Chili’s Review: Sometimes Everything Seems to Go Wrong

We don’t go to Chili’s every week but we do end up there several times a year. The item in CheapEatsMyrtleBeach about their 3 for $10 deal provided the motivation to return.

It was Saturday night around 8 and the wait time was half an hour. We signed in and waited for the call. It never came. We did eventually get seated and placed our order: two iced tea, chips and salsa, garden salad, and two of the Margarita Chicken.

Service was fast but the food was not hot. We started to eat anyway.

At a table to our left, a couple was having some sort of trouble. She had left the building but it seems the man had stayed behind. He couldn’t find something. He was talking to the waitresses and looking under the table but couldn’t find it. There was much talk.

The Margarita Chicken is three nice size pieces of grilled chicken breast tastefully arranged on a bed of black beans, Mexican rice, tortilla strips and pico. We’ll spare you a review of the meal because the whole situation that was unfolding around us would make a fair assessment impossible.

We were well into our meal when we noticed that the family behind us had walked out. After a while, a waitress came over. She stopped at a distance from the abandoned table and stared. Putting her hand to her mouth she said, “Oh, no!” Another minute passed. “Oh, no,” she said again. The table and floor was strewn with food, trash and . . . vomit. It looked like a dumpster explosion on a very hot summer day.

It seemed like everyone on staff wanted to see. Waitresses came and went like police at the scene of a crime.

Finally, a man with a mop arrived. When he saw us looking at the carnage, he asked snottily, “Are you looking for something?” We said no. It was definitely time to go.

But not so fast. As we prepared to leave, we glanced at the bill. We had been overcharged by $8.00. The overcharge was easily resolved and we paid but the constant chaos did ruin a nice night out.

A final note. Running a restaurant is clearly not an easy job. Many are understaffed and the employees overworked and underpaid. Things can and often do go wrong, sometimes awfully wrong. This was one of those times.

We could have forgiven just about all of that with one exception: the snotty guy with the mop. I know that it’s no fun to clean up a stranger’s vomit. It wasn’t the mop guys fault. But our time out was ruined, too. And the vomit wasn’t our fault either.

Let’s just leave it at that.

Review: Great Tasting Fast Food Alternative at Kosta Bowl

We had a great experience in Conway today. Off on a road trip, we decided to stop at the Kosta Bowl on Main Street. Truth is we didn’t know what to expect. Boy, were we very pleasantly surprised!

The store looks great and the staff friendly and attentive. And they were patient. After all, there are lot of great looking options to choose from.

So what is a Kosta Bowl? Better than trying to describe the concept let me tell you about mine.

I ordered the Goin’ Green Bowl. At the bottom is a chilled green “base” that’s topped with goodies. The base is somewhere between an ice cream and a pudding. On top is half a sliced banana and big, thick slices of kiwi. Toasted granola gives the mixture a nice, crunchy texture and coconut flakes add a taste of sweetness. The whole masterpiece is topped with a drizzle of almond butter and honey.

Others got the Palmetto Bowl, acai topped with pineapple, bananas, granola, honey and coconut flakes and the Nutty Bowl. The Nutty Bowl also had acai with fresh strawberries, bananas, granola, coconut flakes, honey, Nutella and peanut butter.

As one of the people in our party remarked, “This tastes like real food!”

These are not snacks. These are meals. The Kosta Bowl measures 5 ½ inches in diameter and is 3 inches deep and it arrives filled to the top. Along with 27 different bowls (including oatmeal), there are 12 Smoothies and 4 different fruit and yogurt parfaits. Bowls range from $9 to $11, Smoothies are $7 and the Parfaits $4.75.

It’s interesting to mention that Kosta Bowls was founded by a Myrtle Beach local. Already, there are three Kosta Bowls in the Greater Grand Strand with, according to the website, another on the way. And no doubt, many, many more to come.

A great place to eat and a great story. Spread the word.

2954 Howard Ave, Myrtle Beach

4999 Carolina Forest Blvd, Myrtle Beach

412 Main Street, Conway

1195 Highway 544, Conway

9380 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island

Review: Wendy’s Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken Sandwich

eview: Wendy’s Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken Sandwich“You’re the very first person ever to order the Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken,” the young woman at the Wendy’s drive thru window told me. She smiled broadly. Too bad for everyone else. It’s a really good sandwich.

