Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Bob for the Block

Place: In-N-Out Burger
Lunch: Double Double (no lettuce, no tomato, add pickles and grilled onions), chocolate shake

You know what I never noticed before?  In-N-Out’s grilled onions are reconstituted dehydrated minced onions.

They’re fine, it just seems odd for a chain that boasts of “fresh” so much.  And it won’t matter to the In-N-Out faithful, who are as fiercely and blindly behind the brand as Apple fans are to theirs.

This was made apparent in news stories covering the closure of the oldest operating Burgerville.  The Portland chain’s Beaverton outlet was my childhood burger joint and it still retains that classic exterior look.  I’ve stopped in for lunch on every trip home for years.

It’s a big deal to a lot of people to see it go, including to the media, who covered it and posted said stories on Facebook.  Which meant there were lots of comments.  That included lots of snarky negative comments.

“Who cares.  They’re overrated.”

“Their quality has gone down hill and they’re overpriced.”

“The whole chain will be out of business as soon as In-N-Out opens.”

Wait...what?  In-N-Out?  Yes.  In-N-Out is opening a restaurant soon in Salem.

A single location, specifically, that is 40 miles from this Burgerville (and most other Burgervilles), is going to put all 40 Burgervilles out of business.

This isn’t just a Burgerville issue, of course.  The same thing happens with all the major chains.  Everybody loves to dump on McDonald’s and Burger King like it’s a sport.  But no matter how many new and even better competitors grow, they’re still the biggest burger chains.

This happens with any business, news story, musical artist page, you name it.  It was on the official KISS page that I got fed up with the idiots who “like” the page and follow the posts for their big tour just so they can leave comments like “its fake Paul’s lip-synching” and “they’re a cover band without Ace and Peter.”

And that’s when I started blocking people.

When you block a user on Facebook, they can no longer see your posts, you can no longer see theirs, and they can’t send you friend requests.  And if they’re already friends, they’re automatically unfriended.

The KISS feed suddenly became so much more readable.

So I started to do the same with toxic users on other feeds.  Then I started muting the radical firebombing political posters regardless of party affiliation who I am friends with (muting hides their posts from your feed, but they can still read yours) or selectively putting some on 30 day mutes.  And I started hiding all content from meme sources my friends are constantly sharing on their feeds.  (Hiding a source means you’ll no longer see shared posts from that source without completely muting your friend.)

I also started blocking big pharma advertisers so I don’t have to look at their disgusting ads.

You know what?  Facebook has become a lot more tolerable.  My feed is more readable.  It’s not perfect, but it’s better.

So the next time you see that same username posting yet another stupid negative unnecessary comment, click on their profile, find the option to block them, and send them into the abyss.

You’ll feel much better in the morning.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Big Roast Beefy

Place: Hardee's
Lunch: Big Roast Beef, 1/3 lb Original Thickburger (no lettuce, no tomato), orange Hi-C

Years ago, Hardee's was sold to CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl's Jr.  CKE's plan was to use the highly damaged chain to springboard the Carl's Jr brand from regional to national.  To convert Hardee's to Carl's Jr, not unlike how Hardee's did the same to Sandy's and Burger Chef.  They were going to keep the Hardee's breakfast line, because that was actually working, but adopt the Carl's Jr lunch/dinner menu.  Seemed like a good idea at the time, because Hardee's had little going on past 10:30am.  Credit the employees and customers of Peoria, one of the initial two test markets, for sabotaging this.

Plan B was what was known as "Star Hardee's", which was basically the same plan but with the Hardee's brand name and curly fries and the Hot Ham & Cheese returning to the menu.  The Carl's Jr burgers stuck around.

Not returning to the menu was the Big Roast Beef.  The popular option featured pressed roast beef much like Arby's, but piled higher on a buttery sesame seed bun.  It's one of the few menu items anyone can remember of pre-CKE Hardee's, and easily the most missed.

Fast forward two decades and change later, and Hardee's has rolled out the Big Roast Beef once again systemwide, and it's return has been...polarizing.  The comments in social media ads have been anywhere from joy to the idea that it's back to anger that it's allegedly not the same as it was to debates about what it used to be in the first place.  A lot of people claimed it was taken from the Roy Rogers menu after Hardee's parent company acquired that chain (it wasn't...Hardee's offered it years before the acquisition and the sandwich bore no resemblance at all to Roy's roast beef).  One guy insisted the original came dressed with mayo, lettuce, and tomato, and no amount of replies telling him that was never true (and it wasn't) will change his mind.  Others complained that the original was shaved from a roast on site (debatable) and was piled way higher (true) and tasted different (also true).

Something else that's true?  It never really completely disappeared.  Some rural market stores have been selling it all along or at least in recent years.  But even that version wasn't comparable to the 80's Hardee's.  It was still delicious.  The bun...more recently the Fresh Baked Bun used on the Thickburgers...was saturated in a buttery sauce that made the whole thing magical.  If I was near a Hardee's that had it, I was getting it.  So I assumed this wuld be what they were rolling out systemwide when I saw the ads.

So is it?  Or is it a true throwback to the original?

It's neither.

The "new" roast beef is soaked in an au jus prior to serving that you can taste in the beef.  And the buttery sauce doesn't exist.  And the combination makes for a vastly different and altogether inferior sandwich.

Highly disappointing.

So I need to go back to one of those rural Hardee's to see if they're now making the sandwich this new way.

If they are, everything is ruined here.