I Listened to the Hamburger Helper Mixtape

Loyal Mid-American Culture fans may remember my review of the Wendy’s mixtape from a while back. Well, it was recently brought to my attention that We Beefin’ was not the first beef-based rap mixtape released (beef as in the meat, not a feud…). That distinction belongs to Hamburger Helper, who released a 14-minute mixtape with five tracks in 2016. So, in order to do all mixtapes ordered by corporate shills and cobbled together by hungry artists justice, I gave it a listen.

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DP Dough: A One-Visit Analysis

DP Dough is a restaurant chain specializing in not pizza, but calzones. I had it once before, but recently I decided to try it again to really decide how it is (also Taste of Asia was too expensive). Continue reading “DP Dough: A One-Visit Analysis”

Waffle House: My First Impressions

This week, the staff at Mid-American Culture was tasked with reviewing a restaurant with which we had little or no experience. I decided to write about the enigmatic Waffle House. I also tweaked the title everyone else is using a little bit to include this piece in  my “My First Impressions” series (because why not?). For the vast majority of my life, I was part of the significant minority of people who had never had Waffle House. People around me had always told me that it is a brilliant eating establishment, but for whatever reason, I never made time to try it. That is, until recently. To be fair, I went once as a small child but I have little to no memory of it and I couldn’t remember what I had or if I liked it. However, I consider the trip I made a few months ago to be my first true visit. I went with a friend from my work who was flabbergasted at the thought of a 20 year old who had never really had a Waffle House experience. I am eternally grateful to her for putting me on to the magical wonder that is Waffle House.


During my first visit, my friend recommended to me that I try the chocolate chip waffles. This will undoubtedly be my go-to order moving forward. These are, without a doubt, some of the best waffles I have ever had. I am still a pancake guy to the core, but I can still respect a good waffle. That experience was very pleasant, but it left something to be desired because I didn’t truly get the full Waffle House experience. For that, I feel you have to go late at night and order one of their sensational side options. It was during my most recent visit that I really got that experience.

While driving to Tennessee for my recent vacation (check out my piece on that vacation here), we stopped at a Waffle House after a long day of being stuck in the car. It was approximately 11 p.m. There was only one other group in the restaurant and they looked exactly like what you would expect the late-night Waffle House crowd to look like.  The atmosphere was perfect. I ordered my staple chocolate chip waffles and also added an order of country ham. This was one of the best food-related decisions I have made in a very long time. The ham was great and the waffles never disappoint. I also sampled some of my mom’s hash browns and those were immaculate. I will most definitely order those on my next trip. Everyone in my family loved the Waffle House visit. The service was very prompt, the staff was surprisingly friendly given the late hour at which we were there, and the food was great.

Overall, I loved my first Waffle House experiences. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it before. In the words of some tweet I saw on twitter a few months ago, “it isn’t a Waffle House. It’s a Waffle Home”. That sums it up perfectly. I hope to go back to my Waffle Home very soon.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the rest of the Mid-American Culture restaurant reviews this week!

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

M.A.C. Twitter: @M_American_C

Kustom Kreams: A One-Visit Analysis

Ever since I first saw rolled ice cream on a Facebook video a long time ago, I always thought it would be a neat thing to try. Thankfully, a rolled ice cream establishment opened up in Huntington recently, and I finally decided to give it a visit.

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The Asheville Pinball Museum

Recently, my family and I spent a weekend in the Asheville, North Carolina area. It was a fun and relaxing weekend where we hiked to see gorgeous waterfalls, made campfire s’mores, and went to our first Minor League Baseball game. Another highlight of the trip was when we visited the Asheville Pinball Museum. Continue reading “The Asheville Pinball Museum”

The Case For Joey Votto: Why He Deserves To Be a 2018 MLB All-Star

Joey Votto is undoubtedly one of the best first basemen the MLB has seen since his debut in 2007. Over the course of his career, Votto has an amazing .313 batting average, over 260 home runs, over 800 RBI, and an on-base percentage of .428, the highest career mark for any active player. But, over the course of his career, he has been oddly absent from the Mid-Summer Classic, the MLB All-Star Game. He’s only appeared in the ASG 5 times over the course of his career, only appearing in one since 2014.

