Category Archives: Negative
These are reviews / posts / etc that carry a negative connotation. :-(
I headed to the independence bowl with my wife to see the Texas A&M vs. Louisiana Tech game here in October 2012.
The game was exciting (with way too many penalties, most of which had to be reviewed like three times by each referee) and as a result, a game that should have taken like three hours ended up more like taking 5. That’s not the Independence bowl’s fault. But my frustration with the game was probably amplified with the lack of planning at the Independence bowl.
Going to the game was the poorest planned event I think I’ve ever been to. If you’re stuck with it, ARRIVE EARLY. Here’s how my experience reflected that it was in fact the most poorly planned event ever.:
-Getting to the game. I waited on the off-ramp of the interstate to GET to the area where I couldn’t park for literally half an hour.
-Parking. The line to park was insane as well. Eventually I gave up on this, gave some guy 10 bucks to park in some ghetto stone lot (and miraculously, my car wasn’t towed upon my return.)
-Will Call. There were two lines (though it wasn’t clear where the two lines were), and waiting in each of them was probably an hour wait. I never made it to the front of my line… instead my wife said she was going to go look for another line, which she miraculously got through. (The will call lines weren’t well labeled either… make sure you’re standing in the right line, if there are multiple will calls.) But then…
-Absolute lack of cell towers for the fans at the game. After we split up to wait in different will call lines, I damn near lost my wife. This was because we were supposed to call each other to say where we were so we could reunite. The cell coverage in the stadium is so poor, I couldn’t get a text message, facebook post, any data, and of course a telephone call to go through, after trying multiple times. Yikes. (Note that I have Verizon Wireless.)
-Stadium Staff. No one seemed to be helping us find our seats upon our arrival.
-Seats. This doesn’t have anything to do with planning, but the lower plastic seats (which at least provided arm rests and a back) were in such disrepair that I could have probably pulled an entire row off of the ground without much effort.
Other than that, it’s kind of an old stadium, but somehow isn’t incredibly dirty. As I’ve said in my tip, the “diamond vision” seems to me like it should be more accurately named “cubic zirconia” vision. Seriously, I’ve seen some high schools that have better screens than this.
Either way, I’m going to reluctantly give it two stars, as I did get in to watch the game in time (though, barely–we managed to make it to our seats during the national anthem.)
If you’re going to go, ARRIVE VERY EARLY. Like, 3 hours early. No, I’m not exaggerating. Keep in mind that this was a very large crowd for the stadium (the 5th largest crowd the stadium has ever seen), yet I had all of these problems and the STADIUM WAS NOT EVEN FULL. Incredible.
Either way, if you take the precautions I outlined above, you should be fine.
Overall, for the money, I’d say there’s certainly a lot better casual Italian joints to consider before Carino’s. Carino’s is OK, and I’d usually give it 3 stars, but this location appears to be pretty severely mismanaged.
Overall, the pasta is underwhelming, though I’ve had worse. My staple to get here (which is actually quite good) are the Fire Sticks appetizer. Not very authentic Italian, but quite tasty.
As for the service, it seems like the few experience I’ve had at this location were either not that positive, or were underwhelming to the point of not really enticing me to return. The last time I went (this week), we arrived and ordered our appetizers. Then, my wife looked across the table at me and said, “how are they so empty?” We would soon have an answer to that question, when we proceeded to wait about 45 minutes for our main dishes to come out.
This was pretty unacceptable. Our server knew it was (though he didn’t check back in with us as much as we would have liked, he still was apologetic for how long it was taking. I’m pretty sure that our server was the only server in the restaurant.) We ended up getting so frustrated with the situation, we had them wrap up our entrees to go, and we took it home and ate it. If I was a manager, our meals would have been free. No manager visited our table, however, and we weren’t really asked how our experience was. So, one star. They’re not on my s**t list, though, as I didn’t leave this experience extremely angry… just somewhat frustrated.
Carino’s as a larger chain probably deserves 2.5 stars for the food. However, I will point out that when I can go to Carabba’s (heck, Buca for that matter) and pay literally the same prices for much better food, I don’t see why anyone would spend their money here.
The Magic Time Machine is the place that I always bugged my parents to go to (when we lived in San Antonio–there’s a location down there as well). They never brought me, but I was always intrigued by the concept that the waiters dress up and act as different characters. Now that I’ve grown up, frankly I’m not really sure what to think about it. I’d probably give it 2.5 stars if I could. I kind of feel like a “hater” giving it 2 stars, but I think it’s just honest. Also, I’m not really sure where to start with this review. I’ll just break it down into categories.
Location: The location of the restaurant is awesome, and this actually hurts the restaurant. It’s at the heart of restaurant row on Belt Line Road in Addison, across from Kenny’s Wood Fire Grill (easily one of the best restaurants in Dallas, IMHO). It’s between Chammps and Hooters (this kind of helps, because I’d go to the Magic Time Machine before I’d go to either Chammps or Hooters, given the choice. However, those that know me know that this isn’t much of a compliment for the Magic Time Machine.)
Atmosphere: The Magic Time Machine is probably the most fitting name ever. When you sit down to eat, it’s almost like you went back to the 70′s. (At least for me, this is NOT a good thing.) Not that I was even around in the 70′s myself, but what I think of the 70′s, I think of the Magic Time Machine. It’s in an old schoolhouse building which is a neat concept, but kind of creepy when you think about it. Also it kind of smells funny. Eeew. Also… the decor of the restaurant is kind of DRESSY. What’s up with that?
Food: Okay, but not great by any stretch of the imagination. Certainly pricey, if you ask me. The salad bar in the car is kind of nasty. I don’t know why, it just is. As for the main course: the portions are fairly substantial, but the food just isn’t that good! And looking at the menu, you get the idea it’s kind of a “steak and pasta” kind of place. Again–with Kenny’s, Houston’s, and about a million other places where you can get a better steak for about the same price, I just wonder “why?”?
Experience: The servers are always very nice and funny, and act like the character they are. We’re not talking true thespians or anything. Just nice people having fun. This is the most endearing quality of the restaurant. And I say this though I’ve had pretty slow service before.
Overall: Heck–it’s been around forever. It’s extremely eclectic, and that’s usually something I like. Every time I’m here, I want to give it a chance… I want it to be a “win.” I REALLY want to like it. (In fact, I always kind of want to go back to give it another shot!) But, when I walk out, I always wonder–am I missing something? Simply put–it’s pretty much underwhelming. If this restaurant was in rural Indiana by my parents house, I may go to it more often. (Actually, I’m not sure that I would.) But this is Belt Line Road! The sexiest of sexy of restaurant eating! Perhaps the thing I’m missing is the nostalgia of the 70′s…