Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thirsty Jerks: Best Soda

Sorry for the lack of posts, been away on vacation, but I'm back! And I decided to settle a great debate and name the best soda. I don't care about your arguments, because I'm the one with the blog, so my point is valid, and yours is not! Ha! Jerk City USA!

Pepsi. Is crap. I was raised on Pepsi and hated it. My parents and Grandparents are Pepsi freaks and it's insane. Sometimes we would get a special treat and have Dr. Pepper, but it was 90% Pepsi in our house, and it sucks. Still to this day now that I am a free man and out on my own, I am stuck with Pepsi as a choice, and I would rather drink moose piss!

Coke. Coke is strange. Coke in a can doesn't taste as good as it does out of the bottle, and Coke in a bottle doesn't taste as good as it does coming out of a fountain. Coke in restaurants and movie theaters is the best Coke around. Nothing is better at Red Lobster than chowing down on some cheddar bay biscuits and having a nice cold Coke to wash it down. Same goes for going to the movies.

Mountain Dew. Mountain Dew was king when I was a kid. My older brother swore by Mountain Dew so when he had some around, it was the perfect escape from Pepsi. Sadly, Mountain Dew just doesn't taste the same these days.

Dr. Pepper. This is the 2nd best soda around. Soon you will see why. Dr. Pepper isn't coke, and it isn't Pepsi, yet it is widely available everywhere, (except in Payson AZ, for some reason it's called Doc Holiday there.)

And now, this brings me to what I declare the best soda around.....


Pibb is like Dr. Peppers cool hot sister. Dr. Pepper is a cool guy to hang out with, but you're really there to try to get a taste of the really hot older sister. And sometimes, when you can find it, you sneak in and get some action from that hot older sister. See where I live, on the west side of the USA, there is no Pibb outside of fast food places and the occasional restaurant. No Pibb in cans or bottles is available. But last year I did a road trip to Iowa, and I found Pibb in cans and bottles and it was just as good! I hit the small local market in Iowa and bought out their entire stock of Pibb, so for a couple months at home in AZ, I have Pibb in a can. Unlike Coke, Pibb tasted the same out of the can and out of the bottle. Sure it is very similar to Dr. Pepper, but it has that hint of cherry taste in it that really makes it the best. Dr. Pepper does have that new Cherry Dr. Pepper, but it's no Pibb. Pibb is awesome, Pibb is king. That is that.........

Friday, March 4, 2011

Five Guys All The Way: Bacon Cheeseburger All Toppings

Last night was one of those nights. I had planned to make dinner at home, but we forgot an ingredient at the store. Instead of spending all the time going back and buying it and preparing dinner, we decided to get fast food.

My go-to fast food place is definitely Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I am really trying not to eat out much these days, to save dollars and pounds. If I eat out at a "real restaurant," it needs to be someplace good. So this leaves fast food as the likely option when I don't have the time and money. Right now I don't even think about any other places, especially when it comes to burgers.

There is a Culver's right next to the Five Guys, and they send many coupons in the mail, but I just don't know if they are any good. I posted about the Culvers Burgers in the Culvers vs. Smashburger review piece, but I didn't get any feedback about them.

Here's what I order from Five Guys: The Bacon Cheeseburger All The Way. Five Guys has a simple menu, but they offer many many burger toppings. All the toppings are clearly listed on the menu and the top row of toppings - lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, mayo, mustard, grilled mushrooms, and ketchup - is in black. "All the way" means all the toppings in black. At my local Five Guys, a bacon cheeseburger is 5.99 with whatever toppings you want. Hold the bacon, and get a "regular" cheeseburger for $5.49. One thing to know about Five Guys is a regular burger is a double burger, I believe it is 1/2 pound of beef. A "Little" Hamburger is $3.59 here and is larger than the premium burgers at most fast food places.

A regular order of french fries runs around $2.99, which seems expensive until you consider that you get around 3 orders worth of fries. They fry up a bunch of fresh potatoes and, after filling the cup and putting it in your bag, they throw a whole bunch of fries in the bag. The loose fries could easily fill another cup, and a whole family could split a regular order of fries.

In my area, when it comes to burger and fries options, I have McDonalds, BK, Wendy's, Steak n Shake, White Castle, and Big Boy. There are also casual dining options like TGI Friday's and Ruby Tuesday, but those places don't really do anything special with burgers to justify the prices onse you factor in tipping.

Five Guys is the only place that does anything resembling a quality burger, and really isn't any more expensive than Wendy's when it comes to prices for premium/special burgers in the same weightclass. It's also the only place that does anything resembling "real" fries. Maybe I'm picky because I grew up with Thrashers French Fries, but I think french fries should be potatoes that are sliced and deep fried. They should be crisp on the outside and have hot soft potato in the inside. They should not be limp and skinny, and the insides should not be hollow. I think McDonalds fries are tasty, but they are lacking. They are McFries. Wendy's is at least trying to so something with their new Sea Salt Fries, but they are going to end up flopping.

So for me it's Five Guys All the Way, All The Way.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Is Culver's Better than Smashburger? Are Burgers from Either Place Any Good?

I was just reading our Phoenix Smashburger Review, and I was curious about what other people had to say. I don't have a Smashburger in my area. I think the best fast food burger I've had was at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Five Guys is a little more expensive than most places, but the food is really good and the portions are huge. I like how they dump a bunch of fries in the bag after filling the container to overflowing. Plus, I have cut back on eating out. I try to avoid fast food in general, but if I do I go for quality. The same goes for my steaks- I would rather have a really good expensive steak every once in awhile than have low quality beef on a regular basis.

I was looking into Smashburger a little more when I came across this Phoenix New Times article comparing Smashburger to Culver's. Really? I DO have Culvers burgers in my area, but I have never ordered there. The reason? The food doesn't look too great in their ads/mailers. I figure if the food doesn't even look like much in a picture I'm probably not going to be delighted in person. Their marketing materials make Culver's look like a sort of Dairy Queen or maybe Sonic type joint. Those places have their roles in the fast food market, but I don't exactly think of gourmet burgers.

In fact, in the New Times article the Culver's burger looks underwhelming. The patty looks somewhat like a Steak 'n Shake patty. I know Roger Ebert loves the place, and he seems like a nice guy, but Steak 'n Shake has lousy burgers and decent shakes. The Culver's picture also shows cheese that is not even close to being melted. Good burgers are big and juicy. They use quality meat and fresh toppings. The cheese on burgers should be gooey or at least somewhat melted. It should not resemble anything from a school cafeteria or hospital.

The bad news for Smashburger? The Smashburger Lost to the completely unappetizing Culver's burger, at least according to the Phoenix New Times reviewer. Though, the fact that his article is ostensibly about gourmet burgers and the "new burger kings", yet the best he could come up with was Culver's vs. Smashburger, makes one question his credentials.

So, Smashburger seems to get some bad reviews. Is their burger really lousy? Is Culver's any good? Or are they just good in comparison to Smashburger? Should I try out one the dozens of Culver's coupons I get in the mail or stick to my $11 Five Guys meal?