Saturday, February 20, 2010


but my gosh how I HATE February! Whomever made up the calendar shorted it on days because it's such a horrid month. Around NE Ohio it's usually the snowiest time of year, cold hanging on for long stretches at a time, too far away from last fall to recall the warm days of last year and too far from May to look forward to warm days to come. The snow comes and hangs around for weeks since it doesn't get warm enough to melt. But I'm not saying anything that any other sane northern buckeye couldn't state. After visiting with my folks in SW Florida last October where we suffered through humid high-90's (with no air conditioning, thanks Dad) I swore I wouldn't complain about the cold for months. And I managed to last until February.

And realistically it isn't the cold that's so bad - it's the darned snow and slosh that we have to walk and drive through. I'm a big supporter of how hard our city workers toil to keep us all out and about, but when we get as much snow as we've had and the plows DON'T MAKE IT TO MY LITTLE STREET for weeks, I begin to loose patience. Everyone on my block works hard to get our driveways cleared of snow only to be stuck at the end in a trap of slush in the street itself.

OK, done whining.
But since it's been so nasty out, this old biddy hasn't really been very far from home lately. I did walk as far as my neighborhood library branch in 14 inches of snow - only to find they weren't open due to the weather. Go figure. I even missed Yappy Hour this month - not so much due to the weather as to a head cold that I might have gotten walking to the library...that wasn't open. Which may explain why I'm still in the mood to whine about February just a little longer. STUPID FEBRUARY!

BUT...AS OF TODAY I've actually been feeling better (after a long couple of weeks "under the weather"...on more than the literal level) and decided to get out of the house for a bite of lunch. Since it's still cold out I felt like finding something comforting so I headed over to east Akron to Bob's Hamburg. Bob's has been serving up hamburgers since 1931 and I think that even after a few ownership changes, they still manage to do it right. The place is an homage to old-time greasy diner and the burgers taste the same as they did when I first began eating them in the 1960's.

Dad used to work at Bob's when he was in high school and it became a favorite Saturday hangout for our little family for as long as I can recall. Today as I sat at the counter watching the new owners flip the burgers, I met a couple next to me that also are long time regulars. In their late 60's, the husband also used to work for Walt (Bob's owner for eons). It was great to sit and chat with them and frankly that's part of the charm of eating at Bob's. It's got a long history and the people are friendly and the food is great.
As we chatted I recounted how the previous owner (Barb) opened the place for us one year and we held a birthday party there for my Dad. It was the only surprise party we ever attempted for him and he had a great time. Well, we all did. Just the right size for 20-25 of our closest family and friends, we ate burgers and had a blast.

I'd never try to recreate these burgers at home but I can highly recommend anyone taking an hour out of their day and some time off their diet to have lunch at Bob's. I'll admit that my stomach ached a bit on the way home, I ate that much. Generally I share my onion rings and strawberry milkshake with my Mom, but since she wasn't there I felt it my duty to polish off as much as possible on my own. GROAN!
These burgers are not what you'd find in a normal burger joint, they are probably about a 1/4 pound of meat that have been pre-portioned into balls of beef. When the order comes from a customer, the cook "puts down" a ball of beef on the hot griddle and smashes it to a flat disk . This means they cook relatively quickly and each patty is "well done". There's no fancy hocus pocus going on, once the patty is done it's slapped onto a toasted bun, topped with "everything" which includes some sort of special sauce, chopped raw onions, shredded lettuce, pickles, mustard and, for me, a slice of cheese. YUM. The onion rings are also perfect. A lunchtime discussion with co-workers last week had one of them describing the perfect onion ring as crispy, made with a real onion (as opposed to chopped onion bits) and cooked so that the onion doesn't pull out of it's shell when biten into. A great description of the rings at Bob's.

If you're in town and looking for someplace for lunch, check out Bob's Famous Hamburg on East Avenue in Akron. You'll thank me at some point!

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