Thursday, July 14, 2005

Best Burger in the World

I don't consider myself much of a connoisseur of anything, with a couple of possible exceptions. Hamburgers are one of those exceptions. I have had hamburgers all over the world, and it's amazing how much a good old hamburger loses in translation.

Although it was quite a few years ago, I wandered into a McDonald's in Amsterdam, salivating over the thought of a cheeseburger. Well, it did LOOK like a hamburger, and the wrapper looked like something from McDonalds, but it sure didn't taste like a hamburger.

The bun was crunchy in places The meat was barely luke-warm, kinda grayish in color, and could have been used for brake linings. I was sadly disappointed.

However, that's not what I'm on about today. Today we are talking about the BEST hamburgers you've ever tasted.

First, a couple of guidelines.

1. If it's not sloppy, with sauce and stuff all over your face when you've finished it it's just not a hamburger in my book. Maybe a toasted beef and cheese sandwich, but not a hamburger.

2. If it takes five of them to fill me up, it's not a hamburger, it's an appetizer.

3. It's gotta have the basics, and build from there. Bun, beef, sauce, lettuce, tomato, you know, stuff like that. No beef, not a hamburger, maybe a buffalo burger, maybe a tofu burger, maybe a zucchini burger, but NOT a hamburger.

4. Every component has to contribute to the end result. Tasteless cheese, for example, that functions primarily as an adhesive is an instant disqualification.

5. It has to be reasonably priced. I just can't enjoy a hamburger that cost fifteen bucks!

Here's my Top Two:

FIRST PLACE: Uncle's Deluxe Double Cheeseburger, in Aukland, New Zealand. It was over twenty years ago, and I was wandering around downtown Aukland looking for something to eat. In the side of one of the large office buildings was a small counter and fast food place called Uncle's. It was like they had cut a large horizontal hole in the side of the building, set in a counter, and set up a grill on the inside. I was pretty skeptical, but I was also getting hungry, so I opted for their top end burger. My mouth still waters just thinking about it. The bun was large, and tasted like fresh baked bread, fresh out of the oven. The usual stuff was in it, and the beef flavor was excellent. The cheese was a sharp but smooth cheddar, and lots of it. The onions were sweet, and grilled. The mustard was more of a Coleman's type flavor. Up to this point, a really good burger, but it got better yet. Several big slices of bacon, and a ring of pineapple, topped of with a fried egg! WOW! Just WOW! I lived on those Uncle burgers for about a week.

SECOND PLACE: I was driving across the country from upper New York state to Seattle in my 1960 Corvair, somewhere around 1970, or thereabouts. (Made it in three and a half days, but that's a story for another time.) Anyhow, I was out in the absolute middle of nowhere, and the road hadn't changed direction by more that a degree ar so for a couple of hours. It felt like driving down the middle of the world's longest runway. It was early afternoon, and I was getting hungry. As I approached an overpass, I saw a sign that said something like "Out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-ville 3 miles".

About a mile from the freeway I saw a single building coming up on the left with an overhead sign that proclaimed something along the lines of "Mom's cafe". I don't really remember the exact name of the place.

Opening the screen door and walking in, I was transported back to about 1950, the tables, the counters, the stools, all of it. It looked just like the kind of a place they tried to re-create on Happy Days.

As I remember, deluxe bacon cheeseburgers were 85 cents, and the extra large milk shake was about 60 cents. It was a bargain, even for those days. What a treat! None of the ingredients stood out or overpowered any of the other ingredients, but they all worked in harmony. Nothing unique, nothing radical,it was just a hamburger symphony of flavors, and the milkshake was excellent too.

What was the best burger you've ever had?

Leave us all a comment about it!



At Friday, July 15, 2005 9:56:00 AM, Blogger shooter said...

Now you're making me hungry!

The best two for me are up in Milwaukee, Wi. At number one, Marquette Gyros' Bacon Double Cheesburger. It is nuthin but a half pound mound of ground round, several slices of american chees, greasy sautedd onions, lettuce, pickles and ketchup. Add a dash of tabasco and I am set. This thing will coat your arms and face in grease for a month. The best post hangover burger around.

Number two happens to be the Bacon Double Cheeseburger at Kopp's Frozen Custard stand in Milwaukee. Same thing, but with bacon. Doesn't drip as much grease, but the price is a bit high, which bumps it down to #2.

At Friday, July 15, 2005 2:03:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Completely said...

Lots of cheese and a little tabasco. A nice touch, I'll have to try that.

Sounds good!!

At Friday, July 15, 2005 6:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The LUM Burger from the gut truck/roach coach that the Navy Exchange used to have at the pier in Yokosuka was pretty killer. That's where I got my taste for a fried egg on a burger.

The Wilbur @ the McMenamins resturants ( are pretty good, although if they have a Firm burger on the menu, you shuld try that. It's got pepperoni on it as the secret ingredient... Dad Watsons, McMenamins Queen Anne, and Six Arms are in Seattle, and there's one in Mill Creek... And Ruby... Mmmmm... I think I need to go now, there's a McMenamins about 2 miles from my home... :)

At Friday, July 15, 2005 9:38:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Completely said...

hmmmmmm.... I love peperoni, love burgers, dang, it makes sense! I'll have to give it a try.

At Saturday, July 16, 2005 9:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best hamburger is at Old #3 in Ronald, WA. It is a tavern and the hamburger is served on a plate as big as a hub cap. The burger is almost the same size, served with french fries and onions rings. The Best! Marge

At Saturday, July 16, 2005 10:49:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Completely said...

Marge: I had to go look up Ronald, Wash. on the map, but I see it's on the way up to Fish lake. Sounds like a weekend trip for some fishing, and maybe an "On Site" burger review!!

At Saturday, July 16, 2005 11:04:00 PM, Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

My favorite hamburger in the whole world comes from the Golden Crown Chinese Restaurant in La Grande, Oregon. I swear, divey Chinese joints serve the best burgers. The cooks at Golden Crown toast the bun with butter, and serve the burger with nothing but tartar sauce and shredded lettuce. Oh, BABY. It comes with the best fries in the world, too -- super-hot and just the right amount of saturated greasiness. If you ever find yourself in the Grande Ronde Valley, check it out!

At Sunday, July 17, 2005 9:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been blessed... Everywhere I've lived has had a hole in the wall bar that makes the most incredible burgers.

In Ogden, Utah, it's a joint called the Trock. The only reason they have a bun is to soak up the grease.

In Twin Falls, Idaho, it's the Beacon Burger and Brew. Just ask for a Beacon Burger with bacon, you won't regret it.

In Green River, Utah, is the best burger man has ever eaten. The bar is Ray's Tavern. Just walk in and order a cheeseburger. You won't regret it, and it'll only set you back about seven bucks, on a plate loaded with steak fries.

At Sunday, July 17, 2005 10:31:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Completely said...

Dang! I really shouldn't be reading these comments when I'm hungry!

I think maybe I'll wander out to the kitchen and see what I can forage up.....


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