In 1945 Carl Karcher and his wife opened Carl's Drive-In Barbecue in Anaheim, California. Carl went on to open global locations and CKE expanded to include Hardee’s, Green Burrito, and Red Burrito. For a short time in the 1980s the company included Taco de Carlos. Carl passed away in 2008 from complications due to Parkinson's disease (named after James Parkinson, credited as having first described the shaking symptoms).
Recently Carl's Jr. held a twitter contest for the best tweeted story about the restaurant. I sent a tweet relating the time I met Carl (https://twitter.com/#!/PointeViven). A few days later I was surprised with a winning notification. I received coupons for free food items and a t-shirt. Thanks Happy Star!
I am not a big customer of fast food restaurants, although once a year I do get a Carl's Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger or the Eat This Not That Turkey Burger. I would encourage home cooks and restaurants to create better burgers without so much salt, fat, and sugar. Citrus juice, herbs, garlic, and ginger are excellent ways to build flavor. If you wish to politely encourage restaurants to improve their nutrition send them an email (Carl's Jr.). Below is a review of the free items I received.
Green Burrito Taco Salad
Flavor Grade: C
The taco salad I got did not look as neatly presented as in the picture. The advertising shows the salad as nicely layered. Mine was more dumped into the shell. The cheese was also left off, although I guess that may be a better health choice. It would have been better if a scoop of black beans were added to the top. The pinto beans at the bottom were in a watery layer, possible due to the shredded lettuce. For 880 calories you would have to be careful the rest of the day with what you ate.
The Original Six Dollar Burger
Flavor Grade: A-
This burger includes a Black Angus patty, American cheese, tomato, red onions, pickles, mustard, mayonaise, ketchup, on a toasted sesame seed bun. The overall flavor is very good and you can taste the better quality meat. The nutriton leads much to be desired. You can recreate this at home with spices to cut the calories, sodium, and sugar level.
Three Piece Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders
Flavor Grade: A-
These chicken tenders are made from all white meat and lightly fried, served with your choice of sauce. I chose the honey mustard dipping sauce. The sauce earns a B for flavor.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shake
Flavor Grade: B
The smoothies are made with ice cream, real milk, and strawberry-banana syrup. You can say yes or no to the whipped topping. You can improve the flavor at home with some fresh sliced organic strawberries. The strawberry and banana syrup is not as flavorful as the real fruit. Make this homemade and you can chop the calories, sodium, and sugars.
Nutritional Information: Carl's Jr.
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Carl Karcher photo: wiki