just a kid writing about burgers

Archive for the tag “virginia”

Virginia students vote for pink slime burgers, not pure beef

What is wrong with these kids? I suppose if the only burgers that you eat at home are McDonalds and Burger King then you will never appreciate what a good healthy burger tastes like.

Kids’ beef with all-beef burgers prompts school to bring back the processed meat

Virginia school district brings back 26-ingredient burger after students complain about the taste and look of all-beef patties.

Photo: Valeriy Lebedev/Shutterstock

Kids in Fairfax, Va., have demanded their additives and chemicals, and it looks like they are going to get them. According to a recent story in the Washington Post, Fairfax County Public Schools are pulling all-beef burgers from school lunch menus and replacing them with processed meat after heeding complaints from students.

It all started during the 2011-12 school year, when a Fairfax-based advocacy group called Real Food for Kids released a report showing that the school district’s burgers contained 26 ingredients, including a number of additives and preservatives. Parents were outraged, and the processed burgers were replaced with all-beef patties. But at the start of this school year, the school district quietly returned to the processed patty, citing kids’ complaints about the all-beef burger as their reasoning.

In a note to Real Food for Kids, Penny McConnell, Fairfax schools’ food and nutritional service director, wrote that “students are our customers and we listen to them and implement their requests if possible.”

OK, I get that. But what are the schools going to do if the students complain that math is too hard? Or that they don’t want to learn how to spell? Wouldn’t it have been better to try another option — such as switching all-beef burger suppliers or working with the kids to address their concerns, rather than taking a step backward and bringing back the burger that’s chock full of chemicals?

Parents, school officials, and health care providers are supposed to be working together to help kids lead a healthier lifestyle. What does it teach kids when their school officials bring back what is essentially junk food just because the kids say it taste better? Should they switch back to potato chips because those are more popular with students than vegetables?



Eating Good at Retro’s Good Eats

Retro BurgerWe were visiting Williamsburg, Virginia and stopped at Retro’s Good Eats. I have been to Williamsburg before, but this was my first visit to Retro’s.

I ordered a regular hamburger made from 100% Angus beef (I didn’t want cheese or bacon or fancy toppings) with french fries and a vanilla malted shake.

You can order some pretty fancy toppings – blue cheese coleslaw, sweet potato mustard, chilli, jalapenos – and they also serve hot dogs.

The burger was OK. It was a little bit dry. Burgers need some fat in them. Alton Brown says the ideal meat blend should be 50% chuck and 50% sirloin. The burger just seemed a little bit too dry. It was still OK to eat, but it wasn’t as good as I’d been hoping for.

I award this burger a score of 6.5 out of 10. You should visit Retro’s to try their fancy toppings and to absorb the 1950s atmosphere.

Exploring the Captain John Smith Cheeseburger

Captain John Smith BurgerWe were visiting Smithfield, Virginia and stopped at Taste of Smithfield on Main Street where I ordered the Captain John Smith Cheeseburger.

The Captain John Smith is a classic fresh beef burger patty (also available in pork… because it is Virginia) served with local Smithfield pepper bacon and pepper jack cheese. The French fries came sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning.

The pepper jack cheese went well with the bacon because they were both mildly spicy, but not too much. The burger patty was nice and fresh (and fresh is always better than frozen). The waitress asked how I’d like my burger cooked and I asked for medium-well. It came with a “hint of pink” which is a perfect medium well. I recommend you try this burger if you are visiting the Smithfield area (and are tired of eating ham). It is a pretty good burger.

I award this burger a score of 8 out of 10.

Best Burgers of 2012

Winner RibbonHere is my list of the BEST BURGERS OF 2012.

  1. The Palace Classic Burger at Bobby’s Burger Palace in Hanover, MD (score: 9)
  2. My “Build Your Own” Burger from the Kooper’s Chowhound food truck (score: 8.5)
  3. Black Angus Cheeseburger from Sean Bolan’s in Bel Air, MD (score: 8)
  4. Gourmet Burger at Sammy T’s in Fredericksburg, VA (score: 8)
  5. Sliders from Main Street Sliders in Newark, DE (score: 8)

If you are in the Baltimore area these restaurants (4 restaurants, 1 food truck!) are all local or all within driving distance. I recommend that you try all of them at least once 🙂 I’m definitely looking forward to checking out new restaurants in 2013 and bringing you more burger reviews.

An honorable mention goes to the place this food blog began… the Olympia Dairy Bar in Carney’s Point, NJ where my favorite is the 1/3 lb Burger cooked-to-order. I can’t wait for the 2013 rodeo season to open so that I can start making the trip up to Cowtown again!

