Restaurants recommendations

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confusedinvestor
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Restaurants recommendations

Post by confusedinvestor »

Hi Folks,

I love food. Enjoy any type of food (except Sushi)

1. Do you guys have any recommendations of national chain restaurants and dish you really like and would recommend ?

2. I live in So Cal / San Diego, so I'd appreciate any local restaurant if anyone local reading this post.

We have been taking out 4 times a week during this lockdown.
Last edited by confusedinvestor on Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
playtothebeat
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by playtothebeat »

Arturo’s Puffy Tacos in Whittier is a top notch hole in the wall taco place!
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lthenderson
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by lthenderson »

McDonald's Big Mac

Seriously, limiting myself only to eating dishes served at chain restaurants is like eating Big Macs for the rest of my life. All the best dishes I have ever eaten at restaurants have been those at place that are not franchised. I actively try and avoid eating at chain restaurants if given a choice.
bob60014
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by bob60014 »

Except for occasionally meeting with friends we haven't sought out a chain restaurant in years. But when we have needed to, we've enjoyed Fogo de Chao and have had a decent lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.
stan1
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by stan1 »

I'd definitely seek out your local Indian, Thai, Lebanese, Afghan, and Italian restaurants. Often you can extend one dish into two meals if you want. Those cuisines travel well and can often be heated up once you are home easily if that's your preference. A local diner if you want friend chicken or meatloaf.

If you need some specific suggestions there are local chains across the county like Lolitas, Kebob Shop, Luna Grill, Urban Plates, and Crack Shack. Regional chains like Lemonade, Mendocino Farms and Rubios. For national chains there's Shake Shack, Cava, Round Table, and Din Tai Fung (noodles/rice/veggies/sides good but I can't recommend xiao long bao for takeout). Unfortunately I can't really say the experience of a $50 takeout steak or seafood plate is satisfactory.

Personally we aren't driving more than10 minutes to pick food up (and we don't use DoorDash). We call the restaurant directly or use their website not the intermediary services like DoorDash.
123
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by 123 »

confusedinvestor wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:32 pm ...1. Do you guys have any recommendations of national chain restaurants...
An advantage of national chain restaurants in these lockdown times that was not directly stated by the OP is that chains generally have higher and consistent food preparation and sanitation standards than many individual/independent restaurants. YMMV
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Clever_Username
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by Clever_Username »

How far are you willing to travel? There is a chain (three locations) of pizza that is, in my opinion, the best I've had in this time zone. However, the south-most of them is in San Juan Capistrano.
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Spirit Rider
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by Spirit Rider »

stan1 wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:49 pm For national chains there's Shake Shack, Cava, Round Table, and Din Tai Fung.
Those are hardy national chains. There is no Shake Shack or Cava in my state. The nearest Round Table is > 500 miles away and Din Tai Fung are only in California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada. Last time I checked the west coast and Nevada are not nationwide.
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telemark
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by telemark »

I've been eating a lot of Papa Murphy's take and bake pizzas. You can order and pay online, then pick it up from a rack by the door. Pretty sure twelve minutes at 425 degrees is enough to destroy any virus.
rob65
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by rob65 »

I know the fashionable thing is to dislike national chains, but frankly I’m not a very adventurous eater and I like the consistency. I think their sanitation standards are probably also more consistent, and most offer curbside pick-up with very little contact.

I’m in the southeast and I’m not sure if these are national or more regional, but I like Olive Garden and it’s easy to get enough for two or three meals. I like the lasagna (again, I like pretty basic food), but they’ve got a wide variety of pasta combinations and I like the soup, salad, and breadsticks. I also like the burritos from Moe’s Southwest Grill, and that can also be enough for two meals.
Thegame14
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by Thegame14 »

spicy cashew chicken at Cheesecake Factory, plus love the bread they put out when you sit down...
plog
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by plog »

Out of towner, but when I get to San Diego 3 restaurants there are a must: Crack Shack, In & Out, Tacos El Gordo. These recommendations also work for Vegas
cnblure
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by cnblure »

Porto's Bakery.
MDfan
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by MDfan »

plog wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:26 am Out of towner, but when I get to San Diego 3 restaurants there are a must: Crack Shack, In & Out, Tacos El Gordo. These recommendations also work for Vegas

Never understood the In 'n Out hype. Nothing special at all to me the few times I've been there. I think there are many better burger places in the US.
Pomegranate
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by Pomegranate »

confusedinvestor wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:32 pm.

