Friday, December 29, 2017

Rallys Eat-It-All #14: Chili Cheese Dog, Deep Sea Double, Big Chicken Deluxe

It's a triple play!

First up is the Chili Cheese Dog. Yes, it was as messy as it looks. They offered me a fork but I declined, fool that I am. It was good but oddly it was kind of bland. TONS of red onions, as with the Chili Dog. I tasted them for hours and this meal definitely gave me heartburn.

A day or two later I was back to pick up two 2 For $5 items. First up is the Big Chicken Deluxe. This differs from the Big Chicken in that they add a single slice of American cheese. It's a decent chicken sandwhich but it'll never come close to Chick-Fill-A. And the cheese didn't really add anything to the party.

Last is the excellent Deep Sea Double. Just the name is worth it! Now I like deep fried fish but I was a bit wary of the (once again) single slice of American cheese. But the breading and the flavor of the fish are so mild (unlike the overpowering chicken breading) that the cheese added a really nice, creamy touch! Plus the fish was nice and flakey. I will most certainly get this one again.

Note also the coupon book. I couldn't resist and ponied up a buck. It has a couple of good coupons in it, specifically the, er... well, I can't seem to find it right now. I hope I didn't lose it because I remember two Rallyburger combo coupons for $1.99.

Speaking of remembering, I am salivating at the remembrance of an NEW item I saw on the dirve-through sign... The Fry Lovers Baconator! It's five bucks but definitely something that will one day be in my belly.

2017 Reading Roundup Review

It's time for the annual (really?) Reading Roundup Review!

This year I read 33 (ILLUMINATI!!!) books, which is about average lately. Fifteen were non-fiction, but six of these were from the tween "Who Is" series, which are read in about 20-30 minutes so I guess they don't really count. It's like the Wikipedia of biographies. But, ya know, the big non-fiction number makes me look smart. The rest were mostly biographies of musicians or comedians.

That said, the best non-fiction book I read on 2017 was not a biography. Supernatural by Michael Heiser will give you a different, expanded view of the unseen spiritual realm at work around us. Trippy stuff, man.

Of the fiction read I supposed that I Am Legend by Richard Matheson was the best, although it did tend to drag on at times. I also stumbled upon a new (for me) author while browsing through the stacks at the library... Clifford D. Simak. I've only read one book so far (it was about realtor aliens who often look like bowling balls) but I seriously think I've found a brother from another mother. Too bad he's dead.

Five of the eighteen fiction book were re-reads, including Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy that I first read in the late 80s and laughed so hard I got asthma. And I haven't read it since for fear that it wouldn't be as funny. And it wasn't but it was still good. Also read where Adventures of Huck Finn and three Westlake novels, which are fresh even on a second trip.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Rallys Eat-It-All #13 - Bacon Roadhouse

This here burger was pretty good but not as good as the Baconzilla. Or maybe my judgement was affected because I ate it outside in 35 degree weather. It was tasty, mind you, but the bacon was partly in pieces instead of the strips that are on the Baconzilla. Not the itty bitty pieces of ye olde Bacon Cheddar Burger (R.I.P.) but quarter sized or larger. The BBQ sauce was a nice touch as were the fried onion bits, though there weren't very many of these. I might try this one again next summer and see if it delights my tastebuds more.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Rallys-Eat-It-All #12 : Baconzilla

I've been waiting to get one of Rally's premier sandwiches and I was not disappointed. Yes, it was a Baconzilla day for this lad. Two generous patties with goop (mayo?), lots of cheese and scads of thick bacon. This is the real stuff, not the wimpy stuff places put on value menu burgers. It tasted great, too, but at five bucks it was perilously close to the cost of a Five Guys and a Five Guys this is not. But it's within walking distance of work.

So will a cheapskate like me get this one again? Very likely, especially if I have a $2 off combo coupon again. It's on par with the Fry Burger and the, HEY, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BACON CHEDDAR CRISP?!?!?! It doesn't appear to be on the menu which makes me one sad puppy.

But back to the Baconzilla. It is one big sandwich. However like most fast food it doesn't stick around for long because I didn't feel stuffed and was hungry just a couple of hours later.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Rallys Eat-It-All #11: Spicy Chicken and Swirl Cone

Me no big fan of spicy but this chicken sandwich was pretty bland. It had, for me, a moderate amount of heat, as in a 4 out of 10 on the scale of what I would eat. For instance, I would never eat a habanero so that's way off the scale, as in half infinity. So this one gave my mouth a moderate tingle. Otherwise there wasn't much. I added ketchup and some fries and it still was just "meh."

