Have you ever had a meal so perfectly cooked, seasoned and displayed that you knew your life would never be the same? I remember the burger that changed my life. I was 21 years old, in the middle of my metallurgical internship in the steel mill where I was later hired full time. This was my first time in Indiana and the longest I’d ever been away from my home in Colorado but one of my high school friends came to visit and together we sampled the sites and flavors of the area, starting at the Chesterton European Market and ending at the Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille after an afternoon touring used bookstores and lazing on the beach at Lake Michigan. With sand still grinding between my toes and hair damp from the lake, I bit into the medium rare masterpiece that forever altered my appreciation for burgers. It was an item on the specials menu and the words “mac and cheese paddy” were in the title. What a truly revolutionary stroke of genius and one that I couldn’t resist.
Since then, I’ve had the chance to explore many more culinary wonders of Indiana. When it comes to burgers there is no shortage of creativity here. Mac and cheese is just one of the toppings which has become a staple to the region. One of my current favorites comes from the Burgerhaus in Valpo and is layered with bacon, smoked Gouda and a fried egg. Every time my parents come to visit we need to clear our dinner schedule for at least one night during their stay because, according to my dad, “the best burgers he’s ever tasted” can only be found at the Burgerhaus. When was the last time a meal shook your reality with the first bite? Share your favorite dinner spots in the comments below.