Monday, September 26, 2005

Topz At Two Isn't So Tops

At lunchtime, I have a window of about 45 minutes where I can go without eating anything before my blood sugar starts to drop. Which means at 12:45, I'd better be eating lunch or at least grazing on free pre-meal bread or chips. Do not schedule a lunchtime meeting without serving lunch because I will
eat your liver with some fava beans and chianti. Well, not really. You know what I mean.

Today, I got myself into a bit of a risky situation by agreeing to a 12 pm phone interview with a prospective employer which lasted, hmm, HALF AN HOUR. OK, then I was the stupid one after that because instead of going back to the office to eat, I went down the street to Target to buy stuff. 12:45 and I was out of Target but already the coach was starting to turn into a pumpkin. Yes, my time had run out. I needed to eat.

Back at the office, I ran into my friends who were on the way out who in turn hijacked me. Yes, they hijacked me because I have no mind of my own and instead of saying, "Oh no thanks, I'm just gonna go upstairs and eat the tofu with
Trader Joe's Punjab Spinach Sauce that I had packed from home" when they said "We're going to the Coffee Bean, ya wanna come?" I caved into peer pressure and agreed. So yeah, instead of politely refusing so that I could run upstairs and scarf down my food in the privacy of my own sorry desk and raise my blood sugar back up to normal levels, I said, "Well OK, but I'm really hungry," and got hijacked.

"Cool! We'll go to the Coffee Bean in Toluca Lake and you can get food from Koo Koo Roo or Topz!" my friends suggested. OK yeah, this is gonna be fun.

I originally was going to go to Koo Koo Roo, not because I like it--in fact, I really don't like it--but because I've had it before and because I didn't feel like being that experimental in my current state of hunger. But I thought what the hell, I can at least write about a new place. And so I went to Topz. Supposedly, Topz is supposed to be the home of the healthier burger--did I just set myself up for an even bigger disaster?

There were two registers, only one of which was accepting cards, so it was just my luck that I had no cash on me and I was stuck behind high maintenance NBC Universal chick who seemed to be ordering food for her whole office. The cash only line, in the meantime, was moving with lightning speed. Come onnnnnnn...what are you ordering bee-yotch??????? Turns out she was ordering food for only two people--her total was only 14 bucks. So what the fuck was she ordering for so fucking long??? Oh well, no time to get mad, it was finally my turn.

I ordered at 1/4 Pound Angus Burger with cheese, and made it a combo with their fries which are called "Aero Fries" and a drink. While waiting for my order, I noticed the "condiments" bar behind me and proceeded to fill up a bunch of those little plastic cup thingies with their garlic ketchup and garlic mayo.

I got the thing to-go, because I had already been out too long and by the time I got back to my desk to actually eat it was 2pm. My window was long gone and I think all signs of hunger, of impatience, of lightheadedness had left my body and I was in some kind of weird state of shock. Yeah, my body had already said "Fuck you. You'll see. You'll get yours," to me.

I bit into this 1/4 lb. Angus cheeseburger of mine, first noticing that its untoasted whole wheat bun didn't float my boat at all. The patty actually had a nice charbroiled flavor, but the bun and all the other tasteless ingredients managed to take over. So thank goodness for garlic mayo and ketchup which I proceeded to smear in globs all over the underside of each bun. Oh, and those Aero Fries? They're air baked, hence the name. They're allright...quite crispy considering they came from an oven. But they still lacked that certain sinfulness, uh, like the crunch and taste of actual oil, that only a deep fryer can give. Oh well, nothing a little garlic mayo can't cure.

By the end of my meal, I had devoured the burger, all my fries, 3 cups of garlic mayo, 2 cups of garlic ketchup, and oh, about a quarter of my soda (because I don't like soda). I went on
Topz's website to get some 411 on their nutritional stuff. A burger's 400-some calories, Aero Fries are 390. That alone is over 800 calories. And I didn't count all that mayo and ketchup (the best part of the whole meal), the cheese, and whatever part of that soda I drank. Healthy? Yeah right.

I guess my body can say "I told you so."

10119 Riverside Drive
Toluca Lake, CA 91602
(818) 766-9066


elmomonster said...

800 calories total! DANG! And the fries were baked?! DANG!

Doran said...

Whoa, Pam's dark side. Remind me to never be late with a meal.

Actually, I'm the same way. I generally wait until the very last minute and take my lunch at 1:30. This makes for a short afternoon when I get back to the office, but also means I'd better have food in my mouth by 1:45pm, and pity the poor waitress who thwarts my mission.

