Posts Tagged Five Guys Burgers

Avitaween

As I previously alluded to, I traveled to Orlando last weekend to attend Avitaween. And while that was certainly the main event, it was far from the whole story. It was, in fact, one of nine meet-ups for me during the trip.

First up was lunch at the Orlando airport with several others that were arriving at around the same time. These were all people I hadn’t meet before and we coordinated via Twitter. Kim was already there when we got there and later, Sheila, Employee3699 and her fraughter joined us. Chick-Fil-A was the fare of choice, apparently being unavailable in the far-off land of Chicago. Or something like that. Then it was time to wait over an hour in the Budget car rental line. Joy. That was probably the only negative of my whole weekend, at least the only one that directly affected me.

Friday evening was the occasion of a wonderful dinner hosted by Faiqa and Tariq. In attendance were several bloggers I’d already met and was thrilled to see again: Poppy & Dawg, Rachel, Robin and Dave2. I also got to meet many more: Britt & Jared, Heather & Tyler, Finn & Mister, Hilly, Lisa, Karen and Becky. There were some others present, including some kids, but I’m sticking to bloggers (and their spouses) here. Great food and great times!

toojaysSaturday morning’s arrival meant breakfast. I love breakfast. Kim joined several of the dinner attendees (Finn & Mister, Poppy & Dawg, Rachel, Robin and me) at TooJay’s. After breakfast, we discovered that Robin’s rental had some issues and she and Rachel had to go exchange it (after dropping me back at the Hilton, where I wasn’t staying, but had met up beforehand). Bummer that their plans got messed up by having to drive back to the airport, but watching Robin work it on the phone was pretty impressive.

Back at the Hilton, I sat around chatting with various attendees until it was time for a late lunch. Sheila, Employee3699, Fraughter, Nicole and… grumble… I’ve gone and forgotten their names. One other couple. 😦 I even tried looking through photos, to no avail. Anyway, we went to Bahama Breeze. I was still full from breakfast, so I didn’t order any lunch and then had a dessert. It was some sort of banana bread-bananas-caramel-ice cream-whip cream concoction that ended up not being as good as I had hoped. Oh, well.

invaded_boxBack to the hotel to get ready for the main event, Avitaween 2009: INVADED!!!! Words fail me, so have a look at the Flickr stream. Okay, I’ll come up with some words. Or one word. Absomazingtastibulous! [Edit: I forgot to mention that there are also a couple of karaoke videos.]

As the festivities were starting to wind down (though plenty of people looked like they’d be there for a while), a group of us decided to head over to Denny’s for post-party, late night food. My steak & egg burrito really hit the spot. Let’s see how well I can recall who was at Denny’s. Poppy & Dawg, Robin, Rachel, Shiela, Kim, Employee3699, Fraughter, Finn & Mister, Karen and Adam‘s friend Chris. I think that’s everyone, but I could be forgetting someone at the other end of the table.

Sunday morning pretty much went by while I slept, which was fine since I had breakfast the night before. Marci and I were able to have lunch with Mike & Susie at Five Guys, and then sit and chat with them for a couple of hours back at the Hilton. Getting to know other people is one of my favorite parts of these trips, so I really appreciated this opportunity.

At that point, we needed to check into our new hotel. We were switching to the hotel where Marci would be spending the rest of the week as she was staying in town for a conference. We were planning to meet up with Marty & Reba, but the way things ended up working out I had dinner with Adam. Just the two of us at Chili’s, where we had a good opportunity to actually have some interesting conversations — no time for that for Adam at his own party, of course!

hard rock orlandoI still needed to meet up with Marty — I had a package for him, plus, he’s state of inebriation at the party pretty much precluded conversations — but I wanted to stop by the Orlando Hard Rock Cafe first. This was a bit of an adventure as it required parking in the Universal Studios parking garage ($3 from 8pm to 10pm) and a bit of a walk. I walked around the restaurant for a bit looking at the various memorabilia, but I didn’t want to spend too long as I wasn’t sure how late Marty wanted to be out. I bought my requisite Hard Rock shirt and headed back to the car.

I finally met Marty at TGI Friday’s where we caught up and I had a much better dessert, a Chips Ahoy! Ice Cream Sundae. And half-price Long Island Iced Teas for Marty!

As I said earlier, my favorite part of these trips is hanging out with other people, so I was thrilled that I had so many different opportunities to do so. Looking forward to the next one. Did someone say something about Vegas in December?!

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New Burger: Elevation Burger

elevation-burgerI happened to notice a new burger place the other day and decided to give it a try today. I’d never heard of Elevation Burger before, and a little post-lunch research reveals why. They’ve only been in the franchise business since last year and this is their first location that’s not in Virginia or Maryland.

The claim-to-fame of this chain (sorry!) is their organic, grass-fed beef. They also use olive oil to cook their fries and offer two types of veggie burgers. My understanding is that grass-fed beef is less greasy than traditional (well, traditional these days) corn-fed beef.

Upon entering, I was happy to discover that this is one of the apparently trendy burger places where there is a long list of available free toppings. I really like this style as I like to have a bunch of toppings on my burger. For this test, I chose pretty much what I’ve been getting at Five Guys lately, except that sauteed mushrooms were not offered, nor was any hot sauce. Jalapenos were not on the list, but were offered to me and brought out separately.

