Phineas the Pig Skull Goes to a New Home

phineas head on

About two months ago, the butchers gave me another pig skull. I couldn’t say no to the skull, and I also decided I couldn’t have more than three pig skulls in my tiny Portland apartment (that I share with a very patient and cool roommate.) So I decided that if I was going to preserve this piggy, that I needed to give him a new home beyond my shelves.

alex and phineas

Alex and Phineas, perched on the artsy stump outside my apartment that I take pictures on. Duh.

I asked the butcher if he would like the finished skull and he responded that while he would personally love it, his girlfriend would probably scream…which is a pretty common response (either people are fanatical about pig skulls or they start screaming, I’ve found.)

My friend & co-worker Sarah was more than excited to give Phineas a new home, and especially when she found out his name was going to be Phineas. I try to not push a name onto a skull, and instead wait for the name to arrive organically for the skull (whatever the hell that actually means. When it feels right to me, it  feels right to me). The name Phineas came to me rather quickly – on the way into his first soak, actually.

All of the pigs I’ve received have holes in their skulls. I was originally told they were bullet holes, though I’ve had a lot of people also suggest that they are air compression holes. Either way, it can be pretty intense to look at, and Phineas’ hole was quite brutal. The shattering in his skull really resonated with me, and I became fixated on the hole (yeah yeah, “that’s the name of my porno.”)

phineas profile

It made me think of the story of Phineas Gage, a railroad construction foreman, who survived getting a large iron rod through his skull. SAY WHAT.

phineas gagePhineas_gage_-_1868_skull_diagram

What?

I asked some friends of mine who tend to have more access to railroad spikes if I could forever-borrow one to pop into Phineas’ hole. While I received resounding “Oh yeses!”, it turns out these friends don’t have great follow-through (love you both though.) I’m still in the market for a small railroad spike or “small iron rod”, in case anyone else has something they’d like to offer me.

 

Anyhow, Sarah came and picked up Phineas the other day, and I’m so happy he got to go to such a loving home.

sarah and pigs

Phineas’ new mother, Sarah, who I believe is demonstrating here the proper technique for opening up a plastic bag. You can also see in this pic what a great color Phineas is. Hooray for long hydrogen peroxide soaks!

 

Honestly, it felt pretty weird having a skull to share with another person. The first time I took a skull home, I felt like it was a strange and dirty secret. I had to hide it from my weird landlord at the time, and I kept it soaking in hot, soapy water in a mop bucket (don’t do that, BTW) up in my apartment for a day – too scared to take it out or look at it. I woke up one morning, and freaked out about it –

“I have a skull just sitting in my room. I’ve gone off the deep end.”

Though it was a weird thing, it was mine. After a big move across the country, I had very few possessions, very few things I could really call my own, and no decoration at all in my apartment. Just this skull. It’s become a totem of a time in my life, a reminder of where things were at, and something I’m happy now to talk about with people, but also never would want to give away. Sadly, he’s not in fabulous condition, but hopefully he’ll survive quite some years.

phineas all pigs

Here’s the whole Skull Family Robinson, spending some quality time together before sending Phineas off to his new home. Left to Right: Wifi, Piggy Stardust, Lucretia & Phineas.

I’ve really had no idea how to clean skulls this whole time, and Phineas is the first skull that I’ve preserved correctly (and it shows! He looks so beautiful!). If you’re interested in preserving skulls, and you’ve read my other blog posts on preserving Lucretia – you shouldn’t follow my methods (but you should read the blog post anyway, because I am so fun!). What you should do is go over to  the Bonelust Blog that Jana Miller runs and get advice from her. She recently commented on one of my posts and gave me some great advice, and a well-deserved tsk-ing.

I’m more than happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability, and direct you to any info that might be helpful.

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Cooking Carbonara from Google Translate: 5 Mistakes to Avoid Absolute

Just in case you thought cooking wasn’t very tricky, try cooking from translated recipes on the internet.

OF course, Google translate is doing a great job, but it still opens up a rather surreal universe of language.

I’m drinking wine and eating scones. Humm dee dum. Having a bit of a hysterical joy ride on the internet tonight, (which, I suppose that is my disclaimer: hysterics) and decided to start researching Eastern European dessert recipes, most of which I have no idea what they’re talking about.

