Eat Random

The idea for this blog is to blog about everything I think about food and food culture. I'll tell you what I like to eat, where I like to eat it and if I thought it was good or if I thought it was crap. My thoughts about food could go anywhere. Hey if you don't like it go blog at

Random Dude Eats Random Food Indianapolis restaurants

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fast Food Review: BK Tries BBQ and Sweet Potato Fries

No shirtless David Beckham's please. Over the last year or so Burger King has been a fast food chain obessed with reinventing itself and marketing itself in new ways, including the aforementioned ploy, in order to regain tons of market share lost to competitors and turn the tide of negative public opinion. Every time I have tried one of BK's latest gimmicks I have been thoroughly unimpressed. I've commented on this blog before that BK's new ideas are basically just crap McDonald's has been doing for a long time. Smoothies, salads, coffee drinks, "premium" chicken, they even made a big deal about changing their fries to compete with McDonald's. The overall verdict? Pretty lame. That's why when I saw the latest commercial for their "Memphis BBQ Sandwich" and sweet potato fries I gave them by my emphatic eye roll yet.

BBQ. My personal favorite and something sacred to a lot of people and a lot of cultures. Burger King doing a version is practically food sacrilege. In spite of all of that I decided I had to give it a try. Honestly, I have to say that in terms of all the bbq I've ever ate it was probably not near the top half of the list. However, it's important to note that, for a Burger King product, it was surprisingly good, and I would even venture to say that it's the best new item BK has put on the menu in years. The bbq meat itself was very finely shredded (probably too much for my liking), and the flavor of the sauce was sweet but subtle. My sandwich also had a strange kind of sauce in addition to the red bbq sauce that seemed almost like a honey mustard. At first I was apprehensive but I didn't hate it. The sandwich was topped with some pitiful looking raw onions which I removed. They simply don't belong on a bbq sandwich. Granted, there was absolutely nothing that made this sandwich "Memphis" bbq which usually means heavily spiced meat and no sauce, but I understood from the get go that labeling it "Memphis" is just marketing.

The sweet potato fries are another matter altogether. I have to confess I'm a total sweet potato addict. I've ate them since I was a little kid, and in recent years when sweet potato fries have been the trend I've been a happy man. It was about time that a fast food chain jumped on this, and I think it was especially a good move for BK. Their regular fries are something I wouldn't feed to my dog so anything is a step up. Unfortunately, the sweet potato fries must not be a huge hit because the ones I had must have been sitting out quite a while and were rather soggy and cold. That being said I still can't hate too much on sweet potato fries and at BK I'd get them over their regular fries any time.

Taste 7.5/10 A fairly solid effort from BK that exceeded most of my admittedly low expectations. I would order both items again.
Value 8/10 I got a medium combo with upgraded fries and a special sandwich and it was basically the normal combo price. The Girlfriend got a Whopper Jr. combo and our bill was still only 11 bucks or so.
Misc I would be remiss if I didn't mention the entire experience of going to BK. Two words: it sucks. Burger King can revamp their menu, add a bunch of sundaes and drinks, and replace the traditional menu board with LED screens, but one thing hasn't changed. The service. The employees are easily the  worst in all of fast food. We got ignored when we walked in, no one smiled, tables were dirty. It's just the type of thing you don't normally see at McDonald's. It's the reason my fries were cold, and that's why it's hard to go back.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Product Review: The Better Chip

Every once in a while I'm privileged enough to review products that get sent to me to review. I never make any promises of good reviews, and never make any demands. I just want to give you my honest opinion. A couple of months ago I was contacted by a snack food company I had never heard of promoting a product that they called The Better Chip. I told them they could send me some samples to review if they wished.  Time went by and honestly I forgot all about it until a box showed up at my door. Honestly, with a pretentious name like "The Better Chip" and generally douchy food words thrown around like "organic" I wasn't terribly excited. However, any snack food is worth a shot even moreso when it's free.

They sent me small samples of 4 varieties: sweet onion, red pepper, jalapeno, and traditional corn. The first thing I should note that at first glance these look like your basic tortilla chips you've had thousands of times with little fanfare. On a second look however, I noticed that these chips had something I had never seen before. The flavorings weren't just a dry powder coating on the chip. The jalapeno variety actually have dried flecks of real jalapenos worked into the chips. Ditto for the red pepper and sweet onion. This made for flavors that were extremely potent, and regarding the jalapeno specifically probably the spiciest chip I've ever had. The red pepper chip, though not as spicy, was equally as satisfying. It was a taste similar to a salsa flavored chip made by other companies but with a fresher taste. In contrast the sweet onion flavor was maybe the worst snack food I've ever tasted. The fresh taste that was there in the other varieties was totally lacking here. Instead the onion taste was overly abrasive and almost rancid though that may be a touch too harsh. The good news was that the plain corn variety was as good as the sweet onion was bad. Out of all the tortilla chips I've eaten in my life I have never had one actually taste like real sweet corn until I had The Better Chip. I've heard that they sell these at Meijier, and I will gladly spend my own money to get a bag. I'm not sure how much they cost, but it's worth it.

