2021-05-14 The Saltgrass Cheeseburger: 1.0 👎🏻

This morning I was cleaning out the top shelf of my refrigerator which is typically a space reserved for leftovers. When I go out to eat I’m rarely able to consume the entire portion of whatever it is I’ve ordered. I also hate to waste food and often live off of leftovers. Many times I’ll order strategically, knowing I’m going to make that selection stretch out to a second and sometimes third meal. 

I can tell you pasta, Chinese food, and baked potatoes reheat great and French fries, cheeseburgers, and anything with bread is never the same once it’s been refrigerated. I’m keen on reheating chicken fingers and making them new again in a Buffalo wrap and slicing up a leftover steak with some peppers for fajitas. 

Good gravy… I must be hungry. 

Anyhow, all this to say that among the boxes I had to toss because they aged out, was the leftovers from “Saltgrass” where we had date night last Friday. As I dumped the food into the trash I was reminded about two things. 

  1. How disappointed we were at pretty much everything about the restaurant. Driving home we agreed we’d never go back. 
  2. How I couldn’t remember having a worse cheeseburger…. And that I should definitely blog about it. 

Why? Because what’s the use of only “reviewing” the bomb burgers I’ve had the pleasure of eating if I don’t balance that out with the less than stellar experiences? 

I mean, they can’t all be winners right? And part of a balanced account of places I’ve been would be writing about those bad bad burgers. This one was actually a surprise. I mean, it’s a steak house so producing a good burger should be in their wheelhouse. 

When I read the description in the menu, I already had a bad feeling about it. American cheese? That’s a red flag. And nothing special listed, no options for sauces or additional toppings like avocado, fried egg, onion strings, etc. so it’s very basic bitch to begin with. Still.. I don’t usually order any of that stuff anyway and you can make an amazing burger without all that (not with American cheese mind you). 

When the burger came it was over cooked and there weren’t enough of the standard toppings so I had to half it (which I always do anyhow) and slide what I could on the half I was going to eat right away. It was very blah. 

How did they get the flavor out of the meat before cooking it is what I wonder. I mean, any way you slice it, the beef itself should be tasty but it wasn’t really. But I was hungry so I ate the half I’d cobbled together. And when it came to boxing up the leftovers, the other half didn’t make it into the box. Just Jim’s steak and Mac and cheese. 

I think the best thing we had there was the baked potato soup, which might just be because we were starving when we arrived. 

All this wasn’t helped by the fact that our waiter was also not great and we waited a long time for everything. He showed up at our table with a joke when he took our drink orders and then told basically the same joke when he took our food order like he didn’t remember what tables he’d made that joke with already. Jim and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes.

Anyhow.. there you have it folks.. the Saltgrass Cheeseburger review. Like I always say “they can’t all be winners.” 😜

But they are rarely this big of losers. 

That’s it for today. I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog posts. 

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-04-20 Arizona Adventure Day 2: Sedona Escape

Day 2. Tuesday.

On my “Grand” trip itinerary Tuesday was tagged as the day we would explore Sedona. In truth, all I really had planned was a late day (4pm-ish) couples massage followed by dinner at a nice restaurant.

The scenery and slightly warmer temperatures are probably at the top of the list of reasons why the city seems so busy and is also quite a bit more expensive to find a place to stay. I had considered booking a place in Sedona originally and the extra cost and extra drive time to the Grand Canyon are why I opted for Flagstaff.

When I booked the massage, the woman who took my call gave me some suggestions of areas to explore as we made our way from Flagstaff to Sedona down through the canyon on route 89A. The drive was amazingly beautiful, albeit a dizzying one. The switchbacks were some of the more intense I’ve experienced.

We stopped at Slide Rock State Park which is a paid spot. The guy at the gate made sure we knew the main activity there was a “swimming” one and not hiking. Swimming in quotes because very few people were actually in the water. Why? Because the water is a natural mountain stream flowing down over the rocks and it is COLD.

It’s called slide rock because the rocks are smoothed over boulders and you can actually slide down like a waterslide. I watched some kids doing it, and even an older woman who brought her own inner-tube. Classy. 😉

The entire park was cool to explore with some great vistas, but we definitely had the most fun walking into the water and taking some fun pics among the rocks. 

After we exhausted that bit of excitement, we made our way the rest of the way to Sedona to explore and have some lunch.

The place we ate was called the Hudson and it was a flight or two of stairs up, nestled on the side of a hill. Actually everything in Sedona is situated on a hill and the view in just about every direction is amazing.

