Carl’s Junior

Written by on March 7, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – El Paso West, Texas

How I heard of this place: Having lived in Southern California during my formative, early childhood years, the Carl’s Junior star was always recognizable! I am certain I had sampled the fare at least once before, but the futility of remembering when and where is not worth the effort. On this venture, we found it as we exited the highway, I-10 Eastbound, and made our way to the Hampton Inn & Suites for our evening’s rest.

 Type ocuisine: The staple look of fast food. The fast food of the future struck at Carl’s Jr., just as it has at most other establishments, sharing breakfast options, salads, wraps, low-fat and kids options.

Ambiance: Even though the food options have grown since back in the early 1980s, the look and feel of the space has not. Plastic chairs and tables, plastic booths are strategically placed throughout the establishment. Floor to ceiling windows allow for views of the street from three of four sides of the venue, while the fourth leads to the counter and into the kitchen area. Windows are bedecked with posters and new menu items, special late-night hours and promotions. Fluorescent lights create a yellowed tone throughout and the sounds of radio talk can be heard as the drive-through is occupied by more patrons. All of this can be felt, even from the drive-through window!  

What I ordered: Between the two of us, and after a full twelve-hour day of driving and fasting, we were famished! We first selected a ten-piece order of hand-breaded chicken tenders ($8.99), freshly prepared and hand-breaded premium, all-white meat chicken hand dipped in buttermilk, lightly breaded and fried to a golden brown, served with honey mustard and a sweet & bold BBQ sauce. And that was just the appetizer. For our main entrees, I was most impressed by combination number six, a guacamole bacon burger meal ($7,99), charbroiled 100% Black Angus beef patty, topped with guacamole, two crispy strips of bacon, two slices of melted pepperjack cheese, lettuce, two slices tomato, red onions, and Santa Fe sauce on a toasted sesame seed bun. My dining companion selected the Western Bacon Cheeseburger meal ($8.58), a charbroiled all-beef patty with two strips of bacon, melted American cheese, two crispy onion rings and a tangy BBQ sauce on a toasted sesame seed bun. Our meals came equipped with fries (mine small, his medium), and soda beverages of choice (mine Sprite, his Barq’s root beer).  

What I loved: While I was a big fan of the chunky guacamole, complete with freshly diced jalapeno peppers, and the spicy Santa Fe sauce on my burger, the meat was slightly dry and therefore, did not compare to the juicy, tender and crispy chicken tenders. My dining companion agreed, downing eight of the ten pieces, generously dipped in honey mustard sauce! I loved that the fries had potato skins on the edges! 

Why I loved it: Quick and flavorful. The burgers are bigger than other fast-food joints I have sampled, making for a satisfying, and very filling post-fasting meal!

Cost: Average ($5-7 per burger meal)

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