Don’t be fooled, it’s a restaurant: Chic-Fil-A

PFB Article of Faith #1:

I believe that fast food can be good, but that it is often disappointing and poopy.
As you may recall, I wrote a really good blog post about which fast food restaurants I do and do not approve of. Not included on the list of approved fast food was Chic-Fil-A. I have a really, really good reason for this: Up until recent history, I was under the impression that Chic-Fil-A was a brand of frozen chicken and nothing more. Like, the logo’s just really bland and looks like something that should be wrapped around some chicken breasts.
BUTT then there was all that hubbub last summer about Chic-Fil-A and I got to find out that it is actually a restaurant. However, I also found out that it’s a FAST FOOD restaurant and, therefore, I thought it was probably disappointing and poopy, so I never bothered eating there, much to the shock of some people (actually, only southerners were shocked by this).
Well, people, Chic-Fil-A just opened up in the Cougareat, so I decided to go down with some of my homeboys and test it out.
Chic-Fil-A’s menu is veryvery simple: they got some chicken sandwich, they got some spicy chicken sandwich, and they got some other things. This visit, I decided to jump in head first and order the spicy chicken sandwich and waffle fries (I kept things cool by getting the warter too).
Let me tell you, Chic-Fil-A is a PFB-approved fast food restaurant. Their sandwich is qualit-tay: juicy, flavorful chicken (not spongy like at other places), crisp, fresh lettuce, and a tasty tomato. And that’s it! If you want mayo on your sandwich, instead of some crazy person putting it on and drowning everything, you can put it on there yourself. I personally put ketchup, mayo, and their Chic-Fil-A sauce on the bottom of the chicken patty. It was very good. (The Chic-Fil-A sauce is definitely something you want to try: it’s sweet, but has a little bit of su’msu’m in it to make it more than sweet).
I’m afraid to talk about the spiciness because the only other time I’ve had something spicy on this blog, other people told me that I must have a low spice-tolerance. For the record, I enjoy spicy things fine, but when spiciness gets in the way of my eating, I don’t enjoy it. Anyway, the spicy chicken sandwich was good, butt I think I would’ve enjoyed the regular chicken sandwich better. There, done.
Now the waffle fries. At first glance, they don’t look like much. I thought they looked barely deep-fried or salted enough to be edible. That is, until I put them in my mouth. Antoine Dodson said they “got some crispiness” to them, and the boy is RIGHT. They’re nice and crizzby on the outside and soft on the inside, with just the perfect amount of salt. I literally spent the next two days wanting to go back and order more.
So don’t call me crazy, but I’m crazy about Chic-Fil-A. It’s definitely a PFB-approved fast food restaurant.

The Burger is Crowning

So I know the the P in “PFB” stands for “PROVO,” butt I need to tell you the people about Crown Burgers in Salt Lake becuz it’s real good. But the reason I ate there is linked to Provo, so I’ll start there.

So since the Provo Temple is closed right now for maintenance and will be until August the tenth (it will also be closed from the end of November to the beginning of January, btw), I’m temple hopping. This year, I’ve visited Draper, Manti, Mt. Timp, and (now) Salt Lake (I realsy like the Draper and Manti temples, btw).

So I went to the Salt Lake Temple and it was GREAT.

I took a last-minute pic of the SLC Temple while driving away.
It’s not that clear, but neither are those pictures
the Hubble Telescope takes sometimes.

Anyway, I don’t know how you and yours do things, but me and mine have a tradition to eat at certain restaurants after visiting certain temples. When the fam and I go to the Medford Oregon Temple, we eat at Abby’s Pizza. When we go to the Sacramento Temple, we eat at some Mexican restaurant that’s past the railroad tracks, across the street and in a cul-de-sac type thing (or something). Well, everr time I go to the Salt Lake Temple, I’ve eaten at Crown Burgers, which is literally, like, down the street from the temple and conference center.

Eating at Crown Burgers is definitely an all-around fancypants experience. It’s like a cross between a fast food joint and Queen Lizzie’s living room. The front is all business: cashiers, grills, and the hustle/bustle of a fast food restaurant. Meanwhile, the back is decorated like an Edwardian hunting club: stuffed pheasants, fanzzy statues, deer etched into glass, and furniture upholstered with brass buttons. Swankytown here we come.

I want my living room to look like this.

The first time I ate at Crown Burgers was with my future bil Samwise Hoarder. He raved about Crown Burgers’ Crown Burger (the namesake of the restaurant): a cheeseburger with pastrami on it. Me, not being adventurous, was a bit hesitante about the pastrami, so I just played it safe with a normal cheeseburger last time.