Anonymous said...

Pam - I'm told that I get "weird and mean" if I get too hungry! So I hear ya'. If go too far I'll order and eat something like 4 Big Mac's or the like, and get really sick.....

MEalCentric said...

I'm soooo the same way. Come 1 oclock, if I havent eaten, "watch the f out!". But I guess the moral of your story is, "Garlic Mayo solves all problems".

Anonymous said...

man, your coworkers are bastards! don't give in to peer pressure!

e d b m said...

i always feel guilty when i'm in a hurry and resort to fast food. i mean, the most i'll ever get at a FF restaurant are the fries. and even after reading Fast Food Nation, i still eat fries. ugh. bally's or 24 hour fitness at 8pm, anyone?

BoLA said...

hahha...yeah, beware of kranky kristy when she's super hungry. LOL!

rainbird_sc said...

Man, I had the worst experience last night at Topz... don't even bother going, folks. Seriously.

The letter I just sent their corporate offices:
Last night my husband, my sister, and I decided to try the new Topz that opened down the street in Pleasant Hill.

We will not be returning to Topz.

We should have figured out from the beginning as we walked into the store. The afternoon sun was pouring through the windows, blinding everyone in the restaurant. I looked over and saw the manager and someone from the corporate offices sitting, having a conference at a booth, and they had taped pieces of paper to the window to try to block the sun. It surprised me that these two would paper the window, versus ordering shades. But, apparently, "just good enough" seems to be Topz's goal.

The corporate person had placed their belongings on the only table in the house sheltered from the sun, eliminating the chance of not being blinded as we sat down.

My sister ordered a chicken sandwich that was listed as coming with hamburger toppings plus Ranch sauce. It came with no grilled onions, and mayonnaise instead of Ranch. She was also overcharged... the price listed on the menu was not the price listed on the receipt, it was mysteriously $.55 over.

We both ordered the combo with the mini Dijon Deli salad. The salad was listed as containing chopped fresh greens, turkey, salami, green onions, garbanzo beans, jicama, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, ground black pepper and Dijon vinaigrette. Ours came with shredded lettuce (that had been sitting too long in dressing so it was slimy like cole slaw), tomatoes, and cheese only.

My husband and I were planning on splitting a 6-pack of mini burgers. We expected them to be topped like hamburgers (they are called mini burgers and listed under the hamburgers, one can only assume they would be topped with leaf lettuce, raw onion, tomato, pickles and Secret sauce) but it came with only a single pickle slice and ketchup. Ketchup?! Where is ketchup listed?

This ended up not mattering, though, because the meat was so bad we didn't finish a single mini burger. It tasted like it had been microwaved. I had my sister taste it, and she spit it out the second it hit her tongue because it tasted so rank.

When we mentioned this to the manager, he simply said "We get rave reviews of our mini burgers all day long." This is NOT the answer a complainiant wants to hear. Was he saying that my pallate is worse than all of these people supposedly loving the burgers?

Well, my fears of a sub-par pallete were assuaged within moments. I watched as another couple received their mini burgers... when drowning them in ketchup didn't help the taste, they, too, left their burgers and soggy salad unfinished. I asked them how their burger tasted, and they also said that it was awful, and tasted like it had been microwaved. They were also told that Topz Pleasant Hill gets "...rave reviews of our mini burgers all day long.")

The manager tried to remedy our displeasure by making us another salad and offering a 25% off coupon for our next visit. It was a nice gesture, but we were unable to eat any more slimy salad, nor were we able to trust the food given to us because the manager had a huge EXPOSED AND OOZING gash on top of his head with maybe 10 staples in it. Absolutely disgusting.

To add insult to injury, the coupon he offered us was actually 3 coupons glued together with blood. (Yes, BLOOD. I do still have the coupons should you desire to see them.)

Lastly, to top it all off, as we were finishing our discussion with the manager, a cashier came to bus our table. First thing he did was wipe the table down with a napkin, then stuff the napkin in my unfinished drink, that I was still planning on finishing once the manager had left. The cashier apologized when I told him that I wasn't finished, but he did nothing to reciprocate, not even offering another glass, and the manager was more concerned with the fact that we had been given plasticware instead of silverware.

Our experience was so bad that we have been successfully cleansed of any desire to ever visit one of your establishments again. I will be sure to dissuade anyone I know from visiting, also.

Word up.