September 18, 2008
by Matt

Confessions Of A Social Phobic

My mouth betrays my mind. My mouth hinders my thoughts from being coherently expressed. I know that my words have made me appear less intelligent before they have ever left my mouth. Sitting in quiet agony, I withhold contributions to conversations knowing that any attempt will be delivered in stammered prose.

Hidden behind my mouth, there is another Matt. A Matt that very few know, or will ever see. Instead, most will see me as one, or all, of these possible personalities: the quiet and awkwardly shy man; the asshole who thinks he is too good to talk to you; the simpleton who is trapped in a conversation above his education level. If I am to be truthful with myself, there is a part of me in all three options. However, my point is that there is more to the Matt you know than the socially retarded exterior that is presented.

The one positive that I have gained from my lack of eloquence is perspective. There are many who believe speech is the greatest indicator of intelligence. To those holding this view, the person who is a flawless orator is lauded as a genius, while the person who struggles in their speech is an uneducated rube. In my relatively short 29 years of life, I have observed people who validate this claim. That said, I have met an equal number of people who turn that idea on its head.

Writing is the only time when I do not feel self conscious in communicating with others. Not to say that I think myself to be a great writer, but at least I am able to get the words that are so often trapped, out of my head. My ginormous, bearded head.

So the next time you find yourself engaged in conversation with me and that long lull makes its first appearance, remember this, my friend.

September 6, 2008
by Matt

Secrets Of The Mystic Coney

Last weekend I was in the Tulsa area for my dad’s wedding. Now, my trips to Tulsa are few and far between so I try to make the most out of each trip. And by, “making the most of each trip”, I mean eating at all the places we do not have in Oklahoma City. Chief among those places is Coney Islander.

Hotdog + Bun + Chili + Cheese ≠ Coney

That simple formula only equates to chili dogs, and sadly, that is all I have found in OKC. Yes, the Coney Island in downtown is a great place to eat, especially on a cold and overcast day, but those are chili dogs. Very delicious and satisfying, as they may be they are still a different breed. No friends, there is more to the mystical coney than the basic ingredients one assumes.

Entance to the glorious Coney Chute

We begin our introduction to real coneys at what I like to call, The Coney Chute: a narrow passage which leads you from the door to your first stop. Here you grab a tray, and cup, selecting the fountain drink of your choice and filling up. Tip: they charge for refills so skip the ice, the pop is cold anyway. As you slide to the next stop on the Coney Chute you finally see where that glorious smell was coming from. Before you, behind a glass shield, is a giant griddle full of small wieners. This is where the first difference between chili dogs and coneys can be seen. Unlike chili dogs which are of normal size and boiled, coneys are smaller and grilled to give them a nice snap. This is also where you are asked what you would like to eat.

Don’t dilly dally unless you want to face the ire of those behind you. You know what you have come here for and that’s coneys. This is not the time to back down or be one of those chumps that refuses to try a place’s specialty as it was intended. This is not the time to worry about calories or silly aversions to things like onions. No, now is the time to not be that guy and order with confidence, “(x) with everything.” I usually go with 3, since they are smaller than chili dogs. I forgot to mention this is where you can grab a bag of chips. I think Cheetos pair best with coneys.

Finally we come to the last stop in the Coney Chute where you pay (credit cards accepted) and are finally presented heaven on a bun.

Sweet mystical coneys!I know the temptation to inhale the coneys the second you are seated is great, but take a second to check out the condiments in front of you. You won’t find mustard or ketchup on your table, but you will find all kinds of fiery goodness. Louisiana Hot Sauce, Trappey’s Pepper Sauce and what I think is the essential coney condiment, the red pepper shaker. There is some debate among my friends and family as to what mixture in the shaker is, but we are all pretty sure it is mostly paprika and cheyenne pepper. This being your first time around, go with just the red pepper shaker, dusting the top of the coneys. Now, dig in.

Taste it? Now do you taste the difference? The chili is more like a sauce than the chunky bean laden chili you are used to eating. It is also spiced differently, with what I think is probably cinnamon. The soft steamed bun is like a delicious pillow for your tongue. The cheese is finely grated, and the onions are cut to the point of being more like a relish. There is the subtle taste of the mustard coming through, and it is all finished with a light heat on lips from the red pepper dusted on top. So incredibly good.

coneys and a tamale. Perfection

Now that you have graduated to the world of real coneys, on your next trip I would suggest trying a tamale with everything, as pictured left, next to the coneys. They also serve 3-Way, spaghetti with chili and cheese, which is also mind blowingly good. Of course you can get just a bowl of chili topped with cheese and onions and comes with crackers. I have only done this once and am shocked that have haven’t done so again. There are probably other things on the menu, but with coneys that good, it is hard to deviate from perfection.

One last look at the Coney Chute before leaving. Goodbye Coney Islander, we will meet again soon. And goodbye white haired lady who is staring at me as I snap this photo.I know they're good, but use a napkin!

There are several Coney Islanders in Tulsa, this one is at 41st & Yale

September 3, 2008
by Matt

Jim Koch, You Steal My Heart Once Again

Sam Adams Octoberfest
Beer: Octoberfest
Brewer: Samuel Adams, Boston Beer Company

This is THE seasonal I anxiously await each year. A traditional Märzen style beer, that has a rich malty flavor and is moderately hopped. Despite what Heineken, Becks and Budweiser will have you believe, Märzen is the traditional beer for Oktoberfest, hence the name. For me, it’s deep orange color and malty flavor have been become as emblematic to fall, as pumpkins, Halloween and bad campaign ads.

In years past, the Sam Adams Octoberfest had notes of caramel that are sadly lacking in this years batch. Jim Koch, founder of The Boston Beer Company and my man crush.I am hoping that as the weather cools and the beer spends more time conditioning, the caramel notes will become more prominent. Overall, Octoberfest remains my favorite seasonal from Sam Adams, with their Winter Ale coming in a close second.

I haven’t decided whether or not to rate the beers I review by some convoluted scale or rating system. Would it be helpful to you, the reader? For now, with this beer at least, I am going to sum things up by saying this is a beer you should seek out and enjoy. However, you should be warned: this beer will only be around until sometime after Halloween. If you enjoy it as much as I do, you’ll spend nine months of every year counting the days until it’s delicious return.

August 27, 2008
by Matt
1 Comment

5 Words I Hate

Are there certain words which, for one reason or another, make you want to forsake humanity, move to the hills and become a hermit? I have a few of my own irritating words, and here they are.

5. Pecan
Only when it is pronounced, “peecan”. Everyone knows it’s pronounced, “puhcon”.

4. Soda
What? It’s either coke, or the equally acceptable pop, but never is it “soda”. An example of the proper way to ask for these carbonated drinks would be as follows:

Waiter: Hi, what can I get you to drink?See?
Customer: Coke.
Waiter: What kind of coke?
Customer: Dr. Pepper.

3. Gravitas
The only people who use this word are unimaginative reporters.

2. Memory
Okay, so I don’t hate the word itself, but I do hate when people misuse it. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard someone use “memory” while meaning, “hard drive space”, I would make Clay Bennet look like a hobo. You spent $800+ for your computer; learn something about it.

1. Fixins
Call them sides, extras, accoutrements or even the still annoying yet acceptable, trimmings. But for the love of all that is holy, do not use the word fixins. Nothing will make you look like a mouth breathing hick faster than the use of this horrible word.