Friday, June 27, 2008

Five Minute Sourdough Bread: An Experiment

Of course any sourdough bread is going to take more than five minutes. But it is an attempt to convert the basic recipe for Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (ABI5MAD) into sourdough and that is the best title I could come up with. It kicks the butt of "ABI5MAD Sourdough".

I am using this starter. When I feed it, I feed it with 125g King Arthur all purpose flour and 1/2 cup of bottled spring water (or multiples thereof). If for some reason you felt compelled to attempt to repeat this experiment and you use a starter with different ratios of flour to water you may need to adjust the recipe. My starter lives in this crock, because my starter is cool. I need to get my starter some sunglasses.

The flour proportions were easy to calculate, but I had to make some guesses when it came to yeast. I decided that adding yeast was good because the real magic of ABI5MAD is that I can grab a handful of dough out of the fridge and have a fresh loaf in an hour and a half (most of that time unattended). I want that dependability. But I decreased the yeast a little because the sourdough culture already has a bunch. It was a total shot in the dark, really.

I used tepid water for the rise to avoid heat shocking the sourdough culture. I don't care so much if this rise takes longer as long as I don't have to wait years to proof the loaves when it comes time to bake. Plus this will theoretically allow more flavor to develop. Will it be too much flavor?

Took 238g starter from the fridge and added half a cup of water in the bottom of my 6qt plastic container. Stirred to dissolve, then mixed in 125g of all purpose flour. Fermented overnight, about 10 hours. (did the same to my starter and put it back in the fridge in the morning)

In the morning, added 2 cups of tepid water (room temperature plus a tiny bit) that had 1T granulated yeast and 1 1/2T kosher salt dissolved in it. Stirred to mix. Then added 533g of King Arthur bread flour (all purpose is probably fine too). Mixed with a wooden spoon until everything was completely wet and there were no dry spots.

Allowed to proof until the dough started to collapse. Since the water was cooler than normally used for ABI5MAD, this took longer than usual. I let it go around 4 hours.

Then I used the dough as I would the basic boule dough from ABI5MAD.

Day 0 - a mini boule.

I felt the need to test the dough right away. As usual with ABI5MAD doughs the fresh dough was wicked wet and sticky. I managed to form a fairly rustic looking boule. It came out prettier than I deserved. It was a fairly flat loaf, again like most of my ABI5MAD loaves. It tastes great. Lovely crisp crust with a moist chewy/creamy crumb that I associate with sourdough. But it isn't at all sour despite being almost 1/3 starter culture by weight. It doesn't really taste like "sourdough". It is moister and creamier than the standard ABI5MAD boule. It is much less resilient and much less sour than say, a Bodin loaf. And a LOT less round. :-)

Still, a very satisfying result for a first try. It's tasty.

Day 1 - A classic sourdough

Today we are going to take a break from the experiment. Sort of. I decided that I need a more classic sourdough to compare the ABI5MAD loaves to, so I baked one. We also had sourdough pancakes for breakfast. Yum.

By the way, what's the deal with all of the "classic sourdough bread" recipes on the 'net that have baking soda in them? Yikes. This has none of that. Flour. Water. Salt.

The classic bread is pure sourdough (no commercial yeast), about 6 1/2 cups of flour , 2 cups of water (both including the starter contents) and a tablespoon of kosher salt, for a single large round loaf. I took my time with it. Refreshed the starter overnight, then built it up with a couple cups of the flour for 8 hours. Then the usual (mixed ingredients, kneaded, raised, punched, formed loaf, raised, slashed, spritzed (the loaf rising was long enough that I wanted to make sure that the crust had a moist start in the oven), and baked with steam). It took all day. Most of it unattended, but still much more effort than ABI5MAD.

As would be expected, the dough was much more manageable than the ABI5MAD dough. It was easy to knead (thank you Kitchen Aide), easy to form, and shockingly easy to slash well (the sticky dough for ABI5MAD is kind of hard to slash and I have gotten used to it).

The loaf is pretty and almost perfectly formed, despite the fact that Deb almost leaned on it. The crumb is dense and moist and chewy, much more like a Boudin loaf. Sour enough to know for sure that you are eating sourdough, but not overwhelming. A highly pleasing bread.

I would happily munch on either of these loaves, but the classic would be my choice if I wanted to make sandwiches. Or an impression. It is a fine bread. It wins for eating, no doubt.

But the ABI5MAD dough is still in the fridge. I can bake more fresh tomorrow. Or the next day. It wins by a lot in the flexibility category. And being less perfect it has more character, I suppose.

The photos may not do the classic loaf justice. I finished it so late that natural light wasn't an option without a tripod and the flash and angle of the shot make it look a bit flat and misshapen. It was neither.

