Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Great Outdoors - High Springs, FL

The Great Outdoors Restaurant in High Springs, Florida is a lovely Oasis in the heart of the beautiful springs of Northern Florida outside Jacksonville. We went here for dinner after a day or kayaking on the beautiful Ichatucknee river. The occasion was my mother’s 70th birthday. My sister, brother, mother and her husband Paul all gathered for our post float soirée.

Even though this was supposed to be a fancy dinner, I couldn’t resist getting a burger from the roster of imaginatively named choices. All were named after famous local springs. There was an Ichatucknee Burger, but I passed and went for the Ginnie ($9.50). It was made from a half pound of fresh ground Harris Beef. There was cheese, an onion ring, and apple wood bacon on a soft and springy bun covered with flour. A nice BBQ sauce was spread thinly as well. The bun was grilled crisp on the inside. Our waitress said it was a custom-baked 5” bun flown in from Wisconsin.

Since we had also ordered lots of appetizers and each of us had a full entrée coming, we ordered the burger as an appetizer. Our always-accommodating server had it artfully cut into quarters and delivered with fries spread between. The fries were standard issue coated fries, medium cut and coated with a mildly spicy coating. Not as imaginative as the burgers and local beers.

The burger however, was excellent. The beef was cooked to a perfect medium. It was tasty and had a nice charcoal crunchy outside. The BBQ sauce, bacon, cheese and onion ring blended nicely together to compliment but not overwhelm the burger. We all loved it. I ate a second quarter.

I washed it all down with a Naked Ed Pale Ale. A local brew named after the man who sits watching over the local springs in as pure a state as the springs themselves. What a charming place for a great burger find.

Burger 4.5 spatulas out of 5
Fries 3 spatulas

The Great Outdoors Restaurant
Main Street
High Springs, FL

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mission Burgers - Fremont, CA

Mission Burger in Fremont, CA is an old time burger stand in the best sense. it sits snugly in the old Mission Area of Fremont in the shadow of Ohlone College and the Fremont hills. It is a tiny stand just big enough for two women to cook burgers and fries and make milk shakes.

On this sunny day, students representing the vibrant diversity of California noshed as one. A couple of good old boys were out for their burger as well. I ordered the Mission Special ($5.19) that includes Cheeseburger ($3.19 by itself), fries and a coke. I also ordered the onion rings for $1.89. I took a seat at one of the many picnic tables.

My number was soon called and I retrieved my order. Everything was meticulously wrapped in paper on a clear plastic tray. The onion rings were hot, but a little greasy, medium thick and battered. The fries were big steak fries. No skin, scalding hot, they were slated just right and very tasty.

The burger was nicely stacked ad assembled with onion slices, tomato, lettuce and mayo. American cheese melted on top of the patty. The sesame bun was toasted. It is a classic burger stand burger and charbroiled just right.

I found the whole experience very satisfying. This burger Utopia is a great place to visit and enjoy.

Burger 4 spatulas out of 5
Fries 3.5 spatulas
Onion Rings 3 spatulas

Mission Burgers
135 Anza Street
Fremont, CA 94539