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Austin

Taco Bell (Airport Road)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

30

Taco Bell

1910 Airport Road
Austin, Texas 78722

Head Public Restaurant Critic

4/27/2008

Satisfactory

I visited another Taco Bell recently and ordered what I usually order when I visit a Taco Bell, their Nacho Supreme. I like their Nacho Supreme because it has basically everything I would want to eat at Taco Bell -- chips, ground beef, beans, tomatos, and especially cheese (liquid cheese, although real melted cheese would also be pretty good). The one bad thing about Taco Bell's Nacho Supreme nowadays is the lack of green onions. Back in the day, the Nacho Supreme had green onions in addition to everything else, but now it doesn't. I really didn't notice the absence of the green onions until fairly recently (but there had always been that feeling in the back of my head that something familiar was missing from the Nacho Supreme as of late), but now that I know that the green onions are missing, it's all I can think about when I do eat the Nacho Supreme. Oh well.

One other thing to note about dining out at Taco Bell is that I always have to rush to eat my food. I hate soggy food, and if you wait to eat your tacos or chalupas or nachos from Taco Bell, the taco shells and chips turn soggy fairly quickly, so for me, whenever I eat at Taco Bell, there's always a mad dash to eat my food as quickly as possible. It's such a problem for me that in the event that I want both a Nacho Supreme and a crunchy taco, I can only order one at a time so that I have adequate time to eat the one while the other doesn't get soggy sitting there. After I finish the one, I then go and order the other. Maybe this particular little twitch is isolated to just me though.


Taco Bell (Anderson Lane)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

1

Taco Bell

1016 E Anderson Ln
Austin, TX 78752
(512)835-7269

Head Public Restaurant Critic

1/2/2008

Satisfactory

I went to a Taco Bell on Wednesday, January 2nd. It was a quiet night, but it took a while for them to take my order, and then took them over 10 minutes to get my Nachos Supreme and Beef and Potato burrito to me, which kind of peeved me as I was constrained for time and thought that I was at a fast food restaurant, but didn't peeve me enough to give it an Unsatisfactory rating, so it therefore gets just a satisfactory rating.

Taco Bell (Cameron Road)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

60

Taco Bell

5604 Cameron Rd
Austin, TX 78723
Head Public Restaurant Critic

8/3/2008

Satisfactory

I went to a Taco Bell recently and it was alright. I don't know how a visit to Taco Bell can really be all that exciting besides them just giving away free tacos left and right, but this visit was alright -- not right, but not bad. Taco Bell is one of those places where you just give up any hope of having a great experience, because come on, it's Taco Bell. If you're going to Taco Bell, you're just resigning yourself to a decent visit, because that's the most that you're going to get. It's actually quite sad now that I think about, but oh well.

Normally when I go to Taco Bell I get always get the Nacho Supreme and some other side item. The Nacho Supreme is probably my favorite item on the Taco Bell menu -- you really can't go wrong with chips, meat, refried beans, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, and previously green onions (which they have now done away with). The Nacho Supreme was good, but you have to eat it in a hurry to avoid the chips getting soggy.

In addition to the Nacho Supreme, I also got a 'Chessy Beans and Rice Burrito' (I think that is what it is called -- I'm writing this right now sans an internet connection so I can't go online and look it up). This burrito was alright. I want to say that I'll never get it again, but I know I'd just be lieing to myself. Really, the problem with the burrito was that all of the unique items were clumped together and not spread out like they should be. Instead of getting continuous layers of rice, refried beans, cheese, and pico de gallo throughout the burrito, you end of biting into pockets of each item, which kind of sucks, especially when I hit the pico do gallo 'pocket', because I can eat pico de gallo with other stuff, but not itself, which is what it amounted to when I reached that part of the burrito.

In the end, it wasn't a great visit to Taco Bell, but I kind of knew that going in.

Taco Bell (Oltorf)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

95

Taco Bell

201 E. Oltorf
Austin, TX 78704
(512)442-5395

Head Public Restaurant Critic

3/22/2009

Good

Aw man! Fuck yeah! Taco Bell has new 7-layer nachos for 99¢!!! Fuck Yeah, this is awesome!!! It has cheese (liquid), red sauce (no fucking clue what this is), refried beans, tomatoes, red crispy strips (aren't these just chips, and isn't it cheating if this is considered a separate item?), sour cream, and guacamole (which is all oily and tastes like shit)!!! But it's 99¢!!! Fuck Yeah!!!! (This is a godsend! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus!)


Taco Cabana
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

77

Taco Cabana

13376 Research Blvd
Austin, Tx 78750
(512) 335-4331

Head Public Restaurant Critic

10/30/2008
10/31/2008

Satisfactory

So, I visited Taco Cabana recently for lunch (actually, I went two days in a row). It's been awhile since I've been to a Taco Cabana, and I don't know why. I've only visited Taco Cabana a couple of times in the past, and it was always decent, but for some reason I have just always had a bad connotation in my head about Taco Cabana.

Anyway, I was out to lunch one day and I was bored (or just too cheap) with all of the other options in the area, so I decided to try Taco Cabana. To my surprise, it was not that bad for the cost and speed of service. The key words in the last sentence were 'cost' and 'speed'. Of course I have been to tons of better Mexican restaurants, but Taco Cabana, for being a fast food place, isn't so bad.

On the first visit I got a beef enchilada with some sort of carne sauce, a cheese enchilada in the same sauce, and a chicken enchilada in cream sauce (I decided to get one of each type of enchilada on the same plate), with refried beans, rice, and a small lettuce and tomato salad. Taste wise it was manageable, but for the price it was pretty awesome. The only really negative thing that stood out was that the enchilada sauces were a bit runny, but everything else was alright, again, in context with the price, which was about $6.

On my second visit the day after, I got two crispy tacos, one beef, the other chicken, which came with chips and queso and a drink. Again, the crispy tacos weren't that great, but for the price they were pretty decent, especially considering I got chips, queso, and a drink along with them for just under $5.

So, for some reason I've always had this negative connotation about Taco Cabana -- their food isn't that great, but considering the price, it's not that bad, all things considered.

P.S. I just noticed that the 'Cabana' in 'Taco Cabana' is half made up of a's – I thought it worth mentioning.


First Visit

Second Visit Visit


Texas Land and Cattle
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

35

Texas Land and Cattle

6007 North IH 35
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-6555

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/4/2008

Satisfactory

A friend took me out to a Texas Land and Cattle restaurant in payment for helping him move, and it was alright. I had a hamburger, but I really wanted a steak and some lobster tails, but since I wasn't paying for the meal I wanted to be considerate and order something in the same price range as the guy who was actually paying for my meal.

Before the meal, we got some jalapeno poppers, which at this restaurant are fried jalapenos with cheese thrown on top, served with ranch. Not the best jalapeno poppers I've tasted, but that didn't stop me from eating them.

This visit was satisfactory, which is a change from previous visits I have made to this same location. The visit before, they had run out of croutons. The visit before that, I came with a big party from my work and the waiter just disregarded what we had individually ordered and just served us what was easier for him to serve, which I really did not appreciate. But this visit, the most recent visit, was one of the better ones, which isn't really saying much though.


Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

35-a

Texas Land and Cattle

6007 North IH 35
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-6555

Head Public Restaurant Critic

10/14/2008

Good

So, this is my second review of this particular restaurant, but not my second visit. Recently, I discovered in the mail a $10 gift card to Texas Land and Cattle. It was addressed to one of the previous residents of the house I live in, and in the event that the person no longer resides at the residence specified by the address, the gift card was also valid for the current resident, which would be me. I have roommates and I thought about sharing this gift card with them, but this was one of the few days that I brought the mail in and thought it divine intervention that I should discover it and interpreted this occurrence as meaning that I should use it for myself (also, finders keepers suckers).

So, being the keeper of this $10 gift card, I went about thinking the best possible way to use it. Texas Land and Cattle is not a cheap place, so it's unlikely that this restaurant chain would plan on losing money by sending out free gift cards like this -- I figured they were hoping to lure customers in, customers that wouldn't dare go alone like I would, but bring their friends and families along, and thus, from giving away $10, they attract business worth more than that.

Well, haha, because I have no compunction about eating alone and maximizing the value of this gift card. Having previous experience with gift cards to this establishment, I have discovered for myself that the best way to maximize my gift card dollars is by going to this restaurant during lunch hours and ordering one of their lunch specials.

On this visit, I ordered the TXLC Signature Smoked Sirloin. They had a picture of this dish on the menu, showing three slices of beef, so I should have known to expect three slices of beef to be placed in front of me, but for some reason I was a bit confused. I thought the picture showcased the three slices to let the customer know the quality of the meat they were ordering, thinking that I would just get a single hunk of meat like a steak which theoretically I could into the three slices as shown, but I guess that just goes to show my ignorance of food in general. But either way, the meat was good. I ordered it medium and I'm still left wondering how they could serve me medium meat if it is cooked before they slice it, which means that the entire hunk of meat that they sliced into to get my three pieces must have been all medium -- but what if someone else wanted rare? Do they have different hunks of sirloin just sitting around at different levels of 'done-ness'?

Anyway, back on topic, the sirloin was good. I had a baked potato, loaded, and that was good too. I also had some bread before the meal, that was good too. I also either had a coke or pepsi, and that was good too.

Overall, my meal came to twelve something, which I rounded to $15 to include tip, I think I won on this occasion, spending $5 on a $15 meal, unless Texas Land and Cattle really overcharges and was somehow able to make a profit off me on this visit, but somehow I doubt it.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

35-b

Texas Land and Cattle

6007 North IH 35
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-6555

Head Public Restaurant Critic

2/11/2009

Good

This trip to Texas Land and Cattle was awesome, if only for the fact that I got two baked potatoes.

You see, a friend invited me to go to the restaurant with him, and I had a $10 gift card to the place that had come in the mail, so I went along. I ended up ordering a ten dollar chicken fried steak plate, which came with two sides. Now, the restaurant's menu lists the side items available, and their prices if you want to order them on their own, and the baked potato is one of, if not THE, most expensive side items. But I really like the baked potatoes, so I asked the waiter if I could just have two baked potatoes for my two side items. I was expecting the waiter to give me some bullshit that that wasn't allowed, but he was just like, "sure." Which was awesome...

