Tag Archives: Arkansas

2014 National Cheese Dip Competition

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cheese dip research, 11-8-12, 2A couple of the Buffet o’ Blog staff attended the National Cheese Dip Competition this year.  Let me just say it was AWESOME!  And let me also add that next time attendance is required for all Buffet o’ Blog staff — just because you don’t want to miss it.

Perhaps I should quantify my opinion.  It wasn’t like a carnival or state fair — there were a few side activities and music, but the primary event was trying lots of different cheese dip recipes.  If that sounds like a good time to you, then you should definitely go.

There were around 15 entries in the competition, including both amateurs and professionals.  Fortunately, there was plenty of cheese dip to go around, at least while we were there.  And all but one of the cheese dips were good.  The one that failed was trying to be healthy — which may not have been the whole problem — but it was both too liquidious (runny) and grainy at the same time, somehow.  Perhaps just that one batch was messed up, because I can’t see them entering that.

I think the amateurs outperformed the professionals in the competition, and I even voted for an amateur group.  When the final results came out, my choice didn’t win, but I don’t think the voting results are necessarily fair.  Each person who attends the competition gets two votes.  However, additional votes can be purchased, which is where I think it’s not fair.  For a restaurant entering, it would be worth investing several hundred dollars for more votes, in the name of advertising.  Being able to display the championship logo and advertising that you won the National Cheese Dip Competition is a big deal!  That will result in more sales, no doubt.  For amateurs, a group with more money can sway the votes in their favor.  So I don’t pay much attention to who won.

Most of the entrants were from around this area, but one group was from San Francisco.  I learned that most people there don’t know what cheese dip is, but a guy from Jacksonville, AR, married a woman from San Francisco, moved out there, and told them they should sell it in their restaurant.  On a related note, all of the entrants were friendly, and it was just non-crowded enough that you could talk for a bit with them, which made the experience more fun.  We enjoyed asking them what made their cheese dip special, or what the secret ingredient was — we received some amusing answers.

Overall, I would give the event 4.5 stars out of 5.  The only real knock against it is that they didn’t have sweet tea.  (Hello, we are in the South here!  Besides, tea is very profitable.)  At least the bottled water and other beverages were affordable.

Speaking of profitable, all proceeds were donated to a group that performs medical services for those who can’t afford it.  That’s admirable.

Also, if you’re wondering why the National Cheese Dip Competition would be located in Little Rock, Arkansas, I’ll explain that in the next post.  🙂

Why is gas $9.99/gallon?

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I saw this the other day while driving around central Arkansas.

gas prices 9.99 (not really) - July 2013

Fortunately it’s not true!  But that’s the actual sign — no Photoshop or other editing.  The gas station / truck stop has been completely demolished, to be rebuilt bigger and better.

They tore it down the old-fashioned way rather than blowing it up.  I can understand there being some logistical issues with exploding a gas station, but it would’ve been really awesome to see (albeit from a safe distance).  Plus there’s another gas station across the street, so you’d get a bonus two-for-one explosion!  There is also a nearby car lot, which would probably result in more explosions.  And there’s a large billion-dollar company close also.  So the collateral damage would get expensive really quick, and thus this cannot happen.

explosion, Gaza Strip, from Israeli F-16 jet, Jan. 3, 2009

I suppose that’s why we have movies and video games — so we can virtually experience such things.  But even with a large HDTV and nice surround-sound system, you still don’t get the full impact of a real explosion.  Besides the lacking bass, you don’t get to feel the resulting shockwave from a large explosion.  I wonder if movie theaters will ever be able to simulate that.  (There’s a project for our R&D department…)  🙂

burger challenge at Cheeburger

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Last week the Buffet o’ Blog staff and a few friends met at Cheeburger Cheeburger in Little Rock, AR, to conquer their so-called burger challenge.  Their “challenge” is called “Our Famous Pounder”, and it starts with 20 oz. of beef plus whatever toppings you want.  It doesn’t sound too intimidating to me! If you eat it, they take your picture and put it on the wall with the other “Wall of Famers”.

Two of the guys in our group attempted and both conquered the burger, plus some fries and/or onion rings, and a regular milkshake.  While it’s an achievement worthy of recognition (hence the post), one of them requested his secret identity remain secret (probably so his wife wouldn’t know he ate the whole thing).

Of course more pictures could’ve been taken, but I had food of my own to eat, so this is all you get.  Besides, it’s not that much of a challenge.  I’ve eaten meals larger than that before.

About the food — the burgers tasted great.  There are many choices of toppings, including peanut butter.   None of us tried that, but one guy put pepperoni on his and recommended it.  We all added bacon to our cheeseburgers, which was good, but there were the usual comments of “needs more bacon”.  (For those not in the know, that is a recurring phrase on this blog. Just about any food could be made better with more bacon.)

