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

2018-06-07 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

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

2017-09-17 Austin: The P.Terry’s Cheeseburger.. 3

Saturday morning we went to the soccer fields to watch Rebecca’s daughter play her very first soccer game ever. It was hot, and muggy, and the sun felt like it was burning our skin. And that was before it was even 11AM. When it was over, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat and the choice was a burger place I had never been to before.. how perfect.

P. Terry’s is apparently a local Austin chain and I’m not sure if it extends anywhere else outside the city limits. We did the drive through so I have no comment on the restaurant itself, but from the looks of it, I would have put it on par with a regular fast-food burger chain. I was pleasantly surprised that it exceeded my expectations.

I had a regular single cheeseburger which normally comes with lettuce, tomato, and special sauce but I elected to skip the lettuce. I was assured that the sauce was good, so I was ok sticking with that. I also added pickles.

When we arrived home, I dig right in and it was gone in about three minutes. I was apparently hungry. So hungry that I hardly took the time to savor it and really give a lot of thought to it, but I would not have devoured it so fast if it was not good.

Rebecca tells me that all the ingredients are fresh and that they cook your food when you order which is rare for a fast food place. If I was comparing it to other “drive-through” places, I would probably rate it higher, but my rating scale is all cheeseburger experiences from a wide variety of places ranging from basic to high-end. With that in mind, I’m giving it a 3. I concur with my friend, the special sauce was really good.

If I lived here, I would go back, but when I compare this cheeseburger to my home town “Runza” Cheeseburger, it was not as good. One of these days I’m going to have to pay Runza a visit again just so I can write about it. Hmmm.. maybe one day this week.

Enjoying Life, One Cheeseburger at a Time,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-29 It’s a Doozie.. 1.5

Yesterday I had plans to take the kids to go have lunch with my Dad and his wife and they live across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I let them pick the place and of course, they pick someplace in Council Bluffs because for some reason they rarely come across to this side of the river for anything. They picked a place that I guess is relatively new down in the Manawa lake area called Doozies. I had not heard of it before and had no idea what to expect.

When we arrived, which was about 1:20 in the afternoon well past a typical lunch rush we were surprised to walk in and find the three or four booths they had inside already occupied. Well, there was one “three quarter” bench right by the door with no one at it but the table was clearly dirty. The kids sat down there while I stood by the wall to look at the menu. It’s one of those places you order at the counter and they bring your food to you.

I was pleased to find that besides ice-cream being their main go-to, they also had cheeseburgers and sandwiches and fries and the like. There was one gal sort of rushing around in a very stressed out way cleaning off a high chair and I let her know about the dirty table and she said she was getting to that next.

Z elected to get the chicken strip basket, C had a grill-cheese basket, and I of course ordered a single cheeseburger, no basket). It was the same gal at the counter who took our order and she again seemed a little put off. The place started to fill up behind us and the kids went outside to a larger umbrella table that would accommodate all five of us.

My dad and his wife were a touch late but it was OK because it took a long time for our food to come out and by the time it did, all of the tables outside had filled up too. I was shocked to see such a crowd in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday, but perhaps that meant it was a place worth coming to. Sadly that was not the case.

The food was sub-par. The burger I ordered was not good and the kids did not seem to care for theirs either. The fries were greasy and limp. The burger was completely underwhelming. Nothing special about any of it. It was like they went to the grocery and got all the right ingredients, but somehow it just didn’t come together.

It was a 1/3 pound lifeless patty probably fried up on a flat-iron and devoid of any seasonings. It was done well through and piled with tomato, cheese, pickle, and onion, which also seemed to be void of flavor. I mean, pickles and onions have a distinct flavor but I couldn’t taste it. Z had a side of ranch for her chicken strips which the stressed-out lady at the counter made me choose and so I ended up dipping the burger in that which had at least some flavor.

In all fairness, I ordered it without the “Doozie” sauce which I guess is a catsup/mayo combo or something, so perhaps that would have been better but I don’t like catsup or mayo. I would say the next time I will try it, but I am never going back.

