Monday, December 23, 2013


82 McNutt St.
Herculaneum, Mo.

 Saturday, it was my birthday. We don't make a big deal out of these things, a simple gift, a card and a meal. My choice was to have steamed shrimp at home, as is usually my birthday choice. So we decided to do that on Sunday, which left the Saturday going-out meal to Adam. His birthday was Sunday. We gave him free voice, choose any place you like. He struggled with this decision through late Saturday afternoon, then, somewhat surprisingly announced we were heading to Herky. He's turning out to be a pretty cheap date.
I knew that Wendy's had been trying new types of buns, other than that, I thought I might have the chili.
So we piled into the family truckster and made the cold, wet drive. I played with the GPS, asked Angel why it showed our car but none of the others. She said that would be cool, I posited that most of the tech exists for that and there would also be no reason that our own cars couldn't present themselves as animated avatars instead of the wretched heaps most of us actually drive. I though the Flintstone family car, or maybe the Batmobile, or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or one of those monstrosities from Mad Max.
It takes a while to get to Herky, we have to get on I-55 and go north for a while. This is the closest Wendy's though.
The Place:
It was still cold and wet when we got there, even so, there were lots of people out and about, probably ignorant shoppers. By 'ignorant' I mean those that haven't figured out how to do the vast majority of their holiday shopping online.
I indeed decided to have the chili, but I also wanted to try the new buns, so I ordered a 'Single' with cheese and medium fries and some tea to go with it.
Angel asked for the Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche, fries and lemonade. Adam got a small burger, a 'Son of Baconator' as well, with some of the spicy chicken nuggets, fries and a Coke.
There were some guys working on the serve-yourself liquid dispenser, one standing on a small ladder, the other handing him pitchers of steamy water. One of the condenser lines must have frozen up. As one would expect when non-professionals and professionals alike are doing this, there was water all over the floor, along with a couple of the ubiquitous, OSHA approved, bright yellow 'Piso Mojado' signs.
 The Food:
Angel paid up then headed out to pull some condiments and claim a table, Adam and I waited for the food.
Portabella Bacon Melt on Brioche
They were having to fill the drinks behind the counter so the service was a little busier than you normally might see.
Our order all fit on two trays. We each grabbed one and joined Angel. She had forgotten straws, but other than that she did an acceptable job, ketchup cups for everyone.
Her sandwich looked good and sloppy. The brioche bun looked substantial and pretty. Brioche is  a pastry made like bread, sugar and brandy optional, with a lot more butter than you'd put in standard bread dough, a 2 to 1 flour to butter ratio in most cases. That's a lot of butter. Wendy's probably doesn't use brandy in their buns, I'm just guessing.
Single, Chili, Fries
My own bun was also substantial looking with a pleasing golden brown cleavage. It was more dense that a grocery store bun, which wasn't a bad idea. It held together just fine through the last juicy bite.
The burgers are served with ketchup, mayo and mustard. Wendy's says the mustard is always applied in the shape of a 'W', though it's nearly impossible to tell for sure since once the top bun is pushed on the three sauces smush together. The fries were fresh cut, you could tell, some were left a little dirty (exposed skin). They were much better than the frozen, reprocessed carb-strips that McDonald's and many other fast food places serve.
The burger itself was pretty good, not great, but for a FF chain, not bad.
Adam's spicy chicken strips were a suspicious orange, the shade of orange you find in hot-wing restaurants, never in nature. He liked them fine though. Not too hot.
Spicy Chicken Nuggets
Angel raved about her sandwich, she said that it was a good thing the bun was denser than normal, the mushrooms were really, really juicy.
My tea wasn't as bad as I expected. It wasn't great, but it wasn't three days old either. I'd give it a +1 on the PJTea scale.
The chili was just as I'd hoped, as good as it was about twenty years ago when I first tried. it. I like different chili's, my own, especially, but for restaurant chili Wendy's has always been a favorite. It's not real spicy, a little on the sweet side, but it will clear your sinuses after a while. Which, it did for me.
Quick, simple, satisfying. The repair team continued throughout our visit working on that machine, mops came out a couple of times the mojado was taking on a lot of steamy piso.
Twenty six and a half bucks took care of all of the meals, about standard. The food is better than most of the competition. The burgers are about as good as you could ever expect from a FF chain, the fries, better than most, the chicken as well. Angel is an ardent fan of the lemonade there.
If there were one closer to home, we'd probably go more often. There just aren't as many Wendy's in the area as the other chains, which is a shame. If there were one on my daily route I'd probably stop by for chili to go quite often.
So as a birthday bash it was kind of un-interesting, but it is what the kid wanted. And isn't that what it's all really about?
I indeed had steamed shrimp Sunday night. We've been celebrating this way for several years. We just lay down some newspaper, make a simple salad, put the steamer pot on a cork coaster, melt some butter with garlic and tear in. The skins and tails pile up and when we're done they go in a bag and into the freezer. Mmmmm, future shrimp stock.

Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

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