Tag Archives: armylife

Nitro Burger: The Nitro Burger

There aren’t a lot of people that read this blog and those that do (holla) are mostly my military buddies up here in Alaska.  So for the few that aren’t and were not on this 11 day field exercise I will explain a little bit how shitty going to the field is.  First of all, it’s not like your family camping trip, you don’t plan around the weather.  It is safe to assume that if you are going to the field it is going to rain.  No tent, no campfire, no booze, pretty much take every thing that you like about camping and throw it off a bridge into a fiery river of misery.  Next, we don’t get to drive there, no, we sit crammed into a flying tin can with about 75lbs of “equipment” that they tell you to pack sitting on your lap cutting off circulation to your legs while wearing a 50lb parachute on a mesh seat.  I don’t care how scared of heights you are there is nothing that will stop you from hitting that door with the same furry as Kam Chancellor hitting a TE from San Fran.  Then you get about 45 seconds of relief before smashing all 300lbs of yourself and gear onto a goddamn runway.  No matter how good you are at PLF’s, you pretty much feel like you got hit by a truck.  This is then followed by 4 days for carrying heavy shit around, sleeping in the rain, and cramming an MRE (meal-ready-to-eat) into your pie hole when you get the chance.  So, with that background knowledge bomb all up in your head, I’ll get to this burger.

On the way back from this field event, they decided to bus us straight to a second field event.  The one perk the entire time was that we got to stop in Glenn Allen to get some snacks, drop a grumpy, or whatever you want to do.  This is the first time that this food truck was there, Nitro Burger.  The new guy in my section said he stopped there on his way up here and they have some bomb burgers.  No brainer, I’m getting a burger and smashing it into my face.  I of course go with their signature ‘Nitro Burger.’ This burger consists of 1/3lb burger patty, sausage patty, two cheeses, bacon, grilled onions and jalapenos. It looks unimposing in the picture, and it all reality it probably was.  But after a 4 day suck fest and eating MRE’s it tasted like the best thing I put in my mouth since that last fish taco I ate.  I will give them props that their patties are all fresh pressed and one of the things they do with their other burgers is mix different ingredients into the patty that adds a tremendous amount of flavor to the meat, which should be the focal point of your burger.  With the Nitro the sausage patty had a rich sage flavor to it that overpowered the beef patty.  Don’t get me wrong, sausage is great, in the military I’ve been to my fair share of sausagefests, however, I wanted a burger.  The way I would describe it is like this.  You meet this great girl and you guys start dating.  Things pick up a little bit, nothing super serious, but enough that stop trolling for strange.  So she decides to have you over for a dinner party with a bunch of her friends.  Well you get dressed to impress and are ready to convince the jury that you are worthy only to find out that her friend is banging hot.  Now for the entire party you are distracted by her hot friend in the tube top and mostly forget about your wonderful burger patty to the point you get yourself in trouble.  Overall an enjoyable evening, but when you leave you really forgot what your original intentions where.  But in about 85 days when I begin Cheeseburgers Across America, I will definitely stop and try one of their other burgers.  If you ever drive through Alaska, Glenn Allen will be on your way and I suggest you stop and get a sammie from these bitches.

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.

    

Baby’s Badass Burgers: The Original Beauty

As I sit here during my last night in this shit hole called Fort Irwin I feel it’s appropriate to make my final review. Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day, and as is tradition I don’t have a date. But hey, at least I got fucked this year (thanks Obama…). Baby’s Badass Burgers (or Titty Burger as my brothers in Comanche Co so affectionately dubbed it) is close enough, and probably more satisfying anyway. We all I know how I feel about my burgers. The name Titty Burger came about either due to the pin ups painted on the truck, or because the girl taking your order coincidentally wears very low-cut shirts and has to bend over to take your order. Hard to say no to that $3.00 can of soda with those headlights shining right in your eyes. I wouldn’t say it isn’t worth it since we have been living on cots in a warehouse with 150 other dudes for almost 40 days.

