As the vegetarianism/meat-eater debate boils on between my friends and co-workers, I become lost in the flurry of words: ‚Äúfree-range‚Ä¶cancer‚Ä¶ malnutrition‚Ä¶ tofu‚Ä¶ herbivore‚Ä¶cholesterol‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ All this talk about meat or lackthereof just makes me hungry. Hungry, not for soy nuggets topped with imitation vegetable cheese product on a twig and grass clipping bun, but a sizzling, cheesy cheeseburger. A proud amateur burger specialist, yes, but I am no burger snob. Open to fast food joints, medium-speed food or even white linen eateries, I seek a juicy patty wherever I go. The following five selections are where, in my (authoritative, obviously) opinion, the best no-frills, hot-damn, weak-in-the-knees cheeseburgers can be tasted.
#5 Steak and Shake‚ÄĒPort Charlotte, Florida
You are correct; this is a seriously greasy, cheap-o chain restaurant. I reluctantly admit that these burgers should probably come with a warning label, but hey, this is the South; they apparently do not fear cholesterol here. Prepared from ground cuts of top sirloin steak (the founder used to grind the meat in full view of his guests to prove it), this is one of the tastiest patties you can wrap your hands around. Nothing flashy, just a thin, perfect burger done on a griddle. Close runners up for my mandatory fast food slot: Cook Out, In-N-Out, Five Guys.
#4 The White Lady‚ÄĒAuckland, New Zealand
This is a roaming caravan that appears out of the night when you least expect it and most need it, (usually staggering around after the bars close). Open ‚Äėtil 4am on the weekend, The White Lady‚Äôs burgers wow you with the quality of their meat and the sheer genius of their topping combination. In true Kiwi fashion, a standard burger is served with a fried egg, a thin slice of pickled beet and a round of pineapple on it, in addition to cheese. I know. But the combination is tangy, sweet, earthy and delicious. This burger truck grill has been a drunken Aucklander‚Äôs staple since the 1940s.
#3 Hot Suppa!‚ÄĒPortland, Maine
This is an example of the bun really making the meal. Nothing is less fun than eating a sandwich that so bogs you down with bread that you can‚Äôt finish! Here at Hot Suppa! you needn‚Äôt fret‚ÄĒthe bun is so fresh, so squishy, so light as air you can focus all of your attention on the hand crafted, perfect meatiness entering your face. This treat comes standard with two thin patties, American cheese, grilled onions and pickles. Like White Castle‚Äôs big brother, this burger is so simple, I should have thought of it!
#2 Tod‚Äôs Tasties‚ÄĒAsheville, North Carolina
Firstly, this is a lamb burger, which I thought it would be fair to include considering Tod‚Äôs regular beef burger is just as notably ‚Äútasty.‚ÄĚ Secondly, Tod‚Äôs is an all around tops establishment for its green outlook, local produce and homemade breads. The lamb burger comes on the aforementioned fresh bread along with chevre and irresistible Todziki sauce. Add crunchy fresh lettuce and onion to the gently spiced lamb meat and you‚Äôll find burger nirvana.
#1 Burger Fuel‚ÄĒAuckland, New Zealand
This restaurant has, in my opinion, revolutionized the cheeseburger. They craft a delicious, always juicy, gourmet burger that is (wait for it) healthy!? Always made with 100% New Zealand beef (it‚Äôs free range), and placed lovingly on a house made whole wheat bun, they deck their burgers out with unique toppings like avocado, fresh mango, jalape√Īo sauce and pungent sliced parmesan cheese. All while maintaining the integrity of a simple, unassuming burger. I mean wow, get this place a blue ribbon! Apart from Burger Fuel expanding like wildfire throughout NZ, they now have locations in Australia, Saudi Arabia and Dubai- Congratulations, Burger Fuel!
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