I chose the classic. The Big Bacon Cheddar comes across as a pub-style sandwich. It’s big like a sandwich of that sort should be, packed to near overflowing. The sandwich starts with a big piece of breaded chicken breast and although I wouldn’t say it was juicy, it was good.

The chicken was topped with a slice of American cheese and what only could be called an abundance of genuinely crispy bacon – when was the last time you got “crispy” bacon that was actually crispy – and a slightly sweet bacon sauce.

On top of that was a pile of crispy fried onions. Even the bun was cheesy with a baked-on waterfall of cheddar.

The truth is that I suspect that although I ordered the classic, I got the spicy. That’s OK. The sandwich was pretty spicy but not overwhelmingly so. In any case, the sandwich looked good – see my dashboard photo – and it tasted great and was big, filling and quite reasonable at $6.84 (with tax, sandwich only).

Review: The Sonic Grilled Cheese Burger

There is a real skill to the art of food photography. Take, for example, this professional photo of Sonic’s Grilled Cheese Burger. Now compare it to the picture of the Sonic Grilled Cheese Burger that we were served. The problem is that mass-produced fast foods can seldom live up to the impossible standards of the professional photos. Before you even taste the food you’re disappointed.

The idea of a Grilled Cheese Burger has real potential. It combines three of the best-loved comfort foods into what should be a satisfying failure-proof sandwich: buttery Texas Toast, oozy melty cheese and fresh, juicy grilled hamburger patties. The reality is altogether different.

The Texas toast might have been the best part of the sandwich but even it wasn’t able to salvage the sandwich. It could have been two slices of golden buttery deliciousness. Instead it looked like something Mom made on an angry day.

The two burger patties were dry and over cooked to the point of almost being burned. Add the melty, oozy cheese that wasn’t even melted and the whole thing ended up not a fool proof comfort food combination but an industrial food weight that sat in my stomach like a lead ball. What could have been a real winner or even an alternative to the traditional burger on a bun ended up being a real disappointment.

The Grilled Cheese Double Burger combo included the sandwich, a medium sweet tea (that was unsweetened) and medium french fries (that were pretty good). Total price? $5.89.

At least they got the price right.

Review: A Visit with Arthur Treacher

We had such high hopes. Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips was an old-time fast-food restaurant that bucked the burger trend in the 1970s. As a result, at the time it had a tremendous following with some 800 restaurants. Alas, by June of 2021, there was but one standalone Arthur Treacher’s in the entire United States.

News that it had been revived by Nathan’s Famous sent fans into thoughts of deep fried bliss.

Our Arthur Treacher’s journey brought us to the neon splashed 200 block of Main Street in North Myrtle Beach. There, tucked under Nathans Skybar, was an Arthur Treacher’s, Nathans and Scoops all mixed together.

With great anticipation, we ordered the fish and chips platter for $9.99, a price that, to be honest, caused my cheap eats heart to skip a beat. The platter included two medium size pieces of fish, “chips,” cole slaw, two hush puppies and three little plastic tubs of tartar sauce. The chips were not the English-style chips (Arthur Treacher was a British actor) that I was familiar with. These were simply unseasoned crinkle cut French fries. Though browned on the outside, there were mushy and tasteless.

The hush puppies were also pretty tasteless. Worse, they were mushy inside. The cole slaw was, to be generous, passable. But the fish! The fish! The fish was deep fried and hot, crisp on the outside, tender and flaky on the inside. And tasty? Yes! With just the right hint of saltiness. Arthur Treacher, God rest his soul, still knows how to make fish. Not quite as good as Long John Silvers, in my opinion, but pretty good for fast food fish.

As for the rest of the meal, it was – how do you say this kindly – awful. And that spoiled the whole thing for us. As we left the shrine to Mr. Treacher, we were disappointed. Even the usually imperturbable Robin sounded a bit snitty. “It spites me to spend that much money on bad food.” The final bill, with two medium drinks, came to $28.59.

I reminded her that we knew from the start that we were not going to be dining at Aspen. That this was a chance to do some fast food time traveling to what was at one time an iconic and much loved cheap eat. Having now taken that trip, it’s extremely doubtful we’d go down that road again.