Burgers

First Look: Tesar’s, The Woodlands

Well, look who I found…

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Heh… you guys must have been waiting for this one. Well here ya go. Some sexy pics of a sexy space and some sexy food. Those familiar with Tesar's passion for food, and seafood in particular, will find it as no surprise that there are exceptional plates coming out of this kitchen. Tesar's is literally surrounded by restaurants vying for diners, but it has little competition at it's level of the game, in my opinion. Haters – hate away… others, enjoy if in the area, or take a quick trip down there… I mean, it's not Houston. I can make it in 2 1/2 hrs (including speeding ticket!) *TheBrad does not condone exceeding the posted speed limit.

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^ Tesar's Modern Steak and Seafood in The Woodlands. John is doing his seductive take on seafood, and introducing both grass and grain fed, aged beef preparations – including "tastings" of beef. Read more about the restaurant's philosophy and menu here.

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I hung out one evening, during the soft launch… and enjoyed myself.

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^ The top tier of the incredibly fresh Shellfish Platter.

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^ Seafood Salad Ceviche; Tesar's Chopped Salad.

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^ On fire and plate: Nebraska Kobe Boneless Shortrib, Potato Puree, Sauce Italian.

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^ Alaska Halibut, Melted Leeks, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Red Wine Reduction; Tesar's Foie Gras speared with Vanilla Bean.

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^ Afternoon light in the main dining room.

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If I hang out in the kitchen long enough, the crew bribes me to get out of the way – this time with a ridiculously Truffled Mac & Cheese. It worked…

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…back in the bar: Here you can order from Tesar's Burger Bar Menu featuring half a dozen tantalizing options (check out "The Tail End": Sirloin mixed with braised Pig's Tail, Green Tomato Chutney, Jalapeño Mayonnaise, braised Collard Greens.) There's also an All Kobe Hot Dog.

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^ Seen these fries before? Yep, but not with this accompaniment. That's right – Tesar condiments. And they are very good. The Wasabi Mustard on the Kobe Dog is rockin'. 

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^ Desserts; and Tracy's Cupcakes!

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^ I like this shot – it was a few weeks before the opening…

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…and it all came together quite nicely.

Summer Cocktail Watch: Chef’s Pink Lemonade – The Grape, Dallas

…and we have a new contender. Here's a fine option for sipping on the patio on a Sunday or Monday, awaiting your very own taste of Texas Monthly's "The Best Burger in Texas."

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Chef/owner Brian Luscher's Chef's Pink Lemonade:

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Brian says "I didn't want to use Vodka, so it's Lemons, Raspberries, Sugar, Salt and Rum." Garnished with Mint and a Lemon Gel Candy Slice. The presentation in a Kerr jar earns this one a gold star. Kudos.

Summer Cocktail Watch: Jalapeño-Cucumber Margarita – Love Shack

After checking out the "For the Love of Lamb" gorge-fest behind Tim Love's new Love Shack Location at the So7 development in Ft. Worth, we wandered onto the patio for a few of these Jalapeño-Cucumber Margaritas:

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Very refreshing, not cloyingly sweet, nice bite – this rates highly on my summer list.

First Look: Tim Love’s Love Shack So7 + Lamb Burger Cook-Off

I'm not snobby about it, it's just that I rarely spontaneously drive to Ft. Worth to eat. I tipped off some friends that were planning to be in FW on Sunday about the "For the Love of Lamb" event that was coinciding with the official opening of Tim Love's latest Love Shack at So7 (SW corner of 7th and Museum Way – the street address of 817 Matisse doesn't show up on map searches yet!) 

I was lounging around my pad on Sunday, trying to motivate, when a series of slobber inducing texts started to arrive. "Get over here, there's so much lamb… ahhh… ahhhh!" Fine – road trip sounds like the ticket anyway.

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^ The enclosed patio at Love Shack So7. Lots of room, and hopscotch and washers for the kiddos.

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^ It was 100°, but the place was opened up. I found the remedy for that (here). You can sit around the central bar, inside and out. Basically the same menu from the original location in the Stockyards.

Meanwhile: there was free lamb to be had! Along with the American Lamb people, Tim hosted Blaine Staniford (Grace), Jason Boso (Twisted Root), Jon Bonnell (Bonnell's), Aaron Staudenmaier & TJ Lengnick (Abacus), Scott Freeman (The Porch), and Scott Romano (Charlie Palmer at the Joule). Each made a Lamb "Burger," with the assembled masses voting in a cheer-off. The event also featured a couple of those Top Chef dudes doing a demonstration (Ilan Hall and Richard Blais).

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^ The Burger Chefs. Here are some of the contending creations:

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^ Blaine Staniford's was crrrraazzy. You can read the fixin's above, but they added fried quail egg as well! (Thanks, Pete, for the photo of this one.)

And the winner:

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^ Jon Bonnell of Bonnell's and his winning Bacon Wrapped Roasted Lamb Tenderloin Slider w/ Guacamole. It was delicious! (I'm sure his terrific Buffalo Trace Bourbon Mint Juleps didn't influence the judging.)

Love Shack So7 on Urbanspoon

Burger Run: Jakes

Since I went to the trouble to make a burger category, I guess I better start filling it.

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Man, people do love the Jakes (hmm… no apostrophe?). Since they recently opened one up in Addison, I've been repeatedly invited for lunch – and for some reason have resisted, I mean I really like my Green Chile Swiss Burger at Snuffer's.

Finally, I relented.

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My first reward was these addictive Jalapeño Bottle-caps w/ Ranch. "We need two orders, please."

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(Sorry – some of these pics are pretty gory). ^ Well, here is The Works: double meat, double cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, mayo, mustard, ketchup.

