When out of town, we generally try to avoid eating at chain restaurants, but after a futile attempt to find promising local fare for dinner last week Wednesday, we settled on Marie Callender’s in Carlsbad. For $5.50 each, the twins had cheeseburgers and fries. The fries were the highlight of the night. They were golden-brown, hot and crisp. The burger was slightly overdone, but had a broiled flavor missing in, say, typical fast-food burgers.
My wife and I each had the turkey dinner and I understood my wife’s pain as she toiled through the entrée, which featured turkey that was properly done but, along with the gravy and stuffing, was far too salty. Despite several glasses of water throughout the evening and night I was thirsty into the following morning. A woman, who had finished her entrée, at the table next to us told her husband, “Why do they have to make everything so salty?” I didn’t answer her, but what ran through my mind was adding a lot of salt to a dish hides mistakes. The raw material might not be fresh, the food might be prepared incorrectly. But, that would all be masked by the saltiness. This could very well be the case here, as exemplified by a broccoli stalk on my plate, part of which was black.
The restaurant made the dining experience complete by having a décor that was downright awful. The interior was depressingly dark with mismatched wallpaper, some of which had the faded image of bookshelves, and the wall clock near our table was nonfunctional. Taken together, the ambiance was the epitome of tackiness. At about $15 per entrée, the diner deserves a better experience.