Youz Guyz South Philly Cheese steaks

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

It has been a while since I’ve done a review, so what better place to review than Youz Guyz in Universal City on Pat Booker Road.

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Looking back over my reviews I was surprised to see that I had not done a review for Youz Guyz yet, especially seeing as how I have been a pretty frequent customer over the last few years. When it comes to subs or sandwiches I have always loved a good Philly Cheese steak. There is just something about the combination of the grilled steak, onions, and cheese on that long hoagie roll that screams perfection when you bite into it. I have had many different varieties over the years, some good and some bad. If I can give one piece of advice that you take to heart it is that you need to go to a local shop for the best food. Those guys are the ones that put love into every bite and specialize in making a couple of things really good instead of a bunch of stuff just ok. You aren’t going to find a truly great cheese steak at one of those sub chains. Go somewhere that makes it their specialty and if you are in the San Antonio area and over on the north east side near Universal City, Youz Guyz is the place that does just that.

Youz Guyz is the real deal folks. Owners Kathy and Jimmy are from South Philly and know how these sandwiches are supposed to taste and do them right with just the right combination of cheese and onions to compliment the steak. When you bite into one of their cheese steaks it melts in your mouth. You can add mushrooms or peppers and either have provolone cheese (the right way) or add cheese whiz if you want.

Now if you aren’t in the mood for a cheese steak you can get hoagies, Italian hot sausage, hot dogs or chicken fingers too but if you try the cheese steak first you probably wont ever look at the rest of the menu. You also have your choice of a variety of sides to choose from including Onion rings, fries, pizza fries, mozzarella sticks and home made potato chips. I tend to switch between the onion rings and the fries depending on my mood.

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You can’t go wrong with any of it but I urge you to try the cheese steak first. You wont be disappointed. When you walk in look for the sign that tells you how to order your sandwich the right way and make sure you let them know if you want it “wit”. You will know what I am talking about once you get there.

Also if you are in a hurry you can do what I did this trip and get it to go. Since I live about 5 minutes away it was just a fresh and tasty as it would be if I were sitting there at the restaurant.

I can’t speak highly enough about this place. They have great food and are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. So go and give it a try. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Thanks for reading

JMW

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Sliders

Who doesn’t like little hamburgers? Well I am sure there are a couple of people out there but we will not talk about them. Whether it be Krystal or White Castle or somewhere else they all have something in common. They are yummy little bites of joy. Since the only Krystal left in town closed and I did not want to go to a sit down restaurant to get these little burgers I decided to make them myself. They are a bit of work to make and take some time to get them all prepped and ready to eat, but in the end they are well worth it and fun if you are having guests over.

So this is how I did it.

Ingredients

2lbs lean ground beef

2 packs Kings Hawaiian Rolls (butter flavored) cut in half like little buns.

1 medium white onion (diced into small pieces)

a jar of hamburger pickle slices

1/4 stick of butter

salt and black pepper

Condiments (Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo, Etc)

1 pack thin sliced sharp cheddar cheese (optional)


Prep

You can do the patties a couple of different ways. I pressed out a thin layers of ground beef onto my cutting board ( about 1/4″ thin) and cut it into 3″x3″ squares. Then take the parts you cut off add it back the rest of the beef and repeat until all of the beef is used. Or you can just press out each patty about the same size and not worry about them being square. I just happened to be feeling a little nostalgic for the little square Krystal burgers.

Cut all of the rolls in half to look like little buns and place on a plate. I will get into how to steam those easily in a minute.

If you want cheese on your sliders just cut several cheese slices into quarters. This should make small cheese slices that fit perfectly on your little burgers.

Cooking

First heat a large frying pan to medium high heat and add the butter and let it melt. Now add the diced onion and cook until they start to turn clear then transfer them to a bowl. In the same pan cook your patties to a nice dark brown. I would normally never tell you to press the patties with a spatula because it just pushes all the yummy juices out of them but these are small thin patties and you want them to stay thin. The patties do not take long to cook, about 3 to 4 minutes per side then transfer them to a plate. While the last few patties are cooking take the plate of buns and cover them with a damp paper towel (damp not wet). Place them into the microwave for about 45 seconds. This will warm them and steam them a little making them nice and soft.

Assembly

Now comes the fun part.

One by one take a bun separate the halves. Spoon a nice spoonful of onion onto the bottom half then place a burger on top, add a slice of cheese (if you want) and then a small squirt of mustard or whatever condiment you like. I went with mustard to more closely mimic the Krystal burgers. Now place two to three pickle slices on top and add the other half of the bun to finish it off. Repeat this until you have no more patties. If you have an odd number of buns to patties you can always double up and make double sliders. But only if you are feeling daring.

