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.