It was a rainy morning, but wanting to do something productive, we set forth to the park’s laundry facility for a morning of clean clothes and bonding with our fellow RV’ers. (Upon reflection, sleeping in would have also been a productive use of our time.)
As we sat watching the washing machines drum spin, we began talking with a gentleman and his wife from Rehoboth, DE, and soon, as many such conversations do, talk turned to local restaurants.
“Do you like chicken pot pie?” he asked. “If you do, you have to go to the Claim Jumper.” He then proceeded to illustrate the size of said
Now I knew that Claim Jumper restaurants are part of a national chain “headquartered in Irvine, California…with 45 locations in Arizona, California, Illinois, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, Wisconsin, Oregon and Tennessee. Founder Craig Nickoloff opened the first Claim Jumper Restaurant in Los Alamitos, California in 1977. Until 2005, CWN Management, Inc., which operates the Claim Jumper chain, had been privately owned by the Nickoloff family. Leonard Green & Partners purchased a majority stake in the company in 2005…(but) filed for bankruptcy on September 10, 2010. On October 28, 2010,
And we don’t do chains. But great chicken pot pie? We may need to make an exception.
“The Irvine, California-based chain arrived here (Tucson) in January, and folks have been lining up at the El Con Mall restaurant ever since. The chain is known for its ski lodge-style décor--lacquered wood, huge beams bolted together, river rock and a
While the restaurant was huge with high ceilings and an enormous river rock fire place, its configuration with high walled booths and dividers minimized the sense of vastness.
but the wall to our booth prevented me from observing most of the food prep.
And not only are the restaurant and portion sizes huge, so is the menu. So it was hard to make a decision. Hard for me, that is. Our fellow RV’er had also recommended the calamari (calamari steak strips, lightly breaded and fried and served with cocktail sauce and spicy peanut Thai slaw). Then again, there were the Southwest Eggrolls with fresh chicken, cilantro, black beans, pasilla and bell peppers. Or the Three Cheese Potatocakes with cheddar, jack and aged Parmesan cheese, creamy mashed potatoes, onions, dill, and cilantro. Then again, maybe I should order the Chinese Chicken Salad with crunchy noodles, almonds, sesame seeds, green onions, carrots, and cilantro tossed with sweet and spicy peanut dressing. On second thought, how about the Black Tie Chicken Pasta with blackened chicken, bow tie pasta, spinach tortellini, and oven roasted tomatoes tossed in creamy Alfredo.
“No” to all of these. Instead, I chose the Mini Tri-Tip Dips—three small “sliders” with sliced tri-tip roasted in French onion broth and garnished with smoked gouda, roasted pasilla peppers, and caramelized onions on mini brioche buns.
But it was my choice of side that shone. Instead of the fries or fruit, I selected the Thai slaw made with Chinese and red cabbages, dry Chinese noodles, peanuts, and cilantro.
But the reason for our visit was Chuck’s chicken pot pie.
His entrée was to have come with a side of fruit but why eat fruit when you can substitute smashed potatoes. Yes, spuds in the pot pie and spuds on the side.
This is six layers of chocolate cake and chocolate fudge icing topped with walnuts and was featured on the Food Network as one of America’s “Top 5 Most Decadent Desserts.” According to Men’s Health Magazine, its six layers of chocolate carry as many calories as a dozen Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars.
Now I can’t in good conscience give a chain franchise restaurant 5.0 Addies, but feel comfortable awarding it 4.0.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.