We have been taking out 4 times a week during this lockdown.
Still for take out? It’s subpar in comparison with dine in - we completely stopped after 3-4 attempts
oldfort
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by oldfort »

123 wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:31 pm
confusedinvestor wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:32 pm ...1. Do you guys have any recommendations of national chain restaurants...
An advantage of national chain restaurants in these lockdown times that was not directly stated by the OP is that chains generally have higher and consistent food preparation and sanitation standards than many individual/independent restaurants. YMMV
This is definitely a case of of YMMV on safety and sanitation. Chipotle had major food poisoning outbreaks in 2008, 2009, 2015, 2017, and 2018. If you look at restaurant's most recent health inspections, you'll see problems with both chains and mom and pops.
oldfort
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by oldfort »

If you do takeout, I would focus on places within a 15 minute drive of your house. Anything longer than this and the food cools down before you get home. If you order ahead, the food may be sitting there awhile before you pick it up. Besides taste, there's some food safety issues with letting food spend too long in the danger zone temperatures.
DetroitRick
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by DetroitRick »

On the local restaurant aspect (not chain), if you drive up to port area in Long Beach, here's my favorite US restaurant for burritos. It isn't fancy, but food is stellar:

Isaac's Cafe
632 N. Fries
Wilmington

No website, just google it for details. Family owned. Haven't been in a few years, since I used to do business in the port, but reviews are still stellar. Personal fav = green burritos. Not open Sunday, closes early. Great hole-in-the-wall place.
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CABob
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by CABob »

MDfan wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:34 am Never understood the In 'n Out hype. Nothing special at all to me the few times I've been there. I think there are many better burger places in the US.
I agree and thought I was the only one. For hamburgers I like the Habit. https://www.habitburger.com/
By asking for chain or franchise businesses I think you are limiting your self and probably missing some great places.
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quantAndHold
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by quantAndHold »

What kind of food?
What price range?
What part of San Diego?

Not sure what's open and what's not. I think these are all open, at least for takeout.

Crack Shack
Juniper & Ivy
Grand Ole BBQ y Asado
Shank n Bone
Din Tai Fung
Tribute Pizza
Beijing Tasty (not sure they're open. Call first.)
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
Jags4186
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by Jags4186 »

If we’re strictly talking chains:

Italian: Carrabba’s
Asian: PF Changs
Pizza: Mellow Mushroom
Steaks: Ruth’s Chris
Seafood: Bonefish
Mexican/Texmex: On the Border
Burgers: Five Guys or Smashburger
ychuck46
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by ychuck46 »

Not sure of the price points you are trying to hit. Even though the wife and I are fairly well off we still enjoy deals most of the time. As far as chains:

1. Burgers - I still like Hardee's better than anyone. And they do a great Charbroiled Chicken as well (get it without mayo and it is pretty healthy).
2. Italian - Fazoli's has better spaghetti and meatballs than most, and their sauce is good.
3. Seafood - Captain D's for grilled fish. Get it with the broccoli side and it is also fairly healthy.
4. Meat/Steak - Logan's, Longhorn and Outback. Had one of the best filets ever recently at Outback. Very surprised.
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Nicolas
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by Nicolas »

telemark wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:37 pm I've been eating a lot of Papa Murphy's take and bake pizzas. You can order and pay online, then pick it up from a rack by the door. Pretty sure twelve minutes at 425 degrees is enough to destroy any virus.
We do this too, love Papa Murphy’s! Before Covid (and hopefully after) we loved Indian buffet as the best bang for the buck! Papa Murphy’s delivers to my car trunk in their parking lot, no need to go into the store!
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Nicolas
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by Nicolas »

oldfort wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:01 am If you do takeout, I would focus on places within a 15 minute drive of your house. Anything longer than this and the food cools down before you get home. If you order ahead, the food may be sitting there awhile before you pick it up. Besides taste, there's some food safety issues with letting food spend too long in the danger zone temperatures.
We’ve brought an insulated cooler along to keep the food hot on the way home. if it gets too cold just pop it into the microwave.
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confusedinvestor
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by confusedinvestor »

