Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

by Nick
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Published on: October 3, 2013

I get excited when I hear of a new burger place.  I was surprised to hear about a new place, a chain no less that has been open for quite some time and is just down the way.  I guess I don’t get out as much as I used to, but I checked out the menu and decided, oh hell, I have to try this place.  Not only do I love burgers, but frozen custard?  The only reason I didn’t go that night is because I had a huge lunch with friends that day and couldn’t bring myself to go out to eat again on the same day.

So three days I got my chance and went to Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.

FreddysRestaurant1 

Located on Paseo Del Norte and San Pedro, it’s a little out of the way, but for a lot of people, It’s on the commute home.  The place was packed when we got there and it was quite noisy.  I’m not sure what it is about places doing nothing to reduce ambient noise in their restaurants but this place certainly suffers.  With the relatively small dining area compared to the size of the place and about 2 dozen people behind the counter, it’s difficult to have a conversation with anyone, including the cashier, unless you feel like snuggling up and whisper sweet somethings in their ear.  Though you may not want to whisper, or perhaps just sit outside.

Custard1The first thing I noticed when standing at the counter was the totally awesome frozen custard machine. Long ribbons of frozen goodness dumping out of a machine in a long flowing strand.  How can you NOT order custard at this point?  Well played Freddy’s, we’ll played. 

On the topic of custards, they have two kinds, a sunday and a “concrete”.  The concrete looks similar to a shake, they take the custard and all the toppings and blend it up.  It’s not.  Their description is apt in that no amount of sucking through a straw will ever provide anything but frustration and a crushed straw, but I’ll get to that more in a minute.

TurtleSunday_edited-2

If you go, you have to get a frozen custard.  The ice cream is so smooth and creamy and the portions are larger than you’d expect.  I couldn’t finish mine and neither did my friend.  I got the concrete, which turns out to mean, everything blended into a smooth emulsion so there are no identifiable flavors.  Next time I’ll try the sunday.  My friend had the Classic turtle sunday and it looked awesome.  He gave the thumbs up.

This is a burger place, so of course I had to get a burger.  Of course no burger is complete without bacon, so I got the bacon double with green chile, mayo, mustard and ketchup.  I have to make a sad face here Sad smile as you actually have to pay extra for lettuce and tomato.  You can get all the sauerkraut you want, but if you want a single slice of tomato, it’s going to cost you.  Not cool.

Whenever you look at a picture from a fast food place, you see the perfect example of handcrafted, meticulous, exquisite, delight.  A photo of the item they brought to the very first investor and said, "Here, a feast for your eyes, a feast for your stomach.  The perfect balance, served in a plastic basket, something to inspire people to stand in line for hours just for one bite."

Bacon-Cheese-Double1This is one of the few cases where the picture is right.  The meat may be shifted slightly to one side, or not all condiments showing squeezing out from the edge with surgical precision, but it’s close.  The meat looks the same, the bun looks even better as it’s slightly toasted on the griddle. 

The burger is soft, very soft, almost like you are eating meat marshmallow.  Ok that sounds gross, but believe me, this isn’t.  The burger doesn’t give you this satisfying chew, but the taste is really good.  Well seasoned, I really like the smashed burger way of cooking and this one delivers. It is a very very thin patty, if that isn’t your thing, then don’t bother.   Is it the best burger in the world?  Of course not, but this is a fast food place and it is one of the better fast food burgers I’ve had.  I’m actually craving another one and will likely be going back sometime within the week, maybe today. 

As much as I am a fan of burgers, part of that is they usually come with fries.  I love fries of all kinds, thick, thin, screwy, covered in cheese, plain, you name it, I love it.  These are shoestring fries, which you can’t really get anywhere else in town.  They are crispy and salty and as much as I want to try their onion rings, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go and not get the fries.  The only downside is they get cold fast.  By the time I sat down, the fries were at best lukewarm. This didn’t actually bother me all that much though.  Normally when fries get cold, they get soggy and limp.  These stayed crispy and tasty through the very last scrap.  And of course they had fry sauce, which is basically mayo and ketchup mixed, which is pretty awesome.

Chile-FriesI also, of course, had to try their chili cheese fries.  I ordered a side, but what I got was a meal all on it’s own.  They use a cheese sauce instead of the traditional melted cheddar so you end up with a big pile of goo on top of a big pile of goo sitting on top of a bunch of crispy fries, which after sitting there for a few minutes turn into a big pile of goo…er…mush.  This goo covered mush isn’t bad, but I’ve had better.  Given the choice between a giant mess of mushy gooiness and the crisp salty fries ready for dipping, I’m going to have to choose the plain fries every time.

