Category Archives: Diner

Hubcap Grill

Houston has been ranked as one of the fattest cities in the US. Its not a surprise considering there are burger joints on every corner and from what the Houstonians tell me, they are worth carrying around a few extra pounds.

I took a casual poll of the burger experts in our work-lunch crew and combined the results with the annual ‘top 10’ burger joint review from the Houston Press which produced three places of interest. For my annual burger, I chose Hubcap Grill.

There are two outposts. One in the wildly popular but inaccessible for lunch Heights neighborhood. The other is downtown. I like the downtown location since its the original; small, cramped, lively. There are a few tables inside, a few more in the covered ‘alley’ next door and a few move uncovered on the sidewalk on Prairie St. What we noticed is that while Hubcap is completely full at 11am, by the time you wait in line to place your order, a table will invariably open up. If for some reason a table is not available, head north one block to the park.

I tried the Jalapeno Cheeseburger and fries. Excellent. The bun is light and airy, tasting homemade. The ground beef is thinly hand-formed, very flavorful,  not greasy and crispy around the edges. The requisite accessories are available and you can customize (lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, mustard, pickle).  Fries are hand cut, cooked to crispy perfection, then lightly seasoned with a combination of spices leaning toward the Cajun side.

I did not try the Cheese Fries but 2 others swear they are excellent. And really, the cheese fries are enough for two, if not more.

Most everyone enjoyed, however a consistent recommendation was to not add grilled onions; they made the burger very greasy.

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Counter service with delivery. Order to delivery time at the peak of Friday lunch rush was 20 minutes.

Reasonable. Jalapeno Cheeseburger, Fries, Bottled Water – $10

Pictured clockwise: Downtown signage, Bacon-Blue Cheeseburger with Fried Egg,  Jalapeno Cheeseburger, Cheese Fries.

Lunch: 10 January 2014

Hubcap Grill | 1111 Prairie | HTX 77002

Manchester, NH

Manchester? New Hampshire?

Yes, exactly. When planning Maine trip I took a lot of criticism about my decision to fly into Manchester, NH rather than Portland or Bangor. ME. But the naysayers did not have all the facts and like most people armed with opinion only, they were unceremoniously ignored.

  • Flight to Manchester $249, Flight to Portland/Bangor $540
  • Car rental Manchester $240, Car rental Portland/Bangor $525


I didn’t have much time in Manchester since I arrived late evening and was leaving early morning but I like the little of downtown I saw walking to dinner; narrow streets, typical New England architecture, everyone walks, the nightlife is dominated by students from several small colleges. I asked a gaggle of college kids where would be the best place to have dinner at 11pm. Answer, emphatically and unanimously was Red Arrow Diner.

Diner extraordinaire. Built in 1922, it really hasn’t changed much except a little makeover when RedArrowit changed hands in the 80’s. Booths, Formica. Red vinyl swivel stools anchored at the long bar which takes up most of the space. Odd music from the 50’s through the 90’s blurts out over the rather animated crowd. There was an interesting situation two stools down when I arrived; it seems a patron refused to sign his credit card bill and would only initial it because some government people were tracking him through his signature. He was serious, loud and probably schizophrenic;  he was finally asked to leave after a 10 minute rant that made absolutely no sense.

The place has character.

With 8 pages of menu, I punted and went with one of their “specialties”; Crabcake Bene. Its CrabBeneexactly that, Eggs Benedict with two rather generously sized crab cakes, which were mostly crab. Definitely fresh and definitely one of the best Benedicts I’ve had in a long time. Crispy English giving way to loads of fresh crab with a good dose of well-prepared, homemade Hollandaise. I like breakfast for dinner and since it was almost the next morning, it was serving a dual purpose as breakfast.

I was impressed with the young man at the counter who was seating, taking orders, ringing out and trying to get the schizophrenic out before he went ballistic, all the while joking with me and giving me the history of the diner. My order was in and up in 20. Excellent.

Crabcake Bene, side hash $9.50. I left a $5 tip for reasons already covered.

Dinner: 5 Oct 2013

Red Arrow Diner | 61 Lowell | Manchester NH 03101