Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What's in a hamburger?

A couple weeks ago, we were eating out at White Spot, and they were featuring some of their new menu items.  One of which was a new sandwich of the hamburger variety that boasted a patty that was half traditional hamburger meat, and half bacon.  Now, you can say what you want about the ubiquity of bacon fanaticism, but my thought was really more about the concept of the hamburger itself.  This past weekend, I tried a sandwich that was supposed to be a hamburger patty wrapped up in a very small pepperoni pizza--think like a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut.  The next night, we went to Red Robin, and I order the Red Robin Royale Burger.  The common factor among all three is that they were pretty tasty, but what made them special was the toppings.  See, for all the hype of a patty that was half-bacon, it tasted no different than a regular hamburger patty.  This is mainly because when you simply cook bacon for the simplest of bacon bits, there's a great risk you slightly overcook it, and when you do, it tastes almost the same as ground beef.  Slather on toppings that have pronounced flavors of their own, and you can't tell the difference.  This is also why I don't bother ordering ground beef as a pizza topping, or bacon, because those baked crumbles have little flavor by that point and just fall off and make a mess.

And that's not even considering that ground beef is pretty flavorless when cooked.  Maybe it's just me.  Maybe it's because I worked at McDonald's for four-and-a-half years and have been rendered incapable of tasting beef from both cooking it and eating them for so long.  But I find that hamburgers in general are only worth ordering if you like the taste of the toppings.  It's not like a good steak, where you can pick off onions and ask the chef to go easy on the pepper if you don't like those things.  Oh sure, on the odd occasion that I still order a McDonald's double cheeseburger, I still get it without the onions, but if I also hated ketchup and pickles, and couldn't tolerate mustard, I'd really have no reason to eat one.  Hamburger meat by itself, just isn't that big a culinary treat.  Now you can make some good sloppy joes and meatloaf, and do not for a moment suppose that I'm including steak and prime rib, or even pot roast in this conversation; but at this point, a hamburger is just a meat slab between buns, and whatever toppings and sauces you find tasty.  

I'm no culinary expert, so I can only surmise that ground beef is the least of all beef cuts and that the grinding process only makes them worse.  They're still passable, but the point is, really, stop trying to "revolutionize" the hamburger.  The only way to really revolutionize it is basically convert uncooked meatloaf into patties and grill 'em that way.  And even then, no guarantees that that would work.  The hamburger's pretty good the way it is.  Of the three I mentioned at the beginning, the Royale is easily the tastiest.  

Mainly because one of the toppings is a sunny side-up egg. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The room with a revolving door versus the opium of stasis.

This past week, another roommate moved out, and a new one moved in.

A little context.  I moved to my current dwelling in 2012.  It has three bedrooms.  The master bedroom goes to the landlord, I have one, and the third has had a handful of roommates over the past three years.  I'm not even sure I can remember all their names, either.

There was the guy who juiced everything.  I really don't remember why he moved out or what he's moved onto.

There was the dude who worked at the theater and had a medical marijuana prescription.  His grandmother left him some money in her will with the stipulation that he had to go to college.  So he moved out to do exactly that.

There was the lady who just moved out.  She's a nurse, and she moved out to move closer to her work.  One of the family members of one of her cases is highly allergic to cat fur, and since the landlord has a fairly affectionate cat at the house, she needed to get away from the little fuzzball.

There may have been a couple others who didn't even last a week before finding something more convenient, someplace cheaper, or something else.

Now there's a new guy, a freelance translator who works largely with hospitals, but some legal and other various associations as well.

I'm not even sure where I'm going with this.  Is it me?  Is it the landlord?  Is it really these opportunities for them?  When will the time be right for me to move out and move on with my life?  I'm not even getting ants in the pants to leave the place, though if I had more brains I suppose I would.  My landlord roomie is certainly a belfry full of bats half the time, but when push comes to shove, he's someone who'll shock you and make you glad you had him in your corner.  Plus, I really love the cat.  When I do move out, the cat's coming with me.  My significant other and I like to joke about how it'll be the three of us when we finally get a place of our own.

As for the other roommates, I don't know if I made any impact in their lives, and I'm not even sure if they impacted mine.  Just a weird, almost ethereal feeling as I see people come and go.  Am I numb to it all?  Have I grown enough to not be jealous of their moving on to better things?  Am I depressed that I don't feeling anything more?  Am I weak person for not moving out sooner?

Truth is I don't know.  This is as much me looking for an excuse to have something to post in my personal blog after not writing anything for all of 2014.  Do I really need another reason beyond that?  Perhaps, but since I pontificate considerably more on my other blog, I thought I'd share a personal sentiment.  And that sentiment is, one room causes doldrums, one causes new chapters.

Maybe next time I should switch rooms.