Thank you all.
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confusedinvestor
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by confusedinvestor »

Is it better to re-heat the takeout food in over to reduce the risk of the virus infection ?
Nicolas wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:48 pm
oldfort wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:01 am If you do takeout, I would focus on places within a 15 minute drive of your house. Anything longer than this and the food cools down before you get home. If you order ahead, the food may be sitting there awhile before you pick it up. Besides taste, there's some food safety issues with letting food spend too long in the danger zone temperatures.
We’ve brought an insulated cooler along to keep the food hot on the way home. if it gets too cold just pop it into the microwave.
stan1
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by stan1 »

confusedinvestor wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:10 pm Is it better to re-heat the takeout food in over to reduce the risk of the virus infection ?
From the CDC:
Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.
https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/newslett ... virus.html

Enjoy your meals.
oldfort
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by oldfort »

confusedinvestor wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:10 pm Is it better to re-heat the takeout food in over to reduce the risk of the virus infection ?
Nicolas wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:48 pm
oldfort wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:01 am If you do takeout, I would focus on places within a 15 minute drive of your house. Anything longer than this and the food cools down before you get home. If you order ahead, the food may be sitting there awhile before you pick it up. Besides taste, there's some food safety issues with letting food spend too long in the danger zone temperatures.
We’ve brought an insulated cooler along to keep the food hot on the way home. if it gets too cold just pop it into the microwave.
I used to work in restaurants. Any meat like hamburgers left at room temperature for over an hour should be trashed. I’m referring to food poisoning in general not COVID-19.
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Cycle
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by Cycle »

We do chipotle fairly often. I have like 50 restaurants that are doing takeout or outdoor seating within walking distance, but a burrito bowl chipotle can be a really healthy meal and our toddler loves the kids meal.

I open app. Hit reorder. Walk over and pick it up ten minutes later.

Mostly tho I cook dinner, but nice to mix it up from time to time. Obviously some local pho or non-chain food is the best.

I won't eat in or outside a restaurant tho, since there is a deadly pandemic... So far I've managed to not get coronavirus according to a recent serology test.
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eosin
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by eosin »

Panera - at least in LA area their curbside take out has been very efficient/contactless. Order on the app, Drive up, pop trunk, press button on app to let them know you’ve arrived.

We’ve also ordered from Goldbelly.com a few times. It’s a national mail order delivery service from famous landmark restaurants around the country (think Junior’s from Brooklyn, etc.). A bit over priced but a nice break from local takeout. Especially if you yearn for a favorite dish from faraway.

Oh and Porto’s from OC delivers “bake at home” Cuban pastries. Order directly from Porto’s website. Arrives on dry ice. You bake in your own oven. Out of this world...
jlawrence01
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by jlawrence01 »

El Pollo Loco
Jollibee's
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lthenderson
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by lthenderson »

Los Pollos Hermanos
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by iamlucky13 »

For chain's that aren't as widely known but are worth mentioning, I like P.F. Chang's.

The street noodles and the salt and pepper prawns are a couple of my favorites (and I liked the spicy chicken noodle soup they used to have), plus they have many of the regular items that most Chinese restaurants offer, but overall higher quality and fresher.

For appetizers, I really like the dynamite shrimp and the crispy green beans (the latter do not reheat well - eat fresh), and I'd rate their calamari as better than average.

I've realize since we moved to a new area that the store my wife worked at while we were dating was better than most, but even in our new location it's pretty good. She worked at a variety of different restaurants serving or managing before we got married, and rated P.F. Chang's as the best experience, both as an employee, and in terms of being comfortable eating there after seeing how the kitchen is run.
Last edited by iamlucky13 on Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
quantAndHold
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by quantAndHold »

Also Crazee Burger and Carnitas’ Snack Shack.

