Crown City Cook | Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

Despite Christmas’ strangle hold on the fall through winter seasons, Thanksgiving remains a hallowed tradition here at MTR the Network. And while we applaud creativity in the culinary arts, we are also the first to point out there is a limit. I have done my best to sit quietly as random relatives choose to replicate things they’ve seen in magazines or found somewhere on the internet. It’s gotten better over the years but there are certain trends that have caught on nationwide that need to be addressed for what they are: a bowl full of nightmares. What follows is a list of side dishes that should no longer be tolerated under any circumstance at your Thanksgiving dinner. Happy Holidays!


Party Potatoes

Mixing a glob of sour cream into perfectly good home style mashed potatoes should be outlawed. I will never understand why people enjoy this weird version of a classic holiday side dish. There’s nothing appetizing about it! No matter how much butter you use, there is always that sour flavor front and center to remind you that life is nothing but a lie dressed up to look like something else. My family has served this style at every Thanksgiving since my birth, possibly even before that. I haven’t eaten mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner since I was 12 years old.


Swedish Meatballs

What sane person serves these fucking things at Thanksgiving!? All that wonderful, homemade food sitting around the table and off to the side is a slow cooker full of processed, flavorless meat sitting in a random sauce. Hard pass, even at acceptable holiday meals.


Spiced Mushrooms

I don’t know many people who enjoy mushrooms to begin with but many of the ones I do know who like them agree, over spicing is a routine crime that goes unchecked daily. I’m not saying seasoning is a bad thing, I’m just saying if your side dish contains more oregano than mushrooms, throw it out and try again.


Steamed Brussels Sprouts

The best way to clear out that heartwarming food smell looming in your kitchen. Whenever people talk about the terrible smell Brussels sprouts produce, they’re talking about steamed Brussels sprouts. Not even bacon can make a bowl of farts seen appetizing.


Runny Creamed Corn

Creamed corn is great when it has the consistency of pudding. Unfortunately, many people think that means rice pudding. If your cream corn looks like something you hacked up the last time you had the flu, you used too much cream and served it way too soon. Cut back by half a cup and let your dish settle for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.


Baked Beans

When I think appetizing, can’t-resist-it Thanksgiving food, tiny lumps in a questionable brown sauce never comes to mind. Throw some bacon, BBQ sauce and sweet peppers in there and it’s a different story, otherwise keep your flavorless lumps away from my dinner table.


Anything from Whole Foods

You don’t need to spend much time looking around Whole Foods’ Thanksgiving menu to know it’s all trendy, mashed together nonsense. They may call their original menu classic, but everything has some weird twist to it. Pictured above is the “dry-brine spiced citrus turkey” you can get right now. Citrus… on a turkey. Even worse, their mashed potatoes boast parsnips in addition to a glob of sour cream. Pretentious, thy name is Whole Foods.


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Crown City Cooking 4 | Check the Label

Hot, Fresh and Ready!

The Crown City Cook and the legendary Rob Lee are back with an all new episode full of the good kind of cholesterol. At the top of the show, Dann breaks the silence on the truth behind Juicy Juice and Rob learns a thing or two about food allergies. What would you do for the last baby back rib? Hopefully not stab your sibling. Pizza Hut joins forces with Cinnabon, Papaya King is looking to expand and Washington State wants to ban all medicinal gummy candies!



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Films I’m Looking Forward To | Fall 2018

Hey, it’s been a while.

Fall has always been known as the most important time for films, award season usually begins to lock down on films and Oscar baits come everywhere. Sometimes it’s a nice change of pace to see films that want speak up or films that provide clarity to a director’s visions. I wanted to discuss some of the ones I’m anticipating and some I’m staying away in no particular order:

Films I’m extremely excited for:


Man what a cast and crew!!! Academy Award winning director Steve McQueen and author/screenwriter Gillian Flynn remakes the 1983 British TV show of the same name to the big screen. Widows is about an armed robbery gone wrong which resulted in the death of four men those four men wives now widows have to finish the score and clean up the mess left behind by their former husbands. With a cast of Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo (Known for Broadway work her theatrical debut), Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry (Paper Boi playing a villain), Daniel Kaluuya (Holy shit have I heard great things about his character in this film and man what filmography for him already), Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, Jon Bernthal, Liam fucking Neeson I was sold before seining a trailer then I saw the trailer and maaaaaaannnn Hollywood THIS is how you build strong women characters that has to face the odds.


If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins put himself in the spotlight big time after creating a near perfect film in Moonlight, he now takes his turn to adapt the classic 1974 novel written by James Baldwin If Beale Street Could Talk. A story of love, struggle, and overcoming the impossible with love. The story follows a young African-American woman who sets out to clear the name of her wrongly-convicted husband and prove his innocence before the birth of their child. With an already impressive cast itself and the name Barry Jenkins attached to it there’s a lot of pressure for this to not only be great but sweep away award season.  This film has been getting massive praise already so I cannot wait to see what this film has to offer.


Jamie Lee Curtis is back, Blumhouse has been on a ROLL with horror films are producing it and no more Rob Zombie that alone has me sold on this film.




A Star is Born

Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut Lady Gaga’s in a starring role that was almost Beyoncé’s role twice. A remake of the 1937 film this time with musicians. I was very skeptical on the film until I saw the trailer and instantly thought someone is going for the Oscar here (Lady Gaga). This film has the very basic formula of struggling act meets attractive hot-shot and overcome the obstacles set by the lives before they met. Simple but can be very effective with the right people behind the wheel. This looks like they have it all covered.


