Category Archives: The Other Food Groups

Of course I love all kinds of foods from sandwiches to pizza to beer. This is where I’ll discuss some of the finer points of being top of the food chain.

The Alaska State Fair

Today marks the glorious return of the NFL.  First game of the season, which they call Sunday Night Football on Thursday night because they are a bunch of unoriginal fucktards.   Same reason that when any quasi-scandal happens they immediately call it whatever-gate.  Deflategate, spygate, Dick-selfie-gate, or whatever we are going to have this year.  They even dubbed the interception last year the “Immaculate Interception.”  They had an entire off-season to come up with something, but no, they just spit out some recycled shit from like 30 years ago.  In the 2 minutes I’ve been writing I could come up with something better…”The Superbowl Giveaway.”  See, not hard.  It wasn’t even that great but it is better than what they put out.  Why even try to be clever though when people are going to watch anyway.  That’s why people like John Madden and Joe Buck have careers.  You could have John Madden farting on a xylophone for 2.5 hours and people would still just mute it and watch the game.  But I digress.  Thursday night football also means that my posts will be more regular.  Eat a cheeseburger on Wednesday, write about it on Thursday while watching football.  Unfortunately they closed the sports bar on post that I would frequent and drink (by myself) while writing.  So now I have to sneak my booze into the day room in the barracks, use the free wi-fi and order pizza.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Here is my Thursday night football kick off.

I’ve eaten a lot of burgers since my last post.  Don’t worry, you will hear about them.  However, I’m kicking off the blog season with a post about the Alaska State Fair.  I grew up in Puyallup, Washington.  A small/medium-sized town in the suburbs of Seattle (hence my love of the Seahawks).  Puyallup has the 4th largest fair in the country.  The fair is a big deal and growing up there is “fair day.” From elementary school through high school on fair day you get a free ticket and a day off of school to attend the Puyallup Fair.  It is not just locally, it is all of western Washington.  Everything from the pig races to the scones to the hypnotist are fond memories of every Washingtonian’s childhood/adulthood.  I love fairs but my 15 years in Michigan deprived me of this joy.  When I got stationed in Alaska and people talked about the fair I got excited.  As an adult a care less about the rides and the pig races as much as I care about the food and the beer tents.  With my memories of the Puyallup Fair there was no way I was not going to be disappointed even though I knew not to get excited.  Outside of the 2×4 Jenga, the beer tents were Alaska priced and disappointing, the rides lacked, people watching was prime (but that is true anywhere in Alaska), but the food…the food fucking killed it.

The first place (besides the Sluice Box) that I had to hit was Gourmet Burgers, home of the famous “Doughnut Burger.”  They have some other burgers on the menu that look absolutely delicious but a fair is the for the freak show.  This is by far the most novel burger I have tried.  It is basically a breakfast with a burger patty.  You get your burger with bacon, cheddar, a fried egg all sandwiched between a glazed doughnut.  It was delicious, and at the same time it is nothing I will ever eat again.  You have to try it, but if I wasn’t at a fair I would never think about getting this monstrosity of calories.  I would compare it to a fancy McGriddle, only it cost me about 5x as much.  It is the burger version of an Alaskan strip club.  You know it’s expensive, you know it’s not that great, you go for it anyway, and yet you have zero regrets when it is all over.

Second stop was M.A.’s Gourmet Dogs…immediately after the burger.  M.A.’s has been featured on T.V. but I can’t remember what shows.  They do have one of the best reindeer sausage in town and there are some bomb.com reindeer sausage carts downtown.  I decided to switch it up since I don’t think I could pick a best reindeer sausage in town and see what else they had.  I went with their Louisiana Hot Link, I added sauerkraut, Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Mustard, and Sriracha.  Fuck yeah.  I even got props from the vendor for my creativity in condiments.  The first thing I noticed though was that the link filled up the bun in a matrimonial pairing.  Next, the link was spicy, add the Sriracha, sweet mustard and cut from the sauerkraut and it’s a party in your mouth.  If any one visits me in the next 3 months, I will take you to M.A.’s downtown, you’re welcome in advance.