All in all, this is a fast food place.  Even though it has “steak” in the name, this isn’t a place to bring a prom date, unless she/he really likes burgers, then why not, go for it. 

I don’t’ eat at places like McD’s or BK, not because I have anything against them philosophically, I just don’t like their food.  This place I would gladly eat at again.  It satisfies a craving.  If you are only going to go out to eat once a month, you may want to save your special occasion for a slightly more upscale local, but if you like burgers and tired of the same ole same ole, then this is definitely worth the trip. 

 

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Little Red Hamburger Hut – Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
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Published on: July 25, 2010

My girlfriend and I often have a difficult time figuring out what we want to eat on the weekends, one of the reasons I created this site.  This weekend was no different, so I looked to my good friend, Nexus One.  There is an app called Urbanspoon, you shake the phone, it gives you a random selection.  Saturday’s random selection is the Little Red Hamburger Hut.  Having had burgers the day before, we weren’t really interested, but “for the sake of the site”, I said.

Front

It’s off the beaten path, so to speak.  Act as if you were going to head down to the Melting Pot and then drive right on past.  The parking lot is next door, not paved and gives you the impending impression that this may not be the place you want to take a date on prom night.  Door

Let me help you out with the small amount of confusion as to which door to head through.  On the left,  is a Salon.  It’s not something I expected as the entire building appears to be full of nothing but this little burger joint, I was wrong.  On the right side is a very colorfully painted door, with a giant pepper and the name “Little Reds.”  Perhaps the name of the place would be a better description, but at least now you know.  The building has been there a while, you can tell, but the place I believe is fairly new, only having been there a few years.

Having never been there before, I’m very interested in their menu, burgers, taco burgers, tortilla burgers, “Little Reds,” Fries, Frito Pie and that’s about it.  If you aren’t a fan of the hamburger, then walk away.  A small burger will give you what seems to be basically a slider at 1/8 lbs, med at 1/4 and a large at 1/2.  I go for the medium as I want to try the Frito Pie too.

The person that took my order, seemed to be someone who had a vested interested in the place, likely the owner.  He apologized as he explained a busy week left them with no fountain drinks.  He made up for it by a fresh supply of canned ones, all you can drink, very nice man.  Signs on the menu and the wall free state, “Satisfaction Guaranteed!!!” I’m not entirely sure what exactly they mean by that, but they certainly do seem willing to please.  Chile and cheese are free on the burger, so feel free to load up.

Here is the food:Burger

Looks good doesn’t it?  Well let me tell you, it was VERY good.  A simple burger, cooked extremely well.  The meat was full of flavor, though the American cheese is not my favorite, it did not detract from the burger at all.  Slightly salty, very meaty, slightly crispy toasted bun, but soft.  All around an amazing burger.  Sadly they were out of green chile that day, “2nd time in 3 and a half years” the man P1010761says, which goes along with the comment from earlier, “we’ve had a busy week.”  Instead of green chile, I got red, which I didn’t eat on my burger as I have Frito Pie!.   Fresh toppings, the Frito’s are the real deal, I was assured and they were also nice and crispy.

Let me take a moment to talk about their red sauce.  I’m very particular about my red chile.  I’ve had Frito Pie with Red Chile before (not Texas chile) and it’s awesome.  This, I have to admit, I wasn’t not a huge fan.  The chile was hot, not overly so, but a good kick in the mouth.  It seemed to be lacking something, which I would highly lean toward garlic.  It had a slight sweetness to it, which caught me off guard, but in a good way.  The other thing, it has ground beef in it.  Not a lot, just a few specks here and there.  Just enough for you to think maybe was an accident, but it’s there for a reason, they said so before I even ordered it.

Last, but not least, the fries.  Fries are not an easy thing to get right.  I’ve tried to make them several times at home and I simply cannot do it.  This is the reason most places buy fries pre-cut and par-cooked in a plastic lined paper sack, frozen and shipped across the country.  I cannot make any Wimpypromises here as I didn’t get an invite into the kitchen, but these fries seem to be the real deal.  If not, I want to find out where they get them because they are certainly some of the best fries I’ve ever had.  Super crispy on the outside, hot, soft and oh so fluffy on the inside.  Lightly salted, I could easily eat a basket or 12 of these.

