Sunday, December 21, 2008

George Motz interview

Fans of Hamburger America. If you want to hear George talk about his film and book try this: Mr. Media It is about an 55 min. talk about burgers, his research for the book and film.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Village Bar once again.

I met my brother at the Village Bar the other day. He has been with me on some of my burger hunts. He has never been to the Village Bar. We get there after 1 pm and the small parking lot is full. We get inside and grab a table. I go up to the bar and put out order in. 2 cheeseburgers and fries. If you do make it there, sit at one of the taller tables. There are some rare collectibles under the top of the table. If you read my post about the Village Bar, you remember me talking about the seasoning. Well it is Lawry's Season Salt. I saw it with my own two eyes. This gives the juicy burger even more taste. Once again I had a great burger at the Village Bar, my brother loved it also. I will have to take him on more burger trips!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Burger research with George Motz

A week before Thanksgiving I get a email from George Motz asking if I was up for some burger research. It would be the Friday after Thanksgiving. Well of course I said yes. We were to meet in Watertown WI at a place called Zwieg's. I have been to Watertown a couple times for car shows to show off the Corvette but never to eat. It was a 40 minute drive for me but it seemed short. We were to meet at noon but I got a call from George on the way there that he was running late. So I took a little detour down to Jefferson to see if Wendl's was open. You will know it as Peterson's in Hamburger America book. Now I don't know if the shack was closed for the season but the sign said "Closed Nov. 27 & 28." Well there goes that idea of going there after Zwieg's. Wendl's is just south of Watertown in Jefferson, a short drive.

Well I get at Zwieg's about quarter after 12. I walk in and take a seat in front of the griddle. I like to see the action. I have to wait a few minutes for George so I just sit back and observe what takes place at the griddle and the people inside. For one thing I could not believe the amount of "To Go" orders. I swear every 5 minutes a person came to pick an order up. The one thing I did notice was the waitress/cook knew everyone by name. You be walking in the door and she would be putting your order on the bar and say hi then tell you the total.

George walks in with an arm full of cameras, equipment and the book. He takes and seat to my left. We say hi and he puts his stuff on the bar. He tells me he followed a truck with a deer on the back. I laugh, "It is deer season here." I say. By this time Glen and Mary Zwieg have come over to say hi. After the introduction George goes right to work. Asking questions about this, about that. He look liked a seasoned journalist asking questions and writing down notes. Mary answered most of the questions, Glen felt comfortable at the griddle. I learn a lot about the place but I won't get into it ....Top Secret stuff you know. It may be in revised edition of George's book.

Well he gets his information he needs. Now it is time to order. I order a double cheeseburger with fried onions. George does the same. George is still writing his notes but still observing what is going on. I point out the our sliced onion is put on the patty as it is on the griddle. Then it is flipped to finish the burger and onions. Sort of like El Reno in Oklahoma, which I have never been to but I read it in Hamburger America and remember that!!

Our burgers arrive and George takes out his cameras. He gets a white piece of paper, in this case wax paper for lighting, and holds it to the side of the burger. So I sit there waiting. He takes picture after picture, telling me "Just a few more Todd." Then he says "OK done." I reach forward, grab my burger and take a bite. You will notice the onions right away but the flavor of the beef really comes through. We have our burger down in no time flat. While listening to the questions that George had ask I learn that the beef had arrived fresh no more then 20 minutes. Talk about fresh beef. After finishing we start to pack up but George tells me this is where you can get some good nuggets of info. The last 5 minutes of research for him is where some of the good stuff happens. Like I said I will leave that to his book!!

We go outside and take some pictures of the place (pictured above.) I don't know how many pictures he took that visit but it was a lot. Next we are off to Lake Mills. A quick 15 minute drive. I follow him down a two lane highway. We get behind a car doing lets say 45 in a 55. Well that slows us down. It was a hilly, curvy highway, so passing was going to be hard. Well when George got his opening to pass he did, legally of course. Must have been the NASCAR fan in him haha.

