurant known as Il Grillo here in Panama. Thin crusted like real Italian pizzas should be. Neither crispy nor floppy, but just the right texture to hold the ingredients without folding over like an old leather sandal. The one I usually order is topped with Arugula, Serrano Ham & Goat Cheese, though the Shrimp & Pesto one is just as good. The service is excellent, and you know, when you have good service, food tends to taste even better. Something about the atmosphere and the presentation. It is slightly expensive as I usually end up consuming over $60.00 USD per course (including main dish, dessert and drinks), but still affordable nonetheless.

As for other pizzas, there are not that many American franchises over here in that department; the only ones I can single out being Domino's, Pizza Hut & Papa John's. Domino's tends to be superior than all others in both flavor and price, but Papa John's comes a close second, being a bit more expensive at the cost of a more hearty and creative combination of toppings. Pizza Hut's kinda crap the way the make it over here, which is disappointing as it used to be a lot better years back.

Concerning Milkshakes, I haven't had many. There's a place near home known as La Inmaculada which makes some pretty damn good shakes, which for comparison's sake, I'd say they're better than Johnny Rocket's (which probably isn't all that good).
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:21 PM   #6
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Surprising that with all the mention of Davis, no Mountain Mike's Pizza. That is one of the best Pizza places I've ever been to.

There's not too bad Pizza on the UC Davis Campus, as well. Not particularly great, but not bad at all.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:51 PM   #7
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I survived on Papa John's for about a year. It's ability to be good really depends on specifically who is making it, as you can honest to god tell when somebody new to the oven makes the pizza, which is the unfortunate way it is for a lot of the stores in the chain given their high turnover rate. But, if you find a place with somebody that's been working that oven for years, man oh man it's some of the best pizza I've ever had, and I've had a LOT of pizza.
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:09 PM   #8
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The two best pizzas I can think of in my town are Momma's (huge, saucy, and delicious) and Magpie's (gourmet, pan-style).

If you're ever in the LA area, though, go to Shakey's. jfc that is the bes pizza and chicken you will ever have.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
But yeah, Papa John's the Works @ extra sauce is still the best pizza I've ever had.
I'd be damned if I can't agree with this. That pizza is fucking amazing, although instead of extra sauce I usually get jalapenos.

Edit: Although I do love LaRosa's and some small mom and pop places I've had in the NYC/NJ area and of course, true Chicago deep dish.

Last edited by deoxys; 11-23-2012 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:55 PM   #10
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We had a local Shakey's in Bako. Not so good pizza, high prices, rude employees.
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As may be expected though, our clear winner here was Kairne, ASB's champion of prioritizing the pokemon you like over those that are objectively better. I mean, one of his mains is a Watchog.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:06 PM   #11
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Now, it's time for something different.

So we went to this new Peruan restaurant that opened up a few weeks ago known as Tanta and I decided to take my mom for lunch there today. It's apparently part of a franchise of whose existence I had no idea of until recently. The restaurant's layout had a minimalistic approach yet nicely put together with warm colors, which made the place feel overall very spacious, modern and inviting. We had our order taken very soon after taking seat and our waitress was generally very nice and attentive towards us the whole time, which earned her a generous tip.

We ordered Honey-Glazed Chicken Cracklings as an appetizer, which was served with a lemon and cinnamon based dipping sauce which complemented it very well. Chicken cracklings are very messy to eat with fork and knife, and even messier with your fingers, but it was still very delicious!

For a main dish, my mother order Seafood Fried Rice, which was overall very good. Just a tad too sweet, but very generously packed with all kinds of good stuff, namely shrimp, calamari, octopus, clams, more chicken cracklings, and the mandatory veggies, this time around being brocoli and asparagus, both cooked perfectly al dente. My only complaint was that the serving was perhaps too big, and we both grew tired and bored of its taste very soon after taking our first few bites.

On my end however, I ordered Seabass Filet with a traditional Rocoto Sauce, served over Mashed Cassava. Damn this was good. The sauce was spicy and delicious, the fish was fresh, and the mashed cassava... I've had a ton of cassava before, prepared in many, many different ways, but this was by far the best cassava if ever had before. So, so good. Beats potatoes anytime, any day. I almost didn't wanna share. xD

Spoiler: show


I'm looking forward to coming back to this place. Good service, good atmosphere, prince range was decent, sitting between $7.00-$13.00 USD for a main dish. I had never tried Peruan food before, and I'm eager to exploring a bit more. I've read they intend to open one of these in Chicago very soon, so if you've any interest in trying it out, and you're near the area, don't miss out!
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I'd be damned if I can't agree with this. That pizza is fucking amazing, although instead of extra sauce I usually get jalapenos.
Not only would I like to do a less douchey brofist but I'd also like to point out that this is additional evidence in support of the "franchise food tends to be better the closer you are to where the franchise's parent company started off" theory.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:24 PM   #13
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On that note, the hot dogs I had in New York were the best I'd had in my entire life.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:43 PM   #14
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Milkshake update -

Burger King: Shake was pretty poor, not In-N-Out poor but high milk content, poor viscosity and a small amount for the dollar value. It looks like a Carl's Jr and Jack-in-the-Box shake, but that's where the similarities end.

