Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Burger Quest

I'm on a lifelong hamburger odyssey. I don't expect to one day find the perfect burger and then only eat that burger for the rest of my days. But I do feel compelled to try every hamburger possible, in the hopes of finding one that comes close to perfection.

This weekend, Mrs. FoodGuy and I had a FoodGuy Jr.-less date and went to Davis' Restaurant in downtown Eugene. I really like Davis', though their menu changes so often it's hard to predict what there might be to eat. In any event, it had been over a week since I'd had a hamburger, so despite my love for their Wild Mushroom Pot Pie (which used to come in a puff pastry shell that was SO GOOD and now comes in an only okay herbed pie crust...), I went with the burger.

Though I wish I had photographic evidence, this is not the actual Davis burger.

Now, sometimes I'm a little embarassed to order a hamburger in a place with cloth napkins. But I don't let that stand in my way. When a man needs a hamburger, he needs a hamburger!

On this night, I needed a hamburger. And rather than loading up on toppings, I decided to simplify. All that adorned my burger was swiss cheese and crunchy fried onions.

And it was good. Really Good. Really Really Good, as in, oh my god, this might be the one Good! It was like somebody had injected the burger with extra "ideal hamburger" flavor. It was beefy. It was cooked perfectly. The bun had a little texture to it, rather than being a mushy meat-handle. And I think the simple toppings let the overall deliciousness really shine through.

I had to offer a bite to Mrs. FG, though I didn't want to part with a morsel of it. Now, she's not the burger expert that I am, but she said it was the best burger she ever had. I hesitate to make such proclamtions, but if that wasn't the best burger, I'd have to put it in the Top 10. I'll need to eat at least two more Davis burgers to make sure it wasn't a fluke before I can say Top 5 (look for my post on my Top 5 burgers soon...)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bake Off

Subtitle: Second Place is the First Loser

At work last week, my company hosted its annual Bake/Cook-Off. Since there was still a week left in my annual sugar ban (see post Going Hardcore), I was going to cook something good for you, like my low fat Chipotle Chicken Salad (which is so good you would never guess it's low fat!). For presentation, I was even going to stuff the chicken salad into cherry tomatoes (time consuming, but worth it 'cause they look so fancy!). But then Mrs. Food Guy convinced me to make my Not Just Chocolate Chip Cookies.

A partially eaten example of said cookie.

Now, I was hesitant. When Mrs. FG was pregnant with Food Guy Jr., I made batch after batch of these cookies, tweaking the recipe each time until I perfected them. The last time I made them was August of 2007, and we both remember that batch as the best cookies ever. So great idea, Mrs. Food Guy.

Except for one thing...

I never wrote down my recipe.

I knew the base cookie recipe I used, but all my tweaks were lost to the last year and a half of new parenthood. So already my confidence in the recipe was low. Feeling thusly, I started baking.

Then I realized I couldn't possibly bring cookies to a contest and not taste them. But I couldn't taste them, because it was Hardcore time! What to do?

So I caved. For the first time in the four years Mrs. FG and I have been Going Hardcore, I cheated and ate a cookie. Okay, two cookies. Okay okay, two baked cookies and at least one full cookies-worth of raw dough. And to be honest, they weren't even as good as I remembered.

I felt bad the next day to have cheated, I felt weak. My confidence now lower than before, I schlepped my plate of cookies to work, sure I was going to embarrass myself with my crappy cookies. Me, the baker who left the bakery to work at the software company, was going to be outdone by the my new co-workers.

My Medal

Given all that, I was tickled to take second place in the contest (even though, Mrs. Food Guy's opinion aside, taking second place is not the same as winning!). The winning dish was my favorite of the offerings that I tried (I did abstain from all the sweet entries), so I felt like I lost to a worthy adversary. And it was fun. I still don't feel good about cheating, especially since it also resulted in me drinking two beers the following night (somehow those beers were the cookies fault, I'm sure of it).

At least I managed to contain the damage to those two days, and now it's almost CAKE TIME again.