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^ The Jakes Special: double meat, double cheese, lettuce, tomato, thousand Island. And; the Chicken Sandwich (tastes better than it looks, I'm told).

These sandwiches suffer from that soggy-smooshy bun syndrome (as do Snuffer's' if they sit too long) but the insides sure are tasty. So… fine, I'll meet you at Jakes.

Jake's Old Fashioned Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

Burguesa serves a big sloppy mess of good!

I saw a way-too-perfect food shot of Burguesa's formidable La Monumental on a local food blog… and decided to investigate. Jeff Sinelli, founder of Which Wich and Genghis Grill (where you will find us at lunch about once a week… my bowl RULES, btw) has created a "Mexican Burger Joint" that is worth the trip.

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^ Best way to describe the location (see orange blip below Sonny's sign); and a close-up (with an unfortunate hovering message – that should cycle out soon enough, one would hope).

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^ A kinder view; "Gimmie gimmie!"

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^ La Monumental: Two beef patties, two slices of cheese, ham, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, refried beans, crunchy tostada, and special creamy sauce on a Bimbo® sesame seed bun, crowned with a whole jalapeño pepper; Strawberry Milkshake and a Donut.

There is no outside seating, so I raced to a parking lot and unwrapped this savory amalgam – not quite as pretty, but it could not have been more satisfying… messy, crunchy, gooey… mushy but with bite… weird, and great. I liked it just fine. I am also a big fan of French fry sauces that are not ketchup (more on this later) – and the spicy mixture provided fit the bill.

I say give it a shot – it's different, fun, and delicious.

Burguesa Burger on Urbanspoon

Why so Angry? Have a Burger.

With every season comes another chorus of "Where is the Best Burger in Dallas?" A new-on-the-scene, high profile food personality has recently renewed the debate.  Here is one of my favorites… as much for the environment as for the burger itself. The Angry Dog Burger.

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As you can see in the pic above (from a recent late afternoon) – this place draws from every demo.

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I find that the trick to make this burger really sing is to spring for some of the extra toppings:

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Here is my "Jalapeño-Guac" version. I styled this myself… the burgers can look less than boring when they drop on the table… but stick all the stuff under the bun – and some salt (I'm ALL about the Snuffer's salty thing) … et Voilà! Good Stuff, Maynard.

Angry Dog on Urbanspoon

Roadside Distraction: Carl’s Jr. in Rockwall, Texas.

On the way back from my relaxing weekend in East Texas, I could not resist the temptation to stop off at I-30 exit 70 and blog about Carl's Jr.

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I just never find myself near one of the 3 local outlets (all are franchises located in Love's Travel Stops). I was full from a healthy (ahem) brunch – but had to sample some Carl's fare – for the good of the blog.

More after the jump:


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You always crave what you can't have – this menu is refreshing just 'cause it's different. Above is the classic Six Dollar Burger ($4.79). I like it – nice char flavor, decent veggies, mustard, mayo & ketchup.

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Next: the Guacamole Bacon Six Dollar Burger! This was REALLY good – Spicy Guac and a Sante Fe Sauce with real kick made me wish we had some of these in town. Got some Natural Cut Fries and the CrissCut variety. All in all, it's not quite as I remember the experience on the West Coast… but different from our local chains and satisfying. Of course, I couldn't eat all this – had a couple bites of eat and stuck the bag in the trunk for the rest of the trip home… the result was less than desirable! But, that was a fun diversion.

Carl's Jr. on Urbanspoon

Burger Bliss

I LOVE Las Vegas. Among its many charms, gambling runs a distant third for me. Shenanigans rank, for sure, but I have literraly made trips to do nothing other than EAT. I will be posting more on this subject soon, including what I consider to pretty much be the coup de grÃce (don't even think of not indulging in the 16 courses).
A (not so) guilty pleasure, though, is Hubert Keller's Burger Bar in Mandalay Place. I always find time to squeeze this place in – and if not dragging a newbie or previous convert along, it serves as an excellent hangover cure… solo.  I was recently discussing the virtues of this joint with Tim Love, who runs (among other venues) Love Shack in Ft. Worth. He's got his own ideas on the subject and demanded I venture west and check out his place. I intend to do so… well… Forth With. In the meantime… Let me share another discovery.
But first: the subject of hamburgers illicits much passionate debate on the web, and there are better places for that discussion. Here, we are talkin' about high falutin' – fancy schmancy – silly-expensive burgers. I was just happy to come across a reasonable facsimile of my Vegas indulgence, right here at home.
The setting even adds to the illusion. Tucked into the corner of NM Cafe on the Third Floor of Neiman-Marcus NorthPark, find Burger Bar on 3.

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^ NM Cafe… and looking into the dining room from Burger Bar.

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More after the jump:

With the new expansion to NorthPark, the mall that we've loved for decades now has a grander presence – and even more decadent window shopping opportunities – the closest thing to Vegas in these parts, anyway.
The
Burger Bar (no affiliation) has a somewhat scaled down menu from my
Vegas haunt, but offers a variety of meat options, choice of bread, and
many delicious toppings.

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I
was able to approximate my preferred construction: Kobe Pattie,
Ciabatta Bun, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Avocado, Grilled Jalapeños, and
Pepperjack Cheese.

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I
opted for both the Wedge Fries and the Sweet Potato variety (at
additional cost, of course). A nice touch: the condiments in these
little jars. I sprung for some Chipotle Mayo as well.

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The
Vanilla Shake was surprising. More like a frothy, dense, frozen whipped
cream. Not what I expected, but thankfully light – maybe even
refreshing. Not a bad thing.
There you have it. Thumbs up from me – but for reasons beyond just a delicious burger.

Zodiac on Urbanspoon