We had a drink or two and ate at the bar. Jim had steak and I had a cheeseburger of course. It might have been the euphoria of the moment, but it was one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve had in my life.

It was actually a bison burger with white cheddar, bacon, and some sort of sauce, served with barbeque sauce and fries on the side. When Jim asked, I told him it was a 4.75. High marks indeed. I followed that by making sure he knew nobody gets a perfect 5. If it’s out there, I haven’t had it yet. 

Finishing lunch, it was time to make our way to the massage parlor across town. The tourist part of town runs all along 89A and is a hot mess of traffic all the time. Despite wonky directions from Google, we were able to find the place and find a place to park. 

The massage, as compared to the fun of Slide Rock and deliciousness of Hudsons, paled in comparison. But…. even a mediocre massage is a good massage! 

We were supposed to get dinner after that but we were both still full from lunch and a little too relaxed for fighting through traffic and crowds to find a place to eat so we basically got in our car and drove back up through the canyon to Flagstaff.

It was a pretty chill evening after that. A quick dip in the hot tub and we were both ready to call it a night. I think that’s it for Day 2. Another very satisfying day.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-12 Deno’s Mountain Bistro Steak-burger 4.0 🍔

What’s the criteria for a 4.5 on a 5 point scale?

A well seasoned patty cooked to perfection (which translates to cooked as requested by the person ordering it).

A toasted bun is a must.

Don’t skimp on the cheese. (Or sauce If that’s part of the deal.)

Other toppings as desired, also prepared according to advertised specifications. And also not so much that it overpowers the taste of the burger.

Everything is hot and fresh, looks great and tastes juicy and delicious.

That’s it. That’s a solid 4.5 cheeseburger. That’s what Deno’s mountain bistro, in Winter Park Colorado, has to offer (almost).

They did all the aforementioned things great! It was also impressive as a to-go order as packaging everything for take-away can be tricky. The bun can get soggy and toppings intended to be crisp like lettuce, tomato, and pickle can go limp. Nobody likes limp lettuce yo. but they left the top bun on the side inside the container which worked well.

Notice however that I gave the burger a 4.0 and not 4.5. It was downgraded slightly due to the fact that I ordered it medium and it came out pink all the way through, teetering on red in the middle. I also feel like they did skimp on the cheese (and sauce) a bit. The sauce was delish and it’s a good thing Jim got his on the side cuz I ended up using that as a dipper.

I’m really on the fence about fries being a part of the total equation, but then I realize while it’s tough to keep a burger from losing something in transport, it’s truly impossible with fries in a closed container. They go soft and soggy in their own heat. I think Deno’s fries might have been good, but after spending time inside the package, they were not good.

Perhaps they absorbed the moisture from the steaming burger. Taking one for the team, as it were. If that’s the case. Good job fries!

So that answers one of the questions I posed yesterday but did not have time to elaborate on during our 9 hour drive home.

What were the other questions?…

Yes, we did the hot tub working but it refused to get any hotter than 99 so it was kind of a bummer. Especially since it was so chilly out. Still, we must have soaked and chatted for like an hour. As we sat there, the sky cleared a bit and we could see the stars.

Living inside the city, you forget just how many stars are out there. It was really neat.

And yes… I did down some more margs through that hot tub session. But not sure what time I went to bed. Fitbit says I fell asleep at 10:30 MST, which is actually 11:30 CST, so super late based on current SugarCookie standards. 😜

So I gave Deno’s a 4 out of 5 and described how to hit 4.5. Which invites the question.. what is the criteria for a 5.0?

5 is perfection.
Perfection is elusive.
And reserved for like the best burger you had in your life.

The hunt continues….
~Miss SugarCookie

Featured Image photo was lifted off yelp. Fairly certain it was taken by the business owner.

2020-10-11 Winter Park Getaway Day 2: Aclimation and Viewpoint

I woke before the sun again today. 5AM I think. I’m afflicted with the inability to sleep.. in. I mean, I’ve been able to, in the early days of my life and in more recent years if I’ve taken something to help me sleep. But not now. And certainly not here, in a bed that is far away from my own. It’s ok though. It gives me quiet time, with my own thoughts and time to write and wonder about things.

The difference between waking up early yesterday and today is that today I don’t have a headache to contend with. It means my body is acclimating to the altitude here. I mean, I certainly indulged in the same evening activities as the night before (and perhaps more so) and I feel great!

