Friday, October 21, 2011

It's not a great neighborhood but it's not that bad either

Southwest Jalapeno Burger by jaceman4
Southwest Jalapeno Burger, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
What?! Two Applebee's reviews?! My standards are really slipping aren't they? Perhaps that's what some of you are thinking, or perhaps this has you questioning my credibility, but, hey, I'm indiscriminate like that with burgers. Besides, I'm at Applebee's, what the heck else am I going to get? That being said, my parents wanted to come here for the two entrees for $20 thing so I figure, anytime I come to one of these places, I'm going with a burger, I mean, that's at least something they can't screw up TOO badly right? So far so good.

So this burger looked pretty interesting to me, namely because all the other burgers didn't really look like burgers (basically other food with burger meat, Philly burger? Quesadilla burger? Com'on, not to say that they're bad but they certainly ain't no burgers, generally speaking). The meat was pretty well prepared, the cheese melty, and the bun performed its job serviceably, without falling apart or getting in the way of the burger consumption. The chipotle mayo was applied somewhat lopsidedly, but I suppose I can't expect too much from an Applebee's kitchen. That being said, it was mostly the candied jalapeno's that caught my attention, both on the menu and on my palate. They gave the burger a nice tangy flavor. I personally like a little more kick, but this was still okay. Add in pickle chips and gets more tangy. It was an interesting experience, which ultimately made the chipotle mayo somewhat useless, unless there's some subtle mixing of the flavor happening that I didn't notice.

Fries are fries are fries. I know, I say it a lot, but this is Applebee's, there's not much to say about it. I mean, com'on, they serve tortilla chips with their spinach and artichoke dip, if that's normal, then I guess I'm a snob. But hey, free refills (drinks only). Dude, it's Applebee's, if you're coming here, I'm sure there's a good reason, I'm not going to say more.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The grace of simplicity

Canadian Bacon Cheeseburger by jaceman4
Canadian Bacon Cheeseburger, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
I had this burger in the town in the middle of southern Minnesota called Wells. Literally, there was no place that I could check-in on Yelp for like 30 miles. This is probably one of the two dining establishments within that distance as well, the other being a Dairy Queen a couple blocks the other way. That being said, you figure I'd go for pizza at a place called Jake's Pizza, but I noticed that enough of their stuff used hamburger steaks to figure that their burgers should be pretty good too. I oped for the Canadian Bacon Cheeseburger variety (as opposed to the American bacon kind) which essentially was a ham and Swiss sandwich with a burger patty underneath. That's pretty sweet.

The patty itself was juicy and well cooked, gave a full meaty flavor, which was something of a surprise for this type of a joint, but when you think about it, it's just good old fashioned home cooking. The bun was your run of the mill bun. The ketchup and mustard I added myself, the pickles were pretty normal pickles, the Swiss was nice and melty under the three slices of grilled Canadian bacon. All in all, good times. The bacon wasn't too stringy, and everything had a very full, hearty, natural flavor to it.

The fries were your run-of-the-mill frozen kringle cut fries, which, when deep fried are very good. I did have to salt and pepper them myself, but it's hard to go wrong with kringle cut. I would never say that anyone would have to go all the way out to Wells, MN just to try a burger at this pizza joint, but I must say it was a good burger. I know it's not saying much since there are only like two places to eat around the area, but it is a pretty dang good place to stop and eat if you're there. Well done Jake, well done.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I totally needed this

Sonora by jaceman4
Sonora, a photo by jaceman4 on Flickr.
I had heard nothing but good things about Uneeda Burger out in Fremont. Why the heck does all the good food have to be in Fremont? I guess it's the happening place. First the best sandwich (Paseo) and now the best burger. I kid you not, this is definitely one of the best if not the best burger joint I've ever been to. I came with my small group before heading out back to the East Coast, and I can tell you, I was not disappointed at all, even with all the hype. We had a lovely conversation with a very amicable general manager who knew his stuff. After hearing that his personal favorite burger was the Sonora (#5 on the menu) I opted to get it.

My first take on the burgers were that they were all very well thought out. There isn't as extensive a selection as some other burger joints would boast, but I would posit that there was definitely something for everyone there. The meat was cooked to perfection. Full beefy flavor, not too greasy, not undercooked so that it bled, just the right amount of tenderness and juiciness to fully appreciate the quality of the meat. The Sonora also was served on a nice artisan bun, grilled well, not overloaded, not overwhelming. The fixings included a chili-relish made from roasted Anaheim peppers among other things. While I was originally hesitant because I prefer a kick over a slow burn, the latter of which was used to describe the chili relish, it worked. It wasn't overwhelming, it in fact, did what it was supposed to, complement the burger. The mixture of onions and cilantro and whatever they put in the relish gave it a nice tang, almost like a ceviche but not quite. It's hard to describe and just saying that it was good hardly does it justice. The relish, in addition to being a fixing was something of a condiment in and of itself, mixing with the cilantro to give a nice tangy flavor with that hint of burn afterwards.

While I was disappointed to find that they no longer served waffle-fries, I certainly was not disappointed in the least by the fries. This was my first poutine experience, and I must say the Canadians are on to something here. While it does trend towards the heavier side it was good. Additionally, the beer-battered onion rings had a great sweetness in the batter, and the regular (now hand-cut) fries were great as well. All in all, everything about this place was well thought out and executed nearly perfectly. I know I don't say this much, but this is definitely a place you have to go out of your way to go to if you're looking for a quality burger in the Seattle area. Best burger in Seattle, I don't care what Oprah says.