And then I stumbled on an article titled

“Carbonara do not fear: here are five mistakes to avoid absolute”

and I said “yes yes yes! Give me the mistakes to avoid absolute!”

Here are my favorite bits, copied and pasted, with some commentary:

carbonara-mod

1. We start from fried . A moment, which fried?” WHICH FRIED INDEED??!! I believe it’s saying to not bother with onions or garlic, which honestly skipping garlic on carbonara seems like bad news to me, but who am I. Who the crap am I. Who am I? I start from fried.

 2. pillow or bacon? By the way are two different products. I understand why the pillow has a fat mass greater than that of the bacon and its flavor, then, will be decided. The fact is that I advise you to use the first, if you will be blameless. But woe, I say, woe to you if you dare to throw the bacon in a frying pan. As I said in the video recipe, I could pick you look under the house! Being always in chapter pillow, I would recommend: do not add oil in pan, there is no need. It is an ingredient that will release its fat (and especially its delicious aroma) in cooking, so why abound?😉

ok. This is really the whole reason I wanted to make this post. I’m guessing “pancetta” somehow translates into “pillow” and I find that absolutely hilarious. WHICH ONE DO WE CHOOSE?? SHALL WE DICE UP OUR PILLOWS FOR CARBONARA?? Is that a mistake to avoid absolute??

pillow pan

Here’s some original content for ya. That is actually my roommate’s Winnie the Pooh throw pillow inside of my roommate’s pan (the only pan reasonably sized to house a pillow in our apartment), and fortunately, not once did she catch me attempting to saute her pillow. Success is great absolute!!

Anyway, that was my favorite part. Keep reading if you want to look under the house.

3. The time of the eggs . Some will insist on adding them whole, creating a kind of pancake instead of a homogeneous and enveloping cream. So if it is the latter, the effect you want to create, divide the yolks from the whites and used only the first. The more correct proportion provides a head plus one whole egg yolk every three yolks: will this combination to give the right creaminess to the sauce, avoiding that too feel the taste of the eggs…” –
Fair. That’s all fair. I feel like I can follow that.

4. Cream, This Unknown . Oh no, I do not agree. Add it to the eggs is just a trick used by those who want to win easy.” Cream, This Unkown. That sounds more like a movie title to me.

Cream, This Unknown: The World Beyond the Teat

Or perhaps it’s more of a statement. Perhaps it’s a command: “Cream this unknown, Juniffer! We hate outsiders round these parts!! Now, cream them, then get me a pillow to crunch on! I’m hungry!”

 

Poor Juniffer.

 

The final mistake to Avoid Absolute:

5. Do not play with fire.” 

And finally, what pasta should we use?

“Long or short pasta? For me there is no game, I choose the classic spaghetti or those on guitar.”

Spaghetti-Guitar

via homecrux.com. This wasn’t a very easy google image search, so I hope you appreciate the visual. #yourewelcome

So essentially, for a *classic carbonara, start from fried, add a pillow to the pan (sans oil, remember), time of the eggs, disagree with the unknown cream. Finally, don’t play with the fire, and add your cooked spaghetti noodles, or your cooked guitar strings. Enjoy.

“If you want to be sure not to make mistakes, here’s my version of the heart, of course, expect to know what is your😉

 

 

 

our-growing-edge-badge

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things

 

 

 

 

Operation Lucretia: The Stink

IMG_3883

 

Lucretia is currently airing out on a towel in my living room. She doesn’t smell great, nor does the tub I had her soaking in, which is airing out outside. I honestly don’t have a very good reason for “airing her out” right now; I just sort of wanted to stare at her while I figure out what to do next.

She sat in plain water for nearly two weeks, with me changing out the water every few days. The first two times changing out the water I did a lot of manual cleaning of meat, tissue, and sinus cavity gunk. She was starting to smell pretty funky, and I feel like my fingers smelled like bone for the rest of the day (my boyfriend said I smelled like bones. I didn’t think that was very nice.)

My last time checking her before today she was looking pretty clean & fancy, but there was some pretty strange neon yellow coloring between her eye & ear cavity (I think it would be the zygomatic bone if it was a human. Maybe they have the same name if it’s on a pig? I might never know.)

IMG_3884

I’d heard of bones becoming strange colors during maceration, but never of neon yellow, so I went ahead and hit up Jana at the Bone Lust Blog to see what she knew. I haven’t heard back yet (not sure how often she gets on that blog anymore, but it’s still a tome of info and worth checking out).