Our air-b-and-b is on the side of a steep hill. To make the most of the space the town has to offer, buildings are constructed more vertically. This one is 3 stories. A basement that walks out the back of the condo to a covered patio where the hot tub is. A main floor that has a garage at street level in the front and living and dining areas with lots of windows in the back that have a great view of the surrounding foothills. Are they foothills here or mountains? I am not sure.

The master bedroom and bath are up another flight of stairs on the second story. With this setup, a person starts to pay attention to where they leave something and when they might need it next. Going up those two flights of stairs reminds me I’m in Colorado. Which is to say, I can’t make it all with one go. I’ve got to stop in the middle to catch my breath. How sad is that?

It’s probably partially due to my age and partially due to the fact that I’m just not acclimated to the altitude here. We went on another hike yesterday and opted to go on one tagged as “easy.” Easy for a flatlander translates to moderate. Moderate translates to difficult. Difficult translates to, “you gonna die if you go on this hike yo.” So one has to do the conversion before making a decision.

The hike we chose yesterday was called “Viewpoint.” It was about a 40 minute drive north from Winter Park to the trailhead. The opposite direction of the hike we went the day before. We drove the now somewhat familiar road of highway 40 to highway 34 which leads through Rocky Mountain National Park to Estes Park. The turnout for the road that leads to the trailhead was just shy of the entrance to RMNP. Which, in case you did not know, you have to have a reservation to visit these days. Crazy times!

Highway 34 on this side of the park hugs Grand Lake which I had not been to before. It’s massive (compared to lakes I’m used to). The hike was on a trail that was well established but, like the one the day before, there was not another human in sight. It was all walking and no climbing and we wound our way gently through a young grove of pine trees that had sprung up to replace what appeared to be a burned out section of forest.

This is kind of what I was talking about yesterday. This is evidence that nature just takes care of itself. There is no way humans planted the hundreds of adolescent pine trees we walked through. It’s just a part of the cycle of forest life. The aspens were pretty sparse on the trail and most were about done for the season, but every once and awhile there were pops of yellow and gold that looked incredible against a backdrop of green and brown.

The undergrowth in the area were fine shades of yellow and gold and red as well. We were just in awe of the colors. And the top of the trail was like a little mini-peak with a 360 view of the area. RMNP to the north/northeast and the valley of Grand Lake/Grand County to the west and south, with mountains rising up in every direction.

There were a few fallen logs situated just so at the top of the trail which made a lovely spot for sitting and looking out (and maybe having a puff or two of Colorado’s finest, if you are into that sort of thing). We spied on a red tail hawk in a nearby tree (whose presence was made known to us because of the screech he issued forth). We watched him until he took flight and soared away in quite a majestic fashion.

The hike back down was lovely too. The sun was kind of getting low in the sky and the way it hit the trees and the adjacent hillside caused the colors to pop. The shadows cast by the trees across the path felt like we were getting to witness something special. A rare treat.

Just about the time we were back at the trailhead and getting in our car, we were reminded we had not eaten since breakfast. I’d already professed that it would be a good day for cheeseburgers. The only renaming question was where.

Though truth be told.. I’d already researched where and my mind was made up. I had our call in order for Randy’s Irish Pub ready to go as soon as we were closer to home base. But then my call could not be completed as the receiver was busy.

I called a second time and then a third from Jim’s phone. No dice. We decided to just get back to the condo and decide from there what to do. Passing by Randy’s, the parking lot was empty. Go figure.

Would I be denied a cheeseburger on vacation? Would we get that hot tub working? Would round 2 with the perfect margaritas land me in bed again by 9pm?

Answers to all this and more in part two of day two… coming to a SugarCookie blog near you soon (gotta get rolling on the road).

Until then, peace and love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-30 NYC Day 5 – A Girl and Her Limits

Nothing like trying to remember exactly what life was like 48 hours and 1,241 miles ago, especially when traveling has created a haze around everything. Where was I at again? Oh yeah, New York City. It was a Monday in the year 2019 and I was just a girl traveling with her family and trying to do every last damn thing… which pushed me to my limit.

Our first stop that Monday was to the new One World Trade Center. The time was 9:30AM. We had tickets to go up to the observation deck on the 102nd floor and experience NYC from the highest point in the city. From there, you can walk 365 degrees around and see for miles in all directions. Their slogan, “See Forever” feels spot on. You can see to the edges of earth where it starts to curve under. The advertised “experience” included a bunch of electronic nonsense — iPads, video clips, and interactive displays. As if being shot up 100 floors in less than 45 seconds and pondering life from such a height wasn’t good enough. Guess I’m just a simple girl.

