Monday, October 27, 2008

Dirty Martin's

In 1926, Austin had a population of 45,000. There was no UT tower and no damns on the Colorado river. I-35 was a dirt road, resembling the Chisholm Trail. There was no airport in town and horses still trotted up and down Congress Avenue. And on Guadalupe Street, Dirty Martin’s opened. I imagine some of its first customers arrived on horseback.

On the first cold night of the year, in the fall of 2008, Matt and Ed’s Austin Burger Odyssey continued to this relic of the past. It claims to be the oldest continuously operated restaurant in Austin. It is famous for its greasy burgers, which sounded mighty good to FriedEd and BurgerMatt as they still struggled with their weekend hangovers on Monday night.

On this night, the Austin Burger Odyssey was joined by Jay. In FriedEd’s mind, Jay has two major flaws: he is a Republican and a Redskins fan. FriedEd is not sure which is worse, but fortunately Jay is a stand up guy and this greatly overwhelms his other flaws in FriedEd’s mind and so he is well liked. But, as Jay was late, our Odyssey needed something to hold it over and ordered the queso and chips. Not usually reviewed here, but Dirty’s must have the best queso of any burger joint in Austin. The queso cup was clean white when we were finished with it.

In addition to Burger joints, the Odyssey also likes to discuss chicks and football. Preferably chicks playing football naked, but since this rarely happens they are usually separate topics, and both were covered on this night. The chick conversation will have to remain silent for this PG-13 blog and so while we are still pretty damn excited about the Longhorns, the Cowboys needed our attention. After careful analysis of the standings, and finally pulling up the Cowboys remaining schedule on the cell phone (damn 1926 wiring), it was decided that the Cowboys would definitely lose in New York next week. But, after that game, with a healthy squad returning after a bye week the Boys would kick it into high gear and finish out the season winning 5 of their last 7 and be peaking by playoff time. Suffice it to say, RedskinJay had a different opinion. But, I digress, is this a burger blog or what?

It was recommended by the staff that the OT and DH burgers were the signature burgers, so BurgerMatt and FriedEd split up the duty on this one. FriedEd had the OT, piled with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and a nice buttery bun. BurgerMatt had the DH burger, which was appropriate as its initials were the same as his pseudonym (see below). It was a super impressive burger, and dirty, and required lots of napkins. FriedEd’s cholesterol shot off the charts with this one but his tongue was happy.

FriedEd also ordered the fries. Not real hungry to start after the queso destruction and three Dr. Peppers, the fries were only average but apparently covered in crack, and FriedEd likes some good fried crack. Not even knowing what he was doing, FriedEd gobbled down a whole basket as though his very existence as a human being depended on it, as though if he stopped eating them he would cease breathing. After this attack, a greasy bag was all that remained. On a related sidenote, it was also proved that FriedEd is a much better ketchup pourer than is BurgerMatt. Oh, and BurgerMatt can be easily tricked into holding the ketchup bottle upside down.

Finally, in anticipation of getting really big, Matt and Ed have decided that they need pseudonyms to disguise their names in public so that the restaurant staff does not know we are around. FriedEd picked the names and these are the names we will use for each other in the restaurants. Of course, these names must remain secret, but to let our loyal readers know, we will reveal one new letter a week. Here are the first letters. FriedEd: “C” BurgerMatt: “D”

Hamburger: 93

Fries: 85

Dr. Pepper: 90

Average Score of Chicks around: 80

Stomach feeling one hour later: 70

Likelihood the Cowboys make the playoffs: 70%

Very well written I must say by FriedED.

The DH burger was, and I say this with great enthusiasm for all those who like greasy burgers, greasy and exceptional. The best burger to date. Served somewhat different than your normal burger, the DH was served on two pieces of buttered Texas toast. Two patties with some sauteed onions a pickle and some mustard, exactly what the doctored ordered for a hang over. Dirty Martin's gets extra props for the free refills, this is the first place to have this, as well as the option of a beer with a burger. Lone Star beer on tap is always an added bonus and gets great bonus points. This place is what you would love a good burger joint to look like, old fashioned and smelling like burger and a bar next to the grill.

I knew it was a good burger when all three of us ummm and groaned after the first two bites. Jay even ordered fried mushrooms which were awesome and which were hot, FriedEds tongue is proof of that.

As for the fries not my favorite, but the burger was worth the visit alone. This will be a strong recommendation for a hang over burger to all my friends visiting.

Burger 92

Fries 83

Seeing FriedEd burn his tongue on a fried mushroom: Priceless

Monday, October 13, 2008


This Monday night in October was especially beautiful in Austin, TX knowing that the Texas Longhorns football team was number 1 in the nation. What better way to celebrate than with a burger. Matt and Ed's Austin Burger Odyssey continued to Sandy's.

This Old Lady of Barton Springs Road is steeped in history, having tossed out its first burgers when the U.S. and the Empire of Japan were battling for control of the Pacific and no one had ever heard of McDonald's. It has stood strong even as a Whataburger set up shop right next to it, which FriedEd finds akin to pushing around little girls. This history and resilience earns Sandy's big points in our book, er blog.

As for the Burger, Fried Ed and Burger Matt stayed with the theme of the double cheeseburger, fries and a drink. But, this week FriedEd went a little crazy and substituted a chocolate shake for the longtime Dr. Pepper favorite. The Sandy's burger has a thin paddy and thin bread and comes topped with mustard for its sauce. FriedEd appreciates the thin bread and thin paddy but felt something overall was missing to add an extra zing. While the paddy is tasty, and tastes like meat, it lacks a watery salty taste that a Jack's burger would deliver. And it lacked the gooey taste of a P.Terry's burger.

FriedEd was not impressed with the fries either, wondering if Sandy's runs down the street to the McDonald's and orders baskets of fries a few times a night and serves them up to their customers. The shake was a different story. FriedEd knew he had something good when he sucked on the straw and nothing came out except a little bit of a headache on his part. A nice, slow moving shake requires a spoon and is an excellent compliment to a burger, if not to the stomach. FriedEd should have never doubted it.

The patio of Sandy's rounds out the historic feel and doesn't seemed to have changed since at least the 1960's. It is simple and honest with wooden tables, tin roofs, and a shaky radio as if to say "the only reason you are here is to eat good burgers, what do you care what it looks like." Amid the national chain burger places nearby, Sandy's stands as the Queen of Barton Springs, but definitely does not supplant the King of Barton Springs, P. Terry's.

Fried Ed's Score:
Burger: 85
Fries: 74
Shake: 90
Average score of chicks around: 4
Feel of stomach an hour later: 85

I too liked the atmosphere that gives you that south Austin charm at its finest. The burger in my eyes was tasty yet lacked some grease and some extra sauce. It was a bit dry but had the right idea. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the fries as I am fond of salty thin fries, a la McDonald's fries. While this burger was good and the history of the place gave a nostalgic feel I continue my search for the perfect Austin Burger. One last note, the custard after dinner which they are known for, was delicious. May be worth it just to go back for that.

Burger: 85

Monday, October 6, 2008

P. Terry's

This California in Austin drive thru scores right away with a hot chick in line in front of us, always a good sign of a top quality burger joint. BurgerMatt ordered first, going with the double cheeseburger combo with Dr. Pepper. Fried Ed, having already made his selection in his mind before he heard BurgerMatt's order, went with the double cheeseburger combo with Dr. Pepper.

P. Terry's has a nice little patio, a definite upgrade from the curb Fried Ed sat on for his last visit. Often times this patio has lonely attractive women who drive BMW's enjoying their burger with a Chronicle. However, frequently idiotic dudes sit down and debate burger joints rather than ask her to read them their horoscope from the Chronicle.

The cheeseburger combo comes with a special sauce. Not sure what this was, but it dripped white onto my fingers so I think it must be a mayonaise based ingredient. At first sight the burger itself is not that big, like a fat hockey puck, but rest assured, once it is deep in the belly it will begin to expand to at least four times its size. The cheese is nice and gooey causing the thin patty to slide about requiring lots of fingers and napkins to keep it all together. Fried Ed enjoys a nice thin patty because he does not have to expend as much energy chewing and can get to the next bite quicker.

The fries are thin with no seasoning. Fried Ed enjoys putting three together, folding them and diping them into the ketchup. This complex process allows the fries to be eaten faster, which is fun. The Dr. Pepper is good and perfect size, not one of those massive drinks that fills you up before you even get your food.

Fried Ed
Burger: 85
Fries: 78
Average Score of Hot Chicks Around: 88
Dr. Pepper: 90
Stomach Feeling One hour after eating: 75

Burger: 84
Fries: 68

Will defintely go back for a burger. The hot girl next to us made the experience all the better. We suggest not going through the drive-thru, the women around were hot and more kept coming. Solid debut for our Monday night burger odyssey!
Locations to try are Sandy's, Player's, and Dirty's.

Finding the Best Burger in Austin!

Two guys, one mission! To find the best Burger in Austin.

Our goal, to go to a new Burger joint every Monday night and rate their burgers on a scale of 1-100.

Our benchmark is Jack's Burger House in Dallas. A long time favorite of ours we have set their burger and arguably the greatest fries in the world as our benchmark.

Our ratings are tough and fair. BurgerMatt rates Jack's a 94 for the burger and a 95 for their fries. FriedEd has rated them a 95 for their burger and their fries a 96. While these grades are based on years of eating there and consistency in the burger and fries our goal is to find the perfect Burger and perfect Fries in Austin. Is this possible? Only our Monday nights will tell.

To interpret our grades we have set them up as follows:

96-100 is akin to a Super Model. Hard to come by unless you have been to a Victoria's Secret fashion show, and utterly perfect. Does a 100 exist, super model or burger?

90-95 is like Scarlett Johansson, beautiful and almost perfect.

80-90 is like a great burger that you would come back for many times however you know there could be something out there a bit better.

70-80 is the cute girl next door.

60-70 is a burger you will eat if your options are slim, and will satisfy you to a certain degree.

50-60 this may be a low end chain burger similar to a McDonalds burger.

40-50 now we are starting to get in the danger zone.

30-40 please have the chef taste this and ask if they would eat this.

20-30 is this really a burger?

10-20 I think my dog just spit on this.

0-10 please but it back in the trash and go have yourself admitted!

As the scale goes, 50 and above and we will start to critique the burger more intensely. If your burger goes below a 50 we reserve the right to call PETA for serving something not resembling a cow!