Day 2

Breakfast was a big slab of sourdough bread with butter. Well, OK, two big slabs. I couldn't help it. And a latte, of course. It occurred to me while munching on this lovely fresh bread that shelf life is something I should consider when evaluating the ABI5MAD dough. Sourdough and poolish made breads tend to keep longer, so will the ABI5MAD sourdough keep well? To test this, I'll have to bake a loaf big enough to last for a couple days. But not until we eat most of the giant classic loaf. So not today.

Day 3

No baking today. Leave me alone.

(Well, OK, I made pizza dough, but that has nothing to do with this experiment. It's not even sourdough. Go away.)

Day 4

I took 2/3 of the remaining dough out to form a largish loaf. Right away I noticed that the dough was even wetter and stickier than usual. I managed to form a relatively attractive loaf. But as the loaf sat waiting to be baked, it started to "melt". It just oozed itself away. I dusted, slashed, and baked the puddle anyway. The slashes completely disappeared, sealed back into the gooey dough.

When I cut into it, it seemed surprisingly like normal bread. A decent cell structure. It smelled nice and "sourdoughy". It tasted OK too - at first. But the aftertaste is a sour that just won't go away. I really like sour sourdough, but this was way too much.

This is what a completely failed experiment looks like:

Even if I could solve the structural problems by adding more flour or something, I think the flavor problem makes this a lost cause. No five minute sourdough, sorry.

But if you have the time, classic sourdough isn't all that hard and it is delicious and the basic ABI5MAD is very good and very flexible. I wanted to demonstrate how flexible by making sourdough pita tonight, but I won't be doing that with this dough.


Digital Scales and Accuracy in Baking

If you read my review of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, then you know I have been baking.

Since I am a bona fide nerd, that means that I have been reading a lot about baking from all kinds of different sources.

And that my friends, means that I have repeatedly run across the completely ridiculous assertion that weighing things in grams is somehow intrinsically more accurate than weighing things in ounces.

So here is a little primer, let's call it "Balance 101".

  • A balance is what scientists call a scale.

  • Units of weight measure are ways of describing how much of something you are weighing.

  • Units of measure for weight are always convertible to any other unit of measure for weight (1g = 0.03527oz). They have nothing to do with either precision or accuracy.

  • Precision is the number of significant digits used for the representation (1.000g = 0.03527oz), or the degree to which fractional units of measure in different units can be considered to be the same, within the constraints of accuracy.

  • Accuracy is the degree to which the displayed precision reflects reality. (My balance reads 1g, but I know that really means 1g, plus or minus 1g, so there is somewhere between 0g and 2g of stuff being weighed).

So where does this annoying assertion come from? Why do so many sources claim it?

Well, let's look at the specific case of my kitchen balance. It has a precision when weighing in grams of 1g (that is, it displays no fractional grams), but a precision of 0.1oz when weighing in ounces. As long as the accuracy of the balance reflects the least precise of these measures (0.1oz is less precise because it is 2.8g), then it doesn't matter which unit of measure you use to weigh. That is, if the accuracy of the scale is plus or minus 3g, then it doesn't matter at all whether you weigh in grams or ounces.

However if the actual accuracy of the balance is plus or minus 2g (or less) then it actually is better (more accurate) to weigh in grams.

Notice that this has nothing to do with the fact that grams are more precise than ounces. It has to do with the fact that the firmware in the balance fails to represent the values in ounces with sufficient precision to reflect the actual accuracy.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Book Review: An Edge In The Kitchen

I am a knife enthusiast. Maybe even a knife nut. I have read virtually every book ever published on the topics of knife making, knife smithing, and sharpening. I have made knives from kits and from blade blanks and by stock removal. I own a number of custom and semi-custom knives.

I also love to cook and every knife stuck to the wall in my kitchen is sharp enough to shave the hairs on your arm.

So I was delighted when An Edge In The Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives: how to buy them, keep them razor sharp, and use them like a pro showed up in my Amazon recommended reading list.

I highly recommend this book for any serious cook and also for any serious knife enthusiast. The knife enthusiast will learn a great deal about kitchen cutlery that he/she probably doesn't know (I learned quite a bit about the evolution of styles of kitchen knives - a lot of the knife literature if very heavily weighted towards hunting knives). The cook will learn knife techniques (there is nothing new here - serious cooks may not learn much) and most importantly sharpening and knife care.

The author (Chad Ward) shares many of my biases about sharpening and he does a decent job of describing techniques that should produce excellent results. I strongly believe that people should sharpen their own knives. It is neither rocket science nor voodoo. When Alton Brown told me that I had to send my knives to a professional to get them sharpened, I threw my remote at the TV. I am sure that there are excellent sharpening services out there, but I have never personally experienced a "professional" edge that was even close to being as good as the edge I put on my knives. On the other hand I have overheard some shocking conversations in high end cutlery stores that have convinced me that there are lots of professional knife sharpeners who have no clue at all what they are doing and who likely ruin knives at a fabulous rate.

