Friday, September 18, 2015

Choosing a Post-Rams-in-StL Team -- My Top 5 Options

We can whine, moan and curse Stan Kroenke all we want, but it's time to face facts. The St. Louis Rams are moving west, probably in 2017. So, that leaves just one question: who will you root for after they move?

They're going to move, people. It's best we start picking a contingency team now.

I've been asking myself this question off and on for a couple months now. I've never had a die-hard affiliation for an NFL team. I love the St. Louis Cardinals, but the Rams were a Los Angeles team when I was growing up. Unfortunately, "The Greatest Show on Turf" didn't get its hooks into me.

What I'm trying to say is I'm an extremely fair-weather football fan. Sorry, but that's the cold hard truth. Though, cut me a little slack. I'm a Blues fan.

That said, who better to reason through a Top 5 contender for your StL-based NFL affection? (A lot of people, probably.) Also, I calculated the distance from Edward Jones Dome to the listed-team's stadium. So, it's a 647-mile drive from Ed Jones Dome to AT&T Stadium, i.e. Jerry Jones mecca.

So, without further ado, which team's logo will adorn my next hat purchase?

5. Dallas Cowboys (distance from St. Louis: 647 miles)

Ahhh...America's team. The Cowboys are like the Yankees of the NFL. Everyone roots for them, but no one has a good reason for doing so. "Oh, my great grandpa was a Cowboys fan." Who cares? You've never even been to Texas.

That said, I have to come clean. I placed a foot on the Cowboys bandwagon during the Jimmy Johnson era in the 1990s. I had a Cowboys starter jacket.

When the Cardinals football team left in 1988, I'm sure a lot of St. Louisans became Cowboy fans overnight. For these fans, I say good luck. One of my biggest hang-ups with the Cowboys is Jerry "Freaking" Jones. I cannot stand his meddlesome ways with regard to personnel. Also, I recently read Rolling Stone's article on Dez Bryant, and it rekindled my hatred of Jerry Jones. If you're a Cowboys fan and you don't know who David Wells is, you should look into that.

4. Tennessee Titans (306 miles)

I honestly don't know a lot about the Titans. I know they used to be the Oilers. They moved to Nashville. They suck...

Seriously though, I'm having a hard time coming up with memorable Titan moments. I'm not the only one apparently. I remember when Warren Moon played for the Oilers. Also, isn't Marcus Mariota supposed to be pretty good?

3. Kansas City Chiefs (241 miles)

One of my uncles is a Chiefs fans. (I have another uncle who is a notorious die-hard Cowboys fan.) Unfortunately, I've never paid much attention to them. I'll chalk that up to them being in the AFC West. The memory that stands out for me with the Chiefs is when Steve DeBerg played with his finger taped up like a freaking gordita that one year. Anyone else remember that?

Remember when Steve DeBerg played with a broken finger? That was pretty cool. 

I see they won a Super Bowl (1969). Growing up, I remember they were pretty bad. It seemed like they were turning things around two years ago. But, as Deadspin cleverly points out, Andy Reid put a stop to that. Also, did you see their game against the Broncos this week? Good grief. (Make sure you click that Deadspin link. There's an awesome GIF of Andy Reid as the Kool-Aid Man. Thanks, Kenan.)

2. Chicago Bears (299 miles)

I actually called myself a Bears fan at one point in my life. We were living in Decatur, IL, which if you don't know is the birthplace of the Decatur Staleys who would eventually become the Bears. Plus, the 2010 season really helped spur my new-found allegiance. The Bears played in the NFC Championship game, losing to the Packers. I thought it was the beginning of an upward trend in Bears history. Unfortunately it was the high-water mark.

The Bears are definitely not suffering from a shortage of fans. However, Jay Cutler gives me serious pause when considering Da Bears. I cannot stand the QB. He's an absolute drain on the team. Plus, he and his wife are anti-vaxxers. Do yourself a favor and Google anti-vaccine meme. My favorite is from Captain Picard -- "Why the F#$% would anyone take medical advice from Jenny McCarthy?" Indeed.

1. Indianapolis Colts (244 miles)

I think this is going to be the team I root for once the Rams say adios. And, the choice all comes down to Andrew Luck. I've read several articles about him being the real deal. That excites me. (See above for my disdain regarding Jay Cutler.)

The Colts are also in a fairly solid upswing. They've been to the playoffs four of the last five years (being in the AFC South helps).

...wait a minute. As I sit here pondering a conclusion, I realize that the Colts' colors are very similar to the Cowboys. Also, the simple logo on a solid background is familiar. Aikman vs Luck. Crap! I'm just jumping onto another bandwagon with a "good-guy" QB.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Top 5 Fast Casual Burger Joints

Somewhere along the way, Americans started demanding more out of their hamburgers. But, they didn't want to overdo it. It's just a burger after all.

Enter the "fast casual" concept to the rescue. With this trend, you can get a burger better than your traditional McDonald's fare. But, you don't have to get all uppity about it.

Without further ado, here are my top five fast casual burgers.

5. Fatburger: I ate at Fatburger once. It was not at two in the morning. However, it was darn good. We were on vacation in Arizona. We probably would've eaten there more had we not tried In-N-Out.

4. Five Guys: It seems like Five Guys is the Midwest standard for fast casual burger joints. And, for good reason, their burgers are good. The fries are good too. Plus, they seem to be leading the charge when it comes to installing those create-your-own-drink soda labs from Coke. Diet Cherry Vanilla Lime Coke with a splash of Sprite? Don't mind if I do.

3. Shake Shack: We had the pleasure of eating at Shake Shack for the first time in New York City. Top-notch burgers! The taste reminded me of when mom would pan fry a hamburger for lunch. But, the buns are much better. And, you can choose from a variety of toppings. Mom only had pickles, cheese and Miracle Whip. Ugh...nasty Miracle Whip. Stop trying to pass it off as mayonnaise, mom!

Shake Shack makes a terrific burger. The fresh-baked bun and quality veggies are top shelf. I wish there was one in the St. Louis area.

2. In-N-Out Burger: I LOVE In-N-Out Burger. I love it so much, I was recently in Phoenix for a few days. In those three days, I ate at In-N-Out three times. The beef patties are excellent. But, the fresh vegetables really elevate this burger to the next level. Oh, and the secret sauce is amazing.

Mmmm....In-N-Out (in my best Homer Simpson voice). They also peel and cut potatoes in the kitchen just minutes before they enter the fryer. So, yeah, they're fresh. Also, their menu is so freaking simple. Single or double patty? Fries? Soda? Here's your number.
1. Meatheads: Meatheads, what? It's a small burger chain that's based primarily in the Chicago area. The closest location to St. Louis is in Bloomington. If you're nearby, you've got to try it. The burgers are phenomenal. And, the choice of toppings is mind-boggling. Sauteed mushrooms is on the free topping list! They also have a burger with an egg on it. Put that on your dietary bucket list. You've got to have a burger with a fried egg on it at some point in your life. Lastly, they also have one of those magic Coke machines.