Sunday, October 7, 2012

Top 25 Restaurant Foods I Have Ever Eaten (Part 1)

Recently I went to San Francisco and ate some bomb ass sandwiches. This got me thinking about food. I love food. (In case you couldn't tell from my skinny body.) Earlier this year, I came up with awards for the thing that is INDIRECTLY responsible for making me fat. Now, I have decided to write about the thing that makes me DIRECTLY fat...FOOD! Food is awesome. I haven't met a single person in my life that doesn't like or care about food. (With the exception of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj...but he doesn't count since he is an exception on most worldly lists.) Since everyone needs/wants/likes to eat...I hope all of you will enjoy this. Before I delve into this thing mouth first, here are some side notes:

- This list only includes Restaurant food. (Yes, that includes fast foods. Fast food are true restaurants too.) Don't get me wrong, I LOVE homemade food. But that's not what this list is about. My mom and grandma make some bomb ass food. (Any my wife. Kind of.) But that stuff is entirely in its own category. It would be like comparing apples to oranges.
- OBVIOUSLY this list only includes restaurants that I myself have been to. There might be really delicious stuff out there that might belong on this list but I haven't tried yet.

Let's get started...Hopefully by the end of this I will have your mouths more watery than New Orleans after Katrina. Since this list is huge, I had to break it up into 2 parts. Here are numbers 25 to 11.

Honorable Mentions - These places are pretty good but unfortunately, they didn't make the list. Some of them, like the New York City restaurants, are not on the list only because I have only been there once and don't remember a whole lot about the food.

Panda Express
Ghengis Grill, Phoenix AZ
Gobo, New York City
Dhaba, New York City
Tamba, Las Vegas and New York City

Number 25: Jack In The Box

Seasoned Curly Fries and Stuffed JalapeƱos - If you know what Ekadashi is and you do it, next time go get some seasoned curly fries from JITB. Greatest Ekadashi food ever! If you eat out...

Number 24 and 23: Subway and Pizza Hut

Veggie Sub and Cheese Pizza - Subway and Pizza Hut are like the Toyota Camry of fast food restaurants. Nothing flashy, sexy, or fancy. But reliable. Dependable. You know what you are going to get and it's not going to disappoint. And with all of these other newer sub and pizza joints popping up, Subway and Pizza Hut still remains the best!

Number 22 and 21: Slices, Tempe/Phoenix AZ and BJ's Restaurant and Brewery

Thin Crust from Slices and Deep Dish from BJ's - Both of these places got the right formula for their respective kinds of pizza. Slices has some really good, easy to eat on-the-go, thin-crust pizza. It's good if you want to grab a quick bite on your way to the movies but you don't want to feel too full. Their formula is: Simple + Fast + Very Hot = Good Thin Crust Pizza. BJ's has some bomb Chicago-style deep-dish thick-crust pizza that is very filling. Their formula is: Slow cooked + Wide variety of toppings + Very Hot = Good Thick Crust Pizza. Oh...and I forgot about the of the greatest desserts ever!

Number 20: Red Robin

Gourmet burgers with boca or garden patty, Unlimited regular or garlic fries - See what I said about Subway and Pizza Hut? The same can be applied to Red Robin's burgers. It's like a fancy Camry. One step above a Camry. Camry XLE? Or maybe an Acura TL. Reliable, dependable, not going to disappoint, but still has some pop to it. And goddamn those garlic fries are good! Especially when they are free. Keep em comin!!!!

Number 19: Albertaco's Mexican Food, Cypress CA

California Burrito with fries - This joint is off the hook! It is the perfect place for college students. (Unfortunately I am not one of those.) Their California burrito with french fries in it is the best burrito (Or second best) I have ever had.

Number 18: Max Brenner, Las Vegas and New York City

The Chocolate Menu and the Hazelnut Cream Chocolate Shake - One word: Chocolate!!!! This place has some bomb ass American food, but it's on here for it's chocolate menu. They got all kinds of chocolate stuff ranging from waffles to fondu to pizza. And the Hazelnut Cream Chocolate Milkshake is one of the greatest tasting shakes I have ever had.

Number 17: Macayo's Mexican Kitchen, Arizona

Enchilada-style burritos - It's like El Torito, but good! If you have a ball, you will order the big-ass burrito they have but make it enchilada-style. If you have two balls, you will finish it.

