June/July FN Magazine

May 29, 2009 at 7:08 am

Originally posted at Paper Palate on May 28, 2009.

This month Food Network is all about the grill and that theme transitions over to “the Magazine” as well. Inside its pages you will find The Neelys’ Father’s Day brunch menu, Bobby Flay’s favorite bruger recipes and the Summer Grilling Guide.

Of particular interest is the Ultimate Burger in Every State list.  We Americans love our lists and “best places for” lists are no exception.  They gives us ammo for debate motivation to do a better job.  After all nothing motivates like ego.  For most the true fun of a list is to see if their experiences are listed and how they rate with the rest of the country.

The Burger List is a prime example.  Of the 50 I am quite familiar with three and vaguely familiar with roughly a half dozen others.  Of the three I know the most remote is Creek Bank Restaurant in Wagarville, Alabama.  It is located about an hour outside of my home town of Mobile and has come to recent fame when Mobile Press Register Food Editor David Holloway made it the upset winner of his exhaustive three-year search for South Alabama’s best burger.

Rotier’s in Nashville is one of the great greasy spoon dive joints in the country.  They have the best blue cheese dressing in the nation.  So good, patrons gladly pay an extra .50 ¢ to get it.  Theirburgers are also the stuff of legend as they are served on a poppy seed French bread loaf.  At Rotier’s you’ll find a clientele that is diverse as record execs, country music stars, Vanderbilt and Belmont University students and long haired rockers all eventually enter the gritty family-owned eatery.

Other than a subtle joke in the movie Fletch I was unaware of California’s In-N-Out Burger.  That is until I struck up a friendship with Nashville musician and producer Jerry Navarro.  Chigg, as he is known to his friends, was raised in L.A..  According to Chigg a standard day began about 5AM with his mother making taquitos for himself and his friend Chris as they headed out to ride the waves before class.  They surfed a beach directly across from their college and would often head straight to class in their wet suits, shoeless and still dripping of Pacific brine.  After class they would grab an In-N-Out burger before climbing back on their boards.  To Navarro, and many other Californians, the secret menu is as much a part of the LA experience as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre or trans-gender prostitutes.

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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