Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Season Two Winner is ...

You know it's Titletown silly.

Here are the breakdowns. We rated each place on a 1-5 scale on waitress, condiment availability, ease of consumption, presentation and atmosphere. We rated each on a 1-10 scale on flavor, bun and overall. We put all the numbers into our database and it computed the final score as a percentage out of 100%. The results follow.

Titletown 85%
Burger Company 80%
Legends 80%
Skips 78%
White Dog Black Cat Cafe 78%
The Bar West 76%
Sidekicks 75%
The Abbey 74%
Fox Harbor 69%
Broadway Supper Club 67%

Clearly, I have personal preferences. The rest of the Burger crew is free to comment but here is my assessment. Legends should not be tied for second. White Dog Black Cat should be second. Burger Company third. Skips fourth and then eveyone else. Fox Harbor should be last based on burger alone. But the establishment is super cool so they got higher scores. Likewise, the Broadway Supper Club was a terrible establishment and probably got lower scores than it should have, but not much lower.

If this season taught me anything, it's that Titletown has great burgers, White Dog Black Cat has great burgers, Burger Company has good burgers and Skips is not bad either. That gives me four joints to roll to when I'm looking for a good burger. Might as well get the fish tacos at the other places. And don't forget; season one winners were Curley's and Champions. People who think Krolls has good burgers are not well versed in Burgers.

I don't know how much more, if any burger testing will be done. It is harder and harder to find places within driving distance during our lunch hour. Perhaps we can scrounge together one more season. But we have learned that there is a burger in all of us. Whether that burger is Nick's infectious smile, Karen's discerning skepticism, Tom's carefree ambience or Sarah's pursuit of happiness.

The only thing you have left to ask is, "Would I rather wear wet underwear, or eat a burger?"

Friday, September 9, 2011

Results or Random Thoughts on Burgers?

The best fun I had last winter/spring was perhaps writing this. Mostly because it meant I was blitzed on only the cheapest of dark swill. Hard to imagine I was able to form words at all most of the time.

I would like to give you the results, but I do not have them in front of me. So I cannot. Seriously though, if you read the durned blog, you can figure out the good places to chill at, among other things. I guess being blitzed led to too many ramblings, no comments and only three followers!

The trick was trying to stick to burgers. I obviously failed. But by sticking to only burgers, we could have been distracted by all the other problems of the world and be entrenched in the simple purity of greasy meat. It was my goal to stick to burgers. But the problems of the world, or just me maybe, were too big to be distracted from at times.

I wish I could have tried harder to let the reader understand the necessity of loosing one's self in the purity of the burger and forgetting all other thoughts, memories and daily nuances. I'm sorry I failed you, but I think there is still much to be gained by what we experienced. Some good joints were discovered and I think we learned a little about ourselves. Maybe we just became better friends, either way, the upside was greater than the negatives and I really think it's worth reading.

So let me beg of you, no, no, no, let me get on my knees and beg of you to read this blog. All those other postings you find through Google and such are so horribly inaccurate that it pains my heart. Give me a charbroiled patty and I will die a happy lad.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sidekicks it Is

And then there was one. I’m not even going to get up to go get the score card for this one. We should all simply be excited that this is the final stop on our journey through the burger kitchens of our dreams. Well some of them were the burger kitchens of our dreams anyway.
The fact that I so effortlessly decided to wing this post is a side effect of our effortless scoring for Sidekicks. Can you believe both Sarah and Karen gave 10 out of 10 for burger taste at this place? Our appetites may have said, “Burgers please,” but our hearts said, “Let’s get on with it! Who is the winner?”
And that’s why only three of us wrapped the season up at Sidekicks. I felt like I was kicked in the side when I saw their ridiculous scores. Overall the place didn’t have bad burgers but I don’t think they were anywhere near 10 for taste. I think I was generous albeit weary of burger testing, to give them an 8 out of 10.
From what I can remember, the waitress was nice and they had a decent burger selection. No celebrity encounters, no plain orders, no cribbage, no weird buns and most importantly no soggy underwear. I think everybody is ready to find out who the winners and losers are.
Be sure to stay tuned for the post of posts from the burger coast coming next. Get the low down on what joints to hit and which to avoid incase you still cannot decide from the original posts alone. And there is something to be said about that.
Just kidding, no lame side thoughts tonight for the two (three?) people who read this. And if you’re tuning in for the first time, start from the beginning and enjoy our burger adventure!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Bar West

We’re winding down. Only two spots left this season. But I know a place. A bar I went to once during a Packer game on the other side of the stadium. With much effort I convinced everyone to go. It was me, Nick, Sarah and Karen.

