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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Del's Charcoal Burgers - July 22, 2010

This week's burger rave took our group to historic downtown Richardson to visit Del's Charcoal Burgers which has been serving burgers since 1957. Other options on the menu include hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and steak sandwiches. Walking in the restaurant, we smelled the patties cooking over a charcoal grill and occasionally we could see the flames coming over the patties. I placed my order for a Bacon Cheeseburger with Cheddar and grilled onions with the owner with a side of fries and a jumbo iced tea. He suggested that I go with the sweet potato fries so I went that route. The owner totaled the order on an old fashioned cash register and I paid my $8.77 and was handed a number. I sat down and about ten minutes later, my number was called and I picked up the following burger:

The bun from Bimbo Bakeries was buttered and toasted and the bottom bun was covered with a bed of cheddar cheese for the patty. Two fairly thick slices of bacon were crossed on top of the patty and they were then covered with thick slices of caramelized white onions. The patty didn't have perfect grill marks like the one Leslie Brenner from the Dallas Morning News showed on a blog post a few weeks ago but you could tell that it had been cooked over an open flame. Taking a bite, I tasted a combination of smoke from the grill, sharp cheddar cheese, sweet grilled onions and the saltiness of the bacon. The thin style patty which probably weighed four to five ounces was cooked well done as I expected it to be. The meat was seasoned nicely and had a good flavor but it wasn't as juicy as I would have liked. The hamburger bun did its job and didn't overwhelm the meat of the hamburger. The grilled onions were sliced long and thick and were very tender and flavorful. Finally, the sweet potato fries were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and were served with a side of what appeared to be homemade honey mustard dressing which was a nice match for the fries.

Overall I thought that Del's did a nice job on its preparation of the cheeseburger. The meat was seasoned well, the bacon was crispy and meshed nicely with the grilled onions, the cheddar cheese was shredded but melted nicely along the bottom of the patty and the bun held up well to the ingredients of the burger. I would like to go back and try a smoked hot dog offerings and maybe a fried Twinkie and a frozen mug of homemade root beer.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 19, average hamburger bun, buttered and toasted

Meat - 20, thin flavorful patty, crispy bacon, good seasoning

Appearance - 20, nice blend of bun, caramelized onions, flame grilled patty, melted cheese

Taste - 20, well cooked burger, seasoned well, smoky bacon and sharp cheddar cheese

Overall - 79

Bonus Pics of Mushroom Burger with Regular Fries and Interior of Del's:

Del's Charcoal Burgers on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dairy-ette - July 6, 2010

This week's quest for the ultimate burger took us to 9785 Ferguson Road in east Dallas to visit Dairy-ette which has been cooking burgers, fries and shakes since 1956. Dairy-ette is a drive-in with seating for around twenty people inside the restaurant. It is worth going in at least once to see the original soda fountain root beer keg which is filled with root beer made fresh in the restaurant. Our group decided to sit at the bar and we were greeted by a friendly server who asked us what we like to order. I ordered a bacon double cheeseburger with grilled onions and a side of fries. Total price with a jumbo iced tea was just over eleven dollars. Drinks were served and about ten minutes later the following burger was placed in front of me:

The top and bottom bun were lightly toasted and four slices of bacon were placed on the bottom bun and then topped with melted American cheese. The two patties which had been cooked on a flattop were each topped with slices of American cheese and placed on the bottom bun and finally diced grilled onions were placed on the top patty. I was expecting thinner patties similar to Keller's or Jake's but there seemed to be over a half-pound of meat in the two patties. Taking a bite of the burger, the layers of burger, cheese, bacon, onions and bun blended nicely in each bite. The lightly seasoned patties were cooked well done but still stayed fairly juicy. The bacon was cooked crispy but still slightly chewy in each bite which allowed you to get a nice flavor of smoke and pork in each bite of the burger. The bun was a standard plain hamburger bun but it didn't fall apart even with the large amount of toppings placed on it. The grilled onions were sliced and caramelized which added a bit of sweetness and crunch to the burger. Finally the fries are some of the best in Dallas especially if you like never frozen fries. Dairy-ette slices fresh potatoes everyday and the fries come out of the deep fryer with a nice crisp but fluffy inside of each fry.

Overall, Dairy-ette prepared an extremely good burger. The patties were thick and tasty and the gooey melted cheese and bacon added nicely to each bite of the burger. The grilled onions and bun were a nice compliment to overall burger. The next time I go I will probably stick with the single patty cheeseburger so I can leave room for one of their ice cream shakes.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 19, average bun, nicely toasted, held up well to large amount of toppings placed on it

Meat - 21, thick lightly seasoned patties, bacon cooked perfectly, great flavor in each bite

Appearance - 22, great appearance of melted cheese, nicely cooked patties, bacon and grilled onions

Taste - 21, nice flavors in each bite, well seasoned burger with fresh ingredients

Overall - 83

Bonus Picture of Fries:

Dairy-Ette on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 2, 2010

Flying Fish (Preston Center) - June 30, 2010

This week,we were reminded that the menu at Flying Fish in Preston Center made the claim that the best burgers come from fish places so we decided to head there to try out their burger offering. As you enter the restaurant, you are transformed quickly from the hustle of Preston Center to a bait shack near your favorite fishing hole. We stood in a short line and while waiting we could review the menu that was painted above the registers. The menu consists of a variety of fried and grilled fish baskets, Po-Boys, appetizers including fried jalapenos and shrimp cocktails and a variety of salads. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger which came with a side of fries and two hushpuppies. The price of the cheeseburger was $5.50 but bacon was an additional two dollars since they had to ring it up as a breakfast side. I was given a buzzer and a glass for my drink and I sat down to wait for my burger. About ten minutes later, my buzzer went off and I picked up the following burger from the counter:

The patty was a third pound patty that was topped with American cheese and two slice of bacon. The bun was lightly toasted and appeared to have been flattened on the flattop as part of the toasting process. Taking a bite, I tasted a dry but seasoned patty that had been cooked well-done. I have a feeling that the patties are frozen product since burgers are not the main drawing point to eating at Flying Fish. The American cheese had melted nicely along the patty and added a nice flavor to each bite when paired with the bacon and patty. For a two dollar upcharge, another slice of bacon could have been added to the burger but the bacon was crispy and flavorful. The bun was a standard hamburger bun and neither added or detracted from the overall burger. The fries were slightly thicker cut and were served hot and crispy from the fryer. The two hushpuppies were crunchy and had nice corn flavor.

Overall, I thought that Flying Fish served an average burger. I don't think it lived up to their claim on the menu but if you were with a group of people who wanted seafood when you didn't, it would be an ok selection for lunch or dinner. In the future though, I will stick with my grilled grouper made snappy.

Ratings (1-25):

Bun - 18, standard hamburger bun, lightly toasted, held up well to burger

Meat - 18, third pound well done patty, nice seasoning, could have added third slice of bacon

Appearance - 19, cheese melted nicely across patty, golden toasted bun

Taste - 18, average burger, decent option if not a seafood fan

Overall - 73
Flying Fish on Urbanspoon