February 11, 2006

Writing Anew with Black and Bleu

It has been over five months since I last speckled this page with fresh words, and the weight of not fulfilling my duties has been weighing increasingly heavily on my shoulders. Seeing as how I have a build more similar to a beanpole than Atlas, I have finally decided to reward anyone who has had the diligence to check this site for new work. Hopefully, my words shall not disappoint.

First, however, I find it necessary to defend my apparently lackadaisical attitude toward providing my readership with consistent updates. My last post, as many of you may know, came before my departure to Syracuse University and the confusing, busy time in life known as “being a college freshman”. Several things interfered in my ability to create new tapestries of food reviews, not the least of which was my lack of eating food in well-known restaurants. Destitution often comes with paying college tuition, and avoiding eating in restaurants often comes with destitution. I suppose I could always have provided readers with a review of Syracuse University cafeteria food, but I shudder to think of students who are subjected to eating the food, let alone consider telling others of such horrendous experiences. In addition to a lack of adequate funding, I had a general lack of time and means with which to reach any eating establishment. As you can no doubt imagine, these obstacles proved crippling to my endeavor to supply the world with cheap, easily accessible food reviews of common foods.

Since I have made the difficulties of being a food critic on a limited budget without a car at college during freshman year apparent, I must make it known that my reviews may be somewhat inconsistently timed, and that they may be in regards to food that does not fit my usual criteria. For instance, in this update, I will be writing about the Black and Bleu Burger at Applebee’s. I know that this restaurant is not exactly along the lines of McDonalds, Subway, and Wendy’s in fitting the pricing standards that I have attempted to conform to in the past (namely cheapness) but, as the Rolling Stones so gracefully omitted to mention at Superbowl XL, “you can’t always get what you want.”

The Black and Bleu Burger carries a price of $7.29 in the Syracuse New York restaurant where I partook in the wonders of Applebee’s ground beef. I thought this price fairly reasonable for a “sit down” restaurant where a waitress or waiter actually serves you, although one can certainly find similar prices for burgers at comparable restaurants everywhere. I cannot complain about the amount of food received for this price, as a generous 8 oz. burger, (weight taken before cooking, of course) and heap of French fries filled my plate when my food came.

The burger itself is a fairly standard Bleu cheese burger. It has a tasty bleu cheese topping that is adorned with some crisp bacon. For vegetable lovers, lettuce, red onions and tomato accompany the ground beef, which is supposedly grilled with Cajun seasoning.

I found the burger to be quite flavorful, although I cannot say the “Cajun seasoning” was particularly strong. The most powerful flavor was the bleu cheese, which made me quite happy. It had a certain enticing tanginess that made the viscous sauce blend well with the crisp, salt bacon. As far as the ground beef was concerned, I found it to be a bit on the dry side. I know that restaurants generally make your burger well-done unless you specially request meat of the rare variety in an attempt to squash food poisoning, but I don’t believe all of the juices need to be cooked out of the hamburger patty. I would suggest requesting a medium well-done burger, provided you are willing to risk your life on the chance that your meat does not need to be cooked to the point of charcoal in order to ensure safety.

I cannot truly speak to the vegetable toppings other than the lettuce, as I honestly did not eat them. The red onions and tomato appeared to be quite fresh and juicy to my untrained eye, however. I thought my lettuce was a little too plentiful, but it was nothing I could not fix by removing a few leaves. I did find it to be nice and crisp, though.

French fries can make or break a burger meal at a sit down restaurant. If the fries are not good, one does not leave feeling full and satisfied. If they are palatable, then one is often left with a happy and satiated stomach. I am pleased to report that my fries were the perfect combination of crispy, thick, and salty to ensure my enjoyment. They truly topped off my meal.

Before I pen my final decision regarding the Black and Bleu burger, I must state that my opinions may be slightly biased. Red meat is not easy to come by when one eats dining hall food a majority of the time. Chicken is the meat of choice in college cafeterias, and the beef that is served is often tinged with green or apparently inedible. Consequently, I jump at any chance to partake in red meat. Often, I finish my iron-laden meal feeling more satisfied than I should, simply because I was able to partake in a bit of Angus. I have factored this into my rating today, but everyone should know that their faithful food reviewing servant may be operating under altered judgment.

Overall, I found the Black and Bleu burger to be quite filling and satisfying. The bleu cheese, bacon, and beef blended together into a delightful treat for my taste buds. The only real complaint I have regarding this iron-laden meal was its lack of juiciness, a fact which plagues many sit-down restaurant burgers. In the end, the reasonable price, abundance of food, and good taste overcome the dryness of the burger to net it a solid four sporks out of a possible five.

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