Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hat Creek Burger Company

I find myself frequently on west 6th street. So tonight, while walking down west 6th I stumbled upon Hat Creek Hamburger Company, tucked away in a trailer hiding behind Star Bar since October, I felt that I had been missing out on some great meals. I must have walked by Star Bar a hundred times since last October wanting something to eat. Inevitably I probably stopped by Katz’ or Opal Divine’s and ate something average to disgusting. Boy, was I missing out. These little edible pieces of heaven in a bun are worth peaking behind Star Bar for.

The Hat Creek Hamburger Company model is based on providing 100% fresh and organic meat. Every morning fresh meat arrives, is pounded into patties and thrown in to the refrigerator awaiting the grille. At the end of the day, unsold patties are tossed or taken home by Ben for a wonderful spaghetti feast. They are never frozen, though I suggested they should freeze them and sell them to McDonald’s. Secondly, all meat is dated and date of origin can be verified. I found this idea to be really interesting and I immediately wanted to know the astrological sign of my hamburger. What if it turns out that a certain signs meat is the best meat, like Sagittarian dates of origin are the best? Or maybe it is Aquarius? This requires further research, an idea I like as it means my hamburger habit will be in the name of furthering science.

As to the burger itself, you are allowed to build it yourself. I went with a double meat with cheddar, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise with thin cut fries on the side and a Dr. Pepper. A huge added plus for Hat Creek is their milkshakes are made with Blue Bell Ice Cream, by far the best ice cream on planet earth. In fact, we noticed that on the menu, the word Blue Bell Ice Cream uses the second biggest font after “100% Fresh.” Hat Creek knows this is a selling point.

As to the taste of the burger, I must admit first that I was a little biased. I have been in Australia and New Zealand the past few weeks which are wonderful places with fun people but their food sucks. Seriously, the only decent meal I had in the two countries was at a Thai restaurant at Coogee beach outside of Sydney. I of course ordered some hamburgers in Australia land and these too sucked. They were so bad they should rename them “Something that should not be ordered.” I do have to give it to the Aussies for bringing some creativity to their burgers, which often have a fried egg, sometimes pineapple, and sometimes beet root. These are weird, but I like the creativity. However, where their burgers fail is their meat. I don’t know if they are using dingo or wallaby meat, but whatever it is is pretty far from cow. So, after a few weeks down under, any Texas burger would have put me into bliss and Hat Creek did the trick. I think I ate it in the time it takes an Aussie to drink a beer, about 17 seconds.

You are going to have to visit Hat Creek soon to experience its original location as there are plans to move it to a more visible location. But see it soon, for when there are Hat Creeks scattered across the city, you can be one of those who can say you ate there when it was hard to find. I am looking forward to the new location up on Burnett hopefully opening soon.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jack's Burger House

Well after a weekend of crawfish, sushi, bruschetta, prosciutto rapped asparagus and stuffed pork loin it was only fitting that we ended our three day food fest with the legend of all legend burgers, Jack's Burger House. Yes this is the same one as our original favorite burger joint in Dallas and is the benchmark for all burgers. FriedEd and I decided we had to see if the burger was as good as the original. If anything we knew the seasoned fries, which Jack's is famous for, would be delicious and boy were they to the tune of me getting a second order. (I also bought the seasoning to add to my spices arsenal.)

As we rode into the parking lot we couldn't help but reminisce about the many times we ate at Jack's. I recalled the time when I went to Jack's when I was about 10 years old and ate two burgers and fries before dinner, then proceeded to tell my mom I was not hungry cause I didn't feel good. Call it mothers intuition but she knew I indulged into something I probably shouldn't have and in quantities that make large grown men wilt. I proceeded to do this a few times in my youth and I wonder how I pulled that off. I realized today as I bit into the burger and fries that Jack's has and will always have a unique spot in my heart as my favorite burger ever. Is it the best ever? I am not sure but the combo of the double meat double cheese burger with the seasoned fries, extra seasoning off course, along with a homemade strawberry shake maybe the best hamburger meal available any where in the US.

If you ever get a chance to, stop by a location here or in Dallas and give it a try it will make you a true believer in that American classic that is the hamburger! (Get extra seasoning you will thank me!)


The Burger Odyssey has always been more about hamburgers and Jack's Burger House in Dallas, Texas USA is about more than just hamburgers. For the Odyssey, it is the Garden of Eden. It is a house of memories. Memories of a ten year old salivating over a piece of meat. Growing up in Dallas, it was an old time genuine place in a modern plastic metropolis. Dallas is a big modern city that lacks the sense of place that Austin has. Few "places" in Dallas capture it better than Jack's Burger House on Hillcrest Avenue. It is the one place in town you have to stop by on a visit. Opened in 1951 across the street from SMU by an old happy Greek man whose name I forget, Jack's quickly became the best burger in town. Jack's thrived in a town that preferred the fancy restaurant and it did it on taste alone, or at least a seasoning alone. The salted fries are addictive and it is a taste one never forgets and a taste that one craves, forever. But are we in Austin or what, why are talking about Dallas?

Well, a few years back a Jack's Burger House opened in Austin on Spicewood Springs Road and the Odyssey had to go check it out. Our taste buds forced us to do it. Now, the Jack's in Austin is a chain (boo), the first chain that the Odyssey has ventured to. However, the original Jack's in Dallas was possibly the first place the Odyssey ever had a hamburger, or at least the first place that the Odyssey ever fell in love with a hamburger. It was the first place that we realized that a good hamburger was more about just taste, though that is damn important, but a good hamburger is served in a place that has a story. As young boys we didn't care about the specifics of the stories, but we knew they were there and we could feel them and we knew that made the burger taste even better. And so we sat there as boys and we made our own stories, stories that are now memories. And on a quiet night in the Austin hills, all those memories came flooding back the minute those salted fries touched our taste buds. We reverted back to ten years old, as did our appetites (yes, we doubled up on fries). I usually try to convince readers that a burger is good. I will not do that for Jack's. If you do not like Jack's, you do not like hamburgers, period.

I usually do not support chains but I hope that Jack's opens up more locations in Austin because if I had to have one burger for the rest of my life, it would be a Jack's Burger, and Jack's fries and a Jack's milkshake. I am in love. Always have been.

Burger: 100
Fries: 100
Milk Shake: 100
Feeling of Stomach One Houre Later: It doesn't matter.

Monday, April 20, 2009


In Odyssey history we have had one restaurant unexpectedly close on us (Top Notch due to a death in the family), a restaurant move (Frisco Shop four months earlier), but we have never had a place run out of hamburger meat. This night started at Mulberry, a popular wine bar located under the 360 Building, which had been highly recommended by Emily. The anticipation was high as all six of us gathered and ordered our burgers. Our very cool waitress Amy gave us an "oh shit" look and said she would check with the kitchen. She came back with devastating news. They only had enough hamburger meat for one burger. We were crushed. It was like meeting a beautiful women, and then finding out later that she is a dude. Or, seeing a beautiful women and before you can speak to her, she jumps in a cab. Gone in a flash. Burgers that looked so good on the menu, and looked forward to all day, was gone in a cab. Amy was awesome though. She checked with the manager, and we have an appointment for up to 10 burgers next Monday night. They said they would hold them for us. Can't wait.

