Foodie Review: Nachos at the Bowling Alley


What do you do when you walk over at lunch for a quick bite at the bowling alley and they are so popular the wait is 25 mins for grill grub?

You order some nachos.

I was on the go, I didn’t have that kind of time to wait, so going to a tried and true staple takes me to my childhood.

I was a total weirdo as a kid. I would walk from my house at the age of 10 about a mile to the bowling alley after a quick stop in a store to buy a G.I. Joe. This is happiness at 10 back in 1989-1992.

I was a lone traveler even then. That was a different era when 10 year olds could roam around stores and go to bowling alleys by themselves and nobody gave a shit. Entertainment? Go play outside and come back when it gets dark, unless you are playing flashlight tag, in that case, it doesn’t matter.

In the summers, I would be all sweaty from walking, and would stroll in the bowling alley, walk up to the counter, and order nachos. I’m not sure what the culinary appeal of the bowling alley grill is. Usually teenagers man the counter and the grill itself appears to be from the Great Depression; it doesn’t matter. Day after day people stick their fingers in loaner bowling balls and then eat bowling alley finger foods like this. They drink beer, tell stories, and have a good time. These are my kind of people.

The bowling alley serves food for the common food palette. Ain’t no cheesecakes and lettuce wraps and prime rib being served here. Nope.

So as an adult with a career, why the hell do I stop at the bowling alley? It’s simple; it is sure the hell cleaner than any fast food joint. If I want a quick burger, they actually put a patty on the grill and cook it in front of my eyes. Burger King coats their patties in some weird “flamebroil” sauce and sticks it in a warmer. And when I say patties, the bowling alley uses real stuff from sysco or something. I have no idea what Burger King uses. I’m convinced the secret “flamebroil” sauce is actually leftover jet fuel from the NASAs space shuttle program. McDonald’s? Nobody knows what the hell is in that patty. Is it 50% grade Z meat mixed with sawdust? Who knows. What I do know is that it is essentially a microwaved turd.

Yes, I know. I should go to Five Guys and pay $17 for a meal. I’m on a budget as a penniless writer. $3.50 is more my price point.

I always feel sick 30 mins after eating McDonald’s. Always. Burger King I feel sick around 3 mins after realizing it was yet another fucking mistake to order a #1 meal. I tried their frap last week and felt sick after one sip of whatever the hell that was.

How many times have I felt sick eating at the bowling alley?

Zero.

Imagine that.

Foodie Review: Twisted Root (San Angelo, TX)

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This is an off-the-beaten-path foodie review. Located in San Angelo, Texas, is the Twisted Root Burger Company. Nestled up against a river near downtown, this restaurant was in a prime location. The entire company sports 16 locations, mostly in Texas. For a town as small as San Angelo, the place stuck out as one of the few dining establishments with a modern touch.

IMG_3829.jpegAs soon as you walk in, you are surprised by the modern decoration. The “signage-fest” alone takes a while to scan. For those of you that follow me on twitter @Matt_M_Leonard you saw my tweet storm last month on Bob’s Big Boy … well if you look in the back of the picture, there he was, standing proudly, supervising the patrons of Twisted Root. I was only in town a few days, but quickly got a gist to what the place was about from the menu.

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The prices were pretty reasonable for a fast casual burger joint (no so much for you foot-long-hotdog aficionados). I ordered the buffalo burger version of the Western and fries. It isn’t too often that a fast casual burger joint offers buffalo, so I struck while my hunger was hot.

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While we waited for our order for pickup at the counter, we waited at this “shotgun table.” I’m not sure if this is the typical burger decoration, or if this related to the buffalo I was eating, but it was different. Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.19.19 PM.png

What else was different? Instead of giving us an order number, they gave us a laminated name. I was naturally Alfred Hitchcock. Each had a fun fact of some sort. We waited around ten minutes, snacking on the complimentary pickle slices, until the names were called on the loudspeaker. IMG_3325.jpeg

There it is; behold, the Twisted Root Buffalo Western Burger. The cardboard presentation wasn’t as hip as the company might believe. A basket with a liner like you find at Shake Shack or In-N-Out would have been better. Dumping food in a cardboard box doesn’t really speak “clean” to me. Plus, the portion of the fries wouldn’t have looked so pathetically small. I mean, just look at that? It is sadder than the random piece of lettuce getting pinned by the onion slice. Maybe I’m spoiled from Five Guys going the other way and overloading me with fries (since it costs pennies to make), or the bottomless basket as Red Robin.

How was the burger? Pretty damn tasty. I hadn’t had a burger in a couple of weeks, and this was pretty delicious. I couldn’t really tell the difference between buffalo and beef, mostly because it was fully cooked. Does it beat a Five Guy’s burger? No. Does it beat Red Robin? No. Does it beat fast food burgers? Yes. If I was to make a comparison, this is sort of like when you visit a jack-of-all-trades restaurant like Applebees and order a burger. It’s going to cost about the same, even after factoring in the tip at Applebees, and taste about the same, with the random decorations in the restaurant.

At least at Applebees, they will serve it on a plate.