Thursday, September 18, 2014

An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

At this point in time this little blog has become something of a novelty to my friends. They know I keep it and thus are always encouraging me to post more, oftentimes going out of their way to recommend burger places to go eat just for the sake of my blog. It's not a bad thing. Frankly, given my love of burgers, I personally don't really mind that much. It saves of thinking of another place to have to go eat. Thus, during another visit to the Bay Area, my good friend indicated that when you're talking about burgers in the San Mateo/Peninsula area two places invariably pop up, generally in comparison to one another. I only went to one, so I can only write about that one, granted in the context of all the other burgers I've had. This place was called Godfather's, named and themed after the hit 1972 Francis Ford Cappola film.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tex Mex Burger... Interesting...

I'm not sure this really counts, given that even though the place is called a tex mex place, it's pretty much all BBQ. Of course, I'm probably ignorant of whatever it is that makes things either Tex Mex or BBQ. We had stopped by Kettleman City for a lunch break during a drive down from Northern California to Southern California, and decided, that perhaps it would be worthwhile to try out Wild Jacks Tex Mex BBQ instead of In-N-Out. While I have had mixed feelings regarding whether or not BBQ places can really make good burgers, I did opt for the WJ Tex Mex BBQ Cheddar Cheeseburger over the normal BBQ fare. Others ordered the more typical ribs and brisket sandwiches, but I decided to give this a go.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Almost Deluxe

It was a simple burger. It's not really a knock on it, but I can't really say that it stood out either. When a burger comes without condiments I'm usually half-scared and half-excited. Why? Simply because they either expect the burger to be good enough without any condiments or they expect you to use ketchup. Nothing against ketchup, I like ketchup, and sometimes the goodness is in simplicity, and ketchup is the base condiment that is safe and you can always fall back on. However, everyone can get/use ketchup. Even when you make your own burgers at home. So that being said, Jimmy's Deluxe Burger at the Colonie Diner was a good burger, a good homemade style burger.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Not quite the heat I was expecting...

To celebrate a friend's birthday, I decided to grab lunch at Smokey Bones BBQ, which I now realize is something of chain. The main reason I didn't realize that at first was simply because I've only seen the one I went to, which is just outside of my apartment, so that worked out for me. I'd been here before with a friend because I had heard that the food was pretty good and he had a coupon. I also picked this place subsequently for this particular outing because I too had a coupon available. We started with an order of fried pickles, which were quite tasty, but you're here about the burgers, so let's jump into that.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

There is some doubt

No Doubt Stout BBQ Burger by jaceman4
No Doubt Stout BBQ Burger, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
So as a final pit stop in my recent visit to Seattle, I decided to meet up with a bunch of friends at a fairly centralized locale (for us) to grab dinner and generally just hang out. That place was Elliott Bay in the Lake City area, which was newer (relatively), meaning that it wasn't there when I left (about two years ago). It was a fairly typical brewery type restaurant, which meant generally pub type food. I decided that since they were a brewery to get the No Doubt Stout BBQ Burger, which is made from their No Doubt Stout ale.

Everything was fairly well prepared, the burger came with cheese, onions straws, lettuce, tomato, onion, and BBQ sauce. Unfortunately, this particular burger proved (at least for me) that burgers aren't really BBQ items. While you might cook a rack of ribs or brisket on a grill like a burger, the flavors you are going for are different. That being said, while I like meaty burgers, I also understand that you don't want your burger to be too dense, otherwise it becomes kind of bogged down and dry like a meatloaf sandwich. That's part of the reason you don't necessarily want to use the leanest cut of meat for your burgers. Now, it wasn't that the meat here was dry, but rather that the BBQ sauce was designed for something slightly tougher, such as a brisket or a tri-tip, not a burger. It wasn't that the sauce was bad, it just didn't fit the burger schema. In short, the BBQ sauce was too sweet, the flavor really overwhelmed everything else on the burger. Maybe some people like it that way, but for me, it made things really hard to taste on the burger, and thus, sort of ruined the burger experience.