...until I got my plate, which only had one baked potato, which I immediately brought to the attention of the waiter, and I was a bit worried that someone in the back was calling my bullshit and not allowing me to have two baked potatoes as my side items, but the waiter was really apologetic, said "my bad", and quickly got me my second baked potato, which was fucking awesome. I LOVE baked potatoes, and they came loaded at no extra cost, FUCK YOU APPLEBEE'S!

Then it came time to pay. My dinner mates and I split the bill according to what we had, and I owed $10.81 with tax, so I gave the $10 gift card to the waiter expecting him to come back with a check for the .81 cents, which I would pay off on my credit card with a few dollars tip added. But the waiter comes back having closed out my bill, telling me they just took the $10 gift card and wouldn't charge me for the rest (I guess it probably wasn't worth it to them to charge me .81 cents), and this was all cool, but then I had to tell the waiter that I didn't have any cash and couldn't tip him, (I was going to tip via credit card), but then my friend saved the day and told me and the waiter that he would pay for my tip on his bill, so it all worked out just dandy.



Thai Passion
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

62

Thai Passion

620 Congress Avenue Suite #105
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 472-1244

Head Public Restaurant Critic

8/17/2008

Good

I had lunch recently with a friend at Thai Passion in downtown Austin. We went on a Sunday afternoon and the restaurant was pretty empty, but I can only imagine the place getting crazy busy during lunch hours throughout the work week.

I don't have much experience with Thai food; I've only eaten curry once before in my life, but I do remember liking it. As such, my friend recommended the green curry, so I ordered the 'Gang-Keow-Warn', which the menu described as "green curry with bamboo shoots, eggplant, zucchini, basil and bell peppers in coconut milk" in addition to a meat (beef, chicken, tofu, or shrimp); I got shrimp. On the menu the dish was marked with two peppers (out of three), meaning that it's supposed to be hot. I really don't like hot food, but my friend assured me that the dishes are not as hot as they are advertised. My 'Gang-Keow-Warn' was good, a little bit spicier than I would have liked, but I shouldered through it. Thai Passion is a nice little place.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

62-a

Thai Passion

620 Congress Avenue Suite #105
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 472-1244

Head Public Restaurant Critic

2/28/2009

Satisfactory

So I went to Thai Palace again and I think I ordered something like "pan mar", or something (I don't know much about Thai cuisine, so I could be wrong). This visit was on a late Saturday night, early Sunday morning... on a night out drinking, after the bars had already closed. Now normally, when I'm at this point in the night, food, any food, sounds and tastes awesome... this, not so much. The plate was basically chicken on top of vegetables, smothered in a peanut sauce, which was too peanut-y and overbearing for me to enjoy.

The sauce really killed the dish for me. It was basically like eating chunky peanut butter, except in this instance the chunks were chicken and vegetables. And while eating chunky peanut butter sounds awesome, after about the fourth or fifth spoon/fork-full, I was ready to move on to something else, but I was broke and this was all I had. The dish presentation even looked like someone took a crap on it.



Thai Passion (South)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

136

Thai Passion

9300 South IH-35, Ste. A-400
Austin, TX 78748
(512) 382-0057

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/31/2010

Satisfactory

I spent part of my Memorial Day eating at a restaurant called Thai Passion; that's how un-patriotic I am. But..., I thought the food wasn't that great; that's how patriotic I am.

Anyways, I was really hungry and went to Thai Passion with a group of friends because one of them had a $10 off coupon that we shared, and I joined in thereby diluting the amount each person received off and therefore becoming a dick in the process.

The restaurant: The waitstaff (all of one person) was slow as balls.

The food: part 1. Before we even ordered, we were each brought a small plate of lettuce and carrots which looked like a peanut with diaherria had taken a dump on; some might call this a salad, but I have standards.

The food: part 2. I ended up ordering their "E1" lunch special, the "Thai Passion Noodles" that includes "Vermicelli, lettuce, cucumber, cucumber, carrots, and bean sprouts topped with stir fried choice of meat, onions, cilantro, green onions, and ground peanuts. Served with Thai sweet & sour sauce." Now, the above description is a cut and paste from their online menu, but it's wrong on two fronts. 1.) I didn't get no "cucumber, cucumber", but rather just "cucumber." 2.) I didn't get a choice of meat; I got a choice of chicken or tofu (and god help me if I live in a world where tofu is considered a meat, because living in a self-deluded world like that just ain't worth it).

When I first got my "Thai Passion Noodles" I was all excited because it looked really great because it looked really complex because it had all of this great stuff in it (including a spring roll, no shit), until my third or fourth bite when I just realized that the restaurant just threw a bunch of shit in there and hoped it flied. I quickly became disenchanted with the meal. QUICKLY. But I still ate the leftovers, while watching "Gentleman Broncos" no less -- a shitty meal deserves a shitty movie.

Oh, and P.S., the fucking restaurant added gratuity to our bill, when we were a party of four, even when their website expressly states that they will only had gratuity to a party of five or more. What the fuck?



Thundercloud Subs (290 & I-35)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Highway 290 East
Austin, Tx 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

6/18/2008

Good

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

The special this week was their 'roast beef & avocado sub (with cheese)', and it was good. I like roast beef and I love avocado, and together with provolone cheese, thinly sliced red onions, lettuce, salt and pepper, and 'thunder sauce' (oil and vinegar), it was pretty damn good. Not something I could have easily made at home. And bread, there was also bread in the sandwich.

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.)


Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-a

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Hwy 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

6/30/2008

Good

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

The special this week (or bi-week, whatever you call a 2 week length of time) was the American Classic, just in time for the Fourth of July. It was good for what it was. It came with ham, salami, balogna, and cheese. Thundercloud gives you your choice of cheeses, either American or Provolone. I initially ordered American cheese, to go with the American Classic sub, but changed my mind before the cheese was added and got Provolone instead. Like I said, it was good, especially for the price of $3.19 for a large one.

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.)

Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-a-1

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Hwy 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

7/7/2008

Satisfactory

I went back to Thundercloud Subs on a Monday night with a friend of mine. I was just going for the ride, but then when I was there I ended up buying another large American Classic (the current bi-weekly special) because it is such a good deal at $3.19.

As we drove up, the restaurant was empty and some of the workers were outside smoking cigarettes, which they had to put out to serve us.

So I ordered the American Classic for a second time in as many weeks. The first time I ordered it on white bread with Provolone cheese (I had regretted not getting American cheese on the American Classic). This time, I got it on wheat bread (because they were out of white bread) and got American cheese for the full American Classic experience.

This sandwich wasn't has good as the first one. The American Classic is supposed to have ham, salami, and bologna. I don't think my sandwich had salami, but it had a lot of bologna, which I'm not particularly a fan of. Plus, my gut instincts were right on my first visit -- Provolone is always better than American.

So I had the same sandwich in two different contexts, and honestly, the first time I had the American Classic it was so much better than this last time. I wonder what happened...



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-b

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Hwy 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

7/21/2008

Satifactory

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

So I made a vow to try every Thundercloud bi-monthly special, even the ones that I think I might hate. This semi-weekly special was the 'Egg Salad with Bacon', which they have nicknamed 'the office favorite'.

I like eggs, but I was unsure whether I would like the egg salad. Hell, I didn't even know what went into an egg salad besides egg. But, as I found out when I ordered it, the egg salad is indeed made mostly of egg, chopped up boiled eggs that they then mushed into some kind of paste, which they then spread on a piece of bread and dressed up with bacon and all of the other stuff that goes into a proper sandwich.

So, I wasn't sure whether I would like the egg salad with bacon sandwich, and I can now confirm that my initial instincts were correct -- I did not like the sandwich. It was essentially eating boiled eggs on bread, which is good for a little while, I guess, but not for an entire large sandwich. I struggled to get the entire sandwich down my throat because I didn't want to waste it, fighting my gag reflex the entire time from my body telling me that it had had enough egg salad for a year. To make matters worse, I was initially going to get a small sandwich, but ended up getting a large sandwich for some god-forsaken reason (probably because the large was a better value), a decision I later regretted trying not to throw up all the egg salad I had fought to get into my sandwich. The only saving grace for the sandwich was the bacon, which added a much needed flavor to the sandwich that wasn't egg.

So I learned my lesson: The 'Egg Salad with Bacon' sandwich sucks.

P.S.: Apparently the egg salad with bacon sandwich is pretty popular. When I ordered my sandwich, they were out of egg salad and had to make some more. As I waited for my order, my sandwich maker decided to save time and charge me for the sandwich before he had made it. I paid with a credit card, and on the slip I was to sign it asked if I wanted to tip. Normally, I'll leave a tip, not because I want to, but because I don't want to be a jackass and I feel compelled to tip by the sheer audacity that they're asking for a tip. But this time, I get my receipt asking me if I want to tip before I've even gotten my food. I have no idea of the quality of my sandwich artist or whether it looks like he made a good sandwich or not, the things I base my decision on whether to tip or not, which put me in an awkward situation with the guy standing there right before me waiting to see if I would put down a tip or not. I thought, "Is he going to make a better sandwich if I do tip, or the contrapositive?" I had never before been confronted with this type of situation, tipping before I judge how much I should tip. In the end, I put down a small tip and the guy made my sandwich, but trust me, it was an awkward situation.

P.S.S.: Thundercloud advertises the 'Egg Salad with Bacon' sandwich as an office favorite. I don't get it? Why is the 'Egg Salad with Bacon' an office favorite? I am seriously at a lost... I honestly don't get it, I honestly don't know.

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.)

Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-c

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Hwy 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830
Head Public Restaurant Critic

8/7/2008

Satisfactory

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

This 'bi-week''s special was the 'Mesquite Smoked Chicken'. It was good. It tasted like chicken. Although I don't know what was so 'mesquite smoked' about it. I'd get it again.

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.)

Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-d

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Hwy 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

8/14/2008

Satisfactory

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

So I made my bi-weekly trek to Thundercloud Subs for their bi-weekly special. The special this bi-week was the Genoa Salami, and it was alright (it was fantastic when compared to the special from two bi-weeks ago, 'the egg salad', which I still have nightmares about). The salami was good, a little bit tougher, thicker, more dense cut of meat that the normal varieties. I did some research wondering what a 'Genoa' is, and it turns out it's a city/province in Italy. Somehow, I doubt this salami came from Italy.