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Travel Recap: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

As I stated in my post last week, I have been on vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Gatlinburg is a staple in the world of Mid-American vacation spots and it is fairly easy to see why. In addition to the countless tourist-oriented spots, Gatlinburg and the neighboring Pigeon Forge provide some breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as various hiking trails and other opportunities to admire the natural beauty of the area. Gatlinburg has all sorts of exciting experiences to offer and in this piece, I will be highlighting some of my favorites.

pancake pantry

Firstly, the food selection in Gatlinburg is absolutely phenomenal. Several premier eating destinations can be found throughout the area. My personal favorite, Pancake Pantry, is located in Downtown Gatlinburg. The Pancake Pantry offers a variety of breakfast and lunch dishes, highlighted by their superb pancakes. Out of the 15+ varieties of pancakes they offer, I recommend the Swiss chocolate chip option. As a firm believer in the idea that pancakes are far superior to their waffle counterpart, I fancy myself as somewhat of a pancake expert. I can say with absolute certainty that these were the very best pancakes I have ever had in my life. They also offer several sandwiches and side dishes that were of great quality. I highly recommend anyone in the area try the Pancake Pantry. Gatlinburg also offers a variety of dinner establishments, such as Paula Deen’s restaurant. I highly recommend it as well. It is worth mentioning, however, that eating out in Gatlinburg can be very pricy, as their taxes are somewhere around 12%. We found that a filet mignon steak dinner prepared at our cabin was more economical than eating at a moderate hamburger place. However, if you are prepared to spend a little more money, Gatlinburg offers a fine selection of eateries.

A lovely waterfall in Gatlinburg

The natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains can’t be understated. I have a hard time believing there is a more gorgeous landscape to be found anywhere in the country. The Gatlinburg area offers all sorts of opportunities to connect with nature, such as hiking trails, chair lifts which provide excellent views, and guided nature tours. Seeing as how I am not exactly a fan of traditional hiking, I gravitated toward the motor trails offered. These are roads which take you through some of the most beautifully forested parts of the state, offer the chance to see magnificent wildlife, and do it all from the air conditioned comfort of your car. During one of our motor trail experiences, a small bear cub walked right up to our car. It was absolutely adorable and made the experience even more special. Along with the wildlife, several historical structures such as old churches, mills, and cemeteries can be found within walking distance of these trails. Experiences like this are part of what makes Gatlinburg such a great destination.


The bear we saw on the motor trail
Probably my favorite part of Gatlinburg, the area offers some exemplary shopping destinations. Nearby Sevierville features a substantially sized outlet mall with all of the stores you could ask for, including Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Adidas, several food-oriented stores, Vans, American Eagle, and countless others. Downtown Gatlinburg features all kinds of tourist-targeted shops, such as a plethora of souvenir stores, moonshine and whisky shops, and, my favorite, a high-end clock store. I was dangerously close to buying a luxury mantel clock because it was so beautiful. There is also a shopping hub near Gatlinburg, known as The Island. It has virtually every kind of store imaginable: pop-culture themed stores, cigar shops, food places, a caricature store where my brother and I had a phenomenal caricature done (which can be seen on my Instagram page under the username BigRedAFerg), and much more. Aside from New York City, Gatlinburg offers the best shopping experience of anywhere I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting.

Some suspect hat options available in Gatlinburg shops

Overall, Gatlinburg is a sensational vacation spot and I urge everyone to travel there if presented with the chance. The sights, shopping, and food are just part of what makes Tennessee, and Gatlinburg in particular, such a great place to visit. The local amusement park, Dollywood, the Ripley’s Aquarium, the theatre dinner shows, and some of the desirable fishing spots are some more great options as well. This vacation was certainly memorable and I hope some of our readers get to experience it as well. Below are a few more pictures from my trip if you are interested. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out some of the other great content on Mid-American Culture.




My Twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Mid-American Culture Twitter: @M_American_C