March 19, 2010

A new year begins

It has been decided.

Last year's regular culinary theme saw me and The Girl visiting the various fine steakish establishments around the Cincinnati and Dayton areas.

This year will see the two of us visiting the finest burger joints in the same Daynati (or is it Cinciton?) world, but we need some help before we get started in our search for the perfect burger and fries meal.

We've done our initial research to put together our initial list of where we should wander.  Utilizing The Girl's awesome librarian skills, we found the following websites rather helpful:
And here's our list of the burgers joints to be visited:
The first area where we need help is in picking our places.  Where do we need to go that we don't already have on the list?

The second area in which we (really, I) need help is in developing this year's rubric.  Some initial thoughts that are guiding where I'm heading with this year's scoring system:
  • There are two significantly different burger types - thin, fried (think Steak 'n' Shake-style) - or thicker, grilled style (chargrilled, big, thick things).  Do I need to have separate scoring for the burger types?
  • How do I rate the fries?  Hot vs cold, sure.  Spice v not spiced?  What about thick vs thin fries?  Battered (a la Rally's) or plain?
  • What kind of 'environment' score needs to be around?  I know the place needs to be clean, but a bunch of the places are older, neighborhood places that aren't supposed to be white and clean and shiny.  Do they get knocked down?
  • How many points should be 'burger' vs 'fries' vs 'environment'? I'm thinking burger and fries should be higher points because that's what we're looking for.
  • Do I have to order the same burger everytime?  If so, what burger - cheese, cheese & bacon, plain?
  • How do toppings count in the whole scoring system?  Do I go for the most complicated burger they offer?
  • Do we have to go a couple of times - once for a plain burger, once for a complicated topped burger?
  • Are points earned if they offer choice of how to cook the burger (medium-well, rare, whatever)?
  • What about drinks?  Do I just hit the diet coke every time, or do we go with a vanilla shake?  Either way it has to be consistent, but I don't know whether to include drinks.
The last thing that I need some help with is what to call the year.  I liked "The Year of Living Steakishly" a whole lot.  I'm stumped on what to call this year's campaign...
  • Hamburger Lonnie's
  • Nati Patties
  • Queen City Burgers
  • Burgers and ChemGuys
  • Cincyburgers
  • The Year of Living Burgishly
  • ChemGuy and The Girl Looking for the Best Burger and Fries in the Cincinnati and Dayton Area With Maybe Some Stops Along the I-75 Corridor Between the Two Cities
      So, here's what I need from you...
      • Where to go?
      • How to score?
      • What to call it?
      Comments open for suggestions...


        Smamy said...

        Great idea. I liked the steak blogs. When I think of hamburger joints, I think of teens/young adults dating (mostly in the 50s and 60s, but really any era). You could rate these places on how good of a first date place this would be (gives you an excuse to go on a date with The Girl too). Food, Service (because on a date you would likely want quick service so that you could get to a movie or something afterward), and Atmosphere. I think at least one should be a drive in (like an A&W stand). Ordering: One of you could order a plane hamburger, the other their specialty/delux burger. Cut them in half and both of you rate each. Same with plain fries or cheese fries, spiced fries, etc. I think you should add milkshakes in there also. What is more American that a hamburger, fries and a milkshake? Yes, apple pie, but after that...

        1) "I'll gladly blog you Tuesday..." You will likely visit the burger joints on the weekend and the blog can be ready to come out on Tuesdays. (play on the Popeye character Wimpy's quote "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger today")

        2) Burger Me: If nothing else, I would love to hear that you tried to order by just saying these two words. Could lead to comedy. The only problem is that people may misteak the title as the british "Bugger Me" which is TOTALLY different, and likely not appropriate for the audience.

        3) "Cincy's Dayton, here's a great place to take her." AKA "Since he's dating, here's a great place to take her." Goes with the theme if you pick to rate them as date places. And an ironic play on words for this theme.

        Can't wait to read.

        joey said...

        - Five guys is a must. there is a "smashburger" up here too, essentially the same thing as 5 guys, but i haven't had it yet so cannot comment on quality.

