Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deer Park Tavern

This place is pretty great! I came for the trivia, but I'll stay for the food. They always have a really good deal/special on weeknights, like huge 4 dollars pizzas or nachos or something. I'm not too clear on their allergen policy overall, but whenever I ask about a particular dish, they check on the ingredients for me and assure me it's safe. No trouble so far!

California Cobb Salad: This sucker is huge and it comes with a lot of meat. It's really good though. Bacon and cheese I could do without. And the weird green olives. But it's a lot of meat. You can't dislike a lot of meat!!

Sweet Potato Fries: These are always really good! Yum!

Greek Pizza: Eh. It's really cheesy and it has brocco, which is nice, but it also has stupid olives.

Margarita Pizza: Really varies. When the cheese is fresh, then it's a decent eat. Just cheese and sauce!

Side of broccoli: I get this because it's the only vegetable available. Sadly it's not very good, just a small dish of plain broccoli (no butter or seasonings). A good snack to feel like you're eating but not killing your heart though. And there's pepper and salt on the table.

Taco Salad: This is cheap and really filling, but lately they've been skimping on the dirty rice (which is good and has bacon randomly in it) so I think I may need to step away. Huge taco shell, some avo, lettuce, tomato, rice, and salsa. And sour cream. It's good but bloaty. 6/10

Traditional Wings: I like the BBQ sauce, it's a standard BBQ (think Domino's wings) and they don't skimp on it either. Plus 2 little celeries! They give you like 8 wings, it's a good time. The Buffalo flavor is dry and bad though. 6/10

Taste: 8/10
Cost: 7/10

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lean Cuisine - Herb Roasted Chicken

This was surprisingly good! Allergy warning- it did make me a little itchy afterwards though. Something about processed chicken, I guess. But even still, I'll probably end up buying this again. It just feels like a good, healthy meal. The broccoli and potatoes are crisp and fresh, the chicken is obviously processed but it still tastes good with the mushrooms and sauce, and it's only 170 calories! (OK I don't really pay attention to calories usually but that seems a very small number for the amount of enjoyment I get out of this meal). So yeah, it's a good one!

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 7/10

Lean Cuisine - Three Meat Pizza

I know what you're thinking -- THREE meat? I'm thinking that too, because I certainly didn't taste any ground beef, and I'm glad! I hate ground beef! Anyway, the sausage and ronis were fine, and the cheese and sauce were average, but the crust is really buttery and nice. Maybe I was just in a lean-cuisine-pizza mood, but this hit the spot. Yum.

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 8/10

Lean Cuisine - Glazed Turkey Tenderloins

I like turkey, so I thought this would be a clear winner, but unfortunately it wasn't. First, the sweet potatoes are really good. I like that part a lot. The turkey/gravy/stuffing is not so hot though. Sure, it's OK, but the overall taste wasn't appealing. It was kind of like a bad mix of things. Maybe if the celery and cranberries weren't there and there was a little less gravy then that would be good, I don't know. Not the tops is what I'm saying.

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 6/10

Lean Cuisine - Beef Pot Roast

This is a nice little meal! The sauce/gravy is good, the beef is good and tender, the potatoes and veggies are all pretty good. It's not very much food, but because it's beef pot roast, it's a bit more filling than your average pasta-y lean cuisines. I like this one pretty well; I might buy it again.

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 7/10

Lean Cuisine - Chicken Florentine

This is a "dinnertime selects", so it's a bit bigger and more filling than a typical lean cuisine, which is nice. This meal is a lot of noodles and carrots with a few chunks of chicken in a "cheese sauce". The sauce isn't really cheesy tasting, but it's alright. The chicken is good. The noodles are noodles and the carrots are carrots. There isn't really much flavor or anything to recommend this meal, but it doesn't have any major flaws!

Cost: 7/10
Taste: 6/10

Michelina's Zap'Ems Gourmet Rigatoni in Sauce with Broccoli and White Chicken

Woah. All right, the picture on the cover with carrots and broccolis and chicken? No. That's not what you're gonna find inside this (admittedly 99 cent ) meal. It is literally just Rigatoni in Sauce. I thought it was a mistake or something, but no, it's just "flavored" with broccoli and white chicken. Anyway, despite the misleading cover, the noodles and sauce are pretty good. It's kind of like a generic frozen mac and cheese, with alfredoy cheese. Not too shabby, but not very filling or exciting or healthy. On the plus side, their website has excellent nutrition & allergen info!