This is the burger truck I wanted to try in the first place when I had to go to that turd factory, Varsity Grill. If you happen to watch shitty reality TV, I hate you, but you have also probably heard of this place already. They appeared on ‘The Shark Tank’ where people pitch their stupid ideas in hopes that rich people will “invest” in them. Baby’s also claims best burger in LA according to the Travel Channel. Getting food advice from the Travel Channel would be the equivalent of getting your political advice from P. Diddy.

All that aside though this burger was tits. Just all around fantastic. I’m not giving it extra points because I’ve been eating field chow for the last 5 weeks either. The Original Beauty comes with swiss cheese melted over sautéed onions and mushroom with Baby’s Sauce. Thick, juicy, hand pressed patties cooked to perfection. A good pink throughout the patty that would drip on your hands with out disintegrating the bun. I would say that 90% of the time when a place has their own “sauce” it is just thousand island. Not the Baby’s, it was actually an original flavor that complimented the beefiness superbly. Couldn’t tell you what it was but I liked it. I may never know if this is the best burger in LA (not that I won’t try) but it blows the pants off almost all the shit I get in Anchorage. The fries where on point as well. Reminded me of the ghetto fries the cook would make us back at Kettering in Flint, MI. Whatever seasoned salt they used did the trick. In conclusion, if you get a chance you should flag down this food truck, it’s what dreams are made of.

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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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Sami’s Varsity Grill: 1/3lb Cheeseburger

As I sit here at Ft. Irwin approaching the half way point to this little “adventure” I am realizing that my posts are almost non-existent. Mostly because there isn’t much to report on here, and it’s also a pain to post from my phone. However, there were a couple of opportunities for some cuisine that doesn’t come from plastic packaging.

When we first got here and shacked up in the RUBA there was a handful of food trucks that gave the soldiers an option to buy some food. Yes, the army chow provided is “free,” but it is only served twice a day, so lunch you can either eat an MRE or buy something. I personally love food trucks, as any freedom loving American should. If you have ever been to Portland it’s part of the culture of the city. You can even download an app that will tell you everything you need to know about all the food trucks around the city. New York has the hot dog carts, pretzel carts and falafel stands on almost every corner. Anchorage has the reindeer sausage stands all over downtown that sell some bomb ass sausages and brats well into the late night/early morning hours. If you ever get the chance to hit up Arts, Beats and Eats in Royal Oak, MI I would highly suggest it, food trucks like whoa. Hell, even in Juarez, Mexico if you want a tasty treat go find the cholo slanging tacos on the side of the road.

Down here I was trying to save some money to spend on booze when I get back to Alaska by eating as much army chow as possible. However, as hard as I tried I couldn’t resist the allure of the food trucks. When I finally broke down I obviously went for the cheeseburger stand.

The line wasn’t that long, maybe seven people in front of me. Well, an hour later I finally got to put in my order. Yes, one whole fucking hour at a food truck. Shit, at half an hour I thought about walking away but I committed at that point. I gave them the benefit of the doubt thinking maybe they were cooking them as they were ordered. They also serve hot dogs so maybe not everyone is ordering a burger (not really sure how hot dogs would slow things down though). I finally get to the front of the line and the mother fuckers aren’t even using the grill at this time. Ol’ Boy is back there cleaning the grill, and Fat Boy gets me my 1/3 pound burger out of a warming tray. On top of this, they were out of bacon. Once I finally got the chance to eat this burger it was plain as fuck. Not really any other way to explain it. The bun was fine, the cheese melted but the patty itself was just kind of there and was cooked very very thoroughly. I should have just hit up an MRE if I knew I was going to be this disappointed.

So, if you see this rolling turd of a food truck serving up burgers in your area, avoid it. Not only will you be disappointed, you will be late for wherever you were going. Even if you have nowhere to be at anytime in particular, you will be late and unsatisfied. They also claim “World famous chili cheese dogs.” Sorry broskie, you aren’t National or American Coney Island so nobody gives a shit about your hot dogs. All you really need is some ball parks, Hormel and a bucket of cheese wiz and you have a solid chili cheese dog. You could even switch out the ball park with a cardboard tube and I’d probably still eat the mother fucker. Not even going to waste my time on their fries, there is no point.

