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!