Sunday, April 27, 2008

20th Annual Fried Onion Burger Day Festival

The first stop on the Hamburger America book tour will be the El Reno, Oklahoma Burger Day Festival on May 3rd. I used the tour as an excuse to get back to one of my favorite burger meccas and eat my share of onion-fried burgers from Sid's, Johnnie's, and Robert's. All three burger joints are within a block of each other and will have lines a mile long at next weekend's burger bash. The festival is huge and promises a classic car show, live music, a burger eating contest, clowns, magicians, rides, a craft show, burgers, and me. That's right, the festival is setting up a booth for me to pen beefy burger blessings in my new book and I'm told the booth is across from the mechanical bull and very close to the Big Burger (check out the map). Every year the festival cooks a 750 pound onion-fried burger that's over 8 feet wide. Don't worry, I'll take pictures.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Here Comes the Press

As the new book rolls out to bookstores and hamburger lovers get their mitts on my state-by-state guide I'm starting to see the next phase - book reviews. Here's a nice one from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee that I just discovered. It's great to see that not only are people enjoying the book but they are getting the message that real burgers are made by real people with rich histories. The review also included this excellent photo of my book sidling up to a butter burger at Solly's. I'll be there soon for a reading at Schwartz, May 10th, 2pm. I'm looking forward to the reading but my real motive for going on the tour is to eat great burgers. Butter burger here I come...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Kincaid's Fort Worth May Move

I've just learned from my good friend Ed Levine at Serious Eats that the decades-old Kincaid's Hamburgers may be on the move. The Fort Worth Texas institution is apparently facing a sizable rent hike and may have to relocate by this summer. Kincaid's operates three other locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but it's the Camp Bowie Blvd. location that started it all. Kincaid's is in my book and it would be a shame to loose this converted grocery store location, a beauty.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Shack Line Is Ridiculous

It's official - the line at the Shake Shack is ridiculous. The picture on the left is from the Shack Cam. I grabbed this frame at 12:43pm today and as you can sort of make out the line disappears into pixels, or in reality, into Broadway and 23rd St. I called my expert burger taster Kris Brearton and told him to "get a load of this line!" Amazingly, he was on his way there for a burger with his family. The wait? Almost 2 hours. I called again and asked him to order me a shake and I'd meet him in line. By the time I arrived at Madison Park he was still 30 mins. from a burger. I cut my losses, said goodbye, and headed over to brgr for an excellent chocolate shake.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Book Looks Good in Stores

This was a shot taken by my cousin Margaret. She is stationed in Galveston, TX, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and she spotted the book at her local Barnes & Noble. As you can see, the book has great placement, except for the fact that the book right next to it is the bestselling downer "America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It". I guess which book you pick up depends on your mood. My advice - keep it light, support the mom 'n pop, and go get a hamburger. Thanks again Margaret.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Burger Battle

New York City has one of the most diverse burger cultures in America. There is no burger focus in the town where you can find everything from the classic griddled thin patty to the stuffed and pricey DB Burger. The Queens magazine Dish Du Jour has decided to host the first ever Burger Battle of the Boroughs, on May 2oth, pitting 2 burgers from each borough against each other (no Staten Island though, sorry guys). I was asked to be the evening's emcee and graciously accepted (I could talk about burgers in front of a crowd for hours). The event will be action packed, from the actual burger cook-off to book signings with Josh Ozersky and his new book on the history of the hamburger. I'll be signing my new Hamburger America book too. Contestants from Bravo's Top Chef will be in attendance as well as Kelly Choi from NYCTV's Eat Out NY. Click here for event details.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

New Jersey's Finest - White Manna

Some may look at the picture to the left and question my burger sanity. But of course those who know better are beyond jealous that I ate those beauties at the White Manna in Hackensack, NJ yesterday. After a short work day, expert burger-taster Kris Brearton and myself decided to stop into the most historically significant burger joint in the tri-state area (read about it in my new book). 1pm on friday at the White Manna is daunting. The place is crammed wall-to-wall with Jersey burger brethren and there is no discernible method to ordering food (you wait until the grill person makes eye contact with you or shouts "next!"). There was a line out the door and the air was thick with onions and grease. I was happy to see that they had displayed the promotional material that my publisher had sent them, right up there with their awards and framed newspaper clippings. Their burgers may not be picture perfect but MAN do they taste good.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hamburger America Is In Stores!

I almost fell over. Seeing your first book on a bookstore shelf is quite the rush. Good friend and meat brother Nick from the blog Beef Aficionado was the first to report that the book had hit the shelves. I went to check for myself today and it's true. I happened to be passing a Barnes & Noble in Nanuet, NY and snapped the above pic with my phone. It's in the USA TRAVEL section among the famous Let's Go USA and the ubiquitous Roadfood.  I'm in good company for sure.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

BOOOOO Jimmy Buffett

I thought it would be sort of 'cute' (and appropriate) to get an advance quote for my new burger book from mister Cheeseburger In Paradise himself, but after a few calls to his LA agent I was told that Jimmy was not interested in working with us. It's a shame because he's mentioned 3 times in the book and there's even a sidebar story that I wrote explaining the origins of his famous song. Good news is that Anthony Bourdain has supplied us with an excellent quote and the song sucks anyway.