NICE! Yogurt Covered Pretzels

17 Dec

Nice Brand Yogurt Pretzels from WalgreensI am so into this NICE! brand I discovered at Walgreens.  Everyone I have tried so far has been 99 cents for a nice 4oz or so bag of product.   Good flavors and fresh tasting.

I reviewed their “corn nuts” here.

Today I got the Yogurt Pretzels and they totally hit the spot.   I like these small-but-not-too-small-sized portions because they mean I am not dragging around this huge bag of pretzels.  this is probably two and a half servings.   Just enough to satisfy those taste buds and keep it movin’.

I picked up a slew of these so more reviews are coming soon.

Lay’s Kettle Cooked Sea Salt and Vinegar

16 Dec

So I am having lunch (and you can guess by looking at the pic I am sure) and I discovered these new Lay’s chips:  Kettle Cooked Sea Salt and Vinegar.

These were far better than I expected.   They aren’t heavy with the salt and the vinegar is light and has that tangy flavor you quickly get addicted to.

It was actually the best part of this lunch.   The sammich sucked.

QT Bacon Egg and Cheese Kolache

15 Dec

QT Bacon Cheese and Egg KolacheI am ridiculously picky when it comes to breakfast.   I can’t stand many fast food choices.   They all involve egg and those eggs rarely taste like eggs for some reason.

But QT (or QuikTrip if you prefer) have been knocking it out of the park lately with their offerings in the newly remodeled QT locations.

Called QT Kitchens, they offer sammiches and pizza and breakfast items.

On my way out-of-town I stopped for gas and the photo of this kolache was too seductive.   So I went inside and a couple of minutes later I got what you see to the left.    The pic might be misleading because it looks huge.  It’s actually the size of your palm.   But it’s just enough of to get your morning wheels spinning.

Not sure why, but the bacon is on the outside of this sammich.  I rather dig that.  So much so, it’s the actual reason I bought it.   I would later discover that these are frozen and cooked in one of those super-convection/confection/microwave-y thingies that can cook, toast, and brown foods in seconds.   So the bacon on top gets cooked extra crispy and the rest is tender.   It’s clever actually because the entire sammich was cooked perfectly.    So alot of science went into this I expect.   Or maybe I am over-reaching.  I just enjoyed it.  Go get you one.

Pizza HUH??

8 Dec

I seriously do NOT understand the point Pizza Hut is trying to make.  About a month ago I stopped by a Pizza Hut for the first time in years.

I was feeling nostalgic for the Pizza Hut of old.   The place my friends and I loved and couldn’t wait to go to before football games on Friday nights.  The pizza rocked.  We always had a great time.  But since those years I noticed a slow decline of flavor….changes to the meats they used….crust and cheese tasting different…so Pizza Hut just sort of faded out of favor…and was replaced with mom and pop shops usually.   They made a pizza that just tasted better.   I was all anti-corporate pizza.  And years later I would perfect my own at-home pizza that I felt rivaled any pizzeria in town.  So I was self-sufficient.

Well, upon my visit, I was SHOCKED to find that I enjoyed it.   It didn’t seem greasy or dried-out liked I remembered when I went anti-corporate-pizza….it was pretty solid.   I was encouraged.  So the next couple of weeks I made regular visits to the same location…thinking it must just be that location that makes it so good.

And then I see all over the news that Pizza Hut is REVAMPING their menu.     Great.  Just when I return…you guys up and change it.

So I …being the JFC….went back to that Pizza Hut after the revamp and asked how the new pies were going.   The girl at the counter said she had no idea…because after two days…nobody had ordered a single one…or any of the new crusts…. oh boy…..

I can’t say I am surprised because most of the new menu items….are sucky.   They aren’t pizza.  They are specialty tricks you can do to a pizza.

Instead of tricks I would have loved if Pizza Hut said…we are going back to the original formula for sauces…cheese…crust…because several of these corporate pizza places started out with simple recipes…that later turned into a complex mix of pre-made powder mixes and sub-contracted-pre-made-sauces …..it’s just not the same.

And now Pizza Hut rolls out this commercial.

I think they are trying to be funny…but it just falls flat.  Everyone in this video pretty much HATES the new Pizza Hut items…and they are kinda poking fun at that and having a laugh.

And I don’t get it.   Why would you have an ad running that tells everyone your new pizzas SUCK before anyone has even had them yet?

BIG STATE FOUNTAIN

28 Nov

This has been a long time coming.   Five years ago – I wrote about my first time visiting the fountain side of Big State Drug store.    In the years that followed business dwindled and it went out of business earlier this year.

Amazingly, Rick & Susan Fairless (owners of all things Strokers:  Ink, Dallas, Ice House, and RF custom parts) stepped up and announced they would buy the place and turn into a full-time fountain and jettison the drugstore part of it.   The story made every news source in town take notice.

