Tenderloin Appreciation Society – Working at Home

Would you believe that I haven’t posted a tenderloining post since February 5… of 2020? I mean, that just flat out sucks people. I know there are much worse things that have happened due to the horribly mismanaged pandemic, but throw that log on the dumpster fire too.

It isn’t that I haven’t had any tenderloins in the last year. I’ve been to Cole’s for their tenderloin. Sat outside in a Slater park, re-acquainting myself with greatness. And… that is it. I’ve had a few home tenderloins, but I think that this is the only tenderloin I’ve had from a restaurant.

Now make it a second tenderloin I’ve had since the beginning of the pandemic. Usually on Friday, my Mom picks up lunch from a local restaurant and brings it to me, to eat in the moments when I put down my pick. Usually that means garlic chicken from New China or the Friday rib special from Jimmy’s.

We’ve been trying to branch out in the last few weeks. A couple Fridays ago she brought me the tenderloin from Toby K’s Hideaway. Now this is a tenderloin that I’ve had and enjoyed before, but have never officially reviewed.

It isn’t quite fair to review it under these circumstances, for reasons I will get into, but I think a fair overview of the tenderloin is that it is a good, but not great tenderloin. I’d definitely knock a few of these down, but it doesn’t belong in the Tenderloin Pantheon. So few do.

Here are some cruddy cell phone pictures:


Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway
The problem with properly reviewing this tenderloin is pretty obvious in this picture.

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway
Yes, that is clearly my bathroom in the background. Yes I considered cropping that out. Yes I chose not to crop it out.

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Whenever I review a tenderloin, I order it with what they put on it. There is a proper way to dress a tenderloin and it is the following:

+ Mustard
+ Ketchup
+ Onions
+ Pickles

Look at this picture again:


Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Now you’ll notice that they have dressed the tenderloin with the following:

+ Mayo
+ Onions
+ Pickles
+ Tomato
+ Lettuce

As you can see…


Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

I went ahead and added the mustard and ketchup. I didn’t hold the lack of mustard and ketchup against them because most restaurants serve the tenderloin without mustard and ketchup. Since they are on the table and you can dress the tenderloin with whatever amounts of mustard and ketchup you want.

I personally don’t believe that lettuce or tomato belong on a tenderloin. A burger. Fine. A tenderloin. Nope.

I don’t hold it against a restaurant that does it though. Well, don’t hold it against them much. Some restaurants will have a menu item called the “Tenderloin Deluxe”. All it is, is a tenderloin that they’ve added lettuce and tomato to the mix. Nice try restaurant. You aren’t getting an extra 75 cents out of me.

Usually when I get a tenderloin with lettuce and tomato, to effectively review it, I will eat the first half of it with the lettuce and tomato and then remove them and enjoy the rest of the tenderloin the way God and the pig intended it.

Here is where it gets problematic. The tenderloin I was presented with included mayo. That would normally be a major strike against it. Maybe you like mayo on your tenderloin. That is between you, the pig, and your maker. But it goes 100% against the standards set by the Tenderloin Appreciation Society at The Council of Nicea.

The problem is, I can’t hold that against the restaurant. Putting mayo on the tenderloin was not their idea. My Mom asked them to add mayo. I don’t know why. She must take me for a godless heathen.

So here is my review, but because of the mayo issue, it is for entertainment purposes only. As opposed to the seriousness you give my normal tenderloin reviews.

THE GOOD

+ Toasted bun.
+ Right kind of bun.
+ Good bun to tenderloin ratio.
+ Good breading.
+ Good cut of meat. Could have been thicker though.
+ Onion rings were delicious.

THE BAD

+ Standard tenderloin is served with lettuce and tomato. Lettuce and tomato don’t belong on a tenderloin.
+ A tad greasy. Yeah, it is a tenderloin, but greasy enough that this should’ve been drained longer.
+ Prefer a thicker cut of meat.
+ Red onions.

THE UGLY

+ Mayo. Not their fault, but mayo!

I hope to have another tenderloin to review in the near future. Even if that means going through the Dairy Queen drive-thru and having a pork fritter. Just kidding! A pork fritter is NOT a pork tenderloin. But, I could get desperate.

24 thoughts on “Tenderloin Appreciation Society – Working at Home”

  1. This post made my day.

    It has been so long since I’ve had a tenderloin, and I think that was a gas station abomination. Sounds like I need to make a trip.

  2. This article brings back memories. Glenn and I read a article in DSM Register many years ago about 10 best tenderloins in Iowa. Readers would send in restaurants with the best tenderloin. We took an Iowa map, highlighted the towns, and went on road trips to try the tenderloind in the towns every week end. Lots of scenery, pleasant folks, and tenderloins. We would tell you about the places. Remember?