As it was, we heard that Parkside on east 6th street had a good burger so our hungary bellies evacuated for the bar district. First off, for all you park lovers, Parkside is not near a park nor is there a park any where near it. It is also on 6th street which means that you can not even park on the side of it. So, why it is called Parkside I have no idea. Must of just sounded cool to someone. Parkside is more of a gourmet restuarant than an old fashioned burger joint that the Odyssey usually finds itself. We were upscale tonight at a resturant that included both oysters and arugula (try finding that at Hut's) and we are going to try to do a theme of burgers at Austin's more upscale restuarants. New rule, if the burger is less than $10 we will not eat it!

So how was it? I would have paid at least $11 for this burger (wait, I paid $15 for it). These burgers are not very wide, but they are at least 2/3's of a beer high. You want to get lock jaw, try getting the whole burger in your mouth on the first bite. The patty is nice and juicy and has more salt in it than the ocean. You can pile it higher with bacon, avocado and mushrooms. I went with the bacon and avocado and the first bite, despite the lock jaw, was amazing. The other bites were good too. The fries were more than perfect. Anyway, I am a little tired and drunk so I am going to pass this on to others. Emily guest blogs below.

Fried Ed Score:

Burger: 94
Fries: 95
Beer: 100

Guest Blog by Emily:

As Fried Ed explained above, we were devastated when our server at Mulberry informed us that the restaurant is typically "lean on proteins" on Mondays, as they receive deliveries on Tuesdays. However, she was nice enough to give us another comparable suggestion (Parkside) and ensure that the next choice would have enough meat for the six of us.

I was at Parkside last Friday night and, as an amateur burger afficionado (unlike Fried Ed and BurgerMatt), was quite pleased with my meal.

This time around, however, I was with professionals and felt I had to up the ante in terms of criticism. The presentation was excellent. Add-ins, including avocado, bacon, and forest mushrooms, were available and most of us at the table took advantage of that. However, it made the burger rather unmanageable. I first attempted with a fork and knife, which was completely unsuccessful (the sandwich just collapsed). Finally I decided to get my hands dirty and eat the second half with said digits, which was marginally more successful. Perhaps it was my greediness in ordering avocado, bacon, AND mushrooms, or maybe Parkside should find a way for its patrons to eat a burger with all the fixings (especially when the waitress recommended it as such) in a less haphazard fashion. My only other complaint about the meal was that our server failed to write down our orders. Considering we all ordered burgers cooked to various degrees and with different add-ins, only Stephen Hawking himself could have remembered everything. As a result, a couple of us ended up without mushrooms and with overcooked burgers.

The fries at Parkside, however, are incapable of being criticized. They are PERFECT. Crunchy, garlicky, and served with a lemon aioli that isn't as overwhelmingly rich as mayonnaise and has a great kick. In fact, the fries were so good that both Ben and BurgerMatt, who were sitting on either side of Fried Ed, took turns stealing them from Ed's plate. He was very angry.
Despite my misgivings about the burger experience, I will definitely give Parkside another chance. If I order the burger again, I will be sure to skip the add-ins (with maybe the exception of bacon because it is God's food and won't contribute as much to the absurd height of the sandwich), and emphasize that I would like it cooked medium-RARE. French fries, I will be coming back for you.

Next week, Mulberry!

Burger: 80
Fries: 98

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Tavern

The Tavern is housed in a building on the corner of 12th and Lamar that has stood since 1916. Back then, as World War I waged somewhere, it was a grocery store and Austinites arrived on their horses to pick up their microwave dinners and bags of chips, or whatever they ate in 1916. In the 1930's, it became a bar and a restaurant and once proudly boasted of its air conditioning. Since Austin can reach temperatures of 110, and routinely hits 90 what seems like half the year, a place with air conditioning, in a world without it, was a popular place. Today, it still is. Standing right next to House Park, the home of high school sports in Austin, it remains a family place, a sports bar and an Austin institution. It was time to evaluate their burger.

This week's Odyssey was the first in three weeks as our favorite burger eaters took a little hiatus to cleanse their bodies, and arteries, of 20 weeks of hamburgers. We slimmed down for summer and added some energy, all of which was gained back and lost in one night at the Tavern. But it was worth it! The Odyssey was also joined by Papa and Mama Burger Flamant and they are hopefully guest blogging below. It was good to have them. They are true connoisseurs of fine living and are rarely without an opinion.

I ordered the BBQ Burger. It is topped with cheese and bacon. The meat was juicy and very tasty, but the bun was a little lacking. The Tavern boasts of its world famous kolachi bun, but you have to special request this. I did not know this new policy and got stuck with the substandard bun. Considering how nice and juicy the patty was, this must really be a delicious creation with the chewy and sweet kolachi. Sage said, "The burger is like the mineral wealth of South America. The deeper you dig, the more you find." I enjoyed the burger, but the Tavern has changed their burger recently (perhaps a little cutback in these tough economic times) and I wish they would go back. At least you have 52 TV's to watch to distract you from the taste of your food.

I did enjoy the fries. They were thick cut and tasted like a potato, always a good sign. I love the Tavern. The atmosphere and location is great and it is a good happy hour spot. I especially like the upstairs deck. But, my only complaint is that the Tavern can be a little inconsistent. I will go back because when it is good it is great.

Burger: 85
Fries: 90
Dr. Pepper: 92
Waitress: Hot


What does a burger, a beer, multiple TVs, good friends and a National Championship have in common? We're back!!!!

The Tavern, and institution that has been recommended to us by a number of our readers, was the latest stop on the Odyssey's quest for the ultimate burger. As we settled in with the usual suspect and my parents in tow we got our mouths watering with the delicious description of their world famous Kolachi burgers. Among the choices were the Tex-Mex burger, with grilled jalapenos, the BBQ burger, the Blue Cheese burger and the Classic burger with or without cheese. I chose the latter the classic with cheese.

The burger was quite tasty, ordered medium rare it was cooked to perfection. The patty was seasoned really well and the juices flowing from the patty made you crave for another bite. I finished my burger in what seemed like a flash, and along with the thick cut fries that were seasoned just right it hit the spot on the return of the blog. Maybe I was really craving a burger after cleansing myself for two weeks and maybe the beer tainted my taste buds but this burger gets nods as the best burger at a sports bar.

In the end seeing the Rockstar, the Sage and FriedEd take money from both my parents and yours truly (damn Michigan State) the burger and beer made the night seem just fine to me. (I have never had the kolachi bun and therefore I will go back to try the world famous version.)

Burger 89
Fries 90

The blog has some great places that we will be visiting soon that come very highly recommended. The spring burger run looks to be a good one, stay tuned!!!