One last little comment here before I wrap things up.  The sign outside calls this place a Wimpy’s.  I’m not sure what their association with Wimpy is, as they have a wonderful painting of the Patron St of the Hamburger on their wall.  If this was the burger the little chubby man with the funny hat ate, when he asked for a burger, I can certainly understand his obsession.  This place, however, does not appear to have any association with the ACTUAL Wimpy Burger of UK fame, or anywhere else for that matter.  This is a one of a kind and unique burger place hidden on the back streets of downtown Albuquerque.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a burger and fries this good.  The patty is not pre-formed, it’s smashed right onto the grill, the way they used to do it.  The food comes out hot and fresh and in exactly the right proportions.  With basically one thing on the menu, they HAVE to do it right, and do it right they do.  It’s out of the way, but worth the short trek to get there.  Stop by the museum on your way and get in some culture to feed your soul because this burger will fill your stomach and please your taste buds.

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5 Star Burgers – Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
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Published on: March 26, 2010

Building2

So tell me this Albuquerque, why have I never had deep fried green chile before?  More on that in a moment.  Today’s adventure was the new 5 Star Burgers Next to Whole Foods at Academy and Wyoming.  What’s with all the 5 names all of a sudden?

I don’t know when they opened, and I’m not sure where people are finding out about this place, but it was packed, like really really packed.  The tiny table in the corner was available, so we sat down immediately, good thing too as another rush of people shortly followed.  This, my friends, is a good sign.  5star

The Contemporary design is clean and simple, screaming of an elegant upscale gourmet froo froo place that specializes in stuff like miso-glazed sea bass with asparagus, or grilled lam chops with curried couscous and zucchini raita.  So here comes the standard red and white menu, designed to Menumake the stomach grumble and what do my eyes spy?  Burgers.  Ok, they aren’t just burgers, they are gourmet burgers with Gorganzola cheese and carmelized onions or crispy green chile and BBQ sauce.  You can substitute chicken and they also offer lamb and turkey burgers.  Salmon, steak and salads, fish sliders, is your mouth watering yet?  It’s not a standard burger place, and seems to be designed for the picky LA Producer coming to Abq for their next film.  Don’t worry my fellow New Mexicans, not only is the place local (based in Taos), but they have some great things for a more simple taste.  

The take great pride in their all natural beef, no trans fats, recycled materials and the green friendly options.  Wonder if they’re going to be staring a biodiesel station out back?

The staff all moved with a sense of urgency and still had that new restaurant smell to go along with the new restaurant attitude.  “The burgers are awesome” our waiter said with an friendly and honest tone.  Sign me up!  You can’t go to a burger place and not get a burger!  Especially the first time. 

So let’s start with my girlfriend’s meal of choice, the grilled cheese.  Now this isn’t mom’s grill rainbow bread with Velveeta.  This is a upscale fancied up grilled cheese on sourdough with cheddar, swiss (or in her case pepper jack), provolone, bacon and a Tomato Marmalade.  She gave me a bit and my first thought, “Woah that is sweet!”  The Tomato Marmalade is very sweet, but delicious in it’s own right.  Slow the bacon kicks in and salt takes over the sweet.  The bread is perfectly toasted with just the right amount of butter and cheese.  Grilled Cheese The marmalade is a little sweet for my taste, but maybe as for it easy on tomato (or a fresh tomato) and it’s quite nice, if you like a grilled cheese.  The coleslaw on the side is also quite good, slightly different taste that I can’t quite pick out.  Fries

They serve fries and sweet potato fries, which any self proclaimed burger aficionado would claim as a requirement to go along with any decent burger, gourmet or not.  I like the presentation, served in a mini deep fry basket with parchment paper and a side of ketchup and mayonnaise and green chile mayonnaise.  Wait, don’t you mean aioli?  This is a gourmet place after all, shouldn’t they be serving Aioli?  NO, it’s mayo damnit and thanks for noticing!  Oh and let me tell you, green chili mayo, makes everything they offer taste better. Fries, burger, napkin, salt shaker, the stuff is amazing.  The fries themselves however leave a little to be longing for.  They look feel and taste like fries sliced, frozen and bagged, shipped across the country.  They aren’t bad, but nothing to get excited about. 

Now the burger, let’s start with the picture shall we? 

BurgerI almost want to just leave it at that, but as a picture says  a thousand words, words say words too, so a talking I go.  I ordered the Taos Burger, crispy green chile, bbq sauce and cheddar.  I added bacon, as you are I am sure learning, bacon makes every burger in my opinion.  So that fried stuff under the bun, that’s the deep fried “crispy green chile” and it just makes sense.  The bacon is crispy, the green chile is crispy, the bun is lightly toasted and soft, the patty, which sadly you cannot see, is thick, perfectly cooked and juicy.  Perfectly cooked for me is Medium well, get over it.  Medium well, by the way, is not easy to cook to correctly and they did. 

