2017-06-16 Lot 2 – Delayed Review.. 2.5

This one kinda makes me a little sad. I remember when I first had the Lot 2 cheeseburger a couple of years ago and thought it was the bomb. Something about the sauce and the way it was cooked. It was juicy and tasty and the fries and mustard dip were also amazing. But when I had it this week (and it has been quite a while since I have been to Lot 2), it was disappointing.

I went with my friend Amy earlier this week after seeing a show in Benson and so it was late and there were not a lot of people there. Our waiter was good-looking, and nice, and helpful. He was also patient while we deliberated over what drinks to order from the cocktail menu. I ordered the one with vodka as the base, since I’m a vodka girl and the name of it was something so appropriate, like “My own complication”. I don’t remember, I’ll have to call and ask because I remember thinking “That is so me”.

Unfortunately, the waiter and the cocktails were the highlight and perhaps the kale salad coming in third. The salad was exactly how I had remembered and aside from having too many capers, it was pretty delicious. The cheeseburger, as I eluded to, was not good.

The first time it came out, it was extremely rare. So rare, infant, that the bottom bun was literally soggy and smashed down flat to the plate. Totally gross. Since we split it, the first thing we did was cut it down the middle and knew immediately it was undercooked. We had asked for medium. I remember that place sort of undercooking before, slightly. Sort of like asking for medium and getting medium rare, but this was totally off.

We had it sent back and asked for a re-do. This is something I “rarely” do. Haha. When it came out the second time, it was like they over-compensated and it was now over-cooked. Not feeling into a three-peat, we went for it. The flavor was OK, but not as good as I remember and the bun to burger ratio was too high. There were bites that were only bun. I don’t remember the cheese situation (and that should always be memorable) and the other toppings, including the sauce, were also not noteworthy.

The fries were still pretty good, but by the time we were having them, they were not hot any longer and kind of limp.

With 3 being the middle of the 5 point scale, I have to come under that on this one and go with 2.5. Again, very disappointing, and that is totally a reflection of the cheeseburger itself and not the experience as a whole. I would definitely go back for more cocktails, the steak and frites main course, and another chat with that waiter. 😃

Check Please,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-04-29 Saturday Status Check

I thought I would start today by providing a simple status check, just so it is perfectly clear what the last week has done to me.

Sleep: Last 7 days average 4 hours and 49 Minutes. About 2 hours short of my daily goal. 😔

Exercise: 7 day average step count is 9873. About 2K under my official daily goal and 5K under my unofficial daily goal. 😔

I also went to Zero Jazzersice classes. 😔

Eating: There were several lovely places I had the opportunity to eat at but not write about while I was in Phoenix. However, the majority of what I had was fast food. Fast food either at the hotel or hospital or drive through. I had very little fruit and no veggies. I often ate too much and felt overly full. I was eating early and late and sometimes not at all in the middle of the day. To top it off, I was being sustained a fair bit of time by highly caffeinated and sugared lattes. 😔

Some of this was my choice and some was not, but a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.

I stepped on the scale this morning, and weigh the same as I did the day that I left. So I’m not super upset about the food thing or the exercise thing, but I definitely FEEL icky and need to make sure I start the week (starting with the weekend) off right. Now is the time to turn those frowns upside down.

On that note, I’m going to go unpack my bag and see if I have anything clean in my closet to wear to Jazzersize.

Time to Smile 😃
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-04-13 The VIC Experience.. 4.25

Last night I had dinner at the VI. For those who don’t know, the VI is the Village Inn. It’s an American food chain that is mainly in the midwest states in the United States but does reach as far east as Florida and Virginia and as far west as Oregon and Washington State (not to mention Guam and Alaska). They specialize in breakfast foods and pies, but also have a decent lunch and dinner menu as well. Including Cheeseburgers.

I discovered a few months back that the Cheeseburgers there are pretty top tier, so I thought since I am in the regular habit of describing my experiences in that regard, I would dedicate a blog post to giving the VI a review.

My selection of choice is the All American Cheeseburger. It’s a standard one patty burger on a grilled brioche bun with a selection of several different cheeses to choose from.

I’ve mentioned before that I would never make the mistake of not ordering the fries again because the combo isn’t really reviewable without the fries, but since I’ve had this meal with and without fries for the side like a dozen times, I don’t feel bad admitting that I did not get the fries. Not that they are not good, because they are awesome. I just choose a more healthy side because I know I can already vouch for the fries being delicious.

My choice of cheese is, of course, cheddar, and if there is one thing I think they can do better is use a little extra cheese. Only just because.. well.. cheese.

The hamburger itself is seasoned very well. Not too much and not to bland either and when cooked to medium, is just pink in the middle and very, very juicy. The bun is the bomb and I don’t need catsup or mustard or mayo or any sauce because it’s just so good the way it is. I do add some onion and pickle, for a touch of something else.