We get to American Legion Post 67 in Lake Mills. He points there it is. This place is small I thought he was pointing next to the diner next door. Post 67 is only open on Fridays during the summer months. George takes some photos and points out that this is Hamburger America and that two of the smallest places in his book are just miles apart. Wendl's in Jefferson the other.

Had a really fun day and learn a lot watching George. Now if I can learn more about photography all will be good!!

To read George's Blog of the day click here Wisconsin Burger Research

Five Guys again.

This event happen Nov. 18th 08'

Well I said I go back to Five Guys and I did. I was in Madison for my Corvette Club meeting. I was early so to kill some time I went to Five Guys. This time I ordered a Double Bacon Cheeseburger with fried onions. I got there about 5 pm. There were about 5 people already seated with about 4 others waiting for there order. I joined the people waiting off to the side and snacked on some peanuts while I waited, which can be addictive. Once I got my burger there must have been additional 3 in line and more coming in. I took my seat at a side bar and read some of the articles on the wall. I happen to look across the street. There was a KFC/Taco Bell. Combine I don't think there were 6 people eating. At Five Guys it was getting busy. Once again another hot, good burger. If you have one near you, you know. If you have never been to one, get to one.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Three Burgers in a Day, "Burp"

This event happen Nov. 8th 2008

Blue Moon Bar & Grill
2535 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53705

I have gone on a Burger Trip before but that was over a couple days. Well that cloudy day I was on a mission to put down three of the Best Burgers in Madison.

The first stop was Blue Moon Bar and Grill. I have ate burgers a couple of times at The Blue Moon. I don't know how many burgers they serve in a week but it has to be a good number. I have learn from doing this blog, I have to work on my reporting skills to ask more questions to the owners/cooks!!! I should have taken a picture of the grill area. Two fryers only and a small griddle. With such a small grill area you may be surprised that Blue Moon is always up there with the other Best Burger in Madison (Dotty's, Plaza for example)

I order a "Best in Town Burger," with name like that I can't go wrong correct!! I add cheese and get a beer. I order it medium. I always feel sorry for people who order their burger well done. I would guess the burger is about 7-8 oz. I sit and make small talk with people around me at the bar. The Badger football game is on, so that is most of the talk.

I get my burger in a basket with dill pickle spears (pictured.) I don't add anything, no Ketchup or Mustard. I am trying to wean myself off Ketchup. Don't want to cover the flavor of my burger. Learn that from Louis Lunch spot in Hamburger America. Ketchup is such a strong flavor. Mustard I will do now and then. I take a couple bites. Nicely cooked, crispy on the outside, juicy with some pink in the middle. Tip my hat off to the cook!! Ordered it medium, got it medium. The bun is big and is like a kaiser bun but not hard. I have my burger done in minutes. Want to order another but doing other burgers later in the day.

Now Dotty's gets all the praise in Madison but The Blue Moon is not far behind. If you do make it there, Blue Moon makes good Chili also.

After eating a burger at Blue Moon, my plan was to go do a Plaza Burger and then go to Dotty's. I have had both burgers before and have talked about them here on my blog. It is just after 2 pm when I get to the Plaza. The Plaza Tavern is doing good business. I order a Plaza Burger and a glass of Point Beer. I think I got an extra helping of Plaza sauce on this order. It was extra messy!!! I won't go into detail about the burger I have done that before, Plaza Burger. All I will say it hit the spot.

I walk past Five Guys on my way to Dotty's. I want to go in but I am sticking to my plan. I get to Dotty's in no time, about a five minute walk. It is packed at Dotty's. I even had a hard time finding a seat at the bar. I do find a seat and order a "Classic Burger" with cheese. Jeff Stanely the owner is at the end of the bar. He is watching the Badger game. I have not talked or seen Jeff since George Motz was at Dotty's for the book tour. Before I know it he is gone... His daughter is there also, working. Rachael is busy but she makes time to talk to me. She knows I am a burger nut from other chats. Like I wrote before... Dotty's.... Rachael makes a trip to Dotty's enjoyable. I always like chatting with her, when she is not busy!!!