  3. Joe,

    That is borderline tragic. If you ever make it back up to Iowa, I have some places we can go. Post pandemic, of course.

    Tamara,

    Of course. One of my favorite things was getting restaurant tips from you and Glenn. I miss having those conversations after church. I can’t wait until the pandemic is over, so I can start incorporating tenderloining in with my town sign harvesting trips. There are so many great tenderloins out there and I haven’t had nearly enough of them!

  4. That wasn’t just a little mayo, either – that thing was lousy with it. Was your mom maybe mad at you?

  5. Going to answer this one first, cause it is the shortest to answer.

    My Mom mistook me for Teresa. Teresa likes mayo on her tenderloin and burgers. She thought I did too.

    I will say as a quick aside, for supper that night I had the leftover fish that my Mom had ordered. The fish was REALLY good. Yeah, probably frozen off a Sysco truck, but still delicious and made me miss Long John’s even more.

    I’m obviously not Catholic, but one thing I miss not being able to do because of the pandemic is hitting some fish fries during Lent.

  6. Overall not a mayo fan here, but neither is my brother, so my mom would be pretty safe interchanging us there. That’s an easy mistake on your mom’s part, though.

    So, this is going to sound weird- but do you have or have you seen an air fryer? I thought it was stupid because it’s essentially a convection oven on a small scale. Jon wanted one for his birthday earlier this month, though – and we freaking love the thing. It’s great for crisping up stuff like leftover fish, or even for cooking frozen breaded fish filets. It’s nowhere near the same as a fish fry or Long John’s, but man would it be better than the oven or microwave.

  7. Your taste on condiments is suspect due to what you like to do with ranch and ketchup, but generally I’m not a big fan or mayo. Unless it is on a cold cut sandwich. Like a sub. Also mayo is delicious in cake. In fact, just last week I made some pretty incredible hot ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo (and mustard) on my griddle. So good!

    I actually do own an air fryer. Flat Earth Joe, who is also the Godfather of Vaping was one of the first people I know to hop on the air fryer bandwagon. He even used to post Snapchat stories of him cooking with his air fryer. So he actually got me into the air fryer scene.

    I don’t use it as much as I should. I do use my oven for making lunch most days, but I probably should be using the air fryer.

    But air fryers are definitely great!

    The same bar/restaurant I got this tenderloin from is doing an all-you-can-eat fish fry during the Fridays of Lent. Now I don’t know what that means for take-out orders, but I need to look into that. After all, this isn’t Pizza Friday. Although I do have my heart set on grilling Friday and grilling is better for that heart than fried fish. But lent is only 40 days. I’m so torn!

    I have noticed that some ovens are starting to tout that they have a built-in air fryer. Doesn’t that just mean that is a convection oven.

  8. Just think of ranchup as “less-evil French dressing.” I also do not like mayo, but love mayo cake. I do concede that mayo on a hot ham and cheese gives it some zip that it sorely misses with just butter, but only a thin smear. The kids and I have tried to rank our condiments that we use. I think my power ranking is something like this (#1 and #2 switch around a fair amount):

    1. Soy sauce
    2. Mustard
    3. Ranchup
    4. Freddy’s Sauce
    5. Honey mustard

    That doesn’t account for barbecue sauce, however – I’m very specific on my barbecue sauces (mustard-based is best!). So all that was to say that I greatly approve of the addition of mustard to your hot ham and cheese. Alice has come around and eats a ton of mustard and most other condiments, but Charlie is still in the “plain everything” phase. Although, that boy and I will share black olive pizza, which makes my heart happy.

    I’m so glad you have an air fryer! We might be in a honeymoon phase with it – my favorite thing to put in there are frozen chicken dumplings. I don’t like the boiled ones, and some places don’t get them crisp enough – the air fryer is perfect at 400 for ten minutes (then dip in soy sauce). It is so convenient. Definitely use it to crisp things up, if you don’t already! Jon is our cook, so I trust him on what goes in it and what doesn’t. But it HAS cut down our oven use.

    I was just trying to picture how all-you-can-eat works with take-out. Didn’t Frank used to murder the all-you-can-eat shrimp (or crab or something) at Red Lobster when they did that? I would think Red Lobster would have some sort of system? But who knows. Maybe you can do a grilled AND fried fish (I think Food Network calls that something like “cod two ways” or something)? Best of both worlds?

    I’ve wondered the same – I mean, I really think that’s just a convection oven. Which I think sells pretty well already, why not just keep calling it that?

  9. First of all, there is nothing evil about French dressing. It is the dressing of champions! That and Dorothy Lynch.

    I also weirdly like mayo on a Philly. Probably going to eat another tenderloin today, but it is one I’ve already reviewed, so there won’t be a new review of it.

