Shotgun Friday: Hamburgers, the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast.

30 April, 2010

Now that is a tasty burger!–Jules Winnfield

Another Friday, another trip to the random portions of my brain, and today the topic that comes up on the wheel-o-blog: Burgers.

Fitting raiding into a tight work or school schedule can be tough. Things, at times, need to be sacrificed. One of the first things that we sacrifice is sitting down and having a nicely cooked meal.

Well, maybe a lot of you wouldn’t do that anyways because you can’t cook or are afraid to cook, but nevertheless…many raiders will eat a meal or two (or three) over top of their keyboard while clearing trash to the first boss. If you’re headed home and you need something quick to eat, it needs to be fast and it needs to be easy to eat while DPSing, Tanking, or Healing.

My food of choice for raiding (and my favorite meal overall) is the cheeseburger. Properly wrapped and held, it can be eaten with one hand and is a complete meal in one package.

Nothing is more compact, more modular, and more filling than a well made, juicy, delicious cheese burger. The best thing about the burger is that it’s one of the few meals that has a low floor in terms of quality. Your Dad or Grandpa probably cooked you plenty of burgers that were indistinguishable from a hockey puck, but with a good bun and some ketchup and onions, you still had a tasty meal.

Cheeseburgers can be prepared quickly, and, based on the toppings, can skyrocket into the realm of the uber gourmet.

My burger rules:

  1. Medium to Medium Rare if you have the option
  2. The bun must be warm/toasted
  3. All food groups must be represented. Fruits/Vegetables count as one group.
  4. Minimum 1/3lb in weight. Anything else is just a glorified slider. Exception granted if you buy 2 and make them into one burger.

There are few places that can meat the above criteria regularly from trip to trip, but the following joints are my favorite places to get my favorite meal:

5. Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe

A fast food establishment local to the Pittsburgh region that started up in my home town. The burgers served at this (mainly) hot dog emporium are of the quarter pound size so therefore I invoke the exception in rule 4 (hey, when you’re making the rules, you can make how to break them too!).

The picture to the left is obviously not of the burger itself, but it’s a picture of my favorite cheeseburger side-dish: Hot Dog Shoppe Chili and Cheese fries. This is a photo of the large size, but the chili is the magic sauce that brings it all together and makes the HDS my go-to dinner stop.

Two cheeseburgers with bacon and chili, a large fry, and a vanilla shake. That’s all I need to make me happy.

4. Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Excellent place, enormous selection of toppings, and boardwalk fries that you can’t possibly resist. Five Guys takes the classic fast food quarter-pound cheeseburger to a new level. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s how the bun, cheese, meat, and toppings all fuse together into a being of utter deliciousness. Or maybe it’s that their “regular” cheeseburger would be considered a double in other restaurants.

I visited this place almost three times a week when I was at Pitt, and now that there is one just minutes from my office. It’s on my rotation for good!

3. The Backdoor Tavern

A local joint 5 minutes from my house that not only sports a beer list with over 100 selections (plus seasonals), it has a 3/4lb burger on the menu. I usually go for the classic bacon cheeseburger, but there’s also another variation: The Backdoor Burger. A 3/4lb cheeseburger with cheddar cheese, hot pepper cheese, ham, bacon, and onion. Finishing it is an adventure.

Frankly, finishing anything at the Backdoor is a quest in eating. If Subway sandwiches were served at the Backdoor, you would need to double all of the toppings and then rename the 12″ sub to a “Half Sub.” You get your monies worth and you get to do it for a really good price.

Also, can’t forget the Beer Lists. The Backdoor keeps a list on hand for each patron that wants one, if you drink every beer on the list, you get a sweet T-shirt. The list of beers on the list is small compared to the selection, so substitutions are allowed. You can complete multiple lists, but it’s only worthwhile if you’re actually trying to new beers (which is the whole point anyway!).

2. Howard’s Pub

The one place on this list that isn’t within driving distance. Howard’s Pub is located off the coast of North Carolina on Ocracoke Island (Outer Banks territory). Howard’s serves up 1/2lb burgers to order in their beach side bar and grill that sports a beer list with over 200 bottle and 24 draft beers.

There isn’t anything particularly special about them except for their preparation. No flashy names or toppings, just a great cheeseburger. Every patty comes seared perfectly for that nice crusty char taste while keeping in the juices. If we’re talking pure burger flavor, these guys are the kings.

I always get a burger with cheddar, bacon added, cooked medium rare. You won’t find a better a mix of location and delicious food. Unfortunately, it’s 13 hours from my house. Oh well.

1. Red Robin

As they say in the commerical: “Yummmmmm”

It seems like a cop out to go with a national chain of restaurants, but how can you argue with the final product?