I mentioned in the previous paragraph that I still have nightmares of the egg salad sandwich from a month ago, of which I had a flashback when I went to Thundercould this last time. I have a tendency to mumble sometimes, and when I placed my order I said "Give me a large special," and the sandwich maker (they are only 'artists' at Subway) took out a tub and started scooping out some yellow substance onto the bread. At first I thought it was potato salad and thought, man, this sandwich might be tasty, until I realized to my horror that it was actually the dreaded egg salad. That's when I stopped the guy and asked if that was the special. It wasn't. The guy had thought I had ordered 'the office', which is what they call their egg salad sandwich and I quickly responded that I had ordered 'the special', at which time he proceeded to make me a new sandwich. It got kind of hairy there for a minute -- I got scared I was going to have to eat another egg salad sandwich, which I don't think I would have been able to handle in my fragile state, barely a month after having eaten my first, and hopefully last, egg salad sandwich.

I took my newly made 'Genoa Salami' sandwich home and ate it there. I only ate half of it initially because I get full fast. The second half I ate four hours later. I had mayo on my sandwich and I started wondering how long it takes for it to turn bad. I took the risk that the mayo would be fine after four hours of non-refrigeration (I hate refrigerated left-over sandwiches), but I was talking to a friend about this problem and he said I probably shouldn't have eaten it, but I did, because I'm a starving food critic who has no cash flow because no one reads my reviews. Yea me!

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.)



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-e

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Hwy 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830
Head Public Restaurant Critic

8/27/2008

Satisfactory

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

I was kind of excited when I saw that the next Thundercloud bi-weekly special was going to be the 'Hummus with Spinach and Artichoke' sandwich. I don't eat hummus all of the time, but every time I do I really like it, and I also like spinach and artichokes, so I was kind of stoked. I was imagining a sandwich full of hummus with spinach leaves and artichoke hearts. I was a bit disappointed. I thought the spinach and artichokes would be discrete from the hummus, but instead they were mixed in with the hummus, which was okay, but not what I was imagining.

As far as service, I wouldn't call my sandwich maker lazy so much as just inept. As the customer you watch the sandwich maker make your sandwich, and as he's making it he's asking if you want all of these things -- he asked if I wanted tomatoes and I said no, but that didn't stop him from putting on tomatoes (which I didn't notice until I had already gotten home to eat it). Also, for some reason, he didn't give me a bag for my sandwich. I really didn't ask why, opting to go with the flow, but I assume that there must have been a good reason. The sandwich comes wrapped, but there's normally crap like vinegar or mustard on the wrapping, which is why they normally put it in a bag for carry out, so that you don’t get something dirty from the dirty wrapper, but not this time.

When I first saw that the 'Hummus with Spinach and Artichoke' was going to be on special for the next two weeks, I was really excited and started anticipating eating one every other day or so. Instead, with the spinach and artichokes being inside the hummus combined with the lackluster sandwich, this was the only one I ate while it was on special (and I know because I'm writing this review a week and a half later). Hopefully the next Thundercloud experience will be better.

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.)

Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-f

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Hwy 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

9/20/2008

Satisfactory

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

The semi-weekly special on this visit to Thundercloud Subs was the ham and cheese sandwich -- which is exactly what it sounds like, ham and cheese.

There wasn't anything bad about the sandwich per se, except for the fact that it was just very plain -- it was just ham and cheese. It was good for what it was, but if it isn't on special, I am never ordering it again.

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.)



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-g

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Hwy 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

9/27/2008

Satisfactory

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

So the special on this occasion was the chicken salad, which was great, because who doesn't love chicken salad? I know I do, except when who ever makes the chicken salad leaves pieces of the bone in, which is what happened on this occasion.

As I was eating, I bit upon a bone fragment which was really jarring because I wasn't expecting it (who would) and I'm pretty sure I could have broken or chipped a tooth if I had really bit down hard upon it.

The chicken salad sandwich was good, but encountering the bone fragment has forever altered my perception of chicken salad, especially at Thundercloud, and now for the rest of my life I will always, subconsciously, be on alert for bone fragments whenever I eat chicken salad of any kind.

Also, I have noticed that the subs at Thundercloud can get kind of messy -- I guess it might have something to do with the optional 'thundersauce', a mixture of oil and vinegar I think, that I always ask them to put on. With this sandwich in particular, as well as the hummus sub from a few weeks ago, I had to constantly clean my hands as they continually got messy from the sub, but oh well.

The sub was good, but the bone fragment sucked, so this visit gets a satisfactory rating.

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.)



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-h

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Hwy 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

10/12/2008

Good

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

So the special this time around was the club sandwich, which contains turkey, ham, bacon and cheese. It was good. There's really no real way a restaurant can f*ck up a sandwich containing turkey, ham, bacon, and cheese, especially when they give you ample amounts of turkey and ham.

Like I said, there is no real way to mess up a sandwich containing turkey, ham, bacon, and cheese, unless... unless pieces of the bacon are hard as rocks and nearly break your teeth when you bite down on them, but... because of the sheer awesomeness of the divine combination of turkey, ham, bacon, and cheese, this visit gets a good rating.

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.)



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-i

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Hwy 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

10/28/2008

Satisfactory

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

So I went to Thundercloud again because I promised myself I would try every one of their semi-monthly specials. I really didn't feel like going on this particular night, but I knew that if I didn't go then, I would just have to go another night, so I went to Thundercloud Subs and got myself another one of their semi-monthly specials ("why do something tomorrow when you could do it today", right? yada yada).

The special on this occasion was the 'nada chicken', a sandwich catering to the vegetarian crowd. Obviously, I’m not a vegetarian, but I do have friends that are vegetarians (actually, only one). I had some trepidation about ordering this sandwich because it contains a meat like substance that is not meat. I asked the girl that made my sandwich if it was good, and she said that she's a hardcore carnivore and she likes this sandwich, so I was like, 'alright'.

I ate the sandwich, and it was okay. The meat-like substitute was supposed to resemble a fried chicken patty, and honestly, it tasted okay -- more honestly, if they had told me it was really chicken, I would have believed them (it would have tasted like oddly cooked chicken, but still).

So the sandwich was okay, but I wouldn't order it again if it wasn't on special. But, like I said, the sandwich caters to vegetarians, so I guess I'm not their market demographic for this particular sandwich.

I must admit, vegetarians perplex me. I get the whole idea of not wanting to eat meat on ethical grounds, cruelty to animals and all that, but come on, humans are at the top of the food chain for a reason. Also, vegetarians are putting themselves in danger of health risks by missing out on essential vitamins and minerals by omitting meat from their diet -- if you have to take supplementary vitamins because you're not getting all of your needed nutrients from your diet (like vegetarians have to do), then obviously there's something wrong with either you or nature (and I'm pretty sure it's not nature).

I'm not against vegetarianism, like I said, a good friend of mine is vegetarian (he’s vegan actually, which is the hardcorest of the hardcore vegetarians) -- I just don't understand the argument behind it. Vegetarianism is noble, but I think it's verging on the edge of stupidity.

Like I said, I'm not against vegetarianism, but the one thing that pisses me off about them is that they have to make their food resemble meat. The meat-free chicken patties in this sandwich I ate are proof of that. If vegetarians are truly against meat, they shouldn't make their meat substitutes resemble the meats they are supposed to replace, because that's akin to worshipping a false god. They shouldn't eat something that resembles a chicken patty but isn't -- they should just eat a soy patty and call it what it is.

Just saying.

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.)



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-j

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Highway 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

11/15/2008

Satisfactory

So the whole point of me trying each and every one of Thundercloud Subs' bi-monthly specials was 1.) to try all of their sandwiches instead of me just ordering the same thing from them time in and time out, and 2.) to save money -- on this occasion I achieved the first goal, but not the second, as I kept procrastinating this bi-monthly visit to the point where I missed one of the specials, and to keep in accordance with my ideals, I opted to get the sandwich that was previously on special (the one I missed because of my procrastination) but was no longer on special (which all fault lays on me), at the full price. So, in keeping with the main spirit of my grand plan to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' subs (or at least the ones they put on special), I opted to sacrifice '2.)' to maintain '1.)'.

So the sandwich that was on special that I missed was the Texas Tuna, a sandwich consisting of tuna salad, guacamole/avocado (Thundercloud subs says it’s avocado, but they mash it up, so isn’t it then guacamole?), and, here's the kicker, jalapenos. Now, I've never been a fan of really hot or spicy food (actually, really hot and spicy foods is a turn off for me), but over the course of my short lifetime I've started to eat more and more spicy food. Instead of getting nachos without jalapenos, I'll get my nachos with jalapenos, but pick out most of them. I'm hard core that way.

So, I'm not a big fan of spicy foods, but I'm working my way up, and in the spirit of trying all of Thundercloud Subs' in the manner that they are supposed to be eaten, I didn't tell my sandwich maker to skip the jalapenos -- I just stood by as I watched him get a whole jalapeno (I don't even recall the jalapeno coming from a jar with vinegar -- I think these were fresh jalapenos), slice it up and place it on top of the tuna salad (which he had already placed on the bread) evenly down the middle so that there was a consistent layer of jalapenos lengthwise throughout the sandwich. Then he smeared guacamole/avocado on the top slice of the bread, put the two pieces of breads together, and wa-la, my sandwich was made.

As I made my way from the counter to my shit, I couldn't help but wondering how messy this sandwich was going to be, since basically it was composed of tuna salad and guacamole/avocado, ingredients that are between solid and liquid states and can quickly become displaced in the course of the eating of the sandwich.

As I ate my sandwich, I came to two revelations:

1.) The sandwich which I thought had the potential to become messy did indeed become messy, very messy. As I bit down on one side/end of the sandwich, everything in the sandwich shifted towards the other side/end. It was very messy.

2.) I'm still a pussy when it comes to hot (spice-wise, not temperature-wise) foods. As I started eating my sandwich and biting and chewing up the jalapenos, I thought I could ride out the heat, but I couldn't. The jalapenos were hot, very hot -- I've eaten some jalapenos in my day, but these were by far the hottest, probably because they might have also been the freshest jalapenos I have ever had. I ended up having to take the jalapenos out, which made my sandwich even messier because they became enmeshed in both the tuna salad and the guacamole/avocado.

