Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vegetarian Review: Tacky Shack

Welcome to the vegetarian corner of the Oxford Burger blog.  I will attempt to highlight the best vegetarian options at the burger joints my carnivorous companions frequent.  When a veggie burger is an option, I will order it and review it.  When a veggie burger is not an option, I get to order and review whatever the hell I want.  You see, as the token vegetarian in the group, I am a majority of one and get to make up my own rules.  

Also, a note: this review is written for an audience of vegetarians and pescetarians.  If you like meat, you might not like veggie burgers.  Because they’re not very meat-like.  They’re not supposed to be.  Many vegetarians actually don’t like the taste of meat.  For some of you, that statement sounds insane, and I understand if you don’t read further.  For those willing to concede that point, let’s continue.

I should start with a review of the veggie burger at Proud Larry’s because I ate there first, but I won’t.  Why?  Because I had the veggie burger at Tacky Shack before I bothered to write up the review of the one at Larry’s, and I can’t hold out on you.  The black bean and corn burger at Tacky Shack is, hands down, the best veggie burger in town.  I used to drive to Memphis just to get the black bean burger at Huey’s when I was craving a gut bomb, and now I don’t have to.  The one at Tacky Shack is just as good; it might even be the same exact commercially made patty.  I don’t hold that against the owners, though.  I’ve had dozens of terrible homemade veggie burgers.  I much prefer a solid Sysco option to a gummy, tasteless homemade one.  

Tacky Shack grills the patty up so it’s nice and crunchy on the outside.  Not only is the black bean patty toothsome and flavorful, Tacky Shack offers a huge array of toppings.  Some are free and some cost a little extra, but a vegetarian can really have a ball here.  I got grilled onions, tomato, avocado, lettuce, ketchup, jalapenos, and mustard.  I got all those toppings assuming that the patty would be a flavorless Morningstar patty.  When I discovered that the black bean patty was fabulous all on its own, I realized I probably didn’t need all those toppings.  But they were excellent, and I’d probably get them again anyway.  For a side item, I got the onion strings.  As an onion ring fan, I love any form of fried onions.  These onions are good, but after a couple handfuls, they start to seem really oily.  My advice: order them if you’re an onion fiend, but eat them while they’re still nice and hot.

I didn’t take good notes on the burger bun, which probably means it neither added nor subtracted from the overall burger experience.  I remember it being vaguely wholesome: whole wheat or honey wheat or something beyond mere Wonder bread.

Tacky Shack offers a reasonable assortment of beer.  They also have a nice selection of ice cream, and they make milkshakes.  I didn’t order one last time I was there, but I thought it was an ice dessert option.
Now, for a few complaints.  One: the black bean burger is not on the menu.  I find this really strange.  Are they afraid they’ll piss off the meat-eaters?  Is there really not room to write “black bean burger” on the menu?  Anyway, I almost didn’t join my friends for this excursion because I didn’t think there was anything for me to eat.  Luckily, Greg called ahead and asked if they had anything for me, and I’m glad he did!  Two: the black bean burger costs more than the beef burger.  I don’t remember by exactly how much, but it’s a dollar or two more, and that always irritates me.  You’d think plant material would be more affordable than an all-beef patty.  The burger is so good, though, that you’ll forget you’re being gouged on the basis of your self-imposed dietary restrictions.  Three: the ambience at the restaurant is a little silly.  A lot of the signs on the wall seem like corporate-mandated “flair” and some of it is just really strange to display in a restaurant.  For instance, one sign reads, “I don’t swim in your toilet; don’t pee in my pool.”

In short, this one is a winner with a few small drawbacks.  I highly recommend Tacky Shack. 
- Meaghin Burke

Friday, July 8, 2011

Americans are eating more burgers.

The Huffington Post reports that Americans are eating more burgers and burgers of better quality. Half of us are eating burgers once a week! Check out the full article here.