Third and final food stop was on the way out. After all the shenanigans I had enough money left over for some tacos for myself and my friends as we departed.  We wondered the grounds searching for what looked like the best tacos and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t wrong.  It just said “Steak Tacos.” Sold.  Solidly filled with seasoned steak, all the taco fixings and their spicy salsa.  Now, I have had better tacos in many places outside of Mexico.  Mexican Town in Detroit, Southern California, pretty much anywhere in the lower 48.  But in Alaska you have some bullshit Mexican so this was a nice treat.  One taco is not much but this is pretty much a fair spot.  Only grip I have is that they use one soft corn tortilla.  That shit falls apart when you look at it wrong.  You need two to hold that glory together.  But their salsa made up for it, so I’ll give em a break.  Plus they are raping consumers with fair prices and cutting corners, can’t blame them it was the end of the night either, they may have been running low.  I’d eat it again.

All in all the fair trip was a success.  Big Jenga, good food and Alaskan beer all with good friends.  And now that I have drank about half a fif of Evan Williams and eat a whole large pizza its time for me to chill and watch the end of this game…and maybe finish that fif and regret it tomorrow at PT.  Deuces.

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F Street Station: The Cheeseburger

Writer’s block, cheeseburger block, what ever you want to call it.  I’ve eaten a lot of cheeseburgers in Anchorage and a lot of them are pretty fucking plain.  F Street doesn’t change the game.  Cuisine in Anchorage is very bland, across the board, the cheeseburgers are no different.  There is an unfortunate reality of the types of burgers, you have bar cheeseburgers, Chinese takeout/borderline fast food burgers, and then Tommy’s and Arctic Roadrunner.   To be honest, there are an infinite amount of better burgers in the lower 48 than those two.  But here I am, in Anchorage, eating mediocre burgers.  I’m not going to stop eating burgers, average burgers are better than no burgers, but seriously, how hard is it to make a cheeseburger?

F Street’s burger is alright, but not great.  It’s somewhere in the middle of the pack in Anchorage.  This is a good place to hang out, if you’re there and want a burger it will do.  I would suggest trying something else, but whatever.  Fuck it, their fries are decent but I’m over it, time to move on.

Just to put it out there I kind of like F Street as a bar.  They have some of the best fish and chips in town (although most places with halibut fish and chips have good fish and chips).  They have a huge block of Tillamook cheese at the bar that you can just eat.  So why am I so salty?  I have no idea.  I’m in a bad mood and F Street’s burger is taking the blunt of it.  All things considered I should be in a good mood.   Day two of a four-day week, whiskey before noon, the Warriors tied up the series last night, I’m dog sitting and took them up a mountain yesterday, I’ve shot my bow every day this week, and I’ve binge watched netflix almost every night.  So what the fuck?  I just want to hit a burger joint and be impressed.  Burgers in Anchorage are like the Detroit Lions.  Yeah, they show up every week, and I watch them every week, but even when they win they still disappoint.  They flash signs of brilliance on offense, but I’m pretty sure I could throw for 20 TD’s if I had Megatron on the other end of my passes.  Jump balls all day and that freak show will pull in about 80% of them.  Doesn’t mean Stafford is a pro-bowler.  Hell, they couldn’t do shit when they had arguably the greatest running back of all time, Barry Sanders.  The potential in Anchorage is huge.  The biggest city in the last frontier and is loaded with oil money.  Yet Humpy’s is one of my favorite places to eat.  It’s the Jason Hanson of bars.  He isn’t Barry Sanders, he is a kicker.  An old, reliable kicker.  Played more games for the Lions than anybody and is third in the NFL history in points scored.  Never lets you down, you know exactly what you are getting.  But how many #10 jersey’s do you see?  None.  Where am I going with this?  No idea.  I guess I’m still looking for that Barry Sanders burger, but I’ll always have the Jason Hanson.  Either way, I’m still rooting for the Lions.

AmVets: The Heart Attack Special

I enjoy a good food challenge from time to time.  Shit, I’ve been known to eat a monster sandwich when the opportunity arises.  Reminds me of one of my favorite motivational quotes…”Any pizza is a personal pizza, if you try hard enough”…  Not exactly sure who said that but it was probably somebody awesome like Ghandi, or Carrot Top.  This brings me to the Heart Attack Special.  As you can see on the menu below this beast packs enough meat to choke Pamela Anderson.  With 1/2 pound of beef, 1/2 pound of spicy Italian sausage, ham, bacon, 6 slices of cheese and a fried egg it’ll fill you up.  They also, don’t use buns, they use grilled cheese sandwiches to hold this glorious bastard together.

