Name: Dick’s Drive-In
Location: Seattle, WA (Five, soon to be six, locations throughout the city)
Type: Burger joint
Meal: Two burgers, fries, and a milkshake
Seattle is easily associated with new. It is home to Microsoft, Amazon, and Cray Supercomputers. It’s coffee culture is now America’s coffee culture. Grunge and most of its most memorable acts all came out of Seattle and its food scene has long been ahead of the local/sustainable curve. With so much of Seattle that screams cutting edge it was a pleasant surprise to find that is does old quite well.
Dick’s Drive-In is a classic burger joint out of Hollywood casting central. A simple menu done well, a prominent yellow, orange, and white color scheme that screams the 1970s, and more than 50 years of success all contribute to a great experience.
The burgers were good; cheap and light enough that ordering more than one is not out of the question. The Dick’s Deluxe is two patties, cheese, lettuce, mayo, and chopped pickles. Their fries are all cut in-house and are similar enough to traditional fast food fries to be comforting but imperfect enough to be special. Tartar sauce seems to be the preferred condiment for the fries which is interesting because there is no fish on the menu. Milkshakes are made to order and as a fast food milkshake should be, are a bit thinner than what say, Silver Diner serves.
All told, grabbing lunch at the Dick’s window and heading back to your car to enjoy the food and people watch is a great meal. Seattle is many things and Dick’s Drive-In proves that the city always has been.
Lots more pictures after the jump.
Location: Frederick, MD
Meal: Salad, Pork Belly Burger, Fries, and Apple Crisp à la mode
Type: New American
My trip to Volt was only my second trip to the restaurant of a celebrity chef and I must say that my expectations were met yet again. I am actually lucky enough to pass through Frederick, MD at least a few dozen times a year as it lies between my home and that of my parents. Being the big Top Chef fan that I am, I knew that I was going to have to visit Volt as soon as I heard a contestant on the show was coming from Frederick. Much has already been made of the dominance the Voltaggio brothers showed on the show but Brian and Kevin were my early picks so I was glad to see him still in competition when I visited in early November. Continue reading
Location: Throughout the Midwest
Meal: ButterBurger, Fries, and a Root Beer
Type: Burger Joint
Culver’s continues a theme I previously noted about the Midwest; they eat hard. Culver’s is a regional fast food chain located throughout the Midwest with quite a strong following. Their most known for their ButterBurgers. Butter and a burger? Yes those two have joined forces like a Wonder Twin duo from cholesterol hell. I actually don’t know if butter is used in the cooking of the burger but I wouldn’t put it past them. Butter is definitely used in preparing the burger. As they’re making your burger (to order mind you) them brush (almost soak) the roll in butter and then toast it. Buttery toasted bread, griddled beef, and cheese; health foods, you know. In large part due to the butter the burger is a sensory overload. Umami, the least known taste, strikes you right away (thanks butter and beef). You get a full spectrum of flavors along the way; I’m partial to getting my burgers with everything on them. That said, this burger traveled surprisingly well. The fries were good despite my initial thought they were undercooked but they turned out to be the crunchiest fries that weren’t browned I’ve ever had. All together a great burger I just can’t imagine eating there regularly.
More pictures after the jump.
Fried Cheese Curds
Name: 5-8 Club
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Meal: Fried Cheese Curds, Juicy Lucy Burger, and Beer
Type: Burger Joint
The Midwest knows how to eat. Maybe it is the cold winters, the strong tradition of physical labor, or just the abundance of readily available ingredients. Whatever the reasons, there are many foods found here that honestly scare the rest of the country. I made the great choice to try two of these foods on a single evening. The 5-8 Club in Minneapolis is one of the two leading restaurants that claim to make the best Juicy Lucy. “What is a Juicy Lucy?”, you ask. It is a burger cooked with a big hunk of cheddar cheese cooked INSIDE. When you bite into the burger you are met with a spillage of hot molten cheddar; it really is quite nice. Continue reading