Death by Cheeseburger

Why do the tastiest things have to be so bad for us?

I just got back from my yearly physical, and it’s good news. I’m healthy as an ox. And that means I’m free to eat bad things for another year. So far, my love of food hasn’t caught up to me, and while I want to lose ten pounds (who doesn’t?) my BMI number doesn’t qualify me for my own show on TLC.
I realized I’ve not put my thoughts about burgers down on the blog yet. So the next few posts will be dedicated to those incredibly unhealthy, but also incredibly delicious, calorie bomb sandwiches made with ground beef patties.
I have very specific thoughts on what makes a great burger. It stems largely from a light bulb going off in my head after eating a few times at Five Guys, falling in love with it, and comparing their burger to others. Five Guys has nailed the perfect burger in my opinion, and I’ve dissected their burger down to its components to come up with a burger style that I find to be the most satisfying and delicious.

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The Fried Chicken Sandwich from God

Chicken sandwiches usually are my go to when I’m out, need to grab a quick lunch and I’m not in the mood for a burger or pizza. I’ve eaten a lot of them. And I especially love fried chicken sandwiches.

I’ve made no secret of my love of Chik-Fil-A, and their tender, juicy, delicious fried chicken. They make a good one. But it’s fast food, and while it’s tasty as hell, it’s processed.
Speaking of processed, Wendy’s also comes to mind. They make a decent fried chicken sandwich too. I like their Spicy Chicken sandwich, though it’s just good, and not great.
A lot of restaurants cheat, and put chicken fingers on a roll and call it a sandwich. Those tend to suck. Chicken fingers have too much breading to meat ratio. A good chicken sandwich has crunchy, well seasoned breading, but it’s also got to have plenty of actual chicken meat.

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Staycationaurant IV – Phoenix Part I – Best Pizza in America

Welcome to episode IV of my Staycationaurant series. I’ve got a lot to share about Phoenix, so I’m breaking this post up into two parts. Here’s part one. I hope you enjoy it.

This past weekend, I attended the wedding of the son of a longtime friend in Chandler Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. And as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I was quite excited to check out the restaurant scene in “The Valley”.

We were only in the Phoenix area for few days, and half of one day would be spent at the wedding. Time was not on my side. I did manage to squeeze in several interesting restaurants though, and overall I had some great food there.

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Bad Chain Restaurants III – Heartbroken

At the ripe old age of 15, I wanted a job. I needed more than the few dollars a week my parents gave me as an allowance. I wanted spending money. Ambition welled up in me, I needed to do something. My mother had previously worked at Dunkin’ Donuts and she was friends with the owner. She got me a job there.

It was June 1982, I’ll never forget it. I got hired as a porter. A porter was a part-time job, about 3 hours a day, in the afternoon. Porters did odd jobs around the shop. We cleaned the kitchen. We mopped floors. We helped bring in stock when the truck would arrive. We filtered the fryers. I didn’t love it, but I loved having a paycheck, and I loved being around all of the cute girls who worked the counter.
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Staycationaurant II – Man Plans and God Laughs

In episode one of Staycationaurant, I vowed that while on vacation I would try as many restaurants as I could. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go to nearly as many as I’d like. Things came up. I got busy. My wife had other plans. Life has a way of throwing curveballs, as we all know.

That’s not always bad though, because at the last minute, a Saturday afternoon freed up for me and I didn’t hesitate to take advantage. Pondering my options, and since the weather wasn’t too bad, I decided to head to downtown Troy and wander around the “New Brooklyn” as it’s been called.

I’m ashamed to admit I had never been to DeFazio’s Pizzeria. It’s generally considered one of the best, if not the best pizzeria in the Capital Region. It’s been on my list for a while though, and I decided it would be my first stop. The pizza of course was fantastic. I knew I’d be stopping at a couple of other places afterward, so I didn’t want to eat too much pizza. That was tough. The few slices I didn’t eat were staring at me, taunting me with their cheesy goodness, daring me to eat them. But I withstood the test, and only ate half the pizza. (DeFazio’s does not sell slices).

In addition to making a great pizza, DeFazio’s is so genuine and down to earth. If you’ve read any of my other posts you know I enjoy that. I also found it interesting that the red pepper they set on the table they get locally and it’s ground fresh there. The “shaky cheese” as I call it, is shredded next door at their grocery store and is far better than the green can stuff most places have.

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The Ghost Chili Hot Sauce at Mokomandy

About once a year I travel to the Washington DC area for work. When I travel, it’s always difficult to find good restaurants—sorry, let me rephrase that—it’s difficult to find special restaurants. I’m talking about places that are unique, and have dishes that are memorable. The kind of dishes you don’t forget about the next day. Dishes you dream about long after you’ve eaten them.

Thanks to a question I asked on one of the message boards on yelp, I found such a place. Mokomandy.

Mokomandy is very much like a gastropub. Gastropubs take typical bar food and kick it up a notch. They turn dishes you’ve had a thousand times, and transform them into something special by using higher quality ingredients, and preparing them in unique and interesting ways.

Mokomandy is a mashup of Korean, Cajun and American food. Korean and Cajun? Now that’s special. They also have an excellent beer selection, and a creative cocktail menu. The food is primarily Korean and Cajun comfort dishes. I enjoyed everything I had there but one thing stood out as extra special. The house made ghost chili hot sauce.

Ghost Chilis or Bhut Jolokia, as they are also known are the hottest chili peppers in the world. Chili peppers are rated on what’s called the Scoville scale, which measures a chili’s heat. For comparison, jalapeños are rated at between 3 and 8 thousand Scoville units. Ghost Peppers are rated at over 1 MILLION. That’s about 200 times hotter than a jalapeño! Yikes.

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