A good friend of mine has been talking about taking me to this event for a while and it never lined up in our schedules until now.  It happens on Friday’s during the winter months here in Anchorage (so almost year round) and the reviews have been well received.   Another friend of mine just got back from Kosovo and we decided to move our weekly Ale House visit to the burger party.  People underestimate my stomach all the time, its OK, I don’t hold it against them.  But when they start talking shit is when I have to put them in their place.

I was late to the party do to a ‘work event’ that went about 5 hours longer than it should have.  My friend, I’ll call him Nancy for the amount he bitched, decided to order the Heart Attack as well, in an effort to show me up before I could even get there.  Of course I got berated with text messages and pictures of Nancy eating this burger while I’m putting in real work.  I don’t know the exact head start Nancy had, but it was at least 45 minutes.  He She was down to about 4 bites left by the time I got there.  I still came within minutes of slaying this beast in his her face. All I heard was excuses about his huge vagina small stomach, the sausage was too hot, so on and so forth.  It took me roughly 25 minutes to put this one in the book.  I’ll give Nancy some credit, she finished though (unlike most girls I take out).  So he she can write home about that.

I think there is another burger night left this season, and I’ll head back for a real cheeseburger.  This was a great burger but no way I can put it in the running for best burger in Anchorage.  It would be like putting Miguel Cabrera up against a high school kid in a home run derby.  They don’t even belong in the same ball park.  The Heart Attach was delicious on top of being a novelty.  Everything about it makes me think this place has some good as burgers.  Fat cooks, juicy patties and melty cheese.  Keep an eye out for another review on this place.  Hopefully Nancy will have manned up by then.

    

Some BBQ Place: Ribs and Potato Salad

I had a nice review lined up for this place because it wasn’t bad. It’s a food truck that stands up for the food truck community. Unlike the garbage Varsity Grill. But after yesterday’s Super Bowl I’m more or less at a loss for words.

It wasn’t the best ribs I’ve ever had, my own are much better, but they didn’t stick to the bone and were nice and meaty. They make their own BBQ sauce that was pretty good but the authentic smokey flavor was slightly astray.

Outside of that it was your basic Dallas Cowboys. Lots of hype, looks good on paper and fools most people into thinking it’s better than it is. Surprise mother fuckers, this isn’t my first rodeo, I know better. I heard lots of people talk it up and I attribute that to those same people eating army chow for 3 straight days before trying it. They have obviously never been to a real BBQ joint, or stopped at the Rite Aid parking lot of Wixom Road where that one brother sets up his giant BBQ and sells that shit out of his truck. That’s some good BBQ. Everything here was pretty much off the shelf items like Heinz mustard with Costco potato salad, coleslaw and rolls. I didn’t try the baked beans, but I’m not worried I missed anything.

But really, how do you not give the ball to Marshawn?

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DeFalco’s Italian Deli and Grocery: Meatball Sub

My dad is the one who found this place.  He saw it on Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins.  However, this place in not any of those three.  Not even close, it’s a deli, exactly like it says in the their name.  So Guy Whats-his-name is an idiot and part of the reason I don’t watch his show.  I’ll take Iron Chef Bobby Flay all day, every day.  That guy can cook.  Guy went to UNLV to study hotel management, owns a couple of restaurants and sells shit on TV.  Bobby Flay dropped out of high school to work in a restaurant eventually getting his tuition paid for to the International Culinary Center.  He is an Iron Chef, and if you have never seen this show it is awesome.  Bobby Flay was on the original Japanese series, before Iron Chef America, in a special show down against Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.  He lost this battle but won a rematch later in Iron Chef Morimoto’s home country of Japan. Flay is also the owner and executive chef of Bobby’s Burger Palace (among other upscale restaurants around the nation), so a chef who specializes in something close to my heart.  But I’m getting away from the point here.

Aside from Guy being a moron and not knowing what this place is, it is actually an exquisite little Italian shop.  With olive oil and balsamic vinegar from a vast array of Italian cities.  Wine from all over the world.  A decent beer selection to choose from.  Almost anything you need to cook Italian food and some great Italian deli meat and sausages to choose from.  They have table scattered around the deli and a little menu counter in the back to order some food, and a pick up counter up from for carry out orders.  They even have a small patio but apparently 65 degrees is too cold for the locals so it wasn’t open.

