Currently listening to: “Summer” by Real Friends
School is out. Summer is in. Clothes off. Party on. Conversing with anyone in their mid twenties, or men in their forties that still wear a backwards fitted hat, usually always ends the same way. Reliving the glory days from college. Apparently they will always be the “best days of my life”, when all you’re doing, during school, is digging yourself a deeper and deeper hole in the topsoil of college debt, feeling awkward about the chemistry study group-turned-orgy, and eating less than mediocre food from the dozens of microwave gourmet food lines in the cafeteria. Can you please put a hairnet on your mustache, ma’am?
The one positive thing about eating off campus, or just traveling in general, is trying the best local cuisine that city has to offer. Being a foodie in a new town is a bit tough. It could send you on a wild Peking Duck chase into a small Chinese restaurant in the center of a strip mall, or to a backyard barbecue shack in the middle of a field. Either way, every college town has their own go to restaurants. I recently found one of those restaurants, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the university, inside a crowded, friendly bar, named Salty Dog. Check it out!
We can start by stating the obvious. That table on the patio isn’t clean. Salty Dog is huge and because they have four millions televisions, it is a killer place to come and watch every football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, rugby, lacrosse, bad-mitten, fencing, cricket, and poker game, all at the same time. There might be even be a lonely table in the back watching the ever so hilarious Canadian Football League. The atmosphere is dark, infectious with loud country music blaring over the loud conversations from booze ridden patrons, and there is plenty of room to sit, even if you’re not a sports fan. The screened in patio on the south side of the building has a full service bar, and is bright and colorful, and would be perfect for a fall evening’s breeze.
When I first sat down, I was greeted with a smile by the MOD. She was kind and helpful. I told her who I was and what I was doing. I also told her that I am interested in trying the craziest burger available, along with any totally awesome sides that might suggested. Without hesitation, she pointed at the menu. My eyes widened, my jaw dropped, and I think I might have wet my pants a little. Ladies and gentlemen, the Mac and Cheese Burger.
Behold, in all it’s glory. The Mac and Cheese burger has taken the floor, you may now be seated. Your majesty is comprised of a half pound ground chuck patty, homemade mac and cheese, cheddar cheese, and bacon, all in between two light and fluffy poppy seed buns. This burg was packed full of deep, rich flavors. The bacon added a salty, smokey flavor to each bite, while the mac and cheese and cheddar cheese melted together to create a starchy, gooey childhood memory come to life. The star of the burger was the patty. It had a hint of Worcestershire, but was evenly spiced to compliment the other toppings. After I had eaten the whole sangwich,I found out why it tasted so wonderful. The Burger Engineer start the patty on the flat top to get a nice crispy sear on it, only to finish it off on a grill to infuse the open flame and smoke aspect into the meat. My mind had officially been boggled. I have never heard of this technique, but when i was told, it made my heart skip a beat. Or maybe it was all the deep fried jalapenos that did that. These were freshly cut, seed-included jalapeno chunks, dipped in buttermilk and flour, and fried to perfection. The cool, creamy ranch is the perfect side to cool down the heat to these lava chips, but remember to find your happy place when your dormant volcano erupts the next day. You’ll be wishing it erupts next to an ocean of ice water to sit in afterwards.
Salty Dog was great. I left full. I left happy. And now, I am definitely excited to share this place, and give this gargantuan a score of 5 burgz.
If you’re ever in town for a Baylor Bears game, or simply just passing through Waco to get to your next destination, please take a small chunk out of your day and visit this gnarly bar. You too will find out that even a small Dog, has a big bite.
