Posts tagged “hamburger”

Out and About: Steve in Toronto

I was in my old hometown of Toronto last week for Interaction13. Of course, I did spend some time wandering and (shivering and) taking pictures. The Flickr set is taking shape here but meanwhile some faves for you are below.

Homeless memorial

What is dangerous?

Bash Back

Sushi Dry Cleaner

Evan Penny



Steam Whistle





Out and About: Tamara in Phoenix

I spent some hot days in the 106 degree heat of Phoenix last week facilitating for social good at the Phoenix Design Summit. Even though we were crazy busy, I still found some time to capture the local flavor and ponder my surroundings.

The side of this truck reads “Tree Frog Treks” and has a phone number to call. I never would have thought of hiring someone to take me out on a tree frog trek, especially in Phoenix (which, admittedly does not have a climate or environment that I associate with trees or frogs). I like the BooWoop! on the door. Is this what tree frogs sound like? Or what we tourists would exclaim upon seeing them?

We had lunch at the Food Truck Fridays court held in the Phoenix Downtown Market on Friday afternoon. I appreciated the clever humor from Hey Joe’s Filipino food truck but most of all I loved their specialty drink: a whole young coconut that they served with the top cracked off and oversized straw.

We visited an exhibit at the ASU Art Museum titled Miracle Report. The gallery was filled with many screens of various sizes. Each piece included audio of interviews with people about a miracle they had experienced while the video showed only their hands. Hauntingly beautiful and startlingly expressive. I’d like to try this approach for capturing video during research interviews.

Also had the chance to visit Emerge: Redesigning the Future, an exhibit that followed the recent crossdisciplinary summit dedicated to design fiction and playing with the future. In this exhibit, you enter your name and a word on an iPad and then a phrase from the future appears on the screen in the bubble.

I have no idea why this onion was sitting on a mailbox. But it got me curious about how many stamps it would take to send an onion. It would probably depend upon weight, right? Would the USPS deliver an onion if it had the correct postage and an address on it?

This guy must really love hamburgers because this is not a uniform (as I initially presumed when I saw it). There were no logos or other elements on the front of the shirt. This made me wonder if there is any food item I love so much that I would wear a shirt of it like this one. Maybe kale. Or fresh young coconuts with a straw.

Harnessing the marketing power of the Obama brand

This NYT article about the prevalence of President Obama’s image as an artistic subject reminded me of two pictures I took recently in Amsterdam:

Obama Burger, Amsterdam, May 2009

Yes Weed Can, Amsterdam, May 2009

The first poster mashes up J. Howard Miller’s iconic Rosie the Riveter (We Can Do It!) image with Obama (Yes We Can!), in order to sell a burger. The second puns on that Obama slogan in order to sell a t-shirt referencing a supposedly common tourist activity in Amsterdam.

More collisions between brands of leaders and brands of products and services, previously

Imelda Marcos – brand name for new fashion line
Hitler’s Final Days
Dictator Kitsch
Limits to Dictator Kitsch?

Croatia probes Hitler likeness, jokes on sugar packets
Backlash against Citroen Mao ad
Target pulls marketing campaign featuring Che Guevara

More pictures from our travels in Amsterdam are here.


This weekend we checked out Palo Alto’s new restaurant, The Counter; a place that is having some buzz in the blogosphere (and their original Santa Monica place supposedly being mentioned on Oprah). The thrust seems to be highly customizable burgers. Kinda like The Fractured Prune’s version of donuts I blogged about recently.

I was surprised at how sedate and genteel the whole thing was, aesthetically. I was expecting much more of a cartoony-branded affair. This was nice.

Even the cash featured art more than heavily branded graphics. This worked against them a little bit – it was hard to figure out what to do, there was no hostess stand. Upon coming in, if no one is there to greet you, you see a stack of cilpboards with menus. Are these for us? I actually told the guy who came up “we have no idea what we are doing” – a comment I wouldn’t normally make (I’m not that insecure, but really, we couldn’t figure out the script. A bit more wayfinding signage, branded or not, would have helped.

Here’s the menu:
There’s a lot of choices there! It’s surprising, exciting, and overwhelming. They could use a little help in form design here, again, asking you to wayfind through a series of decisions (although burger OR bowl needs some visual work to make the decision-fork a little clearer). But really, the impact of that massive set of choices (some with price premiums, some not) is pretty incredible.

They have mitigated that slightly with a set of pre-defined burgers, where they’ve chosen a few combinations, given them names (The Counter Burger) and saved you the trouble of figuring it out. But what I want is to make my own custom burger – the key experience here, it seems – but with some guidance: what goes with what? what tastes complement other tastes?

If you want to redo a room, you can consult a color wheel for info on complementary colors, you can find advice that might tell you to pick the carpet first and then select paint and fabric next [whatever the advice might be], that hot colors look good in a small room, and cool colors in a big room will make it feel more empty [again, or whatever – I’m making this up].

It’d be pretty amazing to have some help with this, if you want it. If you know what you want to eat, go for it, but if you need some help pairing up sauces and buns and so on, what can we do? Perhaps The Counter wants you to experiment and come back over and over again (we felt that urge, certainly), but what fun it would be to have some guidance!

We figured it out, eventually, with a mix of traditional (tomatoes) and curious (hard boiled eggs, english muffin) choices.

Appetizers: dill pickle chips, yet again proving that anything is good when breaded and fried. And a half-and-half appetizer of regular fries (poor) and sweet potato fries (good, but not the best I’d ever had).

Burgers were unique, tasty, fun. Overall a good experience. We’re eager to go back and try something different next time. But $70 for four burgers, appetizers, a couple of beers and glasses of wine? Ouch.

They had just the right amount of new-restaurant inquiries from servers and managers asking us if everything was okay; good problem solving when something was missing (they ran in and got us a plate of the stuff we wanted).

Wendy’s Ad

This post-Spurlock ad intrigued me. A sick amount of food/calories/fat, but suggested as an occasional indulgence, with a pointer to their other products for regular consumption (everyday? Yikes). Giving permission to indulge, and somehow if you don’t eat this gross beef explosion daily, then it’s okay to eat their other burgers daily? And toss in an macho appeal (as if finishing this burger is some kind of impossible accomplishment) and you’ve got a timely story that takes on the obesity/SuperSizeMe meme and deftly turns it around.

Do a Classic Triple from Wendy’s: We don’t recommend you eat this all the time, unless you’re an offensive lineman or a Kodiak bear. For everyday use, try the Classic Single or Double. But since you probably won’t climb Everest, it’s nice to tell your friends you’ve had the Triple. It’s prepared fresh, the way a hamburger should be. Do a Wendy’s Classic Triple and do what tastes right.

HARVEY’S HAMBURGERS – a healthy lunch?

Harvey’s, a Canadian hamburger chain, has a pretty interesting combo deal. Order the sandwhich of your choice, and choose a side and a drink. Sides include onion rings and fries, of course, but also chips, and a salad. Drinks include soda pop, but also orange juice, or water. So you can order a burger, a salad (with dressing on the side), and a bottled water for the same price as a burger with fries and a Coke.

If you’re going to order a burger, it’s nice not to compound that with the other stuff, but I honestly wonder about the economics of this. Doesn’t a pop cost cents, at most (isn’t it highly subsidized by the Pepsi or Coke people?), versus a bottled water or Minute Maid juice? And even a salad that is mostly lettuce still appears to be handmade at some production facility, presumably at significantly greater cost than fries?

I know the fast food chains are all dealing with the obesity issue, at least in terms of PR, but this seems like the most encouraging and intriguing food offering I’d seen to date.


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