Wednesday, April 27, 2011


What’s legendary to you? I tried to think of some of the most legendary things I have ever experienced but at times like these, my memory fails me. Age has caught up with me I suppose. Some guy with a sweet roundhouse ninja kick? A lady who does an amazing summersault? I don’t know. Guys who can work their way around a lady with ease seem legendary to me. But really, none of this is legendary.

Sometimes a thing, or person captures some part of us that we cannot explain. I think those moments are what is legendary. That person that for some reason tears out your heart and you can’t explain why. Our lives are divided by what we see and do every day but the emotions we can’t control are sparked by the most unexpected things.

And so we went to Legends, a fine establishment in Aswaubenon. Sarah said she heard the Ashwaubenon bowling alley had good burgers. If they served lunch, she very well could have been right. Fortunately, Legends is just down the street and turned out to be a good backup plan. So we cruised down the road.

The story about this place is their buns. Not legendary at all. They serve only wheat buns and they taste a little different. Don’t get me wrong, different is not always bad (see Titletown) but in this case, it spelled disaster. The bun got low scores overall except for Karen who gave it a 9 for some reason.

The taste averaged out to an 8 overall. It wasn’t a bad burger, if only they chose a different bun. Everything else was rated pretty well. Ease of consumption, condiment availability, presentation and atmosphere all got good marks.

The waitress was so so. She did a good job but didn’t make it an overwhelming experience. Overall we gave it about an 8 out of 10. It was a good side job but nothing spectacular. In fact, the conversation centered more around who is more attractive between Donald Driver and Alex Rodriguez than about the burgers.

If you’re looking for something truly legendary, don’t judge this book by it’s cover when it comes to burgers. While the sign may say Legends, when it comes to burgers I expect a Legendary to be 10’s across the board, maybe a few 11’s.

We all look for a legend, something legendary perhaps. But it is never where we are looking. Rather, it surprises us and usually only after the fact. Maybe we don’t know the legend we seek until after we’ve experienced it, after we have spent time with that legendary thing only to experience a truly awe inspiring experience that we can never have again. If we could, would it still feel legendary? I’m still looking for that burger. My legends overwhelm me. And I’m looking for a burger to do the same.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

White Dog Black Cat Cafe

We try so hard to try and do something new all the time. Not every day, because every day is brushing your teeth and driving to work, etc. But we plan, in advance, something special that we will do different this time. Usually afterwards we feel like idiots and say, “I can’t believe I did that, I’m never drinking again.” But we do.
That’s kind of how I thought I would feel after going to the White Dog Black Cat Café. But I was wrong. What the hell is this place? It looks like some cardboard and plywood fly by night coffee shop that will be closed in a week. Step inside and you’re still left a little wondering. There is a full bar with stools and everything. Then, it really does turn into a coffee shop with couches and everything. Turn the corner and you’re in a nice restaurant. I’m not sure what they are going for, but it was a nice place overall.
The dining area was very dark but nice. They had all sorts of paintings on walls with price tags on them. It was kind of one of those places. It’s just amazing though, that places like this exist, places we never heard of and would never dare step foot in. I’m glad I did.
Tom suggested the place. I don’t know why. He must have heard some crazy rumor about good burgers made from dogs and cats maybe. Either way, we are fortunate we went. Their 100% beef patties were nothing short of delicious.
The entire panel made it out! And we were joined by guest celebrities Liz and Mandi. Mandi had the audacity to ask if she ordered the veggie burger if it would count for the burger test (I’m shaking my head right now). Either way, we had seven people scoring the burgers!
I told you the burgers were good. We had mostly eights and nines across the board for flavor. Sarah, Nick and Mandi gave eights. Tom and I gave nines, probably because it was his joint and I was overwhelmed by the experience. Karen and Liz pulled sevens. Maybe Karen had a bad burger, and Liz isn’t one of the professionals so maybe she was just giving tough love. I ordered some crazy thing with a slab of cream cheese on it and it was delicious!
Scores for flavor would have been higher except most people thought their burgers were over done on the outside. It kills me because I think this is something they do on purpose and I wish it didn’t affect the score. I did notice the outside of the burger being a little crisper than usual. I thought it gave it a char-grilled type flavor and assumed that is what they were going for.
There is so much to say about this place. Condiment availability was good across the board. Except for Sarah because she did not get a pickle. And I can’t blame her. That might have pissed me off too. Ditto for ease of consumption. The burger was put together well. It wasn’t sloppy, didn’t slide around and did the damn job it was meant for.
The bun was rated the highest of anything. Eights and nines for everyone. And they were nothing out of the ordinary. They were burger buns, but they were real good. This was a bun place for sure. Right along with a hearty atmosphere score too.
I’m a little surprised that the overall scores were not spectacular across the board. Four sevens and three eights. I think we did a disservice to this place, it probably should have been Four eights and three nines.
Some people were put off by the waitress. Nick and I gave her a hard time and she told us to hurry with our orders because she had other customers to wait on. I wasn’t offended but I guess most of the group was. She did make a strong come back though and kept our drinks full. Even Janie gave her a four!
The only other note is that they had a litter box in the restroom and Karen used it. They keep the litter fresh and everything. I think it’s a clumping formula.
As I randomly roll off the scores we give, I forget that the readers don’t know the scoring system. I will make a separate post about it some day. But basically, taste, bun and overall are out of 10 points. Everything else is out of five points. This place should put up a battle with Titletown in the end. But I fear that the lower overall scores will hurt its chances.
In the end we found that ‘new’, that ‘different’ thing we were looking for. In the morning we awoke and smiled thinking, “Did that really happen? Because I’m really glad that it did.” If only we had more mornings like that.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fox Harbor

Do you get it? A bar on the Fox River -- Fox Harbor. Oh, that's a side killer. I get it!
Don't expect to find great parking but once you're in, you're in. The bar is a really nice little bastion of alcohol, a charming place to gather and discuss business with your colleagues. But what does a nice bar have to do with a good burger?
Unfortunately, not a whole lot. We all wanted the burger to be as great as the place seemed to be. And when the burgers arrived, they looked amazing. The burgers were not delivered on golden plates or on top of a mountain. But when I got mine, I told Nick that I didn't want to eat it because it looked too delicious. That's why I gave it a 5/5 for presentation, because before even tasting it, it looked like the best burger I'd ever tasted. The rest of the gang gave high scores too, mostly 5's.
Another lean group of testers showed up for this one. Myself, Sarah, Karen and Nick.
What should I tell you about first? Obviously we were under whelmed by the burgers. When we get down to it, the burger taste and bun were rated fairly low. The bun about a 6/10 average and taste a 6 or 7/10
They had a fairly original lineup of burgers with different flavors across the board. But that is really all they offered. The burger was not great, and the buns were poor and dry. The stuff they put on the burgers is the only thing worth ordering a burger in the first place. They’ll layer on pepper jack cheese and jalapeños until it is so hot you can’t taste the burger. That’s a good thing.
We all loved the atmosphere, it really is a nice place, but the wait staff was non existent. Much of our conversation centered around the service or lack there of. A random guy took our orders. Someone else entirely brought us the food, and then we got our bills eventually. The servers were really unenthused. We discussed giving a 0 for service, but, the service did exist, it was minimal.
Overall, it was a nice place, an enjoyable time, but the burgers were not good. Keep that in mind. If you’ve had a lot to drink, the burgers will look and seem amazing in your mind. If you want a good burger, I would seek it elsewhere.