Saturday, December 27, 2008

Year End Salvo's

What started out with two old friends who just wanted something to eat has exploded into a blog and a national following. From the nation's capital to the capital of Texas, Matt and Ed's Burger Odyssey has become a national hit. Those in the know, know that the Burger Odyssey is the place to go to learn about Austin hamburger joints. Austinites, be they teachers or salesman, rock stars or nursing home managers, eagerly await each Monday night knowing that a new hamburger joint will join the list, the list of the visited. As the Odyssey itself has grown, Austin burger joints have come to eagerly anticipate the visits. For example, when the Odyssey visited Waterloo in late December, we were asked for our names. When our burgers were ready, they called our names. Clearly, the Burger Blog is well known, even by name in the Austin hamburger universe.

Tonight, in the waning days of the Ocho that gave birth to the Odyssey, we announce our year end Salvo's. Many have asked the Odyssey, What is the best burger y'all have had? But, the Odyssey finds this to be a silly question. Our relationship to the hamburger, and to the resturants and stories that create them, is much too sophisticated for a simple title of "best burger." While a burger may be tasty, other factors determine if it is the perfect buger. For example, is the burger joint comfortable? Can you laugh hartily without being looked at funny? Are there hot chicks around? What if you are hungover, is it still a good burger? Does the resturant have character? These are just some of the questions that the Odyssey thinks of when it seeks the perfect burger. With that said, our year end Salvo's:

MOST COMFORTABLE BURGER JOINT: Hut's. Who wouldn't feel comfortable with beat up old booths and sports team pennants. If the Fonze and that red headed dude from Happy Days walked in, you would'nt be suprised.

BURGER JOINT WITH THE MOST HISTORY: Dirty's. Older than the U.T. tower. Enough said.

BEST BURGER JOINT WHEN YOU ARE HUNGOVER: Dirty's when you feel dirty. These burgers drip with grease and ease that hangover right on out.

BURGER JOINT WITH THE HOTTEST CHICKS: P. Terry's. I don't know if we just went on the perfect night, but there were more hot chicks here that at all the other burger joints combined.

MOST CLASSIC BURGER JOINT: Top Notch. A sign bigger than a car. Drive up order booths. A movie set. In door charcoal grille. Brick walls. A damn good burger. The phrase "Classic Burger Joint" was invented to describe this place.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Right in the heart of Austin, Waterloo Icehouse is named after the original town of Austin. That's right, for all you people who do not know your history Napoleon was defeated near the town of Waterloo, Belgium in 1815. 21 years later, Anglo settlers first arrived in our area and settled down in a few huts scattered between the Congress Ave. and 1st Street bridge. Today, homeless people in Austin honor these first settlers by setting up cardboard shacks in the same location. Waterloo Icehouse also honors them with the name of their restaurant. And what better food to serve there than Austin's leading food group, hamburgers.

Waterloo has a good menu of burgers serving up the Works, a Hickory Cheddar burger, a Guacamole-Bacon-Swiss and a singing website. Hear the song at For the Burger Odyssey this was our first non-burger joint we hit up, the chopped steak with mashed potatoes looked delicious, but the burger came highly recommended. This was also the first restaurant that is younger than Matt and Ed (it was founded in 1976, Matt and Ed were founded in 1975). To get there, Matt and Ed met up at Matt's downtown crashpad and braved the two block walk to 6th and Lamar. Oh, whoop-de-doo you might be saying, real tough walk. Well, we guessed the windchill to be 20 degrees! That's right we had to manage a massive artic blast on this walk. By the way, see our side business on the web at "Matt and Ed's Temperature Guessing Service Sponsored by Sage's Driving Service." (You had to be there to understand that last statement, the funniest Odyssey to date.)

We were met up, as usual now, by the Rock Star and the Sage, featuring Ali, a Tavern coneseiuer. They drove and thus were not quite as affected by the blizzard. FriedEd ordered the Hickory Cheddar and asked to hold the hickory and cheddar. (Note: FriedEd did not really say this but it would have been funny if he did.) This was a good tasty burger with a nice moist patty. However, the hickory seemed to overwhelm the meaty flavor and the bread to meat ratio definitely favored the bread. The fries were good but potatoey.