Currently listening to “My Heart Skips A Beat” by The Secret Sisters
Texas. The second largest/most populated state in America, and according to a recent article from ajc.com, we are 50% owner of the top ten fattest cities in the States. What does that mean? We have a lot of horses with broken backs. If you’ve never been to Texas, let me fill you in a bit. The vibe varies from city to city. San Antonio has a historical, rustic feel to it. Even though it’s close to the slow easy vibe of the Gulf, Houston has a busy, muggy feel to it. Austin has an everlasting hipster constest, but still has some of the best food and beer in the state. Dallas is much like a mullet, business in the front, party in the back. Fort Worth is slowly getting the recognition, outside of the Stockyards, that it deserves. The point is that we are unified. There is nothing that unifies a gathering of people more than food. That food has dwindled down to a single chain of incredible burgers.
In 1950, being a foodie, and taking selfies just wasn’t a thing. It was all about survival. Breaking off and becoming your own business owner was as about as successful as prohibition. The one event that will go down in history, was the creation of a small burger shack, called Whataburger. Legend has it, “Whataburger” was Santa Anna’s last cry before he spilled his own ketchup all over the Alamo. Okay, that’s a lie. This Texas legend was created in Corpus Christi by Harmon Dobson and Paul Burton. Though they aren’t selling 25 cent burgers anymore, they are cranking out quality burgers from 735+ different locations, nation wide, all inside a quintessential “A-Frame” builiding. I recently visited the homage to the original, in Corpus Christi. Check it out!
So now you’re asking me. Why would I do a burger blog on a fast food chain? Well why does 50 Cent throw a baseball like a four year old girl with a broken arm? It’s much more than a fast food chain, it’s a lifestyle. It was one of Baby Burgaholic’s first burgers, and it’s considered a national treasure to any native Texan. The quality, love, and ingredients put into every burger outshines ANY other fast food joint, not matter how many times you go … ahem.. In-N-Out… of them. Whataburger’s breakfast menu is also amazing. Served from 11 PM to 11 AM, they’ve got tastebud ticklers for the 2 AM drunktards, to the 7 AM early birds. My favorite is the Potato Egg and Cheese Taquito. I could eat 78 of them in one sitting, but I don’t want all the attention from breaking any records. Even though I have had the whole menu, front and back, this time, I went with one of the newer introduced sangwiches. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Avocado Bacon Burger.
The ABB is loaded with an all beef patty, bacon, avocado, fresh diced white onions, tomatoes, personally added grilled jalapenos, American cheese, and creamy pepper sauce, all in between two slices of Texas toast. This sandwich is sexier and messier than the shower scene from Arachnophobia. The star in this game? The white onion. It provided a fresh, tart crunch to every bite. The meat was thin, and had a crispy outside layer from the flat top they cook it on. The bacon was savory, and a bit salty while the avocado created a cool, full mouth experience. The tomato added a semi sweet, hearty touch, and the creamy pepper sauce was infused with a garlic-y pepper flavor that tied everything in together. And who could go wrong with Texas toast? Like… ever? The side of fries were fried to perfection. Whataburger, within the past couple of years, has release some really cool condiments too, some of which are for sale in local Texas grocery stores. Anyways, I’m not the biggest fan of ketchup, but with the new Spicy Ketchup addition, I can really get in to it. The Jalapeno Ranch, for 35 extra cents, I would like to replace with my toothpaste. Believe it or not, it taste more like jalapeno than ranch. What a concept! Overall, I’ve never had a bad meal, and the W will remain one of my favorite places on earth forever. This burger, along with all their burgers, I will rate a strong 4 of 5 burgz.
I can’t wait for you to vacation to Texas. I can’t wait for you to find out that not everyone wears cowboys hats. Not everyone, says y’all. Not everyone drives a white duely Dodge, with a 4” lift and duel exhaust, cranking a 4.2 engine with 160 horse power. I blacked out, I don’t know what any of that means. The point is, Whataburger is the best quality burger you can find at any time of the day. Please visit when you visit. Thank you and amen.
