Thursday, May 28, 2009

Burgers: A Great American Growth Spurt

Burger joints are popping up left, right, and center here....and I suspect all over the country. But in the Twin Cities these new burgers are a departure from what I've come to know as a classic TC eat - the Juicy Lucy. There's considerable debate over who makes the best Juicy Lucy. But since I've never eaten a Juicy Lucy and my homemade version is turkey stuffed with brie and a slice of Granny Smith apple on top, I won't comment more than to say the Juicy Lucy is a known standard throughout these parts.

So back to the new guys on the scene. A-Mo and I have recently tried Five Guys and Smashburger - two new suburban establishments peddling meat and potatoes in two very different ways. Five Guys is really about simplicity - to the point that their food is served in a brown paper bag even if you're eating at the restaurant. The cooking is open for viewing, which amuses and distracts cranky toddlers. The menu offers only a few choices; alas, no brie. They make a tasty burger, though next time I'll forego the lettuce and tomato as they just made things slippery and the grilled onions were too far to the raw side of things for my liking. Hot dog was split down the middle and grilled - yum. Fries aren't really worth mentioning.

Smashburger caters more to families and those seeking a different version of an old favorite. For example, they offer multigrain buns, veggie frites (carrots, green beans, and asparagus fries), salads, and malts. I built my own burger and it was good, but I swooned over those ordered by others in my party - those with gooey cheese and bacon to be exact. Perhaps the best part of the meal was the Smashfries. Knocking Twin City Grill off the top of the heap, these fries are my new favorite french fries. Tossed with olive oil, garlic, and herbs, they are indeed a different version of an old favorite. And they will have me going back for more.

The social experiences for my one visit to each are polar opposites from one another. Five Guys = my little family unit, shove it in as fast as you can because The Toddler is getting antsy. Smashburger = three couples, 4.5 kids, two men (we call them "uncles") for The Toddler to flirt with, and adult conversation not focused on our restaurant exit strategy.

I think we'll give both another shot. In the meantime, here are some pictures of our Smashburger outing last weekend, courtesy of Christie and her "new" camera.

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