The cone, however, was a nice treat for just one buck. Even average ice cream is good ice cream.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Rallys-Eat-It-All #10: Cheese Champ and Monsterella Stix

Today's meal was compliments of a coupon for free Monsterella (mozerella) stix with sammich purchase. I'm not 100% positive it's spelled "stix" instead of "sticks" or even "styx" but it's edgier that way so I'm leaving it. I've been wanting an excuse to get a Cheese Champ 'cause I like the name and so made my move.

I kind of expected more than one slice of cheese. Otherwise it had one average patty with pickles, lettuce shreds, tomato, red onion, ketchup, mustard and mayo. I could have added bacon but I wasn't feeling rich. I chomped the champ and it tasted good but nothing extraordinary. I mean, it's a basic cheeseburger loaded with all the fixins.

The Cheese Champ did seem to have a little fancier bun, as seen in this picture next the cheese sticks. The Monsterella Styx serving size seemed small but after gnoshing my way through four of them I was pretty cheesed out. Good, stringy cheese but the cup -o- sauce was pretty bland.

That's it for this week. The coupon is for loaded fries, which I've already had, so next week I might give my digestive system a breather.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Rallys Eat-It-All #9 - Hot Dog and All American Cheese Burger

Today's post is brought to you by the word "ADEQUATE."

I needed just a bit more food to round out the leftovers I had brought in from lunch so I bought the two cheapest items that still remained on my list. Exhibit #1 : The Grilled Hot Dog. Witness the ample amount of ketchup and mustard (which makes some hot dog purists shudder). They asked if I wanted relish, I did, and so gave me two packets of green glowing glop. All together this is a perfectly acceptable hot dog with the meat being a much better quality that is served by school corporations.

Exhibit #2 is the All American Cheeseburger. Previously I'd eaten the bacon version of this puppy and this is the same, just less bacony. Again, it was just okay although the burger was waaaay off center on the bun, almost as if the sandwich maker had disdain for wasting his craft on such a measly morsel. I think some day I will pit this against the one dollar cheeseburgers from McD, Burger King and Wendys. Oh, it will be a most exciting day indeed!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rallys Eat-It-All #8 - Big Daddy Times Two

Because I have more children than most people have tires on their dump truck I knew that I could resist buying any sandwhich titled "Big Daddy." This beast comes in two varieties, beef and chicken, and they have the same toppings. They were 2 for $5 so I grabbed one of each. Let's unwrap these, shall we?

The first up was the beef. It certainly was big, although the second patty was buried in the bun. They weren't overly large patties so the "big daddy" probably refers to the sandwich as a whole, not to the quantity of meat. And while the crispy onion tanglers were amazingly delicious there was but one lone "grilled onion", and a tiny one at that. Maybe, just maybe, this itty bitty onion had spent some time near a grill recently but definitely not on it. We'll just call that a FAIL and move on from there, shall we? The thousand island sauce was a nice touch but after a few bites I had to add ketchup, just because I love that condiment. The bacon was also nice and tasty, probably two strips of the stuff.

Opening up the chicken Big Daddy I was surprised to find that it too had just one small raw onion which leads me to believe that this is how these items are intended to be made. And there was just one breaded chicken patty, which I guess is to be expected. Overall this one wasn't nearly as tasty as the beef, though you can't blame the chicken. Okay, you can blame the chicken. I suppose if the chicken was coated in a thick, crunchy batter then it would rawk my world. But it's just your standard fast-food softly breaded piece of bird.

I am now at 39% completed, having tasted 14 of Rally's 36 menu items. I reckin' it will cost about $75 to complete this gastronomical feat, assuming they don't drop any items or add new ones before I'm done. Or that I don't suffer some health crisis.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rallys Eat-It-All #7 - Boneless Chicken & Chicken Dippers

This week's BOGO coupon is for the five piece Boneless Wings and thus it was my lunch today.

Because my taste buds are wimpy I didn't get any of the three hot sauce choices. Selection #1 was Garlic Parmesan. It was quite tasty and perhaps a bit salty. In fact, I'm still tasting the garlic in my mouth even though it's been two hours since I popped these puppies (not real puppies) into my mouth. Yumbo!

