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chain foods that surprised you...

my surprise was in a really good way this morning at starbuck's -- their breakfast sandwich with cheese and fresh spinach. eggs florentine with fresh spinach and havarti, i understand (it was a generous sample). i was quite taken aback -- really nicely done, with savory cheese, actual fresh spinach, and tasty-- not chewy -- bread. balanced flavors, moist, cheesy, not greasy. nicely warmed. i'll get it in the future.

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  1. I hate McDonald's and have had too many bad experiences to mention. That being said, a few years ago we were driving cross country (East Coast to West Coast). We were somewhere in the desert off Rt 40 and were starving. I was waiting to see a BK, Wendy's, or even Taco bell sign, but nothing arose. We eventually gave in and pulled up to the only food place around - Micky D's. That was the one and only time I've ever had a really fresh, juicy, beefy burger from them. I just wish I could remember what exit or even state we were in.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mojoeater

      Lol-you were probably just so hungry that you were having sensory hallucinations.

    2. The (chicken) salads at Pollo Campero in Guatemala.

      The McSomething--a single paddy burger with real lettucfe, tomato, sauce--I had last week at the McDonalds in the Bogota international airport. About $1.75 relative to about $5.00 for a quarter pounder.

      1. Get em while you can, as they are going to discontinue serving them in an effort to get their stores back to a more grande cafe latte smell....

        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/bus...

        1. The carpaccio at Brio Tuscan Grill. It's as good as any carpaccio I've had at any high-end fancy restaurant.

          1. The chicken taco combo at El Pollo Loco-- tried it recently and thought it was good.

            1. Cheesecake Factory's Tex-Mex egg rolls. I crave these things, and the gross yet totally addictive ancho chile sauce served with them. A lot of the mid range chain restos are copying this dish, but none can even come close to the tastiness of Cheesecake Factory. I was hooked on these the first time I tried them. I probably have only been to the Cheesecake Factory 4 times in the past 4 years, but everytime I go, I get the same thing - tex mex egg rools, and a cheesecake slice. they can keep all the rest of their food, I'm just not interested. And their cheesecake barely holds my interest any more since they discontinued the Pecan Pie Cheesecake. For those who were not lucky enough to ever encounter this phenomena - it was a pecan pie with a cheesecake on top of it. A slice would cause a diabetic coma for anyone. Good times...good times.

              1. The Firecracker Tendercrisp at Burger King is actually quite good. It's amazingly spicy for a mass-produced chicken sandwich (at least the one I had was - it was so spicy I thought it might have been a fluke). The bun held together well, the lettuce was crunchy, and the chicken was actually crispy. I don't eat fast food very often and this was a very pleasant surprise.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sistinas

                  Jack In The Box egg rolls! Crispy on the outside with peppery ground pork or chicken and crispy veggies...I was shocked and now I love them.

                2. Just got a copy of Restaurant News and on the cover it says, Starbucks to pull breakfast items, will happen by the end of the year so get it while you can!

                  1. They stopped carrying that spinach one in California a while ago. It was my favorite muffin sandwich and the only vegetarian one. We now have the other four english muffin ones (and I get the ham one as a lunch) and also two wraps- one is vegetarian (feta, spinach, sun dried tomato, egg and cheese) and a bacon avocado egg and cheese wrap. The wraps cost 30ยข more than the sandwiches, but the 'tortilla' that is used is a hearty, grainy one, not a thin 'tortilla'.

                    All the stores out here have the convection oven and that works so well to warm the sandwichs and the sweets...it will be a shame to see them go.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Cathy

                      The one with avocado tastes a little funny. I think it's the heating up of the avocado that does it. Almost plastic-like. Not bad, but not as good as it sounds :(

                      1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                        Every time I have had the one with the avocado, for some reason, the avocado has stayed cold in the center, and so that is what *made* it be my favorite...along with having "normal" bacon ( I can't stand the peppered stuff)...

                    2. I have an ongoing love affair with Chic Fil A (who doesn't?), but I am totally digging those new Toasted Subs at Arbys (esp. the French dip): http://www.rtminc.com/menu/subs.php

                      1. just recently got the wendy's premium fish filet. good, while mild, and tasty crunchy (thin) crust on a real filet of fish! tartar sauce a bit vinegary. lettuce limp. i'll get it again for a quick on-the-go fish fix. definitely a notch or two above competitors' fish "filets".

                        1. In and Out at 1 am in Prescott, AZ. We live in Ohio and had never encountered one.

                          Oh. My. God.

                          1. I would have to say Baja Fresh. I went there this past weekend and my boyfriend had the Baja Burrito (jack cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole) with chicken. I have never seen him eat so fast in his life! The burrito looked delicious; everything was layered perfectly and there was a TON of meat. It was wrapped up nice and tight in a really fresh tortilla. I went for a plain chicken salad (dieting). Just plain; only lettuce and chicken. I was really surprised when I received the salad! It was huge with a large amount of juicy chicken chunks. The salad was really fresh and the chicken was really delicious. It was so big that I had to divide into thirds. A really fresh salad with really generous portions.

                            1. I love the low-fat apricot blueberry muffin at Starbucks. I normally think low-fat pastries are not worth eating, but I've been hooked on these since the first one.

                              The nachos at the Cheesecake Factory are surprisingly good, too. (I ask them to add black beans.)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: trishyb

                                It might be lower fat but the calories still rank in close to 500. Who is Starbucks kidding?

                                1. re: Jacey

                                  Actually, it only has 350 calories, with only 4g of total fat. There really aren't any other baked breakfast items (muffins, pastries, bagels, donuts, etc.,) that are comparable calorie-wise at any of the other chains. I don't think Starbucks was trying to fool anyone...

                              2. Wahoo's blackened shrimp tacos. They were very good, a lot better than I expected.

                                1. I had the best biscuits and gravy at a McDonald's in VA about 10 years ago. I recently tried their breakfast bagel with steak and onions and was very pleasantly surprized.

                                  For lunch you can't beat a cup of Wendy's chili and a baked potato - so satisfying and under $3.