Cost: 9/10
Taste: 7/10

yoplait light peach yogurt with granola

I don't know if it's just that the granola is much sweeter than the yogurt is, but this yogurt is really unsweet. the peach stuff is on the bottom, but even if you mix it in, it isn't very sweet. anyway, overall, i like the granola a lot and i think it might be OK in a different flavor. or a non-light version, perhaps.

cost: 6/10
taste: 6/10

lean cuisine - beef and broccoli

I can't really review this accurately because it has a ton of sesame seeds in it, which I hate!! The broccoli and beef strips were really tasty though, but because of all the seeds the rice just tasted like a big clump of seeds.

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 3/10

Peace a Pizza

If you have a tree nut allergy, this isn't the first place I'd go for pizza, that's for sure. They have a ton of pesto and pecan ingredients floating around. Anyway, I tried to order a stromboli but they said it would take 30 minutes to make, so I got a slice of white pizza instead. It was OK, but the ricotta "sauce" wasn't very saucey or good.

eggplant parmesan: this one is pretty good! It's plain cheese with pieces of fried eggplant. OK! 7/10

cost: 6/10
taste: 5/10

California Tortilla

CalTort is a pretty nice place to go -- especially if you have nut allergies, since the only nuts they have are some "may contain" prepackaged desserts. They have super cool soda machines and hot sauces, and the employees at mine are super nice and spunky, so I like the atmosphere itself. As for the food, it's not bad.

Southwest Salad w/ grilled chicken, honey lime dressing.
This is a great salad. The chicken tastes great, the corn and tortilla strips taste great, and it's not TOO unhealthy. The guacamole I don't like, but that's OK. :D

Blackened Chicken Taco: Not too shabby! The salsa (really pico de gallo) really pulls the whole thing together. The chicken is good, but it's really blackened/seasoned. I like it though, it's a nice little lunch.

Pork Taco: Like Chicken taco, but perhaps better! Moister, at least.

Taco Beef Taco: Awfully boring, but tastes just like tacos made at home, so good for that nostalgia.

Steak Taco: This is worth the 40 cent upcharge if you get it on Taco Tuesday! The steak is marinated in some unique sauce, so it's nice and moist and tastes good. A little chewy but in a fun way.

Fajita Burrito (with chicken): Hmm. This would be really good if it didn't have so much freakin' sour cream and guacamole in it! Maybe I'll try a different burrito next time.

Taco Salad (with grilled chicken or pork): This is very tasty! It's probably not very healthy though, heh heh. Comes with a ton of sour cream and guac, which I just spoon off. Also a buttery taco shell, a lot of cheese, some lettuce, meat, and salsa. It's a good size and good flavor though.

Street Tacos: glad i tried these, mostly so i know not to get them again! these are smaller than regular tacos, but not too small -- a great size for a 3 taco meal. however, they are also on corn tortillas and not flour -- which i definitely dislike! update: the changed some of the flavors and now use 2 corn tortillas, which is somehow an improvement!
Carnitas -- basically like a regular pork, it was good.
Havana Chicken -- ok - probably my favorite - pretty much a BBQ chicken taco and they stuck an avocado and lime slice in it.
Korean BBQ: very spicy!! almost too spicy to ascertain any flavor -- the steak meat was good as usual, but the saucy tomato/onion bits were too overwhelming and not tasty.
California Sunset - this was OK, but not great. the corn tortillas have grown on me, but the only real flavor is bland chicken cube, unappealing "onion relish", and spicy sauce (just generic spicy sauce). a real middle of the road pick. If you like that relish-y onion crap, this might work for you, though. I do like that there's a random avocado slice in here (I like avocado now, unlike the Katilina of 6 years ago) 5/10
Chicken Club - this was way better than I expected. definitely my favorite street taco experience. the tortillas were soft yet firm, the sauce was just moist without any gross ranch flavor, the bacon wasn't too strong, there was a lot of good lettuce, it really did taste like a good club sandwich. nice work, caltort. 8/10
Screamin': a lot like the california screamin' burrito, but with those tasty corn tortillas! this is spicy, which is kind of nice, and it was loaded with blackened chicken (which I like). the fajita veg and cheese sauce I wasn't wild about, but as a package this is solidly average. i think it is the spiciest one, and the most meat-y one (at least in this case), so if you like that then give it a shot! 5/10

Chicken Tortilla Soup: Warm, cheesy, and comforting. Good on a cold night when you're up working. 

