Carl’s Jr Restaurants

Interior

Exterior

Western bacon cheeseburgers and sides

*** (3 stars)

Carl’s junior offers a nice variety of pretty typical fast food. Unlike at most of the competitors you can get a BBQ bacon cheeseburger and onion rings, which are my favorites.

The food at this Carl’s is good, but it is quite slow, even when uncrowded, so don’t visit if you’re in a hurry.

The place is clean and the staff seems nice.

Carl’s Jr Restaurants
1611 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(323) 731-0384
https://www.yelp.com/biz/carls-jr-restaurants-los-angeles-3

El Pollo Loco

3 Pcs Chicken Combo

**** (4 stars)

El Pollo Loco has always been my favorite fast food place. It’s healthy (depending upon what you order), tasty, and generous. A three piece combo with chicken breasts, side salad, a heap of cole slaw, corn tortillas and a drink is ten bucks. You can’t beat that! And the salsa bar has fresh cilantro and lots of different salsas. Service was friendly and efficient.

El Pollo Loco
1545 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 380-2772
https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-pollo-loco-los-angeles-56

Culver’s

Bacon cheese single burger

Interior

Exterior

Mint and m&m mini custard

**** (4 stars)

My friends from the Midwest were excited about the local arrival of Culver’s, so I was looking forward to checking it out.

The Bacon Cheese Deluxe Single burger I had was good, better than most fast food burgers, and came with all the trimmings I like.

The specialty here is frozen custard, especially “concretes” made by mixing in ingredients. I had vanilla custard with mint flavoring and m&ms added. It was very tasty, fairly indistinguishable from soft serve ice cream.

It’s worth noting that custard is REALLY high in calories compared to alternatives. It’s also worth noting that the serving sizes are really large. I had a “mini” which, when I was a kid, would have been called a large. Between the caloric content of the custard and the size inflation, it would be easy to order a single serving that had over 1000 calories!

Service was very friendly. I was greeted on arrival and departure, and the food is delivered to the tables and the tables are bussed, all nice services not usually found at fast food places.

Culver’s
13649 W Colonial Dr
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 395-2225
https://www.yelp.com/biz/culvers-winter-garden

The Habit Burger Grill

BBQ Bacon cheeseburger

Interior

Exterior

***** (5 stars)

This is the best quick serve burger I’ve found in Orlando. It’s also the best-priced quality burger I’ve found, costing barely more than fastfood chain burgers.

I had the BBQ bacon cheeseburger, which came will all the trimmings I’d usually order, standard. It was juicy and flavorful, and the bun held together well.

Breaded onion rings were nicely crisped, and the manager offered me some ranch dressing that was perfect for dipping them.

The burger, rings and a large drink came to under ten bucks. It was a great meal for that price.

Service was friendly, and the cooked-to-order meal came out very quickly.

The Habit Burger Grill
4706 Millenia Plaza Way
Orlando, FL 32839
(407) 351-9009
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-habit-burger-grill-orlando-2

Tommy’s Original World Famous Hamburgers

Exterior

The grill

***** (5 stars)

There’s nothing quite like an authentic Tommy burger. There are imitators all over town, but none of them get it quite right.

There’s something about the flavor of the strange orange glop they call chili that can’t be duplicated. Frankly the stuff might be terrible by itself, but with the slab of tomato, diced onion, and handful of dill pickle slices, it all seems to go together.

Oh yeah, and there must be meat in there somewhere, although who knows what it tastes like.

The fries deserve a shout out, too. They’re not thick or thin, but just fat enough to have a nice crust and soft inside.

Oh, and don’t get that orange stuff on your hands. It never comes off.

Tommy’s Original World Famous Hamburgers
2575 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 389-9060
https://www.yelp.com/biz/tommys-original-world-famous-hamburgers-los-angeles-6

Mrs Potato

Exterior

Interior

Empanada

Chicken Catupiry Rosti

**** (4 stars)

This is both a counter serve and sit down restaurant. Although there are only three tables in the building, an adjacent permanent tent accommodates many more. The menu offers many variations of potatoes rosti, and also baked potatoes.

Rosti is essentially a beret-sized mound of hashbrowns with whatever filling you like. I tried the Chicken Catupiry Rosti. I enjoyed the crispy brown hashbrown crust, but the filling wasn’t my favorite.

In addition to potatoes, they also have many Brazilian and South American entrees and appetizers. My favorite was the empanada. The beef version I ordered was unavailable so I tried cheese, and it was excellent, with a delicate crust cooked a perfect golden brown, and served with an excellent salsa/relish.

Service was excellent, very friendly and efficient. I was impressed that every customer was promptly and warmly welcomed upon arrival.

They also have a large assortment of Mr. Potato head toys for the kids to play with!

Mrs Potato
4550 S Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL 32811
(407) 290-0991
https://www.yelp.com/biz/mrs-potato-orlando-2

Chicken Bites

Interior

Exterior

*** (3 stars)

This place basically makes only one thing, which is a deep fried ball of mashed potato with a small bit of chicken, beef, cheese or vegetable in the middle. Ten of them are served in a cone. You can mix types in your order, but they tend to taste very similar. The Brazilian name is coxinha.

Frankly, they were not to our taste, but if it’s something you like, then I’m sure it’s a perfectly fine version. The problem is that there isn’t a place to eat, and barely a place to stand while you wait for your order. They also have a lunch truck, and this place is essentially like getting food from a lunch truck, with nothing but a small counter.

Service was very friendly.

Chicken Bites
2405 S Hiawassee Rd
Orlando, FL 32835
(407) 985-4285
https://www.yelp.com/biz/chicken-bites-orlando

Del Taco

Tostada

**** (4 stars)

Del Taco consistently seems a bit more generous than Taco Bell, and the ingredients often seem a bit fresher, or at least more discrete. This location–a rarity in Central Florida–seems fairly friendly and efficient.

My wife and I have always disagreed about whether Taco Bell’s or Del Taco’s tostadas are better. There’s a philosophical argument about whether the cheese belongs underneath the lettuce, where it melts, or on top, where it imparts more flavor but falls off. More research is needed. I’m on it.

Del Taco
6855 Grand National Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 363-0738
https://www.yelp.com/biz/del-taco-orlando-2

Jersey Mike’s Subs

** (2 stars)

I’ll confess I’m not a huge sub sandwich fan. I love sandwiches, but I regard subs as the bottom level of sandwich quality.

They used to be even worse, when Subway was the only game in town, but then Quizznos forced them to raise the bar with more breads and toasted options. Then Quizznos was forced out of our area by Jimmy John’s which specialized in speed of assembly, and Firehouse, which introduced better ingredients.

That leave Jersey Mikes in a neverland. They don’t have Firehouse’s quality or Jimmy John’s speed. They don’t even have Subway’s variety of bread.

What they do have–at this location, anyway–is a nice outside eating area that attracts a breeze to cool things off, even in summer.

The pastrami sub I had, prepared the default way, was pretty flavorless. But perhas the addition of some mustard and peppers could zest it up. Still, with a Firehouse a few blocks away, I’d probably go there instead.

Jersey Mike’s Subs
6700 Conroy Rd
Ste 100A
Orlando, FL 32835
(407) 445-6453
https://www.yelp.com/biz/jersey-mikes-subs-orlando-8