Sunday, August 13, 2017

Poutine Popper Bacon Cheeseburger

THE GAME: Yankees vs Red Sox

Yes, the Yankees and the Red Sox are two of my four least favorite teams in baseball. But hey, it's Sunday Night Baseball. What else am I gonna watch?

Besides, baseball is just better when those two teams are good. I don't like USC and Notre Dame football, nor the Knicks and Celtics, but their respective sports just don't feel the same when those teams are having down years. 

(Actually, let me take that back about the Knicks. Fuck the Knicks. They haven't been relevant since before I was born.)

My point is, I can watch the Yankees and Red Sox and enjoy the moment for what it is, even if I don't like either team. This game deserved a great meal. 

(Note: when I first came up with the idea for this burger, I thought it would be perfect to make for a big Blue Jays game. But there are no big Blue Jays games this year, as they have been pretty awful.)

NOTES ON THE FOOD: 
  • The base for this burger was a beautiful bacon-and-cheddar patty from my local butcher. It was really hot outside so I decided to cook it in a pan indoors. (And my cast iron pan was filthy and I was too lazy to clean it, so I used a cheap nonstick pan. Whatever.)

  • When the patty was done to my satisfaction - which means pretty rare when it comes to these burgers; I wouldn't eat a burger in a restaurant if it came out this rare unless I was positive about the source of their meat, but I have been eating meat from this butcher for more than three decades and never once gotten sick - I placed it on a soft bun. 
  • Next, I added some rehydrated onions, which have become a favorite of mine over the last few months. 

  • That butcher shop also sells wonderful bacon, which I cook in the oven at 375ยบ until browned but not burnt. It's a delicate balance and usually takes about 45 minutes, though sometimes more and sometimes less. I check it frequently during the last 10 minutes - it can go from perfect to ruined in a matter of seconds. Like the Washington Nationals season. (Too soon?)

  • Poutine is a beloved Canadian dish of fries, cheese curds, and gravy. I wrote about these poutine poppers back in March when I ate them by themselves. Now it was time to eat them with a burger. I fried them for a couple of minutes (I first defrosted them for about thirty seconds in the microwave) and then added a few on top of the bacon. 

  • I considered making my own gravy, but again, I was feeling pretty lazy. And this jar was on sale for $1. If there hadn't been so many other flavors going on, I probably wouldn't have used this, but it was just a drizzle on top of the poppers.
  • The burger was great. A little heavy - I mean, I'm not sure there's any way around that when you take a patty stuffed with bacon and cheddar and then add more bacon and fried cheese curds - so I'm not sure I would make one again. But it was delicious and befitting this game. 

  • I cooked a dozen poppers. Only five of them fit on the burger. So I ate the remaining with Hoboken Eddie's "T-Bone Tickler." 
  • Hoboken Eddie's is one of the three things I miss most about living in New York City, behind the pizza and not having to ever look for parking. The sauces are made with all-natural, fresh ingredients and never include oils or fats. They are, not surprisingly, on the expensive side, and they're not available anywhere on the West Coast. But they're also pretty much the best sauces I have ever had, and once a year I find myself craving some and place an order online. I'm never disappointed.  

NOTES ON THE GAME: 
  • ESPN starts the broadcast by talking about Aaron Judge's "struggles." Now there's a shock. You mean that .426 BAbip that he put up in the first half wasn't going to continue? Look, he's a fun player to watch, he has a lot of power, and he seems like a good guy, but you made him out to be Babe Ruth in the first half of the season because you're ESPN and that's what you do. Don't act surprised when he turns out to not actually be Babe Ruth. 
  • Speaking of ESPN, here was the headline on their website this morning when I woke up: 
  • How good is that? Harper's possibly season-ending injury could be a problem for the Nationals. What a ballsy prediction! 
  • Seeing Aaron Hicks make a diving catch for the first out in front of the Dunkin Donuts sign brings back memories of stopping by a DD in Brooklyn on Saturday mornings. Their ice coffee was fantastic but their donuts were crap. 
  • Aaron Judge takes a hack at the first pitch and crushes it... ten feet foul. Dan Shulman was about ready to orgasm if it had been fair. 
  • Woah, the announcers are actually mentioning that the Angels are one of the two Wild Card teams at the moment. I'm surprised anyone at the network is aware of that fact. 
  • Sale hasn't allowed a hit through three innings. Who was the last person to throw a no-hitter against the Yankees? Kevin Costner?
  • Well, Yankees get a two-out hit in the 4th so that's over. 
  • Mookie Betts completely misplays a fly ball and Austin Romine ends up with a triple. (Though the inning ends without him scoring and we are still tied at 1.) 
  • Austin Romine's brother Andrew had 174 plate appearances over the course of four seasons with the Angels, and I honestly can't remember a single one of them. 
  • Benintendi got on first, but I don't know how, as I missed the start of the inning watching some Breaking Bad on AMC. I always get sucked in for at least a few minutes. 
  • Leo DiCaprio is in the stadium wearing a Yankees cap. I would love to ask his thoughts on Judge's BAbip in the first half and whether he thought that was sustainable.
  • That reminds me of an anecdote. Six years ago I was attending a late-summer barbecue at a friend's house and found myself sitting at a table with four self-proclaimed Yankees fans. Inside the house, the Yankees were playing the Angels and all four of them were giving me a hard time, proclaiming the Yankees superiority. I asked how many of them could tell me who was pitching for the Yankees that night. (Predictably, none of them could.) 
  • It was C.C. Sabathia, by the way, and the Angels won 6-0 on the back of Dan Haren's complete game. I just looked up the box score on Baseball Reference. You know, if I were stranded on a desert island with a computer with unlimited power and internet access but only Baseball Reference as a working website, I wonder how long it would take before I got bored. I feel like it would be at least two or three months. 
  • Still 1-1 at the 7th inning stretch. I'm not gonna lie, I hope this game goes to extras. 
  • Chris Sale is done for the night with 12 strikeouts. That's his 16th game of the season with more than 10 Ks. Only one Boston pitcher has ever had more: Pedro in 1999... which just happens to be the greatest season I've ever seen any pitcher have. 
  • Matt Barnes comes in to pitch for the Sox. Imagine if the Sox face the Astros in the World Series and Matt Barnes is brought in to face Derek Fisher. 
  • The Yankees get one run in the bottom of the 8th and now Aroldis Chapman is coming in for the save. It's still weird not seeing Mariano. 
  • Chapman hits 103 mph in striking out the first batter, gives his usual "I'm a badass" glare... and then gives up a home run to the rookie Rafael Devers. 
  • That's the first homer Chapman has given up this year. 
  • The Yankees strand a runner on third and we're going to extras, just like I hoped for an hour ago. Free baseball! 
  • ESPN is promoting their Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball broadcasts. You'll never believe this, but they're showing the Yankees vs. the Mets both nights. 
  • The Red Sox draw a hit-by-pitch and two walks and Benintendi hits an RBI single. 3-2 Boston in the 10th. I know I've written this before, but it amazes me that the Red Sox were able to trade for Sale without giving up Benintendi. 
  • Kimbrel gets the save. Great game. 

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