Creed II

I want/need this to deliver. Creed is one of my favorite in this decade it revived a dead franchise and also created a franchise that can surpass the one before it. Creed one felt like the way they should’ve went with Rocky 5. Ryan Coogler was an excellent hire and Michael B Jordan proved Fruitvale Station wasn’t a fluke. However, due to Coogler taking on Black Panther (Good fucking job by the way), MGM had to go in another direction. Stallone penned the sequel and what I feared came to light Ivan Drago is back. I wanted Creed to move away from Rocky but it is going head first back into the world of Rocky’s shadow. BUT the trailer has me very optimistic about this even without Coogler I think they know what they’re doing. Coogler handpicked the new director Steven Caple Jr (best known for his movie the Land) takes over and this has a different feel than Creed but one I’m genuinely excited to see.


Bad Times at the El Royale

This looks fun. Drew Goddard is directing this thriller about seven strangers in a rundown motel. Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, and Chris Hemsworth star in this film as well. I’m very interested in what this film to present.





What a shitty title for a film but honestly this looks to be very very good. Jonah Hill’s directorial debut a kid who becomes gets into of the culture of skateboarding in you guessed it the mid 90’s. This has been incredible reviews already some calling it a masterpiece. Jonah Hill is an extremely underrated act to me so this has my interest. Sidenote: the film is shot in 4:3 which is insane itself.



Green Book:

Virgo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali retell the story of Don Shirley and Tony Lip. Virgo and Mahershala in the same film enough said.




Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph Breaks the Internet

A sequel to the hit Wreck-It-Ralph with John C Reily and Sarah Silverman reprising their roles. Easy win.




Bohemian Rhapsody

Bryan Singer is a creep FINALLY someone told people about it and he’s out. I’m a little worried with directorial changes during production but I’m fully confident Rami Malek’s protrayl of Freddie Mercury. This is the 1st biopic on the rock band Queen. The bar is very high on this film and Rami is already hearing Oscar buzz.



Films I’m skeptical of:


No Spiderman just Venom. Sony’s 3rd attempt with Spiderman. Kevin Feige is not involved with this film too. I’m more than worried about this film. If Tom Hardy wasn’t cast as Venom I would scream abandon ship but Hardy makes this alone something I’m curious in.



The Hate U Give

This might get some backlash but I have a fear of Hollywood cashing in on Police Brutality which is disgusting especially if it offers nothing to the table but to paint the same picture. Based on the novel with the same name (which is also a homage to Tupac’s acronym THUG LIFE: The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody). Where Blindspotting provided a message and perspective on the matter of this issue. I don’t see The Hate U Give following suit but being a film that pains the same story as usual and get folks even more upset. An unwanted cash grab with a really great cast (even if I dislike the lead in this film, Amandla Stenberg). Russell Hornsby is one of the most underrated actors alive, Regina Hall serious roles have been really good as well. There’s been a lot of praise for this film but I usually wonder if the praise is due to fear of not being someone to speak against the film. Not sure if I want to watch it but I do fear the problem this film can cause by profiting off of the issue itself.

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald

After a very underwhelming 1st film, we get a sequel which is planned to be a six film series based on 2 books (Someone didn’t learn from the Hobbit at all), and Johnny Depp is in this? Yeah…pass…….



The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Current Live Action Disney minus Jungle Book and Marvel projects has sucked. I can only go by history with this company and I saw nothing that screams excitement.

This batch of films will offer something to everyone and will be a very interesting topic of discussion when it’s all said and done. Personally I find it very interesting I’m more invested in the fall films than I was with the summer. Hopefully everyone finds a film worth investing in and some sleepers at that as well.



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Crown City Cooking | Seared Steak

The only steak recipe you’ll ever need!


  • Two NY Strip steaks
  • Butter
  • Salt & Pepper



  1. Heat a large pan on high, you want to get the pan searing hot before adding the steaks. A cast iron pan is ideal but for all of us budget chefs, a regular every day cooking pan will work.
  2. Add butter to the pan, let it melt down a bit but not completely.
  3. Place the steaks in the pan, adding salt and pepper to the exposed side. Let the steaks rest for eight to ten minutes before flipping if you enjoy a medium cut. From experience I can tell you cooking steaks for five or less minutes will leave you with a mostly raw chunk of beef. It’ll cook the outer layer a bit so that there is a dark, charred line running across the top but it’s a rareness only a power business person like Gordon Gecko would appreciate. For well steaks leave them in the pan for twelve to fifteen minutes on each side.
  4. Once you’ve reached your desired pinkness, remove the steaks and let rest for five minutes. Here’s a tip I learned from Alton Brown: place a smaller plate upside down on your serving plate and rest the steaks on that. That way the juices and blood run off and your dinner plate will be mostly dry when it comes time to eat.


Here’s a photo of my finished product. Since I like a medium cut steak, the sear ended up a nice brownish color. I unfortunately didn’t heed Alton Brown’s advice but that’s okay, the juices added a bit of flavor to the instant potatoes that accompanied these babies.


I hope you enjoy this recipe, post your results in the comment section!


  • CCC

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Crown City Cooking 3 | She Was A Lawyer & He Was A Sandwich

Fresh out of the kitchen!

It’s all about food and friends on the latest episode of the best damn food cast in Maryland! Do you remember when you were first captivated by sandwiches? The Crown City Cook and his faithful dinner date Rob Lee take a walk down memory lane before getting into an all-new That’s Not a Substitute. How do you feel about Jimmy John’s latest promotional stunt? Dann has issues despite JJ’s being his favorite sub shop. All this and the proper way to ask for a check!


Remember mtrthenetwork is found on Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | PlayerFM Subscribe and share using #mtrthenetwork and #mtrpodcasts Follow Mtrthenetwork on Instagram & Twitter | @mtrpodcasts use #mtrpodcasts Follow Rob on Instagram @lordleemtr and Dann D. on Instagram @CrownCityCook Like Mtrthenetwork on Facebook | mtrpodcasts



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