P.S. We are going to do some theme blogs. More to come!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Casino El Camino

Well, the Odyssey finally made it to this Mecca which claims the world’s best hamburgers. From the very beginning of the Odyssey, folks have been recommending this place and claiming it as the best and so for our 20th burger spot, the Odyssey decided to take it on. By the way, the Odyssey is not a take off on Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but if it was, FriedEd clearly looks more like Keanu Reeves than does BurgerMatt. But, I digress.

For our 20th anniversary party we decided to invite all of our loyal readers, and so we had a huge crowd of six. Apparently some people were scared off from 6th Street parking and SXSW madness. Others were just hungover. One predicted we would even need reservations and a possible helicopter to drop us off on 6th street. But, true Odyssey folks enjoy a good walk, if it means there is a burger involved; and true Odyssey folks can fight off a hangover, if there is a burger involved; and true Odyssey folks don’t mind a long wait, if there is beer, laughs and a burger involved. We had all of that, we even had hot chicks. That’s right we had three super cool burger eatin’, beer drinking, funny ass girls. It was a great threesome.
Casino El Camino is not a classical burger joint. A classic burger joint attempts a 1950’s good time feel and Austin has its fair share of these. Casino has more of a Goth biker bar ambience to it. If there was a metal detector at the door, it would be constantly beeping from all the piercings. If there was a tattoo artist on the premises, they would be a millionaire. Casino is cool and hip with a pleasant fuck off vibe to it. The back patio feels like a Mayan ruin in Guatemala, complete with murals of temples on the wall, scary stelae lined steps and triple God mask lights. Again, not your grandfathers burger joint, but they certainly take their burgers seriously here.

To get around the crowds, we planned to meet up at 5:30. By the time we all arrived it was 6:15, but no worries we found a patio table right away. Before we ordered, we enjoyed a few beers and laughs, I got pooped on by a bird (that is good luck, right? I need some), and we studied the menu long and hard. Casino names its burgers after cities such as Buffalo Burger, K.C. Burger, L.A. Burger, Amarillo Burger, etc. It was decided that we would all order a different burger and so we had like a little draft to see who would get what. My memory may be off here, but BurgerBuns ordered the Amarillo, Pickle Kari ordered the L.A. , BurgerMatt ordered the; ok, I admit I have no memory. We have some guest blogs below and they can explain themselves. BurgerBuns and I took the ordering duties as you go to the kitchen counter to order up your burgers. As you do, you look into the kitchen and smell the burgers cooking up and your mouth waters. Wait times can be as much as 45 minutes but ours were up in 20 minutes. We were all super excited.

A Casino burger is a mouthful. The patty is the biggest one we have encountered, I think the patty alone is bigger than some entire burgers we have had. Since we all ordered different burgers, we passed them around and enjoyed bites of each. I had the Chicago burger which is a standard bacon, lettuce and tomato burger. The patty had good taste and I was excited about it, but then I had a bite of the Buffalo burger with hot wing sauce and blue cheese and I spent the rest of the meal conniving to get more of that burger. The Pitt Burger was also outstanding with mushrooms and A1 sauce on it. The Amarillo burger was tasty, but with Serrano and jalapeno a little spicy for my taste. My stomach was screaming at me for the rest of the night about my two bites of that one (oh, and the beer, tomatoes, ketchup, bacon and coffee). All in all, great burgers. They were tough to finish and not all of us made it to the finish line, but with our bellies full and the bar getting more and more crowded, we headed off into the night to wash down our bellies with some beer and music.

Burger: 94
Fries: 87
Beer: 100
Quality of Chicks around 45 to 95


Having gone to a number of local burger Mecca’s the blog was about to embark on one of the true stars of the Austin Burger scene. Casino el Camino! Many have been there, the Food Network has visited there, (if that’s good or bad I’m not sure but it definitely means your place is known around TV land,) punk rockers have eaten there, famous actors have indulged themselves and now the blog with an entourage of bloggers.

Could it live up to the hype? My Amarillo burger, with roasted Serrano chiles, jalapeno jack cheese, cilantro mayonnaise and three-quarters of a pound of charbroiled Certified Angus Beef lived up to the hype and the spice! If you like your burger mouthwatering delicious while you feel like you’re sweating to the oldies this is the burger for you. Add in the Verde Chili Fries, yes that’s fries covered in tomatillo verde salsa and smothered with melted cheese, and I may say you might be in burger bliss or hell, it hot in there for sure!

While this may not be your typical classic burger, it has held it’s own for sure and will garner serious award consideration at the year end Salvo’s. If you are coming to town and want to try a burger that will make your taste buds jump for joy while you experience the true essence of our world famous “6th street” this is your place and please folks enjoy a nice cold Shiner Bock on tap, dare I say does it get any better?

Burger 94
Fries 80
Verde Chili Fries 94

As this was our 20 burger blog and was mentioned several times before we had a few guest bloggers, Burger Buns and Pickle Kari. We are honored to have them blog, one a Yankee from New York City, (get a rope,) and a local home grown chic who has been waiting for us to hit this famous spot to make her debut. Without further adieu:

Official BB (Burger Blog/Burger Buns) commentary
I had the pleasure of consuming the following burger:
The Buffalo Burger
Grilled with our own hot wing sauce and smothered with bleu cheese $7.25

As I stepped foot into Casino El Camino 2 things quickly came to mind: Tarantino's "From Dusk Till Dawn" and...Burgers. As my more astute twin sister put it, "You kinda expect everyone to turn into a vampire at any given point." I feel Casino El Camino's decent burgers offer a proper deterrent for such primal transgressions as savory meat and flavorful sauces abound.

Our Burger trio quickly perused the premises and got right to the 'meat of the situation': a chill Mazatlan-inspired patio fit for the Spanish conquistadors, fully equipped with authentic ruins, Chichen Itza pyramids, and a random Lord of the Rings fountain figurine center stage. We were satisfied that proper excavation had produced a modern seating area with lush accommodations. Unfortunately much as Cortes before us had witnessed, there were casualties: Fried Egg got 'egged' by a passing bird within the first minute of the tour; I believe all present also came down with Montezuma's Revenge after this week's odyssey as well (I consider this as an authentic touch given the Mayan decor).

The berating chef adds a hint of derogatory spice to the mix: it's well-worth it to order your own food in the side window while he dishes out customized insults to each customer (I generated a special look of disgust on his face when I dared to make a dash for the ATM behind me to cover my order).

But I digress from my meat!

I chose the Buffalo Burger because I found it to be the spiciest selection on the menu--the only appropriate choice in my opinion that would honor the spiciness of the Camino itself.
I ordered my meat as suggested, medium.