    I don’t even know what is considered a condiment. They say that salsa is a condiment, but I don’t think it is. I wouldn’t consider soy sauce a condiment, but it probably is. Because of my confusion about what is even a condiment, I don’t have a power ranking.

    But it would be hard to rank barbecue sauce because they vary so much in taste and quality. I would say the same thing for honey mustard. Freddy’s sauce is excellent. I haven’t eaten there since the pandemic, but I do miss it so.

    I’ve been completely out of food for two days, so if I make it to the grocery store, I’ll need to get some things that I can put in the air fryer. Which I guess is pretty much the same thing as you can put in the oven.

    I think you might be thinking of Clarence with the all you can eat shrimp deal. I’ve eaten that deal a couple different times with Clarence and it is a terrible experience. Worse than going out to eat with Steve. I’m sure The Hideaway probably gives you what it considers what they consider to be the first batch of fish for a to go order. Probably not like a pancake feed where the to go order is as much as you want. Of course, fish costs much more than pancakes do. Another thing I miss. Going to pancake feeds a couple times a year.

  10. I don’t know why I don’t like French dressing – it’s certainly better than thousand island. Creamy Italian is so much better than thousand island, although they sort of look the same.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had mayo on a philly. I do sometimes dip a Pepperjax one in their ranch (which is really good), however, so I guess that’s sort of similar? A little tang doesn’t hurt a philly. I hope it’s a quality tenderloin, and not a “make do” type.

    Alice and I were having a debate on what constitutes a condiment. I suggested it should be something you might find put out on a table at a coordinating restaurant, but that removes ranch (which has become one) and honey mustard. She said anything you dip anything in, so she had sweet and sour sauce way up her list, but I don’t feel like that is one. So I do think it’s a pretty grey area.

    It’s sort of impossible to even rank barbecue sauces without breaking it down into “this is the best honey barbecue,” “this is the best mustard-based,” “this is the best sweet.” Similar to honey mustard – you have some that skew far more mustard, and some that are far more honey. We buy a bottle of Freddy’s Sauce because Charlie loves it so much, but we are definitely known to order Freddy’s for carryout via EatStreet about once a month or so. THAT is probably the best burger in Ames. I guess there was some “restaurant condiment” power ranking and Chick-Fil-A sauce won it.

    We’re going to have to make an actual trip into the grocery store tomorrow. I really can’t stand the grocery store, ever since I was a little kid. So I’m mentally bracing myself. I hope you detest it less.

    It might be Clarence! I think Jon and I went with him and Frank once during it, and I remember being horrified, but I couldn’t remember by whom. If I remember, Clarence was as condescending to waitresses as he was to most of support (especially women). I love Steve so much, but I feel TERRIBLE for the wait staff every time we go out to eat. I don’t think I’ve ever had to-go from a pancake feed! The last pancake feed we went to was at the Ames Airport – they have this “fly-in day” where you can look in planes, get cheap rides around Ames, and do a pancake feed. Charlie and Jon went up for C’s first plane ride that way a couple of years ago. It’s such a bummer that so many things aren’t practical right now.

  11. When I was in high school, there was an article in Rolling Stone with Alistair Crowley, I think. Maybe it was Anton LaVey. He said that when he got to meet people, well men, he asked them what was their favorite kind of dressing. The only two answers he respected were French and Russian.

    I don’t bring this up because I respect either of those individuals. But more as an example of the fact that there is some worthless crap rolling around inside this head.

    Why those two dressings? I’ll leave that part up to your imagination.

    Ranch by the way is a condiment and not a salad dressing. If you see somebody putting ranch on a salad, you punch them in the throat. I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.

    Pepperjax! I was trying to remember the name of that place. When I go there, I like to order extra mushrooms. Then I will dump some of the mushroom au jus on top. Then I add both their barbecue sauce and mayo to the sandwich. Why? Because I’m a health nut!

    I would say that the best just all purpose barbecue sauce on the market is Sweet Baby Ray’s AND it is also one of the least expensive. The absolute worst is Cookie’s barbecue sauce. Must be at least 95% sugar. Reminds me of the awful barbecue sauce the Evil Clown Empire serves with their nugs.

    Which is strange because the barbecue sauce they serve with the chicken tenders is pretty good and the rib sauce is an excellent barbecue sauce. I used to “borrow” it sometimes to make little smokies. Since I haven’t eaten there in 15 years, I don’t know if they still have different barbecue sauces for their nugs and their strips, so that it old intel.

    Chick-Fil-A sauce is a lowkey great sauce. But I mean, it really is just a honey mustard. You can’t convince me otherwise.

    What is a great nugs sauce is B-Bops honey mustard. Magnifique! The B-Bop’s in Ames does not carry sweet and sour, but the other ones do. Why? Don’t know. It is one of the great mysteries of our time.

