Saturday, September 10, 2011

Houston - The Burger Shack

Rich and I are big on Groupons these days. That's how I learned about The Burger Shack on I-10 between Bingle and Wirt (north side). The menu sports 10 different burgers with lots of extras to add. I would have loved to try the BLEU Cheeseburger (think I'll have to go back), but the Groupon offer got us 2 cheeseburgers, 2 orders of homemade fries and 2 drinks.

On a rating scale, I'd give it an 8. (Note: I reserve the remaining 2 points for spectacular, outasight, over-the top delicious). The cheeseburger was a good, decent, juicy burger. The fries are hand-cut. I would probably have given then another dunk in the deep-fryer for more crispiness (is that a word?).

The Burger Shack also offers Shack Salads, Shack Dawgs, "Teasers", Fish Meals (just noticed the shrimp poboy on the menu:), Kids Meals and hand-dipped Blue Bell (for non-Texans, Blue Bell is ice cream). Also serves breakfast (dang, no biscuits and gravy:)

The walls are lined with nation-wide license plates, neon signs, as well as community, college and professional sports memorabilia. A fun place to visit and have a really good burger.

The Burger Shack Grill
8412 Katy Freeway, #310
Houston, TX 77024
Facebook - BurgerShackTexas
Twitter - TheBurgerShack

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten - Houston

Dear Anonymous,
The one picture I had was of Gizmo's Drive Inn on Oak Forest near the railroad tracks. Unfortunately, I can't find it. Fortunately, I remember who sent it to me. Will see what I can do.

Thanks for reminding me of Gizmo's. We always went there when I was little for hamburgers and Chuc Wagon for hotdogs. Not sure why..

In the late 60's and 1970 (the year I graduated), Gizmo's was called Mr. Jeff's. Best homemade onion rings ever.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Field Store BBQ - Hwy. 290 @ Field Store Rd.

I understand Field Store BBQ is the new owner of the old Rocky's BBQ. And from what I understand is bigger and better. Let's see who can post the first comment after a visit.

Menu starts with BBQ (of course), baked potatoes, cheeseburgers and seafood. And I believe the Ice House should be up and running by now.

Ready. Set. Get out there folks! Bring us some news after your visit.
Thumbs Up?
Thumbs Down?
1-5 Star Rating: How many stars would you give the Field Store BBQ?

Note: Chevron gas pumps are also up and running

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Three Rivers, TX - Sowell's BBQ

March, 2011

Three Rivers, TX (population 1,878)

The old building, transported from Boerne to Three Rivers in 1902 used to be a bar/saloon. The original “bar” remains, but the premises is now home to the diner, Sowell’s BBQ. We ate lunch at Sowell's for 5 straight days (I’ll tell you why in a minute). After the 3rd day, I asked a big old friendly guy in overalls, who’s there every day, if he was the owner. He responded, “was it good?” “Excellent,” I said. Rick Sowell, owner, he said with a smile, and extended his hand.

Rich and I dined at Sowell’s every day because we were on spring break and camping at Choke Canyon State Park, 11 miles away. Why eat out, you ask? Why not? We like our daily outing and ice or some other item always appeared on the list for the Super S (grocery store). Did we tire of the same food everyday? Heck no. Too many choices.

Three Rivers is also home to the Valero Refinery, a Dairy Queen, Super S Grocery store, public library, post office, a federal prison and a handful of other businesses. Lots of farm and ranch land in the area. Saw a spray-painted sign posted near the gravel drive to a farm that read, “pray for rain.”

Three clear reasons drew us back to Sowell’s: the food, Rick and the wait staff. My kind of place. A large blackboard mounted near the kitchen (probably a good 6’ tall x 8’ wide) spells out the daily specials in colored chalk, though I'm sure the gesture is more for us non-Three-Rivers-people. The locals come early, know what the special is for the day, and also know when it's gone, it's gone, demonstrated by a line drawn through the item on the chalkboard.

Sowell’s BBQ serves breakfast, Mexican food, cheeseburgers, loaded baked potatoes, chicken fried steak with daily specials like King Ranch chicken, fried pork chops, fried chicken, fried catfish, loaded chalupas and meatloaf. The specials usually include several sides, a salad, roll & drink.

Brisket is a mainstay at Sowell’s. Rick uses only mesquite wood and smokes the meat a good long time at a low temp. Ribs, sausage and chicken are also part of the BBQ section of the menu. A big pot of pinto beans sits on one counter and is a side to many of the menu items (I loved the beans).

