Hangin’ with The King

Once bitten, twice shy. The last fast food biscuit write up was the atrocious Hardees experience, which you can catch up on here if you like. Because of this, I approached this one with great trepidation. The locale was a somewhat isolated Burger King, which contributed to my concerns. Despite having received a recent facelift, this location sits in the parking lot of a real bummer of a shitty shopping center.

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Home of the Whopper…and hot dogs…and fried Cheetos branded snacks

Another reason I’m suspicious is that me and the King have a tumultuous relationship (rodeo burger aside, that was my jam in 1999). The roots of my doubt are tied to the fact that in 1989, in the height of turtle-mania, at a Burger King that still stands in Raleigh NC, I sold all future rights to happy-meal toys for a single shot at a TMNT kid’s meal. Coming fresh off of their Alf puppet run (I had “Cookin’ with Alf”, he came with a 45 you could play an awful song off of), I believed that the BK Kids Club was where it was at, and their TMNT line would be amazing.

Kids Club? Sure! (said 7 year old me)
Kids Club? Sure! (said 8 year old me)
Cookin' with Alf was, and still is amazing
Cookin’ with Alf was, and still is amazing

My father was an ardent non-believer in kid’s meals. They’re a rip-off you see, wasteful and overpriced, (spoken like a real life Burgermeister Meisterburger). He made me promise that if he got me this one BK TMNT kid’s meal that I would no longer be allowed to get a kid’s meal…ever again. You would think this was a just ruse to get a kid to shut up….NOPE.

THERE WILL BE NO MORE!
THERE WILL BE NO MORE!
After this hunk of garbage, I can see why...
After this hunk of garbage, I can see why…

I traded my BK Kids club membership in for a Raphael toothbrush holder, and my world was never the same again. It was sooooo lame. I feigned excitement all the way home, put it in the bathroom, and immediately realized the error of what I had done. Surely, he would forget and I could get back on the kid’s meal wagon some day…NOPE. NEVER AGAIN. I even recall being out with my grandmother, and little brother later, and she would ask if I wanted a happy meal here or there, and out of the knowledge that the big man meant business, the response was always “I’m not allowed”. I was so afraid of breaking this rule, that I adhered to it for the rest of my childhood – full disclosure, I had a pretty great childhood, and was not wanting for toys, only kid’s meals…and I am aware of how ridiculous it is to lament such an experience.

…but I digress…

On THIS morning, I went with the standard bacon egg and cheese biscuit, presented by a man so courteous, professional, and enthused I thought he may be a lord or at least knight in the court of the Burger King. Turns out he was just a normal dude, working the drive through, but I was given my breakfast with such aplomb that I knew, this would not be a repeat of the Hardees incident. At about 2” tall by 3” wide, the breakfast delight appeared of average stature. Of note was its golden (not unlike the Burger King’s crown) buttery exterior, and yellow viscously melty cheese running forth over healthy cuts of bacon that appeared as that of the homemade variety (the eggs just kind of looked like eggs). It was a site to behold.

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The wrapper was surprisingly greasy compared to the biscuit itself, I suspect that this was a product of the bacon, and not a big deal…because this was a good biscuit. I will say that the consistency was a liiiittle doughy, so as far as fast food biscuits, McDonald’s has it beat, but compared to Hardees, it’s amazing.

Truly, this was fit for a king, or at least a nobleman, or a guy running late to work who didn’t eat breakfast before leaving.

See you next time,

Charlie Mewshaw

Ponysaurus – Durham, NC

Located in Durham, NC, the Ponysaurus brewery is an oasis in otherwise drab industrial neighborhood. Amongst warehouses, and next to a particularly spooky looking old house (think Scooby-Do), the brewery has a pretty huge lawn area where people frolic, food trucks park, and merriment is made. As you get closer there’s a deck, and a nice taproom that offers a thoughtful variety of snacks to go along with their awesome beers.