    I do love Freddie’s. I was introduced to them before they came up here on my numerous trips to Kansas. When I described Freddie’s to people I would say:

    “Imagine a Steak and Shake, only, get this… it doesn’t suck!”

    But none of that defines, what is a condiment. I’m going to go with the definition that if you can dip nugs in it, it is a condiment. So that includes sweet and sour.

    As for whether or not I like going to the grocery store… I don’t really like shopping in general, but if I can come home with some of my favorite foods, then it isn’t too bad. Plus in a small town, going to the grocery store is one of the few chances I get to socialize.

    Steve is terrible to restaurant employees and Clarence manages to be exponentially worse somehow. And the amount of food that Clarence can down is absolutely terrifying. I’m sure that there are colonies of shrimp that will never recover because of how much he eats during the all-you-can eat at Red Lobster.

    The Lions Club in Boone usually hosts a couple of pancake feeds during the year. I usually go to both of them because my grandparents were in the Lions Club and as far as I know, they do good work without doing any human sacrifices. But while I do enjoy pancakes, I’m really there for the little sausages. They aren’t even that great, but I can’t get enough of them!

  12. Hmm. I think that particular brand of snobbiness may say more about Mr. Crowley/LaVey than the people he interviews. Creamy parm is clearly the right answer. Like the one they have down at Latin King. I’d eat a human ear covered in that crap.

    I will occasionally use ranch as a dressing, but it is largely depending on the other choices. And it is also dependent on the ranch – there is some crap-balls ranch out there. (See both Sonic and Culver’s.) They are terrible as both condiments and, I’d assume, a dressing.

    We usually have some Sweet Baby Ray’s on hand! We only buy Cookie’s as a joke to give a friend to taunt his bad taste, because that crap is terrible. I would never have guessed that they had different barbecue sauces – I guess I never really ate the McRib, however, so I don’t really know. I’ve never tried their sauces for nugs – I really don’t like their nugs very much? (OH – by the way, I love that you call them “nugs.” We call them either nugs or “chicky chicky nug nugs” in this house as a rule.) So I don’t think I’ve really tried many of their dipping sauces. I think little roasties are fantastic that you can totally change the experience by using a different barbecue sauce on them. We don’t eat them enough, and we should.

    Jon has started making Chick-Fil-A sauce at home, and it’s almost entirely honey mustard with a little barbecue sauce or something thrown in. I’m not sure of the recipe, he looked it up. But I would throw it in the garbage if I saw some B-Bops honey mustard. I’ve never tried their sweet and sour sauce, I don’t think.

    I’ve never been to a Steak and Shake, largely because I’ve heard they are crap and are not local. And, if I’m in a place that has them, I’m almost always going to prioritize a locally-owned place. (I believe you are the same way.) I make that exception here for Freddy’s because it’s fantastic. Our kids love it, too, and it’s got honestly pretty well everything good on their menu. Charlie has gotten fantastic chicken strips, Jon got a good hot dog. I’ll stick with the burger, but it’s all just really well done.

    That’s true – I do almost always see someone I know at the grocery store, even here. But the “being at the grocery store” part offsets it, so we’re sort of back at a net loss. Man, do I hate the grocery store. I will also say that drive-up grocery pickup is maybe my favorite thing on earth – I barely have to interact with anyone. I don’t think “antisocial” is the bad thing everyone plays it up to be.

    Steve is a genuinely wonderful person, so I always sort of hope that the attitude toward restaurant employees is an act and he’s not usually like that? Because I didn’t waitress for long, but I did for long enough to know that it says a whole lot about a person how they treat wait staff. (I just assume that Clarence’s is accurate, based off of how he largely treated women support staff.) I also cannot imagine the intestinal horror show about four hours after eating that much shrimp.

    I remember my dad used to go work at the Lions Club feeds every so often! I don’t remember why. I believe I’ve mentioned previously that pancakes are not usually my favorite of the breakfast carbs – but after this pancake feed talk, I talked Jon into making us pancake brinner this past Sunday. It was fantastic.

  13. Well, whomever they are, they are a Satanist. That being said, French dressing is where it is at. Followed by Dorothy Lynch. I think Kraft makes a Creamy Parm that is delicious. Might be Creamy Italian. I’m not sure. I should eat more salad.

    I think I would rather eat a salad with no dressing than with Ranch dressing. However, I will dip anything is fried in ranch dressing all day long. Double dip on Sundays. But I do strongly prefer a Buttermilk Ranch for my fried cheese curds.

    There was a whole controversy at the Computer Mine with a former employee where we badly wanted to know why the B-Bop’s in Ames doesn’t stock sweet & sour and the rest of them do. We even emailed the B-Bop’s corporate headquarters. We never got a response. But it was while we were discussing this, the phrase “nugs” really stuck in my vernacular.

