Friday, May 18, 2018

Darien Lake Meal Plan and Dining Tips

Two taco meal.
     It seems they updated the meal plans again. The bacon burger is off the menu and there is choice of basic hamburgers and cheeseburgers. I tried the cheeseburger the other day and it was good. Unfortunately for the counter people, the signage is now wrong, which probably annoys them to no end.

Bacon Cheeseburger and Chicken Sandwich.
     In the picture to the right, you can see a cheeseburger with bacon next to the chicken sandwich. While the BBQ sauce in the dispenser is ok, I bet it would be better with hot sauce. They have removed the bacon burger from the menu and replaced it with a choice of hamburger or cheeseburger. Both are ample and come with great fries. Don't forget to try them with ketchup and vinegar*.

     While there is always an inclination to suspect that a company is downsizing servings by removing bacon, it seemed to me that the option of a burger with bacon but no cheese was simply a silly option. My son managed to order it with cheese with no problem. Twice. The issue with that is, he did the classic "I'd like burger with bacon. Could I have a side of cheese on that?" to which the cashier said, "Yes" instead of "The bacon cheeseburger is not a valid choice". That sort of stuff causes headaches with customers, cost and service. It is better that they don't offer it at all. 

     There are two other options which aren't obvious. The BBQ sauce is great, but sometimes hot sauce is better. If you ask they will give you a cup of it. That's good to know, because it isn't offered and doesn't appear on any signage. The other thing is you can also ask for blue cheese, which is always better with hot sauce than the Ranch dressing that is the standard option. I can see the blue cheese going away because on one occasion they sold it to me for $1.50 up charge and then the very next day they gave me 3 at no charge. Weird. Again, they need to update which way they want to do this and stick to it. I am sure it was a training issue that will bite one of the friendly counter people.

     In the images above, you'll notice my Tim Horton's coffee. It isn't just a Canadian thing, it is also a Buffalo thing. You can get that at Sweet Tooth or the Tim Horton's booth near the front gate. While the booth is full service, the Sweet Tooth requires you to assemble your own coffee. About 4 sugar packets in a large is equal to a single-single. If you are counting calories and carbs, that is 64 calories and 16.8 grams of carbs not counting the cream. Add another 120 cals and 2 grams of carbs for cream. It's heavy cream and yummy in moderation.

     When stopping at Sweet Tooth, they have great (but expensive) popcorn. It's $5.99 a bag and so far I like the cinnamon over the coco flavored. The complete list of flavors are:

Cinnamon, Maple, Cocoa, Sweet Chili, White Cheddar, Herbal Bliss, Sea Salt and Vinegar, Jalapeno Cheddar. 

    You can ask for a sample before you buy. They also have cookies, baked goods and fudge. Typically, there is a deal on the fudge, buy a pound get an extra quarter pound free. If you are sharing a sugary snack, Sweet Tooth is fine. If you want some to take home, get it in the shop near the main gate.

     In the back of the store, they have displays of candy and giant bags of popcorn. As tempting as it was to buy a giant bag of cinnamon popcorn, I suspect it is only a display, the bags are not priced or otherwise marked for sale and has no nutritional information. Oh, well. I can dream.

     One bonus item about Sweet Tooth is the tables with park maps set under glass. This is not an obvious place to sit down and eat, but you can do it. The area is only set up for 8 people at two tables, but in the ran or heat it will do nicely. They also service iced coffee and iced tea, which seems to have replaced the hot cocoa. Once the season is in swing, this shop is often the only place out of the information office with maps available for the taking.

     Everything about this shop screams "overpriced junk food" but it is actually kind of helpful for getting out extreme weather. Be kind and buy a drink. 



*Although the vinegar is meant for fries, in a pinch it will immediately remove anything sticky or greasy from skin better than the less than hot water in the bathrooms. Remember, it is a mild acid so don't get it in your clothes, eyes or hair. Wash up with plan soap and water. It's good at removing sun screen so be careful of that, too. 

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