It was 7 PM in Houston. Cold winds crept up the rustling trees. We were in the mood for kolaches. No kolache store was opened. (I would be surprised if I could even find some right after noon, it’s usually sold out by 9 AM at any local Shipley Donuts.) Desperate as we were for something small and meaty, we pulled into this backyard parking lot on a dark little street of Montrose. The name is cute, but… “Go Horns”?!*
A few years ago I would have shy away from any place resembling a shady, fuming pub with TV screens blasting out a football game, hoards of muscles with beer in one hand, cigarette in the other, and a gigantic burger streaming cheese and lard in front of the mouth. That’s what Little Big’s looks like from the outside. But the patio was empty. And so were our tummies.
Inside, it was a tamed ambience with three or four rows of long tables and high stools. It has a TV, and football was on, but no attentive enthusiasts screaming at the screen or banging mugs on the table. There was little room between the door and the counter to stand looking at the overhead menu, but luckily we had an expert of the area with us to quickly order and moved out of the way. Everyone walking in here seemed to know exactly what they were hungry for. Not that there are much to choose from on the card.
This joint doesn’t have mayonnaise out for a squeeze. I was in great despair, considering the array of mustards on display. Although the special house sauce was white and good, I thought I felt a tidbit of jalapeno or something equally mordant; besides, it lacked the creamy consistency of mayo. My worries quickly diminished, though. It was instant love at first sight between me and the sliders – baby burgers that can fit snuggly in your cupped palm and come in herds of three. Each herd will set you back by 5.79, an addition of cheese constitutes another 69 cents. Who needs the busy shebang of tomato, lettuce, and those of vegetable origin that keep falling out embarrassingly every time you take a bite? The beef patty admits a layer of rich, juicy grilled onion, and the fried chicken breast was comfortable with a slice or two of pickles. (As Katie put it, Chick-fil-A knows their stuff.) But that was it. A slider epitomizes the way to eat a burger: if you want one, don’t let guilt cover it up with skimpy fresh bits of greens. There is no such thing as a tasty healthy burger, beside one that is only savoured by the eyes.
*Texas A&M was the only school I applied to, so I consider myself a pure bred Aggie.