Mostly we just cook our own food, though. Cheaper and faster.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
hunoraut
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by hunoraut »

MDfan wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:34 am Never understood the In 'n Out hype. Nothing special at all to me the few times I've been there. I think there are many better burger places in the US.
Food being such an subjective thing, who can say who is right?

Though if you were polling consensus say from the "foodie crowd", and also of top chefs -- and ive heard this conversation amongst renowned, michelin-starred chefs -- you'll find these items highly revered, despite their low-brow fast-food connotation:

1. McDonalds french fries
2. In N Out burger
3. Popeyes fried chicken (and also red beans and rice)

And I'm in 100% agreement with that. I fancy the haute cuisine stuff, but will come back to these items any time
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tennisplyr
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by tennisplyr »

Why not search your area using websites like these:

www.yelp.com

www.tripadvisor.com

www.nextdoor.com
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aerosurfer
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by aerosurfer »

I'm on the road a lot for work and often are forced into chains (airport food)

Whether you love or hate Subway (and usually starbucks) I find them consistent anywhere in the country, you know exactly what you are getting everytime with little chance for variation.

Jersey Mikes subs are usually a little higher price point than Subway, but very good!

If you are in South Florida, Laspada's subs are an amazing experience.

In the midwest Portillos Hotdogs always leave me smiling and full. Excellent fries too

Dunkin Donuts breakfast food is surprisingly filling and enjoyable.

No chain, but one of the Best Gyros I have ever had is in O'Hare airport in the F concourse near gate F14. I go there whenever I have time passing through.
oldfort
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by oldfort »

When you get back to dining in person, I would look at AAA’s list of four and five diamond restaurants.

https://www.aaa.com/travelguides/restaurants
MDfan
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by MDfan »

hunoraut wrote: Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:28 am
MDfan wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:34 am Never understood the In 'n Out hype. Nothing special at all to me the few times I've been there. I think there are many better burger places in the US.
Food being such an subjective thing, who can say who is right?

Though if you were polling consensus say from the "foodie crowd", and also of top chefs -- and ive heard this conversation amongst renowned, michelin-starred chefs -- you'll find these items highly revered, despite their low-brow fast-food connotation:

1. McDonalds french fries
2. In N Out burger
3. Popeyes fried chicken (and also red beans and rice)

And I'm in 100% agreement with that. I fancy the haute cuisine stuff, but will come back to these items any time

Love McDonald's fries. Haven't had Popeye's Fried Chicken since college but it was very good then. But In N Out burger just did not do it for me. There's one in the mid-Atlantic/South (maybe it's more widespread) called SmashBurger which I think is much better.
MP173
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by MP173 »

Waffle House.

the Popeyes Chicken Sandwitch is outstanding.

Ed
oldfort
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by oldfort »

hunoraut wrote: Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:28 am
MDfan wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:34 am Never understood the In 'n Out hype. Nothing special at all to me the few times I've been there. I think there are many better burger places in the US.
Food being such an subjective thing, who can say who is right?

Though if you were polling consensus say from the "foodie crowd", and also of top chefs -- and ive heard this conversation amongst renowned, michelin-starred chefs -- you'll find these items highly revered, despite their low-brow fast-food connotation:

1. McDonalds french fries
2. In N Out burger
3. Popeyes fried chicken (and also red beans and rice)

And I'm in 100% agreement with that. I fancy the haute cuisine stuff, but will come back to these items any time
From a health perspective, a diet of burgers, over salted fries, and deep fried chicken will kill you.
stoptothink
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by stoptothink »

CABob wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:00 pm
MDfan wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:34 am Never understood the In 'n Out hype. Nothing special at all to me the few times I've been there. I think there are many better burger places in the US.
I agree and thought I was the only one.
Believe me, you aren't. Grew up in LA, I just don't get it and neither does almost all my family. When I moved to Houston, I had friends who regularly would drive to Dallas (5-6hrs) to get a double-double. There is one about 3 blocks from my home here in Utah, the drive-through has 20+ cars in it at all times. I think it is one of those cultural phenomenons where it is cool to say you like it, even if you really don't.
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by stoptothink »