My burger arrives quicker then I thought it would with the size of the crowd. I am still wondering
after my first bite if I can finish this burger after having two others. Well after a few other bites I realize I can. It is good and there is a reason it is a top burger in Madison. That was the KO punch though. When I got home later I did fall asleep for a couple hours.

So there you go, I did the three Burger spots that get the most word of mouth in one day!!! So which one is best????? Well here is my answer, opinion

Each one is best in its own way. Oh I am dodging the question, no wait. The Plaza Burger to me is a Specialty Burger, special sauce. The burger at Dotty's is on a open flame, which is not that common. Blue Moon is the traditional flat griddle. Also each experience is different each time I visit. For one you get a different cook sometimes at these places, which makes a difference. If you do need a true answer I would say Blue Moon was the best that day...maybe because it was my first one of the day!!!!

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Back in Oct. I went to Cheeseburger in Paradise. I had set up a get together with some guys from my Corvette Club, Mad City Vettes. The beer was good, cold and it was fun to talk to the guys. The Cheeseburger on the other hand was a let down. I think I liked the fries better. I just did not like it. It was one of those burgers where the bun is better then the burger, which is not good. I go there to socialize and down some beers but not order a burger. The other guys liked their meal, nobody else had a burger though. The Cuban Sandwich looked really good. Go to Cheeseburger in Paradise as a group and have fun but stay away from the burger. You think if you had a name like "Cheeseburger" you make a good one.... wrong!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Village Bar & Main Depot

The Village Bar 3801 Mineral Point Rd. Madison WI 608-233-9956

Once again I am going off Doug Moe's list of places to get a good Burger in Madison WI. My first stop is The Village Bar. It is a small place, probably seat a dozen at the bar and about a half dozen tables. This bar was made famous when a cabbie took Jerry Seinfeld here when he asked about a good burger. Now my cook/bartender is Nick. He made my visit to the Village Bar enjoyable. I order a Cheeseburger and a beer. Nick walks over puts my patty on the griddle, adds some seasoning. Turns around to make small talk with me again. Within a couple short minutes it is flipped, cheese added and my bun thrown on the griddle to warm it. Ta Da that simple. It comes on a small paper plate, no fancy china here. I really like the seasoning of this burger. It reminds my of a Lawry's season salt. Which it maybe I could not tell. They get their burger from Sentry's Grocery store, ground that day I do not know but they are not frozen patties. I had a nice time there and the burger hit the spot. When you sit at the bar you can see a local golf course and the people chasing a little white ball. I will have to get back to the Village Bar and talk with the bartenders again and have a burger.

Main Depot 627 W. Main St. Madison WI 608-257-3100

Ok this place is a typical tavern in a small town in WI. The only thing is this in a city of 250,000. Just think back to 80 yrs ago. The griddle is small, the decor is awesome. Take a look at the ceiling, decorative molding from way back. The beer is cold but pricey for a small bar. I got there @ 1 pm and ordered a Cheeseburger and fries. I hear the burger hit the griddle. A little butter on the bun and it also goes on the griddle. The bun is the star of this burger. Think Brat Bun but shaped as a Hamburger Bun. The burger was OK, nothing to cheer about. That is why I said the Bun was the star. Always a bad sign. I would not put the burger in the Top Ten of Madison Places for a burger. I know there has to be better ones out there then this one.

Now the tavern itself is great. If you go make sure you take in everything. A lot of nick knacks and UW-Badger stuff. I could see coming here for a cold brew before going to a Badger game. The Kohl Center is just a few blocks away.

The picture on the left is the Village Bar, the right Main Depot.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sweeney's Oakcrest Tavern

This event happen on Labor Day Sept. 1st 08'

Sweeney's Oakcrest Tavern
5371 Old Middleton Rd, Madison, WI 53705 608-233-1243

Going off Doug Moe's article I went to the Oakcrest Tavern. The Oakcrest was slow when I got there, which was good. There was about 9 people counting myself. The Burger here is Char-grilled, which I like. Some people do not. The beef comes from Knoche Food Center. Lets say a local Butcher. Local... it is across the street!! The patty is made from steak trimmings and ground daily. The Burger comes on a whole wheat bun and your typical choices.