Ask for napkins, because when I say the burger is juice, I mean dripping down to your elbows.  The only real problem I had is by the time I got to the end of the burger, the bread was falling apart.  Juicy burger, bbq sauce ( and a touch of ketchup), green chile mayo, I mean the bread really doesn’t stand a chance. 

A beautiful view out the window brings a wonderful ambiance to the place, even with the storm clouds a brewing.  view It’s a good burger place and with plenty of options to get as fancy as you’d like (as long as you are not looking for fois gras).   Still reasonably priced, especially for the quality of food you are getting.  Just make sure you get the green chile mayo, it will add a nice little kick to anything you pick.  www.5starburgers.com


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5 Guys – Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
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Published on: March 23, 2010

I’ve driven by the place before and thought, huh, I wonder what that is?  Every time I had that thought, I completely forgot the place existed until my Girlfriend reminded me and actually looked it up.  Then a friend of Signmine at work said, “Hey, it’s Open and it’s really good!”  Ok, so there go my dinner plans, time to try a new place!  

We walk up and the place is packed, doesn’t appear to be an empty seat in the house.  I’ve seen pictures online and they all appear to be the same layout.   White and red are the colors of the day!  And the sign says it all, burger and fries. 

Peanuts

The line is separated out with a giant stack of potatoes and strategically places boxes of peanuts.   It seems oddly placed, I mean a burger and fries joint with peanuts?  Cause when I think burgers, I think peanuts.  I did not see a single person in the entire building eating a peanut.  Everyone is chowing down on what appears to be a pretty damn good burger and some amazing looking fries.

 

All toppings are free, you get your choice of a regular burger, cheeseburger, bacon burger, bacon cheeseburger or little versions of each.  The difference?  The little ones have one fresh, never frozen patty, the regular burgers, have 2 all fresh, never frozen patties.

Menu

The staff was very helpful in giving you directions if you’ve never been there before.  You pick all your toppings, which are free to add and I was sad that after I placed my order, I look over and some them piling grilled onions on a burger and that was not one of the options I picked.  Most places have “grilled onions” that are slightly warmed, not really cooked.  These were carmelized so they were nice and dark on the outside without being soft slimy piles of mush.  Next time..next time..

Your choice of fries, cajun or regular and a very limited selection of drinks.  As we go around the corner to get our sodas, I was pleasantly surprised, 2 soda fountains with 8 selections each and hardly a duplicate amongst them.  Time for pictures!  Looking behind the counter was a mess of people running around, overcrowded, but somehow managing the dance in expert fashion.  People at the grill in the back, people wrapping burgers on the center table, off to the side making and seasoning fries, and gathering orders to give them to customer impatiently anticipating their one of a kind burger. 

Given time to look around the place, you notice all the signs on the wall.  Comments like, “The Best $5 Burger a Man Can Eat,” “Tastiest Burgers In Town,” “5 Guys Serves Heaven On A Bun.”  It would appear they are very proud of their reviews.  Let’s see if they’ll quote me. 

Drawing

Ok, wait, something’s not right here?  That picture looks a little…flat?  Ok, so I took a few pictures and walked up to the menu to get one last photo.  Very shortly after a nice lady with blonde hair walks up and asks if we were enjoying ourselves and waiting for our food?
“What’s your number?” she asks.  “I’m sorry but we don’t allow people to take pictures, it’s against policy.”  Um..what?  …  Ok, so I guess now I’ll have to draw the experience to you.  PS, the above Menu picture is not mine, but I found several online that people have taken perhaps covertly.  Not wanting to get them in trouble, I only used a picture of the menu.  Maybe they want no proof they actually exist I guess.  Maybe they think we are stealing their souls?  I promise I’ll give it back! 

So finally food time.  Begin covert operation of taking a damn picture of my damn food so FriesI can post it on my damn blog and give a  damn visual aid!   So here I am checking my text messages when magically my camera went off!  Oh, I’m sorry, but since it’s here, I figure people might like to see the fries, which are amazing by the way.  These are not your typical fast food fries that are coated in a batter to make them crispy.  They are freshly cut, lightly salted, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and hot.  DAMN They’re hot!  Cajun style are also amazing, and not your typical cajun seasoning.  It’s got an herbal flavor, not sure what it was, but I like it!  Spicier than most cajun fries and just as crisp as the 5 guys fries.  You can’t tell from the cups, but they are huge, there is a ton of fries here.  On top of that, you should have seen the bag!  I would have taken a picture, but it’s against policy and I had already checked the weather on my phone and sadly no random snapshot happened this time.  Let me just say, these cups were probably at least halfway overfull. 

