A Tale of Two Burgers

31 Oct

The monster that is a Ray's Hell Burger, with grilled onions and cheddar cheese

I’m a big burger fan (in case you haven’t noticed I’m a pretty big fan of most food so this shouldn’t come as a surprise), and while I don’t consider myself to be a burger snob who will only eat the highest of high quality burgers, I can appreciate both a so called “gourmet” burger and a more run of the mill fast food burger.  This post is a comparison of two very different but both delicious burgers, the first from Obama favorite Ray’s Hell Burger, located a convenient 5 minute walk from my apartment, the second from Fuddruckers, a much better than average fast food burger chain that I had sadly never heard of before moving to DC (on researching I found that they don’t have any locations in New York other than Albany, which basically doesn’t count).

Ray’s has become a frequent destination of mine because as I mentioned it is literally the closest restaurant to my apartment, and it’s a great place to take people when they visit, since most people have heard of it but might not have trekked out to Rosslyn to try it.  The first time I went there was over the summer with Gina and my friend Aaron (Hi S!), and needless to say I was not adequately prepared for what was about to happen.  Even though Aaron and I are both self-proclaimed fatties who occasionally (ok, this has happened a lot) eat a meal meant for a family of four between the two of us, neither of us came close to finishing our massive 10-oz Ray’s burgers.  Gina fared better because she had been there before, and I now know how to prepare for a Ray’s visit.  Here is a general list of Ray’s Rules:

1) Don’t eat for most of the day before.
2) If you order fries, make sure to share with at least one other person.  The burgers are so filling you don’t really need them.
3) Resist the temptation of overloading your burger with more than 3 toppings. They will fall off.
4) Cut your burger in half before attempting to eat it, it makes it much more manageable.

Oh and the burgers? Yup, they’re awesome.  Always perfectly cooked, seasoned, and super juicy, I can see why Obama chooses this as an introduction to the USA for foreign dignitaries.  And I am very lucky that I live so nearby, as you definitely need to go more than once to sample the many toppings and the different seasonings on the burgers.

Fuddruckers burger and fries

Fuddruckers is a less intense burger experience, but good enough that I still go out of my way to eat at the DC location in Chinatown whenever I can.  You can pick the weight of your burger, which is a useful feature, and you add all the toppings like lettuce, etc, yourself, which means it doesn’t automatically come with things you don’t want.  I usually go with the 1/3 pound patty with either American or Cheddar cheese.  These aren’t the monster burgers of Ray’s, which is arguably a good thing- they are thinner patties and grilled to order so they are also very fresh and well cooked.  The bun is pure buttery deliciousness, and the seasoned fries are well worth getting.  In a place like DC, which is home to Five Guys among many other burger spots, Fuddruckers isn’t a high-profile burger place, but it is one of my personal favorites.  Fuddruckers and Ray’s are so different it’s hard to compare them, but if you like burgers in general these are both places to try soon.  And if you go to Ray’s, please call me so I can come help eat your leftovers.

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