I order a Cheeseburger and small fry, with a Coke. I don't make any small talk with anyone, which is rare for me!! I just look over my notes from other Burger Joints. Yes I do take notes while I am at a place. I may not be the best blogger but hey I take notes!!! Trust me you do forget things.

My Burger comes and you can see the juices bleeding into the bun!! Look at the picture, that is not ketchup!!! I ordered it medium and it came that way. The Burger did not WOW me but it still it was good. Now if I remember right fresh ground patties will almost have a pebble like structure when cooked. (George if you read this send me a heads up if I am right!!) Well this burger did have that, tender and fell apart easy. Overall a good burger but like I said it did not WOW me.

Stadium Sports Bar & Eatery

This event happen on Sept. 13th 08'

Stadium Sports Bar & Eatery
1419 Monroe St. Madison WI 53711

To start it is a 7 oz. fresh ground patty, on a whole wheat bun. Busy for 3 pm on a Saturday. The Badgers Football game is a late game, what gives?? Ohhhh Badger Volleyball crowd is here. I learn there is a tourney at the Field house. I order a Build Your Own. What I ordered is simple, a 7oz patty with american cheese, small fry and a beer.

Being a Bar Manager I make small talk with my bartender. Well she is going to Italy for 10 days, Western to be exact. Florence is one stop for her. I will have to see if I can catch her here again and see how it went. The Burger comes and I can tell it is cooked to how I ordered, medium rare. I can see the juices pooling on the Burger. How can I see the juices if I ordered a cheeseburger. Well the cheese is faceing the bottom bun. The whole wheat bun comes with..... it looks like a sesame seed bun on Barry Bond Juice. The first bite reminds me of the Burger at the Plaza minus the sauce, juicey and tender. All I added was yellow mustard and pickle slices. The pickles slices have a good kick!! This is a good Burger, I'd pick this over the Oakcrest Burger.

The atmosphere is great. Sports Bar with 25 + TV's! Oh don't come on a Badger Football Saturday. It is called Stadium Sports Bar for well being next to a stadium, Camp Randall. This place is packed on football Saturdays.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Five Guys visit.

Aug. 19th 2008

Now I have known Five Guys was in Madison WI but have never gone to it. Well after learning that Five Guys is popping up every where, I decided to go. Five Guys in Madison is on State Street. A street well known in Madison. It is lined with Apts, shops etc... It is also next to the UW-Madison. You could spend a whole day people watching. Which I was doing, that is why I walked right by Five Guys. Ok I walked one block pass it. "Oh well." I thought to myself. "I can always go over to the Plaza Tavern for a burger." A quick back track and I was back at Five Guys. First thing you will notice once inside is the red/white decor of the place. It was 2 pm so I missed the lunch rush, which I always try to do. I ordered a Cheeseburger and a Coke. Which is a double patty with cheese. I also got fried onions on it (Just look at the picture!!) My customer number is #1. I am saving that receipt. I am not the first of the day but having #1 makes me special right!!

My wait is 3-4 minutes. I read some of the articles that hang on the wall. I could also munch on peanuts... in shell. My number is call "Number One." I grab a seat along a side bar. I open my brown bag and open the foil around my burger. My first bite.... Wooooo this thing is juicy, messy and HOT!!! The burger is dripping with cheese and onions. Once again look at the picture!! The taste reminded me of something almost like Mom would make in the skillet for me when I was a kid. That is always a good sign...Burger Flashbacks!! I had one with the Butter Burger also. I have to comeback to try others here.

If you get to the Madison location, try to sit at the bar by the front window. That way you can people watch. Did I mention the UW-Madison is right next door!! I love summer!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Great Burger Road Trip Day 2 Cont.