I figured hydrogen peroxide would get rid of the color, so I went ahead and soaked Lucretia in the tub filled with water again, but this time adding about a cup of hydrogen peroxide. I let her go for about a week, and then pulled her out today.

First – she looks so clean! I see a teeny bit of gunk still in her sinus cavity, but a lot of the tiny meat bits stuck in the mandible are gone. She’s definitely lighter in color as well.

I think my plan is to let her soak for a few more days in hydrogen peroxide, then kindly ask a friend of mine with a backyard patio if Lucretia can hang out there for a few days. At that point, I’ll decide if I’m happy with her color, and either soak her again in hydrogen peroxide, or call it quits.

lucretia on stump

And here she is looking god-damn classy on top of a tree stump. I figured a pig skull and a tree stump might have a thing or two in common they could chat about. #severedremains

Anyhow, I was really happy when I pulled her out of the tub today. She’s starting to look like a very beautiful dead thing that anyone would be happy to have around their house. Right? RIGHT??

Operation Lucretia: New Skull Preservation Project

wifi and chocolate cake

WiFi, my first skull. And chocolate cake.

Lucretia is the 3rd pig skull I’ve preserved, so it’s definitely starting to seem like a thing. I strongly believe that the 3rd time you’ve done a thing means it’s become a “thing you do,” and you owe the world an explanation when you stop doing it. OTHERWISE THEY’LL SHAME YOU FOREVER.

I’ve done slightly more research on how to process Lucretia then I did for my previous pig skulls (which was nearly “none whatsoever”). The Bonelust Blog has been the most helpful. Though, honestly, for sort of hacking my way through the process, both WiFi and Piggy Stardust have turned out and held up pretty well.

Piggy Stardust was probably the least stressful to process since I had the benefit of a huge sunny yard, and was able to just plop him outside when I got frustrated with picking tiny bits of meat out of his teeth. Nature worked wonders on cleaning out his skull. However, I’ve moved to a new apartment now, and putting Lucretia outside would certainly worry the neighbors, or even worse, entice the neighbors.

piggy stardust outside

Piggy Stardust, processing outside.

I got Lucretia from the restaurant just today – I believe her face meat was made into head cheese, so just about all of the meat and fat on her face are gone – looks like her brain (or at least parts of it are) is still inside, and plenty of tissue and other gunky stuff inside the nostrils. But the hard work has really been done for me already.

 

lucretia bucket 1

I’m soaking her skull and her mandible in just plain water, and letting bacteria work some magic before I get into  manually cleaning out the rest. I used a combination of chop sticks, a toothbrush, and a table knife previously, and those will probably be my go-to tools this time as well, because I’m a professional who plows into skulls with chopsticks at weird hours of the night. After I feel like I’ve gotten her sufficiently clean enough, I’ll soak her in a hydrogen peroxide & water solution, which is what I’ve used before with great results, and seems to be strongly recommended via the Internet.com.

lucretia bucket 2

Lucretia will be living in the bucket for awhile. Will update when she emerges.

Honestly, I’m lucky that she comes to me already so clean, though having a skull that’s gone through a braising process probably weakens it some (I think?) and definitely colors the skull. It’ll probably take a bit longer to lighten her up.

I’m still learning a lot of this as I go, so if you’re reading this and have any experience or tips in skull processing, I am more than happy to hear them, or get set straight in some assumption I’m making.

 

Cheeseburger Based Resolutions and Other Failures

home burger 1

My beautiful monster.

My resolution to eat 3 cheeseburgers a week (#3xbrgr1week) (#notreally) ended the beginning of February. I decided to change things up, and didn’t end up blogging about it in a timely manner because I was too busy wearing leather jackets and shooting dice in the alley to inform the internet of significant life changes.

But also, I failed my 2016 resolution. Quickly.

I definitely didn’t get tired of eating cheeseburgers, but I definitely was tired of going out to eat for cheeseburgers. So I ended January In the Year of Our Lord Cheeseburger 2016 by making burgers for myself at home.

home burger 2

1/4 pound burgers, about to get SMASHED in a PAN that’s HOT.

For February I resolved to only eat at home – and have mostly not failed, but have slightly failed in the way that I have occasionally gone out to eat but not quite as much as normal.

meatloaf

Valentine’s Day dinner at home: Food Lab’s meatloaf, mashed potatoes w/ paprika garlic gravy, and asparagus tossed in anchovy & parsley butter and topped with fried shallots.

