24 September 2008

The Fringe

Have you seen that new TV show on Fox called the Fringe? The first few episodes have been really good, especially the first one which was 2 hours long.

First Cheeseburger in America...Kaelin's

I will be working onsite in Louisville for much of this fall. So, one of the first things I settled upon arrival was asking a local about the best burgers around. To my surprise, he claimed that the first cheeseburger was made nearby. I also had a great tip before I even left good ol' south Florida to check out another local restaurant called Jack Fry's.

So there you have it...my checklist for Louisville had a great start with 2 solid leads. On my third night in town I got a cab to Kaelin's, which claims to be the "Birthplace of the Cheeseburger."

Upon arrival, I could tell this was the place. The neon sign out front was likely to be the same sign before there was cheese on meat patties. Check it out for yourself.

Then I had to figure out how to get in. The building appears to maybe a combination of add-ons over the years or acquisitions of the property on the lot. I found my way around back to a parking lot with multiple cars. Which made me feel much better as the website and a sign out front boast about $2 Cheeseburger night..a different end of the spectrum I have recently been privy to. The large front patio was somewhat empty. But, to Kaelin's credit I was dining a bit early for dinner or maybe even a bar crowd.

I entered through the back door which I found with an arrow from the side door. A classic feel that is kind of hard to describe. The booths and tables were what one might expect of the area and the joint's potential age...wooden and old, while the decorations were a bit odd. Items that you could pick up at a garage sale or maybe see at your grandparents home.

Let's talk about the burger. It came with home made potato chips and was cooked to order and color coded with a mini yellow pirate sword which I suppose indicates medium rare.

Let's just say I've had better. I'm happy that someone invented the cheeseburger, but this original doesn't make my top 10 and won't get me to send anyone out of their way except to experience the history. I could have probably finished 2 of them. The bun was quality and of the right size. Not a pillowy dream that many of you want to dress your sandwiches with. Staple garnishings included a healthy slice of tomato, nearly a full slice of onion, and a piece of romaine.

Apparently they serve a lot of burgers each day and the patties are made in the back. I hope you enjoy the pics and make sure to check out their website.
I will probably make it back in the weeks to come to give them a second try. We'll see how it goes.

The Hot Brown is all that.

I just got finished eating my first Hot Brown at the English Grill in Louisville, Kentucky. I didn't know about the dish being so renowned until last night when one of my great friends gave me the heads up. It just so happens that I am staying at the Brown Hotel for work this week, the same location as the English Grill.

Let's get to the food...

The ambiance was upper class and vintage. Can I say vintage? I don't know. The restaurant was really nice. All the walls had custom woodwork and you can tell that it was original, or at least very old. There were many horse paintings with museum style lighting above each.

After ordering a beverage, they brought me a large sampling of breads and a fancy cup of butter with shapes carved into the spread. Each one I tried was tasty. Then my Hot Brown arrived. I snuck in a quick pic to show to my viewers...then I started eating. I would describe the dish as a medley of home cooking and fine dining. Large hand carved thick slices of turkey surrounded by broiled tomatoes, pieces of bread with the crusts cleanly cut off, and smothered with a gravy cheese sauce. All topped with 2 slices of bacon and some shredded cheese.

The portion appeared small to medium upon arrival but set me on my way with a smile and a full belly. I claim the middle ground of home cooking and fine dining because the dish was something you could create at home, but I was spoiled at my table for 1. You should know this type of fancy restaurant...multiple servers every few minutes helping you out. I haven't had this good of service since Ola.

I'll close by saying this won't be my last Hot Brown and that I just took away a better impression of the Brown Hotel.

Another thing I have learned outside the doors of where I am working this week is Louisville is pronounced "lu-i-vil" as one one syllable and not "louie-vil", the "i" is pronounced like the "i" in the word "it" without the "t". This is my best attempt at the phonetic spelling. I welcome comments.

22 September 2008

Cafe Nuvo

Looking for tight squeeze, semi-dive bar in South Beach? Try Cafe Nuvo on Espanola Way. This replica Cuban bar is tucked in between the [Cafe Nuvo] restaurant and either a hotel staircase or a pet store on the south side of the street. Definitely a stop worth making when you are in the area especially if you are a rum drinker. Cool ambiance, pleasant staff, and good appetizers.

Jaxson's sells hamburgers?

