$13 at Edwards Marq*e on the Katy Freeway

Where: Edwards Houston Marq*e 23 & IMAX, 7620 Katy Freeway, 800-326-3264

What $13 gets you: Heartburn and a stretched bladder.

I went for the well-rounded approach (and no, that’s not a fat joke), ordering a gourmet hot dog ($4), a soft pretzel ($4) and a large drink ($5). The two girls behind the counter kept asking me if I wanted “the hot dog combo” for $8.50, which comes with the eponymous frankfurter and a medium drink, but I repeatedly and politely declined, especially because there was absolutely no price break for ordering that way.

“You get the hot dog combo?” one of them asked when ringing me up.

“Um, no,” I said, “that’s a large drink. Plus a medium always costs $4.50 so there’s really no reason to order a combo.”

Cue the blank stare.

Recommended? Nope. I’d rather sneak in a soggy burrito from Taco Bell than load up again on this combination (not to be confused with the combo). Valero has better hot dogs – no joke – and the soft pretzel came unsalted, prompting my buddy, whom I’ll call the Colonel, to compare the bland mass of dough to “the filthy rich’s toilet paper.” And that pretzel truly would’ve put Charmin to shame. (Suck on that, Mr. Whipple!)

The only highlight was the Dr. Pepper, which was an excellent vintage, a tad on the syrupy side, just like it was intended by God, who no doubt visits the plant in Waco all the time. The ginormous cup might’ve been a tad much, but thanks to the rush from the caffeine and the pain from my surfeit bladder, I had no trouble staying awake for the whole movie.

Bonus point: The math is easy because sales tax is already added in. -- Keith Plocek

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