Eating at home has been really wonderful, actually. I’ve been prioritizing different recipes I’ve been wanting to try, making bread again, and being more resourceful & experimental with the ingredients I have around.

If I’ve wanted to hang out with people in the evenings, I’ve had to convince them to come over for dinner, instead of meeting up for beers and snacks somewhere. I discovered that the best way to get rid of leftovers is to put them inside of wontons and deep-fry them, tricked my boyfriend into eating yogurt in a burrito, and helped a friend develop a pie recipe to use in his restaurant.

apple pies

Fried apple pie research & development.

Anyhow, life is really good, and I’ve really enjoyed how I’ve been eating. It’s cheaper and makes me feel productive. Also, and probably most importantly, if I’ve spent my day at work being angry at food and people making food, I can come home and remember that cooking food is wonderful, people are wonderful, and cooking can be an act of peace and community. There’s really nothing like watching a pot of soup reach a simmer to dissolve your anger at the world into a meaningless pile of goo.

You might also think to yourself “and yeah! She probably feels so much healthier because she isn’t eating 3chzbrgers/1week!” and You would be completely incorrect. I think I had more energy last month, and I’ve already put on a pound since January. So, I hope you walk away with this message: Cheeseburgers are Good for Your Health, Will Keep You Thin, and Are For Grown-Ups.

alex val day 2

Cheeseburger Power Couple is still deadlier than ever. In this picture, Alex is scrumpfing down a delicious Bar Bar burger. 

 

 

 

RESOLUTION CHEESEBURGER 2016: Slow Burger, Kelly’s Olympian & Q Burger

 

alex slow burger

This week I really delayed eating cheeseburgers, and put myself into a pretty sticky spot: go back on my resolution and show the world the true meaning of caprice, or eat TWO CHEESEBURGERS in only ONE DAY.

I went with the latter choice, because I’m a hero. And because apparently I’m perfectly comfortable with compromising my health for the sake of strange promises made on blogs. I laid in bed afterward, gently shaking to myself, and like I had just consumed far too much salt, which I have never believed possible, and honestly still think I’m probably wrong about.

Slow Burger

slow burger

“Slow Burger. You should definitely go to Slow Burger. But get the Slow Burger at the Slow Bar. Wait, no, go to the Burger place – that’s where it’s good. Or maybe it’s at the bar. Definitely get it at the burger place but not the bar, or maybe it’s the other way around. But definitely go there.”

This cloud of sounds and words was how my friend recommended this burger to me.

“Start thinking about where you want to get a burger tonight.” My boyfriend texted me.

Slow Burger! I thought. But is it at the bar? Or just the burger place? 

“So, where’d you go for burgers last night?” My friend asked.

“I went to Slow Burger,” I answered. “It wasn’t that great.”

“Did you go to the bar?”

“No, the burger place.”

“See! I told you!”

“Did you?” I grabbed his collar and shook him. “DID YOU??!!” I threw him down on the ground. “IS THAT WHAT YOU SAID? ARE YOU SURE THAT’S WHAT YOU SAID?!”

“Please,” he cried.”Please, I just couldn’t…remember…”

“Well, MAYBE, you should FACT CHECK before you go Yelpin’ burgers at me, HUH?”

I picked him up, dusted him off, and said “Sorry. I’ve been listening to a lot of Biggie Smalls lately.”

So apparently, if you go to retrieve the entity entitled “Slow Burger”, you should retrieve it from the Slow Bar, for sure.

I, however, went to the Slow Burger the Burger Place, and wasn’t particularly impressed. I loved that you get to choose your patty size (rather enlightened move. Bravo. Cheers. Here, here. Get on my back and let me carry you around the stadium.), but my 1/3 lb patty cooked Medium came at me with some of the meat on the left side a bit pink, and the rest of the meat going over to the right side a dingy-gray. Truly, I care not if my burger is cooked all the way through, as long as its still juicy. But when it’s cooked strangely and unevenly, and not to what the order is specified, then why are we bothering with pretending that burgers should be treated like steaks?

P.S. They really shouldn’t be treated like steaks.

P.P.S. I’m an angsty little picnic basket full of opinions.