So, in the end, I had a messy, too-hot sandwich which I would never have gotten if it weren't on special, but wound up getting for full price after it had been on special because I wanted to uphold my goal of trying all of the subs Thundercloud Subs puts on special. I don't know whether I won this time or lost. I'm thinking the latter.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-k

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Highway 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

12/13/2008

Satifactory

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' weekly specials...

The special on this occasion was the meatball sub, which I embraced with both enthusiasm and dread. I've always liked meatball subs, except for the fact (at least in my own experience) that they always end up messy. The meatball sub used to be my default sandwich at Subway for years, and each and every time it became a mess. On a tangent, the reason why the meatball sub is not my Subway default anymore is because they now have some of their sandwiches all at five dollars for a footlong; the meatball sub was my default partly because it was tasty, but mostly because it was the cheapest (and also in part because it was a hot sandwich and I prefer a hot sandwich over a cold sandwich anytime). Now that they have their five dollar subs, my Subway default is the roasted chicken breast, partly because it is their tastiest sandwich (in my mind), but mostly because it was one of their most expensive before it dropped to five dollars. At five dollars apiece, I'm getting more value with the roasted chicken breast than the meatball sub. It's just economics.

But I digress, back to Thundercloud. It's been my experience that meatball sandwiches get messy quick, so I was expecting this sandwich to get messy too. To my surprise, it didn't become as messy as I had anticipated for a few reasons. One, instead of cutting the bread in half and then stuffing it, the sandwich maker cut a slit in middle of the sandwich from the top, creating a little boat in which he inserted the meatballs and sauce, keeping everything nice and contained. Second, the sandwich maker didn't carelessly wrap up the sandwich like they do with their other sandwiches: for the meatball sandwich, they carefully made a "basket" of aluminum around it and closed the aluminum from the top, essentially creating a purse or cradle for the sandwich, which was cool, thoughtful, and efficient.

The messy part: everything was nice and contained until I unwrapped my sandwich and bit into it, as which point all bets were off. As I bit into it, I created an opening through which the meatballs and sauce could escape, kind of like opening a floodgate. Luckily, everything in the sandwich was pretty well compressed, so nothing fell out until I got towards the middle, when half a meatball fell out. Overall, the sandwich wasn't that messy. There wasn't too much sauce to soak in and break up the bread, and the meatballs were nice and big and thick so that you could control their position within the sandwich (if that makes sense).

Overall, Thundercloud's meatball sandwich was pretty good. It came with cheese (I choose provolone) and they topped it off with parmesan cheese and some spices (oregano I believe). The only bad part was that it didn't come with veggies, because I would have loved some lettuce, red onion, and pickles (which, interesting enough, Thundercloud doesn't have as an option for their sandwiches (at least they don't offer them for free as far as I know) in there, but oh well. Maybe this is one of those sandwiches that is all about the meat.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-l

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Highway 290 East
Austin, Tx 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

12/29/2008

Good

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' weekly specials...

Thundercloud's last special in 2008 wasn't a sandwich (which I had assumed all of their specials would be, given that Thundercloud is a sandwich place), but rather a selection of discounted soups (which I guess makes sense because of winter (but really, how cold does central Texas get at the end of the year?). Still, despite not being a sandwich, I was looking forward to taking advantage of this special. I like soup and wish I ate more of it -- I'm not talking about soups that come out of a can, but rather real, home made soups that I can get at a, err..., restaurant. I like to eat soups at restaurants, but never order any because either they seem needlessly expensive and unnecessary or, in a decision between soup or salad, I choose salad as most restaurants have a very limited variety of soups on hand on any given day, most of which I'm already tired of (chicken noodle and minestrone come quickly to mind). Even Thundercloud only has two soups on hand on any given day, but not when they're on special...

Thundercloud putting their soups on special was great because it solved my two main issues with ordering soups at a restaurant: expense and variety. I never get soup at Thundercloud because it seems kind of pricy (almost $3 with tax for a large? no thank you) and the lack of variety (is broccoli and cheese even considered a real soup?). But, when Thundercloud lowers their soup prices ($2 for a large, sans tax, (but still, it's not approaching $3)) and ups their variety to up to 5 different soups, then their soups start to become more appetizing.

I ended up getting two of their soups, a corn chowder and a tomato bisque, and both were good and filling. There's not that much more to say on the subject, because I really can't write much more about soup, but I just thank god that they had a variety of soups beyond the standard chicken noodle, broccoli and cheese, and chili that most restaurants feature by default.

To reiterate, the corn chowder and tomato bisque were really good, so much so that I almost preferred the soups to some of their sandwiches, especially once the lowered cost was taken into consideration.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

48-m

Thundercloud Subs

6501 Highway 290 East
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 451-5830

Head Public Restaurant Critic

4/26/2009

Satisfactory

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' weekly specials...

So I went to Thundercloud Subs again because I made a promise to myself that I would try all of their bi-weekly or twice-monthly or whatever-they-call-them specials. The special during this "special period" was the mesquite smoked chicken, which was alright. Essentially, for this sandwich, Thundercloud Subs just put chicken in their sandwich.

I don't know if I'm getting burnt out on Thundercloud Subs, or just seeing beyond the veil of its menu, but most of their sandwiches are essentially the same. It’s bread (white or wheat), lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, "thunder sauce" (oil and vinegar), salt and pepper, and cheese (provolone or American) -- the only substantial difference between most sandwiches is the meat.

The mesquite smoked chicken was alright, but I think I'm just getting tired of their sandwiches, even at the rate of a sandwich every two weeks.



Thundercloud Subs (Guadalupe)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

24

Thundercloud Subs

3200 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 452-5010

Head Public Restaurant Critic

3/25/2008

Good

I really do not like sandwich restaurants, in part because I always feel cheated for giving money away in exchange for a sandwich that I could have made at home for a fraction of the price. Luckily, Thundercloud Subs doesn't make me feel that way.

Thundercloud Subs also has a weekly special, which I normally get. This week's special was my favorite of their subs, the California Club, made with turkey, bacon, avocado, lettuce, onions, oil & vinegar, salt & pepper, mayo, and freshly made bread (this was the way I got mine) -- preparing all of this stuff myself would have easily outweighed the six dollars I paid for this sandwich, hence, I didn't feel cheated. And the sandwich was pretty damn good too.

Thundercloud Subs (Lavaca)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

80

Thundercloud Subs

1608 Lavaca Street
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 478-3281

Head Public Restaurant Critic

11/25/2008

Satisfactory

Thundercloud Subs is a local, central Texas chain of sandwich shops, and they are pretty good. Normally I hate buying sandwiches from sandwich shops because I feel that I could just make the same thing at home for less money, but I never really get that feeling when I go to Thundercloud.

One nice feature about Thundercloud is that they always have a weekly special -- one of their sandwiches featured at a discounted price. The specials are cool because 1.) It's a good deal, and 2.) It allows you to try something new that you might not have normally tried at regular menu price. Since I like Thundercloud, and love their specials, I made a promise to myself to try every special every week (although now it's a bi-monthly special, so I'll rephrase that last sentence as "I made a promise to myself to try every special every other week").

I've been trying to try all of the bi-monthly Thundercloud subs specials mainly because they're cheap and it’s decent grub, (and basically also because I don't know what else to do with my life), and as part of the rules I set up for this experiment/operation/boredom-killer is that I must try all of the specials from the same Thundercloud location (there are more than a couple here in the Austin area of central Texas), and the one I've been going to is located near the intersection of I-35 and 290, but, I discovered a Thundercloud Subs location in the vicinity of a new, temporary job I'm working and basically said, "Screw my morals, I'm gonna try the bi-monthly special at this location rather than at the location I've been going to because it's close, I'm hungry, I need to review this special, and if I can kill two birds with one stone, screw my rules, let's review this sandwich."

As for the sandwich itself, it was alright. It was their turkey sandwich, which I'm assuming is because this bi-monthly period encompassed Thanksgiving, so of course we need more turkey right? The sandwich was good, but I would have preferred it be anything other than turkey, like peanut butter and jelly, because offering a turkey sandwich on special during the Thanksgiving season is like giving an alcoholic a six-pack when he should be in rehab -- it's the easy way out.

I must say that I do kind of like the lay-out of this location -- you order your sandwich at the cashier, you pay, you get a ticket with your order on it, you go to any one of 4 open 'sandwich-making stations' (I don't know how else to describe them), you give your ticket to a sandwich maker who makes your sandwich, and then you sit down and eat it -- I think this strategy is pretty efficient, at least more efficient than the location I've been going to where your cashier is also your sandwich-maker: this new way just seems easier, once you know what's going on and what to do (which I didn't on this first initial visit to this new location where I was just basically confused as to where to go and what to give to whom, but in the end, it all worked out fine).

Overall, this review is more important because of the precedent it sets in my rules of food critiquing journalistic ethics, which basically means I have none (I mean really, if a restaurant chain is offering the same special at all of their locations, it shouldn't matter where I got the sandwich, right? It should all be the same, and if its not, that's not my problem, but the chain's, right?), than for the sandwich itself -- a turkey sandwich at Thanksgiving? Really???

The only bad thing about Thundercloud is their stupid Jingle they use in their radio advertisements, which drives me absolutely batshit every f*cking time I hear it because it is so awful. (It’s so awful it makes me want to tear my ears out of my head with my bare hands… or change the station, which is actually the opposite of what radio station programmers desire – they work hard to build the biggest audience for their advertising clients, but this particular advertiser is actually driving away some of that audience, or at least me. Oh well.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

80-a

Thundercloud Subs

1608 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 478-3281

Head Public Restaurant Critic

1/6/2009

Satisfactory

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' weekly specials...

The special this half-month was their hot pastrami sandwich, which, when I first saw that it was on special, made me happy, cause it looked good and I like pastrami. Then I ordered it, and it was ok -- rather bland actually. The sandwich was just pastrami, cheese, and mustard, and bread of course. I thought that it would have come with the normal veggies and other stuff that they normally put on their other sandwiches, but nope, it was just the meat, cheese, mustard, and bread. Thundercloud called it their hot pastrami sandwich, which I guess was supposed to refer to the temperature of the meat because everything else wasn't hot, and even the meat wasn't hot either, but rather just lukewarm.

