Tuesday, September 27, 2005


This is a chain that shouldn't need any introduction, but in the interest of consistency, we'll get down to brass tacks.

White Castle is an old-school hamburger chain headquartered in Columbus, OH after originating in Wichita, KS in 1921. They currently have locations scattered across the nation. Unfortunately, this blog needs to drive at least 2 hours to get to one. A similar problem was experienced by Harold and Kumar, in one of the few fast-food movies of which this blog has heard. That's very high praise to have an entire movie centered around a fast food establishment.

Pros: A whole bunch. White Castle knows what they're doing. Cheeseburgers are phenomenal. They come with onions and pickles, and that's it. This blog doesn't normally like onions, but the way White Castle prepares them renders them extremely palatable. The combination of ingredients is unbeatable. Normally, this site prefers ketchup or tomatoes on its burgers, but there's no reason to touch these works of culinary art. White Castle keeps a simple menu, with cheeseburgers, hamburgers, and french fries as the anchors. Limited-time options show up occasionally, but this blog ignores them. White Castle fries are outstanding, always well-salted in this blog's experience. The fries stay hot, which is a key component of good fries. Perhaps the greatest part of White Castle is the size of the burgers. They're small, so eating 5 cheeseburgers in 1 sitting isn't out of the question. This blog's personal record is 6, which this site realizes is child's play. There's simply a great satisfaction with saying that you ate 6 cheeseburgers, a large fry, and only spent 5 bucks doing it. Which brings to mind another positive, cheeseburgers costing between 60 and 64 cents each, varying based on location. Lastly, many White Castles are open 24 hours, which is a nice advantage when any crave strikes.

Cons: Could probably have better service, but that's not to say there's a service problem. Fast food service isn't going to be perfect service, so perhaps White Castle is doing as well as they can under the circumstances. A legitimate complaint with White Castle is their lack of dark soda options. Only Coca-Cola is offered in the non-diet varieties. For a chain to provide the best soda options possible, it needs to offer multiple non-diet dark sodas. If White Castle added Cherry Coke, Dr. Pepper, or some other alternative to Coke, they'd get a better ranking. Personally, this website has to travel at least 90 miles to reach a location, which is problematic.

Overall Ranking: 9 out of 10 fryers. Only service, locations, and soda options could raise the ranking. Given that practically every fast food establishment pays workers near minimum wage, this could be the highest ranking this blog will give out. With another dark non-diet soda, it could make up a quarter fryer or so. Affordability, tradition, and taste contribute to the best experience this blog has had at this juncture. An absolute joy to visit.

Burger-only Ranking: 10 out of 10. This blog wouldn't have initially guessed that this combination of ingredients would be the ideal burger, but it is. The proof is in the patty, as no one says. It's only a fantastically tasty burger that carries a fast food chain for 80+ years with minimal menu changes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Million Cheers

This blog has more on the way, but in keeping with the Tuesday timeline, it's going to touch on a topic that demanded attention solely by its degree of coolness.

International Music Feed has done it again by debuting OK Go's "A Million Ways," which one really has to see to believe. You might remember OK Go from their smash hit "Get Over It," one of the better songs no one has heard before. Actually, then you probably wouldn't remember them. In any case, these guys aren't one-hit Charlies.

These two-hit Charlies have coupled a decent song with a video that is completely off the chain. While words are woefully inadequate in describing the choreographed masterpiece OK Go created, a possible comparison would be Napoleon Dynamite. The difference between Mr. Dynamite and the Gos is that there are 4 members of OK Go, and their movements are entirely synched together. This plus OK Go dressed more formally and performed in a backyard instead of a school assembly. If you see one video this year, quit being a music elitist/recluse and see more. But among those you should see is OK Go's "A Million Ways."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Post-Modern Chart

This blog has taken a while to post. The new plan is to get weekly posts out every Tuesday. Anything extra will be icing on the gravy. Most likely, posts will steadily increase when College Basketball season begins.

Actually, this blog will have somewhat of an NFL flavor in the next few months. The last time this blog attended an NFL game was November 24, 1991 in Milwaukee, WI. This site saw the Mike Tomczak-led Green Bay Packers defeat the Jeff George-led Indianapolis Colts, 14-10. The game was punctuated by a cold snap that had gametime temperatures in the mid-20s (not extra-cold, but earlier in the week temps were in the 40s and 50s). Also of note, though beyond this site's recollection, was that Tomczak made a career-long 48-yard run that day (this fact was uncovered during research for this post).

This Sunday, NFL game number two for this blog will take place in Cincinnati, OH where the Bengals are taking on the Minnesota Vikings. Gametime temps are predicted to be in the high 70s or low 80s. So that's an improvement. This blog's going to go out on a limb and say that Daunte Culpepper and Carson Palmer are better quarterbacks than Tomczak and George were.

A cool part of this trip will be the group this blog is attending with, which will include the Ultimate Sports Road Trip duo, found here. An unending surplus of sports stories will certainly be shared.

Beyond Sunday, in a stunning turn of events, this blog plans to attend the Monday Night Football game November 21st, another Vikings game, this time in Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. This blog is a lifelong Packer fan, and this will be the first game in Lambeau Field for the site. Undoubtedly a gigantic case of sensory overload will occur, as this is roughly equivalent to receiving one's first kiss from a supermodel (supermodel's children excluded).

Just to clarify that last comment, this blog did not receive its first kiss from a supermodel, but it can imagine. So an almost 14-year-long drought will come to an emphatic ending in the next few weeks. Hopefully it will be as fun as the last one was, only with better teams.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Old-Fashioned Fast Food Rankings

This review may not be something anyone particularly needs, since Wendy's is not a regional fast food place, but this blog will publish it for comparison.

Apparently this blog doesn't need to tell you about where Wendy's is based, and where it's locations are, because wendys.com doesn't even say that. Based on founder Dave Thomas being a Colonel Sanders protege, this blog is going to guess that Wendy's started in the Southeast and is now just about everywhere. On second thought, the fact that they're just about everywhere isn't a guess.

Pros: Wendy's has got a great burger, pretty good fries, and a value menu that features a lot of items for 99 cents. This blog would argue that their burger is the most "high-class" of the big 3 American spots (BK, McDonald's, and Wendy's) as far as meat quality. Having square burgers is somewhat unique, but this blog is very doubtful that they have more meat as a result of the shape. The fries are always well-salted, which is key. This is not common anymore, ever since the "salt is the enemy" campaign that started in the mid-nineties. When warm, the fries are great. Their Frosty is okay, but too thick. Having Pibb Xtra available on tap is a good option. Service is inconsistent across locations, but for the most part, pretty quick. This blog would say that Wendy's has the best ketchup dispensers in fast food, an often-overlooked feature. If you give those things 1 squeeze, it fills their ketchup cup perfectly. Probably best to try this on your second ketchup cup, as this blog has gotten burned when the ketchup was almost out and sprayed erratically. A frequent visitor to this site has Wendy's as his 2nd-best chain that offers chicken tender options. This is the highest praise received for a burger-specializing place.

Cons: Burgers come with too many condiments. This blog now has it memorized, but every time it orders, it has to mention "no mustard, no mayo;" then remove the onions and lettuce on its own. A tedious endeavor. When service is bad, it's really bad. This blog has occasionally waited 10 minutes for it's 2 burgers and fries. The frosty needs to decide whether or not it's ice cream or a milkshake. This site would prefer it came down on the side of a runny milkshake, which no one has anymore, despite this being the best way to do it. When the fries are served cold, they are no good. This is a problem with all fries, but Wendy's seems to end up with cold fries more often than most spots. On a blog-specific note, this place doesn't have the saturation of locations that Burger King and McDonald's does. This blog would need to drive 20 miles to get to the closest Wendy's, a problem somewhat alleviated by the fact that this blog works across the street from one.

Overall ranking: 6.5 fryers. Not a bad spot to go, if you can get there. Not sure how they can attract better workers to get better service, but that's their responsibility. Great soda options and the ketchup dispenser make the self-service part top-notch. While some conossieurs are Frosty fanatics, this site is not overly impressed. Since all burgers are made to order, they should start with nothing or works options, and be able to work one way or the other. If this blog currently asked for a cheeseburger with just ketchup, pickles, and tomatoes, they'd look like this blog was a foreigner.

Burger-only ranking: 6.0 fryers. Could improve with larger burgers or less automatic condiments. With a chain as big as this one, their ceiling might be at about 7.0 though.