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.
Primanti Brothers Sandwich
Name: Primanti Brothers
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Meal: Capicola and Ham Sandwich
Type: Sandwich Shop
The Primanti Brother’s sandwich may be one of the most widely known regional foods in America. For the uninitiated a Primanti sandwich is served with cole slaw and french fries directly on the sandwich. It is the sandwich of a hard working town. If you were working in a steel mill all day, you could probably get away with eating these sandwiches regularly. My modern standards eating a sandwich like this on a regular basis will leave you very full and very chubby.
The legend behind the sandwich is that delivery guys in the Strip district wanted a full meal between two slices of bread. A Primanti sandwich is definitely a full meal. When ordering you simply pick your meat. The meat is heated on the griddle, the bread is sliced fresh from a full loaf, and when the meat is ready the magic happens. Construction of a Primanti sandwich starts with the meat on the bottom; a heaping handful of fresh cut french fries smooshed on top, and then a handful of cole slaw on top of that. That sandwich is then sliced down the middle and served up. Good luck being able to cleanly eat your way through this sandwich; it is a lot of work.
I don’t even think I have to tell you to go try this sandwich. Is this is not on your Pittsburgh short list, you’re doing it wrong. Eat at Primanti’s, yinz will enjoy it. Continue reading
Name: Snow White Grill
Location: Winchester, VA
Meal: Two Mini Burgers, French Fries, and a Chocolate Shake
Type: Hamburger Joint
It should have been obvious to me that Winchester, VA would be home to good restaurants; it was settled in the 1700s and has long been a working town. I was quite happy to come across the Snow White Grill tucked between two larger buildings off of a sleepy pedestrian walking mall in downtown Winchester. The 60-year-old Snow White has been serving up their menu for decades. The Snow White’s claim to fame is their mini burger. The entire restaurant holds a counter of maybe 10 seats with a walk up window for anyone opting to get theirs to go. Not wanting to squeeze me and my camera gear in during the busy lunch hour I opted to get mine to go.