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Good Chow from the Chain Gang

Paul H | Feb 27, 200309:51 PM

Having been recently been reminded that a knee-jerk reaction against Corporate chain restaurants is unreasonable, closed minded, and may prevent discovery of delicious food, I find myself pondering my experience today standing in line for 20 minutes at a chain restaurant. I had struck off on a walk to Whole Foods to pick up some sushi to take back to the office when I noticed a line snaking out the door. Normally this would find me smiling smugly and picking up the pace, but today for some reason, I decided to find out why anyone would stand in line in a place where you could have hit five other lineless eating establishments with a well-flung stone.

I ended up taking a Charbroiled Fish Taco back to the office, and enjoying it so much that I wasn't embarrassed to have stood waiting in line for it.

This taco had a warm, soft corn tortilla filled with spicy and perfectly cooked mahi mahi. There were also enormous slices of fresh avocado plus diced fresh onion and tomato topped off with a generous amount sprinkling of cilantro. A slice of fresh lime came along in the package and provided a delicious tartness to balance the natural sweetness of the fish and corn. It didn't seem especially authentic to me, but it was good. It was very good. It made me think of Alice Waters and her mantra of fresh, quality local ingredients prepared simply and well.

As you might guess, this wasn't Taco Bell, it was Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, and like Arnie says "I'll be back."

So, I stand corrected. Chain food is not always bad food. Anyone else have any secret chain restaurant favorites?

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