Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Burger Debate

I was just reading a debate about - What is the best burger chain? The discussion was all over the map comparing the $10 burger at Cheesecake Factory to the burgers at White Castle. Such a conversation is pointless because their really is no comparison between a fast food burger costing less that $3 and the burgers at an actual restaurant such as Chili's or Fuddrucker's.

By the way: What ever happended to the great burgers at Chili's. As a part of my personal culinary lore, I ate in the first Chili's on the first day they opened back around 1973. They used to have wonderful burgers. My favorite was a Chili's Trip - a cheeseburger with grilled onions. They were an excellent chain delivering good food in the early years.

Then like many others, they strayed from what made them good. They expanded their menu, and ditched the items that brought them their original customers. Reaching a broader audience will make them more money- never mind that they are not a good at lots of items as they were very good at a few. Too bad for some of us that enjoyed Chili's before it was sold to Brinker.

What are the best burger places in Waco?

My Fast Food Burger Rankings:
1. What-A-Burger - could use better fries but they are fresh and made to order. They also have Diet Dr Pepper.
Wish we had a Carl's Jr. They would be second.
2. Burger King - I know that the flame broiling is not for everyone but when you get a fresh hot one they taste good.
3. Jack-in-the Box - Just for the commercials I put them ahead of the others.
4. Sonic is similar in style to Whata but a bit cheaper. Love those drinks.

Upscale Restaurant Burgers:
Sadly Tony Roma's is gone along with the Roma Burger which I thought was pretty good.
1. Fuddrucker's meat is good quality and you can make it how you like it at the fixin's bar.
2. Cheddar's has a very nice upscale burger with plenty of choices.
3. Crickett's never dissapoints and has several nice combinations of add-ons. They are the place for a burger and a beer.
4. Backyard Burger has a decent piece of meat but I am not all that crazy about their specialty choices.

George's, Logan's

Non-chain Burgers:
1. Kupps - I love the fries
2. Double R - just like an old fashion burger should taste.
3. Health Camp - certainly a legend.

Kitok's, Captain Billy, Tom's, Chrisiti's

I know this is an area where everyone has an opinion. Post your own.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Rib Crib

One of the newest additions to the Waco restaurant seen is the Rib Crib. This Tulsa based small chain has most of its locations in Oklahoma. This franchise is owned/operated by the same family that has the Sonic restaurants here in Waco. Our lunch visit included several salads ordered by female members of the group. The ladies particularly liked the BBQ Ranch dressing that came with each of the large salads. Each one contained plenty of turkey, shredded pork or beef.

Rib Crib does Barbeque right. Brisket, pork, and ribs all were very good. My Rib Wrangler (lunch) included two large spare ribs. They were superior in color, aroma, flavor and texture. The three sauces – Mild, Spicy, and Mustard/Vinegar were interesting and nuanced. The prices at lunch are reasonable for the food. Like every other place in town, they all will charge you almost $2 for a drink. This stratedgy of infalting the check by raising the prices for high profit beverages needs to be protested. Yes, the price includes refills but thinking you can drink $2 of soda or tea silly. You really can't. If you could, they would raise it to $3.

Dinner rate are a bit more but the portions increase as well. You can easily split some of the entrees to save a bit. Just make sure you get your fair share of the ribs! Rib Crib is a welcome addition to Waco. It ranks well above most of the others here in Waco.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Waco Tribune Herald

In case you haven't noticed, the Waco paper no longer publishes critical reviews of new restaurants. This happened a few weeks after a new spot in Hewitt got a less than favorable write-up. A few days later - what smelled like an organized letter campaign - descended upon the Trib. My guess is this was followed by a threat from one or more local restaurants and businesses. "We don't like your criticism so we will pull our advertising." The end result was that the Trib buckled. Now we have a benign column called "Nibbles" - a real embarrassment to the world of journalism.

But now comes the Wide World of Waco Eats! A new blog meant to bring back fair, honest, and critical opinion to the consumer. Where to eat? What is new? Is it quality? Is there value? Read our opinions and post your own here. We don't take freebies and we don't run ads. We just eat, digest, and blog!