just a kid writing about burgers

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Happy Burgerween!


The Luther Burger

What? WHAT? A bacon cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme donut bun? That has to be something invented on the internet. Please don’t let it be real.

Well, it turns out that it is a real thing.

Luther Burger

Claim: The “Luther Burger,” a bacon cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut bun, is a real food named after R&B singer Luther Vandross.

Status: True.


I asked my Dad who Luther Vandross is. My Dad said, ‘Not “is,” but “was.”‘ He said Luther Vandross was a singer and that he died about 5 or 6 years ago. I checked this on Wikipedia and he died in 2005 of a heart attack. If it’s true that this Krispy Kreme burger was his favorite then this could be the second music-related burger death. (The first was Elvis… duh!)

I think it might be a good idea if singers stopped eating burgers… just in case!

A “not bad, not great” BBQ bacon cheeseburger

I went to Applebees for dinner with Mom and Dad. Can you guess what I had? Was it a burger? You betcha!

I ordered the Cowboy Burger. It is a burger topped with crispy onion strings, white cheddar cheese, bacon, and BBQ sauce.

Lots of places serve this BBQ bacon cheeseburger as their Western Burger, Texas Burger, Rodeo Burger, or BBQ Burger. I even made my own version (my El Paso Asiago Rodeo Burger). This one is called a Cowboy Burger.

Applebees is a chain restaurant and I did not expect a gourmet burger. I did not get a gourmet burger. I got a good, ordinary, reliable, not bad, not great, BBQ bacon cheeseburger. There were no surprises with this burger. It was just… a burger.

The bacon was nice and thick, but the burger could use an extra slice. The onion strings were better than the usual onion rings, but there were too many. The lettuce was crisp, but it was one big piece. Everything was OK. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad.

I award this burger a perfect average 5 out of 10. If you are at Applebees then give it a try.

Once again my Dad asked, ‘If this is Applebees do you think serve apples and bees?’ He has been asking this question since I was in kindergarten. I have not laughed at the “joke” since I was in kindergarten. I think he will still be asking it twenty years from now. It’s the same with his Cracker Barrel joke. ‘Do they serve crackers in a barrel?’ This is what I put up with.

Tweeking Wendy’s Pigtails

This was in the Washington Post today.

Wendy’s pigtails get a tweak for first time since 1983; part of hamburger chain’s overhaul

NEW YORK — Wendy’s pigtails are getting a tweak.

For the first time since 1983, the Dublin, Ohio-based fast food company is updating its logo in a move intended to signal its ongoing transformation into a higher-end hamburger chain.

Instead of the boxy, old-fashioned lettering against a red-and-yellow backdrop, the pared down new look features the chain’s name in a casual red font against a clean white backdrop. An image of the smiling, cartoon girl in red pigtails floats above — though this girl looks more vivid and not quite as childlike.

In an interview with The Associated Press, CEO Emil Brolick said the current logo had served the company well for the past three decades, but that it was time for an update. Still, Brolick said he was encouraged by consumer feedback in testing dozens of new logo variations over the past several months.

“When we pushed things too far, they very much reeled us back,” he said, noting that it showed just how attached people are to the brand.

It’s only the fifth logo update since founder Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s in 1969, and perhaps the most significant. The makeover comes as the chain known for its square burgers and chocolate Frosty shakes struggles to redefine itself in the face of intensifying competition from the likes of Panera Bread Co. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., which are seen as a step up from traditional fast food.

Wendy’s push has intensified since Brolick came on as CEO about a year ago. In addition to raising perceptions about its food, Brolick is focusing on renovating outdated restaurants with a look that features natural lighting, flat-screen TVs and a variety of seating options, including cushy chairs in nooks.

The idea is to create a more inviting atmosphere where consumers feel they can relax. Starting in March, Wendy’s says the updated logo will start appearing on newly built and renovated restaurants.

It’s still far from clear whether Wendy’s broader reinvention will succeed. But sales at its restaurants open at least a year have edged up for the last five quarters. Craig Bahner, the company’s chief marketing officer, notes that all brands need to evolve.

“It’s a tangible signal of change,” Bahner said.

The Wendy’s name and original logo were inspired by founder Dave Thomas’ daughter, whose real name is Melinda Lou (her siblings couldn’t pronounce her name when they were younger, so they called her “Wenda,” which turned into “Wendy”).

Thomas thought the name conjured the image of the wholesome hamburger restaurant he dreamed of opening.

In his book “Dave’s Way,” Thomas recalls how the family dressed up Wendy, then 8 years old, in a blue-and-white striped dress for the opening of the first location. To make her pigtails stick out, they put pipe cleaners in her hair. That’s roughly the image of the little freckle-faced girl in the logo.

In undertaking the redesign, the company realized there were three key elements that had to be preserved; the image of the little girl, the color red and the way the “Wendy’s” font swerves up — what executives call “the wave.”

In the new logo, Bahner notes that Wendy’s pigtails peek out from the oval frame, bringing her forward and making her more dynamic. The logo will be part of the new restaurant design that Wendy’s is looking to expand to its roughly 6,000 locations in North America.

Brolick has noted that the revamps “enhance all dimensions of the Wendy’s experience” and that renovated locations see a 25 percent bump in sales. By 2015, Wendy’s plans to have half its 1,425 company-owned locations updated.

