Sunday, February 27, 2011

Didn't Really Flip Out Over Flip Burger

Being an individual that likes things that are less trendy and more down to earth, it generally will take an act of congress, natural disaster, or most pressing, the request of my wife, to explore the world of “the next big thing” in restaurants and bars. I am of the opinion that regardless of the event of visiting hip locales, I disdain paying top shelf prices for atmosphere. I would much rather pay for the quality of the food and drink than loud music, trendy chefs, and dramatic lighting. It is for this reason my wife likely held off on pressing me to go to  Flip Burger Boutique created by TV’s Top Chef contestant Richard Blais until she could use the unbeatable “it’s my birthday” card.
Before I go any further, let me say that of all food options, the hamburger is the one food item that I really have a problem with people making fancy. At its core the hamburger is a down to earth means of supplying the male body with its minimum levels of cheese, beef, and grease, and in my opinion does not hold up when it is, to put it in an apt light, feminized. I am not saying that it’s a bad thing per se, but a burger does not lend its best attributes with subtitle graces. Boldness of a sharp cheddar or American cheese is preferred, at least by me, over the melodic flavors of trendy infusions and hip, “foodie” sauces.   
To summarize, this was likely not a meal I was going to walk away from without some negative comment regarding the experience, however only one complaint is about the meal itself. Aside from being overpriced, overly loud, and overtly aware of itself, the food was in general very solid.
While I had a sip of this, and a bite of that, exploring a lot of different flavors, the sole negative issue I have with the food came from my entre. I had ordered The Butcher’s Cut, a burger that is in essence, a blue cheeseburger, with stock caramelized onions, and augmented with shallots and a red wine jam. To cut to the chase, the only problem with this item was a lack of balance on the beef to cheese flavor ratio. I guess I could rant about how their owner doesn’t know how to work with a flavor palate, but that would be pretentious, and untrue. This complaint is a common one I have with a lot of blue cheese burgers; few get the ratio just right for me. I can definitely say it was far from the worst I’ve had. 

Everything about the sandwich was fine; the qualities of the ingredients of the hamburgers were high. The beef was sweet and tender, cooked perfectly, not being too greasy nor too dry, and the buns where buttery, light and crispy. Everything kind of melted together in a very good way.
The French fries were wonderful. They fried perfectly, being just crispy enough on the outside and soft on the inside, and just having the perfect balance between potato flavor, and that of the cooking oil. They were served with bacon infused mayo that was tasty, but not needed to enjoy the spuds.
My wife had ordered a chorizo sandwich, served in a burger style, which was wonderfully mild (but still flavorful) and tender.  As a side she ordered the mac  n cheese that suspended  bits of pork belly that popped with the flavors and texture of creamy cheese and soft pasta. 

One of the real signature items of Flip Burger is that of their nitrogen created shakes, which because of their fast crystallization, exhibit a velvety texture.  My wife and I split a Krispy Kream concoction that was but tasty, but in my opinion, not unique enough to garnish the notoriety it had created for the restaurant.

Overall this meal was nice, but not quite worth the shattered ear drums or the broken bank.
Pope Crisco

YouTube Has Driven Me to Petty Crimes

As much as  i try to stay on the short and narrow path, vanity had brought me to "acquire" this cocktail vase/chalice on my birthday because i thought, while in a drunken stupor, that this object would be quality content on my pipe related Youtube channel. Three months later I've not even attempted said video. The karma i lost stealing this has paid off in an excellent tool for refilling the dogs' water bowl.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Legend Golden IPA

Breakfast Does a Blogger Good!

There is little that I like more than the combination of bacon, eggs, cheese, and potatoes. Just churn it into a well mixed amalgamation of breakfast, and start shoveling. Also helps to sandwich the meal in between a few or more cups of well brewed coffee. It’s a good thing I can find what I need for a day of blogging at my local Thumbs Up diner. Pictured below is The Heap.