A few months passed and they reopened the joint to much fanfare.   Irving residents and other Big State fans were energized and full-on excited that someone would do something like this.    It was unique and full of heart.   Rick and Susan are both life-long Irving residents and just honestly did not want to see the place disappear.   Their generosity is truly awe-inspiring.

Walking into the joint I was overwhelmed with cool-factor and by the amount of work done to the place.  It is bright and full of color.   Tons of photos line the walls showing the Irving of years past.   The soda fountain bar is easily three times the size of what I remember from my last visit.

It’s lunch time and the place is quite full even though it has been several weeks since they opened.  I am thinking this is a good thing.

I walk in and am greeted by some nice ladies and grab a table and the anticipation I had building has turned into excitement.  I am finally here.  Back to check it out.  Back to celebrate the return of something I had such fond memories of.   I am thinking “They did it!!  They pulled it off!!!  They brought this place back from the dead!”

And then my shake arrived.    Rich and smooth and complete with the metal-mixer-cup with extra shake in it.   To me, $4.50 well spent.    I am loving it so far.  The “fountain” part of this joint is up and running.

And here comes the “grill”.    I order your basic hamburger which comes with homemade kettle chips.   The kettle chips are hardcore crunchy.   Solid texture and are cooked perfectly.   Unfortunately there is absolutely no seasoning on these chips.

I check the menu and see they also sell “Stroker’s Fries” which are fries with cajun seasoning on them.   I think that seasoning on these chips would have taken them from bland to addictive in a heartbeat.

I grab the burger and take a deep breath.   It looks like a well-made home-style burger.    I am thinking that if this burger rocks – it’s gonna be my weekly go-t0 burger stop.  I will be tempted to stand outside the building wearing a sandwich-board shouting the greatness of this place and it’s burger.

And I suppose the weeks I waited to visit has raised my expectations to an unrealistic level.  The burger has everything you want – some tangy mustard, fresh vegetables, and a meat patty cooked to the proper temp.   Unfortunately, like the chips, there is absolutely no seasoning to the meat.  It’s pretty generic and that is heartbreaking.

With Griff’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, and Joe’s Coffee Shop all within blocks of each other the competition is pretty strong.  I was hoping for a Big-State burger that would set the bar above any of their potential competitors.

I have plans to return and try other menu items.   Maybe I just overlooked the best they have to offer.   I have visited their Facebook page and seen some very delicious looking “Blue Plate Specials” but saw none of those dishes on the menu in person.

On my way out I noticed a “notice” sign in the door window.  Like you see when a business is about to get a liquor license.    Does Big State need to sell booze to survive in this day and age?

 

To sum up:

What I love:

The idea.  The dedication.  The heart this place had, has, and will continue to have.   The classic glass-bottle sodas and candy counter.  The fountain part.   The deco.  The crazy amount of classic Irving pics they have on the wall.  The framed waitress uniform from back in the day.  The potential.

What I don’t:

Almost everything in the “gift” area.   I saw dozens of people look at the greeting cards and kitschy stuff and pass on it all.   I also found it difficult to find (at first) the official Big State merchandise for sale.

What I would like to see:

A revamp of the menu.  Seasoned chips.   Better quality burger meat.   SEASONING.   The Big State merchandise up front and very visible.   Displays at every table that tell you Big State merchandise is for sale.  The shirts and coffee mugs they have are awesome and need to be promoted more.

to be continued….

 

Have you checked out Big State Fountain Grill?   Share your thoughts below  here and at Urbanspoon!
Big State Fountain Grill on Urbanspoon

Brooklyn’s Pizzeria – PLANO

26 Nov

Okay despite this sorry picture, this is a very good slice.

Plano has got a great little place on its hands with Brooklyn’s.    I like the market style deco and the staff is super-nice.

It was close to closing time when I arrived and I was able to get a slice to go.

Usually I would pass on this because most likely that slice has been sitting there for hours and ends up tasting awful.

Not here.  Fresh tasting.  Nice and thin crust with a slight crunch.   Great sauce.  Gooey cheese.

This place is on my short-list of Plano spots to go back to and get a full pie and try other items.

 

Lay’s Kettle Cooked: Sea Salt and Vinegar

25 Nov

I like these chips.  They are a nice break from the normal boring potato chips.

They have just a hint of salt and that vinegar “tangy” flavor that I enjoy so much in different dishes.

And of course because they are “kettle style” they are very crispy and crunchy.

Me likey crunch.   Except in peanut butter.  I like smooth when it comes to peanut butter.

Is that weird?  That most things I want crunchy but my peanut butter I want smooth?  Actually crunchy isn’t all that bad now that I think on it.

Like I said.  These chips are good.

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