Sunday, June 29, 2008





I've always thought it would be fun to be a restaurant critic. You get to eat and then just tell people about what you had and rate the place.

So, I wanted to take you along with me while I did my own taste test and pretended I was a real restaurant critic. I hope you are hungry. Now come along.
For our taste tests we are going to go to two different local restaurant chains here in So. California, RUBY'S AND JOHNNY ROCKETS. I'm not sure if either of these are in other states or not.

Both places are known for their hamburgers and shakes. Both have a theme decor of 50's dinners. I wanted to keep this a fair taste tests.

Our first stop is going to be to RUBY'S. Now, I admit I do go to RUBY'S often and I already know I like their food a lot. But, it's the closest thing to JOHNNY ROCKETS, so let's go in and check it out.
Isn't the counter area cute? Just like back in the 50's. Can't you just see, the girls with their pony tails and the boys in their white t-shirts with rolled up sleeves, sitting there drinking a coke or sharring a shake.

Most people like to sit in booths or tables though. There are plenty of them for you pick from.

All the RUBY'S are pretty much the same decor but they each have a little something that is different from each other. They all have a little gift shop area where they sell t-shirts and vintage kitchen reproductions.

This RUBY'S is at the beach so you can see the skateboards parked here. Good for them for saving money on gas when they go out to eat.

I love the way the servers dress. Again, a look from the 50's. I don't think the girls wore their dresses that short back in the 50's though...did they?

Yeah! The food is served! Let's try it out and see how it tastes.

The shake is wonderful. It's nice and cold, thick but creamy and lots of real strawberries. Plus you get all the extra shake that wouldn't fit into your glass. They give you the whole cup they mixed it in. It's almost a full glass more. Just perfect for a nice hot day.

The fries are cooked to perfection and my veggie burger is the best I've ever had!

OK, I can hear you now. What! A veggie burger? YUCK! Well, I don't eat meat so I always get veggie burgers. But, when I did eat meat, I used to have real burgers and they were some of the best burgers I've ever had.

Well I didn't find anything about this stop that I didn't love. All in all, I would have to give RUBY'S a BIG A+ or 5 star rating.

Well, our next stop is JOHNNY ROCKETS. This place is always crowded but since I'm a big RUBY'S fan I have not been to JOHNNY ROCKETS in years. In fact, I think I've only been one time and I only got a diet coke. So this should be fun.

Let's go in!

See, like I said, it's always crowded. I'm sure the food has to be super.

They have the counter like RUBY'S. Very cute.

Look at all the cooks working hard to feed everyone fast. Boy, I'm hungry! How about you?

Oh no! I just got told I can't pictures. What? Why would they care? Oh well, I'm just going to have to be careful I don't get caught. Let's go sit down.

How cute is this! Each table has their own little jukebox. Plus, it's only a nickel to pick a song. Of course, we put some money in and picked out some songs. They are all from the 50's. Helps to put you in the mood.

Either these are just for show and really don't work (but it took the money) or there were to many people ahead of us because, our songs never did play the whole time we were there.

I think the menu is cute too. Look at the little hat they give kids. How darling!

So far everything is going great! I am really expecting the food is going to be yummy too!

In order to keep the taste test fair I got the same thing. A strawberry shake, fries and a veggie burger.

First they brought the shake out. I liked the way it was served. But hey, where is the rest of the shake? Remember at RUBY'S they give you all the shake. What doesn't fit in the glass you got in the silver cup they mix it in.

That's OK, let's give it a try. My first thought was "This is a shake but it's warm!" How could a shake be warm? It's also very runny. More like strawberry milk. I didn't like it at all. Everyone else at the table with me had different flavor shakes and they said the same thing. Thin and warm. That's a big strike and sure to take the rating down.

Then they brought the fries out. The waitress gave us each a little bowl and made a happy face with the ketchup. Very cute. But where is our burgers? Why bring the fries without the rest of the food.

Finally the burgers came out. I took a big bite and almost spit it out. It was the worst veggie burger I've ever had! So I went for the fries. By now, they were cold and taste like they were frozen and had freezer burn or something. Not good. Not good at all. I'm afraid this will lower the rating too.

The rest of the table agreed with me. This was the worst meal we have had in a long time. YUCK!

We didn't complain. I just hate to do that. But most of the time when the waitress sees you didn't eat much of your food they ask if anything was wrong and then I will tell them. No one asked us here.