Selection #2 was Honey BBQ. The sauce on these is rather tasteless and bland. It's not super sweet, like Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ... it's just kind of there.

Now about these "wings." They ain't wings. They is chicken nuggets. Pretty big ones, too!

Because I thought I'd only be eating a skimpy 10 chicken wings, instead of 10 big nuggets, I also ordered a new item, Chicken Dippers for two dollah. These come with fries and a tub of their "Crazy Good" sauce. It's not crazy good, at least to me. It's a kind of sweet & sour sauce mixed with mustard. The first ingredient is "soybean oil" and further down in the list is MSG... no thanks. But I tried the sauce with one of the five dippers because that is my duty and then I realized that I was already full so I stopped eating.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Rallys Eat-It-All #6 - The Big Buford

How can you not love a sandwich named THE BIG BUFORD?!?!? Well, if you happen to love ketchup and this sammich doesn't come with ketchup that's a start.

But first, a correction. I learned on my last visit that Rallys does NOT have kids meals. Pick up a 4 for 3 instead and quit yer blubberin'!

Here's the Big Buford as pictured on the coupon I received 'cause I'm part of the special Rally's Club. Pretty, ain't it? Almost majestic in how it towers above the legalese, with all it's strata clearly visible.

Here's what I got upon opening the wrapper. This burger is squashed and lopsided. Kind of like life.

Let's upon this bad boy up, eh? One slice o' tomater, a smattering of lettuce, some mayo, the burger seems kind of pale (and had pink bits inside, but I suffered no digestive ills overnight) and a surprisingly small amount of red onion. While the two burgers were on the large side there wasn't a lot of flavor, like someone forgot to salt it. Or maybe this one doesn't come with ketchup or mustard. After two bites I added my own ketchup and it went down okay, although I don't think I'll be ordering this one again.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Rallys Eat-It-All #5 - Mushroom Swiss & a Stacker

It's been a whirlwind of revelations concerning Rallys.

#1 - They know their clients. There are no wimpy salads on the menu, just greasy diner food. They have kids meals but they aren't advertised and I doubt you get a toy. Maybe a BIC lighter.

#2- Not every store carried every item. After perusing the list I downloaded from the Rallys website I went in and asked for a bacon crispy cheese double. They had no idea what I was talking about. On a whim I asked if they sold tacos. Nope. But some Rallys must. I had a coupon for a free Stacker with purchase so I looked at the menu and picked the mushroom swiss burger from the 2 for $3 area. "That's $1.87 if you order it by itself." I was told. So I panicked and punted and picked a chili dog as my second item. As they were preparing it I had that "DOH!" moment when I remember that I'd already had this item. The plus side is that they only have approximately 35 entree items instead of 63 so I'm farther along than I thought!

Okay, so maybe two isn't exactly a "whirlwind". My brain is full of grease.

Here it is. I'm not a big mushroom fan and I'm not a big fan -o- Swiss cheese but this wasn't too shabby. It's good to try something different now and then. Note also the Strawberry Cheesecake stacker which tasted three times as good because it was free.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Rallys/Checkerburger Eat-It-All #2, 3 & 4 : Lots of Stuff

Obviously I haven't kept up with this eating thing. And obviously I'm eating at this place way too much. I'm not saying that the food tastes bad but if I don't have leftovers to bring, or don't have a decent portion of leftovers, I kind of feel like I have to go to Rallys. It's a problem I have.

But let's get started, eh? About a week ago I got the Chicken Bits and Fries box for a paltry two bucks. I didn't have my camera so you don't get to see that these bites are really nibbles. Popcorn chicken or smaller. Twelve pieces and what is probably less than a small fries. The chicken was peppery but good.

A few days later I picked up another 4 for $3 deal, this time the Rallyburger with cheese. Gaze upon it in all it's glory! Actually it's nothing special, just your basic burger. What I like about the walk up area, though, is that you can see straight into the kitchen and see the guy use a special double-nozzled ketchup squirter to apply my favorite condiment and then see him wrap the burger up as fast as any magician. Not bad for a guy who looks like he just got out on probation!

Today I didn't have any leftovers so I walked over and made my selection. The Fry Lovers Burger was certainly a delightful surprise! I had expected a few meager fries but this is a healthy handful! And the mingling of flavors is ooo-la-la! At $1.50 I may have found a challenger to the bacon cheddar crisp!