For some reason I thought this sandwich was going to be awesome. It was not.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

80-b

Thundercloud Subs

1608 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 478-3281

Head Public Restaurant Critic

1/19/2009

Satisfactory

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' weekly specials...

So I went to Thundercloud Subs again because I made a promise to myself that I would try all of their bi-weekly or twice-monthly or whatever-they-call-them specials. The special during this "special period" was the mesquite smoked chicken, which was alright. Essentially, for this sandwich, Thundercloud Subs just put chicken in their sandwich.

I don't know if I'm getting burnt out on Thundercloud Subs, or just seeing beyond the veil of its menu, but most of their sandwiches are the same. Its bread (white or wheat), lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, "thunder sauce" (oil and vinegar), salt and pepper, and cheese (provolone or American) -- the only substantial difference between most sandwiches is the meat.

The mesquite smoked chicken was alright, but I think I'm just getting tired of their sandwiches, even at the rate of a sandwich every two weeks.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

80-c

Thundercloud Subs

1608 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 478-3281

Head Public Restaurant Critic

2/11/2009

Satisfactory

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' semi-weekly specials...

The special this semi-week was the tuna sub... which was just kind of boring.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

80-d

Thundercloud Subs

1608 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 478-3281

Head Public Restaurant Critic

2/26/2009

Satisfactory

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' semi-weekly specials...

The special this time was the ham and cheese. You know, I used to hate sandwich places because I did not like the notion of paying more for food at a restaurant that I could (with my limited cooking ability) make at home for less (with time taken into account as well, because time IS money). This visit to Thundercloud Subs brought back all of those old sentiments.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

80-e

Thundercloud Subs

1608 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 478-3281

Head Public Restaurant Critic

3/2/2009

Good

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' weekly specials...

Well, fuck, Thundercloud Subs has a new jingle on the radio which is probably more annoying than their last one -- this new jingle makes me want to rip the hair from my scalp and scream at the top of my lungs whenever I hear it,… or just switch FM stations or switch to a cd.

Anyway, the special this week was the veggie sub, which I wasn't really looking forward to because I'm not a pussy, umm..., I mean, I'm not a vegetarian. But, after tasting the sandwich, I must say that I was pretty surprised at how good it was.

The veggie sub comes with either hummus or cream cheese, as well as avocado, sprouts, olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. I had my sub with hummus, and it was fantastic. The hummus more than made up for the missing meat. Although, I'm not sure that the veggie sub with cream cheese would be that good, nor am I that eager to find out.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

80-f

Thundercloud Subs

1608 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 478-3281

Head Public Restaurant Critic

3/20/2009

Satisfactory

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' semi-weekly specials...

Still going strong... still going.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

80-g

Thundercloud Subs

1608 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 478-3281

Head Public Restaurant Critic

4/10/2009

Good

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' weekly specials... Hell Yeah! The "California Club" (turkey, avocado, bacon, and cheese)!! I love this sandwich!!!


Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

80-h

Thundercloud Subs

1608 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 478-3281

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/12/2009

Satisfactory

I have taken it upon myself to sample all of Thundercloud Subs' weekly specials...

So, I think it's fair to say that I'm getting pretty tired of Thundercloud Subs. I made a promise to myself to try all of their specials, which I have kept, more or less, for the past few months, and all I have learned is that the sandwiches don't change much besides the meat, and/or meat substitute.

The special this week was the Texas Tuna, which, big surprise, I've already had before and really didn't care much for, so, remembering that Thundercloud had their salads on special the week of April's Fools Day which I never had a chance to try, I decided that, instead of reviewing a sandwich that I've already had and didn't like, I would review a salad which was on special which I didn't have a chance to review at the time that it was on special.

I ordered the combo salad, which comes with two scoops of chicken, egg, tuna, or avocado salad, of which I opted for the avocado. What surprised me was that I thought Thundercloud would make each salad at request, but it turns out that they prepackage their salads in plastic containers -- my salad maker got one of these packages, dumped three scoops of avocado into it (although the menu said it was only to come with two scoops, but I wasn't about to complain), put in two pepperoncinis, which I bought for a quarter, put in a container of bleu cheese dressing, and gave me my "container".

When I got to my table and opened by salad "container", I learned that my salad also came with half a hard boiled egg, cheese, tomato and onion. I started pouring on the bleu cheese dressing, which was thick and pretty good, and started digging in. The salad was fine initially since all of the ingredients were separate and I got to mix and match each unique forkful, but then the salad just got boring fast... and messy. Towards the end, the salad had just become a big blob of salad guacamole and I had become tired of both eating and looking at it.

I love avocado, and one thing that surprised me was that I thought it would be impossible for me to ever say that there was too much avocado on something, but man, there was a lot of avocado in the salad, to the point where it just overpowered everything.

Also, I went to Thundercloud towards the end of the weekday lunch period, and for a bit I was the only one in the restaurant when the staff started cleaning up. As I was eating towards the back of the restaurant, one of workers came near me and was just shouting back and forth with his co-workers at the front of the restaurant, something that was not really pleasant for me and showed a lack of customer courtesy on their part, even if I was the only customer in the restaurant, but oh well.

I'm starting to get really tired of Thundercloud's sandwiches, and now I'm tried of their salads too (after only one) and their customer service to boot! I think I'm going to take a break from Thundercloud for awhile.



Tino's Greek Cafe (I-183)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

9

Tino's Greek Cafe

13450 N Highway 183
Austin, TX 78750
(512) 336-5999

Head Public Restaurant Critic

2/13/2008

Good

I recently visited Tino’s Greek Café for lunch at their North Austin location – previously I had only been to a South Austin location, but on both occasions I really enjoyed the food.

Overall, I like this place a lot and would eat here a lot more if it wasn’t a bit pricy. The restaurant/café (or whatever you choose to call it) is set up cafeteria style, where the food is all made and ready for you to come up to the counter to pick out what you want. I went for lunch and got their lunch special, where you can choose one of several meats (I got the gyro with lamb meat, but there was also chicken and stuff), three out of the many sides (I had mashed potatoes, a meatball, and rice with slivered almonds in it), bread (pita bread) and a small salad – all on one plate. With drink and a small tip (to round up to the nearest dollar amount), I spent $10 for the meal, which is generally more than I like to pay for a lunch out (with the exception of sushi).

From my understanding, they also have a dinner special, which is basically the same thing, except they also give you soup in exchange for three more dollars.

The food is really good. The only thing I don’t enjoy there, from a previous visit, was one of the sides made with eggplant, which I found too spicy, but which my friends really enjoyed, so it might have just been my tastes that didn’t agree with the dish.

But, bottom line, the food is good if you don’t mind the prices. (Also, they charge for extra pita bread, which irked my lunch-mate.)

Tino's Greek Cafe (Balcones)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

93

Tino's Greek Cafe

5501 Balcones Dr.
Austin, TX 78731
(512) 533-9292

Head Public Restaurant Critic

3/15/2009

Good

Tino's Greek Cafe is a local chain of Greek cafeteria-style restaurants, and I've been pleased with all of my visits to two of their locations so far. This is my first visit to this particular location, and it’s exactly what I expected based on my previous experiences. On this visit I had their lunch plate with gyro meat (the meat), a small salad (the salad or soup) and mashed potatoes, falafel, and a meatball (the three sides), with pita bread of course. It was good.


Torchy's Tacos
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

82

Torchy's Tacos

1311 S. 1st St.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 366-0537

Head Public Restaurant Critic

11/30/2008

Satisfactory

There's an interesting trend popping up in Austin of trailer park eateries (or maybe it's not a trend and I've just never noticed all of the new trailer park eateries till recently, I don't know), and one of them is Torchy's Tacos. Apparently, there's an original Torchy's Tacos location, in a real building, but now they have a trailer location. I've never been to the original establishment, so my visit to the Torchy's Tacos trailer was my first Torchy's Tacos experience.

I ordered two tacos, the 'green chili pork taco' and the 'fried avocado taco'. The 'green chili pork taco' had "slow roasted pork carnitas simmered with green chili’s and topped off with queso fresco, cilantro, onions, and a wedge of lime served on a corn tortilla with our green sauce" and the 'fried avocado taco' had "hand battered fresh avocadoes fried and served With vegetarian refried beans, lettuce, pico, and Cheese. Taco comes with poblano ranch on a Corn tortilla", with all of these descriptions coming from their website.

Overall, the tacos were good. The pork in the pork taco had a distinctive taste, I guess from the rub they used, which was fine, just distinctive (I've noticed that everywhere that I get pulled pork at, the pork tastes distinctive and particular at each unique location, I'm guessing from the different rubs and spices each place uses -- all of this pork at the various places doesn't taste bad, just different). The fried avocado taco was good, but I think that's just because I really like avocados. Honestly, I don't really know what the frying did to the avocados besides making it crispy and adding an extra step in the cooking process -- I think the taco would be just fine without the frying.

I like the idea of trailer eateries, and I liked Torchy's Tacos, so overall, a good meal, except that we had to eat outside on park benches and it was both cold and windy, so that sucked. But oh well, you take the good with the bad I guess.

Also, in the same lot as the Torchy's Tacos trailer there's another trailer called Sluggies that serves burgers, fries, and shakes, and it’s like five feet away from Torchy's’ trailer. So I guess if you're not into tacos, there're alternatives, and I'm assuming they're owned by the same people, because otherwise, I can see some awesome turf wars getting serious fast.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

82-a

Torchy's Tacos

1311 S. 1st St.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 366-0537

Head Public Restaurant Critic

4/12/2009

Satisfactory

So I went to the Torchy's Tacos trailer location again, this time on Easter Sunday. I knew that I wanted two tacos, but I didn't know what two tacos I wanted. I've been to this location once before, and on that occasion I got a green chili pork taco, which was okay, and a fried avocado taco, which was alright too, except that I really like avocado, so I think I remembered it being better than it was. On this occasion, it was 2 p.m. on Easter Sunday, which means I had a late night out the night before, partying it up in celebration of Jesus's resurrection, so I was in the mood for some breakfast tacos. I was eyeing the "Dirty Sanchez" taco with "scrambled eggs with guacamole, fried poblano chili, escabeche carrots, and shredded cheese served on a flour tortilla with our poblano ranch", but I ended getting a migas taco instead, which was similar, but most importantly, it was on special. Then I also got a fried avocado taco again, but I like avocado so that's okay.