Milo's: Probably the best shake yet, even better than Jack-in-the-Box, but more expensive for a smaller amount. But, it came in a hard plastic cup, which was a surprise. The chocolate could be tasted over the milk, which was good (ideally, one doesn't want to taste either chocolate or the milk) with smooth texture. My only complaint was...it tasted a lot like a Hometown Buffet SoftServe with chocolate syrup dripped on the top. The texture was far superior, but the taste was similar. I need to be mindful of this in the future.

Zen Yogurt: The worst. Hardly a real shake, it was some odd soy protein thing with terrible, gritty ice texture, no taste and a high price tag ($5+). Never visit this place!

Chick-fil-a: Pretty good size for the dollar, thicker texture than Milo's with the milk dominating the chocolate flavour. Better than Carl's Jr and other shakes, but inferior to Milo's and Jack-in-the-Box.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:02 PM   #15
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Papa Johns is hit or miss for me, though when it's good it's really good. I tend to go for things like deals rather than getting exactly what I'd want, though.

La Rosa's is excellent. Mother Bear pizza, a place in town, is really good too, though very expensive.

I really love Dominos pizza now that they've changed they way they make it. Very good stuff.

Dopple, do they have a Sonic where you live? Their milkshakes aren't too shabby. UDF milkshakes are pretty hit or miss, and a pain in the ass to make.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:29 PM   #16
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I've been to a Sonic before, but I don't remember if I had their shakes. I don't think they exist...ah, yes, there is one I know about.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:02 PM   #17
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I talked about Il Grillo before, and I will again. We went there to celebrate Mother's Day today. Food as always was very good, and the waiter was especially considerate and attentive towards us.

For an entrée, we ordered a simple Pizza Margherita; cheese, tomato, & basil is all there really is to it, and is all it needs. Thin-crusted and baked "al horno de leńa".

Spoiler: show

For a main dish, I had Ricotta-Brie stuffed Tortellone, sautéed over a butter-based sauce and sprinkled with white truffle oil. Oh man, I loved this. The cheese flavor wasn't too overpowering and it sure was creamy. Butter & pasta is always a good mix and the truffle oil greatly enhances the buttery flavor. It's a delicacy, really. The serving portion was perhaps a bit too conservative and this felt more like a brief treat to my palette rather than a meal though. I kept staring at my brother's Risotto which was amazingly good, and had a much, much more generous portion.

Spoiler: show

Dessert was great too. They make this awesome Chocolate Rice Pudding, which also has bananas and hazelnuts. The recipe is also surprisingly simple to make too, which makes me eager to try out back at home sometime soon.

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Old 01-18-2014, 06:22 PM   #18
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Every weekend I drink some alcohol and I need to keep track of what is good.

Miller High Life: not good
Budweiser Black Crown: good
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:25 PM   #19
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Budweiser Black Crown: good
So I just Googled this. Normally not a fan of Budweiser (as with most American beers I've tried, it's near-tasteless and far too easy to drink), but this actually looks kind of good. If I see any over here I'll be sure to try it.
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:50 PM   #20
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I was pretty surprised. My "Quick-E-Mart" was running out of craft beers to try, so I saw that and grabbed it despite the poor reputation and experience of Budweiser and Miller.

The Miller beer I'm drinking is stereotypically bland, tastes like bread. But that lager was pretty good, remarkably so when you consider it's Budweiser.
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:13 AM   #21
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More drinks:

Miller High Life: wtf, I bought this again, thinking it was a different brand I hadn't tried. This can was better than the last, enough to upgrade it to "eh", but Miller is still one of the worse mega beer brands I've tried.

Red Stripe: supposedly Jamaican lager. I don't know about Jamaicans, but this was "nothing special".
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:57 AM   #22
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So for those of you who don't know, DiGiorno recently changed the way they do their pizzas. They changed the sauce somewhat and they LOAD the things with herbs now.

Conclusion: Old pizza was better, new DiGiorno is way too herby and just not appetizing. There is such a thing as too many herbs.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:18 AM   #23
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Yeah Red Stripe is not great. Also, are you only drinking canned beers? Perhaps you'll like them more if you do bottles or draught?
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:06 AM   #24
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Yeah Red Stripe is not great. Also, are you only drinking canned beers? Perhaps you'll like them more if you do bottles or draught?
I buy one can, one bottle weekly.

Bottles are better obviously, but I've been continuing with cans because I like the volume and I was spoiled early on with Yuengling, which I found quite good.

The only other can I've bought lately that I found good (not as good as Yuengling) was Steel Reserve. So, it looks like I like lagers, light or dark, and I enjoy the bitter taste of hops. My absolute favourite beer is Sierra Nevada Pale ale, which is actually brewed where I was born (Chico, California).

I've noticed that in the past few years, I've moved away from my childhood love of sweets toward a more savory/bitter preference. Whether this is age or just acquired taste, I don't know, but over time I've learned to like pickles and dislike candy, among things.

When I drink my beer, I order a fudgeload of meat to go with it. Like yesterday, I ate 4 Big Kings (no cheese) and 1 Fish Sandwich with the alcohol, and even with that the Miller alone was enough to get me buzzed, although not very long. I don't want to get drunk anyway since I'm a control freak and I can't take losing control of myself for any period of time.
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:59 AM   #25
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You might try bread and milk for that purpose.
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