Shiner 102 Double Wheat

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Movie Review: Machete (Or Why I Think Robert Rodriguez Should Direct Superhero Movies

Being free from the spouse this weekend has allowed me to catch up on some media consumption that my better half wishes not to stomach, primarily over the top, ultra violent, sell some popcorn, movies.  This basically omits most Robert Rodriguez films. While Rodriguez has proven he can direct popular films, most of the director’s loyal followers have been built off his ability to make stylish, funny, punched up action films with a knowing nod of irony. You could compare him a lot to his collaborator on “From Dusk to Dawn” and “Grindhouse”, Quentin Tarantino, where both are obviously aware of the irony, but Rodriguez appears to try less to make you think that he knows “film,” and more that he enjoys the same movies he references and plays off of(personally I feel that Tarantino’s films often are leaning as criticizing similar movies for their lack of “artistic filmmaking” as opposed to honoring them, as the director  claims).
Without divulging too much of the paper thin plot, Machete acts as a vehicle to give a varied group of wooden A, B, and C list actors a vehicle to explore the trappings of a 70s exploitation film in the context of the setup of an ex federale (played by Danny Trejo) prompting him to go on a rampage against those parties who set him up, including a prior boss, and now drug lord. Where the limited skills of actors such as Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, and Steven Segal would likely be a detriment to any other film, the lack of seriousness we are asked to give their characters actually works in the director’s favor.   For once the overacting of Segal was able to be reigned in to only go to a 10 (as opposed to the constant 12) and fit the tone of the character he had to portray.  It is from this context that I think Rodriguez would do quite well making the next comic book franchise film. He can take silly dialogue and often wooden actors hired to portray similarly wooden characters and make it work in the silly genre of action films. Just remove some of the bare tits (of which Machete had plenty) for spandex, and machine guns for super powers, and you're there.
This movie is highly recommended for a blow off night of popcorn and entertainment.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Masked Men and Masked Beer.

With a long weekend ahead, and a house devoid of my significant other, I have free reign to do what I want. And what do I want to do? Drink beer, eat meat, and watch hockey. Last night I hit up Total Wine and More and made a six pack of loose bottles of various IPAs. Being kind of a weird guy, I thought I would do a blind tasting of the single bottles.  Because I have no one to proctor the beer selection, to avoid bias with perceived quality, I have spent part of the morning taping up the bottles to obscure labels and will randomly pick bottles for consumption. I will label each 1-6 in the order that I pull them out of the fridge, and do a short review of each beer. Only once all beers have been consumed will I remove the labels to discover what beer displayed what attributes. 
As I prepare for the drop of the puck to begin an afternoon faceoff between the Thrashers and Oilers, I dig my bottle opener under the taped cap and open the first bottle of India Pale Ale .

#1 (Victory Hop Wallop) - The first sip is all bitterness. No balance with any noticeable sweetness. Grapefruit flavors on the front end, with a lemon zest back end taste. Appearance is golden orange and clear, after up front bitterness the beer mellows out a fair bit.
Thrashers lead 1-0 going into the second period, time for another brew.
#2 (Terrapin Hopsecutioner)- Appearance is a nice rich ruby red color with particulate as if unfiltered. Lighter grapefruit nose than #1. First sip is more balanced, while still bitter, sweetness rounds out the beer, making it very palatable. Flavor is straightforwardly grapefruit in nature. The drink also has a creamy mouth feel.
10 minutes into the second, the thrashers are now up 2-0, and you guessed it, time to pop another top.
#3  (Weyerbacher Hops Infusion)- Appearance of the beer  is reddish brown,  and the lacing is better than that of the previous two beverages. The nose is fairly nonexistent for I cannot really smell much more than a slight bitterness. No distinctive smells are apparent. Mouth feel is clean and crisp. A mild flavor of lemon zest brings forth slight bitterness, with a slight malty backend. It’s an okay IPA, but #2 is still more balanced and had a more robust flavor overall.  
                As I pop the 4th cap of the night, the thrashers are up 3- 1 at the beginning of the third period. As I realize that the beer has frozen, the Oilers notch up a goal on a 2 man advantage power play. Adding to the frustration of my solid state beer, the Oilers get another goal to tie the game, making my wait that much more painful.
                #4 (Bison Organic IPA )-Perhaps too soon, while the beer is still slightly overly frosty, I end my wait and begin to drink. The nose is slightly bitter, with orange and lemon zest notes. This profile continues as I sip it, malt, like last two is present, adding balance and mellowness. The mouth feel is somewhat creamy. Largely the beer is somewhat middle of the road in robustness, leaving a slightly bitter aftertaste, much like watching the Oilers pop another goal, and ultimately a fifth as well with the open net to take the win.   
                With the conclusion of the game I will give my palate a rest and prepare dinner, leaving my last two IPAs as an aperitif to my NY Strip and roasted potatoes. As I consume my dinner I feed my hockey obsession as well, and enjoy jumping from the Ducks/Blues and Leafs/Sens games.  Oh Canada, and oh direct tv.

