Hello, everyone. It has been some time since my last food post so it felt like a good thing to do here on a Saturday morning. Not unlike that national trend of people tending to eat more at home rather than dining out, our household is choosing to make its own culinary masterpieces in the kitchen. Add to it the fact that I am still without work, there is just too little room in the budget to fit dining out at new and exciting venues.
Sometimes you just need to get out though so we dined out at a place last night for the first time in a long while that didn’t begin with “Mc” in its name or any of its fast food brethren. And… wait for it… it was at a chain restaurant. GASP! Being as such, I will not post a full review because that breaks with the tradition of this blog and all of my previously held beliefs that chain restaurants are mass produced vacuums of taste and creativity.
We drove into downtown St Cloud with kids in tow to find a place to eat where we could actually sit down without having to control our kids outside the confined din of the kids play area. Our choices, based on what we knew they would eat, were limited to Perkins Family Restaurant and Green Mill. We chose the Green Mill because we had not been there in years and, thanks to the street redesign on Hwy 23, there was no long access to the road Perkins is on going eastbound. Hey, the world is about convenience now and the roads were not convenient for me.
I said I would be brief so let’s review only the outstanding lows and highs that, while pulled center by mediocrity make this meal unremarkable.
First off the Highs:
- The portions are chicken on the kids meal of chicken strips were outrageously huge and high quality non presses meat. Kudos. What my daughter was able to eat only accounted for 1/3 of the meal.
- Our server was smart, very friendly, and had a great sense of table presence.
Now the Lows:
- My Italian sandwich had a plethora of disappointments. It was saturated with Italian dressing for one. I was expecting a tasty pop to the favor of the meat when I chose to have it warm instead of cold. Unfortunately the meat was flat and unremarkable. Finally the accoutrement you would expect with an Italian sandwich were lacking. There is nothing Italian about a little shredded iceberg lettuce on top and a couple slices of tomato. Sadly, the Italian sandwich at Arby’s had more zest and flavor than this one.
- Ouch! Maybe it’s because I live in central Minnesota but should I pay over $6 for a Guinness when I can buy a 4 pack in the store for $8? This was not surprising but a point to make anyway.
Overall I was not swayed in my belief that chain restaurants are producing anywhere near the kind of quality that stand alone restaurants do. It is the difference between fun and fuel. This was McFuel.