Setbacks, and a taste of what’s to come…

Sorry, no post for tonight.  I actually had two restaurant visits in the last week which I was planning on writing up, but for various reasons I’m not happy with what I have to show and talk about, so I’m putting them on hold and will revisit them soon.  In the meantime, tonight I went to a very interesting place, Baagan: Fresh Healthy Vegan Cafe, and I’m pretty excited to share the experience.  I should have that posted tomorrow evening.

For tonight, here’s a photo of some excellent Joojeh Soltani from Shahrzad Fine Persian Cuisine in Rancho Cordova.

Joojeh Soltani @ Shahrzad Fine Persian Cuisine

I think I might start slipping in some quick mentions of nearby dishes like this now and then 😉

#22: Anchor’s Fish & Chips

As with Adelbertos, most cities have their Fish & Chips clones.  The Sacramento area most notably has Tugboat Fish & Chips, which they have scattered all over.  I used to go to the one at Sierra College & Douglas until it went out of business some years ago.  The remaining fish & chips joint in Roseville is called Anchor’s Fish & Chips and seems to be independently owned and family run.  It’s located on Harding Blvd at Estates Dr. next to McDonalds and across from Wise Buys in what must have been an old Taco Bell, based on the building design.

Inside, each table has one of those hand drawn fun/touristy maps of cities like New York, San Francisco, LA, etc.  Checking those out is a good way to kill some time till your order is brought out to you.  The order taking process is a simple one, the very nice owner (I’m assuming she and her husband are the owners as they are usually there) writes everything down on a order slip, calculates your total on a calculator, rings you up on a simple register and then takes the slip back to the kitchen.  No fancy touch-screen point of sale equipment here.  For beverages they have Pepsi fountain products, some other bottles sodas like including Dr Pepper, a small selection of beer both on tap and in bottles, and some other varying options like Sobe and energy drinks.

Click here for the menu

Long ago I found that I prefer the fish, clams and chips combo to everything else.  About a year ago I went off my normal order and got their appetizer of deep-fried mushrooms to give them a shot and was a bit put off when I bit into one and realized that’s truly all they were.  I had wrongly anticipated a stuffed mushroom of some sort, but it was just a big mushroom, battered and fried.  Pretty boring.  So I stick with my usual.

I like this place quite a bit, but as I type this I’m finding it hard to articulate why.  The food is somewhat bland on it’s own.  I eat everything here (fish, clams & fries) with ketchup, and use a fairly generous amount of it, more so than any other food I can think of.  The fries are very boring, and the only time I will finish them is when I am very hungry.  The fish and clams are mostly defined by the batter.  The fish has a light but very crispy batter while the clams have a much heavier, almost corn-dog batter.  The clams do actually taste decent on their own and I have no problem gathering up every last little piece that’s too small for dipping and eating them plain.  Perhaps it’s just a comfort food type of thing, I’ve liked fish & chips since I was a kid.

Of all the clones I’ve been to, this is easily my favorite because they are very consistent with how crispy they fry everything.  The Tugboat in Rancho Cordova is not very good.  The fish, clams and fries are often too soft, on the verge of underdone.  They aren’t very friendly, and they have the tiniest little cups for dipping sauce.  Here they give you a good sized paper serving ‘boat’ for your tarter sauce, cocktail sauce or ketchup.  My big complaint about Anchor’s is that their fountain soda is extraordinarily weak.  I got the soda this time to confirm that it’s still watered down, and it is.  I think I only drank about a third of it.  I could just get a bottle of Dr Pepper here, but I’m sure the cost is more than I’d like to pay, and my meal already comes close to $10 as it is.  I usually will just go next door to McDonalds to get a large, cheap soda and then sit at one of their few outside tables so I don’t feel bad about bringing in outside drinks.

Though I enjoy the food here, objectively I must give them a 3 out of 5.  The food, while always fresh and hot, is highly dependent on dipping sauces, and the fountain sodas need a lot of adjustment.


#21: Smashburger

We have a few Smashburgers to pick from since this Roseville Parkway at Galleria location opened – Citrus Heights, Folsom & Roseville. I was excited when the one on sunrise opened near the mall as it was one of the first in our recent (and still occurring) burger joint expansion. Nations Giant just opened down the street from it and we will be getting Five Guys at Douglas and Sierra College soon. It is a good time for burger lovers.

Every time I went to Smashburger before this visit I always went the build your own burger route and ordered their regular sized smash burger patty on the classic egg bun with smash sauce(a kind of thousand island sauce), blue cheese, bacon, lettuce and grilled onions. It is a hell of a burger. For this visit I thought I’d try something off of their pre-built menu. I went with the BBQ Bacon Cheddar (BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and haystack onions on an egg bun), mostly because of the haystack onions. The best burger I’ve ever had in my life (Rave Burger in San Mateo) had the same onions on it. I’m not always big on BBQ sauce, but it works very well here. The beef is fairly thin but has a lot of flavor and is quite juicy. I suppose that has to be due to how they make them:

While most people are eating breakfast, we’re already doing lunch — shaping fresh 100% Certified Angus Beef® into plump meatballs. (When was our beef frozen, by the way? Try never.)

Why meatballs, not patties? Because unlike the other burger places, we don’t squish. We smash. Place your order and we spring into action, painting the grill with real butter, adding a dash of our secret spice blend, and smashing the meatball with a tool we invented ourselves (it’s so new it doesn’t even have a name — let’s just call it the smashing tool). Smashing caramelizes the beef, creating a sear that locks in the juices as no other cooking method can. The result is a burger that’s more tender and flavorful than anybody else’s. A Smashburger. Not a squishburger.

Smashburger Menu

Also I’ve previously always ordered the sweet potato fries with a side of petal sauce. I recently discovered that they also have fried pickles, a food I now love after trying them at the Auburn Alehouse for the first time this summer. They are really good and even better in ranch, but I might try one of their other sauce next time to see if I can find an even better combination.

Smashburger’s staff is on par with Chick-fil-a or In’N’Out, always super polite and doing a great job in general. I’ve yet to have a bad customer service experience, actually not even just an average one for that matter. A solid 5 of 5 rating is due here for the quality burgers and service.