    When I worked for the Evil Clown Empire, their nugs weren’t very good. At some point, they changed them to being all-white meat. That was an improvement, but the trade-off was that they became smaller. I did like the Chicken Tenders though. Those were introduced late in my tenure, so I never really got sick of them.

    You don’t like mayo, so this will probably go on deaf ears. But here is the proper way to order a ClownRib.

    Extra Onions
    With Mayo
    With Cheese

    The proper name for this is the McHooHa. It was invented by Aric Majors. Although his version also called for no pickles. I like pickles, so I leave them on.

    I think my favorite sauce for Clown Nugs was the Hot Mustard. Their sweet and sour is atrocious and I don’t really like honey on my nugs. The Clown Tender sauces also had a ranch sauce, honey mustard sauce, and buffalo sauce. They were all actually pretty decent. My go to was to mix the ranch and buffalo together. Not all that different from how I frequently make tenders myself.

    I haven’t eaten at the Evil Clown Empire in over 15 years now, so I don’t know anything about what is on the menu currently. As far as nug and tender sauces go.

    When India Night totally doesn’t happen, maybe Jon can make us some of his homemade Chick-Fil-A sauce. I haven’t had Chick-Fil-A since before the pandemic. It isn’t one of the places that I miss, but they have a very respectable chicken product. Portion size is too small for this guy, but that is okay. Still tasty.

    When Steak and Shake opened in Des Moines people freaked out, like it was the greatest thing ever. Now I’ve only ever had Steak and Shake in Iowa City, but the one in Iowa City is trash. Maybe other Steak and Shake locations are better. But my experience is that Freddy’s is the poo and Steak and Shake can take a whiff.

    I do love Steve, I just don’t like interacting with other human beings with Steve, because he doesn’t seem to know that other people are human beings.

    When you go out to eat with people, you can pretty much instantly tell if somebody ever worked in a restaurant with how they treat servers and then the big one is how they tip. I have friends that when I go out to eat with them, I know that I am going to have to compensate my tip to make up for the lack of a tip that they are going to leave. All of these people never worked in a restaurant. Ever.

    I can’t even really pretend that Lions Club Pancakes are anything special, but they are still pancakes, so they are still pretty great. And they are fresh off the grill!

    Yesterday I went down to Des Moines and I saw an advertisement for a drive-thru Fish Fry on 141. I might have to figure out where it is at and hit it before Lent is over.

  14. If you are in the market for a fantastic salad, speaking of Chick-Fil-A, I highly recommend their spicy Southwest salad: https://www.chick-fil-a.com/menu-items/spicy-southwest-salad I have moral issues with going to Chick-Fil-A, but they do a good job – and that salad dressing on that is amazing. It’s some salsa cream stuff. And it’s WAY too much for me, so the portion is huge. Jon is a big fan of their nugs. Buttermilk ranch is superior to all other ranches – if you want a good dipping one for at home, we use Ken’s Buttermilk. It’s thick, and it’s what Gumby used to give out with Pokey Stix and pepperoni rolls. I’m sure you have a good solution already, but we either use that or Jon will make his own buttermilk ranch. WHEN we do Bollywood Night, I’ll make sure he makes that and the Chick-Fil-A sauce.

    I like honey mustard that is more mustardy than honey-ey, so I completely agree on the situation on honey on nugs. I mix ranch and buffalo sauce together if I get chicken strips at Arby’s – theirs mix well. It’s like having buffalo dip on your sauce. It’s eerily similar to ranchup, for a man who professes to hate ranchup, though… We will occasionally get dinner meals for the kids at The Empire if we’re out and about, but usually the only food I’ll eat from there is breakfast food. Their fries are delicious, but I can feel months getting cut off my life whenever I try it.

    That’s the main Steak and Shake I’ve seen out in the wild! I want to say I also saw one down in the St Louis area one time when I was there for the Mine, but went with Jack in the Box. Only because it’s the only burger chain I know of where you can also get egg rolls – I appreciate the novelty and oddness.

    That is accurate. He’s a little ball of rage who loves his friends fiercely, but that seems to sort of be his scope. I just love him, but it is best to hang out with him in a vacuum.

    YES. I completely overcompensate for others when I go out to eat, because they make me feel bad. My parents, for example, do not tip fairly, and it drives me nuts. I always immediately overtip to even it out. Jimmy C at the Mine was one of my best friends, but we had different ideas on tipping, so Jon and I would always bump up ours. And yep, they almost entirely are people who do not have any restaurant experience. People who tip poorly also tend to complain heavily about refills and such when the restaurant is ridiculously busy. (My brother’s wife is TERRIBLE about this.)

