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Movie Critics, Restaurant Critics or Jimmy Johns and Tasty D

Movie Critics, Restaurant Critics or Jimmy Johns and Tasty D
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  • Movie Critics, Restaurant Critics or Jimmy Johns and Tasty D

    Post #1 - July 14th, 2004, 9:06 am
    Post #1 - July 14th, 2004, 9:06 am Post #1 - July 14th, 2004, 9:06 am
    There are two essential differences between movie critics and restaurant critics, or maybe better put, movie criticism and restaurant criticism. Movie critics, at least the mainstream ones like Roger Ebert (my trusted source), see pretty much every movie coming out. And while a good critic like Ebert has some subjectivity to his ratings (a good dumb comedy), he rates every movie against a golden mean. So, we know, which are good, which dreck. Food critics of equal stature, say a Phil Vettel, take an opposite approach. Of all the new places opened, they pick and choose which to report on, and many food writers state they just do not report on the bad places. These, we are left to find our own. Now, the other difference, obviously, is, as I have discussed in the past, foodie experiences vary so much. Did you get the "real" food, the VIP treatment. One person's damn favorite restaurant can be viewed by another as hardly worth the calories. That does not mean your opinion does not count, and we need to get them.

    Restaurant critics should be a bit more like movie critics. Let's get the good with the dreck. Maybe then I would have never thought, well let's give Jimmy Johns a try. We had just left a pleasant few hours at family swim in Oak Park. We needed a quick meal and connoisseurship was not a priority. We planned on the nearby Tasty Dog, not a great hot dog stand, but edible enough. Then, we noticed the newer Oak Park Jimmy Johns, and given the hold that Tasty Dog has on us, we said, how 'bout Jimmy Johns.

    I could tell from first glances that this was a stupid choice, I could see the turkey and roast beef had an unnatural pink glow, and the bread just looked squishy, but the chowhounditas were already cooing over the place (for some odd reason). It only got worse. As I told the kidz later on, it's no Subway. I mean at least Subway has a bunch of things to put on the sub to kill the taste. Jimmy Johns had only lettuce, tomato and some useless banana peppers to kill the cheap, over-processed meat. Not only that, the lettuce and tomatoes were so cold, it was almost as if eating the famous frozen salad at Trio.

    Desperate to please our suffering palate, we crossed the street to Tasty Dog, victims to sign advertising: "We now serve softserve". Well, it was cold like the lettuce was cold. The lettuce had crunch though. I could have put an ice cube on an ice cream cone and got about the same experience as the Tasty Dog softserve.

    VI eats AND writes about it, so you do not have to.

    If you really need to mimic these experiences, both Tasty Dog and Jimmy Johns are on Lake Street in Oak Park just east of Oak Park Avenue.
  • Post #2 - July 14th, 2004, 9:23 am
    Post #2 - July 14th, 2004, 9:23 am Post #2 - July 14th, 2004, 9:23 am
    I must agree with Jimmy John's. I just don't get it. We had it once, while heading out for a road trip, choosing it over Chateau Blanc b/c it was deemed healthier... bad idea. Like you said, mushy bread, with lettuce and totally processed turkey with no taste. The only good thing was the dill pickle we purchased. Dilly, vinegary, crunchy - tasty. Next time we go to Chateau Blanc given the choice.

    "Desperate to please our suffering palate
    - this ties in to one of my theories why Americans are so overweight. We eat all of this processed crap, laden with calories and no taste, so we feel unsatisfied and eat more empty calories until we are physically full, but not really satisfied. It is why the French eat foie gras, high fat cheese, croissants often, in small quantities, but feel satisfied, hence do not overindulge. And of course the food companies do it on purpose to of course sell more. I remember Doritos tasting much different as a kid - they were thicker, more corn flavor and the artifical orange stuff didn't taste as fake. Of course my palate has changed and has influenced this, but now they taste totally like nothing, like empty calories. I don't find this in things like Cape Cod chips, which still taste the same...
    I felt the same way about red meat - for several years didn't really eat much b/c it didn't taste like meat - it had no taste. Then we discovered an organic producer that sold awesome burgers at Whole Foods in DC (name escapes me). Chicago also has good producers and we like the australian free range stuff from Trader Joes - it tastes like meat!! It has Fat! But i only need a small steak to feel satisfied.
    Sorry to digress... it just frustrates me to see these Jimmy John's type places and bland high calorie no taste food proliferate....
    LO
  • Post #3 - July 14th, 2004, 9:30 am
    Post #3 - July 14th, 2004, 9:30 am Post #3 - July 14th, 2004, 9:30 am
    VI,