Turkey Chili: They got rid of this (and the soup, sadly) for a while, but now it's back, and I think it's a little different! It also costs like 5 bucks, which is not happening for me, but I got a free cup for being a gold member! Ha! It was really good, the kidney beans were of course numerous and I picked them out, but there were lots of big big tomato chunks which were awesome, and the rest was just saucy turkey bits, which was good and just a tiny bit spicy. Also comes with pico, sour cream, cheese and tortilla strips, so you can make a good time out of it. 7/10

cost: 5/10
taste: 7/10


Laura says: I like this place a lot. I mean, I naturally like any place that has tacos and chips & salsa, but this place feels so familiar and the name is endearing. The drink machines are so futuristic and impressive to me still, and full of drinks that I want to drink! The taco combo is a good deal but also is like just a little bit too much food because their tacos are stuffed full of stuff. They were super slow when we went, but that's ok with me because I'm rarely in a hurry and I felt like I had all the time in the world to look at the menu and figure things out. I also liked the queso a lot more than I like most quesos. Is there an upstairs? I'd like to find out. 9/10

Kids Cuisine Fried Chicken

OK I wish this wasn't the case, but whatever addictive compounds Swanson puts in this meal totally worked on me. It's pretty darn good, and it was pretty filling too (or at least compared to all those lean cuisines, it was). The 2 chicken drumsticks have a good flavor, and good meat under the breading. True, they are a little soggy with grease on the bottom, but that's almost part of the appeal for me. The pudding is good too, and the little sprinkles are adorable. The corn is disappointingly average (no butter or salt added, I guess). Anyway, if you want to give your kids (or youself, c'mon) a tasty meal for once, pick this one!

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 8/10

Lean Cuisine - Beef Portabello

This meal was alright. The potatoes were quite good, they weren't just a pile of mush but instead had some redskin skin and a good flavor. The beef pieces and mushrooms were OK, but the gravy didn't taste that good to me. Something was a little "off" about it, but not TOO "off". I ate it all, is what I'm saying here.

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 6/10

Lean Cuisine - Angel Hair Pomodoro

To be fair, I only got this because it was on sale and I never had it before. Nonetheless, it wasn't really my thing. It's basically pasta and some runny sauce with parmesan cheese, which I wouldn't like even if it weren't in the form of a frozen meal. In fact, I like it better without the sauce. This reminded me a little bit of spaghetti-os or a chef boyardee canned spaghetti thing, but perhaps a little better. So, I won't get this one again, since there isn't much to enjoy here (as opposed to the one with meat sauce, which has tasty sauce and mushrooms and which I do like).

Cost: 7/10
Taste: 4/10

Sun Bird Beef & Broccoli Seasoning Mix

hmm. i ate the whole thing so I guess it must have been alright. My biggest issues were 1. the beef was too tough, which had nothing to do with the seasoning packet and all to do with my buying cheap beef and then possibly overcooking it, and 2. it was very sweet and gingery and liquidy. I did follow the instructions to a T - I used .75 lbs of meat, some broccoli and onions (I actually threw in some mushrooms and carrots too, but I don't think that affected my feelings much) and the precise amount of water and soy sauce. I also made some rice to go along with it. Anyway, at first taste I thought "ugh! this is way too cloying (gingery?) and saucy!" But I let it sit and cool and thicken up for a few minutes and then I started to get into it. The sauce/broccoli combo was OK, but I still think there was too much sauce and it was too...sugary. Nonetheless I might make this again, because it was a pretty simple yet satisfying meal.

Cost: 8/10
Taste: 6/10