Crossing into Vancouver ~
I have fond memories of cross boarder shopping and stopping at “Carl’s Jr.” for something quick and cheap. You don’t want to spend too much of your money on food, when its all suppose to be allocated for new clothes and accessories.
So if you are in the states and need to eat fast food why not make it something that we do not have in Vancouver?
I remembered one of my first times at “Carl’s Jr., I ordered the most decadent milkshake in my life: banana milkshake made with chocolate syrup, cookie pieces, whipped cream and chocolate chip chunks. Since then I have associated the chain with fatty foods than are worth gaining pounds to eat.
So when I saw the location by Pacific center finally open, I demanded Frenchy take me.
Right when you get in there is a “Carl’s Jr.” Star mascot costume sitting at the foyer. Like everyone else we tried it on and took pictures. Mid way we considered how many bodies with their smells had fused into this damp costume.
The restaurant is like any other fast food chain, bright florescence lights, uncomfortable seating, tables that never seem to be clean enough, a bunch of young staff standing around with nothing to do, and over weight customers gorging on burgers, boxes at a time. The most comfortable and best seating, right in front of the only T.V. was sadly occupied, as i am sure it always is.
At first blush was disappointed by the menu, small selection with hardly any dessert options or limited edition menu items. All very unlike its original locations across the border, that I have acquainted myself with. Disappointed, we shared a meal combo and Vanilla Milkshake. The milkshake was made with real ice cream and as all the ones that are, it was incredibly creamy and delicious. The burger had a charbroiled grilled chicken patty. It was tender and juicy, but not tasty as many of its competitors. I would prefer a “McChicken” or a “KFC” chicken sandwich over this. Maybe even a Burger King Chicken sandwich, and that says a lot. This is mainly because of the difference in pricing between the chains. “Carl’s Jr.”‘s burgers are about $3 more than the other’s. Majority of their menu items are over $7.
The real win in this experience was the criss cross fries. It is a nice change of pace from your regular potato sticks. It is chewy inside and crispy when you bite in, seasoned so well it does not need additional condiments. Plus it is so fun to look at and even more so to eat.
So recently we decided to give “Carl’s Jr.” another try, so I guess the question of will I go back has been answered with a yes.
This time around we wanted to try the beef burgers that are advertised as being made with better cuts of meat. With first bite they were comparable to the beef patties at Harvey’s.
I got the Memphis BBQ burger. Along with my all beef patty, in it had deep fried onions, cheddar cheese, pulled pork, and a sweet BBQ sauce, all on your standard bun. Towards the end the taste got boring and I regretting taking my last two bites. Maybe it was the realization that this meal was not good for me.
My guest got a regular charboiled beef burger with cheese, ketchup, and mayo. They made it with way too much Ketchup and mayo, he ended up dissecting the burger in order to scrape the excess off. Both our burgers got soggy fast so you had to eat bite after bite nonstop, in order to maintain a dry bun. And after each bite you needed a new napkin to mop up the mess on your face, good thing they thought of that and put a napkin dispenser at each table.
I do think their beef burger are better than any other fast food burger place. However for the price you can go to “Red Robins” and enjoy a cleaner eating area and fill up on bottomless drinks and fries. All this while enjoying a unique burger experience with a great patty.
But I still plan to go back to “Carl’s Jr.”, had I been more hungry I would have liked to try the “thick burger” patty in my bun.
And for all you lovers of burgers from across the border, “Five Guys Burgers and Fries” are making their way to downtown Vancouver as well.
CARL'S JR. VANCOUVER
corner of Dunsmuir and Howe