By Bruce Karney
Hanging out at the local burger joint was an essential part of growing up in small town America from the 40s to the 80s. Every town had a burger restaurant or two, most likely locally owned and not a franchise. Here in Mountain View, for a span of about 30 years, one of the best of the breed was Linda’s at the corner of El Camino and Escuela (the building that now houses Wolf Camera.)
Linda’s “Parisian Burger” has recently made a comeback at Armadillo Willy’s and at Pezzella’s Villa Napoli. But in case it disappears from the menu, I’m happy to let you know that I’ve gotten the recipe for the “secret sauce” from Tony Siress, who worked at Linda’s in the 80’s. It makes 1 1/2 cups, which is enough for 6 Parisian Burgers.
Put 2 tablespoons of dried onions in a small bowl and add warm water to the top of the onions. Let hydrate for 30 minutes. Mix the following in a one-quart bowl:
6 oz. catsup (Heinz)
6 oz. tomato paste (Heinz)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard (French’s)
1 teaspoon celery seed 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Don’t forget to add the dried onions after they have hydrated.
Take the sauce out when you are ready to make the burgers and warm it before using. If you’re a Linda’s fan, this sauce recipe is sure to bring back memories. If you’re new in town, listen to some old time rock and roll and flip through your high school yearbook to get yourself in the mood before you chow down.
Don’t forget the authentic side dish – a couple dozen steaming hot Tater Tots, which were called “Super Fries” at Linda’s. And as for the “Parisian” name – they were called that because the roll the burger was served on came from the Parisian Bakery. According to Tony, Armadillo Willy’s has the “real” Parisian roll but a historically incorrect single patty, while Pezzella’ s has the correct double patty but a non-Parisian bun.