Tour de Burger: Nominations
Winter may still be trying to make a stand, but it’s a losing proposition at this point. No, it’s not quite spring. But we are firmly in the unlocking. So yes, we may still get a day in the single digits, or some mornings that are below freezing. But we’re in the home stretch.
That wasn’t so bad, was it?
In the past, spring has been the time for the Tour de Soft Serve, or some other frozen-confection-themed FUSSYlittleTOUR. We did FroYo, gelato, and homemade hard ice cream over the years as well. The logic behind the spring ice cream tours was that it could inform all your ice cream eating decisions for the entire summer. And that made a certain amount of sense.
The downside was that in the heat of summer, I was venturing out to eat some kind of savory dish just dripping in sweat. It takes the hardest of the hardcore to tackle a tour of Italian subs in 90-plus degree heat.
So this year, we’ve learned our lesson. Winter and Spring will be our savory tours. Summer and Fall will be the seasons for sweets, ice cream and cider donuts respectively.
And now, we’re launching the planning phase of the tour that I never thought would happen.
I still remember when the idea was first floated. At the end of the Tour de Egg Sandwich, someone suggested a Tour de Burger. Despite all the passion for the idea, I wrote it off almost immediately for all the right reasons.
A good burger is a sizeable thing in its own right, so eating five of them seemed unwise. They are also difficult to share. Plus it would be weird to bring six people into a restaurant, and order three burgers for the table.
What I realize now is that I was thinking about this tour all wrong.
As it turns out, we absolutely have some very special burgers in this region that aren’t found in sit-down restaurants. Plus, given their smaller size, these are totally workable in a tour framework.
For those who are not familiar with how the FUSSYlittleTOURS operate, a bunch of volunteers treks out into the wilderness, and we eat five ostensibly similar items, at five different places, in search of our favorites. In an attempt to rise above mere subjective preferences, we score each sample against a set of fixed criteria, trying to keep as much consistent sample to sample as possible.
But before we even schedule the outing, there’s always a call for nominations. We do this for two reasons:
1) At the end of every tour summary, some commenter asks, why didn’t you go to place X?
2) Despite my best efforts, there continue to be places in the region that are off my radar.
So what are these special burgers of which I speak? They are found at our seasonal roadside stands. And as I see it, these three are the musts:
– Jack’s Drive-In in Wynantskill is all about the caramelized onions.
– Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-in uses coleslaw on its signature burger.
– Country Drive-in puts pickle slices on top of the bun for some reason.
But we have room for five stops on this tour. Part of me thinks:
Mac’s Drive-in should get a spot despite its multi-season interior.
Gus’s has the same issue, but is also home to the greekburger.
Middleburgers in Schoharie sounds great, but it’s a bit far out there.
Then there are ice cream places like On The Farm, which also have burgers.
It’s more than a little sad that Pirate’s Lakeside Grill is no longer with us, because that place would have been a fantastic stop on this tour.
So, what say you? Where should we go? And what have I left out?
As suggestions come in and a tour starts to take shape, I’ll look at opening dates for the top spots, and cross-reference those with my calendar. And at some point down the road, we’ll announce the date and the itinerary.
But now is the time to speak up or forever hold your peace.