I was also frustrated that they hadn’t managed to cut my burger bun properly in half (go back up and look at the pic again), but, in the world’s defense, I was really grumpy due to a 2-day hangover of which I was celebrating day 1.

I got the 6oz Big Mike ($8), and Officer Boyfriend got The Original – which I thought was definitely a better burger. I normally try to get the most straightforward burger on a menu, but I deviated this time because the hangover was requiring me to eat bacon and order a Sprite.

Officer Boyfriend’s burger was also better cooked than mine, which suggests that my crappy burger might have been a fluke. I would definitely check out the burger at Slow Bar, and probably visit Slow Burger again and not be surprised by a better product.

 

Kelly’s Olympian

Kelly's Burger

To be perfectly honest, I don’t like saying anything to poopy about Kelly’s because I’ve had such a positive experience there since I’ve moved to Portland. It can be a pretty wacky and wild place, with a really diverse clientele, and the staff there is so kind and handles it all really gracefully. They get artists, drunks, service industry, Super Bros, business men and tourists, and it all sorta works out. I started going there when I first moved here because they play MUSIC VIDEOS every MONDAY NIGHT and it’s the best thing in the whole world.

But regardless, I had a really horrible burger there the other night.

The week was nearly up, and with only one burger under my belt, I needed to make another burger happen and FAST. If I’m going to eat at Kelly’s, I’d get their chicken strips and fries for SURE with every sauce they have, because their ranch and honey mustard are extra good, for some demonic reason.

I ordered the $5 happy hour burger, which turned out to not even have cheese on it (I understand if you don’t think this burger should count. I apologize.). I’m sure it was my mistake, because the bartender reiterated to me a few times that I indeed wanted the “Burger.” It came to me as a sort of dry, meaty, brick. It was surrounded by a big fluffy bun, which was fine except I could really only taste bun-fluff and the occasional dry meat brick. There was mayo and toppings, but it was all sort of absorbed by the bun, and being punched in the face by the brick.  I left with that feeling of sadness reserved only for when your parents forget to pick you up from soccer practice, or for when nice people feed you something bad.

 

And this was when I made the impulsive, yet brave choice, to eat a 2nd cheeseburger.

Two cheeseburgers. One day.

Q Burger

Q burger

Gingham Deli Paper Week up in this Biotch

I hopped on the Max, with the voice of a co-worker rumbling through my head:

I don’t know why you’re sleeping on my Q Burger recommendation. It’s really good, and might be the diner burger you’re looking for. Pete goes there all the time.

Which Pete ? I asked.

The nice one. Pete, tell her about Q Burger.

  The memory of Pete’s voice appeared in my head.

I go there all the time. Pete responded nicely.

Thanks, Pete.

I wouldn’t say I had been “sleeping” on Q Burger, but I had been slightly hesitant to go there due to health concerns.

Every burger has at LEAST bacon on it. They offer pulled pork AND brisket. It’s…insane…

I’d been planning on going there some day after a jog, or at least after smoking some legal and recreational Oregon marijuana, but instead I ended up there on the day I decided to cram two burgers down my gullet.

And me oh my was it delicious. It was INDEED the diner burger I was dreaming of, which almost is more about the toppings than the burger.

believe that the deal with this place was it opened as Seven Rivers BBQ, but then morphed into a burger place, and still retained all of it’s BBQ gear. They have a mile-long burger menu, but you can still go there and order regular BBQ if you wish – OR you can order a burger and have them pile BBQ on top of it. So there is that.

This place was about a mile down Lombard from the Max station on Interstate, so by the time I got there, it was dark, and I can’t say I was quite hungry again, but I can say I was thinking about how someday I might be hungry again.

I chose the Throwback burger ($7.75), which was the most average looking burger, adorned with only american cheese, and of course bacon. You can choose your toppings, but I chose “The works,” because I love ordering things like that, and it came with a lot ot stuff I liked. Grilled onions, dill pickles, mayo, mustard…and maybe some other stuff I can’t remember. The patty was 1/4lb (I’m pretty sure? It might have been a 1/3 – I was a little drowsy.), and was perfectly adequate, juicy, tasted like yummy, well-seasoned ground beef. I hadn’t had a nice sesame seed bun in a minute, and it worked out just fine. The burger held together really well, and I was able to get a bit of everything in a bite.

