Sunday, January 21, 2007

Little Burgers

I was kicked back watching Giada De Laurentiis’s new show Weekend Getaways. The location was Cascadia Restaurant in Seattle. During happy hour the restaurant offers their Miniburgers at a dollar apiece. My attention was immediately piqued. I grabbed the Tivo remote and replayed several scenes that showed the making and serving of the burgers. The presentation was inventive and I just wanted to reach into the television and snatch one of the little guys. Why did this product evoke such a reaction? It took me a couple of days to figure out.

During my teen years growing up in Maryland, just outside Washington D.C. one only had to be eighteen to drink beer. The identification cards of that day were not sophisticated and an enterprising seventeen year old could make a reasonable copy and go party in D.C. After the party one would stop at The Little Tavern hamburger stand whose motto was “buy ‘em by the bag”. I won’t entirely date myself and tell you the price but they were little, cheap and four or five hit the spot after a few brews. The little square patties of beef were cooked on a flat top grill with dehydrated onions and placed on little square buns. Later in life I found out that this recipe was probably a rip off of White Castle. At the time they really seemed unique. Well doctor, that’s what evoked a happy response to the burgers. That’s it! Little burgers + brew = party.

With The Super Bowl coming up how can I get some little burgers? Little Tavern is long since gone. Cascadia has a catering branch that will come out and cook some of their Miniburgers on site. They even have a Mini Cooper painted up real cool with their logo. This low bucks blog doesn’t have the coin to drag the Cascadia crew to Nor Cal from Seattle. Guess what? Sometimes you got to do things for yourself.

Life’s a Picnic little burgers.
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The Menu
Little Burgers with condiments

Food Cost
40 cents each

Just like hamburgers only smaller. Two ounce portions of ground beef with a 25% fat ratio were formed using a metal ring.
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Small dinner rolls from the local super substituted for hamburger rolls.
It's a party!


Anonymous said...

I like it! Really cool. I like cute food.
And me, I used to cruise by Hot Shoppes after Georgetown... cuz I lived on the other side of the Nile from you.

Greg said...

Cookiecrumb...sadly all the Hot Shoppes are gone as well. I just pulled the recipe for The Mighty Mo off line. Sounds like a blog to me

Anonymous said...

I lived in Maryland for awhile and enjoyed the Little Tavern place too. Although I was all grown up. I've enjoyed your blog for awhile, keep it up it's really great!

kudzu said...

I confess. I bought frozen White Castle cheeseburgers last weekend because the hostalgia was too much to resist. They were college staples -- we would get four and a cup of coffee for under a dollar. The checkout clerk was curious and I explained life in the Midwest at a certain age. They were hardly gourmet fare: yours would be ideal and I may follow your lead, but for that day the sliders were just the ticket.

Greg said...

Kudzu--I think everything tastes beter with a little nostalgia.

Jeenie said...

Ha! Well I guess I know what I will be requesting from the mom and dad catering service for my next party. :P

-Yer spoiled dotter

club lt mike said...

You folks have been deceived! Little Tavern burgers were ROUND, not square. Also, no steam holes like the others. LT burgers were made from fresh ground beef stored in stainless tubs. To make burgers, the employee would take small portions of the beef and make little "golf balls." They would be put on a low heat flat grill and rehydrated onions were pressed into each ball. Then they were flattened with a spatula and salt & pepper were added. Buns were sliced in half and pickle slices were placed on the bottoms. When the burgers were done on the first side, they were flipped and cooked until done. The tops of the buns were usually placed on the now cooked side at this point. When done, the burgers, with roll tops, were placed on the pickled bottoms and put in a warmer drawer, usually with a damp rag covering them. When someone ordered burgers to go, they were asked if they wanted ketchup, mustard or both. LT usually had a squirt bottle with mustard & ketchup already mixed for the "both" customers. If you were eating in, you had a ketchup & mustard squeeze bottle on the counter. Now for the real deal about their cheeseburgers. If you wanted a cheeseburger, the employee would get a burger from the warmer, put a slice of cheese on the grill to melt, then use the top half of the roll to pick up the mostly melted cheese and put on the burger! ONLY Little Tavern used this elaborate process for making burgers but that's why they were ten times better than any of the others! I moved away from DC before Little Tavern threw in the towel and I never forgot how the burgers were made! I make them often and always with cheese. I enjoy reciting this history of the "Club LT" burger making to friends when they are lucky enough to stop by and LT burgers are on my menu. Oops, I got carried away. I forgot to mention, at Little Tavern, it was the roll that was square, not the burger, just the roll

Anonymous said...

Exactly right.
I grew up in the Silver Spring area.
I would watch them make the burgers.
I was facinated how they did the cheese thing.
Did they ever have a a LT's in any southern states?