Put a couple on a plate and add some fries and you are ready to go. This is fun for a get together of friends or a special treat if you are home alone and have some time to kill. Enjoy.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Auden’s Kitchen

Great

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks ***

Every now and then you hear about a place that is supposed to be a good place to eat so you decide to go try it out, but when you do you think to yourself (or if you are like me out loud) “what were they thinking”? This is the feeling I got when I tried Auden’s Kitchen in San Antonio off of East Sonterra BLVD.

When you walk in the door it has an odd feeling right off the bat. Is it a pub? Is it a bistro? Is it an eatery? Is it a wine bar? Its kind of all over the place. Behind the front desk was a black board with the daily specials written in chalk like  lot of kitschy little places do but just passed that were shelves full of wine bottles like a wine bar and to the right was a little lounge area with leather couches and a TV. The front dining room was laid out with a decent amount of space between the tables and had an open feel to it while the back dinning room seemed to be delegated for prep work in the down hours because one of the waiters was ripping paper for table coverings almost the entire time I was there.

When it comes to food Auden’s kitchen has a wide variety on the menu and some really nice sounding dishes. Unfortunately if you go in on a Sunday the menu is cut down to a handful of selections for brunch only which I found a little disappointing. After looking through what they did have available I decided on the Fish and Chips, since the menu is an Americanized English pub style food I thought that this would be a great choice. My dining partner for that day went with the selection on the menu labeled simply as Burger.

When the food arrived it was hand delivered by one of the Chef’s who had the overall personality of a lump of wet clay and did not even look at us when setting the food down and waking away. That being said both dishes looked pretty good. The fries had a good texture and were seasoned nicely. The fish had a decent flavor but I was disappointed to see that the three little pieces they put on the plate were all about 75% batter and 25% fish.  I would have thought if they were going to be so selective on the size of the fish they would have at least tossed a couple more on the plate instead of trying to hide it in an enormous amount of batter.
I did try the burger and it was pretty good and made me wish I had put more thought into my choice.

I don’t usually focus on the condiments but have to say something about the “House Made Catsup” at Auden’s. This is something that they make sure to point out on the menu and seem to be proud of.  For starters go ahead and be prepared to ask for regular ketchup unless you like dipping your fries in something that tastes like a combination of apple sauce and cinnamon with a little tomato sauce mixed. I did not find it pleasing at all and it actually took a bit to get the awful taste out of my mouth before I could try to enjoy the rest of my meal. This is one of those cases where the person that came up with this concoction is obviously out of touch with their customer base.

I hate writing bad reviews almost as much as I hate the bad experience that leads to them but sometimes it is just unavoidable. So with all that being said I can assure you I will not be making a return trip to Auden’s any time in the future. The food is OK but the price you pay for what you actually get is not worth the trip.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Armadillo’s

Great
Pretty Good ***
OK
No Thanks

This week I am going back to burgers. This might be because the local newspapers are running a March Madness type of burger joint playoff and it might just e because I like burgers. Or maybe, just maybe a little bit of both. Either way I decided to make my way down to McCullough Ave to a little place called Armadillo’s. This is one of those places that has been around for a while and comes recommended by the locals. It also comes highly recommended by a friend of mine that has been begging me to review it. So without further ado let’s get started.

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First things first. If you go during peak hours you may have a hard time finding a place to park. It is located in a relatively busy area and has limited parking at the restaurant but do not get discouraged because there is a public parking lot behind it but you may be in for a walk to get to and from your vehicle. This isn’t really a bad thing though because you may need to burn a few calories depending on what you have to eat.
When you walk in you feel kind of like you are walking in to your favorite old dive bar. It is dimly lit with neon signs casting a low glow everywhere and has an old juke box in the corner usually playing some sort of classic rock. The booths against the walls also have their own personal juke boxes like the diners of old used to have. I know that at least some of you reading this know what I am talking about.  The inside dining area is a little on the small side and if it is busy you may want to consider the outside dining area as it is much larger, just don’t fall into the giant cactus.
For this trip I ordered my standard bacon cheeseburger and Fries and an order of onion rings to try because I always have to try the onion rings. The burgers come in sizes from 1/3 lb up to a whopping 3 lb burger.  I decided to go with the 1/2 pounder and was not disappointed. The burger itself is juicy with the crispy edges you only get from that hot griddle. The bun is just a standard hamburger bun, so nothing special there.  While I usually don’t like my bacon cooked to death and super crispy I do like it to be pretty crisp when it is on a burger just so you can bite through it when you take a bite. If it isn’t done enough then it pulls right out and makes a mess. Unfortunately this was the case with this one, I had to fight it a little to get through. But it was still a very tasty burger, not the best I have ever had but still very good.