This is a burger that wants to taste good, be inside of your mouth, and then go bowling with it’s friends on a Friday night – it’s a straightforward nice time. I’d LOVE to go back there and try one of their BBQ Franken-burgers, and I feel slightly remiss at not having ordered one this time, but I had my stomach screaming at me for answers.

Well, smell you later – have a great week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESOLUTION CHEESEBURGER 2016: Pause, The White Eagle & The Cafeteria At My Work

Every cheeseburger has a story, I guess. Or at least I tell a story about every cheeseburger.

Only two weeks in, and I’m already unsure how long I can keep this up. In case you forgot, my resolution for 2016 was to eat 3 cheeseburgers a week. It’s not just that this resolution is asking a lot of me calorie-wise, it’s asking a lot from me emotionally. It’s making me search the dark corners of my psyche to pull up every expectation I’ve ever had for any cheeseburger, and drag it out, center stage, stagelight blaring, and make me examine my cheeseburger cravings. Every cheeseburger has sent me hurtling down a tunnel to self-discovery, and the tunnel is tiled with dark profundity and partially-melted American Cheese.

Long story short, I’m figuring out I’m a real basic bitch when it comes to cheeseburgers, and this whole time I thought I was a hipster. It’s getting real “hey, could I get a pumpkin spice latte cheeseburger,” up in here and I’m standing around awkwardly, not sure what to say or where to put my hands.

If finding out I’m something I thought I hated is the worst part about eating so many cheeseburgers, then the best part is hearing other people explain their perfect cheeseburger to me. I ask a lot of people when they’re describing food, (“where’s the pickle?” “are the onions sweated?” “how far can you squish down the bun til you can feel some resistance?”) and people are SO ready most of the time.

Since I work in a kitchen, it hasn’t been hard for me to monopolize most of the conversations to be about cheeseburgers lately. I’ve gotten a slew of recommendations for local burgers, dreamy recollections about far-away and long-ago burgers, and even more narratives of “dream burgers.” Every person is a unique frickin’ snowflake, and their burgers are not quite as unique, but pretty close.

Bless everyone’s tender hearts – we’re all so very fascinating.

PAUSE

Pause

I started off this week by taking a recommendation from work. One of my co-workers recommended this spot to me, and the conversation went like this:

“Oh, and Pause has a good burger.”

“Paws?”

“Yup, Pause. On Interstate.”

“Paws. Bad name.”

“Pause. Yeah, not a great name. But good burger. Grassfed…”

“Oh! Pause. That place! It looks like a weird after-school Christian hang-out space.”

“Yeah, it has a weird font.”

At this point another co-worker joined in:

“I hate the way that place looks. Looks like a cafe from the early 2000s.”

“Yeah I was walking by it the other day, and I thought ‘god, I hate how that place looks.'”

I was happy to hear that nearly everyone agreed that the place had an odd look to it,  but I decided  I should stop being font-racist, step out of my comfort zone and check out Pause. Short-walk from my house, and the second I approached it, I shuddered. I mean, don’t get me wrong – it’s a perfectly nice looking place. Just the place makes me feel how I feel whenever I’m in Florida: all my dreams are dead.

The place was slightly more reassuring on the inside: wood-paneled bar, friendly bartender, Big Star, straight-forward menu. Maybe you shouldn’t be so rude about Florida, I chided myself. Mom is going to get upset about that one. 

“One cheeseburger.” The waitor repeated back to me. “Now, how would you like that cooked?”

My response drew to a halt as my mind’s soundtrack hired crickets to sing. How do I want my burger cooked? Whoa…I haven’t been asked that in awhile.

I used to be such a little prat about wanting my burgers cooked rare or medium rare, and lately all I’ve wanted is a fully-cooked through burger. Yikes- I’m being faced with my past, and I no longer know what to say.

“Err, umm Medium? Yeah, medium.” I coughed and tried to look like nothing was weird for me right then. Damn…I’ve been really feasting on diner burgers lately.

It was a nice cheddar cheeseburger. It was $11. Perfectly medium, fresh tasting, albeit under-seasoned beef, and a great bun. The “toppings” were also very nice, but they’re served on the side, which I find to be a big eye-roll. How safe. How free of personality.

How “we don’t really have an opinion about burgers, we just want your parents from out-of-town to not complain about over-priced Portland burgers on Yelp after eating here.”

