Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Hungry Farmer Bar-B-Q ― Houston, Texas

Continuing my search for a summer-favorite Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich (CFSS), we sauntered into The Hungry Farmer Bar-B-Q on Crosstimbers (just east of I-45) with high hopes and empty stomachs. The Hungry Farmer is primarily a burger and BBQ place, with a menu of several options of this ilk and a neat interior that reminded me of a cross between a steak house and a diner.

The CFSS basket (with fries, $6.15) was a great meal and a great deal. The fries were excellent ― fresh cut, hot and crispy. My only complaint is that most of them were small. This made for nice crunching but difficulty for my ketchup sopping ambitions.

The CFSS was very good as well. A big beast of a sandwich (likewise with their burgers) made for many excellent mouthfuls. The CFS itself was premade but the balance of veg, bread and meat and the sheer size made for a flavorful bite each time. The heat of the salty and crunchy CFS warmed the mayo and tomato, while the onion (which I added from the bar), pickles (which I added from the bar) and lettuce made for a cool crunch.

A few things are becoming clear regarding the CFSS (or at least my preferred sandwiching options):

Onions (and a health amount of them) are critical.

Mayo is essential.

The tomato and lettuce must be present but side players.

Pickles. The more the better.

Bigger is better (or at least wider is better).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Miller's Cafe - Houston, TX

I’d been hankering for a CFS sandwich of late (hat tip to my late friend Bill Moran (Texas Chef) for some excellent suggestions last summer when my yearning began). There is something about the combination of a perfectly crisp chicken fried steak, the tang of some mayo, the crunch of fresh veg and a soft bun. My first stop was Miller’s CafĂ© in Garden Oaks, a little dive of a burger place with a great atmosphere and self serve soft drinks for a hot summer day. Sadly, the CFS sandwich (CFSS) was disappointing. The CFS itself was clearly prepackaged and frozen, making for a flat (shape and taste) patty. Because of this, the CFS was grainy and mealy. Surrounding the CFS was a slice of tomato, a sad little lettuce flap and a healthy dollop of mayo. Nothing fancy, which is fine, but nothing too interesting either.

The balance of flavor was good and there was nothing egregiously bad about the CFSS. Still, I wished I had ordered a burger. My hankering continues unabated.

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