Ultimately, Brolick wants the company to be seen as a “top-end” fast-food chain — better quality than McDonald’s, but perhaps not at the same level as Panera.

“Our goal is to be a five-star restaurant at a three-star price,” he said.

Building on the introduction of its sweet baked potato and Bacon Portabella Melt cheeseburger this year, the company is looking at introducing whole wheat buns and flatbreads. Brolick says those type of small adjustments can have a big impact on perceptions about the healthfulness and quality of the chain’s food.

The changes are even extending to employee uniforms, which will be updated next year to have a more tailored look.

The early feedback is positive and Brolick says workers like them — so much so that they even feel comfortable wearing them outside the restaurant.

w00t! w00t! Time for a Rootie Toot!

I went to Mamie’s Cafe for dinner with Mom and Dad. It’s not far from where we live up here in the ‘burbs, but even if you guys live miles away I think it’s worth a visit. The decorations inside make it look like Borgin & Burkes. All the food on the menus is what Dad calls “home cooking” and the portions are HUGE (which is why I really think he likes going there).

I ordered a “Rootie Toot” burger. Dad says that all of the burgers on the menu were named by Mamie’s grandson. That explains their names!

The burgers are made from 100% fresh beef. There is no pink slime here! They are just great homemade burgers! I ordered mine with Swiss cheese and it melted SPECTACULARLY all over the burger patty. The lettuce was crisp and the tomato was thick and juicy. The fries were excellent.

Warning: These burgers come served with mayonnaise. I saw that on the menu and asked for no mayonnaise. Make sure you do that. Unless you’re French. Or Canadian. Or just one of those crazy mayonnaise people.

I award this burger a score of 8 out of 10 for taste. (The fries get an 8 out of 10 too!)

Mamie’s Cafe came to Aberdeen, MD in 2007 which is when I was… er… just 7-years old. Before that it was located in Baltimore (that’s what Mom and Dad say) in the Hampden neighborhood which is supposed to be one of the funky places to be. I wouldn’t know how funky Hampden is because my Dad gets lost driving in Baltimore and he can never find any place that he’s looking for. He could take me to the Baltimore Burger Bar or Cafe Hon but he refuses to ask Mom for directions. Ugh! Parents!

Bobby Flay California Burger Recipe

This is Bobby Flay’s recipe from his book Burgers, Shakes & Fries. It is a really good book for anybody who loves burgers. You should get one for Christmas, or Hanukah, or Festivus, or Chrismukkah. Everybody who likes burgers should buy this book!

(Hint! Mom… Dad… anyone… buy me this book! I’m getting tired of borrowing it from the library. I want my own copy.)

This is the burger that Mom had when we visited Bobby’s Burger Palace. She really liked it. I am not really a fan of avocados but I would like to try making the avocado relish because it sounds like fun.

California Burger

  • 1 toasted burger bun
  • 1 6oz burger patty
  • 1 slice Monterey Jack cheese
  • A few springs of watercress
  • 1 slice of beefsteak tomato
  • A dollop of avocado relish

Bobby’s burgers are good basic recipe. You use good quality beef and you make them by hand. He makes 6 ounce burgers, but you could make 8 ounce burgers if you want them to be a little bit bigger.

Avocado Relish

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, halved, putted, peeled, and coarsely chopped
  •  ½ small onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno chile, finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the avocado relish, combine the avocados, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and cilantro in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. The relish can be made up to 1 hour in advance and kept at room temperature.

Bombay Curry Veggie Burger

I like American burgers and I like Indian curry. That’s because my Mom is American and my Dad is English. (He says the national food of England s curry, not fish and chips!) So when we saw these Dr. Praeger’s Bombay Curry Veggie Burgers on sale at Seven Mile Market it was a “no brainer” that we tried them.

They are 4 frozen burgers in each packet and you can cook them from frozen. Ingredients include carrots, onions, oat bran, soybeans, etc. They contain no meat products at all. Dad says this means they are “vegan” not “vegetarian.”

Dad made one of his salads (he’s getting quite good at those) and some Alexia onion rings (the best onion rings you can make at home) and we grilled the curry burgers under the broiler (I have no idea what a broiler is, but Dad says that’s what we used). When we were at the grocery store I picked out some nice Italian bread buns to serve the burgers on. Mom and Dad put mayonnaise on theirs (the always do this with veggie burgers), but I had mine plain. I do not like mayonnaise. I think I have mentioned that in my blog before. ABOUT FIVE HUNDRED TIMES!

Here is a photo of my burger. It actually tasted pretty good. I like Indian food and the burger had all the yummy curry flavors that I wanted. It was not too hot. In fact it was quite mild. I can eat hot curries because I am used to them (thanks, Dad!). You could make the burger hotter by mixing up a curry sauce or a curry ketchup. If you like HOT curry then you should do this.

The big problem with this burger was that it was crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. It was too soft to be called a burger. Burgers should be thick and have a firm inside that you can really bite into. This wasn’t so good.

I award this “burger” a score of 6 out of 10 for flavor (I would make a hot ketchup to spice it up next time) and only 4 out of 10 for it’s contents (it was just too soft). It’s average score is 5 out of 10.

I would recommend this “burger” to vegetarians and to people who want to try something different. If you like pure burgers made of meat then this is probably not something you will like.

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