Archive for the ‘Burgers’ Tag

Stop When Passing Through   Leave a comment


For most, Rock Springs, Wyo., isn’t exactly a destination spot, but if traveling in either direction on Interstate-80 or heading north to Jackson Hole, it’s good to know there’s at least one spot to grab a quick, and tasty, meal. Besides, it’s hard to pass up a place called Chill Grill.

This is mostly a burger and fountain joint, without a counter. The space is small and decorated with 45s, and 33s on the wall. There’s a tribute to Elvis on one side and Marilyn Monroe on the other. Chill Grill evoke memories of the Fonz and Happy Days even without carhop service.


The menu offers sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and salads, along with multiple pages of ice cream treats.

The juicy cheeseburger came with fresh-cut French fries. A “burger bar” lets diners add their own basic extras like pickles and onions.


Crispy chicken caught my eye; it’s available as an entrée or on top of salads. I had the latter. Sliced chicken breast served on a bed of greens with tomatoes and honey mustard dressing. I wasn’t a fan of the dressing, but the chicken was indeed crispy and I let myself believe I was having a healthy meal.

I was tempted to have a strawberry shake, but resisted only to succumb to a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream cone so large I couldn’t finish it. The hot fudge sundae featured the real stuff, although the topping wasn’t hot enough to even threaten melting the vanilla ice cream.

Chill Grill
Four Plates
1758 Elk St.
Rock Springs, Wyo

Decieved by Appearances   Leave a comment


McCabes wasn’t the top choice for our first meal in Baltimore, but I’m glad that’s where we landed. The gray brick exterior looks like a fortress and the interior is dark. This is a case where looks are deceiving. We never expected the quality meal in what is essentially a tavern. The single server was well-versed on the menu and friendly.


Before arriving in Baltimore I knew I wanted a crab cake. It’s a signature dish in this historic city on the harbor. McCabes makes a mean cake: packed with lump crab, herbs, plenty of seasoning; I detected no trace of bread crumbs. Roumulade, a blend that includes mostly mayo, brown seed mustard and garlic, augmented the crab cake. It’s served with a choice of two sides from the eclectic list of eight. There’s an option for a two-crab-cake plate; one was plenty.

Our server said McCabes is known for crab cakes and burgers. My son ordered the burger with cheese and bacon. Cooked to perfection it’s served on a hefty brioche bun which held up well under the weight of the juicy patty. House-made fries were crispy on the outside and creamy inside.


When the made-in-house desserts were described, we couldn’t resist. I noticed this also was the case at other tables. We had pound cake with strawberries macerated in balsamic served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. It was a refreshing finish to the meal.

McCabes is high on my list for my return visit to Charm City.

Four-and-a-half Plates
3845 Falls Rd.
Baltimore, MD

On a Lark   Leave a comment


It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes there is nothing I want more than a good burger. One pink in the middle and so juicy I have to wipe my mouth after every bite. I’d heard that hamburgers at Larkburger were cooked to order, but I wasn’t sure about the messiness potential. I needn’t have worried.

Made with 100 percent all natural Black Angus beef, the burgers come in two sizes: the Little Lark, which is slightly larger than a slider, and the 1/3 pound Larkburger. Lettuce, tomato and red onion are standard; other toppings include bacon and three cheese options.

No burger joint is worth its salt without fries. Of course, Larkburger serves French fries, but it also offers what can only be described as a gourmet variation. Truffle and Parmesan Fries, fried in truffle oil and dusted with Parmesan cheese and parsley, are even better than they sound. They’re downright addictive.


The menu provides plenty of variety including a vegetarian sandwich, BLT and Turkey Burger, among others. Three salads are also available.

One thing that caught my eye was The Five Dollar Shake; that’s not just how much it costs, but also what it’s called. I couldn’t bring myself to indulge this time, but such forthrightness suggests it might just worth the five bucks. Prices are on the high side, but quality does come at a cost, as does supporting a company’s efforts to be green.


My Little Lark was a three-napkin burger: every bite was a dripping mess.

Four Plates
1904 Southgate Road
Colorado Springs, Colo.

A Dive By Any Other Name   Leave a comment

Having an open mind and an empty belly are important when dining. I admit I struggled with the former when my family wanted to have breakfast at The Dive. They loved it; I was less enamored. I couldn’t tell how much of my reaction had to do with the name or if I let some minor problems overshadow the meal.

When five of us order and only three get our food at the same time, I take issue. And, toast should be toasted, not simply dry bread. That was the downside – mostly.


I confess that, once it arrived, I enjoyed my vegetarian omelet. The onions, green peppers and mushrooms had been sautéed before being added to the eggs. Along with fresh tomatoes, this extra step made for a very flavorful dish. My husband and two of our sons ordered traditional scrambled eggs and bacon – along with the marginally toasted bread. They were pleased with the plentiful serving sizes.


