After a week off, the craving struck again. Needed a burger. What kind of burger? A big, fat nasty (read: juicy and delicious) bar-style burger. We started a short list of bars that we wanted to go hit that we knew served burgers and quickly dwindled it down to Cedar Creek, mostly because it's my absolute favorite beer spot in Houston.
Cedar Creek is a bar among bars. It's tucked back from the main roads, surrounded by lots of big trees and has a huge patio that literally pulls up right to a creek. They have a really nice draft wall including several Texan beers, including 4 kinds of Shiner, 4 kinds of Saint Arnold, Lone Star, and heck, you can even get a can of Pearl if you want it. The weather has been absolutely amazing so the need to sit on that patio and chew some cow while sipping on Shiner Hefeweizen was on the front of my mind.
Our group rolled into Cedar Creek right at dusk on a Wednesday night. We quickly learned that half of the city also had the need to drink beers on the best bar patio in town and spent a few minutes fighting for a table. We got ourselves to a picnic table and grabbed some menus. Lots of burger options. We dropped our order in for a Blue Hog burger that is topped with blue cheese and bacon, a Mushroom Swiss burger and a Dutchess that comes with chili and extra onions.
This is where things go wrong. Cedar Creek was absolutely slammed. We waited over an hour for food simply because it was obvious that they were overrun with demand. Still, the food that was coming out of the kitchen looked absolutely amazing.
Then the burgers arrived and things changed. The burgers arrived and looked delicious. However, one bite in and all that we could taste was bread. Two bites in and we tasted bread and a little bit of smoke. Three bites in and we didn't find any other flavor. It was completely dry, if not burnt. The condiments were spread very thin and didn't really add any flavor. A high point? The vegetables were very fresh. Topping the burger with full spears of pickle was especially nice. Unfortunately, the freshness of the vegetables stops impressing once you realize that there is more lettuce on your burger than there is meat.
Did you watch The Matrix? Remember the scene where they are eating protein goop in the ship's dining room? That's what I would imagine the burger tasted like, except burnt. Cedar Creek has officially beaten me in creating a burger inspired by an elephant graveyard in the middle of a desert. Terrible. Absolutely terrible. I don't know if that's the standard burger at Cedar Creek or if the chef was asleep at the wheel, but the ownership should seriously reprimand, if not flat out fire whoever is ultimately responsible for what we were served depending on if what we received was the usual fare. It was a nine dollar burger that made me want nothing more than to go down the street to Burger King and get a Whopper. Sad, but true. I'd rather have a Whopper.
Cedar Creek does have some very tasty food options. We also had an order of their sloppy nachos at the table and an order of fried pickles. They were fantastic. We all agreed that the fried pickles were some of the best that we have ever had and that the nachos were showstopping. I'm already craving a gigantic tray of them not even 24 hours later.
So, what was learned? Cedar Creek is still a fantastic bar. I love it. Everyone that came along liked the atmosphere, the beer selection is great and there are lots of decent food options. We'll all go back. Often. What will we not do? Order a burger. If I needed a burger I'd work the Han Solo angle and smuggle in a #1 combination from Whataburger to go with my beer. Not surprisingly, Cedar Creek is rocking last place on the quest for the best burger in the city. Not even close to any other place that we have been.
The quest goes on...
NOTE: Yes, this post is picture free. While the burgers looked great, they tasted awful, and pictures wouldn't do them any justice. Executive decision. I never claimed I'd be fair. I am interested if anyone else has ever had their burger and would like to chime in with their thoughts about it. Did we get a fluke? Does it always suck? What's the deal?
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday night burger? You betcha! Today's stop was decided by a recommendation we received at the Houston Burgers twitter account. We were sent to Mytiburger which is at 2211 W 43rd St, see it on the burger map.
You arrive in a parking lot which has nothing but a teeny tiny little burger stand. It's old. You can tell it moved in at least 20 or 25 years ago. It may look like a dive, but it is very clean and well maintained.
Inside the itty-bitty restaurant they have about 3 tables and a booth to complement the 4 picnic tables they have outside. The entire place is decorated in Coca-Cola. The tables, walls, fixtures, even some of the chairs were all branded with the soda, making it pretty obvious I wasn't going to be getting my hands on a Diet Pepsi on this trip. The place is a three person mom and pop operation during peak dinner hour. They had a cook, someone taking the orders and an extra hand running around trying to look busy.
What do we order? The group gets 4 Mytiburgers with cheese. Three of us opted for standard fries but Mytiburger also serves up sweet potato fries and one of us grabbed an order of those. Then Coca-Cola and Diet Coke all around. We had to go easy on the sodas though, Mytiburger charges 50 cents for a refill and they sure do put a lot of ice in your cup. We grabbed a table outside to enjoy the arrival of some cooler weather and began the wait.
Ten minutes of waiting were rewarded with two little white lunch sacks packed with burgers and fries. We divied it out and quickly began chowing down. What were we rewarded with? One of the absolute best old-fashioned burgers we've ever had. I need to stress the word old-fashioned. This isn't the best burger that we've had on this trip, but much like Otto's Barbecue, these burgers have that classic flavor that you can only really seem to get from older, more traditional burger stands. You could draw a good comparison with Whataburger. The Mytiburger tastes exactly like the absolute best Whataburger that you could ever put in your mouth, the Nick creature even declared that the burger was probably exactly what the W tasted like back when it was a little burger stand in Corpus Christi. Every single item I could touch on compares almost exactly to Whataburger. The bun, the veggies, the patty, everything is just like Whataburger only a little bit better. Even the grease level was about the same. Bonus points? They don't put mayo on their burgers. Mustard only. Other burger joints should take some notes.
The french fries were standard, fat, plain fries. I had to douse mine in salt, pepper and ketchup to give them any flavor. More bonus points? Old school red ketchup squeezebottles. Even more bonus points? It was nearly empty so I could make a few immature fart jokes. Unlike the regular fries, the sweet potato fries were, to sum it up in a word, badass. Crispy, thin and a refreshing change to the usual fries and onion rings. I recommend that anyone who hits up Mytiburger try them at least once.
The verdict? As we've already noted, this burger is fantastic, but it didn't hit home enough to make us declare it the best burger in Houston. It lands smack dab in the middle of all of the competition so far, although for a more classic tasting burger, you cant go wrong with Mytiburger. Wait, last minute bonus points? Yes. Ladies, if you ever need a burger with a view, Mytiburger is conveniently right next door to a fire station. The girls didn't seem to have much to contribute to the conversation during the meal... almost as if they were distracted by something. Just sayin'.....
See you next week!!
(UPDATE 9/3/2009: We stand corrected. Sources say this building came outta the 50's.)