    My children love a Fish Fry – I may have to see if we can find one!

  15. Ken’s Buttermilk is a solid dipping sauce. I know it well. And it is cheap. Which I also like.

    I miss Gumby’s pepperoni rolls. If something every happens and Jeff’s closes, I will not be a happy camper. In fact, no camping at all. I will swear off camping forever.

    Mixing Buffalo and Ranch is nothing like mixes ketchup with Ranch. Absolutely nothing a like. Miking Ranch and Ketchup is like taking a cheese pizza and putting macaroni and cheese on top of it. You are taking something making it more bland.

    While mixing Ranch and Buffalo is taking something that is tangy and making it a touch spicy. It isn’t remote the same.

    I can’t say that I had the slightest clue that Arby’s had chicken strips. I do profoundly prefer chicken strips over nugs. In fact, B-Bop’s is about the only place I get nugs from.

    I can say that Jack in the Box is one fast food chain I avoid like the plague and not because they killed a bunch of people with food poisoning, like they were the plague. Whenever I’ve had it, it is flat out the grossest food I’ve ever had. Like grosser than Taco Bell or Taco John’s gross.

    So as bad as Steak and Shake is, Jack in the Box is worse.

    I used to go out to eat with a few people that tip $1, no matter the size of the bill. $1. Now I don’t go out to eat with anybody. The fact that I don’t have to overtip is another one of the financial windfalls I’ve had from the pandemic. I wonder how much money I’ve saved. I bet it is in triple digits.

    The people who tip poorly are ALSO the people that object when you give a big tip on a group ticket. I see this where it is a pain to divvy up a ticket, so say everybody puts in a $20, which leads to say a $15 tip on a $65 bill. They always pipe up with “That’s a big tip.”

    Which I confess frequently triggers me to put down another $5.

    The same people, when somebody else picks up the tab and say, “You guys can take care of the tip.” My Mom used to do this quite a bit before the pandemic. They are the ones that put like $2 out on the table. You just got a free meal and deepest you can dig is a $2 spot? Which usually triggers me to put down at least a $10. Or a $20.

    I’m 90% sure that I’m going to go check-out the Polk City Fish Fry this Friday. The Boone County Catholics alternate between Madrid and Boone. This weak is Madrid. Now, they throw shrimp into the mix, it just isn’t that great. Then I’ll probably hit Boone up next Friday. I think they have pretty decent quality fish. but for $10, it is hard to complain.

  16. I also greatly miss Gumby’s pepperoni rolls and Pokey Stix. They were awesome greasy food for when you had people hanging out. Or just wanted to eat your feelings. We will order Jeff’s every 6 weeks or so for nostalgia. The kids haven’t discovered how amazing the pepperoni rolls are yet, but will throw down on the Smotherella Sticks. I may have sent this to you already, but I find this insane that this is a thing, at these prices: https://www.goldbelly.com/gumbys-pizza

    I am going to cruise by your total misunderstanding of Ranchup there.

    I also much prefer chicken strips. I feel like it’s more likely real chicken, rather than some congealed slop. Arby’s ones aren’t bad, surprisingly. (I think I’ve heard they have good chicken sandwiches, too.) Their buffalo is very vinegar-y, so it’s got a good sharpness. Their ranch isn’t especially good, so it evens it out. I will eat B-Bops chicken nuggets if Jon and I split some (if I order for just me, I’m likely just getting a burger), and occasionally Wendy’s. I don’t really like their burgers, so if we have to get food for the kids, I’ll usually get nugs.

    I will 100% say that Jack in the Box was never a GOOD idea. I just appreciated that it was different – I mean, I don’t remember that it was a great idea when the Evil Clown Empire did their bratwurst special, but you had to sort of acknowledge the novelty!

    Ugh, when I waitressed at Tic Toc for a little bit, working on buck burger nights was the absolute worst. There were some people who still gave at least a few bucks, but more than not did the whole, “Well, 10% would be a dime. Here you go!” It was awful, because that took the exact same amount of time and effort as someone ordering a steak – I can’t do half-effort even if someone is ordering something small.

    Yep, for sure – if I’m in a group and order, like, a side of fries while everyone else gets something big, I still default to giving 20 – 25% on the total – so when people don’t, it is so frustrating. It is just human kindness. It’s not like we live in… every other first world country where wait staff get a decent wage. People just don’t care.

    My parents will also often pick up a tab and have us pay tip. Which is good, as they don’t tip well. But if we pick it up, we just pay the tip because… well, they don’t tip well. It’s just more efficient this way.

    I was talking with Jon yesterday about finding a good fish fry. I may have to see if we can’t get to Boone! The kids would be in Heaven. Alice and I are going over to see my grandpa and to pick up a desk that IKEA is shipping to Todd and Kristal this weekend (so we’ll socially distance and chat across their yard), so we may have to see if we can’t get that in before we go.

