Friday, August 1, 2008

Claim Jumper

Celebrated a special birthday recently at the Claim Jumper in South Center, per the birthday girls request. I had never been there before, but the reputation of huge portions and the promise of a gigantic slice of chocolate cake called the Chocolate Motherload had already been injected into my mind somewhere in my lifetime.

Started off with a side salad. It was lightly dressed with my favorite kind of ranch... not sweet, not even tangy, just creamy and good, and had a nice selection of vegetables including strips of shredded zucchini. The croutons were very sweet and seemed to have been made out of dried cake, which was a pretty weird surprise at first taste that I could have done without.
That's a blue cheese iceburg wedge in the background

As could be imagined, there weren't a ton of vegetarian choices, but certainly enough to get full and to satisfy a variety of moods. There is, of course, the option of getting a number of meat dishes ("dinner" salads, pastas, etc) without meat in them, but I need to be really desperate or inspired (or obsessed) to pay full meat price for a dish void of its most expensive ingredient. So instead I ordered a vegetable loaded baked potato off of the Healthy Choices section of the menu.
Looking at this plate now, I realize I should have eaten the leaf on the left, which I instead ignored

It was supposed to come loaded with roasted vegetables, melted cheese, and salsa, and it half-way delivered. The vegetables on top, various squashes and carrots, were steamed, not roasted, and the melted cheese was almost invisible to both eye and tongue. The salsa was so-so: visually appealing and spicy, but wasn't all that interesting flavour wise. After eating the vegetables off the top, I used the birthday girl's pot of unused honey butter and turned the rest of my ginormous potato into a makeshift sweet potato casserole.

To begin our dessert experience, we told the waiter about the birthday and he brought us a free slice of Cookies and Cream ice cream pie.
After the free dessert, we still needed more, but our ability to handle the Motherload had dwindled, and so we ordered the "Worlds Smallest Sundae," whose name alone is ripe for psychological analysis. I have my ideas, what are yours?

I had been preparing all day for an evening of American-style overindulgence (including pushing myself out into the rain for a bike ride), but left the place feeling remarkably underindulged. Didn't over do it on food, didn't over do it on dessert. Got a fair share of vegetables and nothing too gross.

On the way out of the restaurant they had a little station with a basket of tiny unnaturally perfectly shaped Red Delicious apples, and baskets of rootbeer barrel candies.
I took a couple candies, which I managed to loose by time I got to the car, and a couple mini apples, which I brought home and washed with soap then ate.

As could be expected, my main gripe about this place is the too much sub-par food for too much money paradigm, which is both a popular gripe and a popular paradigm depending on who you talk to. But still the evening was fun. We had a highbacked booth, our little mini world, and there were enough tables in the small Claim Jumper Villiage that I didn't feel guilty sitting back and talking long after our food was done.

Happy Birthday T!


Ben said...

As many people know, I have long harbored a desire for the "Claim Jumper™" experience. Your review has left me with conflicted feelings on the subject.
BTW, when was the “Blue Cheese Iceberg wedge” invented?

Tofu Hunter said...

Good question, but the one in this picture is a mini version that came as a sort of side salad. The real one, on the menu, is much bigger.

T. said...

What I want to know is: can I grow "blue cheese iceberg" lettuce in my garden?!

The chocolate cake at CJ, while visually dramatic, is not worth the calories. About as dull as a Safeway cake. These corporate restaurants are not worth my time. (Or appetite!)

Tofu Hunter said...

Or money, shall I say to round out the list.

Radish King said...

But what about the artichoke spinach dip in the sourdough bread bowl? I feel so ashamed that I could eat an entire bowl of it. We got there sometimes, we at my glamorous job, as a group, something fun for the carnivores.

haha! word verification is lettwss which, I believe, answers premium t's question.