Here is the book by section.
Part one: Choose Your Weapon

Here the author describes the various knife styles, tells you what you actually need (one big, one small), tells you how to get what you need on various budgets, and tells you what the options are if the sky is the limit. He also does a nice job covering the ins and outs of cutting boards. This section contained the most new material for me - I think I will definitely have to branch out from my "traditional german-made" chef's knife and my plastic cutting boards.

Part two: Cut Loose

This section is devoted to classical kitchen knife techniques. It is well done and the photographs make the subject clear. It is not comprehensive (you won't learn how to butcher a cow), but it has the vegetable and chicken basics.

Part three: Stay Sharp

This section is the better part of a hundred pages and it is pretty comprehensive. It covers everything from metallurgy basics, to edge geometry, to sharpening techniques and systems.

I do have a couple of criticisms, though.

At one point, the author disses round crock sticks in V-system knife sharpeners because, "It is difficult to produce a flat edge with a round stone." That is complete nonsense. The knife edge contacts and is pulled along the top arc of the cylinder. In geometric terms this is a straight line meeting another straight line. In my opinion the round crock sticks are better (for everything except serrations) because you can just turn them a bit to get a clean surface. I have several of these V crock stick sharpeners and they have become my favorite tools for keeping a good edge on my kitchen knives. My only complaint is that they don't offer enough choices in angle, but you can solve that with a drill press. The Idahone system with coarse and fine ceramic rods is hard to beat.

My other criticism is that he doesn't make it plain enough what the difference between a good sharpening job and a bad one are. He does a nice job of describing how to get the planes of the blade to meet (raise a burr) and how to polish off the wire edge, but he fails to warn the reader that a single swipe at too steep an angle can undo half an hour of painstaking work. To sharpen successfully you have to understand the basic physics involved (which he explains well), but you also have to be very mindful and consistent.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

So I picked up this book in Borders the other day. Not because I thought it was likely to be brilliant (this is a no knead, low effort approach to bread baking that breaks every baking rule I have ever heard), but because in the unlikely event it actually did work as advertised it would be revolutionary.

Well, it's revolutionary.

If I had bought it from Amazon as I often do, I would have seen the glowing reviews and I might have been more eager to try the method (notice that the few negative reviews are obviously from people who didn't actually try it). But as it was it sat on my shelf until I found myself with a chunk of time to devote to it. Silly me, I didn't really need much of a chunk of time. You do need a couple of hours to prep the original dough (which goes in the fridge, to be used over and over), but most of the time is rising. Even the initial rising isn't critical, though, 2-5 hours. So just mix it up and go to the mall or something.

I have made just two loaves from the "master recipe", both simple small boules with slashes on the top and they were both great. I made them on both ends of doneness spectrum and they were both very good, although the more well done loaf had more character.

The only trick to this is that handling the very wet dough is quite tricky. I was not nearly liberal enough with the flour on the first loaf and ended up with a near terminal case of cooks club hand before I finally managed to shape a loaf. If you decide to try this method, a little visual aid might be helpful:

I used my kitchenaid with the dough hook, but from the video segment it appears that this was extreme overkill. I also used King Arthur bread flour, regardless of their advice. I will eventually try all purpose flour, I suppose, but my results were terrific, so I'm not really motivated to experiment.

The loaves were a bit misshapen, because I had some trouble releasing them from the peel. I think this was because I didn't use enough flour and the dough was wet enough to seep around the cornmeal. But they had visual character. :-)

I think the only real problem with this method is that it will tend to make flatish loaves because the dough is on the gooey side. But for breads where you can live with that I encourage you to give it a go.

The author who came up with the idea, by the way, is not a baker. He is a doctor who's career has dabbled in things like IT. Go figure.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Best. Hamburger. Ever.

I have had hamburgers on the brain lately. I just read Hamburger America, Bobby Flay's hamburger throw down was shown again, Cooks Illustrated had an article on the best hamburger, and Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives has had a bunch of tasty looking burgers on it.

Based on all of these sources (and more) and my own personal preferences, I made a mental list of characteristics an ultimate burger needs to have. Then I cooked it up. It was by far the best burger that I have ever had.

1. The beef needs to be freshly ground. Most sources agree that fresh ground beef makes better burgers and I like my beef rare, so I am not going to trust ground beef from a mega-mart. I ground equal parts chuck steak and well marbled sirloin tips using the fine setting of my Kitchenaid grinder attachment. Some sources suggest grinding multiple times to evenly mix the fat, but I didn't want overly ground mush. Since I was using a mixer anyway, I mixed the beef up using the paddle after grinding.

2. Thick patty that is very pink in the middle. The first time I can remember thinking that hamburgers were really good food was the first time that I ate at Flaky Jake's. As far as I know Flaky Jake's is long dead, but it was a place kind of like Fuddrucker's, only better. You could watch them cut up and grind the meat and bake the buns while you were standing in line. That first Flaky Jake's burger was a nice thick rare patty and I have never had a burger that I thought was exceptional that didn't have that characteristic since.

