Monday, November 12, 2018

Burger King's Philly Cheese King Sandwich - A Review

Burger King's Philly Cheese King Sandwich is based loosely on the popular Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. Available for a limited time, the new burger is comprised of two grilled quarter pound (before cooking) beef patties topped with melted sliced American cheese, caramelized onions, and American cheese sauce, on a sesame seed bun (also available on a sourdough muffin).

| Subject: Burger King's Philly Cheese King Sandwich |
| Date: 11/06/2018 | Photographers: James Kiester & Dani Cogswell |

When it comes to Philadelphia Cheesesteaks I lean toward Geno's version of the classic sandwich consisting of thinly sliced steak, Cheez Whiz, and grilled onions on a hoagie roll.  Apparently Burger King shares my taste.  Rather than trying to recreate the classic, Burger King has designed a double cheeseburger which delivers the same flavor profile.

The two beef patties were seasoned more boldly than the average Whopper patty.  The extra seasoning did help the burger stand out.

The American cheese and the cheese sauce worked together to provide a good hit of cheese taste and a creamy mouth feel like one would get from Cheez Whiz.

I have to say, I'm glad I ordered the fries instead of onion rings because Burger King was not stingy with the grilled onions on my sandwich.  As you can see in the photo, the thing was LOADED with sweet grilled onions, which added to the flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.

The official description lists a "toasted sesame seed bun."   The bun may have been in a room with a toaster at some point, but it really wasn't toasted.  Nevertheless, it was a fresh sesame seed bun.  If they hadn't claimed it was "toasted," I wouldn't have mentioned it at all.

If I had to rate the sandwich on flavor alone, I would give it 9 out of 10 stars.  However, there is one big drawback to the burger.  It costs $8.00  all by itself.  I can go to Red Robin and get a good double cheeseburger with bottomless steak fries for $6.99, and I can order a Long Island Iced Tea to go with it.  If I order this burger I have to pay extra for the fries and then no liquor to be found.

This is a good fast food burger, but it's not worth $8.00.   The whole point of fast food is that it's quick, cheap, and tasty.  THIS BURGER AIN'T CHEAP!  All things considered, I have to give Burger King's Philly Cheese King Sandwich 6 out of 10 stars.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Risking My Palette With 2 New Finds

Being a lover of food, I enjoy trying new and interesting foods.  While I'm not going to sample every canned soup or frozen meal to hit the market, I can get excited about trying a new kind of cheese, gourmet snack, beer, wine, or similar offering.

Winco is not what a person would classify as a "gourmet grocery store."  It's not the place one goes to for artisan cheeses or specialty meats.  It's the mundane supermarket people go to for good prices on every day items such as corn flakes and canned vegetables.  Nevertheless, I came across two items, during my latest grocery trip, which peeked my interest.

| Subject: Top - 6 oz BuzzBallz Chillers Display,
Bottom - 1.5 oz Epic Bar: Venison w/ Sea Salt & Pepper | Date: 09/12/2018 | Photographers: James Kiester & Dani Cogswell |
First I saw a display of small round brightly colored bottles.  The bottles contained 6 ounces of something called BuzzBallz Chillers.

The Chillers consisted of orange wine mixed with different kinds of juices (orange juice, peach juice, lemon juice, apple juice, coconut milk ). At $2.48 a pop, I was only going to get one to try.  Since, the base of the drink was orange wine, which I'd never heard of, I chose the Orange Wine w/ Orange Juice.

I poured the wine cocktail into a glass when I got home.  The beverage was an artificially bright orange color reminiscent of the space drink Tang.  The flavor was nowhere near as sweet though.

My mouth was initially assaulted by a strong bitterness on the front of my tongue followed by a harsh medicine taste throughout my mouth.  It seriously took several drinks of water to get the disgusting flavor out of my mouth.

I give BuzzBallz Chillers Orange Wine w/ Orange Juice 1 out of 10 stars.  These "Ballz" are a form of punishment rather than a treat.

When I was on the Popcorn and Snack isle I saw a meat snack I was unfamiliar with.  The 1.5 oz Epic Bar: Venison w/ Sea Salt & Pepper appeared to be a venison based meat snack.  I found myself excited as my head filled with childhood memories of my father cleaning the carcass of the deer he'd shot.  Reading the ingredient list (100% Grass Fed Venison, Lactic Acid, Sea Salt, Celery Powder, Cracked Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder) intrigued me even more. 

