Hunting the burger


Ice Burg take out

Ice Burg take out

So we figured, when we first set foot out in the prairie, that good meat would be easy to find. We must have, after all, driven past a couple hundred ranches, cattle auction houses, loading bays, and I know we went past a slaughterhouse because the smell sticks with you for at least half a mile. Meat, I presumed, would be tasty, well marbled, and as fresh as possible in this version of the universe. And although I made these presumptions, I didn’t come out here thinking, “hey, let’s compare burgers!” I discovered that in a town of 26,000, things like having “the best burger in town” take on a level of import not possible in larger towns of say, 500,000, where people have so many options it would be pointless to try to compare them all. Unless you were an editor for DCist, that is.


Thus without further ado, I relay the following:

1. Fast Eddie’s Drive-In — as noted in an earlier post, there are a lot of drive-ins and drive-throughs here. Eddie’s is 50s drive-in all the way except that the waitresses don’t roll out on skates. Eddie’s has a lot of items on its menu, which is posted conveniently on a white board that our intrepid reviewer attempted to read at the wrong time of day, as the sun was beaming mercilessly into his eyes. Said reviewer, however, did think to presume that cheeseburgers would be available as an option for patrons, and just went ahead and ordered that. The burger was a little on the small side, but the price point was in league with this, so not a big deal. It was piping hot, almost too hot to eat, and the lettuce wasn’t as crispy as it should have been, because it would take titanium lettuce to stand up to those Mercurian temperatures. Seriously I — I mean, the reviewer — could have probably worked a little nuclear fusion on the surface of the meat it was hot enough. The chocolate malt shake, on the other hand, was oh so refreshingly chilled, just thin enough to get through the straw without sucking up a lung in the process, and had just the right amount of Whopper. They should, in the reviewer’s opinion, be reminiscent of Whoppers without overpowering the user.

2. Ice Burg Drive-In — this is more a leisurely paced drive-through than a drive-in per se, as they will tell you to pull up to the window once you’ve ordered and they’re ready for you. So you can’t do your best Fred Flintstone impersonation with the food hanging off your window. The cheese on this burger was the best cheese all around, but honestly people, most Americans order cheeseburgers because we want extra lipids and flavor, and we figure, if you’re going to eat something as bad for you as a burger, you might as well throw those last shreds of caution to the wind and slap some cheese on it. We don’t order cheeseburgers thinking we’re going to get the best gruyere this side of the Atlantic (or Pacific, or wherever). The bun was way too big for the meat patty, making this reviewer chip away at the outer ring of bread, throwing it to the birds who had lined up for just such an opportunity. (This reviewer does not pretend to be original, see.) The vanilla shake was very, very thick, almost impossible to suck up the straw. In fact, after running into a grocery store and coming back into the car after 20 minutes, the shake was still too thick to drink. The taste was spot-on, but hello, one needs to be able to physically ingest the thing in order to ascertain its flavor.

3. Coffee Connection Cafe — There’s nothing here that even remotely suggests burgers, not in the name, anyway. This is a diner with three separate areas — a coffeehouse room, a room with computers one can rent, and a line of diner booths with a counter and stools. Free WiFi all throughout. And they have a much-touted bison burger. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “bison burger?!? But aren’t buffalo extinct?” Well, bison and buffalo are not the same, in fact. There are no buffalo in the North American continent. Actual buffalo, like water buffalo, are in Asia. According to Wikipedia, anyway. Bison are going strong in the West here. And bison meat is sweeter, leaner, and faster-cooking than cattle meat. Thus it is that we tried the bison burger here, and it is a good find/good eat. Thick on the bun, with a nice choice of cheeses (see earlier paragraph for instant contradiction), its only drawback is the automatic relish they secretly tuck under the meat. Relish? Relish is for middle-aged New Yorker men to get on their hotdogs so they can tell their wives that they had vegetables that day. Relish is not something for a nuanced meat like bison to have to contend with. So tell them to please, hold the relish. The shakes are fine for a diner that obviously doesn’t make many of them. Eddie’s shakes win this three-way contest hands down. But the Cafe Connection has the best burger so far.

Next up, MRI results, construction on the recycling center next door, and Everett Gets a Tooth.

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4 Comments on “Hunting the burger”

  1. stufftransmenlike
    October 1, 2008 at 9:55 pm #

    so which one was the best?

  2. evmaroon
    October 1, 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    Oh, forgive me for not making that more clear. The bison burger has been the best so far. Not too greasy, good portion, sweet-tasting, and well cooked.

  3. October 2, 2008 at 1:02 pm #

    There are about 5000 true buffalo (water buffalo) in the US. Our farm houses about 650 head of which 180 we are milking.

  4. evmaroon
    October 2, 2008 at 4:15 pm #

    Well, 5,000 is not a number to go unnoticed! They have been imported, yes? So are they the source of the “buffalo mozzarella” I see in stores?
    Thanks for straightening me out!

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