The Dive is open 24 hours and serves breakfast and burgers all day/all night. With this in mind, my youngest son opted for a burger. His nod to the time of day was to have it topped with an egg. His French fries were better than my too-crispy, somewhat oily hash browns.


For most of the meal the only other female in the joint besides me was the server. Maybe men don’t care what a place is called as long as the food is good. Maybe I should try to follow their lead.

The Dive
Three Plates
3040 W. Pikes Peak Ave
Colorado Springs, CO

Celebrating National (Cheese)burger Day   Leave a comment

National Cheeseburger Day was this week. The place for burgers, just good old fashioned burgers, is Cy’s Drive-In. It’s an anachronism. Not just because of the carhops, Formica tables, and Elvis and James Dean posters; it’s the food, especially the messy burgers and thick shakes. Cy’s has been serving traditional drive-in fare since 1953.

The menu board features variations on burgers and includes a few items requiring explanation like Texas Toothpicks. Green chile and grill sandwiches such as BLTs and Pork Tenderloin add variety, but the burgers are the way to go. With or without cheese, the “top of the line” beef patties are juicy and substantial; lettuce, tomato and onion, with mustard and catsup, on a standard bun round out the flavors.The fries are just okay. In fact, they’re weakest part of the menu. The shakes, on the otherhand, truly stand out and are made with fruit and whole milk. Bits of bananas, cherries or strawberries clog the straws, so it’s helpful to have a tall spoon ready to scoop out the thick, rich goodness. A variety of other fountain treats includes sundaes, cones and floats.

The dining area is often full, but picnic tables line the exterior, and there’s always that carhop service that started almost 60 years ago. Overall, the simple food’s pretty tasty, which is no small feat for take-out, dine-in or eating in the car. By the way, those Texas Toothpicks are deep-fried thin strips of onions and jalapenos served with Ranch dressing on the side. Who knew?

Cy’s Drive-In Restaurant
Three-and-a-half Plates
1833 W. Unitah St.
Colorado Springs, CO

Pub Snub   Leave a comment

A brewery should be known for its beer. On that point the Breckenridge Brewery doesn’t disappoint. Even the pub fare is above average. The shortfall is the service. A cold, rainy late summer afternoon found people looking for places to stay warm and dry, so perhaps the lunch crowd was larger than usual. I suspect it wasn’t. Our server started off by asking if we wanted shots. Duh. Beer was the drink of choice. He took our order and that was the last we saw of him until he dropped off the check long after we had finished eating.

I was intrigued by the Green Chile with Andouille Sausage, but I wanted more information. The server’s response was “If you like green chile you’ll probably like this.” Despite his uninspired response, I ordered it. Typically, pork is the meat that has been stewed with tomatoes, green chile and onions. The sausage worked surprisingly well. There was the right amount of kick to help raise my body temperature, but only enough to enjoy the flavors without a chaser. My son ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger topped with crispy onion rings. This two-fisted burger packed a messy punch of juicy flavor.

Although we weren’t in a hurry to go back out in the rain, we waited (and waited) for the check. When the server finally dropped it off, he only had one thing to say: “Do you want any shots?” It wasn’t a question I expected before or after a meal in a brewery.

Breckenridge Brewery
600 S. Main St.
Breckenridge, CO

Burger Bliss   Leave a comment

Before I finished eating, I wondered if Five Plates were appropriate for a
burger joint. The truth is Bingo Burger scored big on everything from food
to service, from mostly locally-sourced ingredients to the casual atmosphere,
but especially the food. Ultimately, I found two problems: it’s about 50 miles
from my doorstep and it’s pricey.

This is a colorfully decorated, upscale burger bastion. As soon as we entered,
my friend and I were greeted with a warm hello and admonished to take our
time ordering, but we weren’t to hesitate if we had any questions. And, by
the way, the ultra-friendly counterperson said, the milkshake flavor of the
day was banana chocolate. Ultimately, we were walked through the process:
pick a burger; we each opted for the namesake Bingo Burger, made with pueblo
chilies. Next was whether it should be “pink or not pink.” The usual accouter-
ments were available, as were other options ranging from different cheeses to
caramelized onions from fried egg to guacamole (and more). Thankfully, there
was no variation for the bun, which complemented rather than overwhelmed.
To have missed it would have shortchanged the burger.

Ordering the milkshake was a no brainer; banana chocolate is a hard-to-resist
combination, and it didn’t disappoint. This was thick, creamy and dense with
flavor. It, the shared side of hand-cut sweet potato fries served with tangy,
smoky curry ketchup, and the burgers made for a complete, delicious dining
experience – about $25 for two (including the shake we shared).

Bingo Burger
Four and half Plates
101 Central Plaza
Pueblo, CO
(Closed Sundays)