Thursday, July 22, 2010

Big Burger

I'm super stoked to be back in Florida and back on the burger tour!  And as our first stop upon my return, Big Burger was a solid choice.

The Place
I've driven past Big Burger dozens of times and it has always intrigued me.  It's on a busy stretch of University Ave in downtown Gainesville.  A prime location for serving up burgers.  I liked the inside of the place, mostly because I'm an incurable Elvis fan and couldn't get over the collage of Elvis albums plastered on the walls.  I thought it was great!

The Burger
While Tom tackled the "Big Burger" itself (a one-pound hunk of meat on a bun), I went for the "Baby Burger", which was a more manageable 1/4 lb patty, and topped it with American cheese and bacon. 

Let me just say this, I have eaten a lot of burgers and I think I have found my niche in the burger world-- I'm a 1/3 lb kind of girl. 

My options at Big Burger were 1/4 lb, 2/3 lb, or 1 lb.  I was a little stumped by this at the counter and had to ask my burger partner, "How much is 2/3 of a pound?  Can I eat that?"  He looked at me and said, "Not all at once..."  So I decided to play it safe with the 1/4 lb.

The flavor in my "Baby Burger" was good.  The meat was juicy and not over-cooked, so that was a good start.  However, I am suspicious that most of the flavor came from the added bacon. 

This makes me want to give Big Burger another try, wherein I will order the same burger sans bacon.  Also, neither of us ordered fries or any other sides with our burgers, so I would like to go back and give their fries a chance.

It's at a good location, though a little ways from my apartment, if I were out and about downtown, I could definitely see myself stopping by for a burger.  Also, we can't overlook the great King-themed atmosphere and the overall quality of the burger.

Big Burger keeps really weird hours.  Something like 11am to 4pm Mon, Tues, Weds, and then 11am - 4pm, reopening at 11pm - 3 am Fri, Sat, Sun.  Definitely catering to the bar crowds downtown.  However, it doesn't really leave itself open to much dinner business, which is a bummer because that's usually our time for burger touring.

Also, what's the deal with those weird sizes?  Can I just have a 1/3 lb burger please?

As I said, I would like to try Big Burger again, but overall, I was satisfied with my burger experience.  All things considered, I give my Baby Burger at Big Burger...

3 out of 5

Tom's blog talks about our original search for "Face Burger".  I later found out that it's actually called Big Uly's Burgers, which I still want to add to the burger tour.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Big Burger

Big Burger
21 West University Ave.
GainesvilleFL 32601


Thomas' take 
Our first outing back since the summer hiatus was shaping up to be a good one. We knew of a place in downtown Gainesville that we heard had good burgers. Most intriguing about the place was we didn't know the name. We just knew there was a big smiling face on the sign. 

So we went out in search of "Face burger" as we dubbed it. Luckily Jess was able to guide us right to it but the parking lot was overgrown, there wasn't a light on in the place and the windows were dirty. I made the call to abandon Face Burger and we headed to Big Burger.

A small locally-owned burger place slash want-to-be sports bar, Big Burger is a nice little place downtown. Plenty of Elvis memorable lines the walls, and the booths, tables and chairs are stylized like a '50s diner. Lettering on the windows carried some catchy slogans like "We're grillin' and chillin' for you" and "Home of the 1-pound burger."

The burger: 
When an establishment makes a point to advertise a specific burger it is like practically begging us to tour it. The aptly named Big Burger is two 1/2-pound patties on a pretty decent bun. I got mine with lettuce, tomato, pickle, ketchup, mustard and mayo, but the burger menu is of the get-it-how-you-like-it variety and the list of possible add-ons and condiments was extensive. 

The downs:
There is nothing very remarkable about this burger. Sure it's big and that's neat... but in terms of flavor it was lacking anything to really define it. 

That being said, it is a solid burger. It does everything right and certainly fills you up. I enjoyed eating it, it just was not worth writing to mom about. 

The ups:
I liked the atmosphere and would like to go back and actually eat there (it might be their summer hours, but the place closes at 4 p.m. most days). It was a simple, no frills, to the point kind of burger which I really appreciate. 

Jess and I decided we definitely would go back for their burgers and maybe even for another review.

The rating:
3.5 out of 5

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The wait is over - almost

Thomas' take

Jess recently finished up her internship at the Detroit Institute of Art and is heading back to the Sunshine State this weekend which means the Burger Tour summer hiatus is nearing an end.

We have plenty more burgers to eat and I'm extremely excited to have my burger buddy back.

To whet your appetite for real burger blogging I'm going to offer a little review of a recent Burger King visit. This does go against one of the tenets of the Tour, but because I was burgering on my own and because this was a standout experience we're going to allow.

Burger King A1 Steakhouse Burger

This was completely an impulse buy. I was seeking a quick fast food burger during my lunch break and ended up in Burger King. My gaze wandered from the Whopper to this relatively new creation.

If I had known then what I know now... I would have gone to Wendy's.

The burger: 
On paper this was going to be a solid meal; steak-like patty, A1 sauce, cheese, haystack onions, tomato, lettuce, and mayo. I knew going into it that this wasn't going to be the bet burger ever, hell, to be honest I wasn't expecting much, but I was still disappointed.

The downs:
The first negative surprise was the Thousand Island-like dressing that was slathered on the burger. It was extra zesty and applied with way too much zeal. I've never been a fan of this trend. To me it's like putting ketchup on steak, water in whiskey or mayonnaise on cake. Why take something delicious and add something to it to make it taste like poop?

The next startling realization was that the pseudo-steak patty had almost zero flavor. Maybe the workers at the Burger King factory put too much "nondescript meat flavor" juice it or maybe it was supposed to be like escargot -- chewy, flavorless and kind of gross. Either way there was no distinct flavor to the burger and the only way I knew I was eating something (aside from me chewing stuff) was the sting of the super zesty dressing.

The ups:
This burger provided me with much needed perspective. It reminded me that simply being a burger doesn't make a burger good.

The other good thing is that it was very filling. In fact I was full of a "sick to my stomach" feeling for much of the night, and my throat was full of stomach acid from the raging heartburn and reflux it gave me.

The rating:
0.5 out of 5 I could probably be talked into eating it again, but I wouldn't pay for it.