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Stanton’s City Bites
1420 Edwards St
Houston, TX 77007
It has been quite some time since I’ve been able to update this digital ode to burgers. Several life changes have taken much of my time away from various passions, burgers included. We bought our first home and are soon expecting a little baby burger lover. In these exciting times, full of changes or updates, I felt it fitting to update a burger review that was one of the first posts on this site four years ago. Houston has always loved and voted Stanton’s City Bites as one of the best burgers around long before the recent national love affair with gourmet burgers began. Based on this high praise, I made my way over with some coworkers and tried it out. As you can tell in my review (www.burgertyme.com/stantons), I was less than impressed.
Recently, however, a friend of mine messaged me that I should check out Stanton’s. Specifically that they had amazing bacon. Well, I initially dismissed it as buying into the hype. Then one day, I was watching George Motz’s tv show, Burgerland, where he visited Houston and went to Stanton’s. The burger I saw on that episode did not resemble anything like the burger of my memory. Specifically their new buns seemed much better then ones used in the past. Suddenly, I realized that i was missing out on a great burger rebirth! With little hesitation, I rounded up a few burger lovers, and actually rode a bike to Stanton’s. It was an added benefit that this place was close enough to enjoy biking through the historic Houston district.
From the outside, Stanton’s looks exactly the same. No change whatsoever. Once we walked in, however, it was obvious, much had changed. Gone were the convenience store shelves replaced by a mish mash of tables and chairs for an eclectic dining area. If you recall, my prior experience involved taking the food and finding a park to sit and eat due to the absence of seating. No longer did you place your order over an out of service meat cooler (although it was still there). The new menu was posted high above the cash register where you place your order, and get your ticket number. Stanton’s impressed my on my first visit with their wide variety of peculiar sodas. This his not only remained, but gotten even better. There is a huge selection of traditional and unknown (to me) sodas from all over. Two of note, that are my new favorites are Dublin Tart-n-Sweet and Cheerwine.
So after the wash of burger euphoria subsided, I stepped up to order. The one that stood out the me was called the Miss Piggie. Bacon ground into the patty served with candied bacon and a hash brown… Oh my gogi that sounds good. So I rounded it off with an order of sides and plenty of bizarre sodas. While we waited I watched as neighborhood kids repeatedly came in and bought candy, so this is still a functioning store for locals. After about ten minutes, the burgers arrived. Gone were the store brand, dry toasted buns. The new buns looked great, and were buttered and griddled. The burger patties here were always good quality and the star of the burger. This was no different. The addition of bacon ground in to the patty added some great texture and savory flavor to the beef. The candied bacon was great, sweet and salty. The hash brown was a great addition to anyone who is a fan of putting fries on their burger. Another noteworthy item was the veggies. The lettuce was leafy and bright green and the onions and tomatoes were also good. Of course, I like tots, and these hit me right in the tot spot.
Boy am I glad I gave this place a second chance. I have been back several times and brought as many people as I can to this place. It is authentically Houston, and authentically great. From my last review to this one, it has gone from a place I never really cared for to one of my favorite burgers in Houston. It is really great! So as with all things, some times, change is for the better, as long as we can maintain the character that makes us unique. Stanton’s has done exactly that!
Gringo Loco Facebook Page-
Once again, the missionary burger review has come in all the way from Trujillo, Peru. Who knew that Peru had such a big burger culture? Without further ado, the following is my brother’s review of Gringo Loco. For additional photos, check out their Facebook page (link).
Directly translated it means The Crazy White Guy. But you would have to be crazy not to come to Peru and eat this Burger!!
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Sacramende? Sacto? Sacramento, that’s it. For my first visit to the capitol city of California, I was pleasantly surprised by the small town feel of this big city. Having grown up in Baton Rouge, another capital city, I noticed several similarities. The areas around the capital building are nice, there are several restaurants, and some of them… are burgers! A quick poll to a friend who lived here for a short while brought up Nation-Wide Meats. He was a little hesitant and noted that I may not like it. I think I may come off as a burger snob, but I really like any kind of burger as long as it is good. So, once I was free from my work commitments, set off to find this place. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful neighborhood where I found Nation-wide (btw, I was later told that the weather was typical and the neighborhood was not that great, which just shows how good people have it in California…).
