Hopdoddy – Part II (and III)

Friends…I may have a problem.  In fact, I think I may be addicted.  In 4 weeks, I’ve been to Hopdoddy Burger Bar 3 times.  It’s THAT good.  Since the wife was out of town at a healthy living conference, a good buddy of mine joined me on a burger outing.  Strange, huh?  The wife – healthy living blogger.  Me – decadent burger blogger.  We make it work ;).  She keeps me eating clean most of the time, so I don’t feel too bad when I indulge.  Before I get to my burger, here’s what my friend had…

Impressive, no?

The behemoth you see before you is the Terlingua – Angus Beef, Chile Con Carne, Corn Fritos, Tillamook Cheddar, Sassy Sauce – or to put it simply…a cheeseburger with Frito pie on top.  But “Terlingua” really is a lot more fun to say.  As the waitress delivered his burger, all my friend could say was, “Whoa” partly out of fear and partly out of sheer delight at the prospect of consuming this burger.  He later stated that he had probably lost a week of his life for such an indulgence.  But he was okay with that since the burger was so enjoyable.  My friend washed down his burger and fries with an ice cold bottle of Shiner Bock.

As for me, I went with the burger they were going to have “for a limited time only.”  Another one of those darn catch phrases…I told you I was a sucker for them.  Truthfully, though, I really like cheeseburgers with green chiles, and since it’s the time for hatch chiles down here in Texas, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy Hopdoddy’s special edition Llano Poblano – Angus Beef, Pepper Jack Cheese, Roasted Poblano Chiles, Roasted Hatch Chiles (!!!!), Apple-Smoked Bacon, Chipotle Mayo.  (hmmm…with the substitution of hatch chiles, the name of the burger really doesn’t make sense anymore…)

Let me tell ya…there was no drop in quality or flavor from my first burger to this one.  It was amazing to see each burger coming out of the kitchen looking absolutely immaculate.  Just like on my previous visit, the meat was seasoned and cooked perfectly.  Even with the addition of bacon, the burger wasn’t overly salty.  Actually, the bacon added a subtle smoky saltiness that complemented the rest of the burger.  The hatch chiles, chipotle mayo, and pepper jack cheese added a nice heat, but again did not overpower.  Everything, to my palate, worked harmoniously.  However, as was the case last time, my bottom bun nearly didn’t make it to the end.

Fast forward about two weeks…the wife’s back from her conference and she wants to take me out to Hopdoddy.  I do not complain.  Hatch chiles are still available, and the masterminds at Hopdoddy have decided to deep fry mac & cheese laced with the wonderful green peppers and put it on a burger.  What?!?!  I throw all discretion out the window and order one…

Affectionately called the Hatcheroni (aka, Hatch Mac), this burger is just nuts.  In addition to the deep-fried patty of goodness and Angus beef, the burger comes dressed with arugula, tomato, caramelized onion, apple-smoked bacon, and chipotle aioli.  I should’ve known that I was in trouble when the waiter asked me if he could get me something to smush down the burger with.  I tried to press it down with my hand, but that thing did not want to budge.

My wife looked stunned when she saw my tray. Not sure if she was impressed or disgusted…

I got the sweats after eating this burger.  You know…when you’ve eaten more than you should have?  I’m not a fan of arugula, but with its peppery flavor, it was the perfect green veg for this rich burger.  The bottom bun had no chance of survival.  I had to finish off the Hatcheroni with a fork because everything just fell apart.  I mention this bottom bun issue because sometimes it can be a big hassle if a burger’s too messy to eat.  I enjoyed the experience, but halfway through the burger my mouth got tired from its overwhelming height and I kinda forgot I was eating a burger.  With everything getting mushed together, it reminded me more of a casserole.  Although it was quite the visual spectacle, I would have to say that this was my least favorite of the Hopdoddy burgers I’ve tried so far.  Would I eat this burger again?  Yes, but this is definitely a once-a-year burger.  For now I think I’ll stick with burgers that don’t exceed 6 inches in height ;).

As much as I’ve enjoyed the multiple trips to Hopdoddy, I must continue on my journey and see what else is out there.  Burgers currently on my radar include the Katsu Slider from Ramen Tatsu-ya (a brand new ramen shop here in Austin), the Bar Congress Burger from Second Bar + Kitchen, and All Star Burger.  And how could I forget, I’ve got to use up some of my Mighty Fine burger bucks.  Boy, what a difficult life I lead…

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