121 N. Shoreline Blvd
Corpus Christi, TX 78401
Monday - Friday: ALL DAY - URRY DAY
Currently listening to: “Call Me” by St. Paul & The Broken Bones
We’ve finally made it to one of the hottest months of the year. It brings me tears to think that more than half of 2014 is over, when it just seems like yesterday I was counting down the ball and grabbing my bloated gut, asking the gods of alcohol why they put so many bubbles in champagne. It also brings in a cause of celebration. On the 4th of July, 1776, a couple of pretty important dudes got together and signed a pretty important paper that allowed the U.S. to separate from Great Britain. Shortly after, Will Smith saved the White House from total alien destruction.
Before we almost blow our hands off on the evening of Fourth of July, we hopefully will be using them for other reasons. Mostly, gripped around two buns. Okay, not like that. I’m talking about a juicy hamburger. Either from your personal backyard chef, or your favorite local restaurant. Though the burger this blog is about was not even eaten in the month of July, it helps signify why America is the best country in the world. Well, culinary wise, not soccer wise. We have grown, exponentially, from classic cuisines, to third and fourth generation handed down recipes, altered from different origins of the world, flipped upside down and back again. I visited a dive in Birmingham, Alabama that really understands the meaning of upscale bar food, by taking the common finger food, and kicking it up a notch. The inside has a dark, cave like feel. The outside looks like an old house. The food makes you want to run naked through a field of daffodils. Check it out!
The J. Clyde was my last burger stop on a 4 day road trip. Let’s just say, it capped it off perfectly. My girlfriend and I initially had quite the trouble finding a good place to eat. We were driving around downtown, in what looked like the business district, only noticing a few bars open. I took to the internet to find the best burger in Birmingham, only to have it sitting 4 miles away from my then current location. That’s when we realized we had been looking in the wrong place all together. J. Clyde is in the heart of the happening part of town. Countless bars, restaurants and shops line the streets with bright lights, inviting you into a very unpretentious neighborhood. After we arrived at our destination and sat down, I noticed the extensive beer list and the tap behind the bar to back it up. I knew we were in the right place. In such a small vicinity, this facility offers two bars, and two areas for patio seating. Then we received the menu. The burger stood out like a sore thumb. When I ordered, I added a couple of toppings to ensure the flavor explosion of this sangwich. But before that, we ordered an incredible appetizer. Ladies and gentlemen, the whole meal. A Pork Cheek Egg Roll, and the Gus Burger.
The PCER was made of braised pork cheek and fresh veggies, flash fried in a hand rolled wonton. It immediately transported us into a different country. The warm taste of authenticity mixed with the miso soy dip had us in disbelief that we were in a dive bar in Alabama. We then became aware of the talent and love the chef pours into each dish, and knew this particular Birminghamburger would be insane. Well, it was. The Gus Burger was eight ounces of grass fed beef, topped with a fried egg, crispy bacon, mustard ale cheese, and onions that are reduced down in a local brewery’s porter style beer. The complexity of this burger was off the charts. The meat was incredibly tender and well seasoned while the crispy bacon added a beautiful crunch, and a bit of saltiness that every burger needs. The mustard ale cheese blended in with the yolk of the fried egg, creating a savory liquid, which could have been served as a condiment on it’s own. The onions, in my opinion, were the star of the game, and brought the most flavor to the table. Reduced down to make them sweet, but infused with a porter, which carries subtle coffee, chocolate, and caramel notes. Then, to make the situation even better, the hand cut fries were fried to perfection, leaving me completely satisfied with my meal. I will give The J. Clyde 4 of 5 burgz.
I knew our waiter was the right one when I said I wanted something local and he offered one of the local breweries newest tripels. He wanted to get me drunk. Conveniently, I wanted to get me drunk too. Overall, I was stoked on my very short visit to Birmingham and I can’t wait to visit again, with just a bit more time to explore. If you’re ever in town, be sure to try something from the three local breweries, all on the same street. And for Pete’s sake, go to the J. Clyde’s, get a J. Clydesdale sized burger, and ride out into the sunset with a belly full of burger and happiness.