                #5 (Victory Hop Devil )–This fifth beer is amber in color, and seems to have the most carbonation of the beers I’ve had thus far. Nose is light and reminiscent of grapefruit. The taste is crisp and refreshing, leaving my mouth dry as I swallow it down. The flavor is predominately grapefruit with a delightful apricot note on the backend.  Bitterness is on the lighter side, but present while drinking and becomes more noticeable as an after taste. It appears to be well balanced and full flavored.  Lacing on the glass is excellent. This is my favorite thus far, and ultimately my favorite of the self made sixer.
                #6 (Brooklyn Brewery IPA)– The last beer is also amber, leaning more to orange than brown. Lacing is excellent and will stay present several minutes before dissipating. The nose is faintly orangeish, as is the flavor. Bitterness is on the medium-full side of the spectrum, but just barely, leaving a light bitter aftertaste and a dry, crisp mouth-feel. 

                With each brew, with the exception of the first, which was too heavily handily bitter and sour, all are decent examples of an IPA. All were well balanced and tasty. The fifth, though, was my favorite hitting an excellent stride of hoppyness while being a very good all around beer within the context of the India Pale Ale style.

Happy Drinking –Pope Crisco

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The King Was Bananas.

Happy Sunday all.
                Today I had planned to make a loaf of rye bread for the first time and document the outcome, but the productive Sunday I had envisioned quickly became a leisurely one, so instead I decided to indulge in my past, and make a worse for me version of a childhood treat.
                On the rare occasions in my childhood that my mother would have the day off, and would drive herself and I into downtown Fort Worth, Texas to enjoy lunch with my father we would go to a sandwich shop where my mother would order for me a peanut butter and banana on white bread, with the extra treat of a little bit of honey to add sweetness. Overall this was a not so indulgent meal, for most of the ingredients are healthy in moderation. Feeling a little homesick, yearning for a simpler time in my life, and coming to the realization that I had all the ingredients, I put myself to task to have one for lunch in the near future.
                Somewhere along the way though, a devil discovered this kernel of desire, and added a twist. This devil, I’m sure, was in Memphis in the late 70’s whispering into the ear of Elvis, saying take this nice mostly healthy treat and pan fry that sandwich into new realms of unhealthiness, adding 2 tablespoons of fat to the mix.
                Now, the recipe is quite simple, you’ll need two slices of bread (I had some light wheat from the DeKalb Farmers Market), some creamy peanut butter,  a small banana, honey, and a fair amount of butter or margarine (I used the Splendid Tables recipe for reference).  Simply mash the banana (as opposed to my childhood’s version that used sliced bananas) and spread evenly over a layer PB and  just a touch of honey, closing the bread to close the face. 
Heat your skillet to about medium high, add your fat, and allow to melt. Before the butter starts to burn add the sandwich, grilling/pan frying on both sides for a minute or two to allow toasting and butter infusion of the bread.  I believe the use of firmer bread for the sandwich is a good choice; softer breads I worry would be prone to falling apart.
Cooking the sandwich to the point at which the filling is slightly beginning to ooze out of the bread casing, I take my first bite, and am hit first with the best textured mouth feel I can recall experiencing. The bread has a nice slight crunch to it, that gives way to warm banana and peanut butter, which slides easily across my tongue. The savory butter and bread mingles with the slightly sweet banana and peanut butter mélange, highlighted with the slight glaze of honey.
 “I want another sandwich,” I think to myself before I’ve completed swallowing even the first bite.
Because of the mass of the banana, the bread, and the adhesion of honey and peanut goop to ones ribs, though, this desire is quickly smashed before I’m past the first half of my sandwich, which I believe is a good thing. Having so much desire for something so perfectly easy and wonderful will lead to self destruction easily. Elvis could apparently put 15 of these away at a time, but I will try to keep these a once in blue moon kind of treat.