The fries were average to me, but the onion rings left something to be desired.   (Maybe it was an off-night — I don’t know; this was my first time to this restaurant.)

The milkshakes were excellent!  Mine was chocolate with brownie batter, peanut butter, and Oreos.  They have a LOT of choices for milkshakes and malts — looks like around 70 options.  Someone at the table suggested a huge conglomeration of toppings, but it got to the point where there wouldn’t have been room for ice cream.  I suppose a line has to be drawn somewhere, unless they keep making the glass bigger as you add more toppings.

All in all, it was a great time.  It was a great choice for a guys’ night out.  Highly recommended!

snow in the South

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It’s great to live in the South… for numerous reasons, but on my mind now is how we don’t take snow for granted.   A few days ago, we got about 5 inches of snow here in central Arkansas, and there are still things shut down.  There’s a lack of equipment for clearing roads and bridges, and we often see some degree of ice with these winter storms that produce snow.   The first night of the snow, I saw a local news program that was listing closings on the screen, and one said “City of Conway closed”.  🙂  I’m sure that was meant for the local government, but it was very accurate nonetheless.

I didn’t get to build my (long dreamed of) ginormous snow castle nor Snowzilla, but hopefully there will be other opportunities.  I did get to build a snowman, though, and he’s one tough snowdude.  He has his arms bowed up at his side, ready to fight, and he has a mohawk.  He could definitely beat up your snowman.

On a related note, I had some of the Buffet o’ Blog staff to my house last night, and upon leaving, one of them decided to make buttprints in the snow in my front yard.  Lots of buttprints.  I didn’t take a picture, but you can just imagine… (Yet stranger things have happened…)

caption contest, horrendous crash in garage

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Even though it’s Memorial Day, you still get a caption contest.  To be honest, between grilling and being outside and various other activities involved with a day off work, this almost didn’t get done today.   But I couldn’t let my fans down.  So I’m making the sacrifice, for your reading pleasure.  🙂

This week’s caption contest involves a photo of a horrendous car crash inside someone’s garage.  And it happened here in Arkansas.  (Before anyone asks, I don’t know these people personally.  And I blurred part of the license plates to protect their identity.)   I have no idea how this kind of accident happened, but that’s where we all come in.  We get to write the caption / commentary / news release for this picture.  You can write it from the point-of-view of anyone, such as the owners of this debacle (which could be a husband, wife, teenage children, or college roommates), the insurance agent, the neighbors, friends, yourself, etc.  Just make it funny.

All that said, let’s get to the picture.   (You can click on it to get a larger view.)

horrendous crash in garage

(To see the other caption contests, click on the “Say What?” category in the sidebar.)

the state fish (or lack thereof) for Arkansas

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I just learned that Arkansas doesn’t have an official state fish.   I don’t suppose that matters too much really, but there’s all kinds of other official state items, so why not?  The state legislature is currently debating the issue, trying to choose one, but things are getting political.  I know, over a fish?!? That’s a prime example of why politics are stupid…

Anyway, one of the TV news stations in Arkansas recently had a poll on what the state fish should be.  So far the top vote-getter is the blue catfish.   Also worthy of mention is crappie, bass, and trout.  But receiving 25 percent of the vote was “fried fish”.

I don’t know that “fried fish” should count as a state fish, because that’s very ambiguous, but then again, we are in the South, and deep-frying food is like a pastime to many people.  Also, another reason why I can see a vote for that is because they taste great!  🙂   I realize you probably won’t find fried fish in fancy restaurants, nor would you find catfish, but it makes for some great eatin’!  Add some fries and hushpuppies, along with lots of ketchup, and you have a feast!

our exclusive snow

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Last night I had the Buffet o’ Blog staff over to my house, and as always, it was a great time.  Just the sheer amount of awesome in one place is enough to make some people jealous that they weren’t invited.  But we did something that may cause additional feelings of jealousy: We made it snow.  (Yeah, you read that right.)  One of the guys built a snow making machine.  The outside temperature was right at freezing when we started it, but it cooled down enough that we had some accumulation.

I realize we have some readers in other locations, even as far north as Canada, so getting snow may seem ho-hum to you, but here in Arkansas, we haven’t got a real snowfall yet this year — just some ice and sleet.  So this is a big deal.  This is exclusive snow.  And it’s homemade.

man-made snow

Now, don’t be mad or jealous.  I realize you might be tempted to feel that way, because no one else in this area got any snow.  You may be thinking, “What makes you so special, to get snow?”  Well, it’s because we are special.  And we built the snow machine.  🙂

There’s still some in the front yard, even though it has warmed up quite a bit today.   I wonder what the neighbors thought when they saw it…