Iâ€™m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Edwardsville, Illinois.
Fazoliâ€™sÂ is a chain of fast-food Italian restaurants scattered nationwide. Iâ€™ve eaten at a few of them over the years and the food has been good but itâ€™s not going to win any Michelin stars.
Because itâ€™s yet another chain designed to appeal to the widest possible audience the food is fairly bland. So much so that even a generous treatment of hot pepper flakes will do little of change it. But the food at Fazoliâ€™s isnâ€™t bad per se, it just lacks discernible character.
This is no surprise, of course. As my brother, a bona fide chef, has told me many times: â€œThe more regions a place serves the blander the food is going to be because itâ€™s trying to appeal to the most people possible.â€ He has also pointed out, accurately, that â€œthe more menu items any (fast food) place offers the worse the food will be.â€ He would know this little cooking-for-the-masses fact as he started his culinary career aboard an aircraft carrier feeding 5,000 hungry sailors three meals-a-day. This also may explain why heâ€™s a big fan of In-N-OutÂ® Burger, whose menu I once took a full two seconds to memorize.
Fazoliâ€™s most recent promotion has been baked spaghetti for $3.99, which can be topped with chicken, meatballs or sausage and peppers for an additional $1.49. As always I got the sausage and peppers.
Itâ€™s a decent-size dish of baked spaghetti covered with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese. It wasnâ€™t bad although the Italian sausage can always be spicier for me. Itâ€™s served with a couple of fresh-baked, buttery garlic breadsticks that are pretty good. If you dine in theyâ€™ll give you as many breadsticks as you want.
The beauty of Fazoliâ€™s is that itâ€™s fast, reasonably priced and consistant. Itâ€™s actually a great value for the price, and you donâ€™t have to spend an hour or more in an Italian eatery to get a pasta fix. Plus, you can often park a land yacht nearby. Accessibility can be quite important, you know, especially if youâ€™re hungry.
And so we roll.
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.