Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hat Creek Burger Co. - Austin, TX

When I was recently in Austin, I observed a really cool trailer selling cupcakes. My wife Pat loves baking so I snapped a photo for her. (See my photo below.)

Sounds like "trailer cuisine" is a big thing in Austin. I found a company called Hat Creek Burger Co. that has a mobile feast for burger lovers. I cannot wait to try it next time I am in Austin.

There are a whole host of fine foods being served on trailers. Check out the Austin Chronicle Article from February outlining different cuisines. They have cupcakes, tacos, pizzas, crepes and even Turkish food.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Bistro Burger - San Francisco, CA

I was shopping at yule time in good old San Fran,
With nieces and nephews and all of the clan.
We grew very hungry from spending our cash,
We needed some food so we would not crash.

Down to the food court we flew as a group,
Looking for salad or Chinese or soup.
But what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Bistro Burger in the food court rear.

I knew in a moment a cheeseburger was mine,
I ordered one up, with o-rings and fries.
The beef was from niman it said on the sign,
I added gorgonzola and bacon to mine.

My bro-in-law John and sis-in-law Shake,
Had burgers along with a veggie for Kate.
We ate with great gusto the burgers were fine,
Our tray was all empty in almost no time.

And wiping our mouths and straightening our clothes,
We finished our meal and from our chairs rose.
And as we exited the food court and faded from sight,
We said, “Merry burgers to all and a good Christmas night.”

Burger 3 spatulas out of 5
Fries 2.5 spatulas
Onion Rings 2.5 spatulas

Bistro Burger
Westfield Shopping Center
865 Market Street
San Francisco, CA

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Taxi's Hamburgers - Santa Clara, CA

Taxi's Hamburgers in Santa Clara, CA brings back memories of when I used to take my daughter there many year's ago. I would get the burger and she the grilled cheese. Then we discovered Johnny Rockets and switched burger joints. We went to the Taxi's in Palo Alto, which has since changed it's name. The lady at the counter in Santa Clara told me they were all changing their names. The place felt a little tired and neglected. Maybe they are trying to breath a little life into things by changing the name.

I ordered the 7 ounce Big Taxi Burger with cheese ($5.29), French Fries ($1.49) and a half order or onion rings ($2.19). I can tell you, for a half order you get a lot of o-rings.

The burger is made from fresh beef and sits atop a toasted sesame bun. It comes with American cheese, mustard, mayo, a big chunk of iceberg lettuce, red onion slices, and tomato slice. Although the burger was cooked nicely and looked great, the beef seemed a little lacking in flavor. The other items tasted good and blended well, but I might try a different combo next time. Maybe some bacon to spice things up.

The fries are very thin and have skins on. They were crisp and hot. The onion rings were battered and fried crisp. They were also very hot. But the o-rings didn't have much flavor either. In fact they tasted a lot like the fries.

So overall, I think it was all okay, but I wouldn't rush to take my daughter back for a reunion meal.

Taxi's is a small chain with stores in San Mateo, Palo Alto, Modesto, Dublin and Walnut Creek. Their site also lists Georgia as having locations. I hope they get back to their lively old ways. I used to really like Taxi's.

Hamburger 3 spatulas out of 5
Fries 2.5 spatulas
Onion Rings 2.5 spatulas

Taxi's Hamburgers
3139 Mission College Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA
(408) 235-8877

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Little Red Wagon Hamburgers - Round Rock, TX

Little Red Wagon Hamburgers in Round Rock, Texas beckons from the side of the road like an old favorite uncle. You know, the one that used to have all the funny nicknames and was fun to hang out with when you were a kid. The one that would say, “You want a hamburger for breakfast? You got it!”

My friend Jeff and I pulled up to the little red building that houses the restaurant and strolled in. Like that old uncle, the place is a little tired looking, but charming and very comfortable to hang out in. Yellow tabletops and red vinyl chairs are neatly situated next to the Salad Wagon. You order at the counter and love it when the bill comes to under $15 to feed two grown men a tasty repast.

I ordered the Double Meat Cheeseburger ($3.39), Fries ($1.49) and a 20 oz drink. They have a special deal for those three for $5.29. I also ordered onion rings. Jeff had a standard Quarter Pounder with fries.

While we waited for our food, a steady stream of folks filtered through. The carry-out phone didn’t stop ringing. There was music playing but it sounded more like Western than Country. The old stuff.

The burgers came and were piping hot and fresh. Kind of the classic style with the thin patties and lots of toppings, there was pickle, tomato, shredded lettuce, onions, American cheese and lot’s of mayo and mustard. The white bun was nicely toasted. It all tasted very nice together.

The fries were standard medium cut, with no skins, but were smokin’ hot and perfectly salted. They tasted great. I liked the light coating on the thinly sliced onion rings too.

Next time you are in the Round Rock area north of Austin with your uncle, drive past all the chains with their me-too burgers and take him to Little Red Wagon. Makes sure you take him for breakfast. He will feel very comfortable there.(See below.)

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

Little Red Barn Hamburgers
1211 E palm Valley Blvd.
Round Rock, TX 78664

Mojo Burger - Campbell, CA

Mojo Burger in San Jose has finally brought a good burger to the South Bay masses. I have been searching for a good burger in San Jose, in addition to the Counter. I finally stumbled into Mojo in the San Jose Pruneyard one Saturday. (Note: This location is now closed, but there are three others.) My daughter, who has her learner’s permit (for driving, not burgers) needed some practice, so she drove me down.