Peach cobbler, the specialty dessert, sits in a big old dutch oven on a table up front. Buttermilk and pecan pie are also offered.

A solid pine table, probably 6’ in length, sits near the kitchen. The sign (upper left corner) is a permanent fixture to the table, mostly designated for the owner and locals. Sunday, a handful of people sat with Rick, Monday all seats were taken (probably 10 total). And if you’re lucky enough to land a table nearby, you’re likely to hear some pretty interesting conversation.

Memorabilia line the walls as well as mounted deer and wild boars. Hunting is serious business in Three Rivers, which by the way, got its name because the Frio, Neuces and Atascosa rivers come together here.

One day (can’t remember which one) I ordered the cheese enchiladas (excellent). The menu read “2 cheese enchiladas with rice and beans.” I got 3 and hadn’t yet introduced myself, so no favors given for a good review. Sowell’s is just that kind of friendly, down-home diner.

On our last day, an empty table was hard to find. I think we came before the first crowd finished and after the second crowd arrived. The locals usually arrive early, between 11 & 11:30. The second crowd (people like us and lots of oil tank drivers lined up down the road at the Valero refinery) moves in around 12:30.

I used Spring Break to accomplish a lot of writing, but with my unusually large lunches, I should have removed my buttocks from the pop-up and walked...daily.

PS – if you find yourself in Three Rivers, TX and ready to push the panic button because you’re starving and dining options appear few…drive to 114 West Thornton and stop at Sowell’s BBQ. Tell Rick, “Terry said hello.”

PSS – don’t forget to try the onion rings:)

Sowell’s BBQ (can also be found on Facebook)

114 West Thornton

Three Rivers, TX 78071


Friday, January 21, 2011


Happy New Year to all. Every year Rich and I do a "year review" to help us remember exactly where in the hell the year went. And it wasn't until a good week to 10 days went by that we even "remembered" to do the review. Most of the time I don't mind growing older, however, lately I feel I'm losing IQ points every time I sleep (I say as I stifle a yawn).

Rich's sister died in June which was definitely on the sad part of the review. On the happy side of the 2010 review, we had a birth into our family. Joshua Douglas (Josh) was born May 26th. In a couple of days he will be 8 mos. old and he is a "Shrek" in the truest sense of the word. Unlike his big brother Jackson, Josh started pulling himself up at the ripe 0ld age of 7 mos. and that was after he had already mastered crawling. He's into everything, eats everything, and will probably be my grandchild to test my recipes out on. He's a hoot.

Our interpretation of Josh's progression is as follows: he wants to be and do whatever Jackson is doing. Period, end of paragraph. His world looks much different. He sees a 2 yr. old running around (Jackson), playing with trucks, 18-wheelers, ambulances (and anything Hot
Wheels produces), and that 's exactly where this little guy wants to be, much to Jackson's dismay. But to Jackson's credit, he's working on the concept of sharing. Not easy for a 2 yr. old (will be 3 on Feb. 8th).

Texas Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives has taken a hiatus (blowing out air). I had a friend of mine last fall say something like, "you look pretty good considering all the crap you've been eating."
It was one of those comments I had to stop and really think whether it was a compliment or a slam. Knowing the person, I think it was probably a compliment (not 100% sure) but that's what I'm going with.

And for the record, it's kind of like Guy Fiari on the Food Network. It looks like all he does is eat, but that's only the part that's being recorded. Yeah okay, I enjoy comfort food. So shoot me. Somebody please. There's nothing I like better than Tex-Mex cheese enchiladas, chicken fried steak, fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, fried okra...okay what have I left out? Damn, it's not easy being me (I say with a smile on my face). Oh, have I mentioned my fondness of wine? Yeah, I think I've mentioned that.

Back to Tex-Mex. For about a year or so, I've been on a quest for a really good enchilada chili recipe. I don't want one with meat in it, it needs to be meatless so it can be applied to a cheese enchilada. Anyone out there want to bite on that one? Let me know. I'll try it out and be more than happy to give you the credit. Help end my misery.

It's Sunday night, the Packers and the ? are headed to the Super Bowl. I'll be pulling for Packers since Rich is a huge Packers fan (although not as much as my mother-in-law). So on we go into 2011. I always have gumbo on Super Bowl Sunday. Already have it made, so it's had a while to "sit."

Talk to me. Is anyone out there? What are your plans/rituals for the Super Bowl?