Thursday, August 27, 2015

For Science: Tasting the Peace Burger

The guys over at Adweek are living the dream. If I wasn't a vegetarian, this is how I would have spent my lunch hour. 

David and Tanya have accepted Burger King's offer and they've brought the myth to life. It's the first documented union of the Big Mac and the Whopper. Adweek's very own McWhopper (and boy am I inordinately jealous).
The results looked.... precarious. 

My first comment? Well, they didn't follow the recipe.... 

Instead of chastising them for diverting from the plan, I will credit them with taking creative license. However, I think that standing by BK's original burger blueprint would have yielded mightier results. 

In the end, they say don't do it, but I still have faith that starting with fresh ingredients— rather than piecing together disassembled, mashed burger parts— would reveal the genius in Burger King's proposal. 

Needless to say, I choose to keep the dream alive. 

But read about their "foray into forbidden science" and see their recommended burger combos on

The King Calls for Peace

Collaborations have become increasingly common in design and marketing*, but collaborations can also bring attention and awareness to international causes.
That's why Burger King has stepped forward with a proposal to create the McWhopper— the ultimate peace burger. On September 21st, Burger King and McDonalds would unite to bring awareness to International Peace Day**, to put aside their differences and serve a burger of monumental proportions, and significance.

Essentially it's a Big Mac on top, Whopper on the bottom.*** A burger masterpiece. For one day, the two mega-brands would meet in the middle (the middle being Atlanta), at the McWhopper pop-up shop, to prepare and serve burgers, while hoping to institutionalize peace [day].
But it seems the big burger with big ambitions' dreams just won't come true.

McDonalds issued this lame response to BK's mouthwatering proposal:

It's a shame too, because I would have set aside that whole being a vegetarian for a day in honor of Peace and eaten the shit out of that burger.

The execution of BK's scheme was amazingly thorough. On Wednesday, August 26th, Burger King took out full page ads in both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune asking McDs to call a truce. Along with this, they released a [brilliant] website, which outlined the How, Where and Why of the proposal, and included sketch-ups for the shop, packaging and uniforms. 

The only question mark that really remained was... what fries do they serve?

The design, the messaging, the concept and the strategy was marketed perfectly...  all in a very public space, to gain awareness whether McDonald's took the bait or not. 

Whether or not the mega-chains will actually join forces on September 21st remains uncertain, but it does seem clear that McDonalds has made a [very public] misstep here and disappointed a lot of burger fans with their lack of enthusiasm about teaming up in honor Peace. However, it does sound like they may be willing to play along if they can Have It Their Way. Lucky for them, I've heard Burger King is pretty good at that. 

And this is why BK reigns king while McDonalds is simply a clown.

*And, while being great for PR, can often by somewhat goofy and ridiculous— as we saw earlier this week in my post Walking in Beer.
**Established by the United Nations in 1981
***Top Bun > All Beef Patty > Cheese > Lettuce > Special Sauce > Middle Bun > Tomato > Onion > Ketchup > Pickles > Flame Grilled Burger > Bottom Bun, 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Seams Like Gravy

When we think of images of women during WWII, we think of strong women, adorning pants and joining factory lines. We might even think about food rationing and metal scrapping.

It's unlikely we've ever considered how women made do without basic necessities like... stockings...? A standard of dress that women today will gladly, and readily, do without, in the 1940s was clung to with a sense of morale and duty.

In 1939, following the World's Fair, nylon sales were at an all time high. Marketed as a fabric made from “carbon, water and air", nylon was strong and durable, but when war broke out, nylon factories were retooled to make parachutes, cords and rope, instead of stockings

So what does the industrious woman do when her stockings are no longer mendable?
Using gravy as a paint, women began painting dark stripes up the backs of their legs to mimic stockings. These "Glamour Hose" gave the illusion of stockings during a time of rationing.  

These wartime images show women fighting a battle different than the ones we're used to seeing.
After the war, nylon production couldn't meet demand. Fighting broke out at home until manufactures were able to keep up. 

Read more about these improvised stockings at

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Walking in Beer

If you're like some of us, the coordination of your wardrobe with the evening's cocktails is crucial to a successful night out*. 

Luckily, major beer brands have been teaming up with shoe companies for years to outfit you for all your drinking endeavors. Here's a few collaborations for Sneakerheads to get drunk over. 
2008 Newcastle/Nike Collab  – Shop on Ebay
2003 Nike/Heineken Collab – Shop on Ebay

I have a hard time, however, visualizing skaterboarders drinking Heineken or Newcastle, so here's a few designs that seem to know their audience a bit more.
2011 Keds/PBR Collab, 2003 Nike/PBR Collab – Shop on Ebay

As it's the golden age of collaborations—and we're celebrating the merging of unrelated industries— I can't help but say "Cheers!" to these.


Burger of the Week #227

It's only fitting that California, home of drive-thru dining and American fast food, serve up an out of this world Burger Experience....
Burger Invasion was Disneylands "meatiest" attraction from 1997 to 2008, as part of a 10-year contract between McDonalds and Disney Parks.
The former Burger Invasion is now Paradise Garden Grill, with a Mediterranean menu.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Burger of the Week #226

Apparently the best burger in Kansas City can be found at the Westport Flea Market. And they have the truck to prove it. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Spike Gets Socked

A custom request from the site last week, led to this....
Sock Dinos—something of a crossbreed of a stegosaurus and a brontosaurus—soft, plush and lovable. 

Normally I'm a maker of monkeys, but I'm always up for a challenge. So when this request came in, I was happy to oblige. I particularly enjoy working with socks, adapting the traditional sock monkey, and unleashing the potential of a whole circus. 

Expect more dinos to show up on Etsy in the future. In the meantime, if you have a special request, or a unique idea, send me a note, we'll see if I can figure it out!

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Morning Coffee, Loaded with Custard

I've lived in Grand Rapids (essentially) for 30+ years. So I am amazed and delighted when I discover hidden gems.

Sandy's Donuts had been on my list to check out for a year or so, and I'm really quite disappointed in myself for not stopping sooner! It's everything a donut shop should be — completely old school with black coffee and enamel tables. The smell of fresh baked donuts welcomed me as soon as I stepped out of the car.

Sandy's has been a mainstay on the northwest side (2040 Leonard St.) for generations, with recipes handed down over the years. I couldn't find any formal information on its history, but it's the type of place I dream of having down the block. Someplace I could visit weekly, read the paper and drink my coffee. Looking around the diner, it was obvious that the gentlemen customers had been meeting here for years. The traditions present clearly went beyond the donuts.

For $2.50 I had donut and a large coffee. My eclair was fresh — nice and airy, it was filled with copious amounts of custard. Basically, my perfect donut. 

It feels like sacrilege to say it, but I would be inclined to call these Grand Rapids' best donuts. (Above Van's... and possibly followed by Dart's Donut truck — more research may be required on the subject to formally rank ;) )

Then again, perhaps it would be better for my waistline if I'd never found Sandy's... 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Burger of the Week #225

The Burger That Ate L.A., opened in 1989 and lasted until 1994. It appeared in both Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210. Apparently the bar stools were shaped like pickle wedges and a giant tomato slice hung from the ceiling.
It later became an Acapulco Chicken Cafe (retaining the burger shape ironically) And is now a Starbucks.