Sunday, June 3, 2012

Burgers, Pizza, and Forks Over Knives...

It has been a whirlwind week coming off of the big 4-day Memorial Day weekend.  We had lots to do but still had to eat, ya know, so I have a few pieces of information that might be helpful.  Or not.
In case you weren't marking your calendars, we closed on the property next door so we could commence making it look like the beautiful park that it will one day become.  I honestly thought I would be outdoors with a chainsaw and a weedeater the entire weekend, attempting to tame the new area, but in reality, Eva did some wheeling and dealing and has contracted with a local (Devine) guy who will clear the property and trim the trees up for us for a good price.  Having the right equipment means everything.  This guy does and by next weekend, I'll have some pictures to show what his work looks like.
 Of course, I did have to give Eva a ride around the property in the trailer connected to our Husqvarna.   She wanted nothing to do with walking out there until at least the 3 foot high wild flowers camouflaging the snakes and spiders had been mowed.  I loaded her up and set the mower on and started to make a path toward the rear of the property when I hit a downed tree or something and the wheels began to spin in the sand.  We rocked back and forth a bit and finally I just turned to her and said, "Get out."  The mower is heavy, but not too heavy that I can't lift the rear end and move it to solid ground.  We made our way back to the front gate and she had had enough of a tour.
I went back onto the property with the mower and a machete and was not surprised to see a big snake slithering its way away from the path of the mower.  In the end, I stayed long enough to take a few more pictures and then decided to wait for the guy with a real tractor.

Earlier, we had gone to Pleasonton to close on the property.   Both Jourdonton and Pleasonton have boomed with growth since our last visit a little over a year ago.  They even have a Chili's!  We had come from Devine, taking SR173 all the way in.  It is a long drive of nothing but farms and ranches.  It is beautiful scenery for the first few minutes, but I guess once you have seen it and nothing changes, it gets old.  Maybe they should turn that stretch of road into an Old Route 66 with teepee motels and odd sightseeing attractions.
 On the way home, we decided to take a different route which took us through Poteet and back to Lytle.  A much more interesting drive.  And that was when we drove by Joe's.  What caught my eye was a huge sign that read, Fatburger.  Eva insists that I inflicted whiplash upon her with my sudden  maneuver of going from 80 MPH down the road to somehow whipping the wheel around and into the gravel driveway of the tiny convenience store with the only warning being, "Fatburger!"
This place is 8 miles from Poteet and 8 miles from Somerset with nothing in between but apparently a lot of hungry people.  Joe's is primarily a convenience store so there is no actual sit-down restaurant inside.  We couldn't help but notice that the phone was ringing with non-stop orders for burgers and as we waited for ours, more than a few people came in to pick up a bag of burgers and perhaps grab a 12-pack of beer to go with it.
We did find a lone picnic table outside and enjoyed some great roadside food.  Places like Joe's prove that you can take a frozen patty and some frozen fries and cook them just right to make for a good burger.  The fresh cut tomato, lettuce and grilled buns do it and we sat out on that picnic table staring into a field enjoying the simple, but well prepared burger.  Places like Joe's are why I enjoy taking drives and trying little "hole-in-the-wall" eateries.

I'm not suggestion you need to drive all over creation trying to locate this place, but if you find yourself in the area, you sure are gonna want to stop in and grab one of these tasty burgers!
 Speaking of trying new places...  We had seen a place go up in Natalia hidden on a residential street with a small sign.  I had driven by more than once trying to get a feel for what was inside of J.R.'s Burgers.  I know, it seems pretty obvious, but what if it was actually just a front for some gambling operation or a drug house?  Our neighbor set us straight when she told us that she had been and that it was good.  She also told us that we would have to refrain from any foul language if we decided to go in.
 J.R.'s is actually just another hole-in-the-wall type place that makes me giddy when I get a chance to partake.  As promised, there were several signs reminding us not to use profanity.  When you walk in, you get the feeling you have stepped into someones living room.  There is a big TV, lots of pictures, posters and signs; old booths from who knows where and the smooth sounds of Christian music playing in the background.

J.R.'s is apparently home of the Sledge Hammer, a whole pound of beef between toasted buns with all the fixins.  Not enough?  Try the Jack Hammer at 1 1/2 pounds or the Buldozer which is 2 full pounds.