You would think that because it’s a franchise and because you go anywhere in the country and get one, you would get a boring, re-used, and at times low quality cheeseburger.

To that I say “no, sir!”

There has never been a time where I have been unsatisfied by the meal crafted for me in the kitchen of my local Red Robin (across the street from the office, no less!). There has also never been a time when I’ve looked outside of the burger section.

Chicken burgers? Sandwiches? SALADS!?

These mere servants of King Burger are there to satisfy the lesser beings that accompany those of us that truly appreciate the above-gourmet category that the Red Robin cheeseburger finds itself in.

The combinations are as varied as they are numerous. There’s the blackened bayou burger sporting a creole mustard with slaw and “angry onions.” Throw on a roasted red pepper and hot pepper cheese to cover all categories and you have yourself a winner.

The bleu cheese and guacamole bacon are another two of my favorites (top right, and left middle, respecitvely), but you really can’t go wrong. Checking off each of the burgers on the list over the past year has been an adventure in Burgerland for this american cuisine conossieur.

Now that I’ve sufficiently worked up my appetite, it’s time to grab a beer, grab a burger, and watch some playoff hockey.
Have a good weekend, folks, and Go Pens!


Shotgun Friday: Shiny Ponies, Mini Robots, Ragnaros, and Pllayyyofffss?

16 April, 2010

It’s a great day for hockey.– “Badger” Bob Johnson

Time to take a little trip around the blog-o-sphere on this beautiful NHL playoff Friday.

Short and sweet, but my blog-o-read-o-matic is rather shallow these days. If you got something you would like to show off, just post it in the comments and I’ll throw it up, I mean, I’ll post it the next time I get a chance.

Random Friday Thoughts

Ponys and Robots

Micro-purchasing in WoW reached a new high (or low to some folks) yesterday with the release of the Celestial Steed and the Lil’ XT mini pet. The Celestial Steed is an account wide mount that’s both ground and air. It scales with your riding skill so you can use it on every one of your characters from level 20 on up. All I have to say about this mount is that it looked cool…until they released it. Now it looks like some bloated ghost pony.

The mini-XT on the other hand is an amazing non combat pet. It smashes trains, it shoots robots, and it makes a lot of noise. I’ll likely be picking one of these up very soon…

GC gave you a pony. Now shut up about it (and fork over $25 US)!

Nagas On Fire

Blizzard released a couple brief previews this week for some of the new Cataclysm zones: Vashj’ir and Mount Hyjal. The latter is going to contain one of the new raids at level 85 (The Firelands) and is something that I’m sure everyone is looking forward to. The Firelands obviously is going to contain one of our old friends, Mr. Ragnaros (or is it just Ragnaros, maybe Sir Ragnaros. I’m not really into the whole brevity thing).

The Firelands needs to have lava that you can tumble into and maybe even some sort of Red Tunic-esque fire prevention item available. I definitely do not want to go back to farming loads of resistance gear, but I think to recapture what made the fight against Ragnaros so epic, it needs some sort of resistance element to it. Gearing up for Rag, the Fire Resist gear, the consumables, all fed into the epic nature of the fight.

Maybe a resistance tabard or cloak linked to reputation?


Strength of Wrynn: 15%

Our projected time-line of four weeks per level is nearing of the end of it’s cycle for the 10% buff (April 27th). We’re currently working on Heroic Putricide in 25s and just starting some attempts in on Heroic Lich King in 10s. This gives us a raid week plus one day to finish up and start work on Sindragosa before we get bumped up another 5%.

The last increase to 10% really opened the flood gates on a lot of hard modes. The way a lot of the timers/benchmarks are looking for the stuff we currently do, 15% is going to put a lot of people up against Heroic Lich King in 25s very soon. The battle for the Realm First Light of Dawn is starting to heat up very quickly.

NHL Playoffs

If you are a casual hockey fan and really enjoyed what you saw from the coolest game on ice in the Olympics, don’t miss a second of the NHL playoffs this year. Every game so far has been absolutely fantastic. Last night two games went into Overtime and ended in the most dramatic fashion possible. The home team has only won twice out of the first 7 games so a lot of series are still really up for grabs.

Go Pens!

Have a great weekend, folks.

Shotgun Friday: Random thoughts on healing and WoW news

26 March, 2010

It’s true that every time you hear a bell, an angel gets its wings. But what they don’t tell you is that every time you hear a mouse trap snap, an Angel gets set on fire.–Jack Handy´╗┐

It’s Friday, it’s time for a nice long weekend of hockey, 10 mans, and bar-b-que. So I thought I would do just a random run down of various things jingling around in my head this week. Some thoughts on DPSing as a Healer, why you should go for the Tier 10 Gloves and Crafted Legs for your healing kit (Shamans), and why Festergut Hard Mode is a gas, gas gas.

Read the rest of this entry »