    When my youngest daughter saw the Jimmy John's going in, she asked "Is there a college around here?" We had noticed this chain in college towns (Kalamazoo, Milwaukee), and I was cajoled into going once with my oldest daughter (it was not memorable but it did qualify on two major college student food criteria: relatively abundant and cheap.)

    Incidentally, there is another new Jimmy John
  • Post #4 - July 14th, 2004, 10:03 am
    Post #4 - July 14th, 2004, 10:03 am Post #4 - July 14th, 2004, 10:03 am
    nothing that hasn't already been said, but I was recently dragged by co-workers to Jimmy Johns in the nordstrom building, and absolutely hated it. VI is right when he says it is no subway, and that is a Damian-like damning considering that I reserve a particular level of hatred for that place. jimmy jonhns started in Chambana, no? I did get to tease my colleagues for their "big 10 town" palates though, which almost made the sandwich worth the $5.50 or whatever it cost.
  • Post #5 - July 14th, 2004, 10:29 am
    Post #5 - July 14th, 2004, 10:29 am Post #5 - July 14th, 2004, 10:29 am
    a.f.oneill wrote: jimmy jonhns started in Chambana, no? I did get to tease my colleagues for their "big 10 town" palates though, which almost made the sandwich worth the $5.50 or whatever it cost.


    You are correct. Jimmy John started on downstate Illinois. I'm not sure if was in Champaign or Carbondale. Interestingly enough, I recently attended the graduation ceremony of the UIC School of Business where Jimmy John himself was the commencement speaker proudly proclaiming to the newly minted MBAs that he was a college dropout, having completed only one semester of college before opening his first sub shop at the age of 18.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - July 14th, 2004, 10:44 am
    Post #6 - July 14th, 2004, 10:44 am Post #6 - July 14th, 2004, 10:44 am
    Jimmy John himself was the commencement speaker proudly proclaiming to the newly minted MBAs that he was a college dropout, having completed only one semester of college before opening his first sub shop at the age of 18.


    He practices what a lot of people preach.

    A few years ago, there was a Lincoln exhibit at the Chicago Historical Society. The docent leading the lecture kept referring to Abraham Lincoln as uneducated. Everytime he said this, it kind of rankled me, though I am ashamed I said nothing. Fortunately, there was an Australian in the tour who had the guts I didn't possess, "Uneducated? Abraham Lincoln was a self-taught man whose intellect rivaled many educated people according to Garry Wills of Northwestern University. I have spent most of life reading biographies of Abraham Lincoln and would hardly dare refer to him as uneducated." I clapped my approval, which everyone eventually joined along. I just wish I had said it myself.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - July 14th, 2004, 10:55 am
    Post #7 - July 14th, 2004, 10:55 am Post #7 - July 14th, 2004, 10:55 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    A few years ago, there was a Lincoln exhibit at the Chicago Historical Society. The docent leading the lecture kept referring to Abraham Lincoln as uneducated because he didn't complete his education at a school. Everytime he said this, it kind of rankled me, though I am ashamed I said nothing. Fortunately, there was an Australian in the tour who had the guts I didn't possess, "Uneducated? Abraham Lincoln was a self-taught man whose intellect rivaled many educated people according to Garry Wills of Northwestern University. I have spent most of life reading biographies of Abraham Lincoln and would hardly dare refer to him as uneducated." I clapped my approval, which everyone eventually joined along. I just wish I had said it myself.