3. Loosely packed patty. This was my first effort at loose packing, but all of the most reputable sources agree that it makes the burger better because it gives the juices a place to gather. After this burger, I'm sold. I guess my nice aluminum patty mold is junk now.

4. Appropriate meat to bun ratio. I had a burger the other day at Picadilly Pub which should have been decent, but was actually very disappointing. The burger was medium rare and good beef. The bun was nice. But the bun was too big for the patty and there weren't enough tomato slices to get tomato in every bite. My son's kid's meal burger was even worse - same bun, much smaller patty. Things have to be in proportion. I didn't want to bust my diet completely for my ideal burger, so I opted for small classic Pepperidge Farms buns. In an ideal world I would like a bun with a bit of a chew to the exterior crust, but not too much, with a fluffy interior. That's what I remember from Flaky Jake's, actually. But I think I would have to bake that myself. I made the patty about an 3/4ths inch thick and a bit bigger around than the bun.

5. Mustard. Yellow mustard. Lots. I kind of like Dairy Queen hamburgers - I always have. I have decided that the reason I prefer them is their liberal use of yellow mustard. It makes an otherwise ordinary uninteresting burger tangy and delicious.

6. No mayonnaise or ketchup. I have almost always put both on my burgers. But mayonnaise is really a remedy for a dry burger and ketchup is really a remedy for bad (or absent) tomatoes. I resolved not to need either.

7. A good crust on the meat. The Maillard reaction reigns supreme when it comes to developing flavors in food. Especially in meat. I think one of the reasons burgers work so well is that the ground beef exposes more surface area to crisp up. For this reason I eschewed my grill (in 94 degree weather!) in favor of cast iron. I have no regrets. Bobby says that seasoning helps the crust form. I did salt before crusting and fresh ground black pepper after.

8. Crisp iceberg lettuce. From the middle portion of the head (not the outside, not the center). It's all about the texture.

9. Ripe tomatoes. Enough slices to cover the patty.

10. Cheddar cheese. Sharp. American cheese has its place on cheeseburgers (and IMO nowhere else), but I prefer cheddar. The best pre-sliced sharp cheddar I have found comes from Cabot. I will of course repeat this experiment with blue cheese. Stilton burger anyone?

This burger turned out amazing. I was in a completely zen place while eating it. There was just me and the burger and the eating. Yum.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Our garden is in a state of extreme neglect. We bought the house partly because it had this wonderful 10'X20' raised bed garden and we had visions of farming wonderful produce. Unfortunately we only had a few real successes. There was the year of 10 varieties of basil (and hence fantastic chicken kaprow) and the year of endless fresh cucumber salad. But mostly the critters ate our veggies. We grew some mighty nice pumpkins, but I don't believe we ever managed to harvest one. It has been neglected for about 4 years now, a situation that isn't likely to change with a toddler in the house. There are trees growing in there with trunks two inches or more in diameter.

But there are still two "crops" that keep coming back. The catnip and the mint. We have a huge bumper crop of both at the moment.

The problem with mint is that I have never been able to figure out what to do with the stuff. I have made the occasional cup of mint tea and used it as a garnish a few times, but generally it just stays there and goes to seed (hence the bumper crop). I love mint, but I consume most of it in the form of Altoids and flavored desserts (generally made from an extract).

When I found this recipe, I was excited to have something to use up some of these weeds. Mint chocolate chip ice cream is my second favorite (after vanilla, of course). I have very fond memories of the Mint Truffle sundaes that I used to get with my dad at the now sadly defunct Bakers on Lake City Way in Seattle, so I expect I will have to try this with some kind of dark chocolate mint truffle in place of the chocolate at some point.

I have modified the recipe, because steeping the leaves in the milk, but removing them before making the custard makes a lot more sense to me. It avoids having to temper the yolks and it makes stirring and watching the custard much easier. It is clear that this method would work for lots of different infusions, so I will have to do some experimenting this summer.

This stuff is seriously good.


Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 cups fresh mint leaves, clean, dry (salad spinner), and loosely packed (or more, put as much in as you can get submerged in the milk while helping with a spatula)
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1. In heavy medium saucepan over moderately low heat, stir together milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and mint. Heat until steaming but not boiling, then remove from heat.

2. Allow the leaves to steep until cool enough to handle and not cook egg yolk. Remove the leaves, wringing them out well.

