“You are one of the rare people who can separate your observation from your preconception. You see what is, where most people see what they expect.”
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden
I would like to dedicate this quote, to my hubby. Actually, I would like to shove this quote down his throat with the chicken burger he ordered at Angelo’s last night. He only saw what he expected to see. But there was more. Not a lot more, but a little more.
Angelo’s Burgers has been a part of the 101 in Encinitas since I was a wee lass. Now that’s not to say we have ever actually set foot in this run-down drive-thru. In fact, we have avoided it all cost. Hubby tried to get out of going and our oldest said he refused to get what he called, guaranteed food poisoning. What a bunch of whiners! I tried to tell them not to judge a book by its cover. Maybe this place is really great and we have been missing out! Regardless, we needed to go with an open mind and a good attitude. Hubby went, minus said good attitude, and Oldest stayed home.
The only way to describe the Angelo’s Burger’s building is…bizarre! The restaurant is sort of sectioned off into four quadrants with the drive thru running through both the middle of it, and along the back side. Not sure why they need two drive-thru lanes, does it really get that crowded? You can eat in the area where you order food, or across the drive-thru in a separate building where the bathroom is. Very strange set-up.
It’s handy to have an indoor umbrella for back-up shade in case the ceiling stops working. That’s just smart thinking.
The menu is large. They serve everything from breakfast food to burgers to Mexican to Greek. Plus milkshakes and acai bowls. They pretty much have everything covered.
A woman eating dinner with her kids heard me mention my blog and came right over insisting I take pictures of her Greek salad with extra eggs. She brings her kids here 2-3 nights a week and just loves this place. She went on and on about how clean everything is.
Greek Salad with extra eggs
Then another woman, kind of assaulted me, telling me she has been coming here since 1978 and that I better write a good review. I felt the “or else…”. She proceeded to tell me how this is a family owned establishment and that the owners came to this country with just the shirts on their back and put every ounce of grit and sweat into this place to make it what it is. It’s the American Dream, and don’t I like the American Dream? She asked, not nicely. Don’t I want to support the American Dream with a good review that can help not the owners, but now their kids who work here? I politely thanked her and turned to the counter so we could order. “WAIT!” she barked, not ready for me to turn away. “They send out coupons! All these coupons so everyone of all economic status can come to eat! And if you don’t have enough money, they will still feed you!” I was starting to get nervous. There are some serious die-hard Angelo’s Burgers people here. I felt very pressured to like this food. Please let me like this food! And please let me order already!
She wasn’t done. “And you won’t find a cleaner kitchen or restaurant anywhere!” Now that’s two out of two strangers selling me on how clean this place is. Did someone write a bad review on their cleanliness? I guess I just expect food establishments to be clean, and wouldn’t really use that as a hard sell to someone coming for the first time. I would say, ” you HAVE to try these burgers!”. But now that “clean” has been brought up so much. I looked deeper. You can probably guess what’s coming next. Not so clean! I saw tons of dirty napkins on the floor in 3 out of the 4 quadrants we visited. No, I didn’t get a tour of the kitchen (had they?) but I did see the girl wear a sanitation glove while handling our food which you might think is a good thing. Handling our food with two hands. Wearing a sanitation glove. One. So close!
Our group ordered a variety of menu items and got back a variety of reviews.
Two boys ordered burgers. Neither liked them much. Christine ordered a double burger, Debbie a regular and both said they were good. Tracy ordered a Monster Bacon Cheeseburger and liked it a lot.
Monster Bacon Cheeseburger
Hubby, my lovable curmudgeon, was going to hate what he ordered no matter what, so in that sense, his chicken burger did not disappoint.
Chicken Burger on a wheat bun
Joyce liked her gyro with her only complaint being it had too much meat. That’s a good problem to have!
Upon recommendation, I ordered a club sandwich on wheat with a side salad instead of fries.
Club Sandwich on wheat
The sandwich was huge, and pretty good. The salad had a variety of vegetables, so above standard. I did try the fries and found them to be bad. Not hot or crunchy.
There’s a show on Food Network called Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. Guy Fieri goes into local dumps and finds the most amazing food. The front will look totally run down, but the woman cooking chili Rellenos in the back will be a freaking magician, using a 100 year old smoker on rare poblano chilies imported from the depths of her Mexico village. Yah, not so much at Angelo’s. What you see on the menu, is really what you are getting. It’s not special, but it’s not bad either. We came to Angelo’s Burgers with very low expectations. Most of us left feeling that the food was better than expected. One of us was going to hate his chicken burger no matter what, and he did. The food is inexpensive and the staff is friendly. Don’t piss-off the regulars. They have found something very special in this place that we must have missed. We sure do love supporting a local mom-n-popper though.
We will be skipping a week of the blog. We have holiday parties and will be shnockered most of the weekend!
Our next blog stop will be on Sunday, December 10th at 5:30 pm at
East Village Asian Diner