Farmgirl Roadtrip: A Great Burger Journey

 

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It’s October, though in Connecticut, lately we’ve had weather that have feels like mid-July! Instead of craving pumpkin, I’ve been dreaming of hamburgers! No matter what the temperature or season, a fabulous burger is one of life’s simplest, best pleasures!

At home, my husband’s grillmaster, mixing organic ground beef with Worcestershire and garlic for burgers on the grill. His favorite tip is to make a thumbprint in the middle of the patty- it “pops” back out when cooked, but insures the middle of the burger is cooked as well as the outside.

Using a metal bristle grill brush is dangerous. We love the “The Great Scrape Woody Paddle” for cleaning our grill. I got mine at Costco, but it’s available on Amazon, as well.

Using a metal bristle grill brush is dangerous. We love the “The Great Scrape Woody Paddle” for cleaning our grill. I got mine at Costco, but it’s available on Amazon, as well.

I love this time of year when I can top my burger with homegrown tomatoes, lettuce, and home-canned pickles.

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My husband sometimes adds fried onions and a brown sauce for a Danish-style hamburger. Isn’t it interesting how everyone uniquely loves a burger their own way?

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Sometimes I’ll grind fresh chicken breast and make chicken or veggie burgers, but being originally from Texas I’m a tried-and-true beef girl!

When we go out, it’s often for a good burger! The best places for a memorable burger offer that perfect mix of charm and unique atmosphere combined with mouth-watering food so good you think it’s Heaven-sent! Memory-making places come with interesting stories and histories, too. Head with me on a Farmgirl roadtrip, across several states, for amazing burgers at unforgettable places!

In Connecticut, you must head to Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, home of America’s-Very-First-Burger Sandwich. Originally a horse-drawn lunch wagon (an original food truck!) from 1895-1917, the hamburger was born when a rushing customer asked proprietor Louis Lassen for something he could eat- fast and on the go. Louis quickly cushioned his special beef between two slices of bread and VOILA! History was made. Today, Louis’ Lunch is still serving up the most juicy, delectable burger patties, made from their special blend of five meats, on premium toasted white bread- just as they were 117 years ago!

Simple but delicious like nothing else!

Simple but delicious like nothing else!

Served without typical condiments like ketchup, burgers are offered with onion, cheese, and tomato only (nothing more is needed), with a side of their own recipe of scrumptious, stick-to-your-ribs potato salad. They serve 30 – 80 pound of potato salad daily!

All burgers are cooked in the same upright natural gas grills first used  by Louis himself in 1895!

All burgers are cooked in the same upright natural gas grills first used by Louis himself in 1895!

Now owned by Louis Lassen’s great-grandson and fourth-generation, Jeff, burgers are cooked in the same upright grills used since 1895, creating an intoxicating aroma that promises a sensational meal. Jeff says they don’t offer condiments because “it should be about the meat”, not covering up the delectable taste. Entering the charming, 24’ x 36’ red-and-black structure is like stepping foot back in time.

My daughter and I sitting by the historical wall.

My daughter and I sitting by the historical wall.

 

Louis’ Lunch, a New Haven treasure!

Purchased in 1917, the building is original, standing in its present place since 1975, when the city expanded its medical center, forcing Louis’ Lunch to move. The back wall is built from bricks collected by Jeff’s father, added to the building as gifts from customers from all over the world. Names and places are carved on the back of each brick. After your first visit, it’s as if you’re “in the know”, like you’ve been made privy to something really special. You can’t wait to come back, just as countless generations before.

Thrilled to visit my mom this summer in Georgia, we did lots of sightseeing and ate oodles of great Southern food, but for a classic burger with fifties flair, you must visit Miss Dot’s Diner and Sweet Shop in Loganville, Georgia.

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Miss Dot’s

It’s one of Mom’s favorite lunch places, for good reason! Located inside Braxton’s Antiques Mall on Main Street (good food and antiques? Be still my heart!), Miss Dot and her daughter, Katie, make everything daily from scratch. Some recipes are 90 years old! They incorporate local produce and even farm-fresh eggs from a customer’s hens. The scrumptious burgers are hand-pattied and made to order, but save room for dessert! I can still taste the amazing chocolate and strawberry cakes we ordered. Now in their sixth year, the atmosphere is fun, with all original 50’s decor (some pieces are family heirlooms and others gifts from loyal, adoring customers). I loved sitting at the red-and-white enamelware table admiring the murals on the walls, painted by Katie, who’s also an artist. Mom grew up in the fifties and always shares stories of what a fabulous decade it was. Miss Dot’s Diner and Sweet Shop is certainly fun and fabulous!

My beautiful mom in the 1950’s..

My beautiful mom in the 1950’s.

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My mom, still beautiful today!

My favorite place in New York State is still the Main Street Ice Cream Parlor in Chestertown, New York. Inside an old schoolhouse, it’s bursting with charm and even has a soda fountain.

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Main Street Ice Cream Parlor, Chestertown, NY

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They serve their burgers with a different salad each day (picked fresh from their own garden). The yellow beet salad I ate this past summer was so good I wanted to cry!

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In the Houston area, head to Tookie’s Burgers in Seabrook, Texas. My dad’s a regular and loves it! Inside, you’ll find a vintage, eclectic 1970’s scheme (even the ladies room decor was a sight to see).

Photo courtesy of Tookie’s, Permission of Linda Hamilton

Photo courtesy of Tookie’s, Permission of Linda Hamilton

My famly, with smiles and full tummies at Tookie’s!

My famly, with smiles and full tummies at Tookie’s!