    I've mentioned (more than once) that I am collector of old and, what some might call useless, but I call interesting books. In my collection, I have something Cathy2 might find interesting.

    It's the Lincoln Library of Essential Information: An Up-to-date Manual for Daily Reference, for Self-Instruction, and for General Culture Named in Appreciative Rememberence of Abraham Lincoln the Foremost American Exemplar of Self-Education. And to give you an idea of what it takes to emulate Honest Abe, the book's 2,175 pages long.

    rg
  • Post #8 - July 14th, 2004, 11:24 am
    Post #8 - July 14th, 2004, 11:24 am Post #8 - July 14th, 2004, 11:24 am
    VI,

    My mother had the Lincoln Library. That book, along with Thomas Bailey's America Pageant served me well through grade and high schools.

    So many of the docents giving tours would be great if they at least had some knowledge of the topic that they are giving out. I was on one tour recently that after my third question, the docent asked if I would take over. And I did.
  • Post #9 - July 15th, 2004, 12:10 pm
    Post #9 - July 15th, 2004, 12:10 pm Post #9 - July 15th, 2004, 12:10 pm
    I've had a few roast beef-like sandwiches from Jimmy John's recently. Since it's been a few years since my Big Ten days, I suppose there might have been a nostalgia factor creeping in there somewhere, but I really enjoyed both experiences (the #8 Billy Club and the #10 Hunter's Club). They may not have been as cheap as Mr. Submarines, or as toasty as Potbellys, but they fit my fast food tastes pretty well.

    --The Snob
  • Post #10 - July 15th, 2004, 12:50 pm
    Post #10 - July 15th, 2004, 12:50 pm Post #10 - July 15th, 2004, 12:50 pm
    David Hammond wrote:VI,

    When my youngest daughter saw the Jimmy John's going in, she asked "Is there a college around here?" We had noticed this chain in college towns (Kalamazoo, Milwaukee), and I was cajoled into going once with my oldest daughter (it was not memorable but it did qualify on two major college student food criteria: relatively abundant and cheap.)



    Funny you should mention that, as there's a jimmy john's within spitting distance of Depaul's loop campus, near the corner of state and jackson.

    -ed
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #11 - July 15th, 2004, 4:22 pm
    Post #11 - July 15th, 2004, 4:22 pm Post #11 - July 15th, 2004, 4:22 pm
    I've never understood the Jimmy John's/Subway/Quizno's/Potbelly phenomenon, however, let those who like this drek continue patronizing these places. I would much rather give my money to the little guy that has his name on the front of the store, than give it to some corporation ( or,for that matter, someone who has bought in to a homogenized concept .)

    It is precisely because of this board (and others ) that those of us who want something better are being made aware of the Bari Foods/Riviera/Al & Joes type of places.
  • Post #12 - July 15th, 2004, 4:45 pm
    Post #12 - July 15th, 2004, 4:45 pm Post #12 - July 15th, 2004, 4:45 pm
    cito wrote:I've never understood the Jimmy John's/Subway/Quizno's/Potbelly phenomenon, however, let those who like this drek continue patronizing these places. I would much rather give my money to the little guy that has his name on the front of the store, than give it to some corporation ( or,for that matter, someone who has bought in to a homogenized concept .)

    It is precisely because of this board (and others ) that those of us who want something better are being made aware of the Bari Foods/Riviera/Al & Joes type of places.


    I think its great to find/learn about the Bari's, Riviera's, etc. of the world, but I know I will continue to find myself, at times in the chains and franchieses of the world. Some can be good if not better. I'm always happy with Popeyes. Red Robbin is no bad, and I've written of my happiness with Todai, the Japanese seafood place I like best for its desserts. So, I would have liked it if someone told me about Jimmy Johns before I had the misfortune...

