Quickly

Quickly is a Taiwanese tapioca drink and snack shop that is heavily represented in the SF Bay area.  You might remember the name from the whole Ed Jew controversy.  No?  You forgot about old Ed Jew already, huh?  I wonder what that guy’s up to…anyway, I know what I was up to a few months ago, and that was hitting up the Quickly on Larkin with my pals Erin and Austin.

Quickly has an absolutely massive menu.  There are milk teas, smoothies, snows, juices and a plethora of mostly fried snacks.  It’s pretty overwhelming to be honest.  But everything is awfully cheap, so we decided to get anything and everything on the menu that sounded good. 

First off our drinks.  I’ve been to Quickly with Erin before, so I know that we each ordered our regular thing.  I got a taro milk tea with tapioca.  I’ve been drinking taro milk tea since I first heard of tapioca drinks, totally by random choice.  I had never heard of taro the first time I ordered it, I don’t know what made me pick that above all the other delicious sounding flavors usually on offer at Boba shops, but it was a lucky happenstance.  I’ve kept with it because it has a delightful lavender color and a lovely rich and creamy flavor.  As for the tapioca, I don’t know.  I don’t love tapioca, but it gives you something to chew on, which is a luxury you don’t normally have when ingesting liquids through a straw. 

Erin had a cantaloupe snow.  What they call snow here is some sort of shaved ice product.  What’s so mystifying about it is its incredible smoothness.  There is nary an ice crystal to rough up your tongue.  Just a thick slush with the refreshing taste of real cantaloupe.  I don’t know how they do it. 

I’m not sure if Austin had his regular drink because I think this was the first time I’d been to Quickly with him, but he had an avocado snow.  If you’ve never tried avocado in a sweet concoction, I highly recommend it.  The bland richness of avocado works well with sugar. 

Now, what we ate.

Fried calamari rings. These were all right.  They were a little chewy because they were overcooked by a bit, but the flavor was fine.

Fried Pop Dog.  Basically, mini corn dogs.  These were probably the most delicious things we ate, even though some of them weren’t quite cooked all the way so the dough was a little wet.  They were still yummy, and I don’t even like corn dogs.

Crispy popcorn chicken rice bowl.  The popcorn chicken was pretty tasty, it had an interesting peppery spice blend in the batter that I liked.  The rice was gross though, most of that went in the trash.  My theory is that it must have been microwave cooked in that plastic bowl because it had a weird plasticky chemical aroma to it.

Tater tots!  Eh, they were ok.  I’ve had better, these were a little dried out from, again, overcooking.  It was nothing a little ketchup couldn’t fix.

Curry fish balls came in this cute box.

And they looked like this

I was thinking they would be more like a little fried fish meatball, but they were fish cake fish balls.  I’ve mentioned before that weird smooth fish sausage is not my favorite, but I actually liked these pretty well.  Still, I’m not planning on eating them again any time soon. 

And that’s that.  Another meal where  I felt a little sickly after I ate it.  I know, not a big surprise considering all the deep fried foods.  Still, I enjoyed most of it, even though Quickly needs to work on their fryer times.  In the future I’ll stick to the drinks, which they’ve never messed up for me, though I wouldn’t be averse to having a snack there from time to time.

Quickly

709 Larkin

www.quicklyusa.com

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Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box!!!!  Ha ha, remember when you were a kid and you were like “Jack in the crack!!!!! LOL ROFL!!!1!!!!”  What a hilarious jokester you were.

I always seem to get really excited about the fast food places I go to for Goldentooth.  I don’t know what it is, I guess I still have it ingrained in my mind that fast food is this amazing special treat that I can only have once in a while.  So I get my hopes up and, invariably, they are dashed.  Remember the Mexican pizza?  Yeah.  Anyway, I got all excited all over again for Jack in the Box, but I was like REALLY excited.  Because I was finally going to try a JitB Taco!!!!!  I’d never had one before but they are crazy cheap and people love them!!!!  I imagined them to be like tacos from my favorite spot in Sactown, Jimboys, very inauthentic, very greasy, and very good.

Steve was also pretty pumped for this trip because he’d found a coupon for a free grilled deli trio sandwich and for some reason he thought one of them looked really good.  He was so excited he emailed me the coupon with the subject line “free jib yo!”  which is probably the best subject line of any email I’ve ever received.  Anyway, I doubted that his sandwich would live up to his expectations, but I figured, when else will I have Steve excited to accompany me to a fast food place? and just ran with it.

It was late-ish when we rolled up to the corner of Geary and Mason, and Jack in the Box was glowing like a Greyhound station bathroom.   Like most fast food joints, this place was populated by tourists, teenagers and vagabonds.  We ordered and got our food pretty quickly.  Steve convinced me to take our grub to the second floor dining room, a place that turned out to have a nice view of the street while also being depressing as all get out.

