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The Number One Burger in Austin?

Taste is subjective, but that doesn’t keep us from talking about what food is best. We do it with desserts, bread, pizza, and here in Texas we are always comparing barbecue.

What about burgers?

I read not too long ago (okay, it was three years ago in Texas Monthly) that the second best burger in the state, and the best burger in Austin was at  Second Bar + Kitchen downtown. It is called the Congress Burger. Mrs. Greenbean and I met some friends from our college days and enjoyed a warm June day and tasted for ourselves.

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The meat was very juicy and tender in the extreme. The flavor was dazzling–combing the subtlety of hamburger with the complex sharpness of brisket. The tenderness caused the hamburger to break apart easily, which is fine by me because I like to dip the burger bits into kitchen and mustard, alternately. The ketchup wasn’t as spicy as I’d have liked. I found myself wishing I had some of that nice Whataburger spicy ketchup to dip the burger in. The mustard was fantastic. I think they make it homemade and I wish I could have bought a bottle to take home.

I added pork belly–because fancy bacon is always a good idea.

The bread was disappointing. First, it was insufficient to hold the juiciness of the burger, which toward the end made the experience soggy. Second, the bread was too small and didn’t really cover the bottom or the top well. I know it is nice to have some stuff hanging out and falling all over the place, but halfway through the burger was left with mostly meat, lettuce, and tomato. Third, the bread was bland, bringing no noticeable flavor to the party.

The other disappointment were the potato chips. These were homemade on site, but way too salty to enjoy. How salty were they? Lot’s wife is probably missing an arm.

A delightful treat were the fried pickles we ordered as an appetizer. These were not chips, but spears served with a nice gorgonzola dip. Delish.

I paired my burger with a cherry Coke because cherry Coke is the best beverage to have with a burger of any kind. It was served in a fancy glass with tiny crushed ice.

The service was excellent. The ambiance was okay but the music was too loud for me. The playlist was fine, but the loudness made pleasant conversation just a little difficult. The bathroom was clean, or as clean as I could tell because it was very dark.

The location was nice, but we paid to park in a lot right behind the building so factor that into the cost of eating there. After the meal we walked across the Congress Avenue bridge and did a little shopping, all the while trying not to get run over by people on Segways and scooters.

It made for a pleasant day, but I’m not certain our favorite little burger joint here in town isn’t comparable, and a lot more accessible.

 

LARRY MCMURTRY’S WRITING SPACE

Reading through this months Texas Monthly (just about the best magazine around) and there is an interview/article with Texas writing legend Larry McMurtry. The piece begins with this mesmerizing description of his writing space.

“McMurtry turned around and shuffled us to the other end of the hallway, to his and Faye’s bedroom. The room held a queen-sized bed, draped in a  white comforter and flanked on either side by bedside tables, on whose surfaces sat vitamin bottles and medications.  There was also a sofa, a small desk with a computer for Faye, and a large wooden table for McMurtry. On the table was a stack of typing paper, some manila folders containing manuscripts, a clock, a bottle of Advil, a box of tissues, and Mcmurtry’s Hermes 3000 typewriter.”

If this description of a writing stud’s creative workshop doesn’t make a person want to write, then nothing will.

 

LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN, AND AGAIN AND AGAIN . . .

What year is it again?  Someone remind me.

GREAT SCOTT!
GREAT SCOTT!

Its either Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, or, if you want something milder maybe Back In Time from Huey Lewis, via the film Back To The Future.  Pick your theme song.

But we need one or the other, because I can’t figure out what year it is.  Here is why.

1.  People keep talking about the movies Mad Max, Terminator, and Star Wars.  Oh, and Poltergeist opened this week.

2.  Two top candidates for President of the United States are named Clinton and Bush.

3.  Outlaws rode into Waco, Texas and had a shootout.

4.  My copy of Texas Monthly arrived and Urban Cowboy featuring John Travolta is on the cover.

really?
really?

I’m beginning to think we are stuck in an infinite time loop, caused by a merging of lack of creativity, nostalgia, and cultural dementia.  My sources tell me if we can find the flux capacitor and get Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick to break it, then we can return to real time.  It also occurs to me, maybe only Texas is caught in the time bubble?  If that is the case, then the fix involves Sarandon and Bostwick have to eat chicken fried steak while breaking the flux capacitor.

image from mentalfloss.com