I truly like the flavor of the meat although it was slightly too dry and lacked texture, given the preparation. I would personally recommend that others order their meat Medium Rare to lend more juice to the patty itself.
Let's get to my favorite part now: the buns! I was not the biggest fan of the bun itself as I am a traditionalist when it comes to my burger tooshie as some of you might already know. The caraway seeds did not particularly complement my burger choice although it might have provided a nice accompaniment to the LA Burger.
The sauce was delightful--spicy and tangy as expected and the bleu cheese accoutrement was not overwhelming either.

Verde Fries: a bit too mushy for my taste--although I appreciate the premise of the tomatillo verde salsa and melted cheese, these fries must be served piping hot.

*I would advise any customers to check in quickly on their burger and fry orders as they might be sitting in our Angry Chef's back area too long!

I had the good fortune of sampling some of the other selections as well and feel the Pitts Burger and my Buffalo Burger to have been the best. I would suggest a spicier sauce on other burger selections--aioli mustard and mayo, etc.--as the Cilantro is nice but too subtle on other menu choices.

In short, although the Casino el Camino lacks both a Casino and much of a Camino, you should make stop there for the derogatory good humor and Buffalo Burger.
Don't forget to bring some fresh irony and pampers with you.


Pickle Kari
Fried Ed clearly is living up to his name in this instance. He's waaayyy off on the orders. Let me clear things up: Pickle Kari ordered the Pitts Burger (sautéed mushrooms and onions, provolone and A-1 sauce), Chili Camille ordered the L.A. Burger (sprouts, Romaine lettuce, tomato, avocado and shallot mayo), Burger Buns went with the Buffalo (hot wing sauce and bleu cheese), Burger Matt ate the Amarillo (Serrano chiles, jalapeño jack cheese and cilantro mayonnaise), and Ed got the Chicago (bacon, Romaine lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese).

Given that I'm not really a connoisseur of beef burgers (I generally stick to the vegetarian variety), I was way more into enjoying a night out; drinking beer (I was rather disappointed in the selection; only three beers on tap?!) and having a good time with friends. There were clearly burgers that were the night's winners, namely my Pitts Burger and Burger Bun’s Buffalo Burger. Anything with a little zesty tang is going to most likely be a winner in my book and both these burgers were spot on in this department. I was lucky that there were no fries with my order which gave me the opportunity to devote the majority of my stomach to the burger (minus the five missing bites as the burger “puff, puff passed” its way around the table). When The Sage mentioned that the quality of the meat might be lacking due to the over-abundance of patrons (clearly of the SXSW variety), I have to admit, I really wasn't even thinking about the meat. I was much more into what was on my meat and what was on my meat was outstanding! The mushrooms and onions were perfectly sautéed (perhaps even in the A1 sauce?), the provolone was evenly distributed over the meat and there was a nice quantity of sauce on the burger. I think the burger could’ve been a bit better with just a tad more of the sautéed ingredients, but overall, not something that was a major complaint. Didn’t really pay attention to the bun, but it must’ve been decent enough since I didn’t notice it one way or the other. I’d give the fries a “not bad” but definitely not the best in town. The chile cheese fries were definitely good, but a little green love and they would’ve been a whole lot better! Some highlights of the night included the magically morphing waitress (I’d give her a 92) and seeing tattoo artist, Katzen (who I’m pretty sure is the wife of The Enigma).

Burger: 93
Fries: 85
Beer: 90

Monday, March 9, 2009

Terra Burger

Imagine if Whole Foods and Burger King got really drunk one night and had sex. Terra Burger would be the outcome. It is a McDonald's for hippies. The concept behind this new venture is simple: bring organic and all natural to the fast burger industry. Everything here is natural and eco-friendly, from the ketchup (sucks) to the lighting, from the soap in the bathroom to the meat in the burger. Even the soda fountain has the old stand by of Coca-Cola missing. Instead they have a pure cain sugar alternative, along with organic root beer, lemonade and ginger ale. I went with an organic Blue Sky Black Cherry. The breakfast is made with free range eggs, the burgers are 100% USDA organic beef, and the coffee is fair trade. It almost feels out of place to order a burger and fries here, but order up we did.

Rock Star Rodd pointed out another big benefit to the place. Due to its location directly across from U.T., as he said it, "I am not saying there are hot chicks here, but I am saying that if you are a lesbian or are really into hot chicks, this is a good place." P. Terry's watch out. You may have been supplanted in the Year End Salvo's. The place does have a nice youthful energy and a certain idealism. Hopefully the green revolution in the fast food industry that it represents will be the future in the new economy which we hope will emerge back strong by 2048. My only criticism of the place is that it is a little too proud of its all natural status. Signs throughout the restaurant say things like, "You will not find a single non-organic ingredient in our food, not one." and using our cups save 13 Billion pounds of carbon emissions. But the one that went really over the top for me were big screen T.V.'s constantly running images pointing out how the floors are bamboo and the paper cups are recyclable. I was tempted to ask how much energy they were saving by running the T.V.'s.

As to the burgers, well I always feel that something that tastes like meat is a pretty damn good burger and this burger hit a home run. I ordered the "Hill Country Hickory Burger" as I have been itching to get out into the hill country and I like BBQ sauce on my burger. The meat was juicy and tender and very flavorful. The fries are hand cut and tastes like, well they taste like potatoes. They also offer a Sweet Potato fry which Sage had which were super good and will be ordered by me on all subsequent visits. Over all, a great experience and a place we will return to.

On a side note, BurgerMatt and FriedEd followed up the burger with a nice 2 mile flip-flop busting walk through West Campus. We spotted a future burger to try at the Mansion at Judges Hill, and I relived old college memories. Despite all the new construction in West Campus, I was happy to see that all three place I lived in college were still standing, but the pizza place I worked at for two years is gone to a new condo construction, though ironically there is a new pizza place in almost the exact location.

Finally, a big invite to all our fans. Next week will be our 20th Burger Location Anniversary and the kickoff to Spring Break and SXSW. We want to have a little Sunday night party for all our fans at Casino El Camino. Many have told us that this is the best burger and we now feel qualified to take it on. We will give final word on this later in the week as we need to make sure it will be open and not be overwhelmed with bands. After that, the Odyssey will take a little hiatus so be sure to make it out for our big finale.


How can something so organic lead to something so delicious? As we took in this new spot on the drag you got the sense that this little "green organic burger joint" has the chance to be something were not used to seeing in these tough economic times, a successful and growing business. You can't but help to think this will be a franchise within a year and with the world going green, there should be no reason it won't thrive.

The burger comes on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard, ketchup and mayo, with the meat being the champion. This burger was great, a taste that had me thinking about a good old backyard burger that only my parents could make. The seasoning was delicious and the burger seemed to vanish within a few bites. The hand cut fries were a good compliment, however, I am still stuck on The Driskill fries and was not a huge fan.

The decor is not what a classic Austin Burger feels like, but it works well with the green theme and was quite inviting. The service was great and definitely gave us a new fondness for good service. I have to say having been to new, old and really old places this one stacks up and will be revisited for sure. Good luck to these newbies and bring on Casino!!!!

