Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Forsyth Missouri Taco Bell

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t visit this emporium of fast food often enough. I mean who doesn’t like a good taco or a bucket of crispy chicken from time to time? So, I made it a point one day in January to stop by and grab a couple of tacos along with a with a medium sized Pepsi.

A previous review by someone else on the website was less than encouraging. However, one person’s opinion does not a world make. So, what’s the deal? Is the food good, bad or somewhere in between? I was going to try and find that out on my visit to the Taco Bell side of the operation and I was going to try and be as objective as possible!

For this review, I decided to rank the establishment on the following: Ambiance, Quality of product, Hygiene and Service. Each received a score of 1 = get me to a hospital fast to 10 = I’ve died and gone to heaven. (A score of 5 is a take it or leave it place to eat). I also added a few comments to support the score. OK. That’s the ground rules – now it’s time to eat!

When I pulled into the parking area on a Monday at xx pm, I found that there were a few cars parked in the lot. When I walked up to the order counter, my order was taken immediately by a server and then within a few minutes it was ready to go. I was asked if I wanted one of two hot sauces and I said yes. The lady, whose name I recall was Glenis, was very nice and engaging. Now onto the scoring…

Ambiance – 5

Well, the place is colorful and bright! I’ll give them that much. It’s also laid out nicely meaning I could find everything I needed. The lack of bathrooms hurt the score a bit. (I think all restaurants should have bathrooms as part of the warm and homey feeling that every business strives for). Other than that, I felt quite comfortable eating there.

Quality – 6

This category is a big deal to me. (Frankly, if the product sucks, who cares about any of the rest)? I had ordered the two hard shell tacos and I felt the toppings were more than adequate once you’ve factored in the overall cost. (I mean at a buck a throw, what do you want)? I also edged the score up a bit because the overall taste was acceptable! The only thing missing, I felt, was the lack a selection of regular french fries on the menu board. They offer something called 'cinnamon twists' instead. I'm not sure what those are exactly.

Hygiene – 8

Whenever I enter an eatery, especially one that is setup for heavy traffic, I pay close attention to the condiments section and other surfaces like counter and tabletops. If neither of these look to be well maintained, then that’s my last visit. So, it was with some relief when I saw that everything was pretty much spotless. Good job!

Service – 8

In this category, I’m looking at a couple of things. First off, I check out the overall appearance of the counter staff. Do they look clean and professional? In this case yes, my server looked very neat and clean. I also tried to catch a glimpse of the people who were preparing my food and I noticed they all had uniforms and looked like they knew what they were doing. Overall, everything was shipshape here too.

 Ok! Let’s see now…the over all average came out to 6.75. Not really all that bad, though there is always some room for improvement, in my opinion. I think the addition of bathrooms would be really nice. Also, some improvements in the contents of the taco would help. Maybe if they expanded the condiment selection with choices like shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes and lettuce then that would help. (I think I would even be willing to pay a little extra if that was offered). Even so, the bottom line is that I will plan on eating there occasionally.

My next review will be center on the other half of this business – the KFC side! I can hardly wait! Please visit for other reviews.

Update: July 2012 - According to inside sources, the Taco Bell portion of the Taco Bell/ KFC has been closed due to management's decision not to carry some of the new required items. This establishment will be only a KFC from now on!

Disclaimer: This review is the sole opinion of the author of this post and may not reflect the views of the community at large. While the author tries to be as objective as possible, he understands that one visit top an eatery does not fairly portray the establishment’s quality over a period of time. He is also a lay person with no credentials covering the food or restaurant industry whatsoever. In point of fact, every business in the Forsyth area deserves your patronage in these troubled times.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Slowing down the river of trash!

After making my first tentative efforts at recycling earlier in January 2012 (a work in progress), I continued to investigate the topic on the internet. What really blew me away was the sheer enormity of the problem we face in the form of a literal river of trash that is produced every year, most of which continues to go into landfills. Consider these facts:

Municipal Solid Waste produced each year   ~ a quarter of a billion tons!
MSW that end up in landfills – ~165 million tons!
The average amount of trash produced by the average person per day - 4.43 pounds

So, with only 34% of the potential recyclable material actually recovered (2010 EPA figures), we have quite a way to go if the country is going to get a handle on this growing problem. It’s a problem, you ask? Yes, it is! Let’s take one form of plastic (PET) as an example.

