The journey begins.

January 28, 2011 § 5 Comments

Photo via chichacha on Flickr

What makes a great hamburger? Is it the type of beef used,  lean ground sirloin versus juicy ground chuck? Maybe it’s the freshness of the ingredients, like vine-ripened tomatoes and crisp iceberg lettuce? Or is it the bun, something freshly baked right out of the restaurant’s own ovens?

Or is it something more metaphorical? Is it the atmosphere of the restaurant, the music playing in the background or the friends sitting at your table? Is it the warm smile from your waiter as they welcome you to your table, or the personal greeting the manager extends to you at the end of your meal?

I think it’s all of those things. A great hamburger is more than just what’s between two pieces of bread — it’s the whole experience.

My name is Sarah Varner, and I am setting out on a quest to find just that: the perfect hamburger experience.

Currently a junior at the University of Georgia in the unique college town of Athens, Georgia, I am enrolled in a Social Media class that requires us to keep a blog for the duration of the semester. Although I have kept a blog before, and keep a personal one on another site, I wanted to do something a little different with this assignment.

I’ve long been a foodie at heart, and as a public relations major, I hope to gain a job in the lifestyle/hospitality industry after graduation. Most of my secret dreams and ambitious goals revolve around food: I would love to be a sommelier, prancing around France and Italy tasting wines all day long. I’d love to be a food writer for a magazine like the no-longer published Gourmet, traveling around the world trying foods that many people have never even heard of.

But until then, I’m going to take my love for all things culinary and put my passion into finding the best of what I believe to be the quintessential and beloved American meal: a good ole’ hamburger.

I will be going to 15 different restaurants in Athens, from your typical burger joint to the classiest of white tablecloth establishments.  My question is this: what makes a great hamburger, and where is the best place to find one in this city? Is it the diners with neon lights on the windows, advertising awards for their “Best Burger” achievements? Or is it the subdued eateries that offer a $2o burger because the beef really is just that good.

I owe the cheeky yet apropos title of this blog to my roommate, Ashley.  I could think of no better way to describe this experience than as a quest, and as such, I hope that the literal translation of “bon voyage” holds true for me this semester as I traverse all of Athens, eating as many hamburgers as I possibly can.

Have a good trip? Why yes, I think I will.

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