And I guess that’s how I felt about the entire experience. This tastes like how a pause button feels – but not in a cool way,  I wrote down at the time. I looked back at that sentence before writing this blog, and I’m not entirely sure what was going through my mind at the time, but decided I should share it with you all anyway.

Eating a burger at Pause reminded me how I’ve changed, and how I don’t want to look back. Just because something is technically good doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good to me.

So that was that.

The White Eagle

White Eagle 2

“It’s so dark in here.” “Why don’t you put the burger by the light?” “Oh yeah.”

This is my boyfriend’s favorite burger, and it didn’t occur to me until the moment the burger was going into my mouth that if I didn’t like this cheeseburger he might dump me. Also, if that was the reason he dumped me, I would respect him so much. Now THAT is integrity.

Fortunately, a cheeseburger at The White Eagle ($10.50) is really tasty. Six ounce patty (which I much prefer to an 8 oz patty) which was really well-seasoned (FINALLY), a yummy sauce (THAT APPARENTLY IS A SECRET) that I thought was well-portioned, and good toppings. I was a little disappointed that all the toppings were at the bottom of the burger. Boyfriend Man say he likes that because he feels like it all stays in place better. I feel like it’s just being easy on yourself when you’re assembling the burger, and meanwhile compromising the integrity of the lettuce (which in this case was green leaf.)

I really enjoyed it, even though it didn’t feature some of my favorite elements of a burger. However, it definitely was on the “recommend to a friend” sphere.

White Eagle 1

Before I put the burger by the light. Hashtag: truth in food photography.

The Cafeteria at My Work

Cafeteria 3.JPG

As I mentioned before, I’ve been monopolizing my work place to be a continual Cheeseburger Discussion Zone. I had spent a good chunk of my morning trying to explain myself to my coworker Travis. It mostly orbited around my recent desire to have fully-cooked burgers, and how dorky that made me feel, but through enough pseudo-science and David Change references I might be able to explain how I’m not a complete idiot for wanting that.

“I’m sorry, Travis.” I said, after a particularly long paragraph of ranting. “I just need to explain myself.”

“I know!” He said cheerfully, and evacuated the room for a number of hours.

He eventually came back, pointing at me. “You!” he said.

“What?!!” I said.

“You won’t believe it. Cheeseburgers. In the cafeteria. Today.”

“Shut. Up. No. Way.”

“Way. There’s burgers. And cheese. And toppings. I made mine a double.”

I gasped.

Eventually, the entire kitchen became abuzz with the presence of cheeseburgers in the cafeteria, what this implied, how we were going to build our own, and if this would all be a big mistake.

I mean, I knew walking into this that this would be a “cafeteria burger”. This wasn’t about to be anything too delicious -but boy did it feel exciting.

I anxiously raced down to the cafeteria and hoped that there would still be enough of everything. I found a nearly empty cafeteria, and a sort-of delicious and wellish-stocked looking burger bar.

Cafeteria 1

Ok – straight-up: the patties were gross. Let’s not fool ourselves. Except that cafeteria patties DEFINITELY know how to be seasoned (mass-production is at least a genius in how to use salt), any patty held in a steamwell is going to be  a little freaky texture-wise. And indeed it was.

I followed Travis’s lead by making a double cheeseburger, which certainly was an error…it was just too much food, and I slogged back into work because of it. But I just couldn’t look at all this potential in front of me and not capitalize on it. There were just PILES of American cheese, waiting to be slapped into between layers of 1/4 pounds of pre-heated beef and three squirts of mustard.

Cafeteria 2

The main problem with the cafeteria burger was it’s inability to squish together and stay as a unit. Because I assembled this burger myself, I can also be to blame for it’s structure and integrity, but I mostly blamed the hard-sponge like texture of the patty  for it’s propensity to slide around like a unit inside of the bun. I’d go into take a bite, and the entire patty would try to escape, slipping off the burger and veering back toward the plate.

Or perhaps GMO patties have developed consciousness and are now self-aware of themselves  as a food substance and are revolting against being devoured by the gnashing teeth of the human race. That also seems just as likely.

Regardless, I had a lovely time in the cafeteria that day, pulling apart sticky tater tots from themselves, and dipping them in the remains of ketchup I was able to ejaculate from a nearly empty bottle.

 

This was an invigorating and emotional week. Can’t wait to see what the next has in store for me in RESOLUTION CHEESEBURGER 2016.