The tacos were okay, nothing mind blowing but definitely better than most other tacos available out there. That's the beauty about Torchy's Tacos, where you can just walk up to a trailer, order some good tacos, and get them in your belly real quick like... or is it? I must admit, I was very disappointed on this visit to Torchy's Tacos. I went with two friends, we each ordered and paid for two tacos, me being the last to order. We got our numbers and went and sat down and a food runner came and brought my friend that was first to order his tacos, then brought my friend that had ordered next his tacos, and then I waited for my tacos, and waited... and waited... until my friends were done with their tacos and I finally decided to go up to the trailer to see what the fuck was up with my tacos.

So I go up to the trailer, I give them my number, and it turns out that my tacos had just been sitting there at the window. Apparently, they were sitting there waiting to be taken out, but somehow the food runners never grabbed them, and the runners just kept taking out the orders after mine. The workers made it seem like I was supposed to pick them up at the window, but that was news to me and would have been news to everybody else that had their tacos brought out to them, and then they were telling me that they were waiting to be taken out, to which I asked how long they had been waiting to be taken out, and they looked at the ticket and told me 15 minutes. Jesus Christ that's some negligence on their part.

Either way, I was a bit pissed. So I get back to my table and eat the migas taco first, only to find the egg had gotten cold. Then I ate the fried avocado taco, which was alright, and which I'll probably order again because I like avocado, but I remember thinking that I should have really ordered and tried something new. Oh well. But still, I was pissed at the severe lack of service on the part of Torchy's Tacos. Hell, even when I initially placed my order the girl taking my order was texting on her iPhone. I do like Torchy's Tacos, but damn they sucked on this visit, service wise. This being Easter Sunday and all, I thought I was maybe being punished for calling Jesus a Cylon, which I did in jest, but still, Jesus being a Cylon makes sense if you've seen the end of Battlestar Galactica, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.



Pizza Patron
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

97

Pizza Patron

7112 Ed Bluestein Blvd, Suite #175
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 928-9700

Head Public Restaurant Critic

4/11/2009

Satisfactory

One day I came home and found one of those flyers solicitors leave hanging on your front door, and normally when I see one of these, or any type of flyer, I'm immediately reminded of the Mitch Hedberg joke about a person passing out flyers, "Here, you throw this away." Anyway, this time the flyer got my eye, and it got my eye because it was about cheap pizza. The flyer was from Pizza Patron and they were advertising a medium pizza with unlimited toppings for $6, and I was like, "I've got to try this out".

Cut to a few weeks later when I finally remembered about the deal, and in a battle in my head deciding whether to go to Taco Bell and get their dollar nachos (with guacamole included) or to try out a pizza from Pizza Patron, my desire to have leftovers available throughout the next week struck the killing blow to Taco Bell and I made a call to Pizza Patron to place my order, but not before doing my homework on the franchise's internet website.

On the Pizza Patron website anchovies are listed as an available ingredient, for a small extra charge. Now, I've never had anchovies, but I've always wanted to try them, but I've never wanted to try them on something expensive, so, since I'm ordering a cheap pizza, I decided that this was the perfect venue to pop by proverbial anchovy cherry. Metaphorically, I got all horny at the prospect of finally trying anchovies. But, you can imagine my utter disappointment when I was phoning in my order only to be told that the location I was ordering from did not have anchovies; it was metaphorically akin to having blue balls.

I ended up ordering a pizza with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and black olives. And you know what, the pizza tasted about how I expected a six dollar pizza to taste. It wasn't the worst pizza I've ever tasted (sorry Mr. Gatti's), but it's down near the bottom. The pizza dough was wet and soggy, and the cheese was weird, like as if Pizza Patron uses real low grade cheese. But, I still ate all of that motherfucker, and the sad part is is that I'll probably go back. Six dollar unlimited topping pizzas are a double-edged sword; on the one hand, it tastes like a six dollar pizza, but, on the other hand, it costs six dollars, and I'm a cheap motherfucker.

I am a cheap motherfucker, and I've never understood the choice between carry out or delivery. For me, I always carry out, because delivery costs extra money, which I don't like spending. Now, I'm persistently cheap and broke, but I'm not the only one. As I was walking out of the Pizza Patron with my pizza in hand, a scrawny black guy came up to me and asked if I had an extra quarter for the bus; I told him "no" because I didn't, but even if I did have a quarter I still think I would have said "no" because these are tough economic times for all of us, myself included. I was also fearing that the dude was gonna ask for a slice pizza, in which case I would have lied and probably said that the pizza box I was carrying was empty. Luckily, the dude didn't ask for a slice of the shitty, but cost-effective, pizza I was carrying.


Trudy's
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

40

Trudy's

8820 Burnet Road
Austin, TX 78758
(512) 454-1474

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/17/2008

Satisfactory

Trudy's is a pretty popular restaurant here in Austin, Texas, and for the life of me, I have no idea why. It's supposed to be a Tex-Mex restaurant, but it's not a very good one. On this visit I ordered a Stuffed Avocado served with Mexican rice and refried black beans. The Stuffed Avocado is just basically shredded spiced chicken, covered in a layer of avocado, breaded and deep fried to a crisp, served topped with your choice of sauce (mine being the chili con carne). The Stuffed Avocado really wasn't that bad (it was actually quite good), it's just that everything else was barely okay. For instance, I decided to get refried black beans instead of the regular refried pinto beans or the plain black beans, a decision I later came to regret as the refried black beans were kind of inedible -- I think they had been overcooked, as evidenced by the fact that they had developed some sort of hard crust.

I honestly don't understand the appeal of Trudy's, although I think I'm in the minority. From my understanding, most people just come to Trudy's for their drinks and margaritas, which are supposed to be pretty good, but at $7 or $8 a pop, they better damn well be.

Overall, if I never ate at a Trudy's restaurant again (this location isn't the only Trudy's, as there are two or three more around Austin), that would be fine with me, but for some reason, everybody likes to come here, and eventually I know I'll be back with one group of people or another.

Wahoo's Fish Taco
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

14

Wahoo's Fish Taco

509-A Rio Grande Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 476-3474
Head Public Restaurant Critic

2/25/2008

Good

I don’t know how it happened, but the last three places that I have gone out to eat at I have ordered fish tacos, so I guess this is part two of my three part fish taco review series.

The first place I went to was a place called Quack’s Maplewood Bakery and Café, the second place was Wahoo’s, and the third was El Chilito, which so happens to be the order of least favorite to favorite.

A friend of mine recently wanted to either go to Wahoo’s Fish Taco or Hooters for dinner, and since I hate Hooters, we went to Wahoo’s. I like fish tacos, but I wasn’t aware that there was a restaurant dedicated to fish tacos (hell, it’s even in the name).

Anyway, I ordered a plate of two tacos, which came with rice and black beans. You could choose as your taco filling either fish, beef, chicken, or shrimp for an extra cost (according to the website, the ‘official’ filling options are ‘fish, chicken, carne asada, carnitas, mushrooms, banzai veggies, or vegetarian). Plus, if you choose fish, you have the option of either fried or blackened.

I ended up ordering one fish (fried) and one shrimp, and they came with a cabbage topping and some sort of sauce on the side. They were pretty good. If I had to go again, I would just get two fish tacos instead one fish and one shrimp, as I thought the fish made a better taco than the shrimp.

Overall, I was pretty surprised by how much I liked the place. I’m pretty negatively biased towards franchise restaurants, which this is, but, like I said, the food was pretty good and the atmosphere was pretty laid-back, which I guess is partly due to the location -- downtown Austin with an inside bar area and street side open air sitting. Plus, the price was pretty good – I paid $10 for my plate plus a Red Stripe.

All in all, a good deal.

Wendy's (Lake Creek)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

73

Wendy's

10203 Lake Creek Pkwy
Austin, Texas 78729
(512) 249-1542

Head Public Restaurant Critic

10/20/2008

Satisfactory

The BACONATOR (it's so epic I have to spell it all in caps).

When I heard the name of this sandwich I immediately knew I had to try it. The name just sounds so f*cking awesome, like the Terminator, or the Exterminator, or Samuel L. Jackson. The sad part about this burger is that if you eat too many you'll get terminated by a heart attack.

But, you have to give mad props to the Wendy's Corporation for actually naming a burger 'The BACONATOR'. Bacon has such a negative connotation in our society, but tastes so good that I think Wendy's was like, "Screw it, we're going with 'BACONATOR' as the name."

So, I ordered the BACONATOR, and I have to admit, it was a bit too awesome for me. Two beef patties, two slices of cheese, and 6 freakin' pieces of bacon. I posted on a forum I frequent that I had had the BACONATOR for the first time and was sad to be informed by one of the posters that the BACONATOR's 6 pieces of bacon are actually just 3 strips of bacon cut in half. Despite that knowledge, the BACONATOR is still epic in my mind, so epic that it's just too much for me. I literally felt bad about eating so much beef, cheese, and bacon, which I got as a combo along with fries and a soft drink.

The BACONATOR was so epic that it actually made me go to the internet to find out the nutritional information. According to CalorieKing.com, a BACONATOR burger with medium french fries and medium coca-cola (all of which I had) clocks in at 1460 calories. The BACONATOR is so epic it's like the sun -- stare at it long enough it'll burn your eyes out. Eat enough BACONATORS and you'll give yourself heart disease. It was good, but it was just too much, although I do applaud Wendy's for putting out a product with such a freaking cool name.



Wendy's (McNeil)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

53

Wendy's

6247 McNeil Drive
Austin, TX 78729
(512) 381-1823

Head Public Restaurant Critic

7/3/2008

Good

As far as chain/franchise pizza places go, I think Papa Johns is one of the better ones. The pizzas are generally good and they give you a little thing of garlic as well as a little pepper. I decided to get a pizza because I had a coupon for a large one topping pizza for $6.99 (I got pepperoni). Cool thing about pizza is that if you don't eat it all, you can always save it for later. I think this pizza lasted me three meals.

Normally when I go to fast food restaurants like Wendy's I just order whatever looks the best on their value menu, which at Wendy's would either be their triple decker burger or their junior bacon cheeseburger or their junior cheesburger deluxe or their sour cream and chives potato or their small chili or their... you get the point. For the purposes of this review I decided to go all out, shunning the value menu and getting myself a number 2 combo, consisting of a double cheeseburger, fries and a drink.