Aug. 5th afternoon. Well I get up to Green Bay about 1 pm. I have a room about a 1/2 mile from Lambeau Field. I have my lead from Glenn to try a burger joint. He told me to try Kroll's. Well there is one downtown Green Bay and one next to Lambeau Field on the West side of the stadium. I go to Kroll's West by the Stadium, no burger though I want a Beer! I have a few pints and watch the circus that is Brett Favre and the Packers on the news. I then head over to Training Camp. I will not go into detail but any football fan should visit Lambeau Field. As pictured above is Donald Driver taking a ride on a kids bike to practice. One of the traditions of training camp is players riding bikes to practice. So I take in the camp and the other events of Training Camp. Around 6 pm I go to the Stadium View Bar and Grill that is East of the Stadium. I go there most the time if I am at a Packers game but have never ordered food. I have a beer and order my burger and fries. I order it medium rare, "Sorry" the Bartender goes " All orders are cooked medium well." I say "Fine." My burger arrives and it is the driest thing I have every ate. I should have said no to the burger when they told me how well it was going to be done. The bun was the star of this burger. Now I would still go to the Stadium View for the drinks and atmosphere of a game day but I will never have a burger there again. Off to my hotel and fall asleep to a John Wayne Western on TV.

The next day I am up early to catch a Packers practice. I kill time till 11 am when Curly's Pub opens inside Lambeau. Well I get there and check the prices for a burger.... Ahh no when you have to pay $10 for a burger forget it. I then head across to Kroll's West. I order and Burger and a Cheeseburger. I like to compare the two sometimes, if I have room. The roll is toasted and they also put butter on there burgers. Lets say it does not come close to the Butter Burger at Solly's. You can taste the butter....barely. I should have listen Glenn and gone to the one East of Lambeau in downtown Green Bay. Live and learn I guess.

Off to home. I am burgered out!! No burgers for me thank you, for awhile anyway. The whole trip was about 350 miles. Less then what was planned thank God. Was going to do Chicago, Milwaukee, Green Bay and the
Twin Cities. Glad I listen to that little voice in my head!!

Overall a great time. Met Glenn and got to visit Lambeau Field. Still many adventures to come.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Great Burger Road Trip Day 2

Aug. 5th 08'

Tuesday morning up at 7 am, turn on Sportcenter to see what I missed on the Brett /Green Bay Soap Opera. Solly's opens at 6 am on Tuesdays for breakfast and I want to catch Glenn at work. I have missed him twice!! A quick 1 mile drive down the road and I am there. It is close to 9 am and there are about 12 cars in the parking lot. I take a picture of the building (used in previous post) and head inside. There about 15 people at the horseshoe counter. I go to my left to see the grill and who is running the show.... The one and only Glenn Fieber!! Now the omelets and other breakfast goodies look good. He is even putting that good old Wisconsin Butter on the hash browns ( Mental note, get here for breakfast.) The waitress comes up and I ask "Is it too early for a Burger?!?" (I know the answer) "No" she goes. I order a Butter Burger without. "Cheese?" she asks. "Sure" I say. By now people are leaving and saying good-bye to Glenn. He knows everyone by name!

I introduce myself and shake hands. Then he puts on his gloves back on and goes back to working the grill. Ahhhhh but there is small talk between us. Where I am from? What Burgers I have tried? Are you going to the State Fair? I tell him I am going up to Green Bay for Packers Training Camp. He tells me to try Kroll's, east of Lambeau Field. What a guy he gives me a lead!!

My Butter Burger arrives and I take a picture. The Butter Burger is not a good model. George even told me it is a hard burger to take pictures of. So sorry no pictures yet of the Butter Burger....yet!. I eat one half of the burger in seconds. Once you have one you will know why it disappears so fast. Glenn asks "How was it?" I say "Great, I could eat another!" "Good to hear." he goes. I sit there with my Coke and read the local paper. People are leaving again and Glenn says bye to all by name. He takes time from the grill to sign my Hamburger America book and to have his picture taken by me.