Last up for today was the chili dog. As you can see they load it with red onions and what is probably the chili they serve when you buy a cuppa chili. I had their chili years and years ago and thought it was somewhat spicy but it didn't seem that way today, although it could have been due to the savory sting of the red onions that overrode the chili and indeed still lingers in my mouth. Not in a bad way, though.

According to my dorky spreadsheet I'm about 12% through my quest. In a month or so it will be too cold to sit outside and eat so I'll likely take a break. But until then, well, I'll be looking for coupons because I'm almost done with the cheapie options.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Rallys/Checkerburger Eat-It-All #1 : Bacon All American Cheeseburger and Crispy Fish Sandwhich

I haven't written in a while so I guess it's time for "what's next."

How about about series? I no longer pass by Penguin Point but I do work within walking distance from a Rally's. I'm always amazed at the number of different options on their menu and usually stick to one (the glorious Bacon Cheddar Crisp) so why not try them all? I downloaded their menu, weeded out the side items and drinks and found that they have over sixty different items, and this doesn't include when they double the meat (Rallyburger vs. Double Rallyburger).

Perhaps some ground rules are in order. First, Doubles don't count... they're just crazy talk. Second, I may or may not include anything with the words "ANGRY BUFFALO" in the name. I'm not big on spicy and don't see the point of buying something just to throw it away after one bite. Third, I'm not going to include drinks and desserts unless they look extra yummy. There is no Fourth because I can't spell it. Rule Five is I order the item with no changes to the standard sandwhich.

That should do it.

I actually started on this gustatory undertaking last week but didn't have a camera with me. Too bad, young lad, you don't get to see a real life picture of the Buttery Garlic Steak Burger or the Fully Loaded Fries. The meat on the Steak Burger had a weird mouth feel, not stringy but something was off about it. The garlic flavor was very slight, as was the smell. The Fries were very good but I wouldn't buy them without a coupon. There was bacon crumbles and a couple squirts of the yellow cheese sauce (I presume cheddar) and a squirt of a white cheese sauce. Rally's was kind enough to provide a fork for use in their consumption. I'm also going to mark the Bacon Cheddar Crisp sammich as being completed. The bacon on these are large bacon bits that add a nice crunch and a medium glob of cheddar cheese sauce, just enough for flavor but not so much that it globs off and falls onto your lap while driving. Usually.

Today's adventure includes the Bacon All American Cheeseburger and, as part of the amazing 4 For $3 (Take THAT Wendys!) deal, the Crispy Fish Sandwich.

The Bacon AAC (pictured here with it's l'il apple pie buddy) had TWO complete strips of bacon on their usual patty, plus one piece of cheese and (between the cheese and the top bun) ketchup and mustard. It was fully adequate.

The fish sandwhich was surpringly tender and at one point a piece fell onto the wrapper and it had the grey bit of the fish in it so it's not a 100% minced-to-death product. Still, it's minced so maybe it just means that they don't do a good job of mincing, like I am with my words. It was pretty durn delicious. I've always avoided tarter sauce but found that it added a nice tang. Maybe I've added a new condiment to my arsenal. Maybe.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Garden Post 2017.1

If you can't tell, I'm not big on blogging lately. Mostly work is keeping me busy but I'm also working on short stories so that I can hopefully have enough for a book by the end of the year.

I also haven't been doing much in the way of gardening. Some pesky rabbit family has eat all the top off our beets but they've left the carrots alone... so far. They have also ignored the red romaine lettuce which I've been enjoying mixed in with my store-bought lettuce.

Of tomato plants, there are just four and they've been doing okay. My daughter put in some cucumber plants and they are acting strangely, making one deformed cuke per plant.

But the stars of the show, as always, are the melons. Right now (mid-July) on plant has three babies, each smaller than a tennis ball, and one other plant has one melon. Melon plant #3 is barren so far and a butternut squash has yet to make any squashies.

Continuing on with my experiment from last year, I just planted them into the bags of manure/compost/whatever. I made the top opening larger, to get more water inside.

Once again the winner, by far, is Black Kow in the yellow bag. It cost $5, where the others were $2 or less, but the melon plants in it are three times the size, plus it's the one with three melons. That said, I'll probably shell out for more bags of this magic cow dung next spring!

Here's a puny plant from some other brand of compost. Pitiful.