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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Archive for the ‘Cheesy Goodness’ Category

Thursday, March 15, 2012 @ 08:03 PM

020We have reviewed a fair amount of burger joints in the past 2 years, but something never gets old in trying new ones. Still, it’s often hard to compare burgers to one another; whereas a good burger is simply good…it’s hard for one to go above and beyond into greatness. Now, we do have a standout winner in the great category, one which we will likely continue to stack all the others against. It’s not to say we still won’t come across good burgers, but to win out as the best it has to beat that particular experience.

All that being said…, we will always try another and that is why we happily added this next joint into the lineup; and I was especially excited because at the time I was almost 8 months pregnant and burgers were one of those things that always sounded good to me! Lucky for me, we happened to plan a trip to Detroit towards the end of my pregnancy and figured that would be as good a time as any to stop through Ann Arbor and pay a visit to Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger, a very popular burger joint for over 50 years among locals, especially University of Michigan students (You may recognize it from Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives” and/or The Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food”).

 

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVTcAkfuRFw

 

We were glad that we happened to visit during the summer months, because this joint is known to have quite a wait on most days due to its popularity among students. So when we arrived we were happy to be able to walk right in, which I especially appreciated as a hungry pregnant lady. Winking smile Plus, due to all their ordering rules, it helped us newbies not hold up other hungry patrons with our ignorance.

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What makes Blimpy Burger so unique is how many patties people put down at a time. Their patties are quite small so their standard double is only about a 1/4 pound, so many people go in and order quite a few patties. I went with their smallest burger (the double) with cheddar and grilled onions, while Adam ordered the quint, or 5 patties…, still only about a 1/2 a pound. It is clear now how although a crazy amount, I can see how some people order 20 patties at a time (for a competitions sake of course). We also decided on both an order of onion rings and their fries…you know…for the reviews sake! Smile

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Because they were not busy at all, our food was ready by about the time we got to the cash to pay from the on-site ATM and we dug in. Although neither of us were too excited about either the fries or rings, we were both pleasantly surprised with just how juicy and tasty those tiny pattied burgers were. As Jules Winnfield would say, (Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Pulp Fiction) “Mmm-mmmm…that is a tasty burger!

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Neither of us had a problem finishing off our burgers, which is always a good indicator that we enjoyed it; and while I would say we have still yet to surpass the best burger experience we have had, Krazy Jim’s did not disappoint.

SIGNATURE DISH: It’s called ‘Krazy Jim’s Blimpy BURGER!’ While they do have a few other sandwich options on their menu, burgers are the main attraction for sure and with some people ordering as many as 10-15 patties at a time, it’s the smaller patties in large quantities that make them so unique.

TASTE: Not the best burger I’ve ever had, but still very tasty and certainly did the job. Also, while their patties are small, they are still plenty juicy and the cheese gets super melty and yummy. Add some grilled onions into the mix and you have a winner in my book!

AMBIANCE: It has a wonderful old school campus joint feel to it, something I am always nostalgic for; and while I figured this joint was small, television made it look MUCH bigger than reality. We were sort of shocked with just how small this place is and it is hard to imagine how they cram so many students and locals alike in here on a day to day basis. I’m just glad we visited at a down time and weren’t crammed.

PRICE: The burgers range in price from $2.65 to $5.70. Add a couple of more bucks on for french fries or rings and you have a pretty good deal for a meal.

SERVICE: We were expecting a bit of “rush” when it came to service since the television spots we had seen seemed to showcase the fact that you better know what you want when you step to the counter. Luckily we didn’t encounter too much of a hassle since at that moment we were the only ones in line. I appreciated the chef walking us through the process and asking us what we wanted, since it was pretty clear we weren’t from around those parts. Still, make sure you know what you want and how to order. Adam accidently ordered out of order and he was quickly corrected!

Overall, we had a really fun lunch experience with a tasty burger bonus. I can definitely see why U of M students and alumni swear by it. I could for sure go for a double or triple (heck even a quint!) from time to time. So while not a ‘Quint’ on the Piggies…I still award them 3 ½ ‘Little Piggies’

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Friday, April 29, 2011 @ 08:04 AM

021Although it is starting to get warmer (at least in most places in the country), I’d say this next recipe would maybe be more fitting for the cooler months of the year. However, I am also guessing there are many of you out there who are still craving some comfort food…, at least to curl up with and escape all this rain Mother Nature seems to be dumping on us this month.  I’m starting to figure that we are really not going to get a spring this year and rather immediately dive into summer weather come Mid May. But in the meantime, no sense breaking out those spring and summer recipes when there doesn’t seem to me much sign of that or even sunshine anytime soon.  NOT THAT I’M BITTER OR ANYTHING!

So when I first noticed this recipe in an issue of Food Network Magazine, I was immediately intrigued…, Mac and Cheese soup, really?  And if you know my better half at all, you know that mac and cheese and anything like it is his FAVORITE food…almost to a downfall. Winking smile  True, I like it just as much as the next person, but I am just a wee bit pickier. Still, I was so intrigued by this recipe as a soup. I figured it had to have a similar flavor but likely be a heck of a lot lighter than you average heavily cheesy pasta dish; and as an added bonus, after reading the directions it seemed rather simple and I thought it would be a great idea to whip up on a random chilly evening.

Mac and Cheese Soup

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 4 ounces elbow macaroni (1 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 1/2-inch-thick slices baguette
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 3/4 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook as the label directs; drain.

Mist a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the tomato and baguette slices on it in a single layer; season with salt and pepper. Bake until the bread is golden brown, about 7 minutes.

Mince the shallots, carrot and celery in a food processor. Mist a saucepan with cooking spray. Add the vegetables and cook over medium-high heat until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the broth and bring to a boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Add the milk, cheeses and macaroni and stir until the cheeses melt. Season with pepper. Top the toasts with tomatoes; serve on the soup.

