A FOOD WITH FRIENDS FIRST
Brittany wasn’t able to join us for our burger brunch, so we had Kyle Baughman join us again as our stand-in. Kyle is the man behind Hub City Stained Glass, and he also plays a mean mandolin.
Our culinary companion and VIP for this excursion was Whit Sanguinetti. Whit works for the City of Hattiesburg in the Parks and Recreation department. Whit is also the mover and shaker (and maker) behind The Maker Space in Hattiesburg. Maker Space is a community space dedicated to helping crafters and makers learn or teach new skills. The Maker Space in Hattiesburg is located in the old Hattiesburg American building in downtown Hattiesburg. You can find out more through the Maker Space Hattiesburg's Facebook page.
The FWF experienced their first chain restaurant with Steak ‘n Shake. If you’re unfamiliar with SnS, it’s the place in front of Target that has cars wrapped around it all day. Knowing what we were up against, we decided to go enjoy SnS as early as possible on a Sunday morning.
If you’ve never been to a Steak ‘n Shake, it really brings that old-school diner feel with a contemporary vibe. Whit said the atmosphere was “very cool in that it held to its historic aesthetic but with a modern twist. The uniforms were very similar to what was worn decades ago adding a lot to the overall experience.”
One of the great things I truly enjoy is that it’s actually a sit-down restaurant. They have hosts and hostesses seating people and waitstaff, despite the perception of being a fast food restaurant. One of the best parts of our experience was our waiter Josh. He was so friendly and quick with our refills that it did not get overlooked. The service we received was top notch.
HERE COMES THE BURGERS
Steak ‘n Shake is all about their steakburgers that are made with 100 percent beef that includes steak. They are seared quickly to seal in flavor and served with toasted buns. Apparently, Nolan Ryan (a former Major League baseball pitcher) put his name on the menu, so that must mean something, right? A lot of the burgers we sampled are served as double steakburgers.
The Food With Friends came hungry and the Bacon N Cheese Double Steakburger was the first thing we saw. It didn’t last long. Once Rob was done taking pictures of it, we went full carnage on this bad boy. Bacon ‘N Cheese Steakburgers come with hardwood smoked bacon, American cheese and the traditional dressed style of lettuce, tomato and onion.
The Butter Steakburger was a popular burger. It was Kyle's, Evan’s and my favorite, and I only got one or two bites. Of all the morsels we sampled, this is the one that sticks with me. It could have been all that buttery onion flavor, but it just melted in my mouth. Those flavors danced and made sweet, sweet lovin'.
The Frisco Melt brought a little bit of a change up as it wasn’t served on a bun but rather on some slices of sourdough. It may not be the most photogenic looking sammy, but the flavors of melted cheese mixed with the burger meat was for sure tasty.
We kept referring to the Western BBQ ‘N Bacon Steakburger as the onion barbecue burger because of all the flavor profiles. This bad boy comes with bacon, diced and fried onions and some Sweet 'n Smoky BBQ sauce. Allison said she usually doesn’t care for bacon on a burger, but this one was delightful.
The Royale Steakburger had an egg on it. Nothing really different about it, egg-cept the egg. Crazy, right? Egg-zactly.
The Original Prime Burger is a big burger with a knife in it. This is the main burger we sampled and it was great. It had that big knife in it, so you knew it was going to be special. After tasting it, I realized how much flavor there is in that brioche bun. This thing was large and in charge.
OTHER ITEMS AND AHH …THE MILKSHAKES
Most places offer a grilled chicken sandwich, but their version, the Chicken Sandy, actually stood out. Allison said it was one of her favorite things that we sampled.
The Classic Steak Frank is a hot dog with ketchup and mustard on it. Who doesn't love a classic?
We were served so many French fries that it got a little out of hand. They are thin and crispy, and we even got to try some with different seasonings on them. Parmesan cheese and herbs fries were a punch in the face of flavor. The Cajun flavor fries were tasty as well. I’m glad we got our fries served hot and crispy, because that’s how fries are supposed to be.
The milkshakes are where the FWF crew really came to play. You know we had to sample those delicious milkshakes. Offering flavors like chocolate chip cookie dough, Oreo cookies and cream, birthday cake, Butterfinger, Reese’s peanut butter, Kit Kat, M&Ms and various types of banana, we got to choose what we really wanted.
I went with the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It was so good I took it to go and saved the second half for the next day. Whit tried his hand at a banana milkshake and said it was very tasty. Kyle went with the berry strawberry shake it looked berry nice. Butterfinger was a FWF favorite as Allison and Evan got it. According to Allison, “it is damn perfect; it had good chunks of candy in it, but I could still drink it easily as it was blended just right.”
Adding our “Very Important Palates” to the Food With Friends experience has been a lot of fun and is giving us some fresh takes not just on food, but on what’s going on in the world. Whit said that his favorite thing about his FWF experience was the “friends” aspect.
“We told stories and jokes, and no matter where that is, that’s my favorite,” Whit said.
I couldn't have said it better myself. Where will we go next?