Mojo is in the old Johnny Rocket’s space at the Pruneyard. Not much has been done to the place other than take out the jukeboxes at each table and put up some signs and a menu board. You order at the counter and take a seat.

One of the signs read Meyer Natural Angus Beef. So I looked forward to trying it out. The Meyer website says that the beef is fed a combination of grains and grass. So it may not be all grass fed.

I ordered the Mojo w/ Cheese ($4.79), Fries ($1.79), Onion Rings ($3.89) and a regular chocolate shake ($1.99). You can also get a combo and save money.

Our number was called and we got our food. Sara thought the fries were pretty good. They are medium cut with skins and were very hot. The onion rings were also very hot. They were big, battered and crunchy. The milk shake was creamy and very cold. Excellent.

But, what about the burger? It is always a good sign when the bun is white, enriched bread and toasted. The American chese was nicely melted on the 1/3 pound patty. The pickle chips were crisp and the lettuce and tomato fresh. I had asked for grilled onions, but they weren’t. The patty it self had a very nice flavor and was pink as it should be. A very good burger.

As I was leaving, someone behind the counter asked how I liked my burger. Turns out it was Peter Favre, the owner of Mojo Burger. I told Peter I really liked the burger and I was happy to find a good burger in San Jose. Peter says they are really trying to create a family atmosphere and indeed, they have lot’s of kids items on the menu like grilled cheese, chili dogs and of course great cheeseburgers.

I will be back to Mojo. They are really onto something.

Burger 4.5 spatulas out of 5
Fries 4 spatulas
Onion Rings 4 spatulas
Shake 4 spatulas

Mojo Burger
The former Pruneyard location was reviewed here, but there are three others.

Also in San Jose at Willow Glenn and Snell Avenue.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hut's Hamburgers - Austin, TX

Hut’s Hamburgers in Austin, Texas is great place to have a hamburger right in the middle of Austin’s downtown scene. I got into the airport about 2:30 in the afternoon and was very hungry. I locked in “American Food” and “$” on Urban Spoon on my iPhone. Hut’s came up on the second shake. The Austin Chronicle review said “The legendary Hut’s rests not on its laurels but often atop beef eater’s picks for Best Boiger.” How could I not go?

As I approached on 6th street, I couldn’t miss the distinctive white building with red and blue trim. Hut;s is situated near the river, which flooded in 1981. Apparently, Hut’s was the only thing nearby to survive the flood and when a local said “God Bless Hut’s”, it stuck as their motto.

I sat down inside amongst the red tables and hanging sports penents. The restaurant was crowded with mostly students and families of students. I placed my order with the charming young server. A Hut’s Favorite Burger ($6.25), a Half & Half order of fries and pepper onion rings ($3.75) and a chocolate shake ($3.25).

Five minutes later my food arrived at the table. The burger consisted of a 6 ounce Texas Grassfed Natural Beef patty, topped with American cheese. A lightly toasted bun encased the burger, bacon, cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato slice and mayo. My bite was rewarded with a nicely seasoned patty of pink beef. It was thick and juicy and nicely complimented by the other elements.

The onion rings were magnificent looking monster slices of sweet onions thickly breaded with pepper flakes visible. They weren’t as crunchy as they looked though. I found the fries more to my liking. I forgot to ask if they were fresh-cut, a rarity these days, but they sure tasted like it. Long and medium thick with the skins on, they were excellent.

The milk shake was as good as any I have tasted. It was cold and creamy, but not too thick to suck through the straw. I sucked it down quickly and was very disappointed when the whipped cream made it to the bottom of the glass. All that was left was the cherry, now on the bottom.

As, I was eating, I heard the fellow next to me naming off penents. He said “Purdue”, my alma mater. I looked up and there was the black and old gold banner right above me. God Bless Hut’s.

Burger 4.5 spatulas out of 5
Fries 4 spatulas
Onion Rings 3 spatulas
Milk Shake 5 spatulas

807 West 6th Street
Austin,Texas 78703

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Atkins Burger at the Counter

I have been on a modified Atkins diet for a week or two. You know the one, no carbs. Only eat meat and salad. Although I can't satisfy my french fry fix I can at least try for a burger. The Counter in Palo Alto, offers a burger on a bed of lettuce. After a couple of tries I dialed in a pretty good combo.

I ordered the 1/3 pound burger on the bed of mixed greens. Toppings were Blue Cheese, Bacon, Grilled Onion, Roasted Red Peppers and just for fun, the fried egg. I also recommend the Honey Dijon Balsamic dressing. Sort of the American version of the classic french Salad Lyonnaise.

I found this to be quite satisfying and I left the counter full. Give it a try. You can have your burger and lose the weight.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Greening Of Meat Production

The New York Times reports that farmers in the Netherlands are making headway in reducing greenhouse gasses from the production of meat. According to the article over 18 percent of harmful gasses are caused by meat production. More than by cars, buses and trucks. This article adds some hope that through new methods we might still be able to enjoy our hamburgers with careful planning and management of feeds, waste disposal and limiting the cutting down of forests for grazing. Check out the article at www.nytimes.com. The photo is from the New York Times.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Heart Attack Grill - Chandler Arizona

Burger scout Mark sent me a link to a recent report on the Heart Attack Grill in Chandler, AZ. Their Quadruple Bypass Burger weighs two pounds. Their all-you-can eat french fry bar features lard-fries. See the report from CBS Sunday Morning. Fortunately, they have qualified nurses on staff if you overdose on fat. See photo on the right.