Per serving: Calories 476; Fat 20 g (Saturated 12 g); Cholesterol 84 mg; Sodium 636 mg; Carbohydrate 46 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 27 g

Photograph by Antonis Achilleos

Source

I was surprised how easily this dish came together and really was quite a great alternative to just warming up a can of Campbell’s on a cold night.  I simply followed the directions and while I was cooking the noodles themselves I went about preparing the other ingredients, including toasting my baguette slices since they seemed a little too soft to be toppers.  I also was unable to find plum tomatoes at any of 3 grocery stores I tried, so I instead I substituted sundried tomatoes, which I would not do again because these really didn’t fit well with the whole texture.  That being said…, the tomatoes are not a major player in this dish…more of a garnish…. so if you can’t find them, no worries.

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I was pleasantly surprised with how creamy and comforting this dish was.  While it does taste similar to Mac and Cheese, it is really just a really great flavored creamy and cheesy noodle soup, which of course are the 3 major things you want in comfort food…right? And that being said…, while it is cheesy and creamy, it is not so heavy that you can’t enjoy it or even feel guilty about it because it is much healthier than a huge bowl of the real deal. 

Adam also enjoyed this dish, and I agree with him in that it tasted MUCH better the second day.  Something about the shallot and cheese really sitting together for more time really helped the flavor expand and bind with the noodles.  Although this soup was far from bland on the night of, it didn’t wow us as much as it did for leftovers.  Still, definitely a winner in my book and a recipe I will be repeating in the future. After all, it is always great to have good comfort food dishes on hand!

TASTE: I was pleasantly surprised with how yummy this soup turned out.  While I have had much more decadent and wonderful Mac and Cheese in my lifetime, this was just a nice alternative to the “blue box” or other types, and just as easy to put together.  Also, while this is considered a soup, I certainly didn’t feel I needed anything else for our meal. It is plenty filling and fulfilling all in one.

EASE OF PREPARATION: This dish could not be EASIER! It really just takes monitoring the ingredients and adding them at their proper time.  While some might find that annoying, I think it is nice to be able to have something to do while the dish is coming together. 

COST: This is definitely also a dish that is cheap to put together…, very few ingredients and the few it does have are inexpensive and easy to find.  Also, the portion sizes are very good, so this is money well spent when you consider how many it can feed.

COMPLEXITY: It is far from complex, and as I mentioned above really just takes monitoring and reading the directions.  What is also nice about the dish is how other fun ingredients or flavors could be added if you so desire. Once the basics are followed, there is really room to play around with what else you want to add in…just like normal mac & cheese

PORTION SIZE: This recipe made 4 rather large bowls of soup, so if you are wanting it as a meal, I would say it would feed a family of 4 perfectly. Or if you would rather it be a side dish, it could serve as many as 8 or 10…, quite a deal if you ask me.

While this recipe was far from complex in preparation or flavor, it is certainly a recipe I am glad that I tried. I now know I can make a healthier and natural alternative for my husband’s favorite food, which is a blessing considering.  I also thought it really was a great addition to our comfort food repertoire and something I will for sure be making in the future. Definitely worth the 4 ½ ‘Little Piggies’

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Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 09:01 AM

Well we are back from a wonderful weekend in Nashville celebrating my lil’ brother’s wedding.  Needless to say due to the business of all of that I apologize that this post is a little bit tardy.

Pop Culture Cuisine is officially a year old and we can hardly believe how fast time has flown!  Adam and I have loved incorporating all these wonderful culinary adventures into our travels, mostly because of the great memories it has made for us.  We have compiled a list of some of our favorite and not so favorite spots to share with you with links so you can read our reviews for yourself.  We love food and hope to continue to share lots of great finds with you all along the way.

SIGNATURE DISH

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1. Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous’ “Ribs” – Memphis, TN

2. Round Rock Donuts’ “Round Rock Donut” – Round Rock, TX

3. Lucky’s Sandwich Co.’s “Stuffed Sandwich” – Chicago, IL

TASTE

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1. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

2. Louie’s – Dallas, TX

3. Twisted Root – Dallas, TX

AMBIANCE

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1. The Silver Palm – Chicago, IL

2. Keller’s Drive-in – Dallas, TX

3. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

SERVICE

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1. Blue Ash ChiliAnna – Blue Ash, OH

2. PinkberryChristine – Orlando, FL

3. Avila’s – Dallas, TX

PRICE

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1. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

2. Keller’s Drive-in – Dallas, TX

3. Blue Ash Chili – Blue Ash, OH

OVERALL TOP 5

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1. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

2. Manny’s Delicatessen – Chicago, IL

3. Keller’s Drive-in – Dallas, TX

4. Blue Ash Chili – Blue Ash, OH

5. Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous – Memphis, TN

TOP 5 BIGGEST LET DOWNS…NOT WORTH THE HYPE!

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1. Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Q – Memphis, TN

2. Willie Mae’s Scotch House – New Orleans, LA

3. Acme Oyster House – New Orleans, LA

4. Drago’s Seafood – New Orleans, LA

5. Juan in a Million – Austin, TX

BEST OF THE REST…HONORABLE MENTION

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Best Burger – Twisted Root – Dallas, TX

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Best Pizza – Giordano’s – Chicago, IL

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Best Sandwich – Lucky’s Sandwich Co. – Chicago, IL

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Best BBQ – The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

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Best Bar Food – J. Gilligan’s “Irish Nachos” – Arlington, TX

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Best Cocktail – Pat O’Brien’s “Hurricane” – New Orleans, LA

Three Little Piggies

Most Outrageous Dish – The Silver Palm’s “Three Little Pigs Sandwich” Chicago, IL