People love lists. After all, they're a quick way to get a lot of information, and they give everyone something to argue about, particularly when they relate to food or restaurants.
When properly executed, a good list balances conventional wisdom with a few off the radar choices and helps guide readers to new, enjoyable experiences.
The Daily Meal can't help but completely whiff anytime it tries to include a couple of Houston restaurants in its absurd ramblings.
Then there are the bad lists — where a seemingly random collection of choices is thrown together in a nonsensical order that only seems designed to elicit angry responses. Those kind of lists are what national food website The Daily Meal excels at, and the site's just outdone itself with this week's 101 Best Burgers in America list.
Just as the scorpion can't help but sting the frog, The Daily Meal can't help but completely whiff anytime it tries to include a couple of Houston restaurants in its absurd ramblings.
How did they compile the list?
Well, the site says it started by "building upon last year’s suggestions from authorities including John T. Edge and Josh Ozersky" — that's positive. Ozersky wrote a book about hamburgers, and no national writer has been a more passionate advocate for Houston's food scene than Edge.
Unfortunately, it quickly goes off the rails from there.
"We combed existing best-of lists both print and online (and) dug through online reviews . . . We then divided these burgers up by region, and compiled a survey which was then taken by a panel of 50 noted writers, journalists, bloggers, and culinary authorities from across the country, asking them to vote for their favorites, limited to the ones that they’ve tried," The Daily Meal writes.
Here, essentially, is where Houston got screwed. Who are these 50 people? Have they ever eaten a burger in Houston?
That's how such well known burger loving destinations as Boston, Nashville and Philadelphia wind up with more representatives than Houston. It also explains why the site chose Becks Prime all the way up at 16, a burger joint that didn't even crack CultureMap's list of Houston's Top 10 burgers, as the city's highest ranked representative. Proving that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, the site included Hubcap Grill (62), but, of course, featured the wrong burger as its highlight — the Hubcap Double instead of the peerless Philly Cheesesteak or Texas BBQ burgers.
Since it's probably too much to expect The Daily Meal to bring in someone who actually knows Houston burgers (*ahem*), let's just note the list could be less of a tragedy by including, say, the Underbelly Cease and Desist burger that sparked a fight with culty chain In-N-Out or anything from Bernie's Burger Bus.
Even the chicken fried bacon burger from Stanton's City Bites deserves more attention than Becks freaking Prime.
The lesson, as always: Don't let silly national lists dictate your eating. Trust the locals.