A few weeks back I actually dined at Jaxson's. I say this because I have been going there at least every other month. Typically I spend most of my time waiting in line out front for a black raspberry sugar cone with chocolate sprinkles. I always knew you could get food inside but not a burger like this. I was presented with a Salisbury steak shaped meat patty with the standard toppings: lettuce, tomato, and onion. It is served on a hoagie shaped egg roll of sorts. We also ordered some killer Sweet potato fries and had a trio of dipping sauces...check this: maple syrup by recommendation, barbecue sauce by request, and a marshmallow dip by recommendation as well. The fries appeared to be freshly cut and were served in a small metal frying basket. It appeared to be for presentation and it did the trick. When were getting our check we saw the guys next to us getting their order of a couple of foot long hot dogs and some onion rings. Presentation, presentation, presentation. I also received an email today regarding the upcoming SoBe Food & Wine Festival to found out that Jaxson's will be competing at the annual Burger Bash. I was disappointed to not see Le Tub on the list, but happy to see the local representation. ...And you should know that if you bring your entire little league team to Jaxson's they can order a kitchen sink full of ice cream, literally. Make sure to save room for some candy too.

19 September 2008

Upper Deck was as consistant as the last time.

I went to lunch today at the Upper Deck Ale & Sports Grill in Hallandale Beach today with a friend. I ordered another cheeseburger to observe their consistency compared to last weeks stellar performance. I switched my order up a bit...this time I opted for the American cheese instead of bleu and requested the sweet potato fries instead of the regular potato fries. No ketchup, just a side of bbq sauce. My friend asked about the wait and the waitress explained it takes 17 minutes to cook. I told my buddy it would be worth the wait as we enjoyed our beers. I was pleased to be served a dripping, hand pattied,10 ounce Angus medium rare burger. The bun displayed a few rings of raw onion, a nice green leaf of a romaine style lettuce, and a healthy slice of tomato. The cheese wrapped the top of the seasoned meat perfectly...as if it was intended to shrink wrap around the crisp roof of the burger. I didn't bring my camera as our plan was to go to a bank, but we squeezed in lunch too. Here is a shot from my phone.Two Upper Deck burgers within a week...it won't be the last time.

18 September 2008

SEC football matchups are thick this weekend.

No matter where you are looking for previews and story lines pertaining to the upcoming weekend's college football match-ups, you are probably reading or hearing about what the SEC has to offer.

The key games being Florida @ Tennessee, LSU @ Auburn and Georgia playing out of conference at Arizona State. One that is off most radars is Alabama @ Arkansas. A lot of action among these 4 games to choose from. And as usual the TV gods have spaced them out for the most part for our viewing pleasure.

On a final note...
Even though I am a die hard Gator fan, I really am subconsciously focused on the Bulldogs Saturday night. They really need to represent the SEC strong this weekend. Especially after the Tennessee @ UCLA upset during week 1.

My personal pics:
Florida and Auburn winning by only a few, but, Georgia and Alabama winning by decent margins.

More Google Search Tips

Click HERE to learn some new Google tips and tricks. I found this techradar article via delicious a while back, but am just getting around to posting it.

There are so many, you are bound to learn something or will quit reading before you make it to the end of the list.


News Cafe - A South Beach Staple

Head to News Cafe if you are trying to figure out where to eat in South Beach for a good lunch, a pit stop after playing at the beach, or a late night meal. They have a comprehensive diner style menu...you know, one that is really well rounded where usually everyone can find what they want. They are open 24 hours a day and have two bars, one with a window overlooking Ocean Drive and the beach, and the other in the back of the inside area. There are cool seating options: you can ask to sit front and center for the best people watching by the entrance, off to the side by the newstand to get the outdoor cafe feel under the trees with a roadside view, or inside to get out of the heat.

I would explain their food as good...not the best, but always a fair value and more or less what you'd expect from a reputable establishment. I'm trying to say that I'm never disappointed. Drinks are priced on the high end, but that's the norm on Ocean. And of course there is the 18% gratuity added to every check since there are so many visitors who lack tipping etiquette.

The pics displayed here are a black and white of the umbrellas served in the fruity drinks (not mine), one shot from across the street, and another of my brother eating a burger. I can't speak to it directly but it may have been frozen.

Cheese Grits...it's what's for breakfast

Cheese Grits.

What more do I need to say.

16 September 2008

Community Supported Agriculture

Does anyone in Hallandale Beach, south Broward, north Miami-Dade or south Florida in general know of a reputable Community Supported Agriculture program? I am a Publix and Fresh Market patron but would be happy to support something local and try out different fruits and vegetables at the same time.