So Nation-Wide Meats has what they call “French Ground Steakburgers”, I’ve searched far and wide (translation, googled it) and could not find what exactly that means but when I hear the word steak I have to assume that they are using some good beef and grinding it fresh. Stepping in, the place has everything you look for in an authentic burger joint, well aged decor (as in things that are actually old), confusing signs about their hours of operation and what payment they accept, a simple letter board menu, and most importantly slightly cantankerous (in a good way) but genuinely helpful people behind the counter. Speaking of which, the gentleman who took our order talked to me for about 5 minutes because I work at the same company as his brother in law. So, with all the preliminary checks in place. It was time to order.
You have the option of a steakburger or a hamburger. I imagined the steakburgers had to be better so I ordered one with Cheese and everything on it. I added fries and a shake to round out the order. Their shake selection was much better than I expected. Not feeling too adventurous, I just got the chocolate. The shake came out first and I did my best not to drink all of it before the burger came out. After about 8 minutes or so the guy brought a brown paper bag with my name and a few grease spots on it to the table. He also brought a small dixie cup with ketchup for the fries… That was interesting. Do they not trust customers to dispense their own? or do they want to ensure you don’t ruin the steakburger by putting ketchup on it? When I opened the bag the first thing I noticed was the fries. Typically a french fry is cut to 1/4″ or 1/2″ for a thick cut. These were about 1″ square. They were huge! They were fried nicely and I like the uniqueness but it took several bites to eat just one.
The burger was slightly deceiving. At first glance it appeared to be dominated by the bun however on first bite, the pillowy, chewy, toasted bun conformed well to both contain the burger and assist in the two hand gripping (which this huge burger needed). This was a juicy, beefy, taste the freshness kind of burger. The patty of the steak burger had a great crusty sear, yet was cooked just enough to remain dripping with the beef juices. The cheese was melted well and the veggies gave a great foundation of “health” factor. I could now see why they restrict ketchup access. Ketchup is used to add moisture to a dry burger. At first glance people may be tempted to ruin the perfect balance before even trying it and realizing the juice contained within.
I really enjoyed Nation-Wide Meats. There was no pretense or pageantry about how great their ingredients are our how fresh their local micro farmer supplier can grow carbon free, zero impact kale chips etc. Just straightforward, good burgers, fries, and shakes. BUT, this is not a cheap burger. The combo I ordered will set you back almost $15…. It’s worth it. This is how burgers should be made. The ingredients are quality, the setting is perfect, and I don’t care what Californians say, the weather is GREAT and Sacramento seemed like a great town (minus the Kings, of course :))!
Jirón Pizarro 711
Centro de Trujillo
La Libertad, Perú
My youngest brother, who is living in Peru as a missionary, has long been an avid Burger Tymer. It is a well known fact that missionaries love to eat, and when they get the chance to eat good food, even better! He has taken time out of his busy schedule to write a second burger review for those of us who have an interest in burgers near and far. The following are his words:
To start off this Burger Tyme update let´s talk a little history! Jano´s is a Trujillo exclusive. It´s is a family owned burger joint; there are only seven locations in throughout Trujillo. This place from Perú shares the American passion of options when it comes to burger eating.
The Option between a normal size burger, a big burger, or excessivly gigantic burger! A burger so big that it´s hard to determine Who´s eating who? when you take the first bite.
Jano´s is the home to the Lo Definitivo. A multi-layered burger with several patties, a fried egg, shredded chicken, and a hot dog. For a Perú burger it was extremely big! The flavor of the patty and other meats weren´t huge winners, but Jano’s is known for their sauces which were awesome. So the overall flavor was very good, but not amazing.
San Diego CA 92101
Ahhh! Beautiful Southern California! What better place to inspire a Burger Tyme guest post? Having already sampled the SoCal classic In-N-Out Burger and the gourmet up-and-comer Umami Burger as part of my travels, I decided it was time to seek out new territory for my fellow burger addicts while in San Diego to see a baseball game at Petco Park. After reviewing several San Diego “best burger” lists I decided on the one name that I saw on all of them: Hodad’s.
After the final pitch of the ballgame, I trekked through the streets of downtown San Diego to find the place, which is actually the second location of Hodad’s just opened in 2011. The original Hodad’s is over in Ocean Beach where it built quite a following. Along the way it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and named one of the five best burgers in the U.S. by CNN. But screw the history of it all and the media recognition! Can you really trust the media anyway? All I wanted to know this day was whether this was a quality Burger Tyme.
