Sunday, March 02, 2008

Spare me the blue guys and give me some good crushed ice

LAS VEGAS - So I'm sitting here about 90 minutes before the race at Las Vegas and they're getting ready to start the prerace show featuring Men with Plumbing (sorry, I just never have managed to "get" the Blue Man Group point).

I should be thinking about something pithy or prescient about today's UAW-Dodge 400, but I've got nothing. I have been in North Carolina 36 hours since Feb. 5 and on Pacific time for 12 days. I am lucky to be vertical, quite honestly.

It's windy here this morning, danged windy. It's blowing down the frontstretch toward Turn 1 and some people expect it to cause problems.

Personally, I think everybody's going to be so cautious on the track today given all that's gone on this weekend that it will be a pretty clean race. (I hereby reserve the right to edit this blog later if that last sentence turns out to be dead wrong.)

I will tell you what's on my mind right now. That's supposedly what a blog is all about, right?

I am thinking about crushed ice. OK, I know I am weird. But crushed ice has actually become something of an obsession with me lately.

Why in the name of Pete doesn't some major national fast-food chain drop cubed ice and go to crushed ice in all of its outlets. If Burger King or Wendy's wants to give people a reason not to go do McDonald's, crushed ice might be the answer.

I stopped at a place out here called Raising Caine's. If you're from my part of the world, it's a lot like Zaxby's. They serve chicken fingers and french fries and cole slaw and it's good. But they also give you crushed ice for your drink cup.

And we're talking real crushed ice. Not the little pellets, which are better than cubes but not as good as honest-to-goodness shaved ice flakes - the kind that you can just take a mouthful of and let it melt its way down the throat.

Crushed ice done properly reminds you of a sno-cone, but not quite a slushy. Once the liquid is gone from the cup, you've still got something to work with.

I promise you that if one of the major chains went to crushed ice, that would be a difference maker for some customers - at least one for sure.


MTBlood said...

It's good to see you keeping your spirits up. Rasing Caine's is a great restaurant.

Anonymous said...

Smoke and Gordon looked like crushed ice after their wrecks!

Anonymous said...


I wish your post had been about the issues you mentioned in the "Rear-View Mirror" segment of your Race Rewind. That would stir up some reader comments.

You got it exactly right and I agree 100%.

Julie said...

ITA. Crushed ice is very under-rated. It would certainly influence me.

Uncle Dewey 88 said...

Crushed or cubed, I just want a LOT of ice.

As for the Blue Man group, kinda harsh, ain't ya?

Paul Stagg said...

David -

Most fodservice outlets use ice cooled soda equipment, where there is a bin that holds ice (either on top, where there is an ice dispenser), or in a bin in front of the unit (where someone uses a scoop). This ice serves two purposes: a) it goes in your cup and, b) it cools the soda in the fountain unit.

Ice cooled units don't require refrigeration, they use a cold plate under the ice bin to chill the water and syrup for the unit.

Shaved and pellet ice do not work well in these applications, because they are more prone to ice bridging, where the ice melts and creates a 'dome' over the bottom of the ice bin, where the cold plate is.

No ice contact with the cold plate = warm drinks.

Pellet ice is not as big an issue as shaved ice, which pretty much won't work at all to cool the drink equipment.

Anonymous said...

I find it curious that none of the NASCAR media has talked about the record losses of Sprint/Nextel in the last fiscal year...? Is that going to cause future problems for the nations top tier stock racing league? Oh well, I would much rather engage my mind into a critical look at shaved ice.

Anonymous said...

this is about ice?
here's the bottom line:
fill my glass 1/2 full
of whatever ice and the rest
with HOT and Already Sweetened
with Real Sugar Tea....and
heaven. i'm in heaven.

Anonymous said...

Sonic has crushed ice and it is great. You can also just buy bags of ice from them. I don't know if they have Sonic drive ins in NC but they have them in TX and LA. Try them when you go to Ft. Worth. hmimigran