Franchise Madness

There has been a restaurant explosion in my home town. Quaker Steak, Joe's Crab Shack, Smash Burger. I love that Smash Burger offers a spicy black bean burger. It was almost as good as my own. Mine is better though. I shoulda got it with some grilled onions and pickles, but forgot. The side salad was a nice change of choice from fries and fried onions. It was a small, but tasty salad with fancy mixed greens, diced tomato, herbs and shredded cheddar. The balsamic vinaigrette was good. Although I only used a touch. It was sweet and tart. The smash fries were unimpressive. Very thin, poor texture and bland. The burger was skimpy on cheese in my opinion, but more than ample with lettuce, red onion and jalapenoes.

The actual beef burger was reminiscent of fudruckers style. Very heavy on the butter flavor. Both the meat and the bun wreaked of it. If that's what you like.

Smash Burger has pretty decent fat and calories counts overall. And there are several truly light options. Chicken patties and salads and such.

The smash burger black bean patty is pretty light and low cal as far as franchises go. You could walk away consuming under 600 calories if you order a salad on the side and are sparing with the dressing. You'll ned to leave off the chipotle mayo and gauc, but grilled onions and dill pickles makea  tasty and low cal subsitution.

Ironically enough Joe's Crab Shack had a really great burger. I was impressed. Large and in charge it was. The topping of tiny batter fried shrimp and shoestring fried onions were phenom. The tiny popcorn fried shrimp really blew my mind. The aioli sauce was really great as well. The patty itself was moist and delicious. As well it should be ast the insane calorie and fat counts it boasts. Most of their menu has insane amounts of calories, fat and sodium. The burger is over 1200 calories with the sides. And don't even ask about how much sodium.

The crab cakes on the other hand were not so impressive. Not so much cakes as crab stuffing and kinda bland considering the salt and fat content. If they're using dungeness crab as the signs suggest, they should reconsider it for their east coast locations. Try a more local choice to preserve the freshness.

You're hard pressed to find a light option at Joe's. The grilled coconut shrimp is the only one I recall. I haven't tried it yet. Sounds good though.

But speaking of light shrimp restaurant options I recently tried Applebee's weight watchers Grilled Jalapeno Lime Shrimp. It was great. Really great. I ate the whole thing. No leftovers. But At only 300 calories you can afford to eat the whole thing. The flavor was such that you wouldn't suspect it to be light if you didn't already know.

I still haven't tried Quaker Steak. Their name's a little off putting and their dishes all sound so heavy. The selection of sauces is enticing. But it's disappointing that their website doesn't offer fat and calorie counts. Makes you wonder what they're hiding. And with such a huge menu selection how can they do all those dishes and do them all well.