Is it still a Woody . . . when you get the wood?

Woody’s Burgers, San Diego – Review. Bare with me . . . this is a doozey!

woodys service When I sit back and think about the service and/or hospitality industry and the guests that patronize (also known as “patrons”) these establishments, I can’t help think about what a Dick I really am. Maybe it’s not that I ‘m such a Dick, but more so a CritDick. If I look back on the recent past, say just this last month of May 2013, there are two independent personal encounters I can pinpoint as distinct service failures. Not just, “could be” service issues, but full-blown failures. I have previously written about one that happened on Cinco-de Mayo and the other was today. Now think for a moment, I am one person out of how many throughout civilization that has had two distinct service-related failures in one month. On Cinco de Mayo, the server failed to deliver my entrée with the rest of the table’s service. I didn’t get served until the entire table was 50% done with their dinner. Today, I order takeout hamburgers from a new, yet notable, burger joint entering the San Diego restaurant scene. I come up getting stiffed for an order of fries. It doesn’t seem odd to you that the guy who writes about the service failure is the one who gets two in one month? I think that’s why I enjoy my anonymity ’cause, do you think I would be getting failures if people knew I was going to write about it? I’m sure there exists a possible way that I could actually give a failure percentage based on population; but that seems like way too much work for this Friday evening . . . oh snap, “Get me a beer!” . . . ahhhh, much better!Woodys 2

Again, I am just one of 7 billion humans on Earth. Now if I multiply whatever that percentage of failures is, times the population, and somehow figure out the quantity of transactions per day, I would probably be able to justify the fact that, “THERE  ARE  WAY  TOO  MANY  SERVICE  FAILURES ! ! !” But the bigger concern is why we as customers, are so accepting of this high failure rate. Not to say that we don’t complain and the establishment compensates us somehow . . . it’s not that! It’s about the establishments’ failing to begin with. Where is there quality control (QC)? Do we need to implement some kind of legal quality assurance (QA) program upheld under Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)? 21 CFR (that’s how us in the biz say that) is the federal law written that controls the Food and Drug Administration and their regulations. Don’t get me wrong, failures in the FB&H industry are not necessarily taken lightly. In fact, they are often times dealt with swiftly and measurably.  I just don’t always like being the “Dick”. But it is kinda’ fun sometimes. I mean, “can’t I just get what I ordered? . . . just what I want?” Why is that so hard? In aviation, a failure can, and often times, does result in a catastrophic event. In aviation, there are checks and balances that are designed to preclude the frequency of these catastrophic events. But how many times do events happen that don’t result in a catastrophe? Think about that the next time you don’t get the fries you ordered . . . I mean, what if I was to take a hot fry to the eye???

Erica was her name, and quality service was her game! Let’s just get that right out in the open and up front. Unfortunately, she missed an order of the very delicious Woody’s fries on my take out order. I think I was the second order upon their Friday morning opening today and I had several two-for-one coupons that I was redeeming from our office group. Erica made quick sense out of my sloppy office orders on various colors of note stickies. Erica was very careful with ensuring my order was correct. I even verified it with her before she placed the order with the BOH (that’s “back of the house” for you non-culinary jackwagons). And since I’m the CritDick, it was decided that I should fly, since I came up with the brilliant idea this morning to take Woody’s up on their offer that we receieved when they visited our station a couple weeks ago. We promised we would try them as a group and today was that day. Well, their promotion worked by getting us to come into their store and spend our money. Yes it was a two-for-one deal, so six people got to try Woody’s instead of just the three that got the coupons. The promo worked!!! Trust me, Woody still made plenty of money today from just our group.

woodys 1Woody’s get’s it’s name from one of the owners of the original Palm Springs location. I initially met Wayne Woodliff (nic’, Woody) at the MCAS Miramar summer safety event. I wrote about that event a couple articles ago. Today’s food critic results came  from various staff members I questioned while their faces were being stuffed with Woody’s very excellent burgers. Yes I said it . . . “very excellent”! Everyone that had a burger said they were very good and will be going back. To know that we can get a delicious burger right outside the gate is a good thing. All we really have on base is McDonalds and the base clubs. There will probably be another burger joint joining us when they decide to finish the food court, but they are usually just average. One thing I did notice is that the burger menu at Woody’s, compared to other burger menus, presents itself as being an average burger menu. Nothing really just jumps out at you as being special or different. Please allow me to explain. Comparing their burger menu to say Burger Lounge or Crazee Burger, Woody’s menu has a good selection, but nothing seemingly like Burger Lounge’s grass-fed free-range mumbo jumbo and Crazee’s Ostrich/Elk or Bison/Wallabe burger. On Woody’s, there’s a Western Burger with bacon and BBQ sauce, there’ a Blue cheese burger, there’s a Hawaiian burger, there’s a Mushroom burger, Jalapeño burger and a portabella burger; but those are some pretty standard offerings that can be found at most “regular” burger joints. These guys just seem to be kickin’ them up a notch with some great sauces and awesome buns. Wow, can’t believe I just had my Woody in between some awesome buns.