The J. Clyde
1312 Cobb Ln.
Birmingham, AL 35205
Monday: 2:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Tuesday - Saturday: 2:00 PM - 2:00 AM
Let’s talk about something really sad and true, that can be summed up in one word. Prohibition. It happened, and not just in America. It was a time where the government thought they could control the happiness of innocent people by taking away their liquor. This made people almost as mad as realizing they actually paid their hard earned money to go see a Jeff Dunham show. In 1933, Uncle Sam pulled his head out his assets and allowed the straight walking drunks to soon walk crooked once more! But where did they go to do that? Well in Savannah, Georgia, they went to a place called Crystal Beer Parlor.
It has been said that the owners of CBP were secretly running hooch out of the bottom, but I guess they decided to keep Turner. They are still doing the same thing today, only legally. This post-speakeasy is now a family environment beer diner that serves up some solid food to the patrons of Savannah. They have a wonder wall of domestic and local beer on tap and they can make you any mixed drink in the book. Inside, it looks a lot like Diversity, the old wooden ship. It has a very laid back, comfortable, welcoming feel to it that gladly invites your drinking or dining tendencies for the evening. All the walls are covered in memorabilia from simpler times, keeping your eyes busy, but not asking for nearly as much attention as the increasingly desperate, Rev Run. But you don’t have to imagine it, take a look!
My girlfriend and I showed up on a Saturday around 11:30 AM, on a somewhat busy graduation weekend. After a quick 10 minute wait, we were escorted to a nice 2 person booth, and eventually looked over the bunchless menu. I knew that a burger was in my forte. After my girlfriend had mentally switched over to a lunch/dinner menu, we ordered. The waitress informed us that the dessert takes a while because it is prepared freshly, if we were interested. Since we had not had our share of Georgia peaches, we comply and order the peach cobbler. We were hungry before the journey to CBP so when the food came we were excited, and here is why. Ladies and gentlemen, the Brown Ale Burger.
The Brown Ale Burger is 100% ground chuck seasoned with Savannah Brown Ale (a local beer), topped with jalapeño cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. The star of this burger would definitely be the patty. It was a super tender, very well cooked piece of meat, that lightly finished with a dark sweet lingering flavor, from which I presume was from the brown ale, reduced down and charred on the grill. The marinade could have been more pungent, but overall it was nice. As you know, I’m always on the lookout for the most interesting toppings, and at this burger joint, the cream cheese was it. It left a creamy, buttery texture with each bite, and surprisingly had a dominant spicy jalapeño flavor. The crunch from the crisp onion was necessary for a texture change and the tomato was fresh and juicy. The bun was thick enough to mop up the juices on the bottom, but was light and airy enough to have a firm grip on the tasty sangwich. The almost perfectly fried sweet potato weren’t too greasy, and made for a perfect side.
My girlfriend ended up ordering a club sandwich which looked amazing. The only downfall was the bacon. You’re probably thinking “Why would you ever say that about bacon?! I’m going to kill you and only invite pigs to your funeral!”, but hear me out! Sheesh! The bacon wasn’t fresh and crispy like we all know and love. It just seemed to have been cooked earlier that day and had somewhat of a ‘pull and tear’ to it. And remember that peach cobbler from earlier? Well it showed up in the form of our check. And it didn’t even taste like peaches. Our waitress had unfortunately forgotten to put it on our ticket. Which somewhat worked out for the best, because that burger was huge. Overall, pretty solid food, and I will give this hamburger 3 out of 5 burgz.
I do recommend this historical beer parlor if you’re stopping by Savannah for a day or two. There are some great local breweries and odds are you can celebrate the end of prohibition by drinking through the wonderful tap selection and dining on some righteous food. That’s if you’re not too full from visiting the Country Crock factory that somehow got mislabeled Paula Deen’s restaurant/gift shop.
Crystal Beer Parlor
301 W Jones St.
Savannah, GA 31401
Monday - Thursday: 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday - Saturday: 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Sunday: 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM