A Funny Thing Happened . . .

OPEN: JANUS FILE #0410


Oh, crap. This has not been a particularly good month.

That whole little incident with the fire engine running into my condo at the first of the month? It kind of threw everything out of kilter, as the saying goes. Including my writing. Not just The Janus Files, but other bits and pieces of writing that I do elsewhere.

Here, the last two entries took longer to write than I thought they would. And I am sure there were other things I wanted to write about, but at the moment, I can't think of any of them. And it's just the slightest bit irritating.

Oh, well, time to see if I can get myself back on track, as the saying goes.

CLOSE: JANUS FILE #0410

FoodQuest Rerun: Lenny's Sub Shop

OPEN: JANUS FILE #0409


Okay, this is the last of the birthday offers that I have been receiving in my email recently. And the timing was pretty good for this one, too.

The offer was from Lenny's Sub Shop, one of a number of establishments specializing in fresh-made subs and similar sandwiches. It was for a free regular-size sandwich. And since the expiration date on this particular offer was today, I running out of time to use it.

After that whole little incident with the fire engine yesterday, I decided that it was as good a time as any to make use of the offer. Even by late afternoon, I'm not completely certain that my brain was back to functioning anywhere near what I would call normal.

I already had a good idea of what I was going to order before I walked in, and a quick glance at the menu only confirmed what I had in mind. I ordered the Deluxe Club Sub -- provolone, turkey, roast beef, and bacon -- on whole wheat bread. All of the sandwiches at Lenny's include "Onion, Lettuce, Oil, Tomato, Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Pickles, & Hot Pepper Relish," but I limited my toppings to lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Maybe some oregano, but nothing else. At least Lenny's isn't like some sandwich shops, where they drown the sandwiches in mayo unless you firmly tell them not to. Ew, ew, ew.

One thing about Lenny's is that while it falls into the category of a fast food place, if you're eating at the restaurant, they bring your order to your table, and they clean the table afterward. I remember the first time I ate there. After I had finished eating, I looked around for the trashcan, and I couldn't find one. I asked one of the guys behind the counter where the trashcan was, and he said, "Just leave it; we'll take care of it." It was something of a surprise, but I didn't worry about it the next time.

A few minutes after I placed my order, they brought my sandwich to my table. It was piled high with the various meats and toppings, especially the shredded lettuce. Various bits and pieces of my sandwich fell out of the bread as I ate, leaving me with still quite a bit to eat when I had finished the sandwich. Or at least the part that had remained trapped between the bread.

As is the case with a number of other sandwich chains, Lenny's bakes their own bread. There have been one or two times when I thought the bread wasn't as fresh as I thought it should be. This time, however, was not one of those times. The bread was at that right spot where softness and chewiness were perfectly juxtaposed -- just right for holding the sandwich together.

This particular Lenny's had a big screen TV, but according to one of the guys behind the counter, the only channel they received aired only infomercials. (I learned this after one infomercial ended, another had begun, and I asked something along the lines of, "Don't you have anything else?") And he said it in way that led me to believe that he had seen most of those infomercials several times over.

On the other hand, they also offer free Wi-Fi. After I finished eating, I wrote yesterday's entry there.

I'm sure I'll be returning. There are at least a few more sandwiches on the menu that I still want to try.

Lenny's Sub Shop
3942 Taylorsville Road
Louisville, KY

CLOSE: JANUS FILE #0409

Things That Go THUNK! In The Night

OPEN: JANUS FILE #0408


First of all, I'm all right. I want to establish that before we go any further. I may be a little sleep-deprived, but I am all right.

That said, I had one hell of a strange morning.

It started around 01.30 AM. I was half-asleep, and trying to fully enter the realm of Morpheus, until I was suddenly awakened by my building shaking, which was accompanied by a very loud THUNK!

Actually, THUNK! doesn't even begin to adequately describe the sound. Not even in all caps, boldface, italicized, and accompanied by a plethora of exclamation points. But I suppose it will have to do.

My first inclination was to try to go back to sleep. That lasted less than five seconds, as it quickly occurred to at least part of my brain that it might be a good idea to learn what had caused said THUNK! I fumbled for my glasses and the flashlight sitting adjacent to them, turned on the lamp, and grabbed my sneakers before going out to investigate.

[NOTE: For the record, I should state that I sleep in sweatpants, socks, and a T-shirt.]

I wasn't the only curious one. Most of my neighbors had been similarly awakened, and were just as curious/concerned/worried as I was. I think it was safe to say that we were all thinking the same thing -- "What the hell was that?" The first thing we learned was that something was blocking the back entrance to the building.

We streamed out the front entrance, and made our way around the building, where we discovered the source of both the blocked entrance and the shake, rattle, and roll which had roused us.

A fire engine had crashed into the building.

I think the first thing resembling a coherent thought that filtered through my mind was, That's something you don't see every day, This was followed in rapid succession by Holy crap!, Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish!, and a few other similarly colorful turns of phrase. It took a few more seconds for What about the firefighters? to slowly filter its way to rational thought. I carefully picked my way to the front of the engine, stepping around some fallen trees, and the engine door that had been ripped off in the crash. It looked like the driver was slumped over the steering wheel, and I asked if anyone needed any help. They said no, so I moved out of the way.

I had a chance to see some of the damage from the inside. I followed several of my neighbors to the unit that appears to have received the most damage. The resident had been in the unit at the time, although fortunately nowhere near the impact. To say that he was not happy was an understatement. He let us take a peek inside, and I could see why he was just a little upset. The fire engine came close to giving him a drive-in window.

[I later heard that the fire engine was responding to an emergency call when, for some reason, it lost control and crashed into my condo complex. I'm going to be keeping an eye out for the investigation.]

I stood around talking with some of my neighbors for a while, and eventually the journalism major in me finally kicked in. It occurred to me that this definitely fit the definition of newsworthiness, and I went back to my condo. I called the newsrooms of all of Louisville's TV stations. I don't think there was anyone at WDRB's newsroom, but I did get through to the news departments of WAVE, WHAS, and WLKY -- after getting recorded messages on all of them. I gave a quick rundown of what happened. The most amusing exchange happened when I called WAVE. The woman who answered my call asked if I could get any photos, and I told her that I had neither digital camera nor cellphone.

This kind of surprised her. "Oh, so you're calling from a landline!"

WAVE and WHAS both sent reporters, although the police and fire departments wouldn't let them shoot anywhere near the fire engine. It made me wish that I did have a video camera. They did shoot from a distance, as well as a brief interview with the fire chief.

Part of me wanted to go back to sleep, but I knew that wasn't going to happen until things died down. That wouldn't happen for several hours. I spent some time in the complex's clubhouse talking with some neighbors who had gathered there. Most of the time, though, I was just walking around, doing something -- anything -- to keep myself awake.

I think it was around 04.30 when a tow truck finally pulled the fire engine back onto the road. That was when we finally got a good luck at the damage. One unit's balcony had been completely destroyed. Someone said that the residents were on vacation. On the good side, no one was there to get injured. On the less than good side, they are going to be in for a BIG surprise when they return home.

It was a little after 05.00 AM when I finally turned off the light and went back to sleep. And I'm really surprised that I even woke up when my alarm clock went off at 07.00. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have turned it off. As it was, I shut off the alarm, and went right back to sleep. It was 10.00 AM when I woke up again.

I had a better view of the carnage in the light of day. At least three or four trees lining the sidewalk had been taken out by the fire engine when it crashed, and it came way too close to taking out a utility pole as well. The back entrance to my building has been roped off with "FIRE LINE -- DO NOT CROSS" tape. As I was going to the library, I saw a car for a restoration/remodeling service in the parking lot, so it looks like they're trying to get things back to normal as possible.

I'm sure this falls into the category of "Man Bites Dog." I would be happy if it happens somewhere else next time.

CLOSE: JANUS FILE #0408

FoodQuest Rerun: Red Robin

OPEN: JANUS FILE #0407


This is yet another FoodQuest Rerun stemming from a birthday offer. This time, it was Red Robin that was giving me a birthday present, as part of their rewards program. Their present was a free burger, and I went to Mall St. Matthews for another late lunch or early dinner, depending on your point of view.

As was the case on my last visit, the restaurant was not all that busy, which meant I didn't have to wait for a seat. Once I was settled, I took a few minutes to take a careful look at the menu. The one thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to try something different from my first visit.

I decided that I was also going to get an appetizer, and I went with the Guacamole, Salsa, And Chips. This was a basket of tri-colored tortilla chips -- red, white, and blue. (Very patriotic, don't you think?) A red corn tortilla had been formed into a cup, and it was filled with the guacamole. A similar blue corn tortilla cup held the salsa. And as I discovered after the server brought the basket to the table, there were also a couple of chips made from jalapeno-cheese flour tortillas.

The salsa, as I mentioned on my previous visit, is on the mild side. The guacamole had more of a kick to it. It was close to the way I like it, with the right mix of creaminess and chunkiness. It contained tomatoes (which I don't put in my guacamole when I make it at home -- I prefer straight avocado), and what I think was just the right amount of spice. I think the best way to describe it would be to call it an afterkick; the spice would sneak up on you after you had taken a bite. Not hot by any means; just spicy.

I didn't have time to finish all of the chips, because my burger came out close on the heels of the chips. I was in a guacamole kind of mood, so I decided to go with the Guacamole Bacon Burger. With a couple of slight changes. No onions, and definitely no mayo. In case I haven't mentioned it before (and even if I have), mayo is Evil White Slime. There is nothing worse than discovering that they didn't hold the mayo. But I'm getting a little offtrack, aren't I?

Besides the obvious guacamole and bacon, the burger also came topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. It made for quite a substantial burger. The blend of flavors was enjoyable, but it might have been better from one viewpoint if it had only come topped with the guacamole and applewood smoked bacon. At times, it was kind of hard to distinguish all of the different components of the burger as I ate it.

As is the case with all of Red Robin's burgers, it came with bottomless steak fries. I think I ended up getting three baskets of fries, and I took basket #3 and part of basket #2 home with me, as well as a good portion of the tortilla chips. I did finish off both the guacamole and salsa.

Red Robin does serve alcohol, so as I had done yesterday when I went to Hooters, I asked if they could make a Spayed Gerbil. Short answer -- no. No Campari. Well, at least they were honest about it.

I think I have one more birthday offer, and I think I'm running out of time to use it.

CLOSE: JANUS FILE #0407

FoodQuest Rerun: Hooters

OPEN: JANUS FILE #0406


Like my recent FoodQuest Rerun entry on Moe's, this entry was at least partially inspired by a birthday offer I received in my email. I received several similar offers recently, and it occurred to me that these would be good reasons to write about return visits. I have a limited time in which I can take advantage of these offers, so these entries are going to come rather quickly.

The first of the email offers -- well, the first that I redeemed after the Moe's offer -- was from Hooters. Their offer was for a free plate of 10 wings, and it had to be redeemed within a week of my birthday. I didn't have anything else to do today, so I decided to go to Hooters to receive my birthday present.

Like my first visit to Hooters, I went in the later part of the afternoon. This time, I know that I didn't have to wait to be seated, and I found an empty table. It may have even been the same table I had on my previous visit. I sat my backpack down in one chair, and I quickly rummaged through it to find the email printout for my free wings.

My server this time was a young lady named Danielle. She was about 5'7" tall, and had dark brown hair and brown eyes. I had just found the printout as she came to my table, and when I showed it to her, she asked, "Do you want to go ahead and start with this while you're deciding what else to order?" That sounded like a good idea to me. I wanted to go with a different sauce this visit, and I ordered a plate of boneless wings with the barbecue sauce.

I already had a fairly good idea of what I wanted to order besides the wings, and it only took a quick glance through the menu to confirm my decision. I stuck to the appetizer section of the menu, and ordered the Fried Pickles and "Lots-A-Tots." I was ready to order before Danielle could bring the wings to the table.

There was nothing out of the ordinary about the barbecue sauce. It was a good barbecue sauce; just the right amount of tang and spice. It complemented the chicken quite well. If I ever feel the urge to indulge in the all-you-can-eat wings at Hooters again, I will probably get at least one plate with the barbecue sauce.

The Fried Pickles were pickle slices that were lightly breaded and then deep fried. They came with a dipping sauce, and I had to admit that the taste of the sauce was both interesting and unusual. I wasn't quite sure what it was, so I asked Danielle about it. She told me that it was ranch dressing and hot sauce that was blended together at the restaurant. From the way she described the process, it sounds like they make it in five-gallon batches. Well, I suppose that it would be easier to make it in that large a quantity. It sounds like it would be easy to make at home; the trick would be in getting it to taste right.

Lots-A-Tots are Tater Tots covered with bacon, cheese, sour cream, and chives. Not too dissimilar from a plate of cheese fries or potato skins that I've had at other restaurants. Just a slightly different version of potato as the base. The Tater Tots were nice and crispy -- a lot crispier than I'm ever able to get them when I make them at home. I tried at least a couple of them in the dipping sauce, but I think I ate most of them just the way they came to me.

As on my previous visit, I came at a slow time, so the service was great. Danielle kept my water glass filled, and came by several times to ask if I needed anything else.

I took advantage of the Wi-Fi while I was there, which was helpful when I decided to test Andrew Offutt's theory of good bartenders. One time when Danielle came by, I asked if they could fix me a Spayed Gerbil. I had already brought up a site that had the recipe by way of Google, so when she asked me what was in it, I showed her the website. Unfortunately, they didn't have Campari, so I couldn't get a Spayed Gerbil. On the other hand, this does lean in favor of the staff at this Hooters being good bartenders.

All in all, it was a pretty good (delayed) birthday present to myself.

CLOSE: JANUS FILE #0406

FoodQuest: Panera Bread

OPEN: JANUS FILE #0405


I suppose I have Joe Manning to thank for this particular FoodQuest entry. If he hadn't been such a colossal douchebag, I probably wouldn't have chosen Panera Bread for this month.

And I think a little background is necessary at this point. Manning is a columnist for LEO, a local publication I usually refer to as the "Liberal Excrement Output." Because for the most part, that's what their output is -- liberal BS. (One of the few good things about it is that they run "News Of The Weird," but I'm digressing.) When Panera Bread opened their latest location in Louisville, Manning used his column for a rant of the "How dare they?" variety. The location was previously the site of a Louisville institution, Ear X-Tacy, and he was absolutely outraged that just another branch of the corporate world would have the temerity to defile what he apparently considered to be sacred ground.

Guess what? The owner of the property didn't see it that way. To the owner, it's a prime piece of business real estate. Panera Bread saw it as a good place to add a location, and apparently they and the property owner came to an equitable agreement on a lease. After a few weeks of remodeling, Panera Bread has a new location open for business.

Now, I know I've been in at least one other Panera Bread location. During the holiday seasons I worked for Hickory Farms in Mall St. Matthews, the Panera Bread location there had the nearest restroom to the Hickory Farms kiosk. I know that my co-workers and I would make quick runs there when necessary. But other than a cup of coffee, I don't remember getting anything there. So, I figured it was still fair game for a FoodQuest entry.

Late last month, I went by the Bardstown Road location. I wanted to take a look at the menu, and in the process, I picked up a Panera Rewards card. I also said to one of the people behind the counter, "You have Joe Manning to thank for my coming in." She gave me a rather puzzled look, and I added, "It was his being such a douchebag in his column that inspired me to come in." I think I may have made her day with that comment. While I was there, I picked up one of Panera's rewards cards, and not long after that, I registered it online.

This morning, I decided on brunch at Panera before going to the library. Among other things, it was on my way. I got off the bus about a block or so earlier than I usually would, which put me right across the street from Panera.

I already had a good idea of what I wanted to order when before I walked in, and a quick perusal of the menu board only solidified my decision. I ordered broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl, and coffee. I was told that I had a free pastry on my rewards because I had registered it, so I selected a cinnamon roll.

Let's start with the coffee. I first filled up my cup with Panera's dark roast. It's an eye-opener, to say the least. Now, I love a good coffee buzz, but I have a feeling that I may be buzzed just a little longer than I expected when I selected my coffee. When I went for a refill, I chose half dark roast, half light roast. I think it may take me a few times to get the right ratio. I like my coffee sweet, and one thing I like about Panera is that they have both honey and raw sugar available. I used a combination of the two in both cups.

The bread bowl for my soup was a freshly-baked round loaf of sourdough bread. A big plug had been cut out of the loaf, and was placed to the side of the bowl. The bread had a firm, chewy crust, perfect for containing the soup. Under the crust, the bread was fluffy, and had a delightfully tangy flavor. The soup itself had a mild cheddar flavor, and plenty of broccoli and carrots throughout.

The cinnamon roll was definitely used something other than the sourdough bread. It was a sweet dough, and the filling had plenty of cinnamon in it. The roll was great, but it could have used a better icing. Unfortunately, the icing was only average.

Panera also offers free Wi-Fi, and i took advantage of it. I pulled out my laptop, and checked my email (among other things) in between bites. In fact, I almost lost track of time, and had to hustle just a little to shut down, get everything repacked, and make it to the bus stop in time to catch the bus.

I'm definitely going to be going back to Panera. There are several other soups I want to try, and yes, the thought that patronizing this particular location would piss off Joe Manning gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.


Panera Bread
1534 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY

CLOSE: JANUS FILE #0405

FoodQuest Rerun: Moe's

OPEN: JANUS FILE #0404


Recently, I saw a post on IReallyLikeFood debating which chain was better -- Chipotle Mexican Grill or Moe's Southwest Grill. Considering that Chipotle doesn't have any locations here in Louisville, and Moe's has four (five, if you count one in Southern Indiana), I have to go with Moe's. Now, if you want to get into a debate whether Moe's or Qdoba, then I could get into the debate. Louisville has both chains, and I enjoy eating at both.

I was a fan of Moe's long before I started FoodQuest, so a regular entry didn't fall into the parameters I had set for FoodQuest. But a couple of weeks ago, I saw a mention on Facebook about a new item that Moe's had added to their menu. This would be the Taco Stacks, and I started thinking that writing about these might make a good FoodQuest Rerun. I also get the occasional promotional email from Moe's, and a little over a week ago, I received an email with a birthday present attached -- one free entree, fajitas excluded. That didn't bother me, because I'm not a fan of fajitas.

A couple of days ago, I decided to use my birthday present, and got lunch at Moe's. Once I confirmed that I could use the email to get a Taco Stack, I ordered a Steak Taco Stack.

One thing I like about Moe's is that you watch your food being made right in front of you. It started with a flour tortilla, steamed to soften it. A small pile of shredded cheese was placed in the center of the tortilla, and a corn tortilla was placed on top of the cheese. On top of the corn tortilla was placed pinto beans, grilled steak, grilled mushrooms, and Moe's queso. (Grilled onions are also part of the steak Taco Stack, but I decided to pass on those.)

Any of the free ingredients were fair game (extra cost for guacamole or bacon), and I added diced tomatoes, sour cream, more cheese, lettuce, and diced cucumbers to mine. The resulting pile was topped with another corn tortilla, and still more cheese was placed on top of that before the flour tortilla was carefully wrapped around the corn tortillas and their contents. This was then placed on the grill for a couple of minutes on each side before it was placed in a basket along with a pile of tortilla chips, and was then handed to me.

While my Taco Stack was on the grill, I talked with the guy who had done the assembling and grilling. I asked how popular the Taco Stacks were, and he said that he hoped that they would become a permanent part of the menu. This surprised me, because I had seen a few comments on Facebook -- supposedly from Moe's employees -- who complained about how much of a pain they were to make. The guy who grilled mine was a little surprised when I told him this, because he didn't have any problems making them. Before Moe's, he had worked at Taco Bell, and as he told me, "The Taco Stacks are basically the same as [Taco Bell's] Crunchwrap Supreme." I had to disagree, because it looked like the Taco Stack was an improvement on the Crunchwrap.

I took my tray to a booth I had already claimed (placed my backpack there), got my drink and some salsa to go with my chips, then proceeded to enjoy my meal. Put simply, the Taco Stack was wonderful. When I get a burrito at Moe's, I usually choose the steak option, and the marinated grilled steak didn't fail to please this time. I also loved the mushrooms; an ingredient option that Qdoba unfortunately doesn't have. All of the different flavors blended together delightfully, for lack of a better term.

The tortilla chips are freshly made, and are kept warm until a big scoop was placed in a basket on my tray. I tried a couple of different salsas, but I found that I enjoy the chips best just by themselves. And if you're dining in, you can get refills on the chips.

I'm not certain if the holds true for the whole chain, but this particular Moe's offers free Wi-Fi. I took advantage, combining a pleasant meal with browsing the Internet.

I'm already a repeat customer, so I'm definitely going to be going back.

Moe's Southwest Grill
1001 Breckenridge Lane
Louisville, KY

CLOSE: JANUS FILE #0404

Seventeen Syllables Of Piratitude

OPEN: JANUS FILE #0403


ARRRRR, I almost forgot that today be Talk Like A Pirate Day! Well, even though the day be almost over as I scribble this, I hope that all of you scurvy seadogs have had a good one.

Since my time is short, I'll keep the entry the same. The two Borders stores here in Louisville closed their doors for good a little over a week ago. One of my last purchases from the liquidation sale was Pirate Haiku. I found the whole of pirate-themed haiku to be . . . amusing, to say the very least. Almost as amusing as the idea of ninja-themed sea shanties. (No, I haven't seen a book of the latter. At least not yet.) But today, a pirate haiku of my own materialized in my thoughts as I was biking, and I hope that you will enjoy it in the spirit of the day:

I have one demand:
Just give me all of your rum,
And no one gets hurt.


Of course, the right rum to be giving this pirate would be Captain Morgan. None of that foul Bacardi swill!

CLOSE: JANUS FILE #0403

Two Thousand One, Nine Eleven

OPEN: JANUS FILE #0402


I knew that I wanted to write something to mark this anniversary, but I didn't know what that would be. I think my best entry on September 11 may have been three years ago (Janus File #0271, "Never Forget, Indeed"). But I was looking through some old email, and I found this poem that someone sent to me on September 11, 2003. And I knew that this was what I wanted to share today.

As far as I know, the author of this poem is unknown. At least no name was attached to the poem when it was emailed to me eight years ago. For all I know, the author has stepped forward and claimed credit since then. And I suspect that it has been posted and reposted to any number of websites. I really wasn't interested in checking Google. If anyone does know, feel free to leave a comment.

I've done a little cleaning up in terms of punctuation, but other than that, you see what I found in my email eight years ago.


TWO THOUSAND ONE, NINE ELEVEN (2001/9/11)

Two thousand one, nine eleven:
Three thousand plus arrive in heaven.
As they pass through the gate,
Thousands more appear in wait.
A bearded man with stovepipe hat
Steps forward saying, "Lets sit, lets chat"

They settle down in seats of clouds
A man named Martin shouts out proud,
"I have a dream!" and once he did.
The Newcomer said, "Your dream still lives."

Groups of soldiers in blue and gray,
Others in khaki, and green then say,
"We're from Bull Run, Yorktown, the
Maine"
The Newcomer said, "You died not in vain."

From a man on sticks one could hear,
"The only thing we have to fear . . . "
The Newcomer said, "We know the rest,
Trust us sir, we've passed that test."

"Courage doesn't hide in caves
You can't bury freedom, in a grave,"
The Newcomers had heard this voice before
A distinct Yankees twang from Hyannisport shores

A silence fell within the mist
Somehow the Newcomer knew that this
Meant time had come for her to say
What was in the hearts of the five thousand plus that day

"Back on Earth, we wrote reports,
Watched our children play in sports,
Worked our gardens, sang our songs,
Went to church and clipped coupons,
We smiled, we laughed, we cried, we fought,
Unlike you, great we're not."

The tall man in the stovepipe hat
Stood and said, "Don't talk like that!
Look at your country, look and see,
You died for freedom, just like me"

Then, before them all appeared a scene
Of rubbled streets and twisted beams.
Death, destruction, smoke and dust
And people working just 'cause they must

Hauling ash, lifting stones,
Knee deep in hell, but not alone
"Look! Blackman, Whiteman, Brownman, Yellowman
Side by side helping their fellow man!"

So said Martin, as he watched the scene,
"Even from nightmares, can be born a dream."

Down below three firemen raised
The colors high into ashen haze.
The soldiers above had seen it before,
On Iwo Jima back in '44.

The man on sticks studied everything closely,
Then shared his perceptions on what he saw mostly.
"I see pain, I see tears,
I see sorrow -- but I don't see fear."

"You left behind husbands and wives,
Daughters and sons, and so many lives
Are suffering now because of this wrong,
But look very closely. You're not really gone.

"All of those people, even those who've never met you,
All of their lives, they'll never forget you.
Don't you see what has happened?
Don't you see what you've done?
You've brought them together, together as one."

With that the man in the stovepipe hat said,
"Take my hand," and from there he led
Three thousand plus heroes, Newcomers to heaven
On this day, two thousand one, nine eleven.


-- Author Unknown

CLOSE: JANUS FILE #0402

FoodQuest: Red Robin

OPEN: JANUS FILE #0401


No, I didn't forget FoodQuest. I just wasn't sure where I wanted to go this month. Then I remembered that several months ago, I had stopped by Red Robin, and I had picked up one of their Red Royalty cards. I had not gone online to register it until a few days ago. When I did register it, I was reminded that I would get a free appetizer if I visited Red Robin within 14 days. That kind of made it easy to decide where to go this month, didn't it?

In any event, I went by Mall St. Matthews today specifically to go to Red Robin. I timed my visit so that it would be a late lunch or early dinner, depending on your point of view. (What would you call the mid-afternoon equivalent of brunch, anyway?)

Because of my timing, the restaurant was relatively empty at the time. I think there were two or three other tables with diners while I was there. I think there was only one waitress working at the time, since all of the other diners were located in the same general area of the restaurant as I was.

For the appetizer, I chose the Just-In-Quesadilla. This is a flour tortilla filled with chicken breast, mushrooms, bacon, cheese, and tomatoes. It was accompanied by a blue corn tortilla which had been formed into a cup, and was filled with sour cream and guacamole. A similar white corn tortilla cup was filled with salsa, and the accompaniments were rounded out by a plastic cup of black beans.

The black beans were cooked in a chipotle-flavored sauce. They were spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. The salsa was on the mild side. I really didn't get that good a feel for the guacamole; I may have to try a different appetizer that has guacamole the next time I visit.

The quesadilla itself had plenty of chicken and mushrooms, generously filled but not overly filled. Unlike my burger (more on that in a moment), nothing leaked out of the quesadilla except for perhaps some juices. I finished only about a third of it, because my burger quickly followed.

I also ordered a Sauteed Shroom Burger. The menu describes it as "a mushroom lover's dream come true," and the burger lived to the description. The burger was loaded with mushrooms, and topped with Swiss cheese. In fact, it was so loaded that my burger leaked mushrooms and Swiss cheese when I was biting into it. Not that I was complaining by any stretch of the imagination. As I think I have mentioned a few times when writing about pizza, I love mushrooms, and anything that has this much mushrooms in it is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Red Robin also cooks the butget the way you want it, and I ordered mine as rare as possible.

All of Red Robin's burgers come with bottomless steak fries. They came out nice and golden, cooked to the right degree of fluffiness inside. In this case, "bottomless" turned out to be only two baskets of fries, thanks to the appetizer. I had plenty of fries and quesadilla to take with me for another meal.

I will definitely be making a return visit to Red Robin. There are at least two or three other burgers that I want to try, and more than a few appetizers as well.

Red Robin
5000 Shelbyville Road, #1627
(inside Mall St. Matthews)
Louisville, KY

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