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

2018-02-01 Welcome to February.. Seriously

It’s one day closer to spring and I just can’t wait. I guess that’s why they say patience is a virtue. I have virtues when it comes to some things, but patience isn’t one of them.

I don’t like to wait. For anything. I’m all about instant gratification. If I get a craving for chocolate.. I just want to go for it. That’s part of what is making this Whole 30 so challenging. It’s also part of why I’m doing it. I’ll be curious to see if I slip back to all my old behaviors when it’s over and done with.

Now that I’m nearing the end, ive started thinking about how I might alter my permanent eating behaviors. Ive thought about staying gluten free or dairy free or sugar free. (Haha.. just kidding on that last one 😂)

Seriously though. One of my goals was to tame my sugar dragon. 🐉 I didn’t make that term up.. it’s actually what they call it on the official site and chat boards. If dragons were rated like earthquakes mine would probably pop off the Richter scale at a solid 5. If Charles had enough sense in 1935 he’d probably design a 10 point scale to try and curb some of that decimal nonsense. No self respecting rating system operates on a 5 point scale anymore. Well except maybe girls that evaluate Cheeseburgers on their anonymous blog. 😉

Seriously though. I guess lots of rating systems still operate on a 0 to 5 star selection. I just don’t find it easy when you’re the person who has to choose and you don’t have half stars to choose from. With 5 points, there’s a huge difference between 5 and 4.

Think about it. 5 is like saying something is 100% and let’s be real, there’s not a lot of things that are just THAT good. I almost never rate anything a 5 because there’s always room for improvement and I reserve that for some instance where I’ve been so blown away by whatever it is. Like “BAM – That’s a 5!”

Then, just one tiny little star away from that is a 4. That’s 80% which is arguably a C grade. In some peoples eyes, this is like a B, but then what happens when you get to 3 and that’s 60% which is a very low D.. almost an F and so then your left with 2 and 1 which are 40 and 20 and both clearly F’s. I know it’s not really comparable, but I think that is part of the problem with a 5 point scale. Theres just to wide of an interpretation. You might see 2 or 2.5 or 3 as average, but someone else might not.

Anyhow, I met this guy on Bumble recently and he actually does reviews of places (and specific food) around town and he’s got this rating system that judges the food on five categories and each category the top score is 10. What you end up with is a score from 0 to 50 and that’s pretty legit. Perhaps I should rethink my whole strategy for rating Cheeseburgers. Because I know that is of monumental importance to the universe. Ha!

But Seriously. I need it to be spring already and I need to get to February 7th already and I need to figure out what is going to happen after that. I know the whole point of this thing is a reset of the system, but since I don’t feel better or look better or weigh less or anything, my inclination is to say screw it. That would probably be a bad idea, I am sure. After depriving ones self of one of their favorite things for so long, it is hard not to think about that being the very first thing you go for again.

Failing at Being Serious,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-10-08 Five Guys Burgers and Fries.. 2.5

How many guys does it take to make an above average cheeseburger? More than Five Guys apparently. 😛

Of all the burger joints in all the world, how did THIS one become a national chain?

For starters, the atmosphere is “meh” at best, very fast-food-ish which I guess might be what they were going for considering you order at the counter. They get a plus in my book for the peanuts, but it seems really odd and not necessary unless they are expecting people are so starved when they arrive and have to wait in a long line (which we did not thank goodness).

The menu was also meh.. it’s a burger joint, so that’s their main thing but very one-trick-pony in that you order a single or a double and then choose any toppings you want. This philosophy is OK for people who eat a lot and consume a lot of toppings, however, me and my people don’t so having to pay for someone else’s toppings with that outrageous price point was incredibly off-putting.

Case in point.. Z gets a single hamburger, plain (YES I said PLAIN??!) and we pay just as much for that (5+ bucks) as my cheeseburger with onions and pickles and peppers and tomato and mustard and cheese. Just wrong. Same story for C only a touch worse because he did not even get a burger, he ordered a hot dog. What is wrong with my children?!

Anyway, for that price I would expect a really great cheeseburger because that’s the caliber of place this is. It’s a step above fast food and a step below an average dine-in, serve you at the table restaurant. Sadly, the burger fell short of average.

The bun was OK, there was not enough cheese (IMO), and nothing so special about the seasonings or the toppings. I’m writing this 24 hours past my experience and I can’t think of a damn thing noteworthy to say about it. Hence the below average rating.

I’m not quite done with my rant about the price though. The entire meal, which consisted of two “small” burgers, a small fry, two drinks and a hot dog came to 30 dollars. WHAT???!!! How in the Fuck did that happen? I’ve never in my life spent 30 bucks at a fast food place for me and my kids before and quite literally don’t even spend that much when we go to a restaurant normally. I could have had three complete burger meals at Red Robin for that price which would have all included bottomless fries.

Oh, and speaking of the fries, they are terrible. Overly seasoned and not crispy enough at all. I originally wanted to score this a 2.75 but now that I’ve remembered everything, I am going to go with a 2.5.

This is an over-rated franchise,
With prices that make me agonize
Burgers that won’t win any prize
And just down-right terrible Fries.
I’ve given this place one to many tries.
Time to say never again.. to Five Guys.

Never Again!
~Miss SugarCookie