Pope Crisco 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

CAO Brazillia

Gotham Central Issues 1-5 (In the Line of Duty)

While historically I’ve treated the work of the DC universe (not including the Vertigo group) as a collection of lesser works in the superhero genre, often to be ignored, primarily (and wrongly) based on an “us versus them” mentality as a fan of the Marvel universe, I have recently began delving into this other world.  Of the DC pantheon I’ve usually given a pass to what I would consider their premier property Batman, and so naturally I initially gravitated to various story lines and spin offs to begin wading more deeply into these foreign waters.
One very unique, and now defunct title, is the police procedural Gotham Central, written by Ed Brubaker and Gregg Rucka, and penciled by Michael Lark. While this book has the standard fare of the superhero story, the costumed hero and likewise outfitted villains, the storyline is primarily centered on the struggles of police detectives in a world where the caped crusader exists as both as an ally to the crime problem and as someone who challenges their authority and ability to be an effective crime fighting force.   This book takes a title like Batman and puts it in a very real “Law and Order” context.
The scope of the first five issues follows detective Driver as he and his partner(s) search for a girl believed to be kidnapped, through which the course of the story involves the infamous Mr. Freeze as well as a costumed arsonist. Despite the obvious opportunity for the book to be mired in comic book action, the writers have adeptly put the objective of hunting super villains into the hands of supporting cast members, This allows the pace of the story is not so much dictated by action, but by the realistic leg work of our primary protagonist and his very real world objective.
By the completion of this first leg of this title I have been left wanting more, without feeling that it needed more, and comes with a high recommendation from myself. 

Pope Crisco

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pork and Pipe Smoking

Living in the South Eastern United States one quickly learns to find the best places to dine on swine.  Coming from Texas, where beef barbecue is king, it took me a while to even try pork BBQ, but once I had my first pulled pork sandwich on two pieces of white bread, with the just as alien BBQ sauce that was thin, vinegary and spicy, I knew I had been missing out.
One place that my wife and I enjoy for ribs is a small regional chain known as Dreamland. Based out of Alabama, the company has two Atlanta Metro locations, their only ventures outside their home state.
 While I will say I have had more tender, fall off the bone, pork, the sauce here is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.   
As with most BBQ sauces from the region it is vinegar based, but whereas most are thin, and will soak bread, compromising a piece of white breads integrity,  there sauce is still thick, and will adhere to a piece of white bread, and stick quite nicely to ones ribs, and ones lunch.   Perhaps my enjoyment of their sauce is the happy medium between the sauces of the east and the molasses based sauces that I left in Dallas.
As well as the delicious, smoky and sweet meats that this chain cooks up, the branding of the restaurant also gets points by displaying the founder’s image, clenching a pipe. Being a pipe enthusiast it’s a fresh change of pace to see the hobby so predominately displayed.
Enjoy these pics from Dreamland BBQ, or better yet, find a way to get a slab.   


Intoxico Part II

“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Well, its been over 2 years since I’ve update this blog, I am assuming that about the last time I updated this blog I was starting to post videos and become a part of a very active YouTube community that shares the common obsession of pipe smoking.

Today, this blog will begin anew as a supplemental vehicle to my youtube channel to address other subjects that I often begin to make videos about, but often get discouraged during the process of producing and put aside.

I plan on trying to do one post a week, but will hope to get into the stride of creating content twice a week.

Topics will range from reviews of media, consumable goods and services, to limited rants on the culture which I observe. Perhaps if I get confident enough, even share some fiction. Otherwise, it will be a hodgepodge of unorganized bullshit.

Pope Crisco

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