Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Double Deckers

Place: Burger King
Lunch: Mushroom & Swiss Big King, onion rings (w/zesty sauce), Coke

BK's 2 for $5 "King Collection" lineup has a new sandwich, a double decker Mushroom & Swiss.  I don't think I've ever seen a double decker mushroom & Swiss before.  Then again, I'd never seen a double decker chicken sandwich until BK put one out there last Spring.  It's still available.  I guess BK is trying to maximize use of the triple bun.  I just got one with onion rings because I don't think I could get through two burgers today, even though they're smallish.

Anyway, this is perfectly decent.  Mushrooms, Swiss, and mayo.  Works well with the charbroiled patties.  Score one for the double deckers.

Pardon me, sir.  What exactly is a double decker?

What?  You've been reading this blog for how many years and you don't know this?

Well, you've never really taken the time to explain it specifically.

I haven't?

**searches blog**

Oh.  I haven't.

Right.  Let's do a brief history on the double decker.

Yay!  Jolly good!

A double decker is a three-bun burger.  There's the bottom bun, a burger patty, a center bun, a burger patty, and a top bun.  You know, like a Big Mac.  But the Big Mac is hardly the original.

The story as I know it is that Bob Wian created the sandwich at his diner in 1936 when challenged by a customer to create something different.  He cut up a bun into three pieces and stuck two patties in between.  It was a hit.  He labeled it the Big Boy and started franchising the sandwich itself to others.

The general rule with double deckers is that they have lettuce, cheese (maybe one or two slices), and a special sauce.  A few might have onions or pickles, but not all.  Most Big Boy's used thousand island dressing as their special sauce.  But Frisch's Big Boy of Cincinnati, who today operates independently of Big Boy International, uses tartar sauce instead.  (They always have, even when they were a Big Boy franchisee.)

It was the Frisch's version that Burger Chef probably copied when they brought the double decker to the quick serve level with their charbroiled Big Shef.  It used a "special sauce" that was essentially a spiked tartar sauce.  (Hardee's occasionally rolls out a "Big Shef" in Indianapolis and St Louis to keep the Burger Chef trademark in their paws, but it's not the same sandwich.  It's not even a double decker.  It's a double cheeseburger with mayo.)

Then, of course, came McDonald's with the Big Mac, which has dominated the double decker segment ever since.

Sandy's had the Big Scot, which had the distinction of having cabbage instead of lettuce and a yellow special sauce that was a mustard-mayo based mix.  Sort of like  Burgerville's "Burgerville Spread".   I have a copycat recipe of the sauce and made some Big Scots a few years back.  It was pretty decent if you like cabbage.  I'm not fond of cabbage, but the flavor made more sense with the sauce than lettuce would have.

My favorite of the double deckers is Arctic Circle's Ranch.  AC uses ketchup and white sauce (their proprietary version of mayo) at company stores, but some franchises actually use fry sauce instead.  I don't know why I like theirs so much, but I do.

Actually, I wouldn't turn down any of them.  I still enjoy a Big Mac once in awhile.

And the occasional Big Boy.

Friday, July 04, 2014

30 Years

Place: QuikTrip
Lunch: Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap, Pepsi

A few years ago, QT started building what they called "Gen-3" stores, new stores with a bigger footprint and a kitchen concept that had specialty drinks and room for future ideas.

Said ideas have expanded into a concept knows as "QT Kitchen", which they've since started adding to older stores.  It's apparently so different that even our local Gen-3 store's kitchen was closed and completely remodeled.

The new space has the specialty drinks (hot and cold), pizzas, some weird breakfast thingy I can't pronounce, and hot sandwiches and wraps.  You order using a very Sheetz-like touch screen, though the menu and options are far more limited than Sheetz.  You can get really ridiculous at Sheetz, where they nickel and dime you to death with the add-ons.  I once created a walking taco at Sheetz that, by the time I was done with it, was north of $8.00.  (The end result was, for the record, obscene in its awesomeness.)

Anyway, I really like this wrap.  The soft flatbread is more like a thicker tortilla and is folded like a soft taco.  Inside is chicken, cheddar, bacon strips, and ranch sauce.  It's all melted together and holds well enough to eat while driving.  You can add lettuce and tomato if you want for an additional price (see previous "nickel and diming" comment).  I think there were some sauce options too.

It's Independence Day, where America celebrates its birthday with fireworks, picnics, and parades.  Said parades will include class reunion floats.  And my class, being up for its 30th reunion, is no exception.

I skipped going this year, just as I skipped the 20th and 10th reunions.  Truth be known, I was an outsider with no real friends in my class.  They literally won't notice I'm not there, and I'm not really one to dwell in the past.  Still, I've seen more of this reunion than the previous ones thanks to Facebook.  It's sort of surprising just how many of my classmates I have no recollection of whatsoever.  We were a small class for our school at around 150.  We were also kind of the "anti-class" class.  We didn't play well with others.  If we're remembered for anything, it's for literally put an end to pep assemblies by introducing the concept of bench-clearing brawls to class spirit challenges.

Yeah, good times.

From what I can tell, maybe twenty-to-thirty showed up.  They did a float.  They're having a picnic.  They all appear to have done well for themselves.  They look really happy and I'm absolutely certain that I would have felt as out of place with them now as I was back in the day.

But it's nice to see them looking happy together anyway.