I would rate this burger a 4.25 out of 5 and I think that is the highest one I’ve rated so far on this blog. Seriously. There is a reason I go back to VI time and time and time again and always order the same thing. It is not because of the atmosphere in the restaurant as I’m not a super big fan of that. However, the service has always been friendly and the food comes out really fast.

I think the next time I go, I’m going to order the All World Cheeseburger which comes with 2 all beef patties, thousand Island dressing, and an onion ring topper. That will give me something to compare and contrast and frankly just another reason to go to the VI again.

(If you go, go on a Wednesday because you get free fruit pie with your meal. Cherry is my favorite.)

This VIC experience was brought to you by the centers for increased awareness of delicious awesomeness in the form of Cheeseburgers.

Don’t You Want One?
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-03-03 When the Universe Smiles at You.. 4

There was no set plan for the day yesterday, but everything seemed to happen exactly as it was meant to… and it could not have worked out better.

I worked most of the morning from a standing desk in Ademir’s basement and had a very intense set of calls. I faced issue after issue, and fielded question after question, so by early afternoon, I felt like I had earned my keep and a pass to venture out for food and a little exploring.

On this trip, I’m the driver and Josh is the navigator. This is his home away from home so I just have to say what it is I am in the mood for and whatever that is, he’ll get us there. For our first meal in the city, though, I opted to leave it to him to suggest a place. He decided it was some breakfast/lunch place that was fairly close to our home base that serves baller french toast and so we set out in that direction.

When we got to the general area, though, he could not remember the name of the place and it wasn’t coming up on the map. We parked in a parking lot next to a grill and pub called “Weber’s Front Row” and started walking the main strip. I’m not sure what the name of that area of town is called, but Webster University, where his friend Crystal works, was close by.

After walking up and down a couple of blocks, we didn’t find it so we got back in the car to do more google searching. Before too long, my hunger took over and I suggested we just eat at this place we were parked at. “It’s a grill and pub, and they have Cheeseburgers.” What more could a girl ask for?

When they set that plate in front of me, I could not help but think, “Everything works out the way it is supposed to”. There I was, first day in a city I had never been to before and the universe was handing me the most delicious Cheeseburger. And it really was so, so good.

It was a thick, juicy beef patty topped with a generous portion of melted real cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and dill pickle slices. And all of that was contained within an toasted onion kaiser bun. It was amazeballs. The burger was cooked medium to perfection and served with an accompaniment of golden french fries which were also cooked very much to my liking – crispy on the outside and soft and steamy hot on the inside. It was a total thumbs up. I’m a pretty tough critic so when I say it gets 4 stars out of 5, that’s something.

Josh opted to order “The Lumberjack”, which was also a cheeseburger but instead of a regular bun, they put it inside two grilled cheese sandwiches. On the menu it also came with fried egg, but he elected to get those on the side. It was still a ridiculous mouthful for sure and also delicious (as he let me try a bite). He likes his burger rare, which is not my cup of tea, but he seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. It was too much food for us, but that’s part of the fun of being “on vacation”. We left that place completely satisfied and happy that things worked out the way they did.

Was it fate that led Josh to want to go to that area of town? Was it coincidence that the restaurant we were looking for was not coming up in our google map searches? Was it luck that the parking lot we elected to park in was next to a pub? In my life right now, I need to do a little more letting go on questioning why and just be grateful for what’s been given. When the universe smiles at you.. you say thank you and smile back.

Thanks Universe, 😃
Miss SugarCookie

2017-03-02 Miss SugarCookie Live from Saint Louis

Yesterday after work I jumped in the car and drove to Saint Louis because.. why not. 😃
I’ll be working from here for the next couple of days and then on my off hours seeing everything and eating everything I possibly can until I leave on Sunday. It’s one of the perks of being able to work from anywhere. Anywhere there is internet that is.

I’ve never been to Saint Louis before so it should be quite an adventure. My tour guide is Josh and he’s already given me the rundown on all his favorite places to eat and I trust that as a result I will also get to see some cool different parts of the city. If the weather is good, we will also get plenty of activity outside including Tennis. So that should be really stellar as well.

I woke up about half an hour ago and could not go back to sleep. I’m on an air mattress in Josh’s friend, Ademir’s basement. Once I was awake my mind immediately began to race about all the stuff going on and I knew there would be no more sleep in my future today. Too much excitement and energy to keep a girl down. I absolutely love road trips.

The drive yesterday was good. I had such a wide swing of feels along the way, and the 7 hour trip seemed to go by really fast so that was also good. We jammed out to some good tunes and had just the right amount of snacks on the way, not to mention a dinner stop for a Cheeseburger as I wouldn’t have it any other way. Quite honestly I can’t believe I have been blogging for over a month now and have not dedicated a post yet to one of the most important things in my life – the Cheeseburger. I know I have been promised a lot of good food on this adventure, but my one request was to have “the best Cheeseburger in town”. Once that happens, I’m sure it will be documented appropriately.