The second stop of the day was a short walk from the new trade center. It was the memorial site and museum for the original buildings that were destroyed on 9/11. All of the 16 acres of land where the original seven buildings stood has been reconfigured into new buildings, a green space, and a memorial and museum. We did a 1 hour guided tour and also walked around the area above ground where the twin towers stood.

Those two locations have now been transformed into a pair of water features where the water descends into the middle past where the eye can see and the stone on the perimeter of the pools has the names of all persons who lost their lives etched in it. That was quite touching and the tour even more so. Our guide did a great job walking us through the museum and relaying information about the day, the towers, the structural collapse of the buildings, stories of people involved in escaping, rescue, recovery, and clean up in the months to follow.

I learned a great deal of new information and was moved to tears watching video of the bringing down and “laying to rest” one of the great concrete columns. The city has done a fantastic job with the space and it was time well spent.

Our third stop of the day, and last ticketed attraction, was the cruise out to the Statue of Liberty and trek up inside the statue. This was also memorable, but for very different reasons. This, “pilgrimage”, if you will, is a thing that most tourists who visit NYC do. An icon of the city and of our nations history, it is one of the most toured sites in the country. There were hundreds upon hundreds of people piling onto the cruise ships which departed about every 20 minutes. It was a massive moving crowd of human bodies on and off and through three different airport like security checkpoints. If they were going for the “huddled masses” effect, they were successful.

We had also not eaten since breakfast (and some of us don’t eat breakfast) so we also had the pleasure of being packed into the food court for what was arguably the worst cheeseburger I have ever had. Let’s make that official – Crown Cafe Cheeseburger, a solid 1 (terrible) on a 5 point scale. TO be fair, Jim had the “New York burger” and said it was delicious. There were lots of cooks on the grill and perhaps our line cook was having an off day. To make matters worse, our tickets to go up in the statue were for 3PM and we were pressed for time and had to eat in about 5 minutes.

We gobbled the food, headed for the statue at a good clip, and then proceeded to climb the 215 steps that are inside the pedestal of the statue. Bear in mind, by this time of the day the heat was at its peak and there was a heat advisory on the island. I got to the top of the pedestal, quite winded, where you can walk outside and look. I took my time walking around and would have taken longer, but the rest of the crew were impatient to go up to the crown. They only allow a few folks a day up there and we bought our tickets months ago.

They let us through the roped-off section to the stairs that led up into the top of the pedestal where the statue is secured to the base. That is as far as I got. The next stairs to climb were a tight spiral that wound around the center of the statue. When I say tight, I mean narrow and steep, and confining. Once you commit to going up, there is no going back down. You have to get all the way to the top before you can descend down the other side of the spiral. I got about 20 steps up and a panic came over me. I felt trapped and hot and dizzy and nauseous. I went back down those 20 steps and waited at that level, alone, while the rest of our crew went up and came back down.

That is the first time in my life I was not able to do something because of a panic. I’ve been afraid of things before – rollercoasters, public speaking, driving up and around cliffs on mountainsides, scuba diving, snorkeling – and at no time have I ever let that fear get the best of me. It’s just all in the head, you know. You have to push past it and things always turn out just fine. This was different though. This felt less like a mental block and more like an actual physical limitation. As I stood there alone I briefly tried to talk myself into heading up and then, upon realizing it was not going to happen, I instead tried to reason out why my body was reacting the way it was.

All I could think is that it must have been the perfect storm to create such a commotion inside. The heat, the emotional draining from seeing the 911 memorial, the being packed on a rocky boat, the pounding food into an empty stomach, the physical exhaustion from climbing the first set of stairs, the lack of a break in-between hikes around the island and up. All of these things culminated in my having a meltdown at the base of the steps that led up to the crown. All these things were responsible, I told myself, and not just a simple fear of being trapped. It couldn’t be just that. I sat down and wept. It was the second time I cried that day and would not be the last.

When Jim and the kids came back down, we all descended the rest of the stairs together and once back inside the air-conditioned lower level, both Jim and Z took me aside separately to ask me what happened. I still couldn’t say anything more than “I just couldn’t do it”. Z put her arm around me and gave me a light squeeze. Then Jim did the same. That’s when the tears came again. I just wanted to be done, and magically transported back to the apartment, back to a cool place to rest. There was no magic, of course and It would take about 2 more hot, sweaty, physically and emotionally draining hours to get back home.

