Houston has many of the best hamburgers in America, but my favorite fast-food burger comes from Blake's, a New Mexico chain whose Lotaburger with green chile and cheese is iconic. Blake's motto speaks for itself: "If you are what you eat, you are awesome."
However, Blake's is a one-state deal, and it punts at our western border. So when Whataburger picked up the green chile ball and ran it deep into the heart of Texas, you know how many claps it got from me.
Nostalgia screws up the palate, so when I walked into the new Whataburger near the Medical Center, I was hoping for something different from -- perhaps better than -- my gold standard. After taking my order for a Green Chile Double Whataburger, the sweet lady at the minimalist counter asked, "What do you want on it?"
Dangit, I assumed Whataburger had that figured out already, so I was forced to reference the Lotaburger after all. Tomato, lettuce, onion, pickle...and mustard. No ketchup, just like in Texas.
The lady brought me the combo, and offered ketchup for the fries. I eagerly unwrapped the sandwich and peeked under the bun. Sure enough, there were plenty of dark green chiles, with tiny flecks of charred skin, as if they'd just been roasted and peeled.
The first bite indicated the green chiles were hot, just enough to give a pleasant buzz without stunning the taste-buds. Perfect. The beef patties were properly cooked, with sufficient juice and a pleasant color, on a toasted bun. American and Monterey Jack is the appropriate cheese mix. Whataburger has nailed the Double Green Chile Cheeseburger.
The double part was the only problem. I'm carnivorous as a cat, but this is a hefty sandwich, with a high meat-to-bun ratio. I'll downsize to a Whataburger, Jr., or perhaps Whataburger will live up to its motto, "Just like you like it", and offer green chile on a single Whataburger--for which I'd pay extra and be there every Friday through October 3, until the green chile runs out.
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As I was finishing, a high-school golf team sat down next to me. One young man prepared his double Whataburger by completely smashing it. Two more of their buddies walked in and considered ordering Green Chile Cheeseburgers. After consulting with the lady at the counter, one chickened out, so to speak, with a Whatachick'n, and the other lad declared, "Green chile sounds kinda nasty," before ordering fries and a shake to dip them in.
I don't blame the golfers, as I had the same reaction the first time I saw green chiles on a cheeseburger. Now, I rarely enjoy cheeseburgers without them.