Tag Archives: Sandwich Monday

in which I take on the challenge burger

This week was spring break. Which meant I should have had a lot of time and adventures to blog about.

Instead, I mostly hibernated.

Until yesterday, when I ventured out with some friends to the Eagle Deli, which is apparently kind of famous. Mostly because of this:


Yeah. Guess what we ordered.


It came with these. You know, in case you were still hungry.


In the words of Barney Stinson, “Challenge Accepted.”

The monstrosity of a burger reminded me of nothing so much as my adventures with NPR known as Sandwich Monday1 where the “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” staff ate ridiculous sandwiches every Monday and subjected themselves to indigestion and weight gain in order to bring awesome commentary to the internet. What a sacrifice. So I have chosen to format my blog today in very much the same way that NPR formats their Sandwich Monday posts.

So these are our thoughts while eating the Challenge Burger.

Greg: Make way for burger.

Mackenzi: That’s the name of my next picture book. The sequel to “Make Way for Ducklings.”

Clarissa: They made it surprisingly quickly. It makes me suspicious they were just microwaving it in the back.

Gabi: And with disappointingly little production. I was hoping for music and fireworks.

Clarissa: This is a great activity for a Friday during Lent.

Gabi: God will forgive us, because this burger only means that we will be joining him that much sooner.

Clarissa: In heaven, the streets are paved with burger.

Greg: There’s another burger on the menu called the Godzilla. I’m confused why that isn’t the name of this burger.

Mackenzi: This burger is the building that Godzilla knocks down.

Jessica: It’s the leaning tower of burger.

Mackenzi: You can actually see your reflection in the grease.

CJ: No open flames near this, or we’ll all go up.

Gabi: This burger needs to come with a free cab ride home.

Jessica: Complete with those barf bags like on airplanes.

Clarissa: It’s like the hunger games, except in this one, it’s the food that fights back.

Mackenzi: Everything about this is the opposite of the hunger games. It is the never hungry again games.

Brandon: This bottom bun is less bread and more just grease sponge.

Greg: And a defibrillator for dessert!

The only reason we beat the burger was because there were eight of us. Yeah, it took eight of us, three of which were guys, to wrestle this guy into submission. But it was actually a surprisingly delicious burger. You would think that quantity would trump quality, but it was surprisingly delicious. Also the fries were great. I was told the pickles were kind of bland, but really, we weren’t there for the pickles.

So the story of my spring break is that I slept, then woke up to eat a giant hamburger, then slipped back into a deep food coma.


  1. Read about my adventures in Sandwich Monday here and here, or from the NPR blog here and here.
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in which I brag about my awesome cookies.


In case you’ve ever doubted my awesomeness, or the awesomeness of the legendary Van Engelenhoven cookies, today they were featured on the “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” blog. Since this is my last week at “Wait, Wait,” I made them in an attempt to leave a good taste – literally and figuratively – in the mouths of my coworkers. You can read their thoughts here. These Salt Lake City renowned cookies are now NPR approved!

Making cookies away from my mother’s kitchen is always an adventure. This was no exception. But they seemed to be a hit with the staff. So I didn’t mention that I could taste everything that was wrong with them.

Also, you can like Van Engelenhoven Cookies on facebook!

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in which i catch you up on my weekend

When I lived  in England, and blogged about it, I was quite good at writing about all the variety of activities I engaged in, ranging from the extraordinary to the mundane.

Sometimes in Chicago, I forget to do that. I get caught up in being a pretentious smart ass who takes existentially fraught free throws at a variety of subjects because, well, this I my blog, so I can.

But this week, I did do some awesome things, and then neglected to share them with my blog because they usually caused me to get home late or be tired afterwards.

So let’s do a quick roundup of things I’ve been doing this week. In pictures! Because that’s way too many words, and many of you, such as Nevada, have confessed that you really aren’t just good at reading. Besides, I would really like to finish my “Downton Abbey” episode and I can do that a lot easier if I’m not writing so much.

















1. Saw an amazing, amazing, amazing play called “Death and Harry Houdini,” in which a guy escaped from a tank of water after being locked in upside down. It was the most stressful three minutes of my life. But the play was brilliant. This is a picture of the lobby, which was almost as awesome as the show itself. Since pictures weren’t allowed during the show.

2. Three friends from the YSA came and saw our show taped! It was really awesome.

3. I went and saw “Frankenstein.” Again. Man, I love the Music Box.

4. Attended the Printer’s Row Ball, which is this sort of quasi literary festival held at an old print shop. It was basically a room full of hipster nerds giving out poetry magazines and books and playing music and I got to print my very own page of poetry.

5. Went to the Eastland memorial. Timely, after the show I saw about it.

6. Walked the Southport Street fair. Heard a great Mumford and Sons cover band, ate some good food, and watched some ridiculous antics that involved water balloons and slingshots.

7. Ate this sandwich. Bacon cheeseburger with grilled cheese sandwiches instead of bun. Promptly had a heart attack. But at least I died happy.