Burger 90
Fries 82

Monday, March 2, 2009

Burger Tex (on Guadalupe)

For our millions of readers who study the blog closely and hold trivia contests about Odyssey history, you might notice that we have already been to Burger Tex. It was way back sometime in November when Ketchup Nicole joined us for a guest trip. However, that was the original Burger Tex up on Airport Blvd. Normally, the Odyssey would not visit the same burger place, even if they have multiple locations, but Burger Tex is a unique case. For mysterious reasons, the multiple Burger Texs split at one point in history and are no longer affiliated with each other. As such, the two have followed different evolutionary paths, much like the animals of Australia followed a different evolutionary path after Australia broke away from the super continent of Pangaea 250 million years ago. That is kind of like Burger Tex. It is like Australia and it is weird and mysterious.

And so this is the Burger Tex on Guadalupe. We choose this location for two reasons. First of all, a hungry BurgerMatt and FriedEd drove by BurgerTex on Sunday. We were looking for a place to eat and neither one of us wanted Thundercloud and Foodheads was closed. When we saw Burger Tex we considered stopping, but felt it would be too glutinous to eat burgers two days in a row. That would not normally stop us though, but then FriedEd thought of Slices and Ices just a few doors down and we went pizza instead, or the healthy route as we considered it. Secondly, Burger Tex proudly proclaims on its outside owning "Best Burgers in Texas." That, and the fact that it has Texas in its name seemed like a good place to eat for Texas Independence Day. We thought Davie Crockett and Jim Bowie and Ricky Williams would all be proud.

Burger Tex is famous for one reason- the Korean flavored Bulgogi Burger. This sliced beef burger is sweetened with sesame oil, soy sauce, onions and garlic. Now both Burger Texs have the Bulgogi Burger, but the Airport location spells it "Bulgoki." I guess it is like a McDonald's vs. McDowell's thing. Either way it is tasty. We can not do a straight up comparison to tell which is better because last time BurgerMatt had the Bulgoki and FriedEd went with a regular burger and this time it was reversed. It would be neat if we could do a straight up comparison but we are idiots and didn't think of that really great idea while we were ordering. However, the Korean looking man behind the counter said that the Guadalupe location Bulgogi burger was better and that was the same thing said at the Airport location but about the Airport burger. OK, whatever, I guess we will just have to go back. Maybe we should have stopped by on Sunday. BurgerMatt, it is still not too late to eat burgers two days in row. What do you think?

Bulgogi Burger: 95
Fries: 93
Water: 92
Feeling of Stomach One Hour later: 60

Burger Matt

With a great name like Burger Tex, how can this burger go wrong? The name itself gets extra credit and the burger lived up to the name. While FriedEd enjoyed the exotic Korean burger I decided to have the tried and true double burger with cheese. Double here is is rather different than the doubles we are used to, as you do not get two patties, instead you get one Texas sized patty, and it was big!!!

This burger spot lets you dress your burgers at their condiment stand complete with jalapenos and pico de gallo, can it get anymore Texan? The bun and well seasoned beef are great and only you can mess up the rest. The fries, while crunchy, lacked flavor and were not one of my favorites. The decor is one that leaves a bit to be desired. You kind of felt like ordering a number 3 with special sauce.

Overall this was a good burger that can hold it's own amongst the big boys, but if I had to go with one of the two Burger Tex locations I would go with the one that has the decor of a classic burger joint, the one that serves beer and this honor goes to the original on Airport Road.

Burger 88
Fries 79

Monday, February 16, 2009

Driskill Hotel

The Driskill Hotel was established in 1886. That is so old, it is older than the concept of the hamburger. The first hamburger, according to the Odyssey historian FriedEd, was created in Athens, Texas in the late 1880's. As such, we do not think the Driskill was kickin' out burgers when it first opened its doors. But, at the Driskill Hotel, located at 6th and Congress, a little restaurant called the "1886 Cafe" does today.

We choose the Driskill for this Odyssey visit for two reasons. First off, BurgerMatt had the elegant and classy Mustard Madeline in town and we needed a place to match her style. BurgerMatt and MustardMadeline had the day before rounded up a Hill Country road trip in which they had thoroughly geeked out on Cowboy crap. In a single day, they revived the cowboy tourism business in Fredricksburg and Luckenbach. Country songs are already being sung about these city slickers and all the gold they spilled. The Driskill seemed a nice topping for that. They strolled in with cowboy hats, cowboy boots, belt buckles and I am sure they had some stirrups somewhere.

Secondly, the Driskill was also a good choice for President's Day. The first President to stay at the Driskill was William McKinley in 1901. Lyndon and Lady Bird had their first date at the hotel cafe and LBJ watched the 1964 Presidential election returns at the Driskill. I am sure other presidents have stayed there as it is very Presidential. The 19th century architecture is studded with marble floors, columns and brass gilded ceilings. It was the fanciest burger blog yet. We even had valet service, a definite Odyssey first.

We sat down and were joined as usual by Rock Star and Sage. By this point, we have gotten so good at organizing, Sage knew where to go by ESP. The cafe offers only one burger (unless you count their veggie burger) and it is called the "1886 Bacon Blue Cheese Burger." FriedEd does not like cheese that is that old so he substituted cheddar. Others substituted Swiss. Served up before the burger is a nice basket of bread with excellent cheese straws.

As the burgers arrived we were going crazy with anticipation and we snapped some photos posing with the burgers. The fries started it off with a bang. They were truffle seasoned with Parmesan cheese. I must say they have been the best fries in all of the places we have been. Sadly, it all went downhill from there. The burger tasted like it had been frozen for two weeks and then thrown into the microwave, bread and all. The bread was crumbly, the patty tasted like an old whore that had been used and abused, and the cheddar tasted like, well it had been sitting out since 1886. We compared the whole experience to meeting a beautiful women, getting all excited about her, and then finding out that she attended the University of Oklahoma. Beautiful on the outside, horrible once you find out more. Very sad. Driskill, we reserve the right to call PETA for serving something not resembling a cow.

Despite the bad burger, the night was a good one. The Odyssey sees the taste of the burger as only one element of a good night out, as with good people, a few laughs and a classic place you can not go wrong. We hit the Driskill bar for some drinks after the burgers to drink away the taste and we got lost in the 19th century. FriedEd taught BurgerMatt some Cowboy etiquette and we all posed with a Longhorn on the wall. As we walked out, the 21st century was a rude awakening. It was a nice step back in time. Sadly, burgers were not all that good in 1886.

Burger: 50
Fries: 96
Cheesestraws: 90
Feeling of Stomach One Hour later: 70
Quality of Hot Chicks Around: 100


Howdy folks! To say I may have embraced my Texas roots since returning from a 14 year hiatus, well that might be a bit of an understatement. My new MHT Cowboy hat, which stands for Master Hatters of Texas, signifies the completion of my journey back home. Tonight's blog was what a Cowboy could dream of. A night at The Driskill with your friends and loved ones enjoying a good burger and having a night cap at this Texas legend.

