There's nothing like a good hamburger - the sizzle on the grill, the sight of the melted cheese, the narcotic-like relief as the juicy fat pours through your veins. Burgers are comfort food, too, and with the tougher times ahead, we may turn to them more often.
In the last several years, Roberta and I have cut back on red meat. I'm here to confess, however, that when the craving calls, I gotta' go get me some beef patty and white bread. A recent urging came from two sources - the local write-ups, which have featured burgers and a Hamburger Paradise segment on the Travel Channel that made me want one right then.
Going back 10-12 years, I remember there not being much in the way of burgers here in our area other than Fuddruckers. They were cool for awhile but only have a couple of locations. Then several years ago, Five Guys came on the scene with lots of locations, good quality beef, fresh french fries, rock music through the pipes and all those great reviews hanging from their walls.
My hunt for the ultimate cheeseburger, which may or may not become a full-fledged one, started a couple of weeks ago at Ray's Hell Burger. Although they were pricey, I gave them high ratings. (One thing I failed to mention was that they have the condiments at each table). Ray's reminded me of the way I used to make them at home. My favorite way of pounding out the patties included adding some Werstershire Sauce and chopped onions. Ray's seemed to have that sort of strong taste, as well as the juicy drip. But Roberta, having acquired a taste for organic beef burgers at a stop we made this summer in New Market, Virginia, wasn't too keen on Ray's.
So last weekend we decided to head for Elevation Burger in Falls Church (more locations coming including Arlington and National Harbor). Quite frankly, I was somewhat disappointed with them. The décor is nicer than Five Guys, the prices are decent, and since Ray's didn't have french fries, we were glad to have them there. But their fries were small and not all that good. The burgers weren't anything special either.
Upon reflection, however, I think Elevation Burger needs to be in its own burger category. Its CEO, Hans Hess, who recently won a Green Business award (category Visionary) for launching an all-hybrid taxi fleet in Arlington, has created a healthy alternative. When we walked out, we noted it felt good to not be stuffed.
But my little food id was disappointed, so it looks like the hunt will continue...