    Rob
  • Post #13 - July 15th, 2004, 7:14 pm
    Post #13 - July 15th, 2004, 7:14 pm Post #13 - July 15th, 2004, 7:14 pm
    Yeah, let's face it, knowing the relative quality of the chains is a matter of self-defense because sooner or later you will find yourself in the airport where they are your only choices; you need to know that Potbelly's is a better choice than Subway, that Macaroni Grill is what Olive Garden aspires to be, that Popeye's has a connection to reality that KFC and Brown's have long since lost, that Pizza Hut thin is almost unchanged from the old school pizza it once was, while anything else they make is a monstrosity of bread run rampant, that Panera has decent sandwiches and free wi-fi....
  • Post #14 - July 15th, 2004, 11:45 pm
    Post #14 - July 15th, 2004, 11:45 pm Post #14 - July 15th, 2004, 11:45 pm
    This conversation reminds me of the old quote from the 80's: "I can't believe that Ronald Reagan was elected president. None of MY friends voted for him."

    I guess if you are in the city and you have 50-200 restaurants within a 20 minute stroll from your place, it is hard to believe why anyone would eat at a chain restaurant. However, most people in the Chicagoland do not have that luxury.

    I don't have two hour lunch breaks to drive 10 miles to some independent place that has a good sandwich. In fact out here in Crystal Lake, I would take a Panera's sandwich any day over the one or two independents.

    A few weeks ago, someone sent me an e-mail and asked me why I ate at one particular place 40 times this year. Because 1) I can get a nutritious BALANCED meal, 2) while the food is not spectacular, I know that it will be decent (and I won't be poisoned) and 3) I have eaten at most of the competitors.

    I have done Jimmy John's twice. I thought the sandwich that I had in Whitewater, WI was pretty good. I thought that the one I had at Marquette was seriously lacking taste.

    Having said that, when I really want a good sandwich, I would probably go purchase the ingreients at Eurifresh and make my own.
  • Post #15 - July 16th, 2004, 8:20 am
    Post #15 - July 16th, 2004, 8:20 am Post #15 - July 16th, 2004, 8:20 am
    jlawrence01,

    If what you're saying is that Jimmy John's serves a useful function (they serve edible food), then I'd have to agree with you. Heck, in the last year, I've eaten at Subway (a cut below Jimmy John's on the MikeG Scale of Fast Food Options), because I was very short on time, I know the food won't kill me (one of your criteria, and certainly a consideration) -- and it' relatively low-cal (rarely a consideration with good food, but with this kind of grub, I take it into account).

    If I'm in my doctor's waiting room, I read People because it's the only thing there to pass the time, but that's not an endorsement of the magazine. It's an admission of desperation.

    David
  • Post #16 - July 16th, 2004, 11:00 am
    Post #16 - July 16th, 2004, 11:00 am Post #16 - July 16th, 2004, 11:00 am
    cito wrote:I've never understood the Jimmy John's/Subway/Quizno's/Potbelly phenomenon, however, let those who like this drek continue patronizing these places. I would much rather give my money to the little guy that has his name on the front of the store, than give it to some corporation ( or,for that matter, someone who has bought in to a homogenized concept .)

    It is precisely because of this board (and others ) that those of us who want something better are being made aware of the Bari Foods/Riviera/Al & Joes type of places.

    Well, there is a Jimmy John, and he does have his name on the front of the store.

    As for me, I'm always amazed and impressed by how often so many people on this board can travel so far at lunchtime. I work near the Trib tower and I rarely have more than a half-hour to grab something to bring back to my desk, so I've got a two-block radius most of the time. So while I do a decent job of avoiding chains, there still isn't a whole lot to choose from.
  • Post #17 - July 16th, 2004, 11:19 am
    Post #17 - July 16th, 2004, 11:19 am Post #17 - July 16th, 2004, 11:19 am
    Last year I found myself working at a small mortgage bank in Greek town.With all the good chow in the area these guys would order from Jimmy Johns 3 days a week!

    One day,being unable to take it any longer and wanting to do the right thing I collected $5 each from my office mates and ran over to Bari foods.