On the drive I also had time to think and in the quiet spaces in my mind there were, as there always are, lots of thoughts about my life. I was thinking about living in the moment and enjoying each day for what it has to offer. I was thinking about the future and how I’m just so free now to choose to do whatever I want. More so than ever before. I had sparks of inspiration about things that I wanted to write. Of course I was driving so I knew I would not being able to capitalize on those sparks and they would slip away, never to be captured. This phenomenon used to bother me, but over time I have come to accept that what dreams may come and what words may blossom in the mind are fleeting and sometimes the act of waking up and living means sacrificing capturing those thoughts. Life is about balance, after all. and some times are times for writing and others are meant to be lived.

The next four days are going to be all about that. I want to squeeze all the life I can out of this adventure and also take time to memorialize some of the moments. We’ll just have to wait and see how well I can pull it off.

Let’s Get this Party Started,
Miss SugarCookie

2017-02-12 Sunday Status Update

Sleep…
Last Night: 7 hours and 59 minutes.
Average for the past week: 6 hours 34 minutes.
Goal: 8 hours.

Exercise…
Today: Jazzercise – 1 hour. Walk – 2 hours. Trampoline Park – 1/2 hour.
21K+ steps.
Average steps for the week: 16,610
Goal: 12,000 per day. So I totally rocked it this week.

Diet…
Today Total Calories under daily goal: 378
Today Net Calories under daily goal: 1037
Total Calories over goal for the week: 1321
Net Calories under goal for the week: 3364
(Total is without factoring in exercise, net is with exercise)

Too much sugar and fat and not enough protein. I’m also deficient with potassium, calcium, and iron.
New Goal: Increase protein to 20% of my diet.

Drinking… Mid February now and I’m still off the sauce.

Relationship Status… Single and soooo looking forward to Valentines Day this week.

2017-02-01 And the Winner is…

A month of the year is gone already. In that time, I’ve been focussing on exercising more and, for those who are following along, now tracking the foods I am eating too. I think I have been somewhat successful with adding more activity to my days/weeks thus far but came to the conclusion yesterday that this deep dive into analyzing the calorie tracking applications on my phone sort of became a mechanism enabling me to procrastinate actually making changes in my diet. Recognizing this, I know I need to close the book out on that so I can start some forward progress.

With that, it’s time to declare a winner. At present, the two remaining candidates are MyFitnessPal and MyNetDiary. They are both very, very similar in most aspects and I think what it comes down to is what one app does just a little bit better and offers just a little bit more of than the other. So no real deficiencies for the MyNetDiary, but MyFitnessPal is just better.

The databases are both good, but MyFitnessPal had about 98% of items I was searching for by keyword and actually had 100% of items I scanned the barcode of. Those numbers were slightly lower with the other app. If you recall, strength of database was one of the primary reasons the first two got cut. It’s pretty important because I don’t have time (or don’t want to spend my time) looking up or manually inputting nutritional info.

Noteworthy is the use of foods other people have “contributed” in what can be searched and selected. There are two main problems with this.. One, I found, is that people might have entered in the calories for an item but not the nutrient breakdown. If you want to track carbs, protein, and fat, then you will have inaccurate data in your calculations throwing off the numbers. So garbage in garbage out applies. The second thing with this is that using these in the search sometimes yields 10 + things that match and have varying degrees of numbers, so the confidence is not high that there is any verification of the data that’s been added whatsoever. This is a design choice. Allowing folks to enter their own numbers is a good and necessary feature, but dumping that into what should be your “gold standard” database is completely different.

I will say that MyNetDiary has a setting to turn off showing “contributed” foods, but in doing so, I found that greatly reduced the number of positive hits on a keyword search. So then I circle back to the DB not being as strong.

Here are the top three items that put MyFitnessPal over the top…

– Data analytics. I can get 1 day or 1 week views of nutritional charts and graphs with breakdowns both by nutrient and then within each nutrient by meal of the day. The other app had very little to offer in this area without purchasing the premium version. (and I would never spend money on an upgrade without even having a sneak peek at what I was going to get).
– I was able to add a recipe and save that for future use AND edit it after the fact when I realized how the serving size was going to affect what I was actually eating from that recipe. The other app allowed me to put in a recipe, but again, one would have to buy the premium version to do any edits.
– I was able to sync MyFitnessPal with my Fitbit. This automatically pulled my step count each day which plays into the calculations of how many calories I could consume above the baseline. The simple fact that it was easy to sync up the apps and again, not requiring the purchase of a monthly subscription, was very nice.

I may at some point do an official breakdown of my analysis of all four apps, but I’m not making any promises on that because it’s time to get on with things and start using the data. I wanted to establish a realistic baseline of what I am eating now, and I think I have that. So in February I’d like to “maintain” on the exercise front and start making better choices in my day to day eating that will lead to a positive change. I just have to take it one day at a time and one meal at a time. Today is a good day to start. 😃