Probably should've taken a picture BEFORE the snacks got eaten.
Probably should’ve taken a picture BEFORE the snacks got eaten.
Menus!
Menus!
Where the magic happens inside the taproom.
Where the magic happens inside the taproom.
Right next door.
Right next door.

The Ponysaurus approach to sampling flights in the taproom is pretty great. You write down what you would like on a coaster sized little card, hand it over, and with impressive speed and intensity, your glasses are filled and that card is placed betwixt the tiny beers. This eliminates the “wait…which one was this?” that sometimes arises with lesser flight layouts.

The perfect flight arrangement!
The perfect flight arrangement!

So being impressed with all aspects of the Ponysaurus experience up to this point, the main event is obviously the beers, and they do not disappoint.

Gose – 4.4% – Full disclosure : I generally don’t like beer in the Gose family. You may wonder why I got one then…and that is fair. The truth is that I’m willing to give any brewery a fair shake, thinking that maybe their version is something I would enjoy. This one smelled a bit yeasty (my wife said trash-juicey, but I disagreed). It tasted not so much sour but tart and with a hint of salt?! Weird, but you know what? I don’t hate it, and I hate Gose. Off to a good start.

IPA – 6.3% – Citrus, mild hops, great woody finish, I would drink this on the regs.

Biere de Garde – 6.3% – Described as a Belgian table beer, I was stoked to be able to write this one down on the card instead of pretending I knew how it was pronounced. It’s got a bit of fruity thing going on, which I kind of expected, but that fruit is bananas – which as we all know is the devil’s fruit. It’s good, but I don’t think I’d stock the fridge with it.

Imperial Stout – 8.5% – This is great. An amazing stout, that’s so good with present but not overpowering notes of chocolate/cherry/Nutella? I’d definitely keep this around.

With the flight over, I desired a proper pint. I went with the Rye Pale Ale, which coming in at 5.4% had a nice moderate ABV, was light and refreshing. I was once told that Rye Pale Ales are incapable of giving you a hangover. This beer is so great, I would be willing to test that hypothesis any day.

Rumor has it, Rye beers are incapable of causing hangovers.
Rumor has it, Rye beers are incapable of causing hangovers.

All in all, Ponysaurus is awesome. Nice staff, great taproom, awesome and diverse beers. You should check it out:

http://ponysaurusbrewing.com/

See you next time,

Charlie Mewshaw

Duke Regional – Institutional Biscuits

The institutional dining scene isn’t generally what comes to mind when searching for killer biscuits. I recently found myself on a few 24 hour cycles at Duke Regional Hospital (formerly Durham Regional), and came to find that their lower level cafeteria, in addition to an impressively diverse collection of vending machines (anyone who knows me, know I love coffee vending machines in particular), they also happened to have a breakfast buffet featuring biscuits!

Imagine the surprise of finding this!
Imagine the surprise of finding this!

After going two nights with no sleep, and riding an emotional rollercoaster, this breakfast/biscuit combo looked magical.

Good stuff, good stuff.
Good stuff, good stuff.

As the aromas wafted up from the tray, and I took my first bite, I thought: crusty but soft outside, a bready inside? Wait a second! This is a roll masquerading as a biscuit!

Wait a tick! This is bready as all get out...whatever...NOMNOMNOMNOMNOM
Wait a tick! This is bready as all get out…whatever…NOMNOMNOMNOMNOM

Whatever, it hit the spot…moving on, the bacon was the least soggy institutional bacon I’ve ever had, crisp, flavorful and not greasy. The eggs were a little watery, and it may be the lack of sleep (its definitely the lack of sleep) but this crusty biscuit/roll thing really complimented the other parts, and may be the best biscuit I’ve ever had (ok, not really, but blissful delirium that comes with new parenthood has that effect).

A big thank you to Duke Regional for offering some thoughtful iterations of comfort food in an environment where people need comfort!

See you next time for a brewery visit.

Your host,

Charlie Mewshaw