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Yoga: Whatever

As you may have noticed this site is Yoga and Cheeseburgers.  I touch on it slightly in How It Started.  Yes, I did have done do yoga.  I also did a zumba class so I could hang out with my friend when I was on leave one summer.  I’ve had my chest waxed after losing a bet (thanks Red Wings).  I wore a bunny onsie when I was drunk at Eater. Whatever, I like hanging out with friends and having fun, sometimes it backfires.  This last summer in Alaska I broke my thumb playing in a co-ed soccer game.  This took me from working out twice a day to working out zero times a day.  With the amount of food that I eat and beers that I drink I started gaining weight.  It happens.  With the profile I was on at work it limited me to not doing anything that made me sweat.  Casts smell bad enough as it is after six weeks, imagine running every day with one on.  Of course for three months I had to hear every NCO (who is automatically an expert in everything ever once they get stripes) give me shit and say “what does a broken thumb have to do with running…” Other than the fact that I had a direct order from and officer, and real doctor, not to do so, many other reasons.  This led to yoga in the park.  The Alaska Club teams up with a local radio station and puts on free Yoga in the park.  A friend of mine wanted to start getting back in shape, and I needed something to do to keep me sane and get me out of the barracks.  It then lead to getting cheeseburgers after every yoga session (a little counter productive, but worth it).  Besides, if you have never been outside during the summer in Alaska, then you are missing out.

First of all, yoga is not really exercise.  It really isn’t even close.  We would stand in some funny positions, and do about six push ups over the hour.  I probably burned more calories driving downtown from post than I did during the actual “work out.”  It should also be very clear that yoga is not pilates.  Joseph Pilates, a German born physical-culturalist, developed the system in the early 20th century as a way for strengthening your core, improving flexibility and alignment of some other shit.  Many athletes and dancers used it to improve their balance.  He studied yoga and there are similarities between the disciplines activities with the whole mind/body/breathing thing, but they are still very different.  It would be like comparing weight lifting to cross fit.  Yes you use weights in both, but they are two completely different worlds.

Yoga on the other hand is not about physical fitness.  At least that is not how I perceive it.  Yoga is a much older practice that has become as highly commercialized as college football. Originating in India thousands of years ago (which I presume is before anyone cared about physical fitness) yoga is more a form of meditation.  I’m sure that there are more advanced yoga classes than free yoga in park because they have to keep it simple for the extreme variety of people who show up.  But in that sense it was still relaxing being outside in the summer time, surrounded by girls in yoga pants.  Relaxing is a slept upon way to help control weight gain.  Stress can throw your whole system off in negative ways.  There is some science behind that, but I don’t know it exactly and don’t want to look it up.  You can’t deny though how good it feels when you are on vacation.  This relaxing didn’t necessarily help me control my weight.  I still blew up 15 pounds over the 12 weeks I was on profile.  I would have to assume it was the mass amounts of cheeseburgers I ate.  I still ate like I worked out twice a day, but really just did yoga once a week.  Even though it ended both my soccer and baseball seasons, I enjoyed the shit out of that summer.

This brings me to the philosophy of Yoga and Cheeseburgers.  To me they are one and the same.  To quote a great man, Ron Swanson “Fishing relaxes me.  It’s like yoga, except I still get to kill something.” I won’t tell anyone to go do yoga in park if they don’t want to.  Yoga works for many people, but it isn’t for everyone.  Find your own yoga in whatever it is you do.  It can be anything from fishing/hunting to weightlifting to walking your dog or actual yoga.  For me it is cheeseburgers and beer, sometimes pizza, and then working off all those calories anyway I can.  Just whatever you do, don’t be an asshole.  Nobody likes and asshole.  Now I have to go run off this day whiskey I’ve been drinking and get back to drinking.

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.

Ted Stevens International: Of Course it’s Humpy’s

Traveling can be stressful, that is why they put bars in airports. Ted Stevens here in Anchorage is small, which is nice since it took me about 7 minutes to check in, check my bag and get through security. Reminds me a lot of Flint Bishop. The only problem with that is that they are very limited on bars. I always go to Humpy’s, for obvious reasons. Besides, my other choice is Chilis Too and some other place I don’t remember. A smaller menu but basically the same as in town. I’d say the halibut burger is good, but come on, it’s a fish sandwich not a burger.