'Each year, 29 billion plastic water bottles are produced for use in the United States, according to the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental organization in Washington, D.C. Manufacturing them requires the equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil, so rising oil and natural gas prices have only exacerbated the high price of virgin plastic.’(At right is a graphic of some of the waste that was produced in 2010 - Source EPA)

I gleaned the following quote from a site called 'Life's Little Mysteries' where this problem was discussed more in detail. In the above paragraph they are referring to PET plastic (also known as #1) that is used in the manufacture of bottles that hold water and beverages. Currently there are eleven kinds of plastics that are routinely used in consumer goods with typically numbers 1 through 7 finding frequent use in kitchens across the land. And, unlike glass and metal containers (aluminum and tin coated steel) which are actually sought after, the cost of re-manufacturing plastic is high. For that reason, much of what we discard into landfills (other than paper and kitchen scraps) are in reality some form of used plastic container. Think about 29 billion used bottles getting discarded each year! Adding insult to injury, many of these plastics will take as long as 500 years before they break down! So, it’s plain to see that any form of recycling of plastic is better than no recycling at all.

I would ask that everyone who reads this post give some thought to recycling. I would encourage families, church members and community leadership to all make this a topic of discussion. Maybe, with a little effort, we can make a start in cleaning up this country we all call home.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Changing my attitude about trash and what I can do about it!

I’ve always been pretty comfortable with the idea of recycling, at least intellectually. I’m just not so sure about the reality of actually doing so yet. The thought of doing my part to help the environment encouraged me, however, to give it a try. My major objection in the past had been that you have to work at it most every day! And, I am by nature; a rather lazy individual (read as typical male). That doesn’t mean that I can’t try! So, as the year 2012 swings on in, I’ve decided to attack my waste from two distinct angles; stuff I will need to segregate for recycling and also curtailing any non-recyclable junk I may not need anyway.

The segregation part of my plan seems pretty straightforward. I broke my recyclables into four distinct categories; steel cans, paper, aluminum cans and plastic (coded 1 & 2). These will go into plastic bags that will be hauled on a periodic basis to the receptacles located behind the Municpal Building of Forsyth, Mo. (A recent communiqué from one of the city officials I asked indicated that they accept paper, cardboard, plastic and maybe aluminum cans). When I made an exploratory trip to the site, I found a sign on one of the dumpsters that reads as follows:

 [There were three dumpsters that looked as though they were meant for recyclables although I'm not sure. This will be addressed in a future blog.]

Well, that simplifies things somewhat, and that will take a huge bite out of the amount of waste I throw away. (I’ve been composting my leftover vegetable scraps for years already, so that’s not a problem)! That leaves me with some ‘miscellaneous waste’ such as Styrofoam and the like. This is where I plan to implement the other half of my recycling effort to help reduce these items as much as possible. From now on, when I go to the store, I plan to look closely at each item I purchase with an eye to what it will take to get rid of once the contents are consumed. Chief among the so-called problem items would be; glass containers, anything that contains non-recyclable plastic and items like chicken bones that cannot be composted. (I’m hoping to locate ‘public dumpsters’ somewhere in the area that these can be placed in). Also, burning is an option, but it’s an option I would not be happy exercising.

While I'm at it, here’s a few things I’d like to see happen in Missouri in regards to recycling;

1)      Create a state-funded initiative oversight panel with the goal of creating a uniform policy for the collection and management of all items the state regards as recyclable.
2)      Have counties work closely with existing waste collection services to include separate residential collection bins for those who want to participate.
3)      Offer courses at the schools to help teach kids the value of recycling and what their role will be in the future when we all have to recycle.
4)      Explore ways in which recycling can be conducted state wide and in such a way that it is sustainable for the state to do so.

Remember, there will come a time (soon I think), whereby communities like Forsyth will have to address the issue of what they are going to do about waste. We can all sit around with our heads in the sand until that time or we can proactively begin the process of making our world a better, cleaner and more efficient one to be passed onto the next generation.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Shadow Rock Lodge to see new life!

Last September, representatives of Pensco Trust and Lincoln Trust stopped by to take a look at Shadow Rock Lodge located at the junction of Hwy 160 and 76 just outside of Forsyth, Mo. and apparently liked what they saw. They acquired the building and have already put a new roof on the building that they plan to completely refurbish in 2012. Included in the sale was the motel/motor lodge that has been deemed structurally unsound and which in all likelihood will be razed to the ground.

According a Taney Times article published on December 28, 2011; Forsyth Mayor, Ron Potter stated that the two trust firms envision an open air restaurant on top of the lodge that would attract motorcycle and eco-travelers throughout the region. If true, this development could breath new life into the area it is expected that much of the work will be awarded to local companies and contractors.

Personally, I’m looking forward to watching and recording the refurbishment progress here on this blog. It will be exciting to see the Lodge restored to its former glory and once again attain the status of an attraction as opposed to a vacant building.