My best friend in New York City raves about the CSA he and his fiance are a part of and I did some preliminary research only to find I would have to drive a bit to pick up goods in our area.

Advice and/or Comments are welcome even if self promoting in nature.

Upper Deck Ale & Sports Grill

I was shocked this past weekend to find that the closest bar to my condo has a great burger. I have only been there a few times in the past and haven't ordered a burger previously. This is because I always assume sports bar's burgers are frozen or otherwise, just not that great. The Upper Deck Ale & Sports Grill really changed my bias against these types of establishments. I am going to have to give more places an outright chance to fail.

That being said, the bleu burger I ordered was an 10 oz. ground sirloin cooked medium - medium/rare. I thought it would have been impossible since my brother and I order our food to go and it was in styrofoam. We would have eaten at the bar, but we truly wanted to watch the "Collision in the Coliseum" (at this point, I'd call it thee Ohio State debacle). I thought for sure they would screw it up the burger as it was to go. But, no! It was great and nearly perfectly cooked. Excellent burger to bun ratio and a perfect spread of bleu cheese. It was a healthy sized patty too.

I look forward to eating an Upper Deck burger again.

Are iguanas invading south Florida?

Two weekends ago I snapped a few pics of some wild iguanas while visiting my mom's house. I can remember a few years back when we would only see a wild iguana once in a while. Over the years it has become more routine. And even lately there are many of them. As you may be able to decipher in these pictures...I could easily see 3 within 40 feet of one another simultaneously.I've always kind of liked checking them out sit around or climbing up trees. They eat a lot of the fruit on my mom's mango tree but seem pretty interesting when they are not all caged up.

Then I ran across this interesting article in the Herald. I guess the population is growing.

12 September 2008

Miami or USF, which is the better football ticket?

Will someone please tell me how the USF Bulls football program continues to pack Raymond James Stadium in Tampa...while the Miami Hurricanes, or should I say the "U" can't fill up Dolphins Stadium or better yet stopped filling up the Orange Bowl?

Aren't the Hurricanes supposed to be some kind of all-time regime? I know the sports market in Miami sucks, but is it really that much better in Tampa?

Why don't people want to go to Hurricanes football games?

And by the way, this was a series of rhetorical questions...but I would enjoy some accurate comments regarding the recent attendance of each school.

White House - Atlantic City, NJ

Although the White House Submarine Shop in Atlantic City appears to have a great following of regulars, provides an overwhelming quantity of meat per sub, and has a nostalgic atmosphere, my one visit there a few months back will probably be my last. That's probably half to due to the fact I never plan on making it back to Atlantic City and half to the over-rated factor.

White House serves subs the length of you arm...no joking. Click HERE to see the best representation I could find on the web. Watch out for the older woman that runs the door. She'll keep you in check, if not throw you out all together. Just stay behind the line until she comes to get you.

Definitely worth the one-time experience, but I've had better subs.

And bringing closure to the experience was the 8" chef's knife in the otherwise empty public garbage can across the street. Our crew incidentally noticed this while throwing something away. We wanted to report it to the police but never saw any on the walk back to the hotel/casino.

And for icing on the cake, I have inserted a picture of what you may see on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Pay special attention to the high heels this man is wearing. Yes! It's a man. Imagine this real life inappropriately dressed figurine strutting his stuff like the planks were a strip club runway.

SEC fans unite for good reason...your thoughts?

I was at a beach barbeque party a week ago and ended up in a conversation that I have been in before. It was regarding why SEC fans support other SEC teams. The guy I was talking with couldn't understand why I wanted Tennessee to win against UCLA. And referenced how he always likes other conference teams to lose (not an SEC fan).

It's just natural for me...and most of my Gator friends. I don't agree, but I understand his point. And I also understand where he was coming from. Especially since the Gators face off against the Vols next week.

I'd be lying if I said I haven't had this conversation before. So let's break it down. The SEC is the best NCAA football conference in the land. You can't be the best conference without all or many of the teams being great...that's just the start. If you want your team to continue to have a high ranking, they have to beat highly ranked teams. And if 6 of your annual games are within conference, and if you can win 5 or 6 of those, you make it into the SEC championship, and by that time, you'll be in a hefty bowl game. Make sense?

If you are playing multiple in-conference teams that are unranked, wins just don't stack up as much as wins against highly ranked opponents.

