Legal Quandary

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fort Wayne Fat Fest

I think I've mentioned before that I am forever in search of a great hamburger. It's something I make it a point to ask people when I visit a new town. The visit to Fort Wayne was no exception. I usually try to ask the question in general terms first. For example, "where do you go for a good meal in town?" This allows me to disqualify anyone who tells me that Olive Garden is a great place to get Italian food. (With double disqualification for pronouncing it "Eye" talian.)

Although I've had some pretty good burgers in Fort Wayne, I still don't think I've found the "great burger" yet. I wrote last summer of my somewhat disappointing experience with Azar's - though someone assured me there's another location that's much better. I had a decent burger at Don Hall's Factory Tuesday night, but I don't know if I'd count it among the "great" burgers. I also had the opportunity to try a burger at Atz's Wednesday night, but opted for the chicken strips instead. (A mistake, but 3 burgers in 24 hours is too much red meat even for this corn-fed white woman.) I must say that Atz's fries were awesome and the chocolate shake was an amazing way to round off that particular little coronary waiting to happen. I think Atz's has been in town forever. My Aunt Linda even worked there in high school.

I have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised by my other food discoveries during the last couple of trips. Even though I've been visiting Fort Wayne all my life, I managed to miss most of the local favorite restaurants. Most trips involved a trip to Don Hall's Triangle Park, because it was my grandma's favorite restaurant, but that was about it.

When I was back in December, I heard about DeBrand for the very first time. Yeah, technically not a restaurant, but a chocolate shop/café. I have no idea how a chocolate freak like me could have missed this place. Apparently my whole family must have been somehow ignorant, because when I chastised my aunt for this little sin of omission the other day, she had no idea what I was talking about. I highly recommend the coconut truffles.

Every trip involves at least one obligatory visit to Cebolla's for Mexican food. My Brother in Law heckled me about it a little the first time I mentioned we were going there. BUT - my uncle who was born in Mexico City seems to like it, so I'll take his word for its authenticity. I do know that the servers all speak Spanish. And this Gringa thinks the food is pretty darned good. I recommend the tacos. I like the Fernhill and Jefferson locations better than the one on Dupont, but I couldn't tell you exactly why.

So, I asked the guy at the Starbucks stand at Target where to get a good burger. His answer: Powers and the Lunchbox Cafe. I'd never been to either. Aunt Linda made sure we partially remedied that on the way to the airport.

Actually, we met up with several other family members at Coney Island first. Apparently, it's a tradition that whenever Uncle Kenny comes to town, they all eat there. Somehow I'd never been included in that little tradition, but whatever. The hot dogs were yummy, and I'll definitely be taking my kids there in the future, but it wasn't exactly what I had been expecting. (For those of you who've had a Five Guys dog, that's what I thought they would be.) Not even close, but still good. But Linda brought up the fact that I had never been to Powers, so we all limited ourselves to one dog and then moved on to Powers.

I was forewarned that neither Coney Island nor Powers were fancy places - and they weren't. Coney Island tended to be a little cleaner (though it was kind of odd that you could walk through the kitchen/dishwashing area to get inside from the parking lot.) Powers only had a couple of tables, with most of the seating at the counter where you could watch the burgers being made. Aunt Linda described it best when she said they were basically burgers with meat so thin you could see through it, topped with LOTS of onions, and served on a dinner roll. She also said they had great pie and cake, so we all ordered some (I had cherry pie - they had cake.) I have to disagree with her on that point, but all in all, a pretty satisfying experience. I'll be taking the kids there sometime too.

Oh - and grand total for 5 people at Coney Island and Powers - $26.

I know this is a little late but here goes...

Have you ever tried a Coney Island burger? They're great! I don't like the hot dogs, but the burgers are made to order from fresh meat from Didier's and are really, really good.

As for the dishwasher/kitchen area: the restaurant was established back in 1914 when things like that didn't matter and there was no dishwasher back there. It is a part of our grandfather clause to keep that entrance open for our customers. A lot of people really enjoy it, because they can see us cooking up the chili or sauce, and we do not keep any food back there, so no harm.

Anyway, think about how many restaurants you go to where you don't really know what goes on behind the, you do.
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