There were plenty of seats up there but there was only us and a largish group of high school girls gossiping in a ear twisting melding of English and Spanish.  Oh, and the intense pounding bass coming from Biscuits and Blues next door.  Anyway, time to dig in!

Again, I was going for a wide variety of menu items, though my lack of hunger pangs ended up dissuading me from going as crazy as I might have.  I ended up with two tacos

Only 99 cents!  And boy oh boy, can you taste that.  These were FOUL.   I am surprised after eating these that people have a tendency to be grossed out by pate, I’d think they’d be accustomed to it if they are fans of these tacos.  A paste of meat resembling nothing so much as cat food was smeared across the insides of a dense, chewy taco shell then sprinkled over with shredded lettuce.  It was, alas, not the taco of my dreams, and I will not be in a hurry to eat one again.

I also got an order of jalapeno poppers, after talking with a friend earlier about how Jack in the Box uses cheddar cheese in their poppers rather than cream cheese.  I love me a cheddar cheese popper so I was all set for a treat.  Of course, I was treated to nothing but disappointment, the poppers were very nearly burnt on the outside and the inside cheese was lukewarm and separated into a mess of oil and cheese-product solids.  There was, at least, a rather pleasant pepper flavor.

Steve and I shared an order of curly fries, the best “dish” of the night because, by God, curly fries are delicious and hard to fuck up.  Alongside the curly fries Steve had a side salad, which I assume was sufficiently salad-like, and the aforementioned (free) deli sandwich (yo!).

The deli trio grilled sandwich lived up to my expectations of being a horrific thing.  I think the words “creamy Italian dressing” sums it all up pretty well.  This was a greasy, slimy mess.  Steve was sad, he thought it would be like a Cubano, I think because there are pickles on it.  Let me set the record straight:  this is absolutely nothing like a Cubano.

So, surprise surprise, Steve and I didn’t like Jack in the Box.  I guess we’re a couple of snobs.  I hope you’re getting excited for our visit to Burger King!  I know I am!

Jack in the Box

400 Geary

www.jackinthebox.com

KFC/Taco Bell

I headed to KFC/Taco Bell with a pocket full of coupons.  It was early evening and I was meeting Sarah for a fast food feast.  I was a little apprehensive about this particular venture, because I am quite familiar with the corner that houses this restaurant, and it’s a little gnarly.  As I approached the doors things seemed pretty quiet and I looked around for Sarah.  I didn’t see her so I popped into the restaurant.  From outside I saw a tall manly figure in a black skirt and top and from that distance I figured he was just a guy in drag, nothing out of the ordinary, but when I got inside I found that wasn’t exactly the case.

Here’s Sarah’s artist’s rendering

Full gray beard, tank top pulled down under his man boobs, ass drooping below his skirt and what looked like tassels on his nipples, but upon closer inspection were nipple clamps.  Homemade nipple clamps no less, just black binder clips.  Ouch.  I was pretty taken aback by this guy, but Sarah was put in a slight state of shock.  We had lots of time to observe (and notice his leopard print thong) because the couple in line in front of us took an extraordinary amount of time to place their order.  They did apologize to everyone in line afterwards though.  To my surprise, all our fellow customers were very nice.

We ordered a pretty wide variety of stuff from taco bell.

That’s Sarah’s bag of goodies, here’s mine;

Most of what sounded appealing was on the taco bell menu, but I made sure to order one thing from the KFC side.  Most of what I ate was stuff I’d never had before.  I ate a bean burrito, which was pretty normal, it seemed like there was less sauce than usual.  I also ordered a Fresco Ranchero chicken soft taco, which came off the Drive Thru Diet menu.  It was ok, but kind of hot dog tasting.  The biggest disappointment was the Mexican Pizza.

I was so excited for it too, it sounds super amazing right?  A Mexican pizza!  It should be great!  But no, it was weird; weird texture, weird flavor, and look at it, it looks weird.  More gross, it looks gross.  I could only eat a couple bites of this.

From KFC I ordered the Fiery Grilled Wings, which to my surprise were pretty good.   They weren’t too spicy, but the chicken wasn’t the gross greasy mush that KFC’s fried chicken usually is.  It was pretty standard barbequed chicken.  Not too bad.

Sarah also had a bean burrito, and I believe a soft taco, and this slug looking thing

that I’m pretty sure was a meximelt.  Sarah said it was alright.  She had a lot of trouble determining what was in it, but that’s just a fun mystery, right?

The very best thing we ate that night were, shockingly, the cookies.

