December 30, 2008

Redundancy and the Red Robin Chili Chili Cheeseburger and redundancy

The bigwigs who come up with dishes at chain restaurants have about five words to describe a meal and sell it to an audience. They can choose to be descriptive, like T.G.I. Friday's did with its Cedar-Seared Salmon Pasta. They can choose to be quirky, like Burger King did with its infamous chicken fries. But they rarely choose to be repetitive, like Red Robin did with its Chili Chili Cheeseburger.

Maybe the double "chili" is meant to imply a larger size, the way the "XX" does in extra-extra large clothing. Perhaps it's meant to denote a greater flavor, like in double-chocolate chunk cookies. Or maybe it's there for cadence, as in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

Whatever the reason, I think another adjective could have been swapped in for the first chili. It would have made the menu more descriptive and spared me from coming up with an adequate description of the meal. But after some thought I've managed to decide "heaping or jumbo" would have worked well.

Once you get past the name, the "Heaping" Chili Chili Cheeseburger is pretty tasty. Red Robin takes their typical cheeseburger and dumps a boatload of chili on it, then serves it on a plate next to some parmigiana fries. There's so much chili sitting on the burger that it runs over the sides -- all of them. The top of the bun is served on the side of the burger, and the menu recommends you eat it with a knife and fork.

I recommend taking its advice on this one. The chili has a good consistency that's not too runny, but it's just too bountiful to pick up. Your hands are going to end up looking like you killed someone by the time you finish the burger.

Plus, the knife-and-fork experience isn't too bad, once you get over the insulting fact that you're eating a burger with utensils. The chili itself could use some more spice, or any spice for that matter, to satisfy those of us who like more zing in our food, but it tops off the burger well. Plus, its lack of spice let me eat it at at 9:30 p.m. without suffering any heartburn later in the night.

And those parmigiana fries are absolutely delectable. They aren't choked by a heavy dose of sauce the way Red Robin's garlic fries are, but they still pack plenty of flavor. The plate doesn't pack many of them, though. The number of fries doesn't share the burger name's penchant for redundancy.

The price does. It's $9.99. Too bad the accountants couldn't have tossed in an 8 or 3 somewhere in there just to spice things up.

A lack of spice just sums up the Chili Chili Cheeseburger. No spice in the name. None in the chili. None in the price.

It must all be drizzled on those fries. A solid three sporks out of five.

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