        - not sure if it is intentionally excluded for a reason, but my mom keeps hounding us on needing to try Fatburger in Oakley out as she has heard/read good things.

        - i say don't worry about the drinks, not all of them have specialties.

        - Whatever the rubric is, how about the first time just for kicks and gigs (i.e. not as one of the 12) do a burger we have all had like mcdonalds. This gives us the loyal readers both an idea of your personal tastes for a burger in comparison to ours and helps us see how the rubric actually works. it is more work for you though so i can see why you would object.

        - i vote going on something around a 45/35/20 weighting for burger/fries/environment. Maybe even lower on environment because - unlike the steak places which were largely privately owned - you are going to run into a lot more variance across different locations of burger franchises. five guys in west chester may be immaculate; five guys in clifton on a sunday morning after a weekend of drunkies may be a little less than sanitary.

        - not a freakin clue on the name. you are good at this though, i have no worries.

        - glad to see this happening again. i was just thinking about the steakishly posts today. i think there are still a few from the later months that i need to read.

        wv: mitedol, like... mighty-dol ... extra extra strength midol.

        Anonymous said...

        Though it's not along 75, nor in Dayton or Cincinnati, I STRONLY recommend Thurman Cafe, in Columbus

        Anonymous said...

        *STRONGLY, even...*

        Ame said...

        Mutiple things...

        1)cleanliness... I don't think this means sparkling white. This simply means clean enough you feel safe eating there.

        2) I like a random name... maybe something like "Burger joints 7.0" of course we both know I like random.

        Side note... I thought of you today. I took a friend to WWCousins for lunch and it reminded me of going there as kids.

        Smamy said...

        Another Name suggestion

        In honor of the basketweavers there in Ohio, you could go with

        LonniBurger Basket

        Anonymous said...

        If there is a Sonic in the area, then it is a must-visit. Sonic is our go-to location when we're in Mississippi. We made an hour drive to a recently opened Sonic up here in Minnesota, but it sorely was disappointing.

        Fries should also be judged on the greasiness. Today's fry connosseiur would look for a more delicately fried potato with the outside crisp, but not too oily and the inside soft and fluffy. My favorite fries used to be Wendy's, but lately they seem to always let the grease get way too old, which produces very brown exteriors and lack of sturdiness. I think I've decided that Culver's fries are my favorite, now. So, if you have Culver's near you, you should go there, too.

        I suggest a cheddar bacon burger as the regular and a milkshake as all great hamburgers go down well with a milkshake.

        You definitely want speed, but not too fast; no one likes a hamburger that's been under the heat lamps for 15 minutes or more. Atmosphere is a must, anybody can pretend they make good hamburgers. You want a clean place, but some personality is always good.

        PHSChemGuy said...

        Smamy - Thanks for the encouragement. Your names are better than anything I'd come up with, so I'll probably pick one of them (either "I'll gladly blog you Tuesday" or "LonnieBurger Baskets" - leaning toward the latter).

        I also really like the idea of each of us ordering a different burger and then eating half of each burger. Great idea.

        Joey - Fatburger can be added to the list easily enough. Since this is a far cheaper series of excursions, we can take a few more than just the once monthly steak dinner.

        I like the idea of the rough weights - more for the burger than the fries, more for the fries than the environment.

        Hiatus6 - that's a bit of a haul. Is it that good?

        Ame - I need the place to be clean enough to eat in, but past that, I'm not all that picky. How the hell does WW Cousins even still exist? I thought they died a LONG time ago.

        Gamer - We have Sonics sort of all over the place (I pass one every day to and from school, for example). Their burgers are a'ight, but they've never impressed me as being outstanding.

        We can add a butterburger to the list easily enough. We were amazed at how many Culvers there were up in your neck of the woods - even more in Wisconsin.

        I'm thinking cheddar bacon burger is the standard.

        Anonymous said...

        Indeed. "That" good. You might be able to stumble upon a clip of the establishment on "Man vs. Food". I very seriously encourage a visit. Even if it's not one that is rated.

        PHSChemGuy said...

        Hiatus6 - I am going to be up in Columbus in early August. Is Thurman Cafe the choice in Columbus?