They also have shakes and malts, with a choice of ingredients that can be added. Depsite the inevitable impact on my diet, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a vanilla shake blended with fresh strawberries. Because of this, I skipped the fries on this visit, though I did try a few of my lunchmate’s fries. I thought there were good and reminded me of old-style McDonald’s fries, though fresher and with less salt.

The burger itself? Quite tatsy. I definitely enjoyed it more than Mooyah, but probably not as much as Five Guys. It certainly seemed like I was eating a healthier burger, though I was unable to find any nutritional information, so I’m not really sure. As with Mooyah, I would credit the toppings more than the burger, but I did try a plain bite of meat and found that it actually had a pretty good flavor.

I really liked the fresh strawberry taste of the shake, but I found it overall to be not very satisfying. I’m hopeful that that’s an indication that the 16 oz. is at least slightly on the lower side calorie-wise. I doubt I’ll get a shake again — certainly next time I’m more likely to get fries.

I’ll definitely try Elevation Burger again some time, and it’s quite a bit closer to work than my still-favorite, Five Guys. Although, Five Guys’ web site indicates that a new location is coming soon, very close to where Elevation Burger is.

Elevation Burger on Urbanspoon

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New Burger: Freddy’s Frozen Custard

freddylogoBased on a recommendation from my father, I stopped by the new-to-our-area Freddy’s Frozen Custard to try their burger. I had the Single Steakburger without cheese (still watching my calories). Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise, however, it was quite tasty.

I wasn’t in the mood for ice cream at the time, so I didn’t try their Concrete. Plus, the 651 calories advertised on their web site for their Mini Heath Concrete scared me away. Not much “Mini” about that! I will need to try it at some point so that I can add it to my mix-in-ice-cream spectrum, formerly topped by Dairy Queen’s Blizzard until surpassed by Wally’s Wallybanger (local place). Not sure when that will be, as there aren’t many days when I have as many available calories as I did that day, having done 20 miles cycling beforehand. Oh, well.

Anyway, back to the burger. The key to its taste was that the meat patty itself was very good. The rest of the ingredients were fresh and good as well, but it’s the meat that sold the burger. This is in stark contrast to my experience at Mooyah. I wouldn’t put Freddy’s on the same level as Five Guys, but then, Five Guys doesn’t have ice cream….

Freddy's Frozen Custard on Urbanspoon

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Mooyah

logo-mooyahI finally got around to making a return visit to the Mooyah Burgers that recently opened in our area. I had been there once, but honestly couldn’t remember what I thought. Plus, it was before my first visit to Five Guys. Along with the local Mighty Fine Burgers (owned by the wonderful Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q), these are apparently fairly direct copies of In-N-Out Burger, though I’ve never been to one of those and none of these have drive-thrus.

Anyway, based on the lack of a memorable first visit, I didn’t have high hopes, but the Mooyah is so much closer to work than the Five Guys, I felt that I needed to make a more direct comparison. Like Five Guys, there is a large list of free toppings from which you can choose (with bacon and cheese being the only extras with a price). I was able to order the same toppings I generally get at Five Guys, so it would be a pretty direct comparison.

The result? Well, the bun is good, the topping fresh and tasty and the fries are fine. But the burger just didn’t quite do it for me. I tasted a bit of the patty alone and confirmed that the problem was there. It was bland. It tasted exactly like the ground beef I fry at home for spaghetti sauce, before adding any seasonings.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say that I disliked the burger, just that I wasn’t impressed with it. Also, they offer A1 in their topping list, which could make a huge difference. Five Guys is a long way to drive for lunch, so if I’m eating with others that want a not-quite-fast-food burger, I’d be happy to try Mooyah again with some A1 sauce.

On the other hand, I see from their web site that Five Guys is opening another location that is much closer to my office. Happy, happy, joy, joy! 🙂

Mooyah Burgers and Fries on UrbanspoonFive Guys Burgers & Fries on Urbanspoon

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Best Burger

My brother invited me to lunch today. I also needed to get some photography equipment for an appointment tomorrow. Since my brother works south and I work north, and the best photography store is (vaguely) central, we decided to meet at the store.

I got what I needed and we looked at a few other things while we were there and then we headed out to get some lunch — but with no specific destination in mind. There was a burger place that my brother suggested, but it was no longer there. We drove around for a while, near campus, until I saw a place that looked interesting.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries immediately reminded us of local chain, Mighty Fine — enough so that we thought that Mighty Fine probably copied the concept from Five Guys.

I’ve had mixed feelings about Mighty Fine. I like the place well enough, and the fries are good, and they have shakes, but I’ve never been all that impressed with their burgers. My burger at Five Guys, on the other hand, was by far the best burger I’ve had in recent memory. And the fries they have are the exact kind I’ve been craving for a few days, plus they were available with Cajun seasoning (which we got).

It’s been about five-and-a-half hours since I had the burger and I could really go for another one. Too bad it’s over 30 minutes from my house. Just thinking about it is really upping my craving — it was that good.

Five Guys Burgers & Fries on Urbanspoon

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