***

That evening would be our last in the City. I didn’t want to waste it and was quite sick of “vendor and cafe” food. The area we were located is called “Hells Kitchen” which is named partially because the area is so densely packed with exceptional restaurants. We had only been at a sit down place twice the entire trip and that was a damn shame. It was mostly easier to satisfy the kids needs by eating a quick slice a pizza or hot dog or hamburger on the go.

So after our recovery Jim and I went out to a real restaurant, just him and I. I wanted to go to the “Hell’s Kitchen” restaurant which was literally less than a block from our apartment. It was Mexican food and a margarita sounded like the perfect refreshing start of the evening. It was.

We had a great meal and got a buzz on over our tacos and nachos. It felt like a normal night out at home. It also gave me the pep I needed to venture out, one last time, to Times Square with Z. Everyone else was over it, but realizing that it was our last opportunity, we went for it.

Jim stayed back with the boys so it was a girls only night out. We hit the Disney store and one of a dozen “I ❤️ NYC” souvenir stores. We stopped in at the McDonald’s to get her fries and a soda, “dinner of champions” in the heart of Manhattan. We sat at a table between the streets and giant electronic billboards. We caught some more Pokémon and laughed a lot and then wandered back, carefully avoiding the group of mini-mouses and other cartoon characters. It was a great night and a good end to our Big adventure in the Big Apple.

There’s more to write (and remember) as always. Words that go forever and curve under the edges of the earth. But even the longest day has to end sometime and this one is quickly fading into the haze.

Next Stop.. Nebraska!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-11-12 The Twisted Burger.. 3

I think everybody knows by this point that you never hype something up when you recommend it to another person. OK, maybe not everyone, because I was told by a source I trust greatly that the burger at the Twisted Cork was “the best burger” they had ever had. That’s a pretty tall order. Being somewhat of a connoisseur I was immediately skeptical of the statement but at the same time, excited to give my taste buds something new to savor. I was mostly disappointed and at this point sort of wondering if it wasn’t because my expectations were unrealistically set too high.

First.. the set list: grazed beef, pork & spices, Dead Guy mustard, Whidbey slaw, white cheddar, pickled red onion, Le Quartier bun, Kettle chips, Apple-Bleu slaw.

I originally thought the burger did not come with cheese, because that’s what I was told and that is something else this person was wrong about. I was therefore pleasantly surprised that it was made with white cheddar and I can tell you that without the cheese it would have actually not even hit a 3.

The bun was great too, but that is where my positive comments will end. The burger itself is what it advertises on the menu, a mixture of beef and pork and spices and for whatever reason, that seemed a little off to me. Perhaps it was too much pork and perhaps it was the spices. Perhaps I am a simple girl with simple tastes and it was too refined or gourmet for me. That’s why this whole thing is just a personal experiment, because everyones tastes are different and I am no more qualified to judge the deliciousness of a cheeseburger as the next person (who might love pork and spices mixed in with their beef). /Shrug

I digress.

I could not taste the mustard, which might be a good thing because it’s called “Dead Guy Mustard”. That does not sound awesome. The slaw was OK, but I didn’t feel it was necessary on the burger and didn’t really enhance the flavor. Some different kind of “slaw” also came on the side which was totally ruined because they out bleu cheese on top of it (yuk!!). I don’t care for pickled onions and so again, my taste buds protested at the flavor. I was disappointed there were no fries. It was served with potato chips – salt and pepper, and that of course missed the mark too. It all seemed average and perhaps a touch on the “trying to hard to be different” side.

I had the pleasure of enjoying this meal while catching up with a couple of old friends and having them meet Jim for the first time. That part was awesome. I even thought to myself that I was too distracted to make a clear assessment of the burger, but I took half in a to-go box and tried it later and came away feeling much the same as I did that night.

I told my friends I was excited to try this place because Jim had been raving about it for months and he was the one who said the burger was “the best”. I let them know that I’m always on the lookout for a great burger and they asked me what place I thought had the best. I told them my three favorite local places – Night Owl, J Coco, and Village Inn, they just smirked at me. I know what they were thinking – anyone who thinks the Village Inn burger is at the top of the list must not be trusted. It doesn’t matter how much I explain why, the place just makes people skeptical. But again, it’s all subjective.