As inviting as all that beef sounds, I opted for the 1/2 pound Hammer and Eva went with the 1/4 pound Cowgirl.
 Eva's Cowgirl burger came topped with bacon, cheese, onion rings and J.R's BBQ sauce.  This is all fresh meat that has actual flavor, fresh fixins and the bacon is that really good kind, not some thin strip you might find at your burger in a fast food place.   The fries were great, not undercooked.
My Hammer didn't come with cheese or bacon, so I added it and instead of fries, I opted to try the onion rings.  I asked the waitress if they were frozen and she told us that everything there is made fresh including the hand battered rings.  Both our burgers were outstanding.  In fact, Eva started making comparisons to KD's, the place we used to love in Lytle that suddenly went out of business.  I agree to an extent, but KD's had better buns.  The onion rings were okay.  I'd probably go with the fries on our next visit though.

J.R.'s is one of those places that we will probably frequent quite a bit given the proximity to our house.  You couldn't ask for a nicer bunch of people serving up good, home made food.  Be prepared for a cash only Tasty Treat!
Lest you think all we do is drive around and eat burgers (I can understand how you might get that impression given the content of the blog), we did go out Saturday evening to try a place that just opened in Lytle called Your Momma's Pizza & Grill.

The thing we liked about Eatza Pizza was not so much the pizza, but the salad bar.  Some of the folks who were involved with Eatza Pizza have now opened Your Momma's, and frankly, without the salad bar, we probably won't be going back.
 We ordered a side salad and had to laugh at what was basically a small head of lettuce with some tomato slices on top.  After Eva asked for some croutons, she doctored it up a bit, added some ranch and we were good.  It was a far cry from the salads we used to enjoy in the old days (of a year ago).
 The pizza was exactly the same as it was at Eatza Pizza.  It isn't bad at all, but when you have had pizza at Constantino's in Somerset or Rocky's in Devine, well, Your Momma's has a lot of work to do.
 We did like the interior.  The building, while very old, is actually a great space for a restaurant.  I liked the brick floors and the cool window designs. Maybe we'll go one day and try the burgers, like the Slap Your Momma burger.

Finally, I'm not sure who told us to check out this movie, Forks Over Knives, but we decided to check it out and actually found it quite informative.  In short, it is a documentary that follows a few doctors who come to the conclusion that you should eliminate animal and processed foods from your diet in order to live much healthier.  I say it is very much worth watching and considering.  I can tell you, it won't stop us from eating meat or becoming vegans, but it has inspired us to consider a lot more healthy options in our diets.  Something to consider.

Off to some healthy breakfast tacos!


Anonymous said...


All that sounds so unhealthy.We did go to HEB though after tacos to buy fruit to make fruit cups and lettuce ,tomato,avocado,broccoli, carrots, celery and made up veggie bags for the week . So it's a start :). No to go Food till Friday when Whataburger opens up..

Anonymous said...

So happy you bought the property next to your place! I did the same..I felt we needed more land, so I simply asked the landowner next to me if they'd be willing to sell a few acres. Got a good deal. How many acres do you have now?

Dave, I don't think there's any real science to support that eating a plant-based diet is any better for you than eating meat. As a matter of fact, the medical community is now coming out saying that we need to eat more FAT. Basically the same diet our ancestors ate. Drop the carbs and sugar and you'll be fine:

My typical daily meals look like this: breakfast [3 eggs, 2 bacon, coffee, chocolate], [mid morning snack] heavy whipping cream + almond milk + protein, [lunch]peanut butter and a bit of honey, [mid afternoon snack]some berries and peanuts, [dinner] salmon, half a yam, broccoli. I've lost weight and my bad cholestrol has dropped like a brick. Don't drop the animal products, just make sure you can get grass fed as much as possible and drop the bread buns and fries. Bunless burger with a ton of toppings and cheese = heaven. The science:

Anonymous said...

Another great source of unprocessed meat is bison. A few dollars more per pound. Find it at your local HEB. Tastes GREAT.

Dave said...

Thanks for the comments. I think in principal, I couldn't go meat-free, simply because animals taste so good. But we always can improve on our gluttonous ways. I was a huge fan of the Adkins diet (low carbs, lots of bacon, lots of beef) and I successfully lost significant weight on that program, not once but twice. And that is the problem. It is tough to stay on a low carb diet when south Texas has such good Mexican food, and my Eva makes the best tortillas.

Thanks for the links - I do plan to research a bit. I totally believe that nutritional studies, including those conducted by the government, can't helped but be biased toward the industry paying for them. In the movie, Forks Over Knives, they kept giving opposing views, but it was funny in that the spokesperson was payed for by the meat and poultry industry. Of course she would push the need to eat more eggs, milk and beef.

My main point for mentioning the movie was that we found it interesting, though not interesting enough to cut out the beef we love. Now if we had a personal chef that would come and prepare us a bunch of really healthy meals, that might be cool.