I finish my Coke and leave $$ from my bill. "Hold on" Glenn goes. "I have another Butter Burger for you, on the house." The Man himself, The King of Butter Burgers gives me "one on the house!!!" "To go?" he asks. "No, I will eat it here." Mmmmmm Butter Burger.... I did make a mess this time. Some butter dripped onto my left lap. I get up and I thank Glenn. He calls me by name as I leave, thanking me and to come again. People like Glenn is what makes Burger Joints special. Cares for the product but even more cares about his customers.

Off to Green Bay!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Great Burger Road Trip Day 1

This event happen Monday Aug. 4th 08'

My first Burger Road trip. I was planning on doing Chicago, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities. After some thought I just stayed in the State of Wisconsin. Anyway I was down in the Chicago area a few days earlier for a Corvette Show so once a year is enough for me! I started out heading east from Madison on I94 towards Milwaukee. It was close to 5 pm and I wanted to try to hit Milwaukee after rush hour. So a quick jaunt down Hwy 26 to Jefferson. I was going to Jefferson to visit Wedl's (known as Peterson's in the book Hamburger America.) Hwy 18 in downtown Jefferson was under construction, so I parked on a side street and walked over. Wedl's looks like a house but notice the red shack, yes it is red now. I walk up to the shack, the girls were inside the main building cooling off. They quickly came out and stepped inside the shack. I ordered a Double w/onions and a Pepsi. I swear it was only two minutes and I had my burger. I put some pickles slices, yellow mustard and some ketchup on the burger. I have had Wedl's before, plain. I would do that again. Skip the condiments or just go with pickles. I think the strong taste from the mustard and ketchup masked the peppery taste. My first bite... wow was it hot. I had to pop open my Pepsi and take a drink. Juicy Burger... I had to check myself for drips and stains. Oops there goes a onion on to my shirt then hits the ground. I am sitting on the bench along side the east side of the main building, shack side. I look around to see if anyone saw me make a mess. Nope, just a mom and her kid waiting for their order. I finish my burger and walk back to my car. That hit the spot I think to myself. I drive back to I94 and head east again toward Milwaukee.

I get to Glendale and find a hotel 1 mile from Solly's Grille. Well first my GPS tells me to make a U turn at a busy intersection, which I don't. Bad move on my part, I am now on a on ramp back to I43 North. Well a 2 minute delay and I get myself back to the hotel I want to stay at. I go all out... a Suite with a Jacuzzi!!! I get settle into my Suite. Now it is time to find a Bar. I am a Wisconsinite you know. When I read the review of the hotel online, someone said that the hotel I was at was in walking distance of shopping, food etc.... Well I walked around the area. I even got in my car and drove around. I could not find a Bar!!! This is a Burb' of Milwaukee com'on! Sure there was shopping and food but no Bar. Well back to my room. I get into my swimsuit and jump in the pool. I do some laps to work off the Burger I had at Wedl's. After 20 mins. or so I go back to my room and fill up the Jacuzzi up. Ahhhhhhhhh.... George must live like this all the time on the road. Ha Ha Ha!! Off to bed dreaming of what tomorrow will bring me... A Butter Burger from Solly's.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hamburger America Book Tour

This event happen on Saturday night May 10th 08'

Well the "Big Cheese" was in Madison WI. Yep George Motz himself was at Dotty's Dumplings Dowry for his Book Tour. I must have gotten there about an hr before his arrival. I was not in the mood for a burger for some odd reason, so I just ordered some Deep Fried Cheese Curds. I also had a few pints of brew. Another fan was there also. He had a Hamburger America DVD. We chatted a bit about burgers etc... Jeff Stanely the owner was also there along with a few friends of his. One was an actor from New York. He was in the area to film a new Johnny Depp movie. We chatted about burgers, mostly I wanted to know about NY burgers. He mentioned the Corner Bistro. I had him sign his name to pg 170,
which is about the Corner Bistro. I also got to talk to Jeff. We talked a bit and then he signed my book. I think he was amazed at all the signatures I had gotten.