3. Whisk together egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar and add them to the saucepan.

4. Place over low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat back of spoon (finger drawn across spoon will leave clear path), 5 to 6 minutes total (do not let boil or custard will curdle). Strain through fine-mesh sieve into large bowl. Whisk in heavy cream. Cover and chill until cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

5. Process custard in ice cream maker, adding chopped chocolate during last minute of churning. Transfer to airtight container and freeze until hard, about 3 hours.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hacking GPS and Google Maps

OK, maybe not quite hacking. Still, this is a compendium of things that I have learned about my Garmin Nuvi 770, GPSes in general, and tools that work with them, especially Google Maps. Since half the people I know seem to have a new Nuvi, maybe someone will find some of this useful.

Extracting current data
The current favorites, routes, and so on are always available for export from a file called current.gpx. You could use this data to transfer favorites between units, or to convert favorites to custom POI, or to show your routes in Google Earth, or whatever. A very handy bit of data to be able to get to. As far as I can determine, this file is created exclusively for the purpose of having a generic way to export data so don't edit it. It is my guess that the generation of this file is what is happening when the progress bar is visible after plugging the Nuvi into a computer.

Data Transfer
Almost all of the data that is in the unit can be transferred to an SD card if you want. Including the built-in data. I've been told you can even transfer the maps if you rename them, but I haven't had the courage to try that. Moving data works great with added content, including MadMaps. And of course you can always just put it on the SD card in the first place for things like MP3 and Audible. This is useful because the Nuvi 770 doesn't come with a huge excess of memory.

You can also delete unused language files and other crap from the unit entirely.

Back everything up, of course, or you are an idiot.

Adding Routes
You can add gpx files to the gpx directory, then when you turn on the unit tell it to import the file. These will go into your routes.
Tools/My Data/Import Route from File

GPX file format and Garmin
Garmin has a bunch of extensions to the gpx standard that are worth knowing about. If you format your data this way you can get custom POIs with phone numbers that can be dialed, custom proximity alerts, and so on.

POI display
Custom POI, are never displayed in 3D map view on the Nuvi 770. To see custom POI, you have to be in a 2D view (like "track up") and you have to be zoomed in pretty close (300 ft). Built-in POI are only displayed in map browse view (that might not be the right term, but the view you get when you tap the map and it shows a flat 2D view that doesn't move). Favorites are always displayed, but there is a limit to how many you can have. My wife's StreetPilot has an option to always display icons for custom POI - I miss that option on my Nuvi. It is always fun to drive into Boston and see the approaching cloud of Starbucks.

Google Maps Routes to GPX (with turn by turn routing)
Use this simple javascript tool. This is extremely handy for creating custom routes since you can drag Google Maps routes around until they follow the roads you want. For scenic routes or motorcycle routes or the like, this is your friend.

Google Maps Result Points As Waypoints (favorites, not custom POI)
Use the Google Maps "Send To" function. This requires that you have the Garmin Communicator installed. There is a description of the whole procedure on the Garmin site and a video on YouTube.

Creating custom POI with Google Maps
One of the best ways to create custom POIs is with Google Maps using the My Maps functionality. Suppose that you have a hankering to try out some diners, so you go to Google Maps, center it on your home, and type "diner" into the search box. You pick interesting looking diners from the results, click on the flag on the map and click the "Save to My Maps" link. You might end up with something like this.

The Automated Method

You can automate a lot of the work with TakeItWithMe, which I only discovered after I figured out the whole process. Even using this tool, you may want to clean up some of the text, but it does a decent job.

The Manual Method (for the curious)

Notice that the My Maps page has a link to "View in Google Earth". This is a link to a KML file, but unfortunately it is an indirect KML file. Right-click on this and save a local copy. When you open it in a text editor you will see a line something like:
This is a link to the real KML file, but the link is XML encoded, so you have to clean it up by changing "&amp;" to "&" and so on. You can use the cleaned up URL to get the real KML file.

There are a number of tools that can convert that KML file into something useful. I convert it to a csv file so that I can do some clean up of the text. The combination of a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel) and a text editor that does regular expression search and replace (e.g. jEdit) will make quick work of whatever changes you need to make. Keep in mind that you usually have to swap longitude/latitude columns because the Garmin POILoader expects them in a specific order. In this exercise you are aiming for something that looks like:
-71.6122820,42.2680170,"South Street Diner","40 South St, Westborough, MA 01581 : (508) 870-0101"
-71.4331050,42.2753870,"Lloyd's Diner","184 Fountain St, Framingham, MA 01702 : (508) 879-8750"
-71.1579900,42.3710520,"Deluxe Town Diner","627 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472 : (617) 926-8400"
-71.0761800,42.3370780,"Mike's City Diner","1714 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118 : (617) 267-9393"
-71.0576100,42.3496970,"Boston Diner Inc","178 Kneeland St, Boston, MA 02111 : (617) 350-0028"
-71.7924040,42.2603340,"Kenmore Diner","250 Franklin St, Worcester, MA 01604 : (508) 792-5125"
-71.2841490,41.9438210,"Morin's Diner","16 S Main St, Attleboro, MA 02703 : (508) 222-9875"
-71.4843220,41.9914170,"Patriots Diner","65 Founders Dr, Woonsocket, RI 02895 : (401) 765-6900"
-71.5169070,42.1428030,"Ted's Diner","64 Main St, Milford, MA 01757 : (508) 634-1467"
-71.1780010,42.2340240,"50'S Diner","5 Commercial Cir # 101, Dedham, MA 02026 : (781) 326-1955"
-71.0669330,42.3269120,"Victoria Diner","1024 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02118 : (617) 442-5965"
-71.2310410,42.3770640,"Wilson's Diner Inc","507 Main St, Waltham, MA 02452 : (781) 899-0760"
-71.1220090,42.3907700,"Andy's Diner","2030 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140 : (617) 497-1444"
-71.8648150,42.1164820,"Carl's Oxford Diner","291 Main St, Oxford, MA 01540 : (508) 987-8770"
-71.4258650,41.8242380,"Haven Brothers Diner","72 Spruce St, Providence, RI 02903 : (401) 861-7777"
-70.9469680,41.8953630,"Dave's Diner","390 W Grove St, Middleboro, MA 02346 : (508) 923-4755"