Super Crazy Yummy! Sammy T’s Gourmet Burger

We were paying a family visit to Fredericksburg, Virginia and my Mom insisted that we stop at Sammy T’s which is a restaurant she used to go to when she was at college. The restaurant was founded in 1981 by a professor from Mary Washington College which is a big deal for Mom. (She still calls it Mary Washington College and refuses to call it the University of Mary Washington.)

I ordered the Gourmet Burger (seven ounces of lean, ground, seasoned beef grilled to your specifications on a multigrain roll with lettuce, tomato and red onion) and I added cheddar cheese and bacon. I also had a side order of sweet potato fries.

The burger was super crazy yummy! I asked for it to be cooked “medium” instead of my usual “medium well” because my Dad is always nagging me about my burgers being cooked for too long. He says that “medium” burgers have more juices and more flavors. So I decided to risk it. It was pretty darn good. It was one of the best I have eaten so far during this blog.

Dad ordered a vegan salad with felafel. Ha, ha! Can you tell that Mom was here and making sure Dad only ordered healthy food? It sucks to be him! I know that he really wanted to have a burger too.

Mom ordered an apple cheddar melt, which is kinda like a cheeseburger… but only if you replace the burger patty with apple slices!

Grandad ordered a BBQ sandwich. At least that has meat in it!

Nana ordered a Grill 3 (one slice each of cheddar, swiss and mozzarella grilled on your choice of toast). She actually is a vegetarian, so not eating meat is important to her. I could not be a vegetarian because I enjoy eating burgers too much.

Back to my burger. It was super crazy yummy. The cheddar was tangy and the bacon was awesome. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the mustard that came on the burger. Next time I’ll order mustard & ketchup on the side and decide how much I want to put on.

Overall I award this burger 8 out of 10. I was going to say 7.5 but my Dad says it was my own fault for not asking the waitress to put mustard on the side. He says I should not blame her or deduct half a point. So it is an 8 out of 10.

P.S. We went to Carl’s Frozen Custard for desert and Mom actually let Dad order a (small) strawberry soft serve. Carl’s is awesome. Go to Carl’s now. I think the strawberry is best.

P.P.S. There was a photo of my burger, but it is on my Nana’s camera and she has taken it back to England with her! If I can get her to email the photo then I will post it here. Until then, here is a photo of some kittens.

Drivin’ in to Wrights Dairy Rite

We were visiting Staunton, Virgina in the Shenandoah Valley and after checking out the historic buildings downtown we went to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. After that, I was pretty hungry so Dad looked in a city guidebook and found an old drive-in restaurant that had been there since the 1950s. It’s called Wrights Dairy Rite and its located on US Route 11 heading south out of town (thanks Google maps!).

I ordered the Burger in a Basket which is a nice simple 2 oz burger served in a basket of french fries. I had lettuce and tomato on my burger, but there are plenty of other toppings if you want to build your own burger. Mom had mushrooms on hers (UGH!) and Dad had red onion (BLERGH!). You can get double burgers (4 oz), 1/3 lb burgers and even a 1/2 lb “monster” burger.

The burger was cooked fresh to order (this means it is fresh… but it also means it takes a little longer than a fast food restaurant) and it was good quality & juicy meat. The single 2 oz burger wasn’t really enough to satisfy my hunger so I was glad I had the fries.

If you want a snack you should order the 2 oz. If you’re hungry you should order the double or bigger.

The fries were nice and crispy crinkle-cut. I like crinkle-cut. They make a change from the straight cut fries you get everywhere else. Here is my advice to people who own burger restaurants… you should sell regular fries, crinkle-cut fries, curly fries and tater tots. That way you will keep everybody happy!

A burger is only $1.90 and a cheeseburger is only $2.30 which is a good price.  The burger basket with fries only cost $3.89 which is a good deal if you have hungry kids. They will cook your burgers any way you want them. I had mine medium well. So did Mom. Dad had his medium. (Yeah, folks! Mom let Dad have a burger! We were on vacation so this explains it.)

I award this burger a score of 5 out of 10. I think if I had ordered a bigger burger and added a few more toppings then I might have been able to increase the score to 6 or 7. (Dad says his was definitely a 7 out of 10.)

I also had strawberry milkshake. Booya!

If you are traveling in the Shenandoah Valley and you are looking for a cool place to eat then definitely go to Staunton and stop for lunch at this drive in restaurant. There is no reason to stop at a McDonalds or a Burger King when you can stop at cool places like this.

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