It was then time to talk to George. I think we started talking about Bud's Bar in CO first. I lived 20 minutes from Bud's when I worked for the US Forest Service as a summer job during college. We also talked a bit about Corvettes and NASCAR, blogging and taking pictures. He agreed with me that the Butter Burger is not an easy burger to photograph. By this time people coming in to eat were coming up buying a book and chatting a bit. I myself must have talked to a half dozen people about burgers. I was having so much fun I almost forgot to ask George to sign my book. Now I have most people sign in the back of the book. George's is up front and unique. I will have to post a picture...maybe.

If you want to read more about George's weekend in the Midwest, you can click here: Book Tour Days 9-11

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Holy Grail... The Butter Burger

This event happen on May 4th 08'

Solly's Grille (pg. 296-297 Hamburger America, Motz) Well I am a very lucky Guy. One of the places mentioned in the Documentary Film Hamburger America is just a hour + drive for me. Solly's Grille is in Glendale WI, a burb' of Milwaukee. A chance to use my new GPS Garmin. I am glad George but addresses in his book!! My Garmin got me to Solly's with no problems, even the arrival time was right on the money.

The first thing you will notice is the yellow horseshoe counter. I take my seat at the counter. Now I try to get to places after their lunch rush, so I get there at 1 pm. There are about 6-8 customers counting myself. Once again I go on what my Hamburger Bible (Hamburger America) says.... I order a Butter Burger "without." That is no stewed onions. I also get a Coke and a side of fries. A couple is to my right a few stools down. She is eating a Butter Burger. He is eating a Cheesehead. The Cheesehead burger has grilled mushrooms, stewed and raw onions, swiss, american cheese. I got full just looking at it!! There is a good picture on Solly's website in the gallery section. Speaking of pictures.... The Butter Burger is a tough model to take pictures of. So sorry no pics of the Butter Buger, yet.

Well within a few minutes my order arrives. Just like the picture in the book. Cut in half on a small white plate. I take a bite.....................

Have you ever ate food that takes you back to a time when you were younger. Well this bite did!! I thought of my grandmother's cooking, real butter with everything she made. By the time I come out of my hypnotic trance, I have one of the halves gone already. Let me tell you something. BURGER LOVERS MUST EAT THIS BURGER!!! It is soooooo good you will want another one, which I did. "Another Butter Burger please." "This time with stewed onions." Again the first bite is heaven. You wonder if you have to eat fast because the butter is melting, which is a good thing. Lets just say you don't have to scarf it down to avoid a mess. Oh you will clean your plate. Save some of the burger to wipe the plate clean!

I have my book to for the owner Glenn Fieber to sign. Bad luck again for me, Glenn is not there. The waitress says he will be in on Tuesday. Well I have her sign my book anyway. I tell her I will drive the hour + to catch Glenn.
The waitress tells me about a guy that takes a train up from Chicago once a month to get a sack full of Butter Burgers. Well having the book makes customers around me ask questions about the book and the film. I sit and talk with them for awhile.

Fast forward to Tuesday May 6th. I get there about the same time as I did on Sunday. Glenn is already gone!!!! Oh well " A Butter Burger without and a Coke please." As I wait customers again ask me about my book I have with me. One of the customers is a 80 year old woman. She has been eating at Solly's since she was 15 yrs old. The customers and I talk burgers. They tell me about other places to try around the area. What a fun time and a great burger. I can't wait to have another one. Like I said any burger lover or fan on Hamburger America should visit Solly's Grille!

On the drive home I took a side trip to Jefferson WI to go to Peterson's (pg. 294-296 Hamburger America, Motz) I get there and the name is now Wendl's. The Peterson's sold it to the Wendl's in 07'. Two young men are inside, one is Robert Wendl. He is the one in pictured in the shack on pg. 295. I order a single to go. While I wait I have Robert sign my book. I get my burger and walk with my brown paper bag back to my car. I take a seat in my car and take a bite. George hit it on the head when describing the taste... Peppery. I like pepper and this was not too much for me. I finish the burger in no time, which means I love it.