Now just create a custom icon (if you want) and a custom alert tone (if you want) and load it up with your other custom POIs.

Hacking Sites Using Google API
There are lots of sites these days that are using bits of the Google Maps API. They often have a KML file at the heart of the map they are displaying and you can get at that by looking at the page source. Here is an example from If you look at the source for that page, you will see a reference to this xml (kml) file.

You can obviously directly use this KML file to create POI if you want to, following the manual method I just described.

But you can also do more cool stuff with Google Maps. Copy the URL for the KML file onto the clipboard, open up Google Maps, and paste the link into the search bar. Go ahead, I'll wait. Neat, huh? Believe it or not, this works with Google Maps Mobile on the blackberry as well.

You can also create a My Map based on KML data (create a new map, click the import link, and paste the KML URL or browse to the KML file).


Friday, June 6, 2008

Hamburger America POI

Here are the coordinates for the hamburger places mentioned in Hamburger America. This list is in no way a substitute for the book, which I recommend.

Any errors, especially geocoding errors, are mine. A couple of places required some research to get the coordinates (e.g. Meers Store) and I haven't been able to verify them all. In addition there are a few places that have multiple locations - in these cases the only location listed is the one from the book.


-80.117304,26.0184,Le Tub,"1100 North Ocean Drive, Hollywood, FL 33019 : 954-921-9425"
-95.025281,29.561779,Tookie's,"1202 Bayport Blvd., Seabrook, TX 77586 : 281-474-3444"
-95.383413,29.749837,Lankford Grocery,"88 Dennis Street, Houston, TX 77006 : 713-522-9555"
-95.430217,29.778471,Christian's Tailgate Bar and Grill,"7340 Washington Avenue, Houston, TX 77007 : 713-864-9744"
-90.061729,29.96443,Port of Call,"838 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116 : 504-523-0120"
-90.153819,30.006054,Bozo's,"3117 21st Street, Metairie, LA 70002 : 504-831-8666"
-97.738046,30.266593,Casino El Camino,"517 East 6th Street, Austin, TX 78701 : 512-469-9330"
-97.750989,30.270245,Hut's Hamburgers,"807 West 6th Street, Austin, TX 78703 : 512-472-0693"
-97.742167,30.293632,Dirty Martin's Place,"2808 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78705 : 512-477-3173"
-97.393206,32.737833,Kincaid's Hamburgers,"4901 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76107 : 817-732-2881"
-117.251262,32.747164,Hodad's,"5010 Newport Ave, Ocean Beach, CA 92107 : 619-224-4623"
-117.134465,32.748599,Western Steakburger,"2730 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104 : 619-296-7058"
-96.787063,32.849527,Burger House,"6913 Hillcrest Avenue, Dallas, TX 75205 : 214-361-0370"
-84.33487,33.747362,Ann's Snack Bar,"1615 Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta, GA 30317 : 404-687-9207"
-88.490908,33.98765,Bill's Hamburgers,"310 North Main Street, Amory, MS 38821 : 662-256-2085"
-118.427721,34.040607,The Apple Pan,"10801 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064 : 310-475-3585"
-118.420528,34.044164,Marty's,"10558 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064 : 310-836-6944"
-118.370141,34.09079,Irv's Burger,"8289 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046 : 323-650-2456"
-118.131526,34.136008,Pie 'N Burger,"913 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106 : 626-795-1123"
-89.43399,34.767366,Philip's Grocery,"541 East Van Dorn Ave., Holly Springs, MS 38634 : 662-252-4671"
-96.673749,34.774694,Folger's Drive-Inn,"406 East Main St., Ada, OK 74820 : 580-332-9808"
-82.392948,34.864311,Northgate Soda Shop,"918 North Main Street, Greenville, SC 29609 : 864-235-6770"
-85.304754,35.033842,Zarzour's Cafe,"1627 Rossville Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37408 : 423-266-0424"
-97.93849,35.052286,J&W Grill,"501 West Choctaw Ave., Chickasha, OK 73018 : 405-224-9912"