So we paid the bill. Higher then RUBY'S but still not to bad in price. Well, thinking about it, since we couldn't eat the food it was a big waste of money. So the price was not good either.

I loved the decor and the little touches that JOHNNY ROCKETS has but the food was not good at all. So I give this place a D or 2 stars.

I think the reason JOHNNY ROCKETS is always crowed is because they are good at where they place their restaurants. They are always in tourist areas. People look in and think the place is cute so they go in.

I won't ever go back to JOHNNY ROCKETS unless it's for a diet coke. But RUBY'S, I will refer everyone I know to go there.

Final score is RUBY wins by a landslide!!!!

So what did you think? Was being a restaurant critic fun? Would you like to do it for a living? Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.



Anonymous said...

you crack me up! i loved made it a lot of fun. and i agree! i have been to ruby's at hb pier and i loved it. and i have also been to johnny rocket's (in reno)...when we went there the first couple of times it was good, then the last two times it was terrible! haven't been back since.
so i would say your future as a restaurant critic looks bright...and with your love of vintage you are perfectly suited for judging the vintage-style places :)
thanks for sharing the made me want fries and a shake!

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Joanne!
That WAS fun! But my passion is to be a TV commercial critic! I would need a remote with a red button that would zap the bad commercials from existence, never to be seen again! Oh... wait we were talking about restaurants... sorry Joanne! I got carried away in the wrong direction.
I love your new banner!! It's YOU!
Hugs, Sherry

Anonymous said...

OMG, this is so ironic. We were invited to a Johnny Rockets grand opening a couple of weeks ago. I agree, the ambience is great but for the money, the food was just okay. We don't have a Rubys darn it.....great post, thanks Joanne.


Michele P. said...

what a fun review! I am always eating out but have never seen a Ruby's here in Maine. I did go to a Johnny Rockets once in the Providence Place Mall in RI. But just to get a coke, ended up eating at Dave & Busters instead. Now if I get to Southern California, I will be looking up Ruby's -I want the rest of my shake too!

Catherine said...

Fantastic reporting. You have done the California folks a public service! This was a fun read!

Darlene said...

You could definately be a restaurant critic.....made me feel like I was there sipping the shake, eating the burger & fries. lol. I have never been to either place but I know if we are ever anywhere there is a Ruby's we will be stopping in. Thanks for the tour, it was fun.

Connie said...

I had a friend once who was a food critic for a newspaper and we went to an Indian restaurant. NEVER EVER AGAIN!! It was hot/spicy from the bread to the dessert!! I had 7 refills on my drink that night and could have shot Holly for suggesting we come along that night! So I understand what you mean, my burger bunny.........

KimmyJ said...

You might have a new career in your future! thanks for taking us along.

Ivy Bend said...

My hubby and I avoid franchise places like the plague. (My one experience at Johnny Rockets was the same as yours, and I'll bet I'm not in the same part of the country as you are.) You're lucky to have Ruby's nearby. Sounds like a place I would love to visit.

Linda ★ Parker's General said...

Sounds like a fair and impartial assessment to me. I enjoy critiquing myself and I think you did very well. We have neither Ruby's nor Johnny Rocket's here in Iowa. We do have Ruby Tuesday's and several 50's style diners. I have been to some and they do charge extra for the ambience while the food is mediocre. But there are some that really care about quality. Those few are seldom chain restaurants....

Unknown said...

I agree with you, Ruby's is much better! I haven't been in Johnny Rockets for ages. I love reading your blog 'cos you always have great stuff about So. Cal.
Love ya, Susan

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I enjoyed thsi review Joanne! I think you definitely have talent doing food reviews and now I would go to Ruby's anytime over Johnny Rockets!

Hugs, Pat

emily said...

I have only been to Jonny Rockets, no Ruby's around here. I would like to try it though to see!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Joanne, I want to go to Ruby's with you!! I loved your review of both places, and I hope someone at Johnny Rocket's reads this review and makes the necessary adjustments at their restaurants! ...Donna

Janet said...

We have a lot of Johnny Rockets here, but I have never been in one, I am not a big fan of chain restaurants ( yeah, I know, I am kind of a food snob). The only Rubys I have ever been in was at LAX and there is no such thing as good airport food, jut really expensive mediocre burgers and fries.