What a great day!! I missed Glenn at Solly's but I had a Butter Burger plus a Single from Wendl's. Life is Good!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dotty's Dumplings Dowry

This event happen April 15th 08'

On the hunt for Burgers..... On my list Dotty's Dumpling Dowry in Madison WI. (pg. 291-292, Hamburger America, Motz) I have lived in the Madison area for most of my life. Never have I had a burger from Dotty's. Heck I probably have driven by it 100 times. Well it is April here in WI. Cool, windy and I am wishing it was June. First thing you will notice about Dotty's is the interior design of this place. From stained glass windows, to model aircraft. If you look above the Bar you feel like you are at a flea market. I take a seat at the bar and order a beer first. Yeah the big guys of beer are on tap, Bud and Miller. Take a closer look, Dotty's has 20+ taps.... so man up and try a different beer here. I went with Hoppalicious (from Ale Asylum
a local Brew House.) I then ordered my burger. The "Build Your Own." I just added mustard, pickles with a side of Fries. Just a heads up.... The serving of Cheese Curds are a meal by itself at Dotty's, like most places in Wisconsin. Now the Burger is grilled on an open flame. I order my medium (which is the standard practice here.)

I get my burger. Now I work at a Bar that serves "Flamed Grilled" burgers, so I like the taste a "Flame" gives a burger. The burger was good, you could tell it was fresh down to the bun. I have had bad burgers and I left happy from Dotty's.

Once again I have my Hamburger America book with me. Jeff Stanely the owner is not there to sign my book bummer right. Well I do get someone to sign it though...... Jeff's daughter Rachael. This opens up a conversation about burgers and the bar business. Rachael is one reason I would go back to Dotty's. She knows her stuff and is a people person. This place has been voted "Best in Madison" over 20 times by readers of Madison Magazine and Isthmus-Daily Page. I can see why...not just the good burger but the place makes you feel like you are visiting a good friend.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My first Subject.... The Plaza Burger!

This event happen on Tuesday April 4th 2008.

Subject: The Plaza Burger @ The Plaza Tavern, Madison WI

Just about a little after 1 pm I entered The Plaza Tavern. The Bar was full with about 4-5 booths full also. The reason...well the Burger and the Brewers were on. It is opening day and Bill Hall just hit a 2 run HR. I have my Hamburger America book, which I just purchase a a few days ago. Going on what George Motz order in the book, I did the same. The Plaza Burger and Deep Fried Cheese Curds. Within minutes I have it. It is cut in half. The first bite you are thinking hamburger then the sauce hits your taste buds! Tangy is a good word. It is strong but not overbearing. I am wondering where my burger has gone. I finished it that fast. It is that good. I should have not ordered the the Curds, I could have saved room for another Plaza Burger.

The Staff notices I have the Hamburger America book on the bar. "Cool." one of the waitress goes. Dean Hetue the owner is working. He comes over... "I thought it came out later in the month!?!?" He is grinning ear to ear. I ask if he would sign my book.... and he does. I let him read about his place (pg. 292-294 Hamburger America, Motz) His first words are "Good they gave Mary credit for the sauce." He is still smiling. I ask when George was in. "He was in about a year ago." Dean says. We chat a bit about Doug Moe's article in the Wisconsin State Journal. Which I missed... but with the internet you can find everything... You will find the article under the Burger Links section.

I will be back for a Plaza Burger, no curds next time I want to save room!

Side note- You will use your burger to clean the sauce off the plate.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My first Blog Post!

Well I did it. I started a blog. What am I thinking. I have to put time into this thing!!! I have to learn my way around the system. So that means I have to learn how to add, delete, copy/cut/paste, links, hyper text..... So be patient with me as I point and click to learn how to make this blog. The layout (colors) are suppose to remind you of a hamburger. Bun, lettuce and burger. The text makes the grill marks and the color red and yellow.... Well of course ketcup and mustard. Ok maybe I point and clicked too much on how to use this. Now the subject matter for this blog will be Hamburgers or Burgers for short. You will see why I picked that subject and who, what influences my love for Burgers. Buckle up it should be a fun ride.....once I figure out things!!! Stay Tuned