THIS time, however, I decided to get more adventurous so that you the people could know whether or not Crown Burgers’ Crown Burger is any good.

Well, son, let me tell you: pastrami truly is the crown on the Crown Burger. Imagine a super great cheeseburger with crunchy/oniony onions, juicy tomatoes, crispee lettuce, gooey cheese, the perfect patty AND pastrami wedged between two buns. It’s a mouthful, but the pastrami reminded me of having a crap-ton of bacon on the burger. It wasn’t crunchy, but it wasn’t chewy either: it was easy to bite through and included all the meaty goodness of bacon in every bite. I’ve had pastrami at other places, butt the way this pastrami was cooked, seasoned, and delivered made me think hard about bacon and I loved every minute of it.

Bil Samwise enjoying the crap out of his Crown Burger.

Along with the Crown Burger, I ordered fries and a chocolate shake.

The fries were good: crispy and thick. Good for dipping and eating.

The shake tasted exactly like a fudgsicle. It was uber chocolatey and thick as a beaver pelt. I definitely got some spoon action up in thar. 

So next time your Provo Temple closes, come up to Salt Lake with the cool kids. Sit down for a sesh and enjoy Crown Burgers.

PFB’s Guide to Travel

Traveling is something that people have to do on a daily basis. Some people travel across state lines. Some people probably go to the store. Others might go to Russia. Wherever you’re travels take you, you’ll definitely have to eat something some of the time. And for that reason, I present PFB’s Guide to Travel.

First off, eat all the food. Vacation time is NOT a time to torture yourself with self-imposed “health rules.” Vacations lower people’s risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and pregnancy. You’re already doing your body a favor, so why do a double negative and eat healthy too?

Second, avoid horrible nasty awful fast food. When you travel, your fellow travel mates will probably want to eat at questionable fast food restaurants in order to save “time/money.” While choosing a fast food joint, remember that eating is meant for enjoyment and not simply to “cure hunger.” As such, you must make sure that the fast food you eat is more food than fast food. Below is a list of fast food that I approve of (note that some of these establishments can only be found in certain geologic locations):

  • Carl’s Junior’s
  • Subway’s
  • A&W’s
  • In-N-Out’s
  • JCW’s
  • Chipotle’s
  • Krispy Kreme’s

    Third, eat as much as possible. If you’re visiting someone, part of being a good guest is eating as much of the host’s food as possible. A nice way to say, “Thank you, I appreciate your love/attention/presence/food,” is to eat everything available to you to eat. If that means you have to eat two bowls of cereal, an egg sandwich, a Pop-Tart, and eight pancakes for breakfast; a sloppy joe, chips, veggies, and dip for lunch; steak, taters, corn, beans, and ice cream for dinner; followed by an all-you-can-eat buffet, then so be it. If, by the end of your vacation, you don’t feel like this, you’re doing something wrong:

    Next time you travel, keep these things in mind. It’ll help you make friends, enemies, and everyone else along the way. And don’t forget the number one rule of vacasheaux: Do not distrupt!

    Leggo my Russian apples

    (Craig’s Cuts is not a food place.)

    So this week, I wanted to do something new for the Provo Food Blog: try to make food from a recipe that I’ve never tried before and post a how-to/step-by-step guide on how to do said recipe. Turns out, this was a bad idea. Apparently, if you’re going to teach someone how to do something, you need to be able to do it competently yourself. Oops.

    So, first off, I was given a mission cookbook my first day in Russia. In my mission, missionaries didn’t eat with members very often, so if you wanted to eat good, y’all had to learn to do it yourself. I assume the cookbook was compiled by some senior sisters or the APs because most of the recipes are American, but there is a section of Russian recipes.

    On my mission, I decided I would try to make one new recipe a week so that I could try new things and learn how to cook. Well, it’s been nearly four years since the Russia Samara Mission Cookbook and I first met, and I’ve gone from making lots of crappy cooking mistakes to getting as good at cooking as sharks are at having black, soulless eyes.

    Anyway, whoever compiled this cookbook (whether it was senior sisters or some lousy APs) didn’t completely realize they were writing it for missionaries in Russia who can’t find many American ingredients a lot of the time (like Worcestshire sauce or cornmeal) and don’t have fancy kitchen appliances (like mixers).

    As such, after I make a recipe, I write in the margins any adjustments I would do, like extra ingredients, substitute ingredients, a variation in cooking time, etc. It makes me feel like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when I do it, so I’m not planning on stopping any time soon.