I was expecting a savory gamy snack with a decent meaty chew.  While the three inch bar delivered the pleasant flavor of salt and pepper, the texture was completely off-putting.   My teeth met no resistance when I bit into the morsel.  The bar was initially soft, like a brownie.  As I chewed, the bite instantly crumbled into a mouthful of sand-like bits.    The feel of the bite sent an uncomfortable chill through me from head to, and I couldn't finish the rest of the $2 bar. 

I give the Epic Bar: Venison w/ Sea Salt & Pepper 3 out of 10 Stars.

Granted, these particular experiments didn't bare fruit.  Nonetheless, I maintain that such experiments are worthwhile.  I mean, we can't know what we like until we have it for the first time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Healthy Meals For Man's Best Friend - Guest Post

Recently, a gentleman named MD Abu Selim, with, asked if he could write a guest piece on homemade dog food.  It was a different kind of request, to be sure.  I thought about it though, and decided to give it a shot.  I mean, if Rachel Ray can enter the dog food game I can accept a post about it.
Healthy Meals For Man's Best Friend 

| Subject: James' dog, Harley, as a puppy |
| Date: 12/25/2015 | Photographers: Bonnie Kiester |

If you're a pet lover like me, you've probably searched for recipes for preparing dog food at home.  There are many ready-made brands of dog food on the market, but knowing which ones are healthy can be a tricky business.  Thus, I suggest you feed your dog homemade dog food, so you can be sure that what you're feeding your dog is healthy and nutritious, not to mention cost effective.

There are thousands of recipes for homemade dog food.  Many of them need lots of time to prepare, and are quite complicated to cook.  With this in mind , our kitchens have come with some of the easiest recipes for making homemade dog food.
The Standard One with Turkey

This is the most popular meal among our dogs.  It's our baseline recipe  and the easiest one to prepare since it utilizes common ingredients which most people already have on hand.  Not only is it easy to prepare, but it's very healthy for your dog’s health.

Brown rice - 1 and 1/2 cups
Ground Turkey meat - 3 pounds
Peas - 1/2 cup (canned or frozen)
Shredded carrots - 2 pcs
Shredded zucchini - 1 pcs
Olive oil - 1 tablespoon
Baby spinach - 3 cups (chopped)

Take 3 cups of water in a large saucepan and put the 1 ½ cups of brown rice in it. Then cook the rice according to the instruction printed on the packet.
Take a large stockpot and put the olive oil in it and then heat it. You can use an oven with medium heat to heat the oil. Add the ground turkey to the oil and cook it for 3 -5 minutes until it becomes brown. Make sure that the meat is cooked thoroughly.
Mix the peas, spinach, carrots, zucchini, cooked turkey and brown rice and heat them again around 3 -5 minutes until the point that the spinach has withered and the blend is warmed enough.
Finally, cool it and then give it to your dog.

This is the standard healthy meal for your dog with 50% protein (ground turkey and peas), 25% veggies (spinach, carrots, and zucchini), and 25% grains (brown rice).
Beef & Vegetable Mix Meal

This beef and veggie crockpot version of Delicious Chungah’s recipe works great in a slow cooker.  This recipe is much like the one above, but uses beef for the protein instead of turkey.

Brown rice - 1 and 1/2 cups
Ground beef - 2 and 1/2 pounds
Peas - 1/2 cup (canned or frozen)
Butternut squash - 1 and 1/2 cups (chopped)
Carrots - 1 and 1/2 cups (chopped)
Kidney beans - 1 (15-ounce) can (drained and rinsed)

Take 3 cups of water in a large saucepan and put the 1 ½ cups of brown rice in it. Then cook the rice according to the instruction printed on the packet.
Stir the ground beef, carrots, kidney beans, butternut squash, peas with 4 cups of water in a slow cooker
Cover and cook them in medium heat for 5-6 hours. For quick cooking, you can use high heat for 2-3 hours.
Mix the rice with the mixer and cook in medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
Then cool down the mixer.
Your dog meal is ready. Just take it in a bowl and give to your pet.
Layer Cake Meal

If your dog doesn’t want to eat regular food, then you can try this recipe for her.