In place of fries Wendy's lets you substitute a side item. I was going to get a sour cream and chives potato, which was pictured as a possible substitution on one of their banners, when I asked the cashier if I could substitute any potato, not just the sour cream and chives potato, for the fries at no additional cost. The cashier told me I could substitute any potato and not be charged extra. I trusted him. So I substituted a potato with broccoli and cheese in place of the fries only to see my bill go up (from $5.29 to $6.81) when he entered it into the register, and that's when I knew the cashier didn't know what he was talking about when he was telling me that I could substitute any potato at no additional charge.

See, the sour cream and chives potato is on the value menu for a dollar whereas all of the other potatoes (like the broccoli and cheese one) are on the regular menu priced at like $2.50 or something. So, I was thinking that I could only substitute the sour cream and chives potato in place of the fries because they are in the same price range. But, when I asked the cashier and he told me I could substitute any potato, I wanted to believe him. The cashier, just by his too happy demeanor and slight naivety, seemed like he hadn't been there long and sounded like he really didn't know what he was talking about, not out of stupidity but rather out of ignorance. If I could substitute any potato, that's a great deal on my part since I would be getting a higher priced item (broccoli and cheese) for the cost of a lower priced item (sour cream and chives), so I believed him (even though I had a gut feeling that this loophole was too good to be true), but then I saw my bill go up when he entered my substitution into his register and I knew I was right in thinking that he was wrong. Worst of all, the cashier didn't even realize that the price jumped up. I thought about calling the cashier out on the fact that he was wrong, but he wasn't trying to be malicious -- he was just naive. I thought about just getting the sour cream and chives potato, but at that point I had already settled the debate in my head that no matter what I was going to get the broccoli and cheese potato (I was already salivating over it).

So, I had a double cheeseburger, broccoli and cheese potato, and soda for lunch. It was pretty good. I generally like Wendy's. For some reason, they feel to me to have a higher level of quality about their restaurants than most other fast food eateries. Now if only they could better train their employees they would be damn near flawless.

P.S. After doing some research on the Wendy's website I could not find their triple decker burger on their menu, which is a shame, because that thing was awesome.

P.S.S. Having gone back to Wendy’s afterwards, I can say with confidence that the triple decker burger is still on their menu.



Whataburger
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

18

Whataburger

3210 East Martin Luther King Jr Drive
Austin, TX 78721
(512) 474-5969
Head Public Restaurant Critic

3/13/2008

Satisfactory

Whataburger is a chain of restaurants throughout several states in the South. Back in my hometown, which used to be small but keeps getting bigger and bigger, Whataburger is the local hangout, where basically everybody eats at because you’re always running into people you know when you go there. I went to one of several Whataburgers in Austin recently, and the restaurants in this franchise are thoroughly consistent. I had a What-a-Meal #2, consisting of a double meat burger (mine had cheese at an extra cost), fries and a drink. It was good.

My dining experience was pretty good, except that I went there around 4 o’clock on a weekday afternoon and there were only a few customers there in addition to me. You could tell the staff had nothing to do because they kept lounging around the tables and looking forlornly out the windows. It shouldn’t really bug me that they were lounging around when they had nothing to do (hell, I do it all the time at my work), but 1.) from a customer stand-point I didn’t really want to see them standing around doing nothing, because if I wanted something I would have had to disrupt them from their ‘off-time’ and I would feel bad, and 2.) from a manager stand-point, at any business, there should always be something to do.

Overall, I like Whataburger as a whole, except for one thing – their ad campaign. They advertise that there are 36,864 number of ways you can order your burger, which is true (I guess -- see Whataburger’s commercial at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiSqEadjYhk), but it misleads the customer. There are a possible 36,864 burgers that you could order, given the options Whataburger has available to the public, but there’s probably just a small subset of that set of possible burgers that people routinely order – basically, 36,864 is such a large, ridiculous and meaningless number that Whataburger probably just spouts it off because it’s a big number, and people are generally in awe of big things.

In mathematics, that way you determine the number of choices available is to multiply the number of options of each choice together. For example, if Whataburger only offers three items to put on a burger, ketchup, lettuce, and tomato, then you would have 8 choices: ‘with or without ketchup’ (2 choices) x ‘with or without lettuce’ (2 choices) x ‘with or without tomato’ (2 choices).

How did Whataburger get the number 36,864? Well 36,864 breaks down to 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x3x3, or (2^12)x(3^2), or twelve ‘yes or no’ choices (like whether you want ketchup or not) and two choices where you have a pick of three options. (In their commercial they show 12 stickers, so I presume I am correct in assuming twelve ‘yes or no’ choices, and I’m also backed by the fact that twelve is the maximum number of ‘yes or no’ choices available from the number 36,864).

So, if I ever want to trump Whataburger, I’m just going to start my own burger joint with 13 ‘yes or no’ choices and 2 choices where you can have a pick of three options, for a total of 73,728 choices. Eat that Whataburger.

Though I am left wondering, what exactly are the 12 ‘yes or no’ and 2 three-option choices? …

One of the employees standing around forlornly looking outside the windows

Whataburger (Cameron)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

101

Whataburger

6106 Cameron Rd
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 452-0634

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/22/2009

Satisfactory

Visited Whataburger and surprisingly was able to make it before they stopped serving breakfast. As a kid, I used to love their egg, cheese, and bacon biscuits -- they used to be one of my favorite things in the world.

Hoping to recreate that magic, I ordered an egg, cheese, and sausage biscuit. For the life of me I can't remember why I went with sausage instead of bacon, but, despite that, this biscuit wasn't the same as I had remembered for one particular reason -- the egg.

As a kid getting these biscuits, the egg was always scrambled, which is what set it apart from lesser breakfast items such as McDonald's egg mcmuffin, which had a cooked egg, unscrambled, which is what I got on this visit.

Now I'm left with all of these questions: Does each location make their eggs for biscuits differently? If not, why did they go from scrambled to unscrambled? Can I request scrambled eggs for my biscuits? Why are they torturing me so?

In the end, I was highly disappointed with this biscuit. Seriously.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

101-a

Whataburger

6106 Cameron Rd
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 452-0634

Head Public Restaurant Critic

10/17/2009

Satisfactory

I woke up on a Saturday morning just in time to make it to Whataburger before they stopped serving breakfast (I wasn't so lucky last time). I went to Whataburger on this morning with the intent/purpose of getting some of their 99 cents taquitos, which, much to my surprise, they don't have anymore, at least not at this location. Still hungering for a breakfast taco, I compromised and got one of their breakfast taco combos, which offered me the choice of a breakfast taco with bacon, sausage, or potato. I think of bacon as at most a tertiary breakfast taco ingredient (the primary being egg), so getting bacon as the secondary ingredient was not going to happen. Potato: I like potato, but not as a substitute for meat if I would be paying the same price for one as the other. That left sausage as the only other breakfast taco candidate, so I ordered the breakfast taco combo with an egg/sausage taco. I was a bit bummed I wouldn't get some potato in me this morning, until my food was brought to me with a side order of hash browns, which apparently comes with the combo (I was so glad I passed on the egg-potato taco combination as that would have been too much potato).

All in all, the taco with hash browns and a soft drink for just under $4 ain't bad, so it wasn't a bad start to my morning. The only thing that was weird about this visit was an upper middle-aged male worker massaging the back of a young female worker, which kind of gave me the goosebumps, and not in a good way. Also, the young female worker was eating a cup of instant noodles (ramen) in the dining room: this is a pet peeve of mine, as I just find it really odd and disconcerting when restaurant employees eat food other than the restaurant's food in the restaurant's dining area amongst the customers. Something about that just screams bad taste, and the massaging was kinda weird too.



Which Wich (Mueller)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

51

Which Wich

1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd. Suite 1210
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 482-9424

Head Public Restaurant Critic

6/25/2008
6/26/2008

Great!

In a nutshell, I really don't like sandwich shops because I feel like I'm overpaying for something I could have made at home for less. The mark of a great sandwich shop is one where I feel like I'm paying for something that I could not have made at home for the same amount of money. Which Wich is a great sandwich shop.

I had heard good things about Which Wich before, but I thought they were over-exaggerations. A friend of mine reviewed Which Wich (review #19) and said, "Sam ordered his favorite, a Thanksgiving sandwich or Thanksturkey, as it's named. If you can't guess what that means, there's turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce - a very nice combination." She said that that particular sandwich, and Which Wich in general, was good, but I just thought it sounded disgusting, so I never went. Then, an acquaintance of mine started eating there a lot and told me that the sandwiches were pretty cheap, and THAT'S when I decided to visit Which Wich.

On my initial visit, I was confused by the ordering system. Which Wich has ten different categories of sandwiches with corresponding bags. You pick the category of sandwich you want, pick up the corresponding bag, and, with the provided sharpies, you start marking your bag, which has listed on it all of the sandwiches in that particular category as well as all of the toppings. I thought marking your order on a bag was a pretty stupid idea, like some gimmick the restaurant was doing to 'stand out' or 'be different', then I saw all of the options. Which Wich has a lot of toppings you can put on your sandwich, which is very impressive. After looking at all of the toppings, I realized marking your order on the bag is really efficient (I couldn't imagine trying to tell the sandwich maker my order -- it would have just taken too long).

On my first visit, I got The Cuban (in the Ham & Pork category) consisting of pork, ham, and pickle slices. That was really good.

On my second visit, I got the Salmon Melt. That was really good.

One last thing that makes Which Wich stand out from all the other sandwich places is that all of their sandwiches are the same price, which is pretty damn cool -- it just makes life easier.

The one bad thing about Which Wich is that they take their time making your sandwiches, so I found myself waiting longer for my order than I would have at Subway or Thundercloud, but, for the quality of the sandwiches, it's definitely worth the wait.

Overall, great menu with lots of variety, flawless ordering system, and it's tasty too. Great place. I'm glad I finally checked it out despite myself.