    One of my first dishes: Hawaiian Chicken with flour substituted for cornstarch, tangerine slices substituted for orange slices, and no pineapple chunks because Elder Olsen don’t like those (in Balakovo, Russia!).

    Anywayz, so off to why this week’s recipe didn’t turn out so good.

    I was working in the Russian section of the cookbook, making a dessert called “Apples Under Snow.” I’d never heard of it/had it before, butt it was in the cookbook, so I was going to make it! I assume that it was supposed to be a baked apple delight with crust on the bottom, apples in the middle, and white frosting on top. That’s not how it turned out.

    First, I was supposed to “peak” egg whites. I’d never separated eggs before and I didn’t know what “peak” meant, so I googled how to do both. Eggs can be separated by cracking an egg in half, then pouring out the white into a bowl while leaving the yolk in the shell (or you can just crack the eggs into a bowl and pull the unbroken yolk out with your hands … I won’t tell you which method I chose).

    As for peaking egg whites, apparently you’re just supposed to beat them really hard until they’re white and foamy and stand up a bit when you pull the whisk out. Also, apparently you’re supposed to use an electric mixer to do this, cuz I used a whisk and my muscles, but after a half hour of beating, all I got was half runny egg whites, half foamy (butt nott peaked) egg whites.

    Second, the recipe said to make the dough by combining two and a half sticks of butter (actually, it said 250 grams, but I rounded it to two and a half sticks) with three tablespoons of flour. Needless to say, my dough looked like this:

    If that looks like a bunch of butter greased to the bottom of a cooking pan, it’s bacuz it iz.

    The rest of it went okay. I added cinnamon to the apples because I’m Merican and I know how to make a grood appo pie.

    The frosting on top was supposed to be the peaked egg whites mixed with a crapton of sugar, so I took my almost-peaked egg whites and mixed it with the crapton of sugar.

    The recipe also told me to freeze a little bit of the dough, then grate it on to the top of everything before I baked it. I thought that was weird, butt then I thought, “Russia,” and I did it anyway.

    Last, the recipe told me to bake for thirty minutes at 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. I thought that might be a little too high/a huge gap between temperatures, butt again I thought, “Russia,” and did it anyways. After smelling what I thought was burning, I turned the temp down to 350 and shortened the baking time a bit.

    Now, I’m not sure if the egg white/sugar thing was supposed to puff up and be fluffy and white (like snow), but everything just turned brown/blackish in the end. Maybe the recipe should have been called “Apples Under Black Mold.”

    The crust turned into a bunch of melted butter/crumble-like stuff (you can see it glistening in the bottom of the pan in the pic) and the egg white/sugar combo caramelized all along the edge of the pan and all over the apples. The apples baked perfectly and were super soft and moist. Obviously, with the crapton of sugar and butter, this stuff tasted great, but was a mess to clean up afterward.

    I ate mine on top of ice cream, which I think is probably the best way to eat anything. And, since I’m such a good brother, I shared with my sister and her huzbond.

    They really liked it too.
    After making this recipe, I googled “Apples Under Snow” to see how to do it the right way. Turns out, the Internet doesn’t even know about this recipe, leading me to think that it may not a real Russian recipe/a real recipe at all. Oh you sneaky sneaky senior sisters/lousy APs.

    Burrito monster in my stomach

    Let me tell you: I love rice and beans, but they don’t love me, especially when they’re mizzed with hot sauce.

    This week I took a little excursion to a place on the east side of Provo ironically called West Mountain Burrito (I don’t know whether it’s named after a mountain around here or what, but the mountains in Provo are definitely to the east if you ask me).

    This place is spankin’. It’s located where the Awful Waffle used to be, but unlike the Awful Waffle, it actually has seating arrangements with a fancy covering to protect eaters from the sun, rain, hail, snow, thunder, lightning, rain mixed with hail, snow mixed with hail, thunder with lighting, thunder with rain, rain with lighting, and all other sorts of weather.

    A special highlight of MWB is the artwork along the eatery area. I heard that some crazy cool rocker art dude did it, but I just googled it to find out for sure, and I didn’t get no info about it (what the h, Meredith?!!). I like it, though, because it reminds me of leaves reflecting off the surface of a pond onto the ceiling or wall of something next to the pond.

    This place was a little bit fancy: the food here is locally grown and organic. When I’m eating out, I don’t really care too much about healthiness, butt I can roll with it when it tastes good.

    On this trip, nobody accompanied me, but I wasn’t lonely or nothin’: I sat next a trash can and that was good enough for me.