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The fries are your  standard cut fries that you get at most burger places. There isn’t anything mind blowing here because they taste like every other french fry out there, but they are good and go well with the burger. The onion rings were a little bit of a let down for me because there is no doubt in my mind that they were frozen only a few minutes before they hit the fryer. I guess I am a little biased after having the onion rings at Sam’s Burger Joint though. Those are pretty tough to beat.
When you go you may want to try some of the other sides they have as well. You can get Fries, Chili Cheese Fries, Bacon Cheese Fries, Onion Rings or Tator tots. They also do Hot Wings and a couple of different salads as well as grilled chicken sandwiches if you are feeling a little bit on the healthier kick. Overall it is a pretty fun place to visit and they have good food. It is somewhere I would definitely go back to for a burger fix.

Thanks for reading,
JMW

Sam’s Burger Joint

Great

Pretty Good ***

OK

No Thanks

 

I know that you have all shared my craving to set out on your own and find that perfect burger that has the right amount of ground beef, toppings, and bun, and like me I am sure that you have found some really good and some that fall short, so when you get that burger craving it is sometimes a hard itch to scratch. Well this past weekend I was in the mood for a really good burger and not just a run down to the local fast food drive through kind of burger either. I mean I wanted to go somewhere that specialized in burgers. I have a few places around town that I like to go to for a good burger but I wanted to try something new so I started researching online and came across a place that I have driven by on many occasions but never actually stopped and tried. After reading a few reviews I decided that now was as good a time as any to see if they lived up to “my cravings” high standards.
So I hopped in my truck and headed down to Grayson St right next to the Pearl Brewery to a little place called Sam’s Burger Joint. When you walk in the building you can smell the burgers cooking and it will start your mouth watering. There is nothing fancy about Sam’s at all but a real burger joint shouldn’t be fancy. You want it to feel like home and to feel like the kind of place that if you drip something on you shirt no one would care because they have done it too. The inside has a small dining room with a few tables packed together pretty tightly and a few booths along the wall. There is also a slightly larger outdoor area for sitting and eating with small tables and chairs and picnic style benches and tables. Placing your order is a straight forward, walk up to the counter, order, pay, and get a number to take to your table process.

For this trip I decided to go with the Bacon Cheddar Burger. At Sam’s the burgers come standard with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and mustard. You can choose to take any of that off or add other things like grilled onions, jalapenos, mayo and ketchup as well. They have the typical sides that you would expect to find in a burger joint like fries and onion rings as well as a few other things to get as appetizers like fried mushrooms, fried pickles, fried zucchini or chips and salsa. For my side I went with the onions rings since my need to find the perfect onion ring is almost as strong as finding the perfect burger.
When my order came it looked great. The burger was not falling apart and the onions rings looked homemade. The top bun even had the name of the restaurant “Sam’s” branded into it, which I thought was a nice touch. Before I took a bite of the burger I had to try one of those onion rings that were sitting there calling my name. Words cannot describe what a great flavor these rings have. I found it, the perfect onion ring. They are simply amazing. They have the right amount of batter, onion and seasoning. A couple of them were cooked a little too long but that did not matter, they were still great. They have a nice crunch when you bite into them and the onion does not pull out of the breading like so many other rings I have had in the past. Now it was time to try the burger that I had been craving all day and see if it was what I was looking for. With the first bite I knew that Sam’s would be a place that I would be coming back to. The burger was juicy on the inside and crisp on the outside just the way I like them. The bun was nicely toasted and all of the toppings fit nicely together. This is one of those burgers that you dread getting to the last bite from the first bite you take. Now I can’t say that it was the perfect burger since I know that there has to be a better one out there but this one is in the top five best burgers that I have ever had.
There is actually a little more to Sam’s than just being a burger joint. It is also a pretty popular concert venue for local artists. They seem to cater to the Blues and swing crowd mostly which is fine with me and they have events almost every night of the week. The concert hall is located right next door to the main dining hall. You pretty much walk out of one door and in to the others.
So if you are looking for a great burger and the best onions rings in town and even want to catch a show one evening then head on down to Sam’s Burger Joint. They know what they are doing when it comes to food. I will definitely be heading back.

Thanks for reading
JMW