They went on to question further, “What about Dinkers or Stellas or <<insert the name of any place in the Omaha top 10 list>>. I stood my ground, but that didn’t stop the sideways looks. To be fair, those places are pre-blog and I haven’t been in years and they are probably worth another try. I remember not being that impressed and typically I’m a “one and done” kind of girl. Looking back at my previous blog posts, most of the better burgers that I have had have not been local so I don’t have much of an opportunity go back to those. What I should do is make a plan to do more serious investigative work at some establishments in my area, even if it means repeating some joints I’ve already dismissed. Then I would be more armed with data when I get that question again.

As of now though, I would not add Twisted Cork to the list of places I would recommend for a good cheeseburger. If I go back, I will definitely be trying something else.

Cheers,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-10-06 Hell Yeah, That’s My Jam

I’ve seen some good concerts in my day. I’ve also been to some seriously crappy ones and some take-or-leave-it gigs. Last night was one of the better ones. My friend Leah and I took a little road trip to Lincoln to see Fall Out Boy at the arena downtown. It was a great time.

It was a good reminder how much I dig live music. First off, I’m not a seeker of new music, I often leave it to fate to serve up something awesome I’ve not heard before. The “pre-game” show featured a group called Machine Gun Kelly and it’s no surprise I hadn’t heard of them before, but they were good. As I sat through the songs at the end of their set (we arrived about halfway through that), I could feel the beat of the bass reverberating inside of me and was all like “hell yeah!”. That’s the stuff. As a poet you would think I would have better words to describe how it made me feel, but “hell yeah”, pretty much sums it up the best.

It’s something special when you can feel connected to music you have never heard before and just be moved by it. I would totally spend money on their tunes. It kinda makes me regret missing the opening act, I think there was one, but we were having dinner downtown and it took for-ever.

In any case, MGK was a great primer for the sick FOB jams. They played a good mix of old stuff and new and since they’ve been fans of mine for so long, I knew just about every song. The typical concert accompaniments, lights, screens, fire, smoke, etc were good and not overdone. It was just the right amount of flair to not distract too much from the songs or artists. Much better than the shit-show we saw at the Pumpkins concert where I was disturbed by the creepy video going on behind the stage.

The band and the songs didn’t disappoint either. It’s actually not tough to do with such great music. Song after song that elicit memories and feelings. Though we were fairly high in the arena, we were still on our feet rocking out. We were in the front row of our section and I’m sure it pissed people off behind us when we stood up, but I was channeling my boyfriends on stage in “not giving a fuck”. I can’t remember what song it was, but they had vid behind one of the songs which was entirely compose of clips from film and tv and even video games where someone was giving someone else the finger. It was awesome. And then all of a sudden there it was again, that “hell yeah” coursing through my veins.

Unlike most concerts I’ve been to, the lead singer was not the talkative one during the show. It was the guy who is the bass guitarist. I think that’s what his role is, you think I would know since he’s been writing songs for me since like 2008.

His main message to the crowd was that “you, each individual, is worthy” and can do whatever they want. He shared a bit of history about the band in being rejected by studios and labels over 20 times before some company took a chance on them. You can read the outcome in the almighty Wiki. He also randomly bought people beers and called People out of the auduence to come jam out by the stage. That was cool. The lead singer, by contrast, never said anything. Apparently the two of them are the originators of the band and there have been change ups of the other band members over time. The Wiki would know more about that too. I’m not very good at random music facts I guess. I just know what I like.

Fall Out Boy is definitely in my top ten. If there was any question, yesterday sealed that deal. Lincoln was great too. We got lucky with parking and had a good dinner (“hell yeah” I had a cheeseburger). Getting out of town after was even not as bad as expected. 👍🏻 Despite arriving home just after midnight, I was too amped up to fall asleep until some time in the 1 o’clock hour. That made for a short night.. 4.5 hours – ouch!

No rest for the wicked I guess. Today I have Saturday full of adulting which started at 6:45 when I had to get up with Z and take her to the school for ACT testing today. That meant I was at the gym early for cardio which is good because mid-morning I’m headed to Jim’s because we are going to pick out carpet for the house. Fun fun. I find it strange that I’ve made it this far in life and have never had to pick out carpet? 🤷‍♀️

Anyway. That’s it for this SugarCookie today. The weekend is waiting. 😘

Thank You, More Please,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-29 The Railcar Cheeseburger and Other Random Unrelated Drama.. 4 🍔👍🏻

Yesterday I met one of my former coworkers for a happy hour drink at a place called the Railcar. I probably meet up with Her about once every six weeks or so. We first met at my last job and as fate would have it, we started on the exact same day in 2012. We were on different teams but got it off pretty much right away.

