Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A lapse in sound judgment

The Behemoth
Originally uploaded by jaceman4
So my buddies decided to take me out to try this thing for my birthday. The Behemoth at the Ram was a fairly new item and I approached it with mixed feelings. I have to say though, the food at the Ram has significantly improved as of late, maybe I should go back more often.

Anyways, the burger itself wasn't anything special, besides the three patties, the excess fixings made it actually quite difficult to eat. Overall, the lack of condiments other than mayo meant you could experiment with whatever stuff was on the house, I stuck mostly with A1 and BBQ sauce. The beef was good, but not exceptional, it was good enough to keep me going for a little while. All-in-all I don't really recommend trying this unless you really want to for some reason.

Fries were good. Not much else to say.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The price is right, very right

Jalapeno Burger
Originally uploaded by jaceman4
Yeah, I can't think of any witty titles anymore, but I'm hoping that's not really why you read the blog. I suppose my writing is somewhat inconsistent at least in quality, but I'm hoping that I make up for it with my readability and witty exposition (or so I like to delude myself into thinking). That being said, I was in the Bay this weekend for a wedding and decided to visit an old haunt of mine, a local sports bar by the name of St. John's Bar and Grill. Why do I like this place? Simply put, because they have great deals. Every day there is something half off on their menu. From cheesesteak to chicken sandwiches to appetizers, and most importantly, to burgers. Saturday happened to be burger day, and when you're paying almost as much for your beverage as you are for your burger, you know you're getting a good deal (as well as getting fleeced on the beverages, but I guess that's true everywhere). They have a fairly large selection of burgers, all of which are pretty good, so I opted for the jalapeno burger this time.

The meat was a full, hearty (estimated 1/3 lb) patty. Very juicy, well cooked. The bun was a lightly toasted onion bun, typical thing that you can find at the supermarket, but it does add a nice flavoring to the burger. The fixings consisted of your typical iceberg lettuce, a slice of tomato, and rings of white onion, plus sauteed jalapeno peppers. The peppers were pretty fresh and gave the burger a nice kick. I think there was some mayo and mustard (possibly ketchup) in the burger, but the flavor of all the ingredients made it so you didn't need a whole lot in terms of condiments. The jalapenos gave that kick but weren't overbearing in that it was too hot to handle.

Typically they don't give sides, so my friends ordered an order of garlic fries to split. Very heavy on the garlic, pretty good stuff. The normal side is a small bag of Lays chips, but hey, if you're paying less than $4 for these burgers, it's okay if fries aren't included. Great joint to catch games and just get some affordable grub. Good burgers, great deals. Even at full menu price it's not out of this world expensive. If you're in the area, I'd say it's a place to drop by.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just because it's "organic" doesn't make it better

Originally uploaded by jaceman4
Now I'm not here to bash on the whole "organic" thing. I'm sure it's better for you, but that is not indicative of it tasting better, and honestly, when I buy food, that's what I care about more. So, while I know Portage Bay Cafe is all about being sustainable and organic and local and all that, I can't say I was huge on what they simply dub Burger on their menu.

Overall, the whole natural ingredients thing do taste better, but just because you have good ingredients it doesn't necessitate a better burger. I liked the char and the full beef patty of the hand-pressed patty, and it was substantial, a little over-cooked for my liking, but it was beefy. The lettuce and tomato were fresh and the bun was a nice doughy local baked concoction (reminded me of those "pub buns" that you can buy at the supermarket, I liked them) which were good. I think there were supposed to be some red onion sauce or something on the burger, but honestly I couldn't taste it. All in all, it's not a bad burger, but it's essentially a very nice thing that comes out of a backyard BBQ, not necessarily something I'd go out of my way to get. Tack on the fact that cheese and bacon cost an addition dollar a piece, it's not really worth it.

The sides were basically home fries sauteed with chili powder/taco seasoning, nothing extraordinary. I think I like regular fries better, but this is more of a breakfast joint, so I guess they get a break on this one.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Perhaps it's better when you're hungrier

Mushroom Burger
Originally uploaded by jaceman4
I can't say that this place was horrible, but I can't say that it's out of the ordinary. It certainly has changed since I first ventured here years prior to the creation of this blog. I decided one day to swing by the Burger Hut for a burger. Now, it's apparently a Halal Burger and Kabob Hut, as ownership has changed since my first foray. The main selling point of this place was that it was one of the few places open for students with late night food cravings, as the doors weren't locked until 3AM, a time at which, I imagine everything tastes better. The prices were more reasonable than previously, I opted for the Mushroom Burger.

The burger itself wasn't anything particularly out of the ordinary, the patty was seasoned with some pretty good spices (which I will venture is Middle Eastern/Mediterranean in nature) which was cool. The bun is your run of the mill sesame bun, the fixings your typical mushrooms, Swiss, lettuce, and tomato. I think there was ketchup on there, but I couldn't really taste it. Overall, the spices and from the sautee (of the mushrooms) kind of overpowered all other flavors. It wasn't bad, but nothing I'd go out of my way for.

The fries were fresh, but just fried, meaning, no seasoning, meaning, they tasted like crispy potatoes. A little bland.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nostalgia ruins things later

Kobe Burger
Originally uploaded by jaceman4
Typically it does. First note though, I will be doing something a little different this time, I'm going to nix the whole grading mechanism and the more I think about it the more I find it somewhat contrived. So now, I'll just go with my (witty) exposition to discuss the merits of each burger (rather than place) that I have consumed. I had actually been somewhat looking forward to going to Cheesecake Factory (as you can tell by the dim lighting in the picture) for a while. I recall generally disliking the place and then once going for somebody's birthday, ordering the Kobe burger and being blown away. Perhaps it was the low expectations that time and the higher ones this time, perhaps it was the Palo Alto Cheesecake Factory that time and the Bellevue one this time, who knows? I would posit that it's likely the menu change (as I've experienced with Red Robin), which now boasts a greater selection of burgers (which apparently I guess you can get any of which with kobe beef), was the cause of the decline (at least in my perspective) in the quality of the product.

The beef was good, albeit the patty was a little small for the bun, but it had that full beefy flavor. The sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions added a nice fragrant sweetness to the flavor. No condiments, but you really didn't need a whole lot as all the natural flavors mixed together quite well. That being said, it was plain. I didn't really appreciate the shredded iceberg, not that I don't like it, but for a place like Cheesecake factory, it seemed a little sub-par, other than that, the bun was a nice toasted kaiser roll affair, nothing fancy, did the job. Overall, it's a good burger, and the burgers are probably what I'd stick with on the entrees at Cheesecake Factory if/when I return. It's got that nice, safe, know-what-you're-going-to-get factor to it, so if you're ever there for any reason, and you don't know what to get (it's hard to decide when the menu is a catalog), go with the burgers, the kobe is a safe bet. $13 is a little pricey, but you could do worse, and besides, it's Cheesecake Factory, not like you're going to pay much less for anything else.

On a side (semi-unintentional pun) note, the fries are your run of the mill affair. You do get it a cup, which I guess is fancier? Either that or a way to give you less without looking stingy. Who knows? It's not like we're here for fries anyways. That being said, it goes well with the burger, it's hard to do fries poorly, though it's not unheard of. Cheesecake, they hit status quo.