If anyone has noticed, I haven't been blogging as much as I used to. A combined lack of inspiration and other personal things, I lost the motivation to blog. So, unless I found something that was really noteworthy, I was going to gradually let go of "Ken's Food Find" and move on to something else. Fortunately for the blog, the spark I needed came from one of my co-workers at the FedExForum where I work part-time. My friend Corlista told me about Sam's veggie burger that she felt was good enough to pass for a "real" (as in ground beef) burger. She insisted that I try it myself and write about it. Having had veggie burgers in the past, I was skeptical of her claim but I respect her opinion enough to give the burger a chance. So on a Saturday afternoon that didn't allow me to fall into my usual beer-drinking routine (I had to work a Grizzlies game at the "Forum"), I decided to go to Sam's Hamburgers & More on Madison and Main to see and taste it for myself.
At first glance, one could tell that the "burger" was different from its beefy counterpart solely by its appearance. Despite what my friend said about it, the brown speckled patty caught my attention from the minute I saw it. Now, if I hadn't gotten Corlista's recommendation beforehand, I might have had preconceived notions that could have influenced my expectations. However, I delved into the veggie burger without prejudice and got satisfaction from the first bite. What impressed me the most was the veggie patty's composition that was a mash-up of cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms and carrots molded and cooked until it was golden brown. The key for me was the veggie patty, because its texture was very convincing in putting me into the mindset that I was eating meat as opposed to something else. If I had the burger without anyone telling me what it was, I never would have suspected it was vegetarian. The patty's texture is very similar to ground beef and sausage, although the taste is unique. For the most part, the veggie mix kind of threw me off because I didn't have anything to compare it to. Despite being confused, I quickly came around to liking and accepting it for what it was, a tasty piece of veggie "meat." My only criticism was the lack of seasoning in the patty, which by itself was a few notches above blandness. Even though I'm knocking it for lacking pizzazz, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Compared to a veggie burger that I had several years ago at Imagine Vegan Cafe, with a vegan patty having the texture and taste of Country sausage, maybe Sam's lack of seasoning works in its favor. Fortunately, Sam's veggie patty provided enough flavor to support the rest of the burger that the seasoning issue didn't matter. With it having toppings (lettuce, mayo, onions, etc.) typical in most hamburgers, the lack of real meat became less of an issue as I ate more of the burger. In the end, the veggie burger turned out to be a decent sandwich that didn't give me regrets. Having said that, the guys at Sam's did a very good job in creating a veggie burger that can appeal to non-vegetarians like me. It's definitely better than Sam's other burgers and a nice alternative to beef. As a guy who is not a vegetarian, I was very impressed with it and am confident that other meat eaters will like it, too. My thanks go out to my friend for bringing the veggie burger to my attention, for it is very noteworthy.As for everything else on Sam's menu, the food is decent by most standards and very affordable. It's one of the few places in Downtown Memphis where you can a get a burger, seasoned fries (which in Sam's case are very good) and a soda for a little over $6.50. For value, it's definitely a good deal for people on a tight budget who can't afford to go to restaurants like Oshi Burger Bar, a place that also serves great non-traditional burgers like its tasty Ahi tuna Tora Tora Burger. Fortunately, Sam's Hamburgers and More has carved out a nice niche in Downtown Memphis' dining community that will likely endure for as long as the demand for good affordable food exists.
Getting My Groove Back
Before closing, I want to address a few things. As it relates to the blog, I will write fewer reviews per year, reserving time only for stories that deserve mention. Also, I promise not to blab about my personal life and any drama surrounding it. I started this blog to talk about food and nothing or nobody else. So from now on, regardless of what is going on outside my dining experiences, I will not use "Ken's Food Find" to express my feelings about it. Having said that, keeping that promise is easier said than done. To quote the great philosopher Mike Tyson, "everybody has a plan until they get hit," so keeping my promise won't be easy. However, with good friends keeping me straight, I am confident that I can keep my promise of making this blog a "no drama zone" unless either a crappy meal or a douchebag waitress warrants otherwise.
Also, even though I will blog less, I will remain active on Twitter and Pinterest along with another social media platform, Tumblr. I'm not sure how I will use it, although I am leaning towards making it a photo album for the many pictures that I have taken without posting them on the blog. In some cases, I might post a mini-review with the picture if I believe it's necessary. For places that I frequent like Bardog Tavern, Tumblr will be extremely useful because the bar always has enticing specials that are irresistible. For anyone interested in following my exploits, go to kensfoodfind.tumblr.com.
Labels: Breakfast, Burgers, Cheap Eats, Commentary, Downtown, Hot Dogs, Multiple Locations, Sandwiches, Vegetarian/Vegan
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