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Noble Sandwich Company – Austin, TX

Austin, Burgers, Gourmet By June 3, 2016 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: Swine Burger, all pork patty with provolone, bacon, romaine lettuce, tomato, red onion, bacon aioli on a fresh baked spent grain bun w/ fries
the bucks: $9.75

“Pork burgers just don’t work”

That was me 10 years ago. The burger revolution was popping and it was giving me an excuse to order low brow at high end restaurants. Things have changed in the 10 years since I made that bold claim, in the world of burgers and in my attitudes toward food. These days I allow for more second chances on disappointing first encounters. In the case of Noble Sandwich Company, it would be a pork burger that would be given a second chance. Was it fate, my “older and wiser outlook” on food, or just finding the right joint to pull off a pork burger that lead me to this porcine themed Bang for your Burger Buck adventure? Logic would suggest the last reason but for now, I’m gonna run with fate on this one .  .  .

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Hut’s Hamburgers – Austin, TX

Austin, Burgers, Texas By March 28, 2016 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: The Fats Domino 1/3lb custom burger blend from local butcher(Johnny Gs), standard issue bun, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, pickles, mayo, mustard, jalapeños, onions, grated cheddar cheese and a spicy New Orleans seasoning
the bucks: $7.75
the coordinates: Austin, TX

Imagine Austin, Texas in 1939. A time when skinny jeans were reserved for skinny cowboys. When food trucks were just for shipping food. When a hamburger joint was just a . . . well in the case of Hut’s Hamburgers, somethings do the stay the same, or in this case, have clearly not forgotten where they came from. You know this place is special the moment you walk in. The sign that bears the year of its founding is about as necessary as the last line on a McDonald’s sign that says Billions and Billions served. History is heaped onto the walls and boasts that type of hoarder chic that has become the trademark style of casual dining empires such as TGI Fridays and Applebee’s, but of course Hut’s feels infinitely more authentic with the predictable but thoroughly enjoyable Texas Roadside feel. Faded baseball pennants with that font that literally takes you back to your childhood bedroom help ease the notion that a midday beer is just what the doctor ordered. Or if you are committed to a course of Bang for your Burger Buck, rest assured that signs like this mean the place you are sitting in is serious about burgers.

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P. Terry’s Burger Stand – Austin, Texas

Austin, Burgers, Texas By December 1, 2015 1 Comment

The Vitals:
the burger: Double w/ Cheese: Two 100% all-natural black angus beef patties, two slices American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion(upon request)
the bucks: $3.95
the coordinates: Austin, TX

Burgers can be many many things. Like all food should be, burgers live in a dynamic state. Some appear in formal dining halls worthy of rap moguls or royalty, some are served on street carts. Some cross culinary genres like a Bulgogi topped burger or a burger conceived to taste like carnitas. Few burgers can be called “authentic”, a term not universally embraced as a good thing but a powerful one regardless. P. Terry’s, the celebrated burger chain in Austin whose reverence to quality ingredients frankly belies every negative connotation one could have to that dirty “C-word”, serves up a burger that can simply be described as authentic. And that summation conveys the very best that word has to offer. At $4 for a cheeseburger of this caliber – it’s a slam dunk when it comes to Bang for your Burger Buck – but more importantly it is a slam dunk because of the quality first and foremost. The price point just happens to be the cherry on the sundae. And a cheap cherry at that.

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Hat Creek Burger Company – Austin, TX

Austin, Burgers, Texas By October 8, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: The Big Hat – double cheeseburger featuring cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion and house pickles. Custom add ons included bacon and a mustard based house sauce.
the bucks: $7.20
the coordinates: Austin, TX

