You've had the fabulous "Baby Goat Masala Burger" at Indika, right? You know, the cabrito burger seasoned with masala and topped with goat cheese and watercress? How did Texas Monthly skip this masterpiece on its list of the 50 top burgers in Texas, while the messy bulgogi burger at Burger Tex in Austin got chosen? It makes no sense.
All in all, nine Houston burgers made TM's bizarre list. They were Beck's Prime, Max's Wine Dive, Mockingbird Bistro, Sam's Deli Diner, Dry Creek Café, Lankford Grocery, Goode Company and Speedy's. Do you see a pattern here? I don't.
My colleague at the Chron, Alison Cook, immediately went out and ate two burgers at Beck's Prime to make sure she wasn't missing anything. In the June 5 edition of her Burger Friday blog series, also published photos of Lankford Grocery's "depressingly juiceless" burger patties. After sampling four of them on different occasions, she wrote, "It pains me to say this, but at the moment, I wouldn't care if I never ate another Lankford's burger." She must be really shocked that both TM and the Chron's food editor Greg Morago have singled out the Lankford burger for praise since she reported on its slide into mediocrity.
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I found it very strange that Dallas had as many burgers on the list as Houston. I once asked Dallas Morning News restaurant critic Bill Addison to take me to the best burger joint in Dallas. We ate at Twisted Root, and the burgers were underwhelming. There are 20 burger joints in Houston that easily blow Twisted Root's over-compressed dried-out burger patty away. Wingfield's is the only Dallas burger worth eating, but it didn't make the TM list. (Is this because TM was afraid to send subscribers to the hood?)
To figure out the odd TM burger list, I tried thinking like Texas Monthly's vegetarian-in-chief, Evan Smith, who was still at the top of the masthead when the burger issue went to press. While Smith was clueless about burgers, he was very keen on circulation figures. After I looked at Texas Monthly's media kit, the top 50 burger list started to make sense.
D-FW is TM's No. 1 market, supplying 27.6 percent of total circulation, and Houston comes in second at 23.6 percent. So both metro areas got a roughly equal number of burger slots, with each making up roughly 20 percent of the list. Austin ranks third, with 13.2 percent of TM circulation, so it came in third in the burger count. San Antonio is fourth, with 9.8 percent of the magazine's copies. Guess which city came in fourth in burgers?
If Houstonians want outstanding burgers like Indika's to get some recognition in Texas Monthly, we are going to have to buy a lot more magazines.