Thursday, August 6, 2009

Burgers on the Brain

Yeah-yeah ... what's new ... I'm always up for a (good) burger. It is just one of life's simple pleasures and oh-so-satisfying (again, when it's good)! With all the hubbub surrounding the current Texas Monthly "50 Best Burgers in Texas" article, I'm even more distracted than usual by my burger cravings and so I've indulged a bit lately. Without bothering to debate about the article as far as Houston's best burgers - I agree with some and disagree with others but respect their scoring system which was a really involved worksheet of legit detail and deep thought on the subject - I was inspired by the process that went into the work regardless of some questionable outcomes.
Notably missing IMO was Hubcap Grill, 1111 Prairie downtown - who I have thoroughly dissed previously but now love (see pic!). My first visit soon after they opened was frustrating in that "well done" just doesn't do it for me for this particular genre of burger and their ignoring my pleas to have it cooked medium instead providing the promise that it would be the juiciest burger I've ever had ... it wasn't (because it was overcooked) and I was grumpy because I knew it could have been really good.

Recently a foodie-friend who I greatly respect encouraged me to meet her for a re-match, promising that really and truly they are generally juicy as hell even when cooked well-done. Imagine my glee when we discovered you can now order your burger cooked to order so I had no doubt it would be awesome - and it totally was. From the housemade grilled bun to the hand-formed patty, the quality bacon and melting cheddar, not to mention the absolutely stellar hand-cut fries (best in Houston if you ask me), I was just really happy I had returned. If you have not had a burger from Hubcap (including several new very interesting options), just go ... you'll be glad you did!

When I saw Beck's Prime in the Texas Monthly article it sort of reminded me that Beck's exists ... I'm not above a chain if its good (and its more of a mini-chain I think). Plus I have great memories from when Beck's first came into the marketplace and how amazing the burger was back then when "gourmet" burgers didn't really exist so in honor of all that, I drove through the other day and realized it was actually still a good burger. No trouble having it cooked to order so it was beautifully pink and flavorful from the mesquite grilling. The egg-bun might be a little eggy and the fries weren't quite as crisp as I would have liked (but they were very close and I do appreciate that they are hand-cut). Easy-breezy and no drama. I'll return.

Feeling like I was on a roll, I decided to try Five Guys Burgers & Fries off I-10 near Bunker Hill. This chain now has 3 locations in Houston and I'd heard mixed reviews but figured it was something I needed to experience for myself. It was packed and bright (like really bad fluorescent bright) with uber-happy employees and I felt hopeful. Unfortunately the forcibly well-done burger was dry and nothing special though the hand-cut fries were outstanding (not worth returning just for the fries, though).

Today I made my way to the Little Bitty Burger Barn and felt my momentum picking up once again. Great service and a juicy, wonderful burger (without my even remembering to order a particular way - a very good sign). Fresh beef, fantastic hand-cut fries and a total bargain ($4.70 for the cheeseburger and only $1 extra for the fries). Hell yeah ... can't wait to return!

As I've mentioned before, I also love Smashburger and am happy they have several new locations including the one on Buffalo Speedway that is probably a little too close to me. I enjoyed one there recently and this is not a burger you have to order cooked a certain way. I love how hot and fresh the burger arrives and it is really a juicy, multi-napkin-required mess (yes, I mean that in a good way). The hot and crsipy fries are great, too even though they're not of the fresh/hand-cut variety; they totally work.

There ... I feel purged of my burger gossip for now ... :)

1 comment:

Albert said...

I've got a new favorite burger place in Houston - Beaver's. The burger is nothing short of amazing. My take: