Friday, July 31, 2009


Well, I don't really go to chain restaurants very often as a personal rule (with so many other places to eat, why bother with chains?), this time I broke my own rule for two reasons: 1. It was at Acapulco, a place made infamous by the Tonight Show with Jay Leno (I remember jokes where they would offer to "send" an audience member to Acapulco, and then reveal that it was really this particular restaurant, across the street from the studio) and 2., it was open later than a lot of other restaurants in the area, and I was meeting up with Bryan for a late dinner. I was waiting for Bryan for a long while, and I ended up ordering for him, because the kitchen was going to close...I made a guess as to what he wanted...
My usual drink order, an Arnold Palmer. Free refills abound.
Chips and salsa, complementary right as I sat down. I remember these chips being very brittle and kind of tasteless. Salsa was okay but not spicy at all.
And here's what I got, an appetizer platter (as my meal...). Pretty blurry, sorry for the bad photo. Going from the top, clockwise: boneless buffalo chicken strips, some sort of pork plantain concoction with sour cream (I think?) on top, southwestern eggrolls, sauce, and then repeat around the wheel. In the middle was some nachos. This was way too much food, I packed more than half of this away for home. That's the thing about chain restaurants, they really give you a ton of food for the price, but this whole plate was horribly heavy food. Nothing was extremely bad, but I can't remember it being super good either. It was okay for what it was.
This was the chicken fajitas I ordered for Bryan, who was not hungry at all (he had eaten before he got to the restaurant, drat!) These came on a sizzling hot platter, which was suspended above the table on a wire stand. I think this is one of the more popular things to order at this restaurant, as it looks super impressive when they take it out from the kitchen. This also came with a plate of condiments (lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole), and tortillas, which I neglected to take a picture of because of it's mediocrity. The chicken was nice and hot, but again, not particularly memorable or flavorful.

I still avoid chains like the plague, if anything for the pre-packaged taste of everything (I have a sneaking suspicion that everything comes in freezer bags, cooked at some huge factory, and then just reheated in the kitchen, but maybe I shouldn't be so cynical?), and my want to support smaller local businesses, but sometimes it's good to maybe mix it up, and have something I wouldn't have very often. Again, it was okay for what it was, and reasonably priced...maybe if I drank alcohol I would probably enjoy their margaritas.

Acapulco Restaurant
3133 W. Olive Avenue
Burbank CA 91505


Eduardo said...

I am surprised to see how underprepared you were for this review. I believe you walked in to the restaurant with the wrong attitude just because it was a chain restaurant. The least you can do, you owe it to your readers, is to be informed of what you are going to talk about. For example, the salsa you complained about not being spicy, all you had to do is ask for their "picante salsa" (that means spicy sauce in spanish) . For the appetizer you got for your meal you could have read the menu and find out that pork is called "carnitas" and what you referred to as "south western eggrolls" are called taquitos. Everyone in L.A knows that! as they will know that Mexican food is supposed to be heavy (thats why you dont eat it before going to bed) and it is directly connected with value, so you dont finish your meal, you get left overs for lunch. In today's economy that will be appreciated by the average consumer.
You can also do yourself a favor and not contradict your self in the same sentence in your comments "hot and nice" but not "memorable", it only makes you sound biased and desperate for attention. Please let Bryan know he is not supposed to eat before going to a restaurant to have dinner, just as he is not supposed to bring sand to the beach or food to a buffet! Or who knows maybe he just wanted to make the evening short.
Maybe you can do us all a favor and continue to stay out of chain restaurants as your false suspicions that everything comes in freezer bags and coocked in a "huge factory" are false and stereotyped. Do your parents owned an out of business local restaurant? Well remember this, big chain restaurants provide employment just as much as local ones.
You ask in your review if you should stop being so "cynical", well thats up to you, but what you should probably do is more research before expressing your opinion about a restaurant. I mean who enjoys a meal when feared about being stood up, right?
My advise to you is next time you are going to write a review bring a good camera for better pictures, do not invite Bryan as he will probably run late again, sit down, relax, enjoy a margarita and open your senses.

feel free to contact me regarding this comment at

P.S this comment is not intended to diminish your value as a reviewer but as to provide positive feedback in order to write better and well informed reviews as people do work there and their income depends on the restaurant.

Banondorf said...

Chill, we're not professional food critics here. This is my friend Sandra's hobby she does for fun. Lighten up, it's only food.

We both have other careers in a separate business, with friends and commitments that don't always leave time for a relaxing sit down meal. Which is why I personally still enjoy chain restaurants as do you. But mainly I feel my honor is called into question here so I'd like to say I apologized to Sandra for being late that night. Both she and I knew that I would be having an earlier dinner with a group of friends/coworkers, so I ate accordingly. But I still really wanted to meet up with one of my best friends who just started a new gig at the time and was looking for company. As I would do for anyone, so I don't give a damn if you approve of that or no!

Your personal levels of dinner etiquette should be just that, "Personal". To call out what I do before or after a meal with my friends is ridiculously uptight, and none of your business. I had my reasons. You have yours.

heysandra said...

I guess I'll be emailing Eduardo. But in short, thanks for backing me up Bryan, you are a great friend, and I stand by my post. My goal of this blog is to share my, and I repeat, MY experience of the restaurants that I go to, and do my best to take pictures without disturbing other guests, thusly the blurriness of some of my photos when I do not use flash. Wish I could afford a better camera. Wish I could get paid for what I write. But "positive feedback", as Eduardo put it (I think he meant to say, "constructive criticism"), this was not.

On the record - I don't think I ever said that chain restaurants should all be closed down. I never said they don't provide needed jobs to people, which is what Eduardo seemed to be all hot under the collar about.

Oh, although yes, Taquitos they did end up being. From this particular kind of preparation, I knew them as Southwestern eggrolls from my days back in Northern California when I went to Chili's, (a chain restaurant). So that was leftover vernacular from my past. Which Eduardo probably didn't know about.

Don't really want to get too into it on the blog, but to everyone who reads this, thanks for reading my blog. I appreciate it, I want to share what I eat with people, and sometimes people don't agree. Eduardo's method of criticism was not exactly hurtful, but not exactly helpful either. And that's my two cents.