Number 16: Tandoori Times, Phoenix AZ

Paneer Wrap - I've only been to this place once and don't remember much of it. That's how good these paneer wraps were. And much like many of these restaurants, it would be much higher on the rankings if I went there more often.

Number 15: Best Thai Cuisine, Riverside CA

Spicy Fried Rice, Pad Thai, Pad Kee Mow, Chicken Cashew (Tofu) - Discovered this place in college thanks to my roommate and friend. It's a small place but it's full of heat, spice, flavor, and the best Thai food I have ever had to date.

Number 14 - Cafeteria, New York City

Truffle Mac n' Cheese - I came down to this place for "Sunday brunch" with my roommate in NYC. It was pretty awesome. The freaking wait was so long that we ended up going across the street and ate lunch at a pizza joint before coming back and eating brunch. Even though our stomachs were full, we ordered triple digits worth of food for the two of us and we finished it. That's how good this place was! (Also: That's how expensive this place was!) The truffle flavored mac n' cheese is definitely on the short list of the greatest things I have ever tasted.

Number 13 - Ike's Place, San Francisco CA

Veggie sandwiches - There is only one word why this place is ranked so high on my list: Options. Especially when you don't eat meat, you appreciate sandwich places that give you options. With all the different kinds of sandwiches they have, and the different options of breads and toppings, there are hundreds of different options for vegeterians. I appreciate that.

Number 12 - Gobi Mongolian BBQ, Los Angeles CA

Tofu, veggies, noodles, and bunch of different sauces cooked right in front of you - This Mongolian BBQ idea is ingenius. Basically you pick what you want and the combination of the ingredients. Then you give the bowl to the cook who cooks it all right in front of you on a big ass hot plate. If it doesn't taste good, it's on you. But it tastes good pretty much every time!

Number 11 - Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix AZ

Margherita and Biancoverde Pizza (Gourmet) - My undergrad physiology professor told me about this place after I told him I was moving to Phoenix for pharmacy school. For A LOT of people, this place is ranked much higher. Usually number 1. Although I don't have it in my top 10, I do remember the pizza being pretty damn good. Maybe it is simply because I have only been there once. Can you blame me? The place is so goddamn hard to get into. This is definitely the most INTERESTING restaurant out this entire list of 25. Here is why.

First of all, the place is rated world's best pizza by MANY credible food reviewers including Bon Appetit, the NY times, Vogue, and Rachel Ray. At one point in time, if you googled "world's best pizza" the first 10 hits were Pizzeria Bianco. Sure, the pizza is good. (I mean they made a pizza without sauce taste better than the one with sauce. That is some mad skills.) But is it THAT good? There are definitely other factors besides food in play here that lead to this kind of recognition. This is a very interesting phenomenon. 

It all has to do with the economic priniciple of sunken cost. This place is one of the hardest in the world to get into. First of all, it is world famous, yet it is a small space with maybe 15 tables. They only take reservations for parties of 6-10. Everyone else must be seated on a first-come first-serve basis. You can go there ahead of time, put your name on the list, call them every hour to keep your name on the list, and then have them call you an hour before they can seat you. So I went there at 5PM, put my name on the list for 2 people, drove back home, played a game of intermural football, and got a call at 8PM that there will be a table ready at 9PM. DID I TELL YOU THIS WAS ON A WEDNESDAY NIGHT??? And when we got there at 9, it took another 45 minutes of us waiting in the bar next door before being seated. Was it worth it? Sure. Only because I was a bum of a student and didn't care much for studying so I had a bunch of time on my hands. But for tourists, visitors, and people with jobs, this might be a pain in the ass, especially when everyone tells you that you "have to go there."

So imagine you went through all of that to eat some pizza... All that time spent is sunken cost. So in order to keep you sane, and not feel ashamed that you went through all of that just for some fucking pizza, your brain tells you that this pizza is so damn good, that it was all worth it!!! That's the only way you will keep your sanity and not hate yourself. That psychological effect, combined with the hype you have heard about this place before you got there, and the fact that the world famous celebrity chef (Chris Bianco) that you saw on the food network is 5 feet away from you making your pizza and talking to you personally and then coming over to your table to say hello, makes you think this is definitely the world's best pizza! (Even though the actual food might not be.)

Wow...that was a very tough article to write. So much good food. Every time I look at it, I end up coming up with a completely different rankings order. Stay tuned for part 2 when we look at the Top 10!!!

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

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