One thing they don’t screw up is the beer, a much smaller selection but mostly Alaska brewed beers and some Oregon brews from Deschutes and Widmer. I usually run into another soldier traveling out for leave somewhere. That isn’t always a blessing though. About a year ago sitting in this exact spot with my friend Baca, two of our other friends show up. Well they were already so drunk that they immediately got kicked out when trying to order a beers. One was on the same flight as Baca and the other on my flight about an hour later. We decide to split and keep an eye on these guys, as we should.

Well Baca took off and they got on the plane with no issue. I, however, had my hands full. We spent about 20 minutes walking around trying to find a smoking area that doesn’t exist because he just had to have a smoke. Eventually he gave up, went into the bathroom and power hit a Newport in the bathroom for about a minute and bailed before security was able to get there. We headed to a different bar and ordered a beer. Well the gentleman sitting next to us immediately pinned us as military and wanted to buy us a beer. Well my buddy’s response was “Fuck you!” Then he got up and walked away. Interesting strategy. I stuck around, had a beer and entertained this “veteran.” Wether he served or not, I don’t care, he was a nice guy doing a nice gesture.

I finish my beer and go on a mission to find my buddy, who God knows where he wandered off too. Barely coherent at this point I found him wandering the terminal luckily not far from our gate. I muster him up and we go to get on board. He can’t find his boarding pass. We spend a few minutes looking through is his stuff, he “checks” his pockets and still nothing. I take him up to the counter at the gate to get a new one and it took about 5 words before they said “no way, you are way to drunk to get on this flight, we are calling security…” Well shit, not sure what to do at this point. The flight attendant looks over at me “what the fuck do you need?” I show her my boarding pass and say nothing. She then strongly suggests I get on the flight. I’m not missing my Christmas vacation in Cali because my boy can’t handle his booze. I say good luck as security walks up and I board the plane with no issues.

I get a phone call the next day from my buddy asking me what happened the day before since he didn’t remember. He also didn’t call me first since he thought he was with my other buddy the whole night. I recap the story as I did above. He was lucky enough to get a new flight out two days later and didn’t have to cancel his whole vacation. Which can happen because our whole brigade goes on the leave the same time so seats on outbound going flights fill up fast and prices skyrocket. It turns out his boarding pass was in his chest pocket the whole time and he was too drunk to realize it. Moral of the story…well there isn’t really a moral, just don’t suck at travel drinking.

Humpy’s: Again and Again

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Well this was a pleasant surprise. My buddy Mendez and I went to basic training together, airborne school together, both got stationed here in Alaska and were in the same section together. He gets out of the army next weekend because he had the foresight to only sign up for 3.5 years instead of the 4.5 that I did. Of course I have to take him out for a “few” drinks before he leaves. I took him on a bar tour of downtown away from the clubs he usually frequents.

First stop is obviously Humpy’s. I didn’t even plan on eating when we went out but our waitress (who was also my date for the Xmas party) pointed out the burger special they had going on. They always have some kind of burger special which is typically their regular burger with a twist. But this one was the A1 Steak Burger. Ground sirloin instead of the regular chuck, provolone and an A1-blue cheese sauce to top it off. Goddamnit this burger was good. Cooked to perfection, the cheese was melty as all hell and you could taste the steak in it. Dripping with flavor and one of the few times it wouldn’t be inappropriate to tell someone to smell your fingers. Originally on the menu for $25 but I got for $14. People like me. Follow that up with a couple PB&J’s (24 oz. PBR and shot of Jameson, not the sandwich) and this night started off right. If they had this burger every day they would be moving up on the list, but unfortunately it was only a one night stand. Not one of those regrettable ones either. This is one where you’re kicking yourself for screwing it up by sneaking out at 07:00 and calling your buddy to come pick you up at the intersection down the street when you really should have stayed for breakfast.

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.