With the second half of their namesake down, it’s time for the main course.  So here it is, the 5 Guys Burger.

Burger

Looks promising, certainly cheesy.  First thing I notice when taking a bit, Mmmmm…crispy bacon.  I can’t tell you how much I love bacon on a burger.  Unfortunately I can’t say much more about the bacon because, though it imparted a great crunch, there wasn’t as much flavor.  I’m not a cheese snob by any means.  Give me a good chunk of cheddar on my burger and I am happy.  I am not a fan, however, of American Cheese.  For some, it may remind you of your childhood, the grilled cheese your mom used to make.  Well my mom used Velveeta.  The cheese seemed to overwhelm the burger, with as much all fresh, never frozen meat there, I didn’t really taste it much.  The bun was your standard store bought generic buns, which soak up the juice coming from the burger, making them nice and soggy. 

Don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad burger, there just doesn’t seem much special about it.  Definitely go there for the fries, seriously, the fries are awesome.  Get a hot dog while you are there, or a burger, or if you REALLY like American cheese, get a cheeseburger.  It is fresh, and though the picture above may not look as appetizing as your photo they put in menus at Applebees, it’s real.  


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Lumpy’s – Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
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Comments: 8 Comments
Published on: March 21, 2010

Last week a friend of mine walks up to me and asks if I’ve ever had an ‘In and Out’ Burger.  Having worked in the film industry for 2 years, I am very familiar with the place, even though I have never been there.  So of course my response, no.  “Well, do you like Burgers?”  Considering I eat at least probably 3 burgers a week, that was an easy answer.  “Well there is this place, up on Central near Coors…”

The place is Lumpy’s, the style is a fast food type burger.  Before you stop reading at Fast Food, trust me, keep reading.   Lumpys

When first I drove up, I wasn’t sure what to think.  It’s a little shack on the edge of a parking lot.  Almost looks like an old style drive in, but the line was huge, so they must be doing something right.  Off to the side is another bunch of people writing on little brown Bags, a quick look at the menu explains the unusual ordering process.

The bags have the menu in the form of checkboxes.  Next to the bags, a stack of crayons. First, pick your burger, 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4,  you want lettuce Tomatoes and Onions?  Check the boxes.  Wait… no bacon?!  Seriously?  Ok, for the moment we’ll overlook this little oversight.   Lumpys Bag

Next, what kind of cut to your potato?  You’ve got Chunky, Skinny or Skrewy.  I got the skrewy fries, which are more like the spiral cut potato chips like you get at the fair. Mini Corn dogs, chicken strips, and your choice of soda or tea rounds out the menu.  Wait, what’?  That’s it?  Seriously, it’s only burgers and a couple choices for the “young at heart” crowd.

Ok, so bag filled out, standing in line and you could tell who has been there before because there was a stand of baskets.  In these baskets are the potatoes that you pick from.  Yeah, that’s right, you pick your own potato.  Make sure to grab a nice big potato because you’ll probably be standing in line a while anyway.  Oh yeah, and they have sweet potatoes too.  It took close to an hour from the point we got in line, to when we got our food.

It was worth it. The sweet potato fries, skrewy, amazing.  They break up more than the idaho potatoes, but so sweet and crispy.  The regular potatoes were less cooked, but strangely good.  Some parts nice and crispy, other parts soft, just a little salty, I’ll have to go back and try the other cuts.

Ok, so the burger.  I got cheese, lettuce, green chile, ketchup and ranch.  They also have this Cali sauce, which is similar to Thousand island, but smoother and creamier, slightly tangy, slightly sweet.

The 1/2 lbs consists of 2 1/4lbs patties.  The never frozen meat is cooked on a super hot griddle giving a nice brown crust on the meat.  The buttered and toasted kaiser is soft on the outside, crispy on the inside.  The cheese is ridiculous, it’s what I call a CHEESEburger.  It’s a fast food burger, it’s greasy, gooey, very large and thin and in every way damn good!  The closest thing I could relate it to is Blakes, but better (which is saying something because I like Blakes, but that’s another show).  The only thing missing, is bacon, that burger would have blown my mind, if it had bacon.  Lumpys Menu

It’s fresh, it’s local, and it’s certainly worth the drive, not only for the experience, but for the food as well.  It’s not gourmet, but it’s not supposed to be, just a damn good simple burger with an unusual experience.  Go forth and comment.�

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