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Going Big: Going Zagat

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Going Zagat

AUSTIN, Texas -- One thing I've learned in all my road tripping is that I love Austin.

And if you've been reading this blog, this should come as no surprise to you. Therefore, I'm not going to rehash all the reasons why I love it.

Instead, I will regale you with some other knowledge I've gleaned on the road, and I promise it's invaluable for all your roadside dinning needs.

Over the past couple of months, I've been compiling a list in my head in hopes of ranking my favorite road-trip dining spots. This is something I've wanted to do in this space for some time, and with five days left, I think it's time.

In an effort to streamline the process, I've decided to limit my list to breakfast establishments. I'm a big fan of a hearty breakfast, and it's often a lifeline on the road. There are six main spots for breakfast on the road, and they are IHOP, Denny's Waffle House, Bob Evans, Perkins and Cracker Barrel. And after eating at each of them a number of times over the past eight months between Going Big and Going Yard, I can say with certainty that I have a strong feel for all of them.

I'm not the only one learning on the road. You can find out the important lessons Sas has learned in today's video, which is called "Big Lessons."

(Note: If you're a Mac user having trouble viewing this video, click here to download a program called Flip4Mac that will allow you watch it.)




Due to its poor spelling, Railhead Diner did not qualify for this list.

The restaurant rankings, with pros, cons, are as follows.

6. WAFFLE HOUSE
Pros:Obviously, it has the best Waffles of the six, and it is probably the cheapest.

Cons:They tend to be a little dirty, and the service can be quite erratic. Also, when people seem to prefer your food at 3 a.m., it usually doesn't speak to quality.

5. DENNY'S
Pros:They omelets are loaded, so you won't leave hungry.

Cons:Like Waffle House, the cleanliness can also be an issue. There was also those racist incidents from the 1990s, which made me never want to eat there again. However, sometimes you are out of options on the road, so please forgive me. Oh, and the hash browns are mediocre, and often undercooked.

4. CRACKER BARREL
Pros:The hash brown casserole might be the single best side dish at any of these six establishments,

Cons:First off, service can be slow. Also, I originally thought the biscuits and gravy were good, but compared to the biscuits at these other places, they are average.

3. IHOP
Pros:Pancakes come with everything, and they are good pancakes. Also, they bring you your own jug of coffee, instead of having to flag down the server each time you want your java freshened.

Cons:There is quality-control problem from location to location. Once in a while you'll find an IHOP that is sub-par. Also, sometimes they bring you too much food. It's kind of a waste.

2. PERKINS
Pros:They have these unbelievable muffins that come as an extra with pretty much every meal. I'm typically a fan of the blueberry, but the lemon poppyseed is delectable. And like IHOP, they leave you with a jug of coffee. Perkins doesn't exist on the east coast, so I've been thrilled to discover them throughout the Midwest.

Cons:Omelets can be a bit inconsistent, but you won't get a bad meal. Also, Sas left his credit card at a Perkins, and when we called they said they didn't have it, but we know it's there!

1. BOB EVANS
Pros:I had an aversion to Bob Evans on Going Yard, but I don't know why. The biscuits and gravy put Cracker Barrel to shame, and they have the best coffee of all these places.

Cons:No obvious weaknesses, that's probably what puts it at the top.

There you have it, and may this serve you well on the road.

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