At DeFalco’s I decided to order the meatball sub.  They didn’t have burgers and it has been a hot minute since I had a great meatball sub.  It has still been a hot minutes since I had a great meatball sub.  Don’t get me wrong, this was a good sandwich but not what I expecting.  Personally I like a lot of basil in my Italian food.  Tomato sauces, meatballs, these should all have that distinct, sweet taste and aroma of basil.  These meatballs were lacking in the Italian authenticity I was hoping for from all classic Italian spices you know so well.  Almost like meatloaf balls instead of meatballs.  The sub roll was so-so and the whole thing did not have enough cheese.  I did see them bring out some pizza that looked alright, my dad got the Italian sausage sandwich and that was probably better.  I later find out that they have gotten good reviews for their phillies which leaves me a little more disappointed since I’ll crush a philly.  We brought back some excellent salami, pastrami and hot Havarti cheese for snacks, threw in some sausage for dinner tomorrow night.  All-in-all a stop worth while, and I would frequent this place is I lived in the area.  But two lessons I learned. Guy Fieri is still an idiot and I should have ordered the philly.

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Burrito Heaven: The Globe

Usually whenever block leave comes around I take full advantage of the time off. This year I decided to take a little less leave to save up for terminal leave coming in the fall. This meant that I had to spend a few day on rear detachment before signing out. On rear D you get half days, which is nice, but it also means the most mundane details officers can think of, like cleaning the walls in the day room and moving vending machines. Pretty much just something to keep you busy so the army can justify you having to work at least 2 hours a day after PT. Don’t even get me started on the amount of formations you have in a half day on rear D.

On Friday, my last day of rear D before signing out, ducking every detail possible like any soldier would. Approached with the idea of getting a breakfast burrito I had to accept. Of course I already ate breakfast after PT, but I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to disappear for an hour or so. Plus it’s a breakfast burrito, seriously, how could I say no? Even if I just ate, you offer me food I’m going to eat again. We head out to Burrito Heaven. I’ve heard of this place plenty yet had failed to try it my whole time up here. Located just outside the Boniface gate on the Air Force side of base. I had some instructors in town to teach a school I was in go there almost every day the six weeks they were here. Set up like any other burrito place you have been to, the assembly line of options from left to right for you to customize your Mexican treat. These aren’t the biggest burritos I’ve had, but they are a local place and not a chain which is what I look for.

The burrito was fantastic. The Globe is their biggest of the breakfast burritos and comes with eggs, hash browns, sausage gravy and all 4 meats they offer (ham, bacon, reindeer sausage, chorizo). I topped it off with cilantro, onions, chipotle and habanero salsa. It had a great mix of all ingredients so there was no filler taking up 75% of the burrito like rice at Qdoba. I know have to go back and try some of their non breakfast options. This will replace any Qdoba burrito I may think about getting as long as I live in Alaska. Well done Burrito Heaven, well done. They also cater, if you are throwing a fancy party or some shit, so that’s cool too.

That unmistakable look of a great burrito.

That unmistakable look of a great burrito.

Humpy’s: The Christmas Party

 

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The Humpy’s employee Christmas party is a hard ticket to come by.  Once a year on a Sunday Humpy’s closes the bar and has their Christmas party.  Each employee can bring one guest.  As you can see the food was amazing.  Prime rib, crab legs, shrimp, and much more.  I ate so much I got the meat sweats, and it was glorious.  This party is also infamous for being the best shit show in town.

Just imagine, you are in one of the more popular bars in town and everything is on the house.  Open bar, dude!  So everyone from cooks to waitresses to the owners are just getting lit up.  Now the only problem with this is that is on a Sunday.  Being in the military I have to start work pretty early on Monday morning, and it’s PT, so not a walk in the park.  I try to tell myself that I won’t drink too much, but come on, if anybody knows me they know that I won’t turn down a drink if offered.

I wish I remember a little more since this post is kind of boring.  Although I was told this was a more mild Christmas party compared to years past.  I was promised people getting kicked out and random make out sessions but saw none of this.  The dance floor did pick up, even with the worst DJ they could find.  He was playing Phil Collins early in the night, seriously.  But when the small Asian guy starts break dancing it gets better.

At some point around 22:30-23:00 I stopped remembering things.  I did find my text message to my ride about midnight to come pick me up.  Holy fuck was this morning rough.  I was late to PT for the first time in over 3 years, had a solid 2 day beard going on, wore unauthorized socks, just the opposite of what a good soldier looks like.  I was supposed to be at the gym at 06:00, woke up to one of the privates pounding on my door at 06:15 with several missed calls from my leadership.  Thank god it was my first time ever being late and I didn’t get my balls crushed.  A few extra laps and got my ass chewed, but I’m mostly proud I didn’t puke.  I was told it was “some old army bullshit” and that we can’t operate that way anymore.  Showing up wasted apparently sets a bad example for the younger soldiers underneath me.