Ok now, the fries that I did get were pretty good, just not the best, but they were really good. Everyone that got ’em, liked ’em a lot. We also ordered a couple of the cole slaws. Although the flavor seemed fine the large cut of the mixed cabbages was a bit overwhelming. I didn’t eat enough of it to really get a much of the flavors. I got full and toward the end of the meal, tried to figure out what the flavors were, but I stopped after just a few bites because of the size of the cuts were too much to palate. It seemed cumbersome to eat.

One of the big letdowns were the onion rings. Everyone that tried them noticed the same things. 1) The significant (I literally poured out a tablespoon) pool of deep fat fryer oil residing in the “echo-friendly” to-go container beneath the rings. Now if I poured a tablespoon after the remainder got absorbed in the echo-friendly paper/cardboard container, how much was actually run-off from the rings? I was reading reviews about Woody’s and there were several disheartening comments regarding the onion rings. Time to look at the process. I personally thought the extra oil was from an insufficiently heated deep-fat fryer (it’s supposed to be 350-375, me personally 365 degrees should be the lowest) to properly lock and set the batter. Again the lower temperature could have been because we were the first customers and the fryer temperature wasn’t yet ready for service. Perhaps they should have started the burner earlier in the start-up sequence for todays service. The fries were good though! The other thing with the rings is that the onion portion seemed almost non-existent with the large amount of beer batter covering the vegetable . . . the slices of onion were too thin. The batter was nice looking but I could not really taste it because of the Exxon Valdez and BP gulf spill near by. Yikes!

A visit to the restaurant just outside the West Gate of MCAS Miramar presented itself easily for the base customers and provided enough parking; but, I think that it can get packed quite quickly because the restaurant shares the strip-mall lot with other vendors and businesses. I did notice that the interior of the restaurant reminded me of the enlisted clubs I frequented when overseas. It was plain with simple furnishings and bright colors. The signs on the walls were rear-illuminated making them trendy and fashionably current. The pool table on the left next is fronted by a 12 or so person beer bar that didn’t seem to have any of the 12-15 tap handles identified as local beers. I may be completely wrong about that; but my very quick glance, recognized only 1 or two, and reading other reviews revealed these may not be the handles associated with the actual beers on tap. On the other side (right of the entrance) revealed a stage that is supposed to be host to live jazz shows on the weekends but I still cannot identify them through Woody’s website. Maybe I’m blind or just stupid, but I cant find anything positively identifying an upcoming show or the band headlining. Look for yourself Maybe Woody could use the services of Sorry, just throwing another plug for someone I trust and am helping make a difference. Give Jimmie a call for your entertainment needs.

Now, poor Erica picked up the phone when I called to tell her that she missed an order of fries. Erica grabbed the order and confirmed my ordering 4 fries but her only charging me for three. I’m thinking her order/input in the Point of Sale (POS) system generated only three orders to the BOH (again that would be “back of house”) resulting in only three orders paid for and three orders delivered. Oh well, stuff happens . . . but what was that? A SERVICE FAILURE!. I don’t blame Erica, I blame management on not instituting a quality assurance process for boxed and bagged orders leaving the store. Well I think I may have identified the weak link. Erica hand wrote my order on a pad then transcribed (entered) it into a POS. She missed one of the orders. Let’s just enter it directly into the POS, just like Jack-In-The-Box. I don’t blame my self because at the time of delivery to me (handed), Woody’s was fully engaged with their lunch service and I pretty much needed to take their word and get outta there. It was getting crazy. I didn’t check my order but I did upon immediately getting back to the office, because I had a feeling . . .Woodys-top-logo1

Woody’s is not a bad place . . . worth a stop in. Try one of their burgers, I don’t think you’ll be dissatisfied. Say hello to Erica and tell her this CritDick recommended her. She tried desperately to make me happy at the end of the phone call. I just wasn’t going to worry about the elusive fries.



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