    Food here comes in three different sizes: mini, regular, and giant. Mini is probably as much as you should eat, regular is for those want to go the extra mile, and giant is for those people who really don’t know what’s good for them.

    Even though it’s a burrito place, I ordered the regular Chicken Chimichanga.

    The chimichanga was stuffed with brown rice, pinto beans, cheese, and (b-duh) chicken with a big ol’ scoop of pico de gallo on the side. For an extra dollar, I went deluxe and got sour cream, GUUUUUUACAMOOOOOOLE!, and salsa on the side because if I have the choice of living with or without avocado, I choose with. It’s just the kind of person I am. And I was given a complimentary side of hot sauce by the lovely cash register girl (service here was great, by the way).

    If you’re a hot sauce lover, you’ll love this stuff: it’s literally the devil. Made from jalapenos that grow in the deserts of the sun, it tasted like someone sandpapered my tongue, poured acid on the inside of my cheeks, and punched a hole in the roof of my mouth with a rhino tusk. I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but crazy hot sauce lovers might be.

    The rest of the chimichanga was pretty chill. It was just rice and beans wrapped in a deep-fried tortilla. The flavor was very simple. The seasonings were not overdone at all. I mean, it’s an organic chimichanga, so it’s not gonna be too cray-cray bursting with all sorts of crazy things or else it would explode whilst it was being deep fried and that would be gross. Even so, I wish I had ordered something else.

    The guac, salsa, and sour cream were really good and qualit-tay. They were welcome additions: the guac and salsa added more flavour and the sour cream toned down the devil hot sauce.

    I meant to take another shot halfway through eating to show you guys how “artistic” and foodsy I am, but I got in the zone while I was eating and I forgot to, so I just took an after shot.

    So overall, I wouldn’t get the chimichanga or devil hot sauce again, but I would give Mountain West Burrito another chance.

    On my way home a saw a restaurant called Craig’s Cuts. I think maybe it’s a rib place? I’ll have to go there next week.

    Chicago meats my mouth

    What has two thumbs and went to Cubby’s yesterday?

    This guy did.

    Cubby’s lives right next to Little Caesar’s and the Coffee Pod. Despite it’s janky location, it’s actually kind of a swanky place to eat. I saw old people, fat people, muscular people, skinny people, pretty people, little people, and cool people while eating there. Needless to say, it caters to a lot of tastes.

    The specialty here is MEAT, specifically Chicago-style BEEF. What does that mean? I don’t even know, but I do know that Chicago is the capital of Illinois.

    I went with my two sisters, their husbands, and my niece and nephew. My favorite one in the company was my niece because she was the cutest and she let me hold her.

    Sister #1 was all like, “I’m gonna get the Cockadoodledoo Sandwich,” (grilled chicken sandwich with greens, Swiss cheese, grilled onions, tomatoes, and avocado) and I thought that sounded totally good because I’m wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy partial to avocado, but I didn’t want to be a copycat, so I ordered the the Portabella Sandwich (beef burger with marinated and grilled portabella mushroom, grilled onions, greens, tomatoes, and pesto sauce) with rosemary pepper fries.

    Let me tell you: I really liked what I ate. It was so good. The beef was way flavorful, but not gross/juicy/raw. I also liked the spidnach mixed in with the greens. It was just a teeny bit surprising and it made the texture of the burger a little bit different from other burgers. I also liked the mushrooms (homeboy served in Russia: got nothin’ against mushrooms, they’re just a vehicle for more butter). The marinade on them was a teensy bit sweet, but it didn’t ruin the overall taste or nothin’. And the grilled onions were perfect: crunchy and oniony. Dang fetch.

    The rosemary fries were okay: a hint of rosemary with a satisfying smack of pepper on potato fries.

    BUTT: Bro-in-law #1 ordered the sweet potato fries (which I def sampled) and them things were good: crinkle-cut for so to get more fry sauce in each dip and THICK for more chewing action. Gordy liked them and wished he had ordered them instead.

    While I didn’t eat everything on the menu, I received satisfactory reports from my fam about the Original Mr. Beef Sandwich (that thing was LONG: Bro-in-law #2 couldn’t finish), the Cockadoodledoo Sandwich, and the Apple Chicken Pecan Salad (sister #2 LOVED the candied pecans).

    Thinking about this food makes me want to spend money and eat it again, BUTT I’m too cheap/healthy to do that.  But if Chicago tastes like anything that Cubby’s tastes like, I want to visit it in my mouth some day.