-90.051677,35.139413,Dyer's Burgers,"205 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103 : 901-527-3937"
-80.791883,35.203914,South 21,"3101 East Independence Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28205 : 704-377-4509"
-96.91928,35.327615,Hamburger King,"322 E. Main St., Shawnee, OK 74801 : 405-878-0488"
-97.954975,35.531281,Sid's Diner (Onion Fried Burger),"300 South Choctaw, El Reno, OK 73036 : 405-262-7757"
-97.95256,35.531282,Johnnie's Grill,"301 South Rock Island, El Reno, OK 73036 : 405-262-4721"
-97.953848,35.531282,Robert's Grill (Onion Fried Burger),"300 South Bickford, El Reno, OK 73036 : 405-262-1262"
-105.898277,35.583718,Bobcat Bite (chile burger),"420 Old Las Vegas Highway, Santa Fe, NM 87505 : 505-983-5319"
-78.648083,35.780893,Char-Grill,"618 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27603 : 919-821-7636"
-86.802406,36.130566,Brown's Diner,"2102 Blair Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37212 : 615-269-5509"
-86.807891,36.148084,Rotier's Restaurant,"2412 Elliston Place, Nashville, TN 37203 : 615-327-9892"
-80.607374,36.499644,Snappy Lunch,"125 North Main Street, Mount Airy, NC 27030 : 336-786-4931"
-79.938875,37.270595,Texas Tavern,"114 W. Church Avenue, Roanoke, VA 24011 : 540-342-4825"
-122.431725,37.728511,Joe's Cable Car Restaurant,"4320 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94112 : 415-334-6699"
-122.465006,38.501663,Taylor's Automatic Refresher,"933 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574 : 707-963-3486"
-121.490155,38.581195,Jim-Denny's,"816 12th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 : 916-443-9655"
-97.610145,38.840949,Cozy Inn Hamburgers,"108 North 7th Street, Salina, KS 67401 : 785-825-2699"
-77.028716,38.917079,Ben's Chili Bowl,"1213 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 : 202-667-0909"
-94.585526,39.041996,Winstead's,"101 Emanuael Cleaver II Blvd, Kansas City, MO 6411 : 816-753-2244"
-95.706223,39.051415,Bobo's Drive In,"2300 SW 10th Ave, Topeka, KS 66604 : 785-234-4511"
-94.588804,39.088435,Town Topic,"2021 Broadway Street, Kansas City, MO 64108 : 816-842-2610"
-104.962421,39.437279,Bud's Bar,"5453 Manhart Street, Sedalia, CO 80135 : 303-688-9967"
-84.288718,39.641525,Hamburger Wagon,"12 East Central Ave., Miamisburg, OH 45342 : 937-847-2442"
-82.9912,39.939507,Thurman Cafe (Thurman Burger),"183 Thurman Ave., Columbus, OH 43206 : 614-443-1570"
-82.878537,40.018969,Gahana Grill,"82 Granville Street, Gahanna, OH 43230 : 614-476-9017"
-83.762365,40.108587,Crabill's Hamburgers (grease sliders),"727 Miami Street, Urbana, OH 43078 : 937-653-5133"
-74.739426,40.211125,Rossi's Bar & Grill,"501 Morris Ave., Trenton, NJ 08611 : 609-394-9089"
-79.950827,40.462668,Tessaro's,"4601 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224 : 412-682-6809"
-74.00378,40.738821,Corner Bistro,"331 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014 : 212-242-9502"
-84.107005,40.740246,Kewpie,"111 North Elizabeth Street, Lima, OH 45801 : 419-228-1778"
-73.642911,40.757216,Hildebrandt's,"84 Hillside Avenue, Williston Park, NY 11596 : 516-741-0608"
-73.968323,40.759,P.J. Clarke's,"915 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022 : 212-317-1616"
-111.899554,40.772049,Crown Burgers,"118 North 300 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 : 801-532-5300"
-83.650418,41.035527,Wilson's Sandwich Shop,"600 S. Main St., Findlay, OH 45840 : 419-422-5051"
-95.920771,41.159921,Stella's Hamburgers,"106 Galvin Road South, Bellevue, NE 68005 : 402-291-6088"
-72.931521,41.306944,Louis' Lunch (on toast),"263 Crown St., New Haven, CT 06510 : 203-562-5507"
-72.930283,41.310778,Yankee Doodle Coffee Shop,"258 Elm Street, New Haven, CT 06511 : 203-865-1074"
-72.783276,41.54681,Ted's Restaurant (Steamed),"1044 Broad St., Meriden, CT 06450 : 203-237-6660"
-73.37938,41.65486,Clamp's Hamburger Stand,"Route 202 (Near Marbledale, CT), New Milford, CT 06776 : No Phone"