After PT, I skipped breakfast and went to my room to sleep.  At lunch I skipped chow to go back and sleep.  Got released around 14:00, I went home and slept.  Got up about 16:30 to watch the MNF football game.  I could have slept until tomorrow but I’m not a little bitch, I have things to do.  I brushed my teeth like 6 times today and no matter what I did my teeth still had sweaters on them all day long.  It was rough.  I might not even be recovered at PT tomorrow.  Totally worth it.

 

My date for the evening.

My date for the evening.

Guinness and Jameson, the downfall of my good judgement.

Guinness and Jameson, the downfall of my good judgement.

Army-Chow: The Bane of my Existence

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I want to start by saying that I do not regret joining the army what so ever.  However, it at times drives me bat shit crazy.   It does amazing things, like win wars, but day to day it can seem to have no idea what is going on.  I am here to define a new word called “army-chow”

Army-chow (ahr-mee chou):

Noun: 1) the wildly mediocre and small portions of food served in the DFAC or chow hall.

Verb Phrase: 1) The process or ability to take something that would be normal, or sometimes satisfying and completely stripping it down to the point it drives disdain deep into the soul of the end user.

Example: “Bro, they really army-chowed the shit out of that army chow”

 

I’ll describe a little bit about where this word originated from. As you can see in the picture above, I eat most of my meals at the chow hall.  I am forced to do so by being forced to have a meal plan and live in the barracks (something else the army army-chows the fuck out of, but I won’t get into that).  That is obviously not a very large portion of anything.  This was after a rather strenuous ruck march we did and I was pretty fucking hungry.  Well in the chow hall, and most things in the army, nothing is decided on the individual, it is a blanket standard or policy that covers all.  So it doesn’t matter if a 210 lb mortarman comes in after a long ruck and is preparing to go to the field for three days, or a 110 lb girl who sits at a desk all day comes in.  You get the same portions.  You can count them, nine tater tots.  Sometimes you don’t even get that many.  Sure they have a little fruit bar and what not, but 95% of the time all it is in honey dew and melon, I fucking hate melon.  I want bacon, eggs, sausage, potatoes and they hand it out like it is worth its weight in gold.  I love breakfast food, it is the one meal that I try to never miss, my favorite meal of the day and the army has to go army-chow the shit of it.

Before I go get my drink on here is an example of how the army will army-chow anything.  I had a 4 day week this week.  Normally that would be satisfying since we do work hard at times.  Well, after it getting army-chowed I still put in about 50 hours in those 4 days.   I’ll spare the details because it could get lengthy.  But after my Humpy’s Xmas Party incident, the week just went down hill.  Monday I find out I have staff duty on Tuesday, a 24 hour shift of BS.  Then find out I have a jump Thursday, which includes pre-jump at 13:00 on my recover day.  Then jump day I sat on a bird in my parachute harness with a ruck for 5 hours just to not jump and get off 4 hours later than I was supposed to.  Of course non of this can ever get put out in advance to plan and prepare for.  Just add the inevitable possibility that someone army-chows my 3 day weekend.  At least I have beer and football tonight.

The Carnegie Reuben: Not for Little Bitches (Mike Yash)

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So no shit there I was, on leave, in NY visiting my cousin and on a mission to find the best sandwiches on the east coast.  I of course already ran a train through Philly crushing cheese steaks like it was my job.  Well if you know anything about sandwiches, you know Carnegie Deli.  It is the overpriced tourist trap that serves some really good meats.  I of course get one of my favorite deli treats, the reuben.  Corned beef or course, and if you don’t like reuben I really don’t want to talk to you.  But this monster is a $28 mountain of corned beef, about half a wheel of swiss, sauerkraut for days and basically a whole bottle of thousand island.  As I sat there devouring this beast I saw families come through and be defeated splitting lesser meals.  From start to finish this took me about an hour to complete.  I probably could have gone the next three days with out eating, but of course that wasn’t going to happen.  This was like playing Mike Tyson’s Punch Out without the game genie or cheat codes.  It can be done start to finish and you do it just to prove you can do it, but takes a systematic approach and the drive to get through the monotony of being the likes of King Hippo and Don Flamenco.  You know how to beat it, and still have to go through every punch one at a time until that third knock down.   But once you beat Mike Tyson without a cheat code, you are a legend.  Forever.