Cheeseburgers: An Obsession?
So Bad, But Sooo Good!
I must admit; I have a ridiculous obsession with cheeseburgers. I can't explain it. I know that they are terrible for me, sometimes I do feel bad afterwards, and sometimes they even make me sick, but I don't care! I love them anyway! All that meaty, greasy goodness...it's hard to resist.
Over the years, I have found a few fast food restaurants that, in particular, get my taste buds going crazy, and make my mouth water just thinking about them. As I sit here, I am already salivating thinking about all those delicious burgers out there, just waiting for me...maybe I will take a break, and head out for a burger before I keep going. I don't think I will be able to concentrate, otherwise. Be back soon...
What Makes A Great Burger?
Don't ask me what makes a great burger. The burgers I love are pretty varied. None of them are exactly alike, and I don't think there is any specific formula for making a great burger. Some of it has to do with nostalgia, or memory. Some of it has to do with the meat. All of it is a matter of taste and opinion. I know that there will be a lot of people out there who will not agree with me, and that is fine. I am fine with that. What one person likes, someone else won't like at all. I hate almonds, but I know a lot of people who love them. I know, almonds have nothing to do with burgers, but I was just making a point. I guess you could call this hub a love letter to a cheeseburger, as silly as that sounds.
My Favorite Burgers
Over the years, I have developed a craving for burgers from certain restaurants. I will tell you one thing, off the bat, that I am not a foodie. I don't go around seeking out new and exotic foods, or eat strange things like insects or animal brains. I just like good food. I like good food no matter where I can find it. I am pretty much an average person when it comes to that. So, the burgers on my list are nothing that would be too hard for the normal person to find, and in fact, most readers will have heard of all of these places, or at least most of them.
As I said, I am not seeking out strange and unusual burgers made at obscure restaurants that no one has ever heard of. Having said that, let's get started.
Cheeseburger in Paradise
My First Love
Our first love is something that we always remember. No matter how many years have passed, we still look back fondly. I know this all may sound silly, and it kind of is. Sometimes I am silly. Nothing to be ashamed of. When it comes to cheeseburgers, my first love will always be the White Castle slider. Such a simple little creation, but so wonderful!
I grew up in Illinois, and back when I was a kid, the closest White Castle was in Chicago. I can still remember the first time I had a delicious slider. I was about six or seven, and we had gone to the city for one reason or another. My step-father grew up in the city, and was familiar with White Castle. He shared his love of the slider with us, and I was smitten ever since. Now, I make it a point to get a few every time I am up north visiting my family. Sadly, there is no White Castle down here, though I have asked and asked for them to put one down here. My husband and I even decided if we ever have enough money to do it, we will buy a franchise to start our own franchise down here. Strangely enough, though, they do have the frozen White Castle hamburgers and cheeseburgers in the freezer section of several grocery stores. For a restaurant that has been around since 1921, you would think they would have a restaurant down here. I'm still waiting.
For those of you unfamiliar with the slider, you do not know what you are missing. They are tiny, little, square burgers. They are very simple. It's just a small patty (with or without cheese), a tiny bit of onion and a pickle chip on a little bun. That's it. Nothing fancy. They have expanded their menu, though. They have burgers with jalapeno, chicken sandwiches, and a variety of other items. They also have great onion rings. If you have never had a White Castle slider, and ever happen to come across a White Castle restaurant, I suggest you stop in and experience one for yourself. Though, one is never enough. After all, they are pretty small. Even my daughter can eat two or three of them.
As I have said, I grew up in Illinois, so I was not familiar with the In-N-Out burger until after I moved to the West Coast. I was introduced to this oh-so delicious burger by a friend of mine who grew up in California. It is no wonder that I had never heard of the chain, as they are a very small, family-owned and operated chain. They have restaurants in California, Texas, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. If only they weren't so far away... This is another chain I would love to have down here, but considering their limited range so far, I don't see that happening anytime soon. I can dream...
So, what is so special about the In-N-Out burger? It starts with the meat. They use fresh, pure beef. No nasty fillers or any of that pink slime crap that was all over the news recently. They own and operate their own patty making facilities, as well. They take the rest of the ingredients just as seriously; using the best quality, freshest ingredients for their burgers. The burgers are huge and absolutely amazing! Their fries are amazing, too!! They cut fresh potatoes right in the restaurant and fry them up. No processed and frozen french fries, just fresh potato, cut and fried. It is wonderful, and strange that no one else ever thought to do that. They also have a somewhat secret menu, so if there is something you would like, but don't see it on the menu, feel free to ask. It is really more "your way" than most other fast food joints.
The first time I had an In-N-Out burger was an interesting experience. I was traveling in Southern California with a friend of mine, her kids and my daughter. I had just gotten my tongue pierced and it was still very, very swollen. Of course, my friend would decide to stop for burgers when I could barely tolerate drinking water. I had to try a cheeseburger, though. This is what she told me, anyway. So I did. She was right. I ate every bite, and it was worth every minute of pain. Sadly, I was only ever able to eat there twice. I do look forward to my next trip to the West Coast, though, because that will be one of my first stops.
- In-N-Out Burger
At In-N-Out Burger, quality is everything. That''''s why in a world where food is often over-processed, prepackaged and frozen, In-N-Out makes everything the old fashioned way.
My Newest Obsession
So, what burger could be peaking my interest now? It is Five Guys Burgers & Fries! They are soo good!!! The burgers are huge and delicious! Come with a very healthy appetite!! Though, every time I eat there, I kind of feel like I have done something wrong. It really is a guilty pleasure. They haven't been around all that long, but they have developed a cult-like following in the few short years since they expanded outside of the D.C. metro area. If you have ever eaten there, you know why.
They hand-form their patties! What fast food place does that? They don't freeze anything! Everything is made fresh. You can order a burger just about any way you can think of, and the toppings don't cost any extra. Like In-N-Out, they cut the potatoes in the restaurant and fry them up. I will say, though, they do cook the fries in peanut oil, so if you have an allergy, this may not be the place for you. Maybe they have separate oil for those with peanut allergy...I don't know. They also have hot dogs, grilled cheese, and two styles of fries. Everything is hot and fresh and amazing!! There is a good reason that they have been voted best burger and best fries in numerous surveys and polls. They also offer online ordering, so you can get a tasty burger on your lunch, and don't have to wait in line.
I was turned onto Five Guys by my brother-in-law. He told me and my husband that we HAD to go there. A big thanks goes out to him for this suggestion! He was not wrong! After we had finished our burgers, we had this feeling of guilt, as if we had committed some horrible sin by eating there. I loved every bite, and was so full! The burgers are huge and they give you a lot of fries!! I suggest sharing an order of fries with someone, rather than get your own order. When we first went there, we took this small cup of fries out of the bag, and I was disappointed. The cup was full, but it was rather small. I then looked in the bag. There were enough fries in the bottom of the bag to fill that cup up at least once, if not twice. They don't skimp on the servings. Like I said, share the fries.
Pick Your Favorite
Which of these is your favorite?
Hungry For More
I am always on the look out for a great burger! Of course, I will never abandon the burgers I have grown to love, either. It is always great to hear about other great burgers, so if you have suggestions or comments, please, feel free to let me know what you think. If you know of a great burger place, share it. I know some of these may not be for everyone, so if you disagree, let me know that, too. What is your favorite burger?
© 2012 Anna Marie Bowman