Monday, January 11, 2010

A Great Hamburger Is More Than Just The Sum Of Its Parts

In my opinion, you can’t judge a hamburger by any one of its many individual components. When determining whether a hamburger is worthy or not, you must consider it as one whole package. Praising the meat while damning the bun, or vice versa, makes no sense to me. A hamburger should be considered on how all of the components (meat, bun, toppings, and condiments) come together, because, unlike components of a traditional meal, the ingredients of a hamburger are eaten all at the same time.

Having said that, I do believe that the most important thing which determines whether a hamburger is the best it can be or not, is the bun. A great hamburger bun can make up for less than tasty meat more easily than a delicious meat patty can provide cover for a less than desirable bun. Over the years I’ve stopped eating burgers at more than one place because they decided to change their hamburger buns in some way. In some cases, they started serving less expensive buns, with predictable results. In other cases, they stopped toasting or grilling their buns. Despite how good the actual meat might have been, the bad bun tainted the entire experience. Like I said, with hamburgers, you must consider the entire package.

Because good meat, good hamburger buns, fresh toppings and quality condiments are so easily procured these days, it is no wonder that there are literally thousands of places around the country that serve great hamburgers. Despite all the variations of hamburgers there may be, the one common denominator of a great hamburger is that the preparer in each hamburger location clearly understands that a hamburger will rise or fall based upon just one of its individual components. In that regard, it’s like the old adage about a chain being “only as strong as its weakest link.”

When a hamburger place gets all of the components of a hamburger melding perfectly together, it is a wonderful thing indeed. It’s that first bite you take when you know whether you have a winner or not. It either works, or it doesn’t. It really is that simple.

Moonie’s Burger House in Cedar Park is one of those places which understand how important it is to blend good things together in order to make a great burger. There is no doubt, and certainly no secret around these parts, that the bun at Moonie’s is something special. But the meat is also very good, and the toppings are fresh. For two years straight, it has been voted as having the “best burgers and best fries” locally. I haven’t tried every place in the area, so I can’t offer my opinion on that, but what I will tell you is that the burgers here are excellent, and the first bite taken works every time. There is no weak component in a Moonie’s Burger.

Moonie’s offers a wide selection of hamburgers. Every one of the beef selections has a corresponding chicken offering, with all of the same toppings. Many of these selections are rather unique, including, but not limited to, “The Blue Moon,” which features bacon, tomato, red onions, and blue cheese, and the “Chili Cheese Burger With Frito’s On Top,” which has chili, cheese, Frito chips, lettuce, and onions. There is also a vegetarian offering available, called, appropriately enough, the “Veggie Burger” which consists of a veggie patty, lettuce, red onions, pickles and tomato.

My wife and I go to Moonie’s a heck of a lot more than once in a “Blue Moon” and we normally get the same thing every time we go there. I get the beef “Plain Jane with Cheese” and she gets the chicken “Plain Jane with Cheese.” The “Plain Jane” comes with mayonnaise, onions, lettuce, pickles, and tomato. Our preferred side is the sweet potato fries, which are always hot but not overly fried.

Moonie’s is one of those many hamburger places around the country which have figured out that a great hamburger is more than just the sum of its parts. And luckily, Moonie’s is located in the Texas Hill Country town of Cedar Park.

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