Taste 8/10 jalapeno and red pepper, 10/10 corn tortilla, 0/10 sweet onion As I said above there isn't a lot of middle ground here. Just know what to get and what to avoid.

Value ? I don't know what the retail price is for a bag of these chips, but I'd be willing to pay 5 or 6 bucks for a bag of the jalapeno, red pepper, or the corn and be very happy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back From A Long Hiatus With a Stop at Conner Station Pub and Eatery

As you might have noticed I've had a little layoff from blogging as of late. I won't bore you with excuses, but let's just say Samuel L. Jackson stopped by my pad, told me he was "putting a team together" and I've been a little occupied ever since. But aside from my duties as Iron Man I've just been very busy and have been fighting a host of computer problems. But now that I'm back, baby, I want to share with you a little bit about my recent journey to what is perhaps Noblesville's newest restaurant, The Conner Station Pub and Eatery. 

Located in a building just off of Noblesville's downtown square Conner Station is a restaurant and bar that is just now 2 to 3 months old. As a Noblesville local and someone who enjoys many of the other restaurants and shops on the square I was eager to give this place a try. Also, I'm a sucker for the design features of restaurants like Conner Station. It's in an old brick building with an updated interior and large glass windows in the front. Unfortunately, this was one of those situations where the dining experience didn't necessarily live up to the pre-dinner excitement.

Let me say upfront that I think a lot of the issues we experienced are part of the regular growing pains of a new restaurant. We had tried to go once before and during the prior experience we couldn't even find a hostess to take our name let along seat us or tell us how long of a wait we could anticipate. This time (a couple months later) was a little better in that we were greeted by the hostess, but she still seemed a bit out of sorts. We told her we were a party of 2 and she looked around frantically as if she didn't know where or if we could be sat.  She finally glanced over at the bar area (never my first preference) and said we could take a table over there. She failed to actually walk us to our table or bring our menus.  Apparently such tasks are given to the bartenders in that section on top of their normal duties of serving everyone seated at the bar and making drinks for the entire restaurant. Due to their overwhelming responsibilities our service suffered. 

Once we finally got menus we gave them a quick once over and really didn't see anything that seems that original or interest-piquing. It is your typical lineup of sandwiches, salads, burgers, and pizzas. If you wanted a real entree with sides you would seem to be out of luck here. We decided to go with the appetizer of the 2 big soft pretzels, my main was a build your own burger with cheddar, bacon and bbq sauce, and The Girlfriend's choice was the breaded tenderloin.  

Despite being a straight out of the bag item the pretzels took a considerable amount of time to get to our table (the entrees did as well) to the point where it was almost comical, especially for a restaurant that was not overly busy.  The pretzels were warm and soft and served with a "spicy cheese", but it was honestly comparable to something you might get during the 7th inning stretch at Victory Field. This bares no resemblance to the homespun creation we had previously at C.R. Hero's. My burger was just ok. While I certainly ate it all it was cooked well done and calling it juicy would be a stretch. Most likely without the bacon and bbq sauce it wouldn't have been very palatable at all. The bun was soft and pillowy with some nice toasted edges, but it was almost too big for the burger underneath. The Girlfriend's tenderloin looked like a better play. It was hand breaded and fresh, but it did not come with the toppings she requested. Also, it seemed rather small even when comparing it to other "non-pounded thin" tenderloins I've seen.  Both my burger and her tenderloin were served with straight out of the bag potato chips. As you might know that is one of my food pet peeves. Just throw in the damn french fries. I "upgraded" to fries for the criminal upcharge of almost $2(!), and while the seasoned potato wedges were crispy and had a nice kick the penalty for ordering them felt only slightly more fair than a 70s Olympic basketball game against the Soviet Union.

All in all I think it was worth trying, but I don't think we'll be rushing back anytime least until some of the kinks get worked out.  

Taste 5.5/10 My meal was completely average in almost every way. They get the half-point above average for the slightly above average quality of The Girlfriend's tenderloin.

Value 3/10 I could have spent the same amount or less and had a much better meal and experience. DOWN WITH UPCHARGES!! GIVE US FRIES!!

Misc Comments: Service issues and food timing issues here. Also, a tip for the restaurant: have a real hostess station and waiting area so it's not so hectic.