At one point my Dad’s wife made a comment about “this place affecting Cristy Creme’s business”. In my head I’m thinking, this place can’t touch Cristy Creme, but I kept that one to myself. Now that the idea is in my head, we might just have to do that one next time we are back in CB.

Anyway, Z refused to eat her chicken fingers after the first couple of bites and told me in the car on the way home she found several hairs in her food. C ate all of his grilled cheese, but as usual had nothing to say about it. Neither one of them even made a dent in their fries which makes a statement as well.

When we were on vacation we went to that really terrible burger place in a town just off the coast and I didn’t write a review of it because I felt it wasn’t worth it, but I’ve now decided that I should take the time to hash over the bad as well as the good in order to properly fill out the scale of possibilities. Considering the food, and the place, and the service, I would probably only go as high as 1.5 on this one.

My grand recommendation for Doozies is to stick with the ice cream. We did not have any, but it most certainly has to be better than their food (and it is tough to server bad ice cream).

One and Done,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-23 The Mantra Cheeseburger.. 3.5

There’s this restaurant on Maple street I’ve driven past dozens of times before. They have a tree out front that is artificial and lights up year round (not a Christmas tree). I’ve never looked up the name or thought to stop before to see what it was like, even though I have thought about it. Last night that is where my date suggested we go for dinner.

When he suggested it, I googled the place and looked at their menu and it reminded me of more of an upscale bar and grill. I mean anyplace that has crab cakes and escargot on their app menu isn’t just your average hole-in-the-wall bar. I was immediately challenged by the fact that they had both crab cakes and a cheeseburger on their menu and I have a rule about ordering both of those if they are offered. But of course I had to go with the Cheeseburger because that’s my thang.

My date asked me how adventurous I was about different food, and I said I wasn’t too adventurous but willing to try whatever so he ordered the escargot. I’ve had that one time before but this was smothered with butter and garlic and cheese and very tasty. It took the wait staff a long time to take our order because we were apparently enjoying ourselves so much with our drinks and conversation and the snails. Eventually I got around to ordering the “Mantra Burger” which is one “half pound” patty served on a pretzel bun with whatever extras you want on it plus a side of fries. I ordered it cooked medium with cheddar cheese.

First of all, there is no way the patty was 1/2 pound of beef, probably more like a quarter. Secondly, it was pretty flat and well done. Not a lot of juice. I had not had a pretzel bun before so that was different, but good and there could have been more cheese, but it was an acceptable amount. I put a few onions on as everything was on the side when it was served (I like tomato but always eat that separately). It came with some house made asian style bbq sauce which was also on the side and I actually liked that better then I thought I would.

The taste of the burger was OK. Not a lot of flavor to it without dipping in the sauce. It was good, but not great. My expectations were high and I was underwhelmed. I think I enjoyed the cocktail and the escargot much more than the burger, and that is making a statement. Still, it was not bad, so I would have to go middle of the road on this one and give it a 3.5.

I’d probably say the same thing about the date itself. I would see him again, but can’t see myself choosing that as my only meal for a long period of time. I would definitely go back to Mantra though but the next time I am going to try the crab cakes!

Cheers to Too Many Choices,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-20: These are a Few of Our Favorite Things…

On the plane ride home I asked my kids about our vacation with very specific questions. I think what you retain in your memories is solidified by recalling it several times, especially when it is fresh in your mind. I’m asking myself the same questions and will see how my answers stack up next to theirs.

What was the best thing you saw..
C: The Space Needle he also added, “We never saw the bean.”
Z: The Redwood Forest and her reply to C, “dude that’s in Chicago.”
Me: Also the Redwood Forest. “and now I guess I need to plan a trip to Chicago.”

