The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friendly's Revisted

I’m not usually swayed by television ads but there was something about the ad for Friendly’s burgers a couple months ago that had me salivating. Maybe it was that my husband has been dieting for months and we are eating salads almost nightly, maybe it was sense memory of a gooey mushroom Swiss burger I had 20 years ago, maybe I was sick of our Friday night restaurant haunts, in the end I craved their burger. This may not be something you expect from one who professes their love of foie gras, caviar and all things gourmet but I do have my dark side.

I convinced the husband to go outside of his 1 ½ mile radius for our Friday night restaurants to trek to Towson to Friendly’s Restaurant. Surprisingly, the husband ordered a bowl of their Manhattan clam chowder and a Caesar salad with grilled chicken (yup, another salad). For some reason beyond my own reasoning, I ordered a cup of chicken soup - knowing full well it would not taste homemade, and you guessed it, the mushroom Swiss burger - which now comes with smoky bacon.

I tasted the “home-made” clam chowder and it was really good, really tasty, much better than my soup and made a mental note to get it upon on my next visit. My burger arrived with an abundance of French fries that the husband inhaled. I took off the bacon, unhinged my jaw in preparation of this large burger, and bit into the nice juicy, gooey burger. It was Nirvana, the perfect burger for the perfect sense memory. I indulged in the "happy endings" hot fudge sundae to complete this degustation menu. His soup, my burger and the hot fudge sundae rocked my world that night.

I really need to find out who the ad agency is for Friendly’s because the ad must have some subliminal messages “you will go to Friendly’s”. Well, a new ad appeared on TV and you guessed it, it played, I craved and I had to go to Friendly’s. I was thinking juicy, gooey burger and a great cup of clam chowder. The husband agreed again to go outside his comfort zone for Friday night dinners but this time we went to the Friendly’s in Reisterstown. This outlet looked fresher in appearance, not as old as Towson’s.

I knew what I was going to have; you guessed it, the clam chowder, the mushroom Swiss burger and the hot fudge "happy ending" sundae. Well the clam chowder was tasty, maybe a bit saltier and the potatoes were hard. The cheese wasn’t quite melted on the burger and the mushrooms didn’t abound. The husband knew he was going off diet food so he did a burger as well, ate all the fries and then dipped into mine – he was a happy camper.

Maybe there would be a reprieve with the sundae. I asked the waitress for extra hot fudge. I wanted to totally indulge even though I was quite full, full indeed, from the soup and the burger. What I got was an extra cherry and no extra hot fudge. It wasn’t a bad meal it just wasn’t the one I expected. What I ended up with was a meal of a trillion calories, lots of cholesterol that wasn’t worth the anticipation or taste.


1000yregg said...

when i grew up around here, i loved the fishwich and a fribble. oh yeah and fried clams.

Anonymous said...

Laughlin/Constable was the ad agency, although as Friendly's is under new management now, they've JUST decided to move their account elsewhere.

Pretty dumb move, I guess!

Anonymous said...

Totally a dumb move. There in-store signs and graphics were awesome and so appealing!


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