After about a 15-minute walk from Petco Park I had finally made it to this unassuming burger joint. It wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but the line of people out the door was certainly a good sign. When the hostess (perhaps too formal a term for this place, but it is the best word I can come up with) realized I was alone she invited me to have a seat at the bar. And so I grabbed a menu and claimed a stool.
The menu was pretty simple. No snobbish gourmet-style burgers here! Just the basic hamburger or cheeseburger available as a single or double patty and with or without bacon. Also basic were the prices, with the most expensive offering setting you back a scant $12.50 including a side of onion rings. The only nonstandard burgers here were the Guido burger, a pastrami burger with ketchup, pickles, swiss cheese, grilled onions, and spicy brown mustard inspired by Triple-D host Guy Fieri, and the Blue Jay burger, a bacon cheeseburger with bleu cheese and grilled onions. Neither one sounded overly appealing so I went for a classic double cheeseburger with a side of fries. I also ordered a chocolate milkshake since the only sodas they had were Pepsi products, and I don’t do second-rate sodas.
While waiting for my order I took in a bit more of my surroundings. Almost every square inch of the walls was covered with old license plates, something I have always been fascinated with, adding to the relaxed aura of the place. I laughed when I saw the California plate personalized with “EFEN SWT” and the sticker about two feet below it that said, “Never Trust the Police.” On the beverage cooler there was also a sticker for In-N-Out Burger, an ironic tribute to the SoCal icon by this hole in the wall place that claims to have the “World’s Best Burger.”
After about ten minutes of waiting my milkshake comes out and it was nearly a meal in itself! The shake came out in a 32-ounce metal cup with a huge scoop of chocolate ice cream on the top and hanging off the sides. Breaking with Burger Tyme tradition I elected to start of the shake before the burger came just so I wouldn’t have a big mess from melted ice cream. I ate the ice cream down to a safe level by which time my burger arrived, and like the shake it was much bigger than I anticipated. It is a good thing I had skipped lunch because I would need the full capacity of my stomach to ingest this burger feast.
The burger was massive with one end shoved in a paper wrapper and the other hanging out in such a way as if to say “eat me, if you dare!” The two burger patties were probably about 1/3 lb. each and resting on top of fresh sliced tomatoes and onions, pickles, and shredded lettuce, sandwiched in by a lightly toasted sesame seed bun. I used both hands to pick up this monster and attempt to fit the thing in my mouth. Upon biting into the beast I was impressed by the excellent seasoning of the beef and how well the veggies complemented the meat, especially the pickles that provided a nice crispness to each bite. The patties were cooked to perfection and quite juicy, although before I was half done with the burger the bun could not handle the juices from the burger and the condiments and became rather soggy. Perhaps a bit more toasting could have improved the bun’s performance, but otherwise this was an excellent burger indeed.
Hiding underneath the burger was a large portion of fries, which once I finished the burger I began to tackle. The fries were battered potato wedges that had a bit of thickness to them, a departure from the thinner fry cuts BurgerTyme maestro JoeMoney has expressed preference for in the past but just the way I like them. The danger with this type of cut is that it can be difficult to cook so that the inside of the fry is not mushy, but these fries were fried for just the right amount of time with a crunchy outside and a firm warm inside.
The chocolate shake was a bit too much for me and I am ashamed to admit that I was not able to finish. The shake was nice and thick, however about half the cup was still in ice cream form. I guess that is why the serve it up with a spoon instead of a straw. I would have preferred a Coke to accompany this fine burger offering and perhaps the shake as a dessert afterwards.
Is this truly the world’s best burger as the restaurateur claims? Probably not, but it is certainly in my personal top five. For you Burger Tymers from Houston, I would say this is very similar to Christian’s Tailgate, both in the style and quality of the burger and the general vibe of the establishment. A more toasted bun and leafed lettuce instead of shredded lettuce would have made the Hodad’s burger better in my opinion. Despite these minor shortcomings, if you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a unpretentious place to have an outstanding burger at a reasonable price Hodad’s should be at the top of your list.
About the Author
Harold J. Forbes, in addition to being a hardcore Burger Tymer, is an accountant and author focusing on personal finance and preparedness topics. You can learn more about Harold and his books on his Amazon author page at http://amazon.com/author/haroldforbes.