"You can take the Mexican out of the Valley, but you can't take the Valley out of the Mexican. Writer, poet, interpreter."
feed the beast
Burger Gauntlet, Supersized: We Tried to Conquer a One-Pound Beast at Nick’s Place
I have never spent any time in Philadelphia, or been anywhere in the entire state of Pennsylvania for that matter. I have, however, had a Philly Cheesesteak, and it was when I was back home in the Valley. A guy that had spent some time in Philadelphia opened a bar and grill down in the very tip of South Texas, and I just had to try this “Cheez Whiz” thing.
It was disgusting. It was amazing. And it has nothing to do with burgers, but you should still know that Nick’s Place in West Houston, right off of Westheimer Road, has Cheez Whiz available for their cheesesteaks.
But Hugo, this is about burgers.
So after a recent hour-long workout (in which I burned about 500 calories), I decided to throw away most of that effort by getting a burger, preferably from somewhere I hadn’t tried before. (That list is getting shorter and shorter, by the way, so thank you all for your suggestions.) And being the practical creature that I am, I decided to hit up Nick’s Place because it was near a Target I needed to stop by at on the way back. Plus some friends had highly recommended the environment and the food there.
I mean, why not?
Parking was an interesting situation. Making a right on to Rockyridge, we saw a massive a mount of cars lining the exterior of Nick’s Place. I was slightly concerned, considering I was genuinely hungry enough to eat Taco Bell, and my post-caloric workout needs probably would not have tolerated a long wait. But to my surprise, the bar was relatively empty, and we were sitting down and ordering drinks in under four minutes.
There was a baseball game on, by the way — worth mentioning because the Astros were inexplicably destroying the Yankees, 9-0.
It’s easy to tell that this place has the potential to get packed on football nights. Which means if you’ve any interest in following college football, you could do much worse than Nick’s Place — there’s not only food and beer but also televisions all around you. This ain’t Buffalo Wild Wings, where if you’re not following the game of the week, you’re stuck craning your neck to check out the much-smaller flatscreens that may or may not be showing anything other than that weird poker/trivia game.
First mistake? Ordering a soft drink and deciding to split an appetizer with my girlfriend. (Jalapeño burger bites with ranch dip…delicious and filling.)
But I wasn’t there for a burger-appetizer. I was there for a major-league burger, dammit. I chose the Justice Burger with homemade mashed potatoes on the side, because it’s a “mammoth one pound burger with three kinds of cheese, mustard and pickles.” Have I mentioned I love cheese? I love cheese. I love cheese so much that I made my second mistake: Forgetting exactly how much one pound of food really is.
My girlfriend saw the burger first, her eyes wide:
“Wow, I think that’s your burger.”
Sure enough, it was. And, well…just look at the photo.
The cheese on the Justice Burger is responsible, melted into the patties and the burger with care. This isn’t a place where they’ll take a slice of Kraft singles, microwave it for 15 seconds and place it on the patty. All good things.
But there is another mistake I made that night.
My third and final mistake: Getting stupid mashed potatoes for a side instead of something less filling. Three strikes and I’m out. I found myself slow to get to the bench, even. I wanted to take a stand against this burger.
I text a friend a picture, she’s concerned.