‘Real food’ at Thorntons

Many years ago, I found myself broke one day to the point where I had maybe only $3 in my pocket and not much more in my checking account. I knew that I only needed to get through the day to the evening when my paycheck would direct-deposit into my account.

You know, because, America.

Anyway, lunchtime arrived, I grew hungry and the cupboard was bare at home, so I decided I would get food at Thorntons. Yeah, I know. Desperate times and all. So I got two Thorntons hot dogs for $1 each, and I ate them in my car. And on that day, I swore I would never eat at Thorntons again, other than to just grab a soft drink and maybe a snack (which I do almost daily to this day). But a meal? Never.

And now, all over the TV, I see that many Thorntons locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois are selling “real food” from what the spokesperson calls a “real kitchen.” So, my curiosity got the better of me.

At a “real kitchen” Thorntons, there is a warmer with a small selection of items, in addition to the familiar roller thing, covered with hot dogs and sausages of all kinds, and a toppings bar. Breakfast includes a bacon, egg and cheese burrito, and the requisite breakfast biscuit sandwiches with sausage or bacon, egg and cheese, as well as sandwich croissants.

For lunch, it’s pepperoni pizza sticks, chicken tenders, mini corn dogs, pretzels and the like. I decided to try the pizza, as well as a crispy chicken sandwich. The sticks, priced at $2.49 for three, are better than I figured they would be; the thick bread is actually quite tasty on its own, cooked in a real oven and topped with real cheese and pepperoni. Honestly, it’s not that far off something you’d expect to get a Pizza Hut, for what that’s worth.

The chicken sandwich, priced at $3.29, does its best to mimic a sandwich from Chick-fil-A, with a similar soft, seedless bun, and a seasoned batter surrounding the chicken. The sandwich actually contained two tenders rather than a single chicken breast, but it does come with a pickle or two, and the chicken was actually real chicken. Honestly, it was pretty good.

And with that, I now have to rethink my vow to never eat a meal at Thorntons again. I’m not going to necessarily seek out this food on the regular, but for the price and convenience, that chicken sandwich might get another go-around if my usually-busy schedule dictates. Not having to sit for 20 minutes in a drive-through lane, which is one of my great pet peeves in life, might be reason enough.

Not that I eat fast food much, but it’s nice to know this is an option.

Breakfast at Mexa Tacos

A few months back I wrote in this space about the yummy smoked habanero salsa at MexA Tacos. Well, now you can put that stuff on eggs and chorizo.

Every Sunday, MexA adds eggs and other touches to create something of a brunch addition to the menu. There are two large tacos (which are a meal in themselves), a regular-size breakfast taco and breakfast nachos, plus egg tacos and quesadillas for the kids. Also, you can get Mexican biscuits with strawberry jam, Nutella or dulce de leche.

I stopped by on a recent Sunday and had a crunchy chorizo taco, which came bulging with cheese cooked to the point of being crunchy (thus the name), scrambled eggs, potatoes, tomatoes and mild chorizo. The tomatoes were diced, while the potatoes essentially were as well (hey, I expected home fries, but it worked). The chorizo, meanwhile, was mild and far less greasy than most I’ve had.

There’s also a steak and egg large taco, while the small breakfast taco is just eggs, cheese, beans and potatoes. The nachos are basically the same as the lunch and dinner nachos but with a sunny-side-up egg on top to replace the steak. All in all, not a bad way to fill your belly if you’re in St. Matthews on a Sunday. •