AM18: Dad’s Kitchen

Today for Lunch I was joined by my brother, his wife, their son and my grandma at Dad’s Kitchen.  This popular Sacramento restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and fairly recently now has a second location on Sunset and Hazel in Fair Oaks (which is the one we went to).

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We arrived at about noon and were seated immediately despite it being somewhat busy.  They have a nice sized patio which had big shades drawn to keep out the blazing sun.  This early in the day it was probably very nice out there.  We were just inside in a medium-sized room with lots of seating.  They have a bar, though I did not get much of a look at it, or the rest of the place.  It is very casual dining.  Lots of neon beer signs and posters make up the decorations.

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Being the weekend we were given the brunch menu. It consisted of 1/3 breakfast options, 1/3 sandwiches and 1/3 burgers.  It all sounded pretty good.  I chose the Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs (topped with house-made gravy and served with home fries and a biscuit)[$14].  Between all of us we pretty much covered all the options which I’ll get to below.

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To drink I ordered the Chocolate Shake Porter from Boulder, which was served on nitro [$6].  They have an impressive whiskey list as well (Beer List / Whiskey List).  The beer followed waters and a soda by a minute or so and was velvety-smooth.  I’ve had this before in a bottle and it’s pretty tasty.  We ordered our food just after that and it came in a little under 15 minutes.

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My brother got the Cowboy Burger (8 oz patty with pepper jack cheese, bacon, house-made BBQ sauce, and crispy onions served on an artisan bun)[$13] and upgraded the fries to blue cheese habanero for $1.  It looked great, cooked medium rare.  He said the fries had great flavor and didn’t have excessive heat from the habanero.

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My sister-in-law ordered the Hot Blonde sandwich (Grilled organic chicken, Swiss cheese, spinach, avocado, cucumbers, tomato, roasted red onion, garlic spread, brown mustard, and Pepper Plant sauce, panini pressed on sliced sourdough and served with sea salted fries).  Since she was sharing this with my 2 year old nephew, our server offered to bring the pepper plant sauce on the side.  Good idea, because I took a whiff of the sauce and it was very peppery.

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My grandma ordered the Dad’s BLT (Bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo, panini pressed on sliced sourdough and served with sea salted fries)[$9].  This looked fantastic.  It has an option for avocado.  I might return to check that out.

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My plate was pretty interesting visually.  The steak was kind of curled up in a weird way that I’ve never seen before.  The home fries, which I asked for done crisp, were perfect.  Some were very dark, which is A-OK to me, I really like them crispy.  There were bits of onion mixed in there as well.  The eggs came out more over-easy than the over-medium I requested.  That’s unfortunately very common anywhere and it’s something I’ve come to expect and live with.

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The biscuit was massive and very unique looking.  It had lots of craggy surface area which was great to scoop up egg, gravy, butter or the awesome (maybe house-made) strawberry jam.  I could have used a bit more though because the biscuit was huge.  As for the steak itself, it was pretty good.  The fried batter was extremely crisp and started coming apart in pieces as I cut.  It had a very peculiar flavor to it that was something I’ve not come across before with chicken fried steak. Thinking it might have been a bit of chili powder.  I was not super crazy about it, and I would prefer a more traditional batter.

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In the end I enjoyed my dish, but I was kind of jealous of everyone else’s orders.  I can say that I will be back, but I’ll stick to burgers and sandwiches next time.  The Dad’s Burger in particular is calling my name (8 oz patty encrusted with 2 oz of bleu cheese crumbles and 2 oz of chopped up bacon)!

AM17: Fatburger

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I have another quick chain visit for today.  I’ve been listening to a podcast about chain restaurants recently called Doughboys.  The most recent episode was about a burger chain called Fatburger.  I had never heard of it before and was surprised to find one in Lincoln.  Well, to my disappointment it actually turned out to be in Thunder Valley Casino rather than in Lincoln proper, but I couldn’t get this place out of my brain for a few days so I decided to check it out for lunch.

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The last time I had visited Thunder Valley was at least 10 years ago.  One major thing that I noticed as soon as I entered the first set of doors was that smoking was obviously permitted inside.  It was thick in the air.  I didn’t actually realize it was still allowed, even in Indian casinos.  This is a huge turnoff, and I can generally handle smokers in most situations (I smoke cigars myself).  Indoors or around food is where I draw the line.

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Obviously this is a food court environment, so the service and ambience were basically non-exsistant.  I decided to go nuts with this burger, especially considering the name, and went with the XXL, a 1lb monstrosity.  All fat burgers with “the works” include mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, relish and mustard.  Taking things further, I added nearly every premium option that is available: cheese, bacon, fried egg and onion rings (the only thing I didn’t add was chili).  My combo with fat fries (steak fries – they have skinny fries also) and a large soda came to a whopping $19.02 before tax.

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14 minutes later and I had a heavy, massive burger which towered over the already largish fries next to it.  As I picked it up from the counter I overheard at least 2 separate people point it out to the person they were with.  It was a spectacle.  It was also hard to get my hands around it, let alone eat the thing.

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The fries were meh.  They definitely needed some salt.  I barely touched them though due to the size of the burger.  That by the way was, actually, surprisingly amazing.  As I was leaving and getting a refill on my soda I briefly watched the person grilling patties.  They started with cubes of ground beef and smashed them down with a flat, metal stamp-looking tool.  That beef tasted amazing, it was nicely seasoned.  It was also really freaking hot.  I had to adjust my grip now and then because my thumb, on the bottom of the burger, was actually getting too hot a few times.  Anyway, what I really enjoyed was how all the crazy ingredients somehow came through and I could taste each individual, discrete flavor.

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If this was located anywhere other than Thunder Valley, I could see myself returning to experiment with different sized burgers and combinations of toppings.  It really was that good.  I just don’t feel any desire to step back into that smokey casino again to do it.  I’m deducting 1.5 from my score just for that.


#246: Jimmy John’s

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Here’s a quickie for a chain spot.  I had actually never heard of Jimmy John’s until they showed up in Roseville.  They are located at the corner of Douglas and Rocky Ridge, right next to Papa Murphy’s.  From an r/Roseville discussion about it, I gathered that the subs are average at best and they pride themselves on speed.  This is basically what I encountered.

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The staff (which seemed huge for a deli on a Sunday at dinner time, they had at least 6 or 7 people) all were in a good mood and seemed to enjoy their work, which is great.  My sandwich, the #17 Ultimate Porker (Applewood smoked ham and bacon with lettuce, tomato & mayo)[$7.79] was ready as I was putting the lid on my soda.  It was decent.  I had added oil & vinegar, though I did not taste or notice it at all.  It might have helped out the slightly dry French roll if it were more apparent.  All the ingredients seemed fresh.

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I feel like this would be good in the <$6 range.  Over that and I have a hard time justifying it when we have such excellent options in Roseville as Better Foods Deli, Guy’s For Lunch, Mr. Subs, Mr. Pickles, Beach Hut and so on.