Nicolas wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:46 pm
telemark wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:37 pm I've been eating a lot of Papa Murphy's take and bake pizzas. You can order and pay online, then pick it up from a rack by the door. Pretty sure twelve minutes at 425 degrees is enough to destroy any virus.
We do this too, love Papa Murphy’s!
Another one of those cultural phenomenon's I don't get. My in-laws get it for almost every family get-together and we are just used to bringing our own food because my kids won't even eat it.
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Nicolas
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by Nicolas »

stoptothink wrote: Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:59 pm
Nicolas wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:46 pm
telemark wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:37 pm I've been eating a lot of Papa Murphy's take and bake pizzas. You can order and pay online, then pick it up from a rack by the door. Pretty sure twelve minutes at 425 degrees is enough to destroy any virus.
We do this too, love Papa Murphy’s!
Another one of those cultural phenomenon's I don't get. My in-laws get it for almost every family get-together and we are just used to bringing our own food because my kids won't even eat it.
To us it tastes good and as has often been said there’s no accounting for taste.

Kids can be finicky. I always eat what’s put before me as a guest. To do otherwise would be impolite.
hunoraut
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by hunoraut »

oldfort wrote: Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:32 pm From a health perspective, a diet of burgers, over salted fries, and deep fried chicken will kill you.

Exercise often, Eat healthy, sleep well, die anyway
stoptothink
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by stoptothink »

Nicolas wrote: Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:19 pm
stoptothink wrote: Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:59 pm
Nicolas wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:46 pm
telemark wrote: Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:37 pm I've been eating a lot of Papa Murphy's take and bake pizzas. You can order and pay online, then pick it up from a rack by the door. Pretty sure twelve minutes at 425 degrees is enough to destroy any virus.
We do this too, love Papa Murphy’s!
Another one of those cultural phenomenon's I don't get. My in-laws get it for almost every family get-together and we are just used to bringing our own food because my kids won't even eat it.
To us it tastes good and as has often been said there’s no accounting for taste.

Kids can be finicky. I always eat what’s put before me as a guest. To do otherwise would be impolite.
I generally bring my own food to social gathering because physical health is actually my career (I've never eaten Papa Murphy's) and this is no secret to anybody, but my kids (like most kids) will scarf down almost anything with enough sugar, salt, and fat. The wife, who grew up having it at home almost weekly also refuses to eat it as well. In her words: "it's somehow lower quality than a Totino's". It is not for us, but glad you enjoy it.
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Nicolas
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by Nicolas »

stoptothink wrote: Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:07 pm I generally bring my own food to social gathering because physical health is actually my career (I've never eaten Papa Murphy's) and this is no secret to anybody, but my kids (like most kids) will scarf down almost anything with enough sugar, salt, and fat. The wife, who grew up having it at home almost weekly also refuses to eat it as well. In her words: "it's somehow lower quality than a Totino's". It is not for us, but glad you enjoy it.
Not to beat a dead horse but I didn’t consider the health risks. We only had it about once a month before the lockdown and only once since and we don’t eat meat so we order the gourmet veggie thin crust which includes olives and artichokes, some of my favorite foods. But if it wasn’t PM’s pizza it would be somebody else’s and they are cheap.
georgenator
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by georgenator »

Cali Banh Mi
4425 Convoy Street #200a
92111
Cod sandwich with an egg, hold the jalapenos

Tommy Burger
chili cheese burger
chili cheese fries
jimmy2040
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by jimmy2040 »

roscoes chicken and waffles
rich126
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Re: Restaurants recommendations

Post by rich126 »

Any national chain/franchise can vary greatly based on the local owner/GM. In Maryland there is an Outback Steakhouse that I used to go to semi-often and always had tender filets, great fresh bread and a good salad. I honestly can't say I've had the same experience elsewhere.

Back in my junk food days there were certain fast food places that had a great local owner/GM and I would frequent often but most of the other places had poor management.

I don't frequent CA enough to provide any local places. In Scottsdale I could.

Good luck.
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