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Fuddruckers, Concord CA

We had such amazing food at the Cloverdale Citrus Festival today, we needed a simple and cost-effective dinner.  But, we still wanted to find something to share with you.  Fuddruckers is known for amazing hamburgers and sandwiches, for which you can choose one of several meats: buffalo burger, ostrich burger, veggie burger (ok, not a meat), salmon filet, turkey burger, California turkey burger, elk burger, kobe beef burger, grilled or crispy chicken, ribeye, and crispy fish.  We’ve tried many of these before, but we’ve never considered the other options.  Tonight we challenged ourselves not to get our favorites, but something totally opposite from what’s expected from this restaurant.

jumbo hot dog

jumbo hot dog

As we did not get any corn dogs or hot dogs at the Citrus Fair, Zach tried Fuddruckers’ tonight, adding chili and cheese.  He also poured over it their famous cheese sauce with jalapeños.  The bread is made fresh daily and barely fits the 1/4 lb. hot dog with liberal amounts of chili and cheese.  The condiment bar has regular cheese sauce along with the jalapeño cheese sauce and a number of other items, so you could dress this up Chicago-style if you wanted.

napa valley salad

napa valley salad

August was bummed that she couldn’t finish her meal, it was that big and good.  The Napa Valley salad comes with romaine lettuce, blue cheese crumbles, apples, dried cranberries, almonds, and an Italian vinaigrette (unless you request a different dressing).  You also get your choice of grilled or crispy chicken; she went for grilled.  The apples were crispy, the blue cheese crumbles huge and plentiful, the chicken moist, and the piece of bread fresh and flat-top grilled for a crispier crust.  This was definitely a refreshing dinner to be had at a burger place.

frings

frings

We didn’t eat many of these at all since Zach’s dog and August’s salad were so big, but we wanted to give you an idea of the sides.  Frings, aka a basket of french fries and onion rings, could easily feed three to four people to go with their entrees.

over 100 different beverages

over 100 different beverages

For the soda junkies, check out the Coca Cola Freestyle!  If you haven’t seen one of these before, you’ll be impressed with how many different ways you can mix up your soda.

With locations in all but 16 states, and even a few in Canada, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico, Fuddruckers is a growing corporate chain, popular for its variety of meat for burgers and sandwiches.  The location in Concord is franchise, not corporate, so they have a few differences from the standard menu.  The owner of the Concord Fuddruckers also runs four other locations in the Bay Area – Emeryville, Dublin, Union City, and Walnut Creek – so you can expect to find the same quality there that we found in Concord.  Terence, the manager here, was attentive, knowledgeable, and amiable in answering our questions.  Great job, Concord team!

Turkey Meatloaf, Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Mushroom Gravy, and Steamed Broccoli

turkey meatloaf, blue cheese mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and steamed broccoli

turkey meatloaf, blue cheese mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and steamed broccoli

Meatloaf in Zach’s house growing up was a mix of beef, pork, and veal.  That’s great, but nowadays we’re trying to make smarter decisions about our health.  Tonight’s recipe features Jennie-O lean ground turkey; sure, you could get extra lean, but you still want a moist meatloaf, not a dry meat sponge.

Makes 4-5 servings

• For the meatloaf:

20 oz. Jennie-O lean ground turkey

1 medium-sized carrot

1/2 white onion

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

1/4 cup tomato puree

1 egg

2 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp. Sriracha sauce

1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. butter

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Pam spray

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Chop carrot and onion in smaller, more manageable pieces.  Put garlic, thyme, carrot and onion chunks in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.  Saute in a pan with butter over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until mixture is slightly softened.  Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add turkey, bread crumbs, tomato puree, egg, cheese, Sriracha sauce, pepper, salt, and the cooled sauteed vegetables.  Mix until well blended, but don’t overwork the meat.

Spray a cookie sheet with Pam.  Form the meat mixture into an evenly-shaped loaf or log, and place on the cookie sheet.  Mix ketchup and Worcestershire sauce together, and coat the sides and top of the loaf.  Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, with a baking dish full of water sitting on the rack below to help keep meatloaf moist and prevent cracking.  Let rest before slicing, about 8 minutes.

• For the mashed potatoes:

1 large pot of salted water

5 large red potatoes

1/2 cup fat-free milk (more or less, depending on how thick you like your potatoes)

3 tbs. Litehouse Big Bleu dressing

1 tbs. Litehouse bleu cheese crumbles

1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

Salt to taste, but potatoes take a lot to salt

Boil potatoes in the salted water on medium-low to medium heat until soft and tender.  Drain, then combine all ingredients with a hand mixer or KitchenAid.  Scrape down the sides of the bowls a couple of times to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated, and taste for desired saltiness.

• For the mushroom gravy:

12 large button mushrooms, quartered

1 can beef broth

1/4 cup white wine (in two quarters)

2 tbs. flour

2 tbs. butter (in 1 tbs. portions)

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

2 green onion stalks

Combine all ingredients except mushrooms, 1/8 cup wine, flour and butter in a small sauce pan to make a broth.  Reduce over medium heat for about 20 minutes, but remove the garlic and green onion after 10 minutes.

In a medium-sized saute pan, melt 1 tbs. butter over medium heat and saute the mushrooms for 7-10 minutes, until tender.  Add 1/8 cup wine half way through cooking time.

In a small saute pan, melt the other 1 tbs. butter over medium heat and add flour.  Cook until mixture is golden brown; this is called a roux.  Combine roux with reduced broth in the broth’s pan, and cook until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (nappe).  Add mushrooms, cook for another 1-2 minutes to marry the flavors, and done.  Serve with steamed broccoli.