But we get there and not only does the place smell of bowling alley shoes but they don’t serve lunch! Good thing too because the burgers would surely be tainted by the swift scent of fungal bacteria. In a haste we had to find another locale to whet our appetite for burgerlicious desire. The Bar West was close and we knew they served burgers so we drove on over.

Some may say the Bar is a chain so it does not count in burger testing but after much debate we decided to let it slide. And we slid into our seats. At this point in the season we have tasted great and not so great burgers. We were winding down and ready to wrap this journey up. But before we did, the Bar served up their best.

No they weren’t the greatest but it’s a nice place and perhaps they were the benefactors of our easy scoring mood at the time. The waitress was just above average and the condiment availability was top notch.
Flavor averaged out to an 8 out of 10. Like I said, they were the benefactors of our favorable end of the season scoring (wait until you see Sidekicks!). The bun had rave reviews considering the place’s reputation as a hip hang out joint.

Overall we enjoyed the experience and rated them favorably, about a 7.75 overall out of 10. Sometimes it’s easy to give favorable treatment to something you are comfortable with. Even if their burgers were terrible we would have probably given decent scores. And there is something to be said about that.

Where the unknown will take us we could never guess. And so we sidestep things that are not swept along with the eb and flow of the people around us. When someone or something does things that don’t quite equal their square peg fitting into the world’s triangle hole we avoid it for good or bad. It might have been the best or worst of things but at least we remain comfortable in our lives and routines. And so it is with a place like the Bar.

We are comfortable that we know this place and our lives will continue on without interruption no matter what happens. It’s those places under bridges and far away on hilltops, with people playing cribbage and with young kids with crooked hats reading a book of all things that scare us away. Contradiction does not sit well and how could we ever test places where people will not feel comfortable. Most all the world seeks comfort above all else, and they risk little to achieve that comfort. Unfortunately, some of the the most comfortable treasures are found and lost in those places and people we choose to avoid.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Abbey

We are human. As such, we believe in things like second chances. Maybe a bad first impression, a fight with a good friend, something said off the cuff not meant to harm. We say time heals everything. I don’t know, some scars run deep. Back to second chances. Do we all deserve one? One usually turns into several. More importantly, people seem to forget the past all too fast. What is here and now is what we pay attention to. Who wins us over at this moment and in the end, what can I get out of it?

We decided to give the Abbey a second chance. They screwed it up the first time. Treated us like scoundrels. Some people keep going back to a bad situation. But not us … Oh wait, no, we gave them a second chance. Last year their burgers were burnt and they received the absolute lowest score ever in Burger Testing. It only seemed right to give them another try, especially in this the season of many a good burger joint. So we headed to the Abbey one final time. Seriously, one final time.

So the burgers weren’t much better this time around so I won’t bore you too much. I shouldn’t really say that, they obviously made a vast improvement over our last experience but still, the burgers were nothing special. The most amusing part was the waitress. She was very um, disconnected to her surroundings. But she managed to keep up with service and we appreciated her effort so she got threes across the board. We were pretty much in consensus that she was on drugs but it was really no one’s problem but her own.

Flavor scores ranged from a 4 to a 9 out of 10. I don’t know why Karen gave a 9 but either way the overall flavor score averaged pretty low. The bun was alright, averaging about an 8. Overall we gave a score of about 7 out of 10. I think that is a surprisingly good score considering how poor their burgers turned out to be. I don’t think all the crazy college kids go there for the burgers. Maybe they have good tacos or something.

If it's any consolation Sarah and I gave the lowest scores and Karn gave the highest. Plain Jane fell somewhere in the plain middle and our special guest Sarah II came in just below Jane in overall scores.

Some of us never got a first chance. This place got two and never really made up for the first. But I think we all feel a little better that now we know. It’s good to know for sure. So if you’ve never given that second chance now might be the time. It very well could turn out as bad as the first but at least you’ll know. And if you never got around to giving it a first chance in the first place, then what the hell are you waiting for? At some point we need to reach a ‘what the hell’ moment and just find out. Why should there be any repercussions? Run with it and see where it goes. And you can worry about second chances when the time comes, and then you will know. Or just give up on life all together. But don't live forever and die without knowing.

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 CafĂ©. 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.