So I haven’t been here for a while. Sorry about that, but that’s over now. You know I’m here for you, baby. And because I like ya, a lot, in addition to a timely update a week from today, you get two posts tonight.
And one is epic. And not overused-internet-epic, I mean epic in the Homeric sense.
Like if the Iliad starred two buddies that spoke in high-fives and pop culture references.
What better way to restart this blog than with an explosion of alcohol, meat, and friendship?
Let’s get this thing started again. Again.
This is my friend Ned Baker and me.
He’s the one in the tie.
He runs a blog called 69 Burgers. It’s pretty great, and I highly recommend it as somebody who enjoys eating things that used to be alive. Here, by the way, is his take on the whole experience.
We had this idea that like so many before us, we should join forces to create something neither of us could on our own. Like Lewis and Clarke, Orville and Wilbur Wright, and the Scooby-Doo gang and the Harlem Globetrotters, we were destined to change the world.
Or just have a blast.
Here were the rules. I chose the burger place, Ned chose the beer and the b-movie. At my suggestion, we headed down to DMK Burger Bar with a dream in our heads and a song in our hearts.
The song was the Oscar Meyer Weiner jingle.
This place was pretty cool. The first thing I noticed upon entering was, damn, this place is loud and violent. Everyone’s rushing everywhere. And then I noticed that they were playing Dazed and Confused on the TVs. I felt at home. We found seats with the posse we picked up on the way and placed our order.
This was mine.
Now, if you’re from Chicago, you’ll recognize everything about this burger, from its namesake Ron Santo, to the Italian beef and au jus it comes with, to the giardiniera on top. And, oh wait, there’s a burger under there too.
It was freaking great. In all seriousness, it’s two months after we went on this trek and my mouth is still watering remembering how soft and delicious this burger was. The beef melts in your mouth, and since I got my burger so rare I could hear its mom moo when I bit into it, the burger did too. The bun was buttery and soft, and though the burger wasn’t huge, it was filling. It sat in my stomach pleasantly, rocking back and forth in its chair on my gastrointestinal patio, telling lesser burgers to get off its lawn.
But I may have chosen wrong. Ned got the Bison Burger, which came with this killer blueberry barbecue sauce. And I mean killer in the sense that the Puerco Pibil was killer in Once Upon A Time In Mexico.
I think Ned killed a chef that night.
To be fair, the highlight of the meal was the fries. If you ever make it down to DMK, load up.
Oh wait, no, I lied, the highlight of the meal was the sexy waitress we had who brought us an ice cream cookie sandwich afterwards, as well as drink coupons because she thought I was hot.
Verdict: Highly Recommended.
So this one was a surprise for me, because Ned ordered my beer for me. He picked a Midwestern brewing company I was familiar with, New Holland Brewing Co., and a stout I wasn’t. New Holland’s The Poet is an oatmeal stout named for Edgar Allen Poe, and one glance at the beer will show you why.
Other than the color, the first thing I noticed was that the bottle advertised the beer as very smooth and creamy. And, yes, it is, but only at first. It’s actually kind of hoppy for a stout, and the taste is sharp. I found notes of bourbon, wheat, and oatmeal in the aroma, and while the beer is malty at first, the lingering taste is one of oats, rye, and chocolate.
It’s a weird beer.
I liked it a lot.
So after resisting the blatant come-ons on the part of our wonderful waitress, we shoved off for home. Ned had picked a Steven Seagal film for us to watch, in fact, his first feature film.
And it’s appropriate because the movie is really as good an introduction to Seagal as anyone could ever ask for.
The movie begins with a montage of photos ripped unceremoniously from Seagal’s grandmother’s scrapbook. We get to see him at his first Tae-Kwon-Do demonstration, his third grade graduation, and his first brutal beating of some poor dude who didn’t know any better.
We get to see how that guy up there is made.
Now, by now you all know I’m not a fan of “plot”. But when it’s the story of how a jacked-up dude with a ponytail ends up brandishing a machete while some dude sits upside-down in a convertible, I’m all for it.
After we’re treated to Seagal growing up, we see him kicking ass as an adult in judo demonstrations in Vietnam. Apparently, he’s working for the CIA, and is the only dude with a heart in his squad.
We see a bunch of torture scenes, during which Seagal tries to shape his face into something that kind of conveys discomfort and sympathy. It’s fun to watch.
So, inevitably, the war ends and Seagal settles down in Chicago. He gets a job as a cop, and marries this.
Oh man, Sharon Stone is in this movie.
And now we’re like thirty minutes into the movie and I have no idea where we’re going. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know who the bad guy is, it was the dude with the evil facial hair who tortured dudes and sold drugs in Vietnam, but now we’re chasing sex traffickers and some missing dude and going to baby showers and doing cop paperwork.
If there’s one plot thread I can grab onto, it’s that this guy,
This guy, is fucking invincible.
I don’t even mind the fact that there aren’t any Van Damme or Schwarzenegger-style one-liners since there’s so much ass-kicking happening. It’s awesome. But again, I have no idea what’s going on. And the fact that Seagal talks like a quieter Sylvester Stallone doesn’t help.
And now the movie’s lulling. This always seems to happen when we’re about halfway through. So I just zone out and pay attention to all the mullets that are happening.
Like these two.
And this is where my notes get odd. I see “Bomb Smuggling”, “uh, illegal aliens”, “The fuck, why are we in church”, and “And then they bomb it”. Now, I remember this movie pretty well. And trust me, it doesn’t make any more sense in context. Oh, also, Seagal’s partner is Pam Grier.
So Seagal gets suspended because he’s a loose cannon cop, obviously, and has to go after the sex-trafficking-bomb-and-drug-smuggling-and-also-corrupt-cops-and-also-they-tortured-the-Vietnamese-in-the-war-people on his own.
So, see that guy up there? He’s protecting a senator or something who is going to testify against uh, the bad guys or something. Okay. Now I’m on the level. Seagal has to protect this guy. Simple enough.
And now we’re in act three. Seagal gets captured by the baddies, and, predictably, he flips out and kills everyone. And then he goes to the roof because that’s where all these movies end. He confronts the stock lead-bad-guy-who-we-thought-was-the-hero’s-friend, and proceeds to methodically and purposefully break his everything.
So, yay! The senator gets to testify, and Chicago is free of corruption.