Tag Archives: rant

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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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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Player Hater’s Ball

Unless you live on Mars I’m pretty sure you either saw or heard about the Seahawks bat shit crazy win over the Packers in the NFC title game. The Seahawks basically gave the Packers a 56 minute head start then finally said it was go time to make it to their second consecutive Super Bowl. As a Seahawks fan it made me pee a little. If you are a Seahawks hater you probably peed a little too. As a lifetime sports fan there is only one thing I know for sure, people love a winner. This is when the general populous stars throwing around the term “bandwagon fans.” It’s inevitable. You see it even in your home markets. When I first moved to Michigan I would go to Tiger’s game, often by myself. This was because they were on the verge of losing 115 games and nobody wanted to go. Even with a brand new stadium they couldn’t get more than 10,000 fans in the ballpark. Now, it’s standing room only on weekends and big games. Everyone loves a winner.

Success brings out another type of “fan,” the haters. I have seen the Seahawks latest success breed more new haters than new bandwagon fans. These are the people who call you a bandwagon fan because you have a new game jersey. Well the Seahawks changed their uniform 3 years ago and have a slew of new superstars, of course you are going to see them at the bar. You want to know why teams update their jerseys? So they can sell them and make money. It could be someone who still has their Steve Largent jersey in their closet at home but feels like repping a Kam Chancellor uniform because he is bad mother fucker. These haters are much much more annoying than the bandwagon fans. They claim everyone is a bandwagon fan. They never cared who was a Hawks fan before they finally noticed the team from the northwest beating everybody with a swagger not seen since the ’85 Bears. When the Seahawks were losing nobody even thought twice about them outside of the NFC West, but now that they are in the forefront of the NFL people are tired of watching them beat their team. Most of these haters have already forgot Seattle was in Super Bowl 40 in Detroit. In reality the Seahawks have had a great fan base for years before their recent success.

December of 1984 the Seahawks retired the #12 in honor of their fans. The No Fun League subsequently instituted new noise rules the following year that nobody really cares about. After their new stadium was built the organization was even accused of pumping crowd noise into the stadium. The crowd noise that set the Guinness world record was 137.6 decibels, only 12.4 decibels below rupturing your ear drums. That’s fucking loud. It can actually be noticed at near by seismic research facilities. This noise does make for a nice home field advantage, leading the league in opponent false starts.

Personally, I welcome “bandwagon fans.” Part of winning is expanding your market share to make money, and pumped that back into the organization. Whether you’re a new fan or an OG fan doesn’t make a difference to me. I used to be the only one at bars wearing my Alexander jersey and would be sitting by myself, but now there are people to bullshit with wherever I go. It’s part of the experience. Sure they might not know who Cortez Kennedy is, but they sure as shit know the current roster. People have to root for someone, there only two teams left playing so go ahead and pick one. Unless you’re from Wisconsin or lost money on that game, I find it hard to believe that you didn’t get excited watching that finish last weekend. Haters are going to hate, ballers are going to ball, it’s science. But if you want to come into the bar wearing a brand new #3 jersey, there is always room at my table.

Go Hawks!

BurgerFi: The BurgerFi Cheeseburger, add bacon

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I get a lot of questions about cheeseburgers around town these days. In turn, I also get a lot of suggestions about spots to try. Everyone has their favorite place, and most of the time once you found a great burger why would go anywhere else? It makes sense, I go to the Eagle River Ale House every Friday for pizza and wings. I like tradition. Lots of times I have already tried these burger spots but there are also some that I never would have tried with out word-of-mouth. Sometimes the suggestions work out, sometimes they don’t. I am always a little skeptical when someone suggests a new burger joint because I most likely eat a shit ton more burgers than they do so I assume they are wrong.

This brings me to BurgerFi. It popped up in Anchorage only a couple of weeks ago and has been flooding the radio and what not with adds. I almost immediately started getting some text and FB messages letting me know there is a new burger in town I have to try. Why not? So for my last Cheeseburger Wednesday of 2014 I decided to check it out. I had never heard of this place but about an hour before I am to head out I find that it is a national chain. This means it is disqualified from the Anchorage rankings, but I decided to follow through since it might be alright.

I will start by saying that the burger was tasty. Fresh cut fries, craft beers and wine all on the menu. The patties themselves had a good meaty taste. But fuck this place. Fuck it hard and don’t call it back. This “double natural angus” burger was one of the smallest burgers I have had. It was also one of the most expensive. An extra $2 for the bacon and the burger alone was $10. The smallest order of fries is $4, and an extra $2 if you want seasoning (see those couple of flakes of white? that was my free salt and vinegar seasoning). They have only one fountain drink size, small, and that is almost another $3. It is like they are trying to be a fancier, healthier version of Five Guys yet they just come across as pretentious as fuck. You aren’t that awesome if you are in the mall, and not even a good mall, the third, maybe fourth best mall in Anchorage. It’s called the Mall at Sears, yes, Sears is the biggest attraction this mall has. You know why Five Guys is so successful? They don’t try too hard and are open after the bars close. In Detroit they attach themselves to the casino, not Sears…genius.

They also are very keen on advertising “all natural ingredients.” Who cares? What kind of fake ingredients can you use in a burger? Pretty sure I haven’t found paper lettuce on any burger. Plus with their advertised “secret menu,” it’s not really a secret. Why not try to rip off In-n-Out burger a little more. They are basically just taking amenities from already proven burger joints and pretending like it’s their own. They even have a sign up in their store saying “Changing the way we think of burgers.” Bullshit, you are capitalizing on a mass of people who think that gluten allergies were around before 2009. Like companies plugging “organic” on everything and jacking the price up by 20%.

Their “craft beer” selection was weak as hell too. They basically had a few Alaskan Brewing Co. beers on tap and in a bottle for about $6 each. Not impressed. I can get Alaskan beers all over the US. Their wine selection…if I wanted to pay $20 for a $10 bottle of wine I’d pretend I was 19 again and go bootleg some shit outside a liquor store like I used to. The ONLY redeemable thing about this place is that they sell Coke made in Mexico. Granted I would rather hit up the shady ass taqueria of Victory Dr outside of Ft. Benning for one, but my options are limited here in Alaska.

I’ll never go back here. I’m sure some of my friends who are above the seedy burger joints I enjoy will make it a regular place on their business lunches. But whatever, they can waste their money if they want to. If Taylor Swift was a burger place, this would be. Completely mainstream, trying to pretend like it’s not, everyone knows it, yet stills buys the album at the mall instead of bootlegging it like they should. In closing, fuck BurgerFi.

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.