One of my favorite lunch destinations these days is the parking lot at Inversion on Montrose. I usually check Twitter to see which food truck is there, and it's often one of my favorites: Bernie's Burger Bus or H-Town StrEATs are commonly found tucked into the shade from Inversion's massive corrugated metal structure.
This past week, however, H-Town StrEATS tweeted that they weren't heading to Inversion on their regular day and had a suggestion: "We're closed today, but @flamingpatties is fillin in at @InversionMtrose for us! Check em out!" So I did.
Flaming Patties started up in mid-July, first serving its "gourmet burgers" at Shady Tavern before branching out slowly into other parts of town. I can imagine the lazy backyard feel of Shady Tavern was a perfect match for the Flaming Patties burgers: They have that sort of rough-hewn, Sunday-afternoon-grilling-out look and taste to them, as if a tailgating champ had decided to go all gourmet on his trademark burgers.
I put in my order for a Blue Betty -- a Juicy Lucy with blue cheese in the middle, topped with chipotle mayonnaise, arugula, Gruyere and caramelized onions -- at the massive red truck, then found a shady spot on Inversion's canopied patio to wait.
That patio coupled with the easy availability of some of the city's best food trucks is what draws me to Inversion nearly every week. That day, an art installation hung from the patio's thick oak trees: lampshades strung together in wild clusters, shuffling softly together in the cool breeze, under an achingly blue sky. I never wanted to leave.
But soon my order was up, taking only eight short minutes of the promised 15. Unwrapping it, I figured out quickly that I should've ordered the hand-cut French fries instead of the sweet potato fries; the bright orange sticks were the same frozen fries served everywhere else in town, and not worth the $3.
It was my own fault, though. Ricky Craig of Hubcap Grill once patiently explained to me that sweet potatoes were incredibly difficult to cut, season, store and fry, which is why it's rare to find places like Plonk that serve hand-cut sweet potato fries. It's also why almost every restaurant uses the frozen kind. And there's nothing at all wrong with them -- they're just not worth $3.
Happily, my Blue Betty was worth every penny of its $7 price. The patty was well-seasoned, thick and terribly, wonderfully juicy. The juice soaked into the bun, into the white wrapping paper, into every crevice of my fingers and palms. The bun held up admirably, however, and I appreciated that it had been lightly toasted and gave a nice little crunch to the overall package.
I did find myself wishing, however, that there were fewer caramelized onions; they were so numerous in quantity that they trumpeted aggressively over the other flavors. I removed a great wad of them and all was in tune again, though.
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Flaming Patties is a welcome addition to the growing legion of food trucks, and I'm glad to know that they're around if I can't get Detention from Bernie's. I just know to order the hand-cut fries next time, and perhaps a Nasty Patti if I'm feeling brave.