Favorite Food or Food Place or meal…
C: Mod pizza in Seattle
Z: Also Mod pizza or Shari’s
Me: I also liked Shari’s but my favorite meal was the picnic we had at Oswald State Park at the beach. Looking at the map I think it was “Treasure Cove” but can’t be certain because I don’t recall seeing a sign”. Second might be the VooDoo donuts or Food truck lunch we had on the first day. I may have picked the Sand Dollar Cheeseburger, because it was so delicious, but I had to eat it so fast and I was pressed for time and also was alone.

Worst food (for comparison)…
Z: The fancy French toast place (which was Portage Bay Cafe).
C: I didn’t have one.
Me: I agree with Z, that Cafe was overpriced and not very good. I would also comment that every meal we ate that was fast food would be on this list. If I had to pick the worst though, it would be the burger place called Shake and Burger. I can’t even remember what city we were in but everything about it was terrible.

Best hotel or night’s stay…
Z: The Holiday Inn Express .. They had the best pool.
C: The Rennasamce Marriott was the nicest but the HIE did have the best pool.
Me: I agree with Cooper, but also really liked the hotel location/view/room we stayed at the Comfort Inn overnight in Eugene Oregon.

Worst hotel (for the sake of remembering)…
Z: The Comfort Inn Portland airport. Pool was not swimmable and we lost our pool toys and they were doing re-modeling and the drywall dust got all over my suitcase and ruined it. The elevator did not work in the morning and the breakfast was “meh”.
C: The Comfort Inn Portland airport.
Me: Yup, this is one thing we all agree on. The Hot Tub was also out of commission and it looked as though mold was growing on the surface under the water. Gross. They did take 45 bucks off our stay, but it did not make up for the experience and not allowing the kids to do one of their favorite things and swim.

Best Experience (not just what you saw but something you did)…
Z: Wings over Washington and Having a tv on our second flight.
C: Also Wings over Washington.
Me: Hands down hiking the Redwood Forest. Even driving through gave me chills. I just love that place. I will say the Wings over Washington was a good ride which was pretty cool the way they really made you feel like you were flying over the state with the sights and sounds and smells and feels. I wish the ride was a little bit longer though. I also enjoyed catching up with Princess KK even if it was just for a day. Driving down the coast was cool and laying on/rolling around the sand dunes of Oregon was newt. Also and also hiking up the path to the top of Multnomah falls. It really is hard to pick a favorite thing when there really were a lot of great moments.

Favorite Activity…
Z: Swimming at hotels
C: Lots of video game time in the car and at hotels.
Me: Again, it is difficult to choose among so many things that were fun to do. This is right up there with best experience, but I had to think of a secondary category because I know the kids enjoyed things that were not “road trip/tourist” experiences. I will admit it is a little disappointing that it would be the case, since we can do all those things in Omaha without spending a penny, but I am hoping their memory of our trip remains positive.

My least favorite activity became all the driving and navigating the terrible traffic and all the people in and around the larger cities. I think they are over-crowded and I would never want to live in either place. I also became increasingly irritated at my daughters picky eating and entitled attitude.

When we arrived home, Josh gave us a ride back to our house and he asked the kids what was the most memorable thing, which was phrased a little differently than the thing I had asked. They both said “getting lost in the Redwood Forest”, which I was shocked to hear come out of their mouths. I mean of all the things we had just talked about, neither of them mentioned that to me. In all fairness we were never “lost”. We crossed the “scenic” road multiple times and could have, at any time, taken that back to the visitor center where our car was parked.

At some point we did go left when we should have gone right (or north instead of south) and ended up on a different trail several miles from where we intended to be. While the kids both blame me for that incident, they admit the signs on the trail were not the best and not all “forks in the road” were labeled. When you are among such tall and majestic trees, it is difficult to see where the sun is and if it is around high noon, tough to know which way is north and which way is south. In any case, a lovely couple of girls gave us a ride back to the visitor center and it was a good thing because it really would have been several more miles of hiking and Cooper never would have made it. It’s definitely worth an honorable mention, as these things are what memories are made of.

Traveling Trio Out,
~Miss SugarCookie (And Z and C too)