  17. Oh my! If I have a special event, I’m definitely considering this Pepperoni Roll order!

    I don’t think I’ve had Jeff’s since the beginning of the pandemic and now I’m really sad. Really, really sad.

    My Mom is a big fan of Arby’s. She used to take my Grandma over there for lunch now and again. I’m not sure I’ve ever had anything from them except roast beef. I might have had their fish sandwich once. I did a tour of all the area fast food fish sandwiches once. No surprise B-Bop’s has a really good fish sandwich. I think it was Wendy’s that had one that I can’t even describe as edible.

    Yeah, I’ve experienced people tipping still based on the price of an extremely good deal. If your whole meal cost a dollar, maybe a dime doesn’t qualify as a tip. Something else I tried to do before the pandemic was always tip in cash. Bethany taught be that. Because that way they don’t have to claim on their taxes and lots of restaurants take a percentage of the tips that are on credit cards. Plus they won’t see that money until their paycheck.

    If you are going to the fish fry in Boone, remember it is only every other Friday. It alternates with the one in Madrid. This Friday it is in Madrid.

    I don’t understand a single thing about your desk story though.

  18. The only thing I want to change is that I want to actually go into Jeff’s and eat at some point. We have ordered carryout and delivery, but I’ve never gone in. I assume it’s even better in person.

    Arby’s is not fantastic or anything. But, again – it’s not just the same as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, the other generic burger places, so I try it out. I want to say Jon had a really good chicken salad sandwich there once, and that seemed like the oddest thing to order from an Arby’s. I like the idea of slowly examining the fish sandwiches – but I assume you need to do it in sort of a small amount of time, so I assume you went home just bloated on fish that evening.

    That is 100% true about tipping in cash. I try (tried, currently) to remember to carry cash for just that reason, because I usually am terrible about carrying it. It’s worth carrying it simply for that purpose.

    Ah, thank you, yes – I’ll write it down. That may not be closer, I may wait and suggest it the next week.

    Yeah, the IKEA story was a hot mess when I look at it. It’s not actually interesting. I’ve had an IKEA desk that I’ve been trying to find a way to purchase since about this time last year, but it’s been out of stock for forever due to more people working from home and needing desks. The Chicago one just happened to have one last week, and so Todd and Kristal said we could get it delivered to their place in Peoria. Alice and I are going to go over and get it on Saturday, and then see my grandpa (at least from a distance) on Saturday, and then stay overnight in a hotel in Davenport that evening. Ultimately it’s likely just cheaper to get it delivered here, but I’m excited to get to see Grandpa.

  19. You’ve never eaten inside of Jeff’s? Ever? Even before the pandemic?

    I definitely love the Roast Beef’n’Cheddar at Arby’s. That almost cheese sauce is addictive.

    I didn’t eat all the fish in one day. I went to a different one every day for a week or spread over a couple weeks.

    But eating a fast food fish sandwich this time of year always reminds me when I worked at the Duff outpost of the Evil Clown Empire. I got came inside and got all indignant that we were running our annual 2 fish sandwiches for whatever it was back in the day sale during Lent. He was pissed that the Evil Clown Empire was “endorsing” a religion. Then he wanted to know what was being done for him, who wasn’t Cathodic.

    I explained to him that you don’t have to be Catholic to get the deal.

    He repeated that it was garbage that the Evil Clown Empire was endorsing a religion.

    So I explained to him that it wasn’t endorsing a religion because anybody can get the deal. If anything, it was an attempt to exploit the religious beliefs of others for profit, and furthermore as a private business, if the Evil Clown Empire wanted to endorse a religion, they were well within their rights as they are NOT a government entity.

    He then said, “That bullsh!t” and the left the building.

    Yeah, just don’t ever go to an IKEA store ever! It isn’t a store. It is a sociological experiment waiting to kill thousands in a fire when nobody can find an exit to get out.

  20. Never! I picked up a to-go order once, but was inside for maybe a total of three minutes. I always wanted to go for the lunch special, as I’ve heard it’s great, but don’t love fighting parking during the school year.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had the cheese sauce! I usually get just whatever the smallest of the roast beef sandwiches is that isn’t the slider (classic, maybe?), or occasionally the Greek gyro. Man, I put a dent in some Greek gyros during my pregnancy with Charlie – there was a two-week time period where all I wanted were gyros, and so I’d get those if I couldn’t get to Flame & Skewer or Pammel Grocery. (I was asleep too early for the Gyro Cart.) Sometimes I’ll altogether skip a sandwich and just get jalapeno poppers – I additionally like that they go so different with their sides. I don’t love their curly fries, but even that’s original.