Brown rice - 1 cups
Chicken - 1 kg (minced)
Egg - 1 pc
Apple - 1 pc (medium size)
Peas - ½ cup (canned or frozen)
Carrots - ½ cup (chopped)
Sweet corn - ½ cup

First, heat your oven at 170 degrees.
Put the carrot, peas and sweet corn in a pot and cook them until softened.
Peel the apple and cut it into as small pieces as possible.
Cook the brown rice in a large saucepan following the package.
Take a cake pan with baking paper.
Take 1/2 of the minced chicken and place in bottom of the pan.
Take 2/3 of the veggie and rice mix and put them on top of the chicken base.
Place rest of the chicken on top of the veggie and rice mix.
Pop it into the pre-heated oven and cook for 35 minutes.
Let cool down and give the cake to your dog.

You can feed your dog any one of these meals, or rotate between them to give your pet some variety in their diet.  All of them are healthy and nutritious, so you really can't go wrong.

If you enjoyed this blog, you may like to read about chew proof dog beds here.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Ethics in Food Blogging

Every field of endeavor has accompanying set of ethical guidelines to govern said field.  Doctors have to take the Hippocratic oath.  Lawyers have to obey the constitution.  Yet, food blogging is a relatively new field. Sure, there have been food critics for over a century, but there were magazine/newspaper editors and publishers that the critics were accountable to.

Today, anyone with a computer and an appetite can blog about food, including me.  As a result, there are no checks and balances in the field.  Anyone can write any opinion they want, and publish the piece without anyone fact checking the work.  Some believe this means there are no ethical standards for food bloggers.  I submit to you that there are ethical standards whether, or not, bloggers choose to follow them.

Steak & Fries
Subject: Steak & Fries | Date: 02/27/2009 | Photographer: LWY | This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.
Hold the mayo - Perhaps the most common error food bloggers make is having their order customized.  They order something with ingredients added or left off.  I have seen blogs where the blogger ordered a burger with no mayo, then he wrote that the burger was too dry.  OF COURSE IT WAS TOO DRY, HE LEFT THE MAYO OFF!

In order to do a food review, the blogger has to order the food the way it was intended to be eaten.  Otherwise, they are not reviewing the dish everybody will be ordering.  There's no point in writing such a blog.

Personal bias - Another pitfall food bloggers need to be aware of is personal bias.  For example, my brother owns a restaurant in Portland called Pinky's Pizzeria.  I can not review the food there because my brother owns it.  Technically, I could do it as I along as I divulge my connection to the restaurant.  I did just that, not long ago, when I reviewed a cheese snack, which is made and marketed by my friend's mother.
However, as a rule, it's best to steer clear of such conflicts of interest.  The blogger would either have to give a good review, or risk being be very uncomfortable at Thanksgiving dinner.  It's not worth the hassle.

Outright lying - Sadly, some writers don't bother going to the restaurant that they are writing about.  I'll use my brother's restaurant again as a good example.  Somebody wrote a beautiful blog about how Pinky's serves a wonderful almond pizza.  The only problem is they have never put almonds on their pizza.  They don't even have that option on their list of toppings.  The writer had never gone there.  This is as unethical as it gets.  For weeks, people kept coming to Pinky's to try the almond pizza, and would leave angry when they couldn't get it.

Somebody once compared the internet to the wild west; anything goes.  While there are no sheriffs online to keep bloggers honest, there are common sense rules which all ethical bloggers should adopt.  If they don't do it for moral reasons, they should adopt such standards in order to be taken seriously by readers.  If food bloggers become known for fudging the truth, people will quit reading food blogs.

Meanwhile, people who read blogs should take what they read them with a grain of salt.  Seriously, I'm a food blogger and I'm advising you to be weary of what you read in food blogs.  What's that about?  The best advice I can offer is to find a blogger who appears to share your tastes, and put him/her to the test.  Is the Pasta Carbonara as creamy as the reviewer said it was?  Is the new burger at McDonald's as bad as the blog made it seem?  Put food blogs to the test until you find one you can trust.