-91.531414,41.663849,Hamburg Inn No. 2,"214 North Linn Street, Iowa City, IA 52245 : 319-337-5512"
-85.995655,41.66681,Hennies,"1743 West Lusher Ave, Elkhart, IN 46517 : 574-522-9101"
-87.675431,41.721229,Top Notch Beefburger Shop,"2116 West 95th Street, Chicago, IL : 773-445-7218"
-86.737016,41.797118,Redamak's,"616 East Buffalo Street, New Buffalo, MI 49117 : 269-469-4522"
-87.624188,41.890197,Billy Goat Tavern,"430 N. Lower Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611 : 312-222-1525"
-92.907829,42.047712,Taylors Maid-Rite (loosemeats),"106 South 3rd Ave, Marshalltown, IA 50158 : 641-753-9684"
-83.744138,42.27524,Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger,"551 South Division Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 : 734-663-4590"
-83.267391,42.301089,Miller's Bar,"23700 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48124 : 313-565-2577"
-71.116211,42.372476,Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage,"1246 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138 : 617-354-6559"
-88.805679,43.005208,Peterson's Hamburger Stand and Ice Cream Parlor,"200 East Racine Street, Jefferson, WI 53549 : 920-674-3637"
-89.395782,43.072306,Dotty Dumpling's Dowry,"317 North Frances St., Madison, WI 53703 : 608-259-0000"
-89.390047,43.075022,The Plaza Tavern,"319 N. Henry Street, Madison, WI 97213 : 608-255-6592"
-70.759378,43.077309,Gilley's PM Lunch,"175 Fleet Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 : 603-431-6343"
-87.917159,43.100851,Solly's Grille,"4629 North Port Washington Road, Milwaukee, WI 53212 : 414-332-8808"
-96.726134,43.545892,Hamburger Inn,"111 East 10th Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57104 : 605-332-5412"
-70.298066,43.744913,Harmon's Lunch,"144 Gray Road, Falmouth, ME 04105 : 207-797-9857"
-96.798754,44.30947,Nick's Hamburger Shop,"427 Main Avenue, Brookings, SD 57006 : 605-692-4324"
-93.247796,44.897823,The 5-8 Club,"5800 Cedar Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55417 : 612-823-5858"
-93.247567,44.939343,Matt's Bar,"3500 Cedar Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55407 : 612-722-7072"
-122.718188,45.41116,Giant Drive-In,"15840 Boones Ferry Road, Lake Oswego, OR 97035 : 503-636-0255"
-122.612326,45.548472,Stanchi's Tavern,"4915 NE Fremont Street, Portland, OR 97213 : 503-281-2322"
-122.916826,45.596321,Helvetia Tavern,"10275 NW Helvetia Rd., Hillsboro, OR 97124 : 503-647-5286"
-112.53808,45.990089,Matt's Place Drive-In,"2339 Placer St., Butte, MT 59701 : 406-782-8049"
-113.995355,46.871236,The Missoula Club,"139 West Main St., Missoula, MT 59802 : 406-728-3740"
-122.328069,47.661245,Dick's Drive-In,"111 N.E. 45th Street, Seattle, WA 98105 : 206-632-5125"
-72.484621,41.786098,Shady Glen (Bernice Original),"840 Middle Turnpike E, Manchester, CT 06040 : 860-649-4245"
-75.547549,39.795675,Charcoal Pit,"2600 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803 : 302-478-2165"
-77.001601,38.886625,Tune Inn,"331 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003 : 202-543-2725"
-116.784095,47.673756,Hudson's Hamburgers,"207 E Sherman Ave, Coeur D'Alene, ID 83814 : 208-664-5444"
-87.892954,39.190699,Moonshine Store,"6017 E 300th Rd, Annapolis, IL 62413 : 618-569-9200"
-72.601572,42.096449,White Hut,"280 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA 01089 : 413-736-9390"
-74.038528,40.889334,White Manna Hamburgers (sliders),"358 River St, Hackensack, NJ 07601 : 201-342-0914"
-106.869362,33.917736,Owl Bar & Cafe,"77 US Highway 380, San Antonio, NM 87832 : 505-835-9946"
-73.907224,40.745225,Donovan's Pub,"57-24 Roosevelt Ave., Queens, NY 11377 : 718-429-9339"
-98.581696,34.782228,The Meers Store & Restaurant (long horn beef),"Highway 115, Meers, OK 73501 : 580-429-8051"
-75.315698,39.897004,Charlie's Hamburgers,"336 Kedron Ave, Folsom, PA 19033 : 610-461-4228"
-122.872637,47.04592,Eastside Big Tom,"2023 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA 98506 : 360-357-4852"