    Sadly two out of four sandwiches ended up as land fill with one guy claiming the meat on his samdwich to be "cheap crap" and went on to say that he'd never seen baloney with so much fat in it!

    One week later I resigned :P
  • Post #18 - July 16th, 2004, 11:47 am
    Post #18 - July 16th, 2004, 11:47 am Post #18 - July 16th, 2004, 11:47 am
    Porca Miseria!

    JSM wrote:Sadly two out of four sandwiches ended up as land fill with one guy claiming the meat on his samdwich to be "cheap crap" and went on to say that he'd never seen baloney with so much fat in it!


    Wow.

    Yeah, that mortadella is disgusting...

    This sad tale reminds me of someone I know... work related... invited to have dinner at our house... Upon being presented with an artfully arranged (if I do say so myself) antipasto platter with imported and beautifully sliced prosciutto di Parma and perhaps also mortadella from Bologna, this person pulled an ugsome face and announced with unsettling passion something along the following lines: "I don't like pork and I think prosciutto is disgusting... the only pork I'll eat is pepperoni and bacon..."

    That's a true story...

    Managgia e porca miseria...


    :twisted: :roll: :wink:
    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #19 - July 16th, 2004, 11:48 am
    Post #19 - July 16th, 2004, 11:48 am Post #19 - July 16th, 2004, 11:48 am
    JSM wrote: One week later I resigned :P


    Did you really quit for their food preferences? That is the greatest thing i have heard today. wait, no, this morning i heard kurt russell in Captain Ron exclaim, "You bet your little booty you wasn't. You want a beer, you get your own beer."
    so, i guess second-greatest.
  • Post #20 - July 16th, 2004, 11:57 am
    Post #20 - July 16th, 2004, 11:57 am Post #20 - July 16th, 2004, 11:57 am
    NEWSFLASH:

    Bari delivers to the Loop. My wife's office gets subs and sausage sandwiches delivered probably 3 times a week. $2.50 delivery charge.

    Now you have no excuses. Mangia bene.
  • Post #21 - July 16th, 2004, 12:15 pm
    Post #21 - July 16th, 2004, 12:15 pm Post #21 - July 16th, 2004, 12:15 pm
    John, that's a great story. While not quite as direct (or as pure), I am afraid my chow urges may have impacted my career.

    During my early years at the Big 5 Firm, I had no one to eat with but for my Managers. Good for career, lousy for lunch as they, to a man (and woman) had lousy food instincts. Worst, was one Manager (and later Partner) who loved a place that I just hated. This place had no, I mean no redeeeming dishes. And boy did I try to find one.

    Over time, I gave up eating with the Managers, even as I became a Manager and moved up the ranks. Instead, I found the younger staff had a much more adventuresome nature (or perhaps so because they thought it better for their career to eat with their manager). My lunches got way better over time, but I wonder the cost.

    Rob
  • Post #22 - July 16th, 2004, 12:19 pm
    Post #22 - July 16th, 2004, 12:19 pm Post #22 - July 16th, 2004, 12:19 pm
    Did you really quit for their food preferences?


    Absolutly !!!
  • Post #23 - May 25th, 2005, 2:00 am
    Post #23 - May 25th, 2005, 2:00 am Post #23 - May 25th, 2005, 2:00 am
    delk, in another thread, wrote:I'm one of those guys that would rather eat dog food than go to Al's....hehe
    here are some places to try....
    ...
    Jimmy John's
    900 W Van Buren
    I eat at the one on State (it's near my school)
    I like the sandwiches better than Potbelly's

    Let me think of more....good eating


    I had been wondering who would eat more than once at a Jimmy John's. Since they are popping up all over, somebody must. Needless to say, I concur with VI's opinion.

    So now I know. Somebody who thinks Al's is worse than dog food eats at Jimmy John's. That explains a lot.
  • Post #24 - May 25th, 2005, 2:10 am
    Post #24 - May 25th, 2005, 2:10 am Post #24 - May 25th, 2005, 2:10 am
    My how my esteem has rebounded knowing that I have become a "poster boy" to you.....