As we sat down for a night of high anticipation, we were greeted by our waitress who was not the happiest to see this Motley Crue of burger aficionados. As we all ordered the exact same thing save the cheese and how the burger was cooked, we got the sense we might not be the clientele she wanted to service. Mustard Madeleine ordered a tortilla soup to start that, along with the bread baskets, hit a home run. Then when the burgers arrived, they looked huge and tasty. The fries were an immediate hit, topped with salt, cheese and yes truffle oil, the blogs excitement hit a high and anticipation for this burger had us thinking we might have found a match to our childhood favorite, Jack's Burger House.

Just as the Alamo went down with a fight so did this burger. (The fight being the fries.) So disappointing was this burger it makes me scared to go back to The Driskill Grill, a four star restaurant in the hotel. Our waitress did not help things out by giving us the check and not even asking if we wanted coffee or desert. This is a four star hotel and the service was half a star to be on the nice side.

Moving up to the upstairs bar to indulge in a nightcap The Driskill's legend finally hit a home run. A bar that most western Cowboys could only dream of, a piano, live music, cowhide bar stools and saddles for decor you can't help but look around waiting for "The Duke" to walk in. This bar will undoubtedly be visited by all of our friends who make the long journey to Austin, we'll just have to go somewhere else to get a good burger.

Burger 50
Fries 95
Upstairs Bar 98

Monday, February 9, 2009

Phil's Ice House

Phil's Ice House was recommended to the Odyssey last week at Mighty Fine Burgers by a fellow customer so this week the Odyssey ventured up to one of Austin's great streets, Burnet Rd. Burnet Rd. is full of great local places with tons of character. It is Austin's secret South Congress and good finds are a plenty on it. Phil's Ice House is one of those and is a ton of fun.

Phil's was started by the same folks who brought us Amy's Ice Cream and as such they have a creative menu full of local flair. Burgers are named after Austin neighborhoods such as the Allendale Burger, the Rosedale Burger, The Crestview Burger, and their most popular burger, the 78704 Burger with avocado and jalapeno. It is an odd name for a North Austin resturant but 78704 is FriedEd's old hood and the home of Barton Springs so we won't complain. FriedEd went with the Rosedale Burger, a cheddar mesquite burger with a sweet bbq sauce. Throwing BBQ sauce on a burger is a sure winner and this burger was gobbled down in a heartbeat. The sourdough bun complemented the fresh cheddar and smokey patty.

Attached to Phil's is an Amy's Ice Cream. I asked the burger manager if it is common for people to get a burger and then go eat ice cream. He said, "No, people will come for the ice cream and then be like, hey, there is a burger place here and then come back the next day." We did it backwards and came for the burgers and as such, we started a new tradition. After the burger we went next door and ordered the second best ice cream in Texas. We recommend a tiny if you want to be able to move for the next few hours.

And best of all, this fun complex has an attached playground on which the Odyssey learned that playgrounds are fun when you are five, and they are just as fun when you are 33. If you want to do the Phil's Ice House challenge (invented and accomplished by all members of the Odyssey), you eat a burger and fries, get an ice cream, and then do the spinning pole and spinning bucket on the playground. Top it off with trying to walk in a straight line afterwards. All in all, this fun little area is a great treat for the whole family, even if your family is a few thirty year old dudes.

Burger: 92
Fries: 85
Feeling of Stomach One Hour Later after spinning in Buckets: 32

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mighty Fine

A little back story on this way North Mopac rather newish hamburger joint pick for an Odyssey visit. On Saturday, FriedEd was hiking the hills with the cool and lovely lettuce Laura. Meanwhile, BurgerMatt was on his second margarita before noon and his day progressed predictably from that point. The next day was Super Bowl Sunday and FriedEd had planned a Super Bowl party for members of the Odyssey and friends. FriedEd, fresh off a hike was in tip-top shape and ready to go for this little fiesta. However, BurgerMatt was MIA from the Super Bowl party having been handed a sound defeat in the game of work hard/play hard that we inhabit. Apparently he couldn’t even get out of bed until the second half. This got quite a giggle from the rest of the Odyssey. Normally BurgerMatt and FriedEd consult over the weekend on the Odyssey visit for the following Monday and announce the place via text to those who have expressed interest. But, on this Sunday night BurgerMatt was nowhere to be seen and was refusing to answer his phone. So Onion Ring Sage, Milk Shake Rock Star and FriedEd were left to make the decision. Sitting on the couch sipping on our combined 15th beer we wondered aloud during the game where we should go. We were all a little stumped. Of course someone threw out Camino, but we don’t think we are ready yet. At that moment, the strangest thing happened. A locally produced commercial came on for Mighty Fine Burgers. We all instantly knew that had to be it. The television had heard us talking and it was fate. Of course we had to check first to make sure it was not a chain and sure enough it is an Austin original. So off we went.

Mighty Fine Burgers is brought to us Austinites by the same folks who brought us Ruby’s Bar-b-Que and they have been grilling up some thick natural patties since way back in 2006. The restaurant recreates the Ruby’s and high school cafeteria feel with long tables. Though it has a bit of a corporate atmosphere, the long tables encourage you to sit and chat with your neighbors which gives it a town hall feel according to Milk Shake Rock Star. Folks sitting next to us entered two of our conversations, and the band Romance Fantasy, widely recognized in North Austin parking lots, even picked up a new fan. The Odyssey was joined by a new member, JJ Jalapeno.

Ordering at Mighty Fine is industrial style with several eager and happy employees at the cash register writing your order down on bags complete with your first name and last initial. If you ask them how they are doing, the answer is “mighty fine.” The set up is basic. You order a hamburger or a cheeseburger and then can add the standard veggies and make it a red (ketchup), white (mayonnaise)or yeller (I forget what that one was). Five minutes later they holler out your name and you sit down to burger goodness.

Mighty Fine has the only hand cut crunchy fries in Texas and this is served in a baggie that you can easily mix with salt and seasoning provided on the table. Make sure you don’t over salt like FriedEd does. But if you do, note that Mighty Fine has an amazing hand washer which is something between a drive thru car wash and a pedicure. You will have to experience it to believe it. And to the burger. It is mouth watering good and all natural in eight different ways according to the card on the table. It is a thick patty with a very average bun but the natural way is the way to go as it actually tastes like you are eating meat. Top it off with a shake mixed up with Blue Bell ice cream and you have yourself, dare we say it, here it comes, a Mighty Fine meal. As Sage said of the shake, “that is what vanilla should taste like.” At Mighty Fine, they come pretty close to making what a good burger should taste like.

Burger: 92

Fries: 90

Shake: 95

Feeling of Stomach One Hour Later: 72

Mighty Fine Burgers! A name like that and you better be ready for criticism, or in this case you better make a mighty fine dang burger. I must say it was dang good. The fries already come very well seasoned and the ability to add Lowry's seasoning or pepper and sea salt, yes sea salt scored very high with the crew.

