Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Check... Please!!!!!

We spend a lot of time around Wiglar Headquarters thinking... thinking and asking questions about what it would take to make the Wiglar a more "legitimate" publication. What would it take to turn this rag into a more valued part of the community while at the same time helping the local economy? What could we possibly do to give the Reglar Wiglar a little more class? And then it hits us: restaurant reviews! What if we gave a couple of our best writers five bucks and sent them out to review a few of the local eateries? Yeah, we spend a lot of time around here thinking... thinking and asking questions...

SUBWAY

Strip mall on Broadway, just north of Berwyn

You know those coupons they print on the back of you receipt from the grocery store?

Ambiance

Nonexistent. A few tables, d├ęcor overwhelmingly sepia-toned. Huh. I'll take it to go, thanks.

Cuisine/Service

First off, the ordering procedure at Subway is pretty peculiar: standing face to face with the "sandwich artist", guiding the artist through the creation of your meal. A dialog is established. "What kind of bread would you like?" (Ceramic replicas of the options are on display to aid the undecided). "What kind of cheese? Lettuce? Tomatoes? Pickles? Peppers?" These artists approach their work like the guildsmen of the Rococo period. I ordered a steak and cheese sandwich. "Steak, cheese, and bread. That's all I want." By the time he'd finished, the Sandwich Artist had offered me olives, jardiniere, mayonnaise, and (this one startled me), salad dressing. The sandwich, eventually made to my specifications, was pretty darn good. I had to heat it up in the oven at home in order to get the white cheese-like stuff under the meat to melt. While I was warming my sandwich, I read the nutritional information printed on the napkin. It was, um, informative. Subway Select Horseradish Steak and Cheese, the sandwich was called, and I'll order it again, if I ever get another one of those nifty coupons.

$$$

Sandwich and a bag of Cheetos: $4.12.

Check . . . Please!!!--Wolfgang Puke

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Check... Please!!!!

We spend a lot of time around Wiglar Headquarters thinking... thinking and asking questions about what it would take to make the Wiglar a more "legitimate" publication. What would it take to turn this rag into a more valued part of the community while at the same time helping the local economy? What could we possibly do to give the Reglar Wiglar a little more class? And then it hits us: restaurant reviews! What if we gave a couple of our best writers five bucks and sent them out to review a few of the local eateries? Yeah, we spend a lot of time around here thinking... thinking and asking questions...

TACO BELL/KFC

Corner of Irving Park Road and California

A few years ago, Kentucky Fried Chicken underwent a public image makeover and became KFC. At the time, there was a rumor going around that they were forced to change their name by the FDA. Kentucky Fried Chicken, so the legend went, had developed a bird with three legs and four wings but no feathers, beak or feet, and that's what they were frying up Extra Crispy or Original Recipe. Apparently, the FDA's um beef with this was that CHICKENS ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE A BEAK, FEET, FEATHERS AND ONLY TWO LEGS AND TWO WINGS! So Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC and everybody stayed honest. Quite a compelling and believable story, but it turns out the real reason they made the change was because they didn't want "fried" in their name anymore. The nature of the body parts they are frying remains of no consequence, hence the name of the restaurant (does Kentucky Fried Chicken count as a restaurant?). Not long after that, these little team-ups with Taco Bell, (the fare of both KFC and TB is available) started popping up where one or another of the two franchises were having trouble. No one doubts Taco Bell's claim of tacos-as-tacos, but there is certainly controversy abrew within.

Cuisine

Five stars, Taco Bell only (Adam Parfey once met Harlan Sanders in a hotel somewhere and [this was late in Sander's life] the Colonel said of his former company's product, "They couldn't pay me to eat that shit," and I concur). Taco Bell has been serving the finest chain/franchise food in the free world for nearly three decades. Because of the dual personality of the menu at this location, they stick to the basics. Abominations like the Double-Decker Taco, Chalupa, and Meximelt are not for sale here. If you're into fusion, Taco Bell lunch or dinner with KFC Parfait dessert is an excellent combination.

Service

My order was prepared and handed over to me and the inevitable question asked: "Hottomildsaucewifyo order today, sir?"

"I'd like some hot sauce, please," I answered proudly. Pandemonium erupted as the uniformed Taco Bell cashier discovered that there was not Taco Bell hot sauce, only KFC hot sauce. The manager, he in KFC managerial get-up, came to the rescue. "It doesn't matter, they're both the same!" he explained, and I believed him. I should have asked him what he knew about the "chickens."

Ambiance

Placid and cozy. You won't be bothered by a large crowd here. There are only four tables (all of them booths) in the dining room, and all provide a beautiful view of verdant Horner Park, just across the street. Extra accouterments and the trash cans are never more than a few convenient steps away. Unlimited soft drink refills make this a splendid place to wile away the afternoon, daydreaming.

$$$

Once again, stick with the Taco Bell side of the menu and order a la carte. The value meals are overpriced and to include a comically large and unwieldy soft drink cup. Order a regular sized drink (yes, Taco Bell also maintains this conceit there is no "small" size), and make the most of those free refills. Order wisely and you can stuff yourself to the bursting point for under $5. You can walk it off with a stroll through the park.

Check . . . Please!!!--Wolfing Puke