    I’m so glad you didn’t take down ten fish fillets or whatever. That would be a lot of GI distress.

    How would serving Filet O’ Fish (which, from what I understand, is almost as big of a seasonal event as the McRib and the Shamrock Shake) be inherently religious? Yes, it is certainly timed to profit off of the religion of others, which is an Evil Clown thing to do, but it’s not at all endorsing. They didn’t say “You’ll Catho-like it” or anything. Although they should, I now really want that to be a marketing tactic.

    Man, IKEA gives me anxiety. There are no exits or daylight, you HAVE to go along the stupid path, it’s overcrowded and my kids are overstimulated, and their whole bin system makes no sense. It’s psychological torture. I much prefer to just to go their website and pick things for them to deliver to my (or apparently now Kristal’s) home.

  21. I don’t know that I can say that it is any better inside, but I guess it is slightly fresher. Jeff’s doesn’t have much of a “eating there” experience. But I have definitely eaten there several times.

    You know, not only does Hardee’s have the best breakfast. They also have a great roast beef sandwich. Although not every Hardee’s serves it, I have found. I haven’t had a good restaurant gyro in a long time. I think post pandemic, there is going to be lots of employees of the Computer Mine working exclusively from home. If that spells the end of Super Dog Cart Day, I will be pissed. I might even try to unionize.

    Catho-like-it. Is a great line. I’m going to use that when I pick up my Sacred Heart Fish Fry this Friday. In fact, every Catholic Church should use it.

    I don’t have much to say for that customer. It is like the guy that I think was stalking me when I worked at Campus. He was an everyday customer. When we closed he told me that Campus could’ve made it, if we gave a way pop for free. Yes, give away the product that by far has the greatest profit margin. I’ll look into that.

    One good thing I will say about IKEA is that it is featured in (500) DAYS OF SUMMER. One of my all-time favorite movies.

  22. Hardee’s DOES have a great roast beef! I had a weird period in middle school where hamburgers kept making me nauseous, it took us a while to pinpoint it. So if we went anywhere for fast food, we’d go to Hardee’s so that I could get roast beef. It’s much better than their burgers!

    I was wondering if the Mine would offer up working from home long-term! Our work had started talking about letting us opt to WFH in whatever amounts we wanted/agreed to with our bosses about two months before the pandemic, so I would guess I’ll be home long-term. We don’t have anything as fantastic as Super Dog Cart Day to incentivize going in, though!

    I hope that “Catho-like-it” gets some traction in the small congregations, and then can work its way up to the Vatican. Who, coincidentally, do not Catho-like-it endorsing gay marriage still.

    That is a crazy person. I don’t have a better way to word it – who cares that much about the intricacies of the McDonald’s business model if you don’t work there? Go beg somewhere else for a free soda.

    It’s true! It’s a picturesque enough background to work for that movie, for sure.

  23. Yeah, most of Hardee’s lunch/dinner menu isn’t great, but it is way better than it was back in the day. Hardee’s was crazy gross back when it was in Boone. When it left, I never thought I would miss it. However, I will still murder a Sourdough Burger from Hardee’s. There fries are still very subpar.

    I had to go into the Mine on Wednesday to mess with a barcode scanner and I asked Kim if she thought we had seen the last Super Dog Cart Day. She said that she thought that we had.

    I put in for kind of a hybrid setup where I split time between the Mine and home. I don’t know if I will get it, but many of my secondary responsibilities require me to be in the building and I miss the social aspects of work. But if I am about the only one in the building, what social aspects are there.

    They definitely don’t Catho-like gay marriage, but as a Methodist, it is hard to throw stones on that one. At least for now…

    One thing I don’t miss (I don’t know there is anything I miss) about working at the Evil Clown Empire is working at a place that other people know. And if people know about a place where you work, they have all sorts of opinions about. The worst is when the want to tell you about the Evil Clown Empire Outpost in the town where they live that is like 10 states away. I don’t care about the one I work at. I definitely don’t care about the one in Paducah, Kentucky.

  24. I honestly think maybe part of the reason hamburgers made me nauseous for a while is because we were going to the Boone Hardee’s. That place really WAS revolting. I’m curious if it had any health code violations. The fries are sort of coated, aren’t they?

    That’s such a gigantic bummer. I wonder if you could get a group of employees to commit to buying their own – we did that and brought them to my work several years back. So long as we could verify that X number of people would for sure buy, they’d come.

    Hybrid is sort of the best of both worlds. You still get days where you don’t have to drive in or wear real pants, but you get the social aspect of working onsite. It would definitely be hard to build and ship a PC from home, but calls can absolutely be made from there.

    “Yeah, buddy. Every state has a billion Clown Empires. You’re not special.” But there’s no way you can say that, customer service and all. That had to be monotonous.

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