The atmosphere makes you want for the days of being in high school and sitting down with all your friends while you eat a classic and enjoy good company. The horse trough presentation for your bottle drinks, which included a Burger Blog favorite of IBC Root Beer and real Beer, was a hit as was the fresh squeezed lemonade and even more interesting the strawberry lemonade.

As for the burger, it had great flavor and all the right fixins. Many of us who have been to In-and-Out Burgers had a familiar feeling with this place. We all agreed that this burger was soon to become a chain as well as it had franchise written all over it. We were just happy to get there before it goes mainstream.

Burger 90

Fries 91

Shake 94

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hill's Cafe

Fans of the Odyssey may start noticing a trend in the burger places we are visiting to start out the new year. We are trying to hit all the Austin burger joints that are over 50 years old, and Austin has quite a few of them: Sandy's, Dirty's, Hut's, The Frisco Shop, and tonight's choice, good old Hill's Cafe founded in the great year of 1947. We figure we need to know the classics before we can start discovering some new classics.

And Hill's Cafe is a classic holding up the far southern end of South Congress. It traces its founding back to Charles Goodnight, the old chuck wagon pioneer. While that may be a bit of stretch, if the feel of an old trail ride exists anywhere in Austin today, well Hill's may lay claim to it, though I don't know if they had HDTV's back then. FriedEd instantly liked the place as the parking lot has a couple of old signs and neon (neon is key for a good old fashioned burger joint) and the customer is greeted with a practical museum of Austin history at the entrance. The walls are covered nearly top to bottom with newspaper clippings and old photos telling a story of an Austin that is fast disappearing, but not at Hill's. Here the booths are named after Austin personalities, be it the governor and his wife or the favorite local weatherman. Restaurants like Hill's, along with Threadgills on Barton Springs and Cisco's on East 6th perform an important local service: they preserve the past on their walls and put food in the belly that has passed the test of time. If you like history and food, start at Hill's Cafe. But is this a burger blog or what history dorks?!

So, the story goes that Hill's Cafe shut down around 1987, only to be reopened in 2001. The owner, Bob, put his sweat and tears into bringing back the good home cooking style that the old Hill's Cafe was known for. But, when his first customer ordered a burger, Bob realized he had done nothing to make a good burger and the customer complained. As a result, Bob sat down determined to create Austin's best burger, and he came pretty damn close. We can not yet say if it is the best, at $8.95 it is certainly one of the most expensive, but give us a year or two of eating all of Austin's hamburgers before we answer.

The burger, as Sage says, is "a knife and fork burger." It comes big and open on the plate with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions with a little cup of mayonnaise for you to spread. The ingredients are fresh, the patty is thick and the bun is made from potato bread and is fluffy and sweet. FriedEd liked the bun the best and figured it might go really well by itself. The fries are thick cut potatoes, fried and seasoned. They overwhelm the mouth with potato but make a statement in their creation. Good job Hill's on a well thought out and creative burger. You have amped up criteria. Our expectations were high going in as the Statesman had named Hill's as the best burger in Austin and I have to say we did not leave hungry, or disappointed.

Burger: 93
Fries: 87

Dare I say I think FriedEd's write up was, well almost perfect. Hill's Cafe, to me, epitomizes the true essence of the classic South Austin culture that has become so famous. South Austin has, among many things, three aspects that make it truly authentic: live music, eclectic vibe, and that true "Keep Austin Weird" feeling that gives this town it soul, and ladies and gentlemen Hill's Cafe is it's model citizen.

Hill's is equipped with a legendary stage that ranks as one of the best live music venues in Austin. The clientele range from hipsters, to families, to businessmen, to ranch hands and more. We concluded this would be the perfect place to bring someone who is new to town in for a meal, a show and some good old Lonestar Beer.

When it comes to the meal there is plenty to choose from but as we love our burgers we dove in to this legend head first. The burgers were what I referred to all night as a "classic backyard grill burger." A large bun, lettuce, tomato, pickle, huge patty and sauces on the side. It was as if I was grilling and putting my burger together only their meat was well seasoned and juicy and delicious.

The fries were thick cut wedges that had seasoning all over them. Free bread and giant sodas only added to the splendor. All in all if you are visiting Austin and you want to know what good South Austin culture is all about you need only to hit one stop and Hill's Cafe on South Congress is your winner.

Burger 90

Fries 84

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Frisco Shop

When The Frisco Shop first opened in 1953 its famous Frisco Burger was .45 cents. Today, it is significantly more, but at $6.75 still within the budget. The Frisco Shop is the last remnant of the old Nighthawk chain. I don’t know what that means but it sounds cool and makes FriedEd feel like he is an Edward Hopper painting. The Frisco Shop was run by the legendary Harry Akin, whose style is admired by Rock Star, and apparently the people of Austin who voted him mayor. A burger joint that launches its owner to city hall must be good. In the early 1960’s, his Frisco Shop was an equal opportunity employer before anyone had heard of the law and it was Austin’s first restaurant to allow African-Americans to sit wherever they wanted. For those reasons, it was a perfect pick for an Odyssey MLK Day hamburger. We felt that Obama might like it too.

The Frisco Shop was for many years located at the intersection of Burnet and Koening, but it closed to make way for a Walgreens, because you know we need a new Walgreens more than we need a fifty year old restaurant. After a few months a new Frisco Shop opened up about ten blocks north in an old Curra’s restaurant. FriedEd remembers this restaurant as a place where he broke up with his girlfriend over a really good breakfast taco while being waited on by another ex-girlfriend. It was a little weird. The restaurant has been completely reworked, the owners of Frisco Shop realizing that a Mexican themed restaurant does not quite square with an old time burger joint. The remodel added a counter with stools, booths, warm wood paneling and a cool old fashioned tile floor. FriedEd doesn’t remember if all of this is new, or if he was just drunk or breaking up with girlfriends at the old restaurant and hence not paying attention to design. Either way it looked cool and passed the Odyssey old time burger joint ambiance test. You could tell this because everyone in there was old, and old people like stuff that is old time feeling.

The Odyssey was joined by a new member, the band manager of Romance Fantasy, Jeff. He did a Murray style quick check of all present who included BurgerMatt, FriedEd, Rock Star Rodd and Onion Ring Sage. This was the first joint we have been to that has sit down service and the wait was well worth it. Nagelle from Districto Federal was our waitress and was the first hot woman we have seen at a burger joint since the P. Terry’s trip back in September. If you want to be sexually aroused by the name of a burger, ask Nagelle what is their best burger. You will hear a sweet, sexy pronunciation of “Frisco Burger.” I liked the burger right away.