    Must be something (besides the quite bad taste) in Al's beef's that put a bulls eye on me....
    Authorized time shifting let the genie out of the bottle....
  • Post #25 - May 25th, 2005, 2:16 am
    Post #25 - May 25th, 2005, 2:16 am Post #25 - May 25th, 2005, 2:16 am
    Guys, this is getting kind of personal, don't you think?

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #26 - May 25th, 2005, 2:27 am
    Post #26 - May 25th, 2005, 2:27 am Post #26 - May 25th, 2005, 2:27 am
    thank you....I just expressed an opinion, the OP asked for casual and inexpensive.....I joke about "The Oh So Holy Al's" (um that was a joke....food should be fun...) And I get slammed?
    Authorized time shifting let the genie out of the bottle....
  • Post #27 - May 25th, 2005, 6:16 am
    Post #27 - May 25th, 2005, 6:16 am Post #27 - May 25th, 2005, 6:16 am
    jlawrence01 wrote:I don't have two hour lunch breaks to drive 10 miles to some independent place that has a good sandwich. In fact out here in Crystal Lake, I would take a Panera's sandwich any day over the one or two independents.


    And thus the reason there is no "EATING OUT IN CRYSTAL LAKE LAND" forum :lol:
  • Post #28 - May 25th, 2005, 7:09 am
    Post #28 - May 25th, 2005, 7:09 am Post #28 - May 25th, 2005, 7:09 am
    To, er, unpersonalize things and head back to the original post.... I'm within walking distance of both JJ's and Tasty Dog.

    JJ's, to me, ranks in the middle of the pack but closer to the top in the "Fast Casual Sandwich Shop With Trucked-In Ambiance" race. I find their subs to be pretty tasty, and their veggie - in particular - was a favorite when I was vegetarian. But for me, it's Potbelly, Quizno's, JJ's, and Subway in that order. (I hate me some Subway.)

    Tasty Dog was a huge let-down for me, too. We tried it when we first moved here, and my wife and I both got hot dogs. The buns were improper, there was nary a snap on the sausage, and service at the place was slow and bad. We haven't yet found a good dog in Oak Park proper but we're kind of giving up on that. I think you're being too kind to Tasty Dog, VI - "edible enough" is a bit of a stretch to me.
  • Post #29 - May 25th, 2005, 8:23 am
    Post #29 - May 25th, 2005, 8:23 am Post #29 - May 25th, 2005, 8:23 am
    Hi,

    Recently a Jimmy John's opened in Highland Park. It was lunch, I had a coupon, I knew from this post it wasn't anything to be excited about. Yet my very local area is so overtrolled by yours truly, something new is something to try and at a discount!

    My friend and I both ordered roast beef sandwich variants. She ordered the 8 inch sub 'Big John' and I ordered the 'Hunter's Club,' which promised a full 1/4 pound of fresh sliced medium rare roast beef. I really wanted more meat and thought I was escaping the $1.39 upcharge for an extra load of meat. Both sandwiches seemed about the same, except mine cost a dollar more, and both screamed. "Where's the beef? Where's the taste?"

    Now that I have a sense of what Jimmy John's is, well, the world is full of better pearls to pluck.

    Thanks for reviving this thread, it certainly needed airing out! :D

    I just saw this!
    VI eats AND writes about it, so you do not have to.

    :lol:
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #30 - May 25th, 2005, 9:44 am
    Post #30 - May 25th, 2005, 9:44 am Post #30 - May 25th, 2005, 9:44 am
    Working steps from the North Bridge mall, I have a Potbelly's in their food court, a Cosi and a Jimmy John's downstairs along the fringes, and a Subway across the street just off Michigan. I never, ever, step into the last, and the others break down to Potbelly's for convenience and speed, Cosi for a slightly better sandwich at twice the price, JJ's for none of the above. Which is not to say that I never go there -- but usually only when the lines at Cosi are so long that I'd rather take the proverbial easy way out.

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