Daddy Ray Burgers, O’Fallon, MO – St. Charles Shack Attack

What’s up with food prepared in shacks in St. Charles County?  I found some excellent fried chicken at Chicken Coop last November and this year I stumbled upon Daddy Ray’s Burgers on the day of their one year anniversary.
Since it was my first time, I ordered their namesake:  the Big Daddy Bacon Cheddar Burger.  It doesn’t come with lettuce, tomato, or pickle but you can ask for them.  It does, however, come with their pub cheddar which I’ll admit I was leery of.  Remember my experience at the now shuttered Fatted Calf?  I also ordered the garlic Parmesan fries as my side.  After only a quick 5 minute wait I had my food.

Daddy Ray burger

This is a meat lovers burger.  It’s a 1/2 pound burger topped with crispy bacon that is clearly a diet crasher.

After Two Big Bites

As you can see, the middle isn’t pink but they still keep it juicy.  The pub cheddar was creamy and added a nice contrast to the beef and bacon.  It was nothing like what I had at the Fatted Calf.

fries

The fries are thin and crispy.  They loaded them up with Parmesan and just enough garlic so you would notice it, but not so much that you would offend all your co-workers after lunch.

I usually bring my lunch to work so I can save my calories for dinner or the weekend; however, I’m starting to find reasons to change that.  Daddy Ray’s Burgers is one of those places.  They make a mean hamburger without a lot of fluff. Wanna go eat a burger without anyone watching? Daddy Ray’s gives you that option.  My only recommendation would be for them to ask you how you like your burger cooked.

Dive 2 Five Scale – 1.  Although Daddy Ray’s is a bit nicer than the Chicken Coop, I had to stay consistent with my earlier shack rating.  Daddy Ray’s is in a small building in O’Fallon along Veteran’s Memorial Parkway.  I bet a lot of people have driven passed it without noticing. Their business is completely take-out or outside dining.  They do let you call ahead and you can pick up your order behind the building. This is appreciated now that it is getting colder and you may not want to get out to order at their window.  As an added bonus, they have a loyalty program that after 9 burgers you get $5 off.

Daddy Ray Burgers on Urbanspoon

In Honor of Halloween, A Spooky Drink: The Blueberry Rickety Eyeball Punch

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  Why?  There are tons of parties to go to!  Not only that, but it gives you an excuse to spend the evening as someone or something else.  What’s a party without a great cocktail?  If you are looking for one that’s in the Halloween spirit and tasty at the same time, the folks at FoodNetwork.com have you covered.  Let me share with you my experience and tips from making their Blueberry Rickety Eyeball Punch.

Here’s the recipe:

Blueberry Rickety Eyeball Punch

Prep time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Occasion Halloween
Website Food Network
This is a great Halloween version of a classic rickey. Add gin to make it the life of the party or leave the gin out to make it kid friendly. The eyeballs are a great touch!

Ingredients

  • 12 - 24 fresh blueberries
  • 1 can lychees in syrup, drained (reserve 5 to 6 tablespoons syrup from the can)
  • 3 cups blueberry juice cocktail
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (~ 4 limes)
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • Ice
  • 3/4 cups gin (This can be left out to make it kid friendly!)

Directions

Step 1
Poke 1 to 2 blueberries, depending on size, into the cavity of each lychee. Place your "eyeballs" on a foil-lined baking sheet and put in the freezer for at least an hour. (Note: To prevent risk of choking, let the "eyeballs" thaw a bit before eating. Very important on batches one or two for the boozy versions and EXTREMELY important if making the gin-free version for kids). I vacuum sealed the leftover frozen ones so I can thaw them for Halloween.
Step 2
Stir together the 5 tablespoons of the lychee syrup you reserved, the blueberry juice, and lime juice. This can be in a bowl or directly in your serving pitcher. If this is the adult version add the gin now. If not, stir in the sparkling water and add a few of the lychee eyeballs. This is a great time to taste it. If it's too tart from the blueberries and lime juice, add in an extra tablespoon of the lychee syrup.

Pro tip: Put your syrup from the canned lychees in a squeeze bottle. It makes it easy to use and you can store the rest for other cocktails.
Step 3
Serve in any glass over ice. Don't forget to add some of the eyeballs for that spooky Halloween vibe!

This recipe makes a refreshing punch, but it just seemed light on the gin. Perhaps that is just because of the crowd with which I hang. (Hiccup!)  I would suggest adjusting the ratio of sparkling water and gin depending on how strong you want the drink to be.  In general, this punch is very easy to drink and will be a hit at your next Halloween party.  Everyone  will absolutely love the eyeballs!  I guarantee people will take a second glance when they see them.

A few of suggestions for making this drink your own:

  • Sample each of the ingredients before you make the first batch.  This way you know what flavors each contributes.  Adjust accordingly!
  • Finding lychees in canned syrup can be challenging.  Call your local Asian or international market.
  • Use quality ingredients!  This is true for all cocktails.  Take the time to make the fresh squeezed lime juice.  It’s the details that make all the difference.
  • When making the eyeballs, I used strawberry ice cream topping to roll the eyeballs in to give them a “bloodshot” look.

Please share your experiences.  Cheers!