The burger’s unique taste comes from its relish, a sweet pickled concoction. FriedEd usually skips the pickles, but he wanted the real deal so he went with it. It is included with lettuce, tomato and ketchup. The relish pulls out the sweetness of the meat. The fries are a little bland but the Onion rings are outstanding. A good onion ring allows the onion to do the talking. These rings did that. Finally, the Frisco Burger was a great burger on this night for FriedEd because it is the last burger of the Bush administration. Maybe that is what made it so sweet. And Nagelle, if you are reading, can I have your number?

One final note, the Odyssey is thinking of ways to advertise our blog. So far, all ideas are focusing on airborne means that could include a billboard, a blimp or skywriting.

Burger: 90
Fries: 77

Quality of Hot Chicks around: 90 (and that is with all the old ladies around, that is how hot Nagelle was)

Feeling of stomach one hour later: 77


This plus 50 year old burger joint was a great stop for the Odyssey on MLK day 2009. The sit-down table service diner style restaurant took you back to the days wanting a soda pop and some kind of malt, shake or homemade pie. Having done some research on burger joints that are over 50 years old and having already gone to a good number of them, The Frisco Shop was next on the list and it did not disappoint.

While most places offer a variety of burgers you have three choices here, The Frisco Burger with its tangy relish, the Down South Burger, and a Chili Burger. These come alone or if you order the plate you get fries and coleslaw. Coleslaw was a new addition to our burgers and added a new flair to the burger Odyssey. While FriedEd loved his burger, I think this had as much to do with his ever growing crush on Nagelle, I was not so fond of the sweet relish. The burger seemed lacking in flavor and the fries needed seasoning as well. The onion rings, were no doubt one of the hits of the night. They were the best onion rings to date and may be hard to beat from here on out. (I would go back just to get an order of onion rings.)

Some other aspects of this legend have to be mentioned. The homemade pies were without a doubt spectacular. Myself and the Sage indulged ourselves in the banana cream pie and it was sublime. The place definitely gets extra points for the homemade pies, the fully stocked bar and back to the future diner feeling. The memorabilia on the walls makes you long for the 50's and 60's, while the long diner style counters gives that authentic look and feel of a classic!

Burger 84
Fries 79
Onion Rings 94
Homemade Pie 93

The Rockstar had this to add:

"You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars....We have munched Bridge burgers in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge and Cable burgers hard by the Golden Gate, Dixie burgers in the sunny South and Yankee Doodle burgers in the North....We had a Capitol Burger -- guess where. And so help us, in the inner courtyard of the Pentagon, a Penta burger."
Charles Kuralt, journalist. (1934-1997)

"Hunger is insolent, and will be fed." Homer's Odyssey

I was asked kindly to submit an entry on the Down South Burger served at Frisco's on Burnet, I have committed to keeping my entry brief.

If Quentin Tarantino were searching locations for a diner scene similar to the one that took place in Pulp Fiction, he would look no further.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy New Year Odyssey and welcome to Player's

Players, since 1983. It seemed like a good place for a couple of players like BurgerMatt and FriedEd to kick off the new year! Ha, ha, just kidding, only one of us is a player. Players is on MLK street so close to the University of Texas one could almost call it the offical hamburger joint of U.T., though Dirty's and a few other places might disagree. We chose Players as a good location to watch the U.T.-Oklahoma basketball game. This was a mistake, as not only did U.T. get killed, but Players big screen T.V. hasn't been cool since 1997. Come on guys, let's join the H.D. age. And while you are at it, make sure your cable connection doesn't run lines across your screen.

That being said, Players makes an outstanding little burger creation. It is charbroiled goodness with real fresh lettuce and tomatoes and just the right amount of mayonaise. The bun is fresh and thin so as not to overwhelm the taste. The place has just the right college burger joint ambience with U.T. paraphanalia and photos from past 4th of July parties. If that day ever falls on a Monday, you know where you will find the Odyssey.

The Odyssey was joined by the Rock Stars. Rock Star Rodd was a little hungover after a legendary night of karaoke in which he depleted the wine stocks at the Alamo Drafthouse and almost had the cops called after accidently insulting a waitress. Ah, just another night in rock star land. How did the burgers treat the hangover rock star? The Sage also made it. He ordered a sampler basket of fried vegetables. He commented, "Players loves their fried food so much they include fried cheese in their fried vegetable basket." The Rock Stars had to leave early to polish up the new album, available on the blog in the first week of February.

Players also has a set of old school games. One asks what kind of lover you are. For 25 cents, you can squeeze a handle and your quality in the sack is rated from "Blah" to "Mild" to "Wild" to "Sexy" to "Fire" to "Hot Stuff" and the top "Uncontrollable." FriedEd went first and of course the red lights shot nearly to the top and registered a "Hot Stuff," one away from the top prize. In his head, FriedEd could hear the Chinese guy from Sixteen Candles saying "Hot Stuff" and he thought it was good in kind of a creepy Chinese guy kind of way. BurgerMatt stepped up next with clearly something to prove. The pressure was clearly on and BurgerMatt knowing full well that the outcome would be talked about for years pressed and pulled with all his might to the point that his veins were popping out of his head. Out of breath, BurgerMatt hardly noticed when the red dots shot to "Uncontrollable." FriedEd shook his head and said it was all random. So, the boys stepped up to the other old school game, a palm reader with a creepy swami on it. For 25 cents you can place your palm on a metal hand and push it down and one of eight lights will light up telling you what profession you should be. FriedEd went first, pushed down, and it showed up "teacher." FriedEd and BurgerMatt looked at each other in bewilderment (NOTE: FriedEd is a teacher). BurgerMatt pressed down and up popped "Athlete." BurgerMatt was a college swimmer. The boys looked at each other with more bewilderment. They looked at the creepy swami and decided it was time to leave. Weird.


The new year brings in a new dawn of the Burger Blog to a number of new burger options. We had discussed having Casino El Camino as the New Years kickoff burger but as we were thrown for a bit of a loop we moved to Player's, (we are still going to do Casino no worries)and we were very happy with the change in plan. As mentioned this bastion of burgerdom lies on the UT campus and has no doubt seen its share of tailgaters and crazy college kids looking to celebrate UT's numerous victories. If your looking for a college feel, (they serve beer as well, always a bonus) this is your spot. Great atmosphere, really good service, (leave them a tip you will like the response)and a burger worthy of some kind of award at the end of next year. (Did you read the Salvos yet?)

The classic double cheesburger was flame-broiled and came with all the fresh fixins. The meat was very tasty and the buns were perfect. The fries, although nice and crispy, needed some serious seasoning. I was told after to try the onion rings there, and I remembered I did have one in the enormous fried basket of goodies. If you like fried stuff you will love the basket, Fried Zucchini, Okra, Onion Rings, Mushrooms and cheese. Does it get anymore decadent, and or heart attack inducing?

I would highly recommend this place before or after a tailgate as it will not dissapoint.

Burger 91
Fries 82
Heart healthy basket 87

Gameday retreat 94

Oh yea and the Rockstar and the Sage are playing Wednesday night at Roux on 6th Street. 10pm. Romance Fantasy for those not in the know. See you there!