My first impression of Hat Creek Burger Company took about 30 seconds. It more or less amounted to a slight glance to my left, as I drove north on a dusty restaurant row called Burnet road, surveying my new home base of eating. Playgrounds at restaurants were still a new and under appreciated X-factor for me. The bright red colors and logo screamed corporate branding. Even the shape of the establishment made my Spidey sense tingle with the presence of a chain restaurant. Turns out, while I bare little other resemblance to Spider Man – I was right about my initial suspicion: the Hat Creek on Burnet used to be an Arby’s. Besides sharing a similar baseline price point, the similarities thankfully end there. It may sound strange for you to hear this but Hat Creek Burger Company makes good burgers, not necessarily great burgers. I believe the true burger lover comes to Hat Creek for reasons beyond the food – like the playscape, the decent craft beers, the option of wine(recommended only in case of emergency), the flat screen TVs, and the general ambiance of the outdoor seating area whose appeal just increased exponentially with the arrival of Fall, in a now, somewhat subdued, sweltering Austin. Now this search is about finding burger gems that toe the line of quality and value, and it would be unfair to include Hat Creek unless it held true burger promise. Well, fear not my faithful, promise I did find. Wade deep into their crowd pleasing menu and you will find some sauces, respectable bacon, and a proud practice of pickling that are worthy of a burger add on. Oh yes, I am recommending add ons. As much as I preach against the ordering of extraneous or excessive burger toppings as they deter better taste and plunder your burger budget, it is equally criminal to ignore options and upgrades that will make you smile with Bang for your Burger Buck satisfaction. I suppose you now want to bite into these juicy upgrades. Well, start your scrolling. 

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Phil’s Icehouse – Austin, TX

Austin, Burgers, Texas By August 27, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: Mini Burger Sampler Basket: three topping concept driven sliders from a selection of eleven different renditions plus a 50/50 mix of regular and sweet potato fries
the bucks: $9.49
the coordinates: Austin, TX

Sliders and the restaurant “Playland”. Two crucial components to Phil’s Icehouse. Two elements that are frankly way undervalued in the burger world. After recently completing a 1500 mile road trip from Los Angeles to Austin with a three year old, I came to appreciate the power of the Playland. An appreciation that came with a cost. One can only imagine the legendary Chicken Fried Steak or BBQ Brisket I passed up because the aforementioned diner or shack failed to offer a slide and climbing wall. A regret that seems actually more bearable than the thought of enjoying the most blissful bite of fork tender beef brisket only to turn into chewing gum once your 3 foot tall dining companion commences a meltdown. So for those 1500 miles I ended up eating more than my share of Chicken McNuggets, Square hamburgers and fake milkshakes. But hey, that’s part of the sacrifice of being a Parent right? Wrong. Leave it to some smart entrepreneur who recognized this ridiculous disparity of fine food and fun times for the ankle biters, and set up a place like Phil’s Icehouse. And speaking of fine food, how about fine tuning about 11 compelling burger combinations then offering them in miniature form, aka sliders? Sound like a good idea? Well, it tastes like one too.

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The Silo on 7th – Austin, TX

Austin, Burgers By June 5, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: The Eggs Benedict Burger(Angus beef and pork breakfast sausage patty blend, topped with a poached egg, hollandaise sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion)
the bucks: $8.50
the coordinates: Austin, Texas

Two foods that we all know, love, and trust have been conducting a covert takeover of menus across the country.

Yes, I’m talking about Bacon and Eggs.

When spoken in the same sentence one quickly dismisses them as two pals who take morning strolls in the neighborhood together. Much like Peanut Butter and Jelly do around lunch time, or what Meat and Potatoes often do after dark. But unlike PB&J or Meat and Potatoes, Bacon and Eggs are splitting up, and showing up in all manners of food, at all hours too. Beyond the over the top and lets face it, the outright obnoxious trend that is the meat straw in a Bloody Mary, Bacon can show up pretty much anywhere at anytime, and it’s welcomed. Bacon on burger? But of course! Bacon on fowl? They call that a Turkey Club and even the most paranoid Tea Party toter will say that’s as American as Apple Pie. Bacon on Pork? If I could count the times Ina Garten wrapped a pork tenderloin in bacon in anticipation of Jeffrey coming home from a hard day of yachting then I could, well I could count a whole lot, like Rain Man did when the box of toothpicks hit the ground. But back to bacon and eggs and really, back to eggs, because despite their long history of showing up in a plethora of dishes and cuisines around the world, their appearance in the food world of today qualifies it as a bonafide food trend. Eggs show up for lunch and dinner. Pizzas, Pastas, Vegetable side dishes – here they pretty much take the role of Foie Gras for the vegetarian. So, if it’s no longer a big deal for eggs to show up for lunch and dinner, why not have a burger show up for breakfast? The peeps at Silo on 7th seemed to think so and with that I present to you the Eggs Benedict Burger and a Bang for your Burger Buck taste of East Austin.

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