Red Robin – Not So Yummmm

Thursday, January 24, 2013 - by Willie Mae

When Lois and I decided to go out for lunch this week, we had no idea where we were headed. If I go by myself, I will just pull in anywhere or head where someone suggests that I try. 

Everyone else will pretty much go anywhere I want to pull in, but when I go with my friend Lois we get tickled because we never can agree on where to go. Oh, she says that she “doesn’t care” but I know better by her tone or the way her mouth curves downwardly when she says that.

It was after church and I don’t like to eat early in the morning so I am famished by the time the service lets out.

I thought I would try one place that I knew Lois liked because she had mentioned it before. This place had a 45-minute wait and my stomach was about to eat my backbone.

There were little girls everywhere wearing ribbons in their hair. I think there was some sort of cheerleading convention in town. Most places in the city would be crowded so we headed back toward the Hamilton Place Mall where Lois is most familiar. 

Whatever I suggested, Lois said, “I don’t care, I am with you; I will go wherever you want to go,” but I know Lois too well (she would find something wrong with her meal if she were in a place she wasn’t hankering for).

Whenever I would hear the commercial “Red Robin …Yummm” I never paid attention to the food in the commercial, but the catchy jingle stayed in my head. I figured it was like a Bob Evans or something and I knew that would be a hit with Lois.

Red Robin had a 15-minute wait. Maybe my stomach wouldn’t work its way to eating my tailbone.

As we were seated, Lois looked up at the hodgepodge of collections hanging on the wall by our table and said, “Look at all those balls! I hope they are glued in real good, those are right over me!”

The place was so crowded it was uncomfortable. It was hopping like mad! The waitress was a frazzled young girl who looked as if she hadn’t had time to look up as she took our order. I guess when you get in that busy mode, you tend to rush people without knowing it. I don’t blame the little thing, I felt sorry for her.

After we told her we needed a  few minutes, I think she counted to one minute and a half before coming back to ask us again if we were ready.  The food was not country cooking; I guess it was what they call “Americana”. I call it “Hip- hop” … with the music; the young mall crowd with all kinds of hardware in their face and then the waitresses that were literally hopping to keep up.

We ordered appetizers and Lois got a milkshake to sip on while we waited. I was the opposite; I wanted something hot. I got the jalapeño coins; I had never heard of those.

For our meal we discussed several things - the Arctic Cod Fish and Chips for $9.97 or the A1 Peppercorn Burger for $10.19. I chose the Whiskey River BBQ Chicken Wrap for $8.29. Lois got the Royal Red Robin Burger for $8.99

Our waitress was still in a hurry because shortly after she had brought our sodas and took our order, she brought me another Coke before I had even taken two sips on my first one, nearly slamming it down on the table.

Lois pointed out a stack of onion rings that were brought out to someone’s table. They reminded me of the stacking plastic rings on a stick and board that I had for my son when he was a baby - assorted sizes that were strategically placed to get smaller as it went up the stand. We had wished we had ordered that – just the presentation made it look appetizing!

When my coins arrived, they were fried slices of jalapeños and I liked the looks of those too! Only, I couldn’t retrieve them.

There was no utensil to get them out of the bucket they came in, and Lois and I planned to share.

We were only given a fork rolled up in a napkin so I took my unused fork and scattered a few on my plate. They were good and hot!

After eating the jalapeño coins, Lois asked for water. She said they were too hot (she was sipping on her milkshake; I thought that would have cooled her tongue).

There were plenty of kids at the tables and I could tell it was a family place to eat, good to bring your family when you want a quick meal and you are not focused on the service.

Our meals arrived and it filled the empty spot in our gullet, but it wasn’t anything to write home about.

My flavorless chicken was diced small and I didn’t taste the Whiskey in the sauce (maybe that was good since I was driving).

I like to find the special places that have fresh food or that have character to remember. I like something unique or that specializes in a signature dish. But sometimes, I try a simple franchise and give you my take on it.

Take the kids… but don’t take home a box.

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