And at the end of the day, SEC pride is where it's at. I have the luxury of having a great circle of friends and a few of us made a decision to do the full SEC tour to get a better feel for the conference. Let me tell you...it's been great and I wish we started earlier. So far we have been only been to a couple, Auburn and Mississippi. This year's road trip destination is Fayetteville to watch the Gators take on the Razorbacks.

I have left the Florida/Georgia game out of the conversation as it is in Jacksonville and I've been to the Cocktail Party 7 out of the last 9 years. Eventually I will have to go and watch Georgia play someone else between the hedges to complete the full dozen.

Let me know what you think. Do you have conference pride? Do you want your fellow conference teams to win? Of course, when it comes to the end of the season and another team's success affect your team's post season prospects, I know that no one roots for them in that situation.

08 September 2008

2008 Iron Bowl

The Iron Bowl could be a tough ticket by the end of November. Most likely overlooked by the other 49 states at this stage in the game, but who knows. Even if both Auburn and Alabama have one loss each, this year's clash could decide the SEC West. It's obviously early in the game, but LSU is awfully vulnerable if the weather keeps obstructing their schedule. Alabama has been looking great and the pollsters sure have a high opinion on the other Alabama team.

But you never know with the SEC, there are still South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Mississippi and other teams who don't think either of these squads will be that successful this year. Especially Georgia.

But that's why I said 1 loss and not undefeated.

Funny Subway Story

Click HERE to check out this funny blog post about a recent NYC subway experience.

I stumbled upon Matt's blog and article via a recent A Hamburger Today post.


07 September 2008

Gators finally beat the "U"

It was nice to see the Gators finally conclude who currently controls the state of Florida in college football this past Saturday night. Being a sports fan, I am objective enough to admit that the University of Miami has had our number for some time. 23 years to be exact. I didn't get to see every play of the game but I did see some that mattered.

All of that said, the Hurricanes will surely be a force to be reckoned with in the next two seasons, if not sooner. I was very disappointed to see Randy Shannon's immediate reaction to the loss on the field. The mid-field hand shake between Urban Meyer and Coach Shannon was not even a shake, I'd call it a hand slap. I don't know if there has been previous bad experiences or if Shannon was just pissed that Florida kept putting up points in the 4th quarter. On some levels I could see that the final points may have been inappropriate, but as far as I'm concerned, long overdue.

I've been tired of the Canes and their fans for many years. I personally was happy with the 4th quarter score run up and was even more happy that we beat the bloated Vegas spread of 21+. Not to mention how nice it was to see Murphy backing up his mouth with his touchdown.

Even though this will help solidify our reign within the state, I hope we don't start picking up loud mouth athletes that the "U" is so famous for.

02 September 2008

500 Brickell Condo

While driving around last week after the Snow Show we had to wait for the Brickell Avenue Bridge to go down. The adjacent condo made for a great colorful photo (displayed below). I just found the name of it on the internet: 500 Brickell

Snow Show in Miami

I went to Slava's Snow Show in Miami a week and a half ago at the new ARSHT Center and have a few things to post.

First let me start by saying the 'show' was definitely interesting. Slow by design, but it ended with a bang and it was full of audience participation. The finale was crazy with lights, cobwebs coming out at you all over, and bouncing balls the size of living rooms. You can see them for yourself in the pics I have posted here.

As far as events go, I'd definitely say it was overpriced. But maybe that's because I typically frequent sporting venues. We shelled out $55/ticket. I'd pay more than $150 for a Gator ticket for a good game but no more than $20 to see this show again.

The ARSHT Center was superb. Great venue. A bit smaller than I expected. But it appeared that the complex had a few interlocking arenas and we were only within one of them. I don't find myself at fine arts facilities often, but this one was pretty nice.

An afternoon at the Snow Show was definitely different for me. It turned out to be a great day with my family. It's rare if ever we are all together, especially out of the house.

In summary, I'd explain the show as a two part super mime show with clowns and colors galore. But what do I know, I'm just a football junkie. Not much of a fine arts guy.

Todd Blackledge's Taste of the Town...Apple Pan

Hi all,

Those that are not College Football fans may have missed last night segment on ESPN of the Apple Pan. Todd Blackledge covers a 'taste of the town' for every week's prime time college football game and since last night's overtime showdown was at the Rose Bowl, he ended up at the Apple Pan.


The only thing you'll be missing is when they ate the pie on the live broadcast.