Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chinatown Burger

So I created a new burger on the grill today. My mom was over for lunch and I decided to use my new plumbed grill. Nice right? Well I have the rule about only having one burger a month but to bend that I was allowed to make turkey burgers. I usually hate turkey burgers. Most of the restaurants that I go to and order a turkey burger try their level best to disguise that it is not a real burger. They all seem to fall flat. So today I decided to embrace the turkey. I started off with a sliced onion that I threw on the grill in a good helping of orange teryaki sauce on low heat. Then with some fresh ground turkey I added salt, pepper, and love. Nice sized, probably shy of a quarter pound, raw. I put them on the grill at low-medium heat. In a mixing bowl, I combined about 4 tablespoons of the orange teryaki sauce with real mayo, salt, pepper, minced cilantro, a bit of lemon juice, and a hint of smoky Tabasco. I toasted fresh onion bread and brushed the tangy sauce on both sides. I sliced a tomato and patted the slices dry removing the seeds and cut a bit of fresh farm lettuce. I added a slice of Swiss to each of the patties and turned the grill off. I sliced an avocado and garnished the plates. I put the burgers together and ate. A nice turkey burger. Not pretending to be something it is not. It turned out to be one of the lightest meals I have had in quite a while and very tasty. Feel free to try out the recipe and tell me what you think. Make it for your friends but don't forget to tell them to check out when you do.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Best Burger I Ever Had

Burgers at the Airport in Baghdad

We come in gritty and stand in the line

Waiting for our turn

To go home for a few moments

A long convoy from Tikrit

Chancing injury and death

For a taste of home

We sit in the trucks

All in our own minds

I see Rob gazing

I know what he sees

He is looking into the past

With his thousand yard stare

Peering into his family and friends

And working at the tire store in Dallas

And he is home

All of us have similar images floating

Through our minds

Even the Boss is quietly reflecting

Probably about his wife and kids

And then the burgers are gone

And we gear up for another mission

Taking us further from our homes

We will never have that moment again

But that was the best burger I’ve ever had

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mama Jacks - Pflugerville

Mama Jacks is located on the main drag in Pflugerville, TX on Pecan Street. Apparently, it has been in business for 30 years at 800 Pecan St. West. This place is definitely  in the greasy spoon category. My wife Jessica and I went there with our little girl, Merrill. We both had cheeseburgers with tots. Merrill didn't have anything since she is only 10 months old. But she did have a poop. Which leads me nicely to my first category of criticism. The facilities. Mama Jacks is located in a sort of run-down store-front location next to a convenience store and a mexican food joint. This place probably sounded like a good investment when Ford was president. But now it looks to need an update. This can sometimes lend credibility to the greasy spoon (think Top Notch on Burnet Road) but in this instance it was just run down. Now back to the poop. Merrill needed a change but the one stall bathroom lacked any surface for the necessary baby gear. So we were forced to change the diaper right there in the booth. This is something we do not only out of nessecity but also as a reminder that a changing table is not that expensive. The inside of the place was classic greasy spoon. A couple of UT banners here and some dry erase boards over there. The smell was great. That grill must be original. It had the sweet aroma of burgers from bygone days. It was also good that the kitchen was mostly open to the dinning area. It is always good to be able to hear the sizzle. 

Now the good stuff. The service was friendly and fast.  Plopping our burgers and tots on our booth table in just a few minutes from order. However, there were few customers in the joint to slow us up. 

The burger was average. Good veggies both in quality and quantity with diced onions and shredded lettuce topped with a rather large slice of fresh tomato. The burger, a little on the stingy side weighed in at less than satisfying on that front, but made up for it with taste. The taste of the burger was outstanding. There was good seasoning of salt & pepper along with perhaps some other spices. But the best part was the grilling. It was well grilled with good oil. Cuddos to the cook. The last thing was the bun. Very unimpressed with the bun. It was likely a Baird's bun that was delivered early in the week. A bit on the stale side and really unimaginative. 

Overall I will have to give Mama Jacks a 3 out of 10. The place has great potential and was probably a staple for many folks years ago and possibly locals today, but is not really worth a trip. The owners of this establishment need to focus on the quality of their ingredients and presentation. The employees are great as is the location. The grill is second to none, I am sure. I would give it a try again if there were no other options near by. However there are plenty, so unfortunately, I would say give this hamburger stand a pass.