There’s an old train track in the the dining room, and outside is called “Paradise”. The whole atmosphere has a fun vibe, but the food is to-die-for and has created loyal fans. One of their “oversized” burgers, the #99, features meat mixed with their secret sauce, marinated in wine for a unique flavor that literally melts in your mouth. (Oh! I need a flight to Texas right now)! When I was a kid in the 70’s, I remember visiting my Aunt Barbara’s house, sitting on stairs that overlooked her kitchen, waiting for her to finish frying up the world’s best onion rings. There are few times I’ve tasted onion rings as good as my aunt’s, but Tookie’s onion rings make the grade! Huge and delicious, you’ll dream about them. Tookie’s was restored after damage sustained from a storm surge during Hurricane Ike, but happily they weathered Hurricane Harvey without any damage. Hats off to Tookie’s!

I bet you are craving a good burger right now, aren’t you? Leave me a comment and tell me your burger tips, and your go-to favorite hangouts!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

 

Leave a comment 20 Comments

  1. Krista says:

    I am honestly not a big fan of burgers and very seldom will order them if we go out to eat. I prefer pasta or chicken, but if I had to pick my favorite burger, it would be my dads teriyaki burger. He makes them super thick and full of teriyaki sauce. He will also grill pineapple and onions to go on top. The only other add on is Swiss cheese. It is such a messy burger that you will need plenty of wipes! I do have a weakness for onion rings though, but my favorite are homemade sweet potato fries! I could eat them everyday. It sounds like you have had a fun burger journey. Hope you can visit them all again soon.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Krista, Oh those teriyaki burgers sound delish! Maybe I should fire up our grill this weekend and we have something like that! I also love pineapple on pizza, like a Hawaiian pizza. I make that from time to time, homemade. I do love sweet potato fries, too. In fact, I think I like them better than “regular” fries. Yum! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

      • Krista says:

        Pineapple on pizza is delicious! Not very many people like it, but I love it! Try using a garlic white sauce on your Hawaiian pizza sometime. It’s soooo yummy! And I agree. I would much rather have sweet potato fries instead of regular fries. I wish they were offered at more places.

        • Nicole Christensen says:

          oh, that sounds good! I will try making a garlic white sauce next time…do you have a recipe you recommend? Did you know sweet potato fries are also better for you than regular ones? Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Sandi King says:

    Wow, makes me hungry for one, Nicole. Well, my favorite place is right here at home where my son grills hamburgers and hot dogs but for eating out, there was a family diner downtown Carrollton that had one of the best hamburgers and onion strings I ever tasted. What their secret was I don’t know but they were delicious. Used to go there with a friend at least once a month to treat ourselves to their fare. Their onion strings were also very tasty, not the traditional circle but long strings dipped in batter and deep fried. Yummy!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sandi! Oh those onion “strings” sound unusual and yummy, too! It sounds like they are no longer there? That’s sad! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Denise says:

    Oh my goodness, it is getting close to my lunch hour and YES, I want one of the burgers you just talked about! each place sounds so good!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise, Yes, my mouth is watering, too, for a good burger now! I’m going to head to Louis’ Lunch again one day soon, that’s for sure! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. marylou garcia says:

    I love all your comments. I hope one day visiting this places and try this hamburgers. Mexican farmgirl

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marylou! They are definitely all unique and worth a visit! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Joan says:

    YUM!! What a fun jaunt you shared and hamburgers too. Thanks God bless.

  6. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, I am so glad you were here in Georgia and we shared so many tasty foods. I especially loved the hamburger! Now I am hungry for a burger at Miss Dot’s again! Wish I had known about Tookie’s when living in Texas. Thanks for my picture at 16 years old and now and the compliments. I love you.
    Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mama. Didn’t we have a great time, all of us? Can’t wait to visit again, and to go to Dot’s with you again. I had so much fun shopping in the little shops that day with you, and just relaxing at home, too. Love you, N.

  7. Marilyn says:

    Thank You for sharing your road trip. I like that ice-cream parlor. Unfortunately, there are not too many ice-cream parlors left.
    Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marilyn, Oh it IS the cutest thing, right? Last time I was there, a woman came in and was helping a very elderly woman to a booth. There is a picture hanging there from the early 1900s of the school house the parlor is now in, and the class of children there. The woman in the booth was a student in the picture! We were amazed, what a treasure she is! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Debbie says:

    Love this farmgirl trip, Nicole! Like you I can’t pass up a good burger and it is often what we go out for when we dine out. Add a delicious craft beer and to me it’s the perfect meal. Being a ” Texican” like you as well, I’m a tried and true beef girl too! I love the older places with the vintage vibes and the down home menus. We have a few new burger joints in Plymouth, but they don’t compare with places like you visited on your road trip. My mom and I are headed to Vermont later this week. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for a good ( local ) burger joint along the way. Thanks for taking us along! Loved it!
    Farmgirl hugs! Deb

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Deb, Glad you enjoyed the blog! Sounds like you have a fun trip planned with your mom! Let us know if you find a great burger place in Vermont to add to the list! Have fun! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Julie Pruett says:

    It all looks “fun” and yummy! I want to make sweet potato fries! Do you have a good recipe? Do you boil the potatoes 1st? Would be great with a delicious burger…..

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Julie, when we make sweet potato “fries”, we peel them and cut them into chunks. Dipping them in ice water, a tip I learned from MaryJane, keeps the potatoes from soaking up excess oil. We then toss them with olive oil, sea salt, and spices, and bake in the oven 375 until crisp. Enjoy! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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