P.S. My second visit to Which Wich was during a weekday lunch hour and they were packed. The order line was curled around the inside of the restaurant. As I went in, I was momentarily confused by the large amount of customers, and once I figured out where the end of the line was, I went to get my 'order bag' so I could fill it out while in line. Well, the place to pick up an order bad was right smack dab in the middle of the line. As I went to pick up an order bag, some lady rudely yelled out to me "That's not the end of the line." I figured she thought I was cutting in line, which I wasn't, and I could see how she could think that, but she was just so rude. It was the tone and volume of her voice that just pissed me off. She could have told me that in a polite way, but instead she choose to tell me in the rudest manner possible. And it didn't mean a thing since I wasn't cutting anyway; she was just wasting her breathe, but she did manage to piss me off. In retaliation, I took some pictures of her and marked her out, so if any of you all reading this see this bitch walking along the street or yelling at another innocent bystander, just throw something at her face to shut her the hell up.

Second Visit

Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

51-a

Which Wich

1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd. Suite 1210
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 482-9424

Head Public Restaurant Critic

8/19/2008

Good

I usually try to avoid sandwich places, but I really like 'Which Wich', despite their stupid name. I like the ordering system, I like the high customizability of their sandwiches, and I love how all of their sandwiches are priced the same. This last visit I got a shrimp po' boy -- it was good. I like to add a lot of items, like onions, the olive salad, lettuce, the pickled peppers, so the shrimp got a little overwhelmed, but overall, I liked the sandwich.

What I liked even better was the frequent customer card I just found out they had, where as long as you get your card hole-punched for each sandwich you buy, you get your tenth sandwich free. While I was writing that last sentence a thought popped into my head. What if I get myself a hole puncher and punch out all of the remaining sandwiches on my card so that I only have the tenth one left, which I would get for free? Umm... is that really theft, robbery, or just smart, but shady, thinking? I don't know. I'll have to mull over this moral ambiguity.

UPDATE: Fuck. Which Wich is smarter than me. After examination of my 'frequent eater card' I discovered that they use their own special hole-puncher. Sucks for me, but if I was Which Wich I would have done exactly the same.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

51-b

Which Wich

1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd. Suite 1210
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 482-9424
Head Public Restaurant Critic

9/12/2008

Good

I went to Which Wich recently after a trip to the laundromat with a little extra money in my pocket. I had a five dollar bill and two dollars in quarters that I didn't use, so instead of taking my sandwich home to eat I decided to eat at Which Wich and get a coke (luckily, the sandwich and coke came in just under two dollars).

I ordered the 'Grinder', an Italian sandwich consisting of salami, pepperoni, and capicola -- I decided to get mozzarella cheese for this sandwich, along with a bunch of other stuff I normally like to get including the olive salad and those spicy, vinegared peppers (that I like so much that I forget what they are called). The sandwich was good (especially the pepperoni, which I think makes everything better), but sometimes I think that I order too many add-ons that sometimes they drown out the sandwich, but oh well, I still like all of the add-ons.

When I got my sandwich, there was some white sauce-like stuff on the bag, which I hope was some sort of mayo, because I really don't want to think of the alternatives.

The last time I wrote about Which Wich I gushed at the fact that they have 'frequent eater cards' which are great when you remember to use them, but suck when you forget to use them and later remember that you should have used it because now you're out one tenth of a free sandwich. Oh well.

Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

51-c

Which Wich

1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd. Suite 1210
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 482-9424

Head Public Restaurant Critic

6/13/2009

Satisfactory

WTF? Which Wich stopped using/honoring their frequent eater card entitling a customer to a free tenth sandwich, for free! Seriously, what the fuck? Their frequent eater card was one of the incentives to eat here, besides their tasty, varied, and moderately priced sandwiches. But seriously? What. the. fuck?

Oh yeah, I had the cuban, with ham and pork and pickle slices - although it didn't taste as good knowing that it didn't constitute one-ninth of a free sandwich.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

51-d

Which Wich

1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd. Suite 1210
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 482-9424

Head Public Restaurant Critic

7/3/2009

Satisfactory

Went to Which Wich and got the chicken cordon bleu sandwich (with chicken and ham). One of the nice things about Which Wich is the ordering system where you mark on a bag all of the ingredients you want in your sandwich; it's a nice system, except WHEN IT DOESN'T FUCKING WORK. I got tomatoes in my sandwich, and I didn't mark tomatoes on my bag... WTF?

Oh yeah, they took the salmon salad sandwich off their menu. I was kinda craving it, and now I'll be forever wanting.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

51-e

Which Wich

1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd. Suite 1210
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 482-9424

Head Public Restaurant Critic

11/14/2009

Good

I like Which Wich. For a sandwich joint, it's pretty efficient and the sandwiches are good as well. A while ago I tried an experiment where I would sample of all Thundercloud Subs' weekly specials, a task which ultimately became both burdensome and tiresome, and which also killed my appetite for any more Thundercloud Subs anytime soon. Recently, I've been thinking of trying a new, similar experiment with Which Wich, where I would sample ALL of their sandwiches. I've tried to start this experiment by ordering my favorites first, to get those out of the way, and I've already tried the Cuban, so on this visit I was going to order something different, but then I started remembering how tasty the Cuban was, and, so, I ordered it again, sabotaging my plans to begin my survey, in earnest, of all of Which Wich's sandwiches that day. I think that instead of starting my Which Wich survey with my favorites, I'm just going to go down their menu, and I promise this: my next visit to Which Wich I will not get the Cuban, unless, somehow, they put it at the very top of their menu.


Which Wich (Parmer)
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

19

Which Wich

1701 W Parmer Ln.
Austin, TX 78727
(512) 339-9422
Sam & Stasia

3/17/2008

Satisfactory

In the mood for sandwiches and a "light" lunch, we went to Which Wich on Parmer Lane. Even though they're a franchise, they have probably the coolest ordering system (see photo) and were very busy for 1:30 on a Monday. Nice to see lots of people wearing green in honor of St. Patrick's Day. There seemed to be a rush of online orders or something because it took about 10 minutes to get our sandwiches, enough time to finish a bag of Cooler Ranch Doritos - yum. Sam ordered his favorite, a Thanksgiving sandwich or Thanksturkey, as it's named. If you can't guess what that means, there's turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce - a very nice combination. I had a tuna melt that far outdoes the one I've had from Quiznos. I like the ability to add extra toppings, makes me feel like I am getting more bang for my buck :) All and all, a nice lunch, especially since before today I was not that impressed. I suggest if you're going to go, go a little crazy and try something exciting.

Wing Stop
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

130

Wing Stop

500 W William Cannon Drive
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 416-WING (9464)

Head Public Restaurant Critic

4/11/2010

Good

I first discovered Wing Stop my freshmen year in college, in Richardson, Texas. Oddly enough, one of my roommates at the time, a vegeterian no less, was the one that turned me onto the restaurant. We were out and about one day (I think we were going to Blockbuster or something), a Wing Stop was close, and he wanted to go because he liked their fries, so we went and I got some wings while he just got fries. The wings were good, not great, but not bad. After that first encounter, I started treating myself to Wing Stop (take-out only, I never ate there because I didn't want to look lonely and have people pity me) for special occasions, which at that time meant after every test I took.

Flashfoward a couple of years, I move to Austin from Dallas, and there are no more Wing Stops, yet. Eventually Wing Stop started making their way down south, and now Austin as several Wing Stops.

I visited the one off of William Cannon, ordered some wings, and ate alone (I'm not scared anymore to eat alone and have people pity me bitches!!!). Anyway, what I really liked about this visit is that Wing Stop now has a 10 wing combo for $8.99, where you get to split the wings between two flavors and also get fries, a drink, and dip (ranch or bleu cheese), which is pretty awesome for wings (which admittedly are kind of expensive to begin with for some reason unknown to me). I got the mild and garlic parmesan flavors, and they were good. The fries were alright -- I remember them being better and having a hint of sugar, but these fries were still alright.

One of the unusual things for me this visit was that I walk in and see mainly black workers. Now, I'm not a racist, I believe that everybody is born equal in terms of pure unbridled potential, but I'm a realist. Sometimes black people (like hispanics and sometimes orientials) talk in slang and have to occasionally pull up their baggy pants when they take my order (at least at fast food restaurants), and I have to, but don't necessarily want to, adapt to that while I interact with them and pretend that I'm used to that shit... well, that didn't happen this time. These were some of the most professional, courteous, and nice workers I've dealt with in a long time. Kudos to them.



Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

130-a

Wing Stop

500 W William Cannon Drive
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 416-WING (9464)

Head Public Restaurant Critic

5/9/2010

Good

Woke up this morning hungover and with a desire for wings, so I hit up Wing Stop, got their 10 wing combo, which includes fries and a drink, for just under $10. The restaurant was kind of sad because I went around noon and such and there were no customers. What's even sadder is some dude, alone in an empty restaurant, chowing down on wings, fries, and soda, on Mother's Day no less. The wings were pretty good though.


Zen
Review #

Restaurant

Location

Reviewer

Date

Rating

22

Zen

3423 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 300-2633
Head Public Restaurant Critic

3/20/2008

Satisfactory

Zen bills itself as a Japanese fast food restaurant. It's pretty good for what it is, I guess, and the owners try hard to make the atmosphere and ambience of the restaurant more up-scale and 'hip' than most fast-food restaurants, but unfortunately, the food doesn't quite live up to the quality of the design and decoration of the location. On the one hand, the restaurant I went to (out of their four locations) had hi-def televisions either playing techno music videos or acting as a moving wallpaper, and on the other hand, I essentially was eating a bowl of rice with stuff thrown on top of it.

On my visit, I had what I always get, a spicy shrimp bowl (which has shrimp, broccoli, green and white onions, and some sort of sweet/spicy sauce, all thrown on top of rice), a Philadelphia roll (let me rephrase that: four thin slices of a Philadelphia roll), and a fountain drink. The food was okay (kind of plain and simple, but okay, if a bit pricey), but when compared to the effort that went into designing the atmosphere of the restaurant and also when compared to similar restaurants like Fire Bowl Cafe, Zen's food seems a little anemic.

Zen has the design down, now they just need to work on building up the complexity and variety of their menu.

P.S. The only time I can justify spending money at Zen is on their 'Third Thursdays' at their location near the University of Texas, where anybody who has a student ID gets 30% off. Lucky for me, I still have my student ID even though my student days are behind me.


Contact: HeadPublicRestaurantCritic AT gmail DOT com