She was very much my confidant, for both work related rants and personal issues. Toward the end of my relationship with Matt she was the one who said something that I took to heart. One afternoon I had had a lunch Meetup with him where my already broken heart was crushed into a thousand small shards because I said “I love you” and he walked away leaving me unrequited. It was such a stabbing pain and I cried my eyes out all the way back to the office. Arriving back to work, Sam and I crossed paths at the front doors. She recognized my state (trying to pull that shit in and get it back together) and she said to me “..you deserve better. You deserve someone who can’t wait to talk to you everyday, someone who is excited to see you..” There was more to it, but in my delicate state, that’s all I remembered and it finally sank in.

That was a turning point for me. A huge step forward acknowledging the truth in her words. Of course now I know how it feels, to have a person who wants me like that in my life. It’s glorious.

Anyway, Sam outlasted me at that job but in the end it was very much the same end to the same story. They use you until they loose you. Endless human capital out there in the world apparently, but a terrible way to operate. Her story is not mine to tell but I can say this much… she’s worlds happier where she is now. And what’s more, the weight of the world and the fate of the company is no longer hanging in the balance and depending on the success of pushing past limits week in and week out. We do our jobs well and then we clock out. Get in and get out and leave the drama in the cube.

Well Hell – is this a post about my life struggles or a cheeseburger review or what?😜 Getting to the point now…

So we met at Railcar to do our regular catch up session and tell the stories of the day. It was good. I’ve had their Happy hour cheeseburger before and have been remiss in actually writing about it. What I can say is that it’s one worth repeating.

It’s a little smaller than a normal restaurant burger. It’s bigger than a slider but not nearly the size of that half pound beast I had at Garbos. It’s because it’s their happy hour special and just a slightly smaller version of their dinner entree offering..

THE RAILCAR WAGYU BURGER
red top farms ground short rib, bacon apple jam, red onion, romaine lettuce, brie cheese, garlic aioli

One thing I would comment on right away is that it is really tough to grill a smaller party and get it right. So easy to overcook, but this one is spot on. The only change I requested from the standard was swapping cheeses. I had cheddar instead of Gouda. Typically I would say hold the lettuce too but since this is not my first Rodeo at the Railcar, I know they don’t overdo it like they do at some places. Some places pile on the lettuce like they think you wanted a salad instead of beef. Either that or there’s not a lot of substance and they are making the burger look bigger using a giant stack of green. Totally unnecessary. Railcar gets that. There’s just enough lettuce to add some fresh texture and crunch and it serves as an excellent topping to hold onto the sauce, which is quite tasty in its own right. A little sweet and a little savory… nothing at all akin to ketchup and mustard which is a good thing.

The cheese was melty and the bun was slightly toasted. My only complaint would be that it could use a slightly larger portion of cheese. Being a happy hour treat it’s served solo so at some point I’ll have to try the full entree. In any case, it’s a solid 4 and I’ll definitely be back for more.

(I’d go back again anyway since this spot is a regular meet-up location for Sam and I). 😊

Until Next Bite,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-25 The Key West Garbos Cheeseburger.. 4.5! 🧡🍔

My Key West vacation might be over, but I’m not closing the book until I capitalize on the opportunity to do a review the two Cheeseburger experiences I had on my journey. All I have to say about this first one is “move over burger boys, you never stood a chance”. In all fairness, my score of 4.5 is somewhat biased due to the overall experience. This was truly a Cheeseburger in Paradise.

Mid-way through our trip I mentioned to JS that I’d like to find a delicious burger and like everything else in my life right now, it was “ask and you shall receive”. No sooner did the words slip from my lips, and he was hot in the case finding the perfect place. That place turned out to be the Blackfinn Bistro.

That afternoon we drove the familiar route from our condo to where all the hustle and bustle of the Island starts. The island is small, 2 miles by 4 miles. Lots of people get around on bikes and scooters and parking a car is a serious bitch, so once we found a spot and paid for it, we were committed. The bistro was a short two or three blocks away and when we arrived we were met at the door by a printed page that indicated the establishment was closed for an indeterminate amount of time for renovations. What??!! It would have been nice for them to put that on their web sight. Epic fail.