BurgerMatt ordered The Works burger, which included bacon and jalapenos, and it was quite tasty. Along with the burger, fries and Dr. Pepper, Burger Matt partook in a Waterloo Icehouse tradition and ordered a cold beer as well. Numerous beers on tap, as well as a plethora of bottled beer, gets huge bonus points as does the music store next door and Amy's Ice Cream. Amy's is great spot for those of you ambitious enough to indulge in another Austin favorite. We thought about visiting Amy's Ice Cream yodeling and singing and swinging our arms "We are here to save your business." Another you had to be there moment.

As we walked out of the restaurant back into the North Pole, we debated the year end awards. Check back on Wednesday for the 1st Annual Salvo Awards. That will be our last post of the ocho. We look forward to a new year of the Burger Odyssey and all the added weight it will bring. We plan to start the new year off with a Bang as we are headed to the most talked about Burger joint in Austin, none other than Casino el Camino. We invite all to join us on any one of our Odysseys in 2009 and look forward to having numerous guest bloggers as the Odyssey roles on.


Burger 86

Fries 87


Burger 85

Fries 83

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Top Notch

Top Notch has been holding down the north end of Burnet Road since 1971. But, one day in 1992, Richard Linkleter showed up with a movie camera and a couple of unknown actors. The actors would utter lines that have echoed down the ages and have been frequently quoted by BurgerMatt and FriedEd. The cult classic "Dazed and Confused" was the fantasy backdrop of our high school experience as we identified with every line and every moment as though it had been written about us. The kids in Dazed and Confused cruised the Top Notch parking lot and now, almost 16 years later the parking lot looks the same and the actors, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, to name a couple, are nearly household names. And it all started in that Top Notch parking lot. We came for the movie, but we stayed for the burgers. And oh my, it was a damn good burger.

Top Notch has an indoor coal fired grill. The little old lady behind the counter told me that some guy stood on the roof to keep the giant fan going otherwise the place would get smoked out and everyone would get real sleepy and then die. She assured me though we would probably be OK by running out. As for the burger it was coal fired good. The fries were great but the pepper shakers don't work. And the onion rings, mmmm real good. But hell, what do I know, I was drunk. Anything would have tasted good. My drunkenness would give it a 98, but if I attempted to rate it here I would get a RWI (Rating While Intoxicated) so I will leave it up to others.


While FriedEd was no doubt prepartying for his birthday tomorrow he was definitely right about the burger. The open flame coal fired grill was the first of its kind on the Odyssey and it did not let down at all. The atmosphere at this movie mecca was second to none and was the favorite of all the regulars- the sage, the rock star and the brother. The burger of choice seemed to be the Longhorn burger which consisted of two patties, a toasted bun, lettuce, tomato and a special sauce which was my choice and it was delicious. The fries were a bit on the crunchy side and lacked seasoning, however the onion rings made up for them and were the best to date.

The Rock star, who we are seeing this Saturday at Fitzgeralds in Houston at around 9:30pm, threw us for a loop and ordered a side of Fried Chicken which was quite delicious. Be prepared for a half a chicken with the order. It was crunchy, moist and full of flavor. Would go back just for the chicken alone.

Back to the burger, you could not ask for better prices as they ranged from just above $2 to almost $5. The flame broiled taste of the burgers gave a sense of a true backyard classic with excellent flavor. We must admit this was the best combo of burger, atmosphere and overall satisfaction seen by the odyssey. Will it rank as the best we are not sure but it will be revisited many times.

Special mention has to be given to the outside of the place which still has the drive up and order box outside along with the menus. Yes you can order from your car and have your burger brought to you. Does it get anymore real than that? If you remember in "Dazed and Confused" when McConaughey says "I like them redheads, I do," you will know exactly where we stood and mimicked those lines.

Burger: 92.5

Fries: 84

Onion Rings: 88

Fried Chicken: 93

The blog wants to remind everyone about The Salvos, our end of the year awards will be coming out in three weeks. This burger is sure to get an award!

Based on a request from one of our most loyal followers and now that we are more technologically advanced, atleast until my new phone breaks, we will attach a photo of the burger every week.