They were 3 for a dollar, and I joked about the sign on the cookie case that said they were fresh baked daily, but the joke was on me because they did taste pretty fresh.  The chocolate chip was the best, but the sugar wasn’t bad.

Taco Bell/KFC didn’t make me sick like McDonald’s did, but I’m not in a rush to get back.  But if I had to eat there I wouldn’t be sad to eat grilled chicken and cookies.  I’d probably skip the weirder stuff on Taco Bell menu though.

KFC/Taco Bell

691 Eddy St

www.tacobell.com

www.kfc.com

McDonald’s

I used to go to McDonald’s fairly often; when I worked at the Embarcadero Cinemas it would frequently be the cheapest, closest, or only place open in the area to get dinner.  It was there that I acquired a taste for Oreo McFlurrys, but also where I vowed to never eat a double quarter-pounder with cheese ever again, lest I vomit.  Since quitting the theater my visits to McDonald’s have been few and far between, and when I began making plans to hit up the one on Van Ness for this blog I couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten at one.  Perhaps that’s why I was so excited for it, I said that I was going to go in, look at the menu and just order every single thing that sounded good to me.  Which is kind of what I ended up doing. 

This McDonald’s location was recently remodled (in fact, what may have been my last visit to a McDonald’s was to this one during the construction, with Sarah, who accompanied me to this meal) but if you didn’t know that you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at it.  It looks about as gross and “retro” as any McDonald’s you’ve ever been to, or any fast food restaurant at all for that matter.  I was kind of bummed about that, I was expecting something more modern I suppose, and certainly more well lit. 

The McDonald’s menu is confusing to me, I think they make it that way purposely to frustrate you into getting the value meals.  Big bright pictures of big mac wraps and #3s dominate, while less popular menu items are smushed over into the corner in difficult to read little white letters.  I managed to order most of what I wanted, though I misunderstood a handmade sign that said “NO MILKSHAKE” and tried to order a McFlurry.   No dairy treats of any kind were available for the whole length of our visit, even though this scene

and the removal of the milkshake sign gave us false hope later in the meal.

Between me and my three friends, the range of the McDonald’s menu was pretty well represented.

I attempted to enjoy the simplicity of my southern style chicken sandwich, but was put off a bit by how much the bun looked like someone’s butt

and by the stuff that looked like spittle coming out of the chicken after the first bite.

It tasted ok, but was a little overmoist.  I can barely remember the cheeseburger I ate

except that the cheese wasn’t melted enough for my liking. 

Sarah ordered a McDouble

and Bryan got a double cheeseburger

and there was some dispute over the differences between the two, mostly that there weren’t any other than price.  They seemed to be the same size and contain the same foodstuffs, but the mcdouble was cheaper by a bit.

Steph got the McTasty Big N’ Tasty.  I don’t know how tasty it actually was, Steph said she enjoyed it well enough, but it certainly had the most appetizing looks of anything on our table that day, what with the pristine sesame seed bun and the frilly lettuce sticking out from the bun. 

We all ordered fries.  I only got them as a replacement for my McFlurry, I generally could take or leave fries, especially from McDonald’s, though I do have pleasant childhood memories of Happy Meal french fries.  I would take the little bag out of the bigger bag and when I’d finished all the fries in there I would root around in the bigger bag and be thrilled by the hidden treasure trove of fries I would find.  These fries disappointed though, everyone agreed that they were cold.  There’s little worse than a cold french fry.  I have to admit that most of mine went in the trash.

We also got a 20 piece Chicken McNuggets for everyone to share.  Sarah really pissed off the peeps working the counter by requesting every nugget dipping sauce they offer.  You should have seen this guy’s face as he slammed the honey down on her tray.

The nuggets were the best thing I ate that day.  For whatever reason, I grew up with sweet n’ sour as my default dipping sauce, and it was as delicious as I remember.  As an adult I began ordering my nuggets with barbeque sauce, which was still good, but I’d never tried the chipotle BBQ sauce before.  It was tasty, as was the spicy Buffalo sauce, which was actually pretty darn spicy.  I wasn’t crazy about the ranch or the honey mustard sauces, I’ve just never been a big fan of honey mustard, and they were both too creamy to stand up to the greasiness of the nuggets.  I don’t think I tried the honey, it grosses me out a little bit.

The aftermath:

I felt sick to my stomach pretty much immediately after finishing as much food as I could stand.  My body’s just not equipped to handle an onslaught of fast food like this.  It’ll be interesting to see how I fare at upcoming fast food establishments.  For now, despite the semi-disappointing nature of this trip, I am still optimistic and excited to try out KFC/Taco Bell and Burger King in the coming months.  I should be ok as long as I have a good posse to back me up.  Oh, and I make sure to obey any posted time limits;

McDonald’s

600 Van Ness

www.mcdonalds.com