8. Oh yeah. And this happened.

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in which i race against the clock

My friends, may you all someday be so lucky as to receive an envelope that looks like this.


Because that envelope contains a voicemail message from Carl Kassel. I know, because I personally mailed out a slew of them today.

May you also be so lucky as to never find yourself riding in a cab with a bacon sundae. Because that also happened today.


My Monday intern quest was picking up the item for today’s Sandwich Monday, a Wait Wait blog segment where the staff weekly partakes of the most disgusting foods they can find, and then passes judgment upon them. Today we decided to go off course and instead of a sandwich, we at the Burger King Bacon Sundae. Which is a real thing. And it is exactly what it sounds like. Since we reported it on the show last week, we felt we owed it to our loyal followers to take a bullet and actually try the thing. That and we just really love bacon.

Today’s cab ride to get the bacon sundae was much more successful than the last time I was in a cab, though when we arrived at the address, the cab driver definitely gave me a judgmental look that clearly said, Did I really just drive you to a Burger King? To which I shot back a look that clearly said, Shut up, it’s for NPR.

There aren’t many Burger Kings near the Pier, and fewer that serve the bacon sundae, so it was kind of a trip. I ended up into an area I had never been before, facing down a freestanding Burger King complete with drive through and parking lot, which is weird for a city like Chicago. When I walked inside the restaurant and looked around, I immediately realized I was breaking the cardinal rule of traveling that I learned during my year in Europe: If there are no white people or women around, you should not be here. In this Burger King, I was most certainly a minority.

But I had not just paid an excessive amount of money to come across town and be judged by a cab driver for nothing, so I walked confidently up to the counter to order the bacon sundae.

The following conversation unfolded:

Me: Hi, can I get a bacon sundae please?
Burger King Employee1: A what?
Me: A bacon sundae.
BKE: You actually want a bacon sundae?
Me: Yes.
BKE: *judges me*
Me: [internally] Shut up, it’s for NPR.
BKE: [turns to coworkers and shouts in Spanish2] Does anyone know how to make a bacon sundae?

I have to imagine that the bacon sundae is not one of this location’s more popular menu items.

After a slew of judgmental looks from the workers and patrons alike, I received my bacon sundae. It looked like a normal sundae, except that it had a dorsal fin of bacon jutting out of the top and a suspicious sprinkling of crispy pork along the rim. I left the restaurant, trying to be cool about the fact that I had just ordered a bacon sundae, then hailed a cab3 and installed the now sweating bacon sundae on the seat beside me.

Friends, 90 degree heat plus humidity is not conducive to the traveling bacon sundae. I was barely out the door of Burger King before it started to collapse upon itself like a dying star. To make matters worse, the cab ride was neither air conditioned or quick. We must have hit every stoplight between the sketchy Burger King and the Pier, and with each, the bacon sundae came a little closer to becoming vanilla bacon soup4. The vertical strip of bacon that once protruded majestically from the top of the ice cream spiral began to nose dive downward like the Titanic.

As the bacon sundae perspired beside me, I started to sweat too. As much as I was repulsed by the bacon sundae, I could not bear the thought of letting down the Sandwich Monday readers. The safe delivery of this bacon sundae was my quest, and much like Don Quixote of old, I refused to leave a quest unfinished, the weak unprotected, a bacon sundae unfrozen. This bacon sundae was somebody’s impossible dream, and I was damn well going to make sure that impossible dream was dreamed. I was prepared to give my life to see this bacon sundae made it to the office. In fact, I’m fairly certain that if we had been in an accident, I would have thrown myself in front of that bacon sundae to protect it.

In the end, I did everything I could to keep the bacon sundae alive short of grabbing the sinking strip with a harrowing cry of, “I’ll never let go, Bacon!” and yet I still ended up power walking up the Pier carrying a cup full of melty shame.

But the staff was not deterred. We let the bacon sundae chill in the freezer for a while, then broke it out and passed it around before passing judgment. The reactions ranged from totally repulsed to pleasantly indifferent. Though I am opposed to both Burger King and bacon sundaes, I tasted it, simply because I felt a strange connection to it after our mad dash together across the city.

The taste made me glad that I had not given my life for that bacon sundae. That would have been a total waste.

More opinions on the Bacon Sundae by the “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” staff

  1. I want to call her a waitress, but the things that fast food employees do can hardly be described as ‘waiting’ in any sense of the word.
  2. Which fortunately, I occasionally understand.
  3. Successfully! Hailed my first cab! And after spending all the time waiting for my bacon sundae sweating about how on earth I was ever going to get a cab in this area of town. Though I must admit, while standing on the corner waving my arm in the air, the image from “A Study in Pink” rose unbidden in my mind. I still suspect all cab drivers are serial killers, though out of the six cab rides I’ve had in this city, I’ve made it alive out of every one. Which makes me think that Jim Moriarty’s criminal web has not yet reached Chicago…..come on Sherlock fans. Anyone?
  4. Which it occurs to me sounds  infinitely more delicious than bacon sundae.
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