#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.

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#245: La Fiesta Alteña

La Fiesta Alteña is a new Mexican taqueria located at Lead Hill & Eureka in the old Mas location.  They worked on it for many months and I was surprised to see it was open one day when I was going to a movie at Century 14 in the same center.  On Friday I met my mom for some dinner to try it out.

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We arrived at 5:30 and headed in.  The front door is not obvious, aside from a small little engraved, office-like plaque that said “Entrance”.  They had the far patio door open at the time and, while we went in the front (I stopped in previously to take a peek), we noticed a lot of people walk right past it and head into the patio area, then eventually find their way inside.  When you first walk in it feels like this will be an order-at-the-counter type of place.  There are registers and LCD displays set up at what looks like a counter that you should approach.  Instead, those are for the servers use, and we were greeted and shown to a table.

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The interior has seen extensive remodeling, and it feels very open now, with only a handful of booths in some areas.  The patio is still a fairly unique one in that it is open to the outside, yet sheltered with high glass walls from the wind and elements.  Heaters and fans should keep the space usable year-round.

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When we sat down and started looking over the menus we both noticed that they had the air conditioners BLASTING.  It was downright cold inside on this high-90s day (may have been 100, it was hot either way).  This comes into play, I feel, in a couple ways.  The first was obvious.  Later, they opened the door to the patio from inside the restaurant.  Quickly, a lot of the cool air was lost to the outside and the temperature rose to a more comfortable level.  I’ll get to the 2nd in a moment.

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We skimmed the menus, including the happy hour options (link to the menu, drinks and happy hour here).  I ordered a Model Special [$4 happy hour] and my mom got a margarita [$6 happy hour].  These came out right about the time we ordered.  I decided on the Chile Verde (slow cooked succulent pork, coated with roasted jalapeños and tangy tomatillos served with rice and refried beans)[$11.75].  My mom got the happy hour Nachos with chicken (choice of asada, pastor, carnitas, pollo with melted cheese, guacamole & sour cream)[$5].  We were also served chips and a trio of salsas.

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The chips were very standard, nothing special.  The pico de gallo was the most flavorful and was clearly fresh.  The other, more blended salsa packed a nice heat to it, but otherwise didn’t have much going on.  The beans were warm, mild and enjoyable.

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Our orders came out in roughly ten minutes.  The nacho plate was impressive for $5.  My picture, I am realizing as I look at it now, does not really do it justice.  The plate is actually an oval and it looks like a small circle how I shot it.  That and it was deeper than you’d expect.  It consisted of the same average chips, but was totally loaded with the toppings and there was plenty left over at the end.  This is a great value.

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My chile verde tasted pretty good and had some nice spice and flavor from the jalapeños, however the pork was not quite as tender as I anticipated.  The beans and rice were very standard.  There was a ton of cool sour cream.  At first I didn’t see any guacamole, but later found it hidden under some stray lettuce from the little salad.  It was fresh and delicious.  This is where I think the 2nd point about the air conditioning comes into play.  My plate was somewhat cold, and as a result the beans, rice and chili verde were all room temperature at best.  I think the overlay-chilled air had caused the plates in the kitchen to end up colder than usual, and they definitely didn’t warm them up prior to plating.  It just sapped all the heat out of the food.  That was pretty disappointing.  The nacho plate seemed to be OK though.

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Towards the end of our dinner a mariachi band set up in the patio on a raised stage and started cranking out music.  It was heard pretty easily inside with the door open, and was fairly loud in the patio.  I took a little bit of video (below) before we left.

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The heat issue will leave an impression in my mind but I do think this is definitely a good spot for happy hour.  Those nachos were a great deal for $5.

Website: http://lafiestaaltena.com

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here

AM10: Sam’s Classic Burgers

This place is somewhat special.  Sam’s Classic Burgers is the place that I was driving by for the umpteenth time when my curiosity finally piqued and I had the idea to eat my way through Roseville.  5 years later and I’m finally going there!

This is a little roadside drive-in burger joint located on Auburn in Citrus Heights, between Old Auburn and Antelope.  I pulled in just after 5 and thought they were closed.  I was peering intently into the building, which didn’t seem to have any lights on, and finally spotted a face staring back at me.  They did have an open sign in the window, so I parked and walked over to the front.

The menu is very typical for this type of place.  The only thing that seemed out of place was a grilled ham and egg sandwich, the only item with egg on the menu.

I studied the menu briefly and waited probably 30 seconds before the woman slid the glass window open.  That seemed a little strange.  The customer service was pretty lacking up front, but later, when she brought the order to my table inside, she seemed to be in a slightly friendlier mood.

I got a double cheeseburger [$5], a small fry [$2], a small butterscotch milk shake [$3.25] and a water.  The three concrete tables out front were right in the sun and slightly warmer than I was interested in so I headed inside.  There were only 6 seats in there and it was a bit run down.

My order came in a stuffed paper bag with greasy spots already showing through.  The burger was on the bottom and piled up with quite a lot of fries.  Topping it off were napkins, ketchup packets and a straw for my shake.

The shake was delicious!  I can only think of pudding and syrup topping for ice cream as far a this flavor is concerned, and this shake pretty much nailed it.  Comes in a foam cup so nearly 2 hours later, as I type this, I’m just finishing it up and it still hasn’t melted.

The fries were very hot, obviously right out of the fryer.  About half were crisp on the outside and soft within, and the other half a bit limp.  All of them could have used a bit more salt, of which there was only trace amounts.  I couldn’t find any salt packets or shakers, though something might have been up at the front outside.  Ketchup would have done the trick, but with not much other than a paper bag there wasn’t a neat place to squeeze it out.

The burger was pretty much exactly what I expected.  The patties were thin, cooked well done and fairly greasy.  A double cheese burger at most places usually means 2x patties and 2x cheese.  Here it must only be 1x cheese (or 2x very thinly sliced cheese) because there wasn’t a whole lot on it.  The large, thin slice of tomato wasn’t very ripe yet.  One of the more redeeming things of this burger was the sauce.  It was kind of a creamier, sweeter version of thousand island.  Overall, this burger was acceptable at best.  I wonder how late they stay open considering they are right next to a bar.  Probably a good spot for the inebriated looking for a bite while they wait for their Uber.

Website: None

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