Not to worry, Jim was Johnny on the spot with a backup plan. Soon we were off on foot to find Garbos, which was number 2 on his list. We walked almost 2 miles, which if you are paying attention, is most of the distance across the island. When we arrived we found a dive bar and nestled in back of that lot was a tiny food truck. That’s Garbos.

The reviews of this place are great and they are known for their spectacular fish tacos, but that’s not my game. Nope.. for Miss SugarCookie it’s all about the Cheeseburgers. There’s only 1 on the menu.. the Umamiburger:

UMAMIBURGER

1/2 pound angus, topped with a heirloom tomato, applewood bacon, chipotle gouda then served on a brioche bun. If you are feeling a little adventures ask for the Landon Calrissian.

Since I don’t care for chipotle flavor, I had them substitute their smoked Gouda instead. It was a Gouda choice! 😜 After we ordered, we had a seat inside the bar and had them pour us a couple of cold ones while we waited. There was no AC and it was damn hot out. I was sweaty, hot, and hungry from our little walk across the island and so when they placed it in front of me, I dove right in (after getting a quick pic for posterity of course).

Can you say “amazing”? Say it with me… “Amazing”. Like the Universe was rewarding me for all my good deeds, this burger was perfect for me. The burger was cooked to my liking, medium rare and had just the right amount of juicyness. The Gouda cheese was melted on the patty and topped with bacon and tomato, also at just the right proportions. The brioche bun was delish. This burger was proof that if done right, no sauce is required. I would not have wanted it any other way. It’s also proof that a food truck can turn out food just as good or better than any fancy Bistro. Sorry Blackfinn, you loose.

My 4.5 rating out of 5 is a comprehensive score that takes the experience into account too. That’s why I’m saying there’s a little bit of bias in it. I mean, having something that you love with someone that you love in a wonderful place is tough to top.

Well done Garbos.. if I ever get back to the Keys, I’ll be paying you another visit. Maybe next time I’ll get the fish tacos instead. (Hahaha, fat chance).

Enjoying Every Bite,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-07 The JS Cheeseburger 🍔- A Solid 3.75

3.75 Out of 5. I’m going to try not to focus too much on the fact that my rating scale is flawed and needs some refinement and just roll with it.

I had another JS burger experience last night and it’s the 4th or 5th time so it’s about time I broke down the facts and shared about it.

First, the beef.. Nebraska grass fed obtained from the local Whole Foods, cuz that’s how we roll. No spices, just smashed into patties and cooked on a medium/high gas flame grilll. Five minutes each side and I get to hang out and talk with the cook while he works his magic.

Once the burgers are done, it’s back to the kitchen so the assembly can take place. For mine, it’s two slices of cheese, one aged white cheddar of unknown origin and one Kraft medium orange cheddar (white on the bottom and orange on top). Dill pickle slices and Dijon mustard on top of that. All between a gluten free ciabatta bun. There were als more dill slices on the side with lays potato chips. Delicious!

On the down side.. The burger was cooked a little more than I like it and the post grill prep of the rest of the food took too long and by the time we sat down to eat, it wasn’t very hot anymore.

On the plus side, I really was in control of my own toppings and got to snuggle up next to my sweetie when we were done eating and continue watching our new show. We finished “Lost In Space”, which was great, and started “The Colony”. Last nights got we got through episode 3 and so far so good. But this isn’t a review of TV shows, it’s a review of a Cheeseburger. 🍔 😜

This particular time, I’m giving it a 3.75 because it’s still better than most but there’s definite room for improvement. I’ve had 4s and even 4.25 here before but that was under different circumstances. Nameley a different bun. The quality of the bun is on me. I’m gluten free right now and that’s mostly so I stop eating so much bread and pasta. I wouldn’t even be having gluten free bread if it weren’t for the fact that eating a burger without a bun is against my religion. So for this I have to make an exception.

The great news on this one is that I’m gonna have lots of opportunities to improve the score. I’m seeing a long happy future with JS perfecting ‘our’ cheeseburger.

After dinner and the show, we jumped in the car and did a loop around the city to watch/follow a pretty bad-ass thunderstorm. It came from the north and bypassed the west part of town so we headed east. We ended up seeing a couple intense cloud to ground lightning strikes and were pretty close to the action. By the time we finished the loop it had dissipated and I was so tired I fell asleep on the couch. It was a great night. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Another Burger in the Books,

~Miss SugarCookie