The fries were good, not much else needs to be said here. It's pretty hard to ruin fries. Nothing special, but sometimes simplicity is best. I'm not going to say Elliott Bay is a bad place to eat, from what I saw of everyone else's food, it all looked good. Conceptually, this burger made sense, it was safe, but unfortunately, execution marred the concept.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sort of a burger

Godzilla Attack by jaceman4
Godzilla Attack, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
There's a lot to like about Katsu Burger. Really, there is. Yet still, a small part of me feels like this is more of a Chick-Fil-A type joint rather than a burger joint. I suppose, that's what makes me a burger snob, because I'm certain there are a ton of people that would consider Chick-Fil-A a "burger" place as everything is on a bun, but I think it's more than that, but that's not something I'll get into a whole lot now.

While the patty itself was beef, it was deep fried in the Japanese katsu style. Now, I'm a huge fan of katsu, but it's not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when I think burger. So the texture itself kind of threw me off. There were jalapenos and a slaw as extra fixings on the burger which offset it really well. I don't know if it's a hang up for me, but ultimately, it still didn't really "feel" like a burger simply because it didn't really have that sort of substantial feel that you would come to expect out of a burger. Not to say that it wasn't good, it was good. The beef was high quality and well done, just, don't go expecting a traditional burger, which is pretty much what they're going for here.

It seems weird that I feel like I'm knocking this place when I like burgers and I like katsu, but I'm trying to be honest with my reflections. I liked the nori fries, though personally I like a little more substance (perhaps that's what I'm looking for) in my fries, so I like crisp as opposed to crunchy (I don't know if that makes sense), but I like heartier fries with a firm edge, as opposed to smaller fries that are kind of crunchy all around. They also had some pretty cool and unique house-made dipping sauces. That being said it was all in all a good experience, just don't expect a typical "burger" when you come here.

BTW, the shake was good too.

Monday, August 19, 2013

If only it were happy hour

The Pub Burger by jaceman4
The Pub Burger, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
So it's kind of weird to me that the most anticipated blog post I've probably ever had on this blog is going to be about a burger I had at a supermarket. Okay, so it's not exactly a supermarket, but rather, a dining establishment that was attached to a supermarket. Long story short, I was visiting Rochester and my friends decided that we ought to try The Food Bar at Wegman's, and because their burgers were supposed to be pretty good, and I had a burger blog, I should review it. We went, and it was a nice place, the more I think of it the more it actually was designed kind of like a bar than an actual restaurant (given the wine dispensers in the dining area).

Anyways, I'm not a big drinker, actually, I don't drink (alcohol) at all. However, I know that generally speaking happy hours are great places to get burgers, and in all honesty that's really what this burger was, a happy hour burger. Don't get me wrong, the burger was well done, the ingredients were fresh and it was prepared quite well. Served with the slice of tomato, leaf of lettuce, melted cheese, and Thousand Island, there was a certain elegance to the simplicity of the concept. A burger, made well. However, that being said, the burger kind of took that concept to the extreme. Beyond that, you were really paying full menu price for a happy hour burger The meat was well prepared and hearty, the Pub Burger being a 1/2 lb patty, however despite the simplicity of the ingredients it was something of an underwhelming burger in all honesty. The main detraction I had was that the bun was more of a roll than a bun, meaning that it was a bit airier than the typical bun which, while not a huge detraction, was not typical for a burger. Additionally, the heavy char used on the burger and the grilled bun, again, while a nice addition, completely stifled the flavor from the Thousand Island.

Part of what makes going out to eat a treat is partially that you don't have to really work to prep the food or clean up, but another part of it is largely to get what you can't really make at home. While I don't believe necessarily that I can as consistently crank out a burger this well prepared, I believe that I can get close enough. Again, I want to reiterate that this was a well-done burger, but what makes the experience largely not worthwhile is simply that the product is not worth the price. Normally at this point of the review I'd be making some generic comment about the fries, which I cannot do here, because the burger doesn't come with any, and I'd already paid for a full meal for just the burger and a drink. I know it's a nice half-pound patty, but the mark-up was pretty ridiculous in my opinion. While I know this is a blog about the quality of the burger, the price tag does markedly affect the overall perception and dining experience. It's a nifty dining experience, and it's good, for a supermarket, but in all honesty, if you're in that plaza hankering for a burger, you'd probably do better at Cheesecake Factory.