Photo 20 Feb 3 notes thisiswhyyourehuge:

The Burger (via BGR the Burger Joint)
Beef burger with American cheese, swiss cheese, Applewood Smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mojo sauce on a buttery-toasted brioche bun.

thisiswhyyourehuge:

The Burger (via BGR the Burger Joint)

Beef burger with American cheese, swiss cheese, Applewood Smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mojo sauce on a buttery-toasted brioche bun.

Photo 17 Feb 1 note Really, really hope you’re not eating there, Scott. That sign is just plain rude.

Really, really hope you’re not eating there, Scott. That sign is just plain rude.

Video 12 Feb 1 note

Caveman Kitchen - Los Angeles, CA

The combination of flesh and flame is older than them thar hills, yet some places still can’t put the two together properly. Caveman Kitchen, surprisingly, is one such place.

Located in the Land of the Lost, just north of the USC campus where strip malls are only two oil stains away from tire shops, Caveman Kitchen has the flashy shimmer of a new, welcome addition to the neighborhood, with the muted tones and crude wall drawings of a deserted cave hideout. The décor, the menu, and the signage of Caveman Kitchen all scream for a past built on sabre-tooth tiger printed unitards and haircuts that require dinosaur bones to stay in place. Here, the rotisserie flame-stamps whole chickens. There, an open grill and shiny griddle run side by side, a tortoise and the hare comparison of burger cooking methodology.

The idea is to prepare quality ingredients simply, like our ancestors did. Patty up some 70/30 chuck, pick some white buns off the Sysco truck and fatty up the patty with America’s favorite cheese-ish topping. And in fact, those nostalgic first looks might have you convinced that this burger is a mandible manifestation of the ‘less is more’ tribe. But oh, how times have changed. Instead, the quarter-pound cheeseburger comes off as dry, essentially tasteless, and with a penchant for disappointment. The beef’s commercial grind leaves a mushy, almost slick texture, with little to no seasoning found. The cheese is, well, cheese. It provides some fat and fills in the nooks as expected, but could not overcompensate for an overcooked patty.

The half-pound burger fared better, with the assumption that it was cooked for the same amount of time as the quarter-pound version and thus was given a chance to succeed. Yet, the meat still carried little flavor on it’s own, and the upgraded bready bun came off as an intrusion instead of a welcome addition. It’s critical failures like these that probably killed the dinosaurs.

One the plus side, Caveman Kitchen’s skin-on French fries were pretty fantastic. Crispy skin tips, thicker-cut, and fluffy interiors make these fries a welcome addition to any campfire. Maybe the Neanderthals manning the grill should stick to the spud instead.

Video 3 Feb 2 notes

Motherf*ckin’ sports.

Video 1 Feb 1 note

Go Burger - Hollywood, CA

You could probably hoof a circle around the Sunset-to-Vine-to-Hollywood-to-Cahuenga-to-Sunset block in under 20 minutes, or find a spot to park in just about an hour. God forbid one of those film students has to so much as look at a parking meter. But when you do nestle into your $4 an hour spot, know that you’re in good burger hands.

On this particular patch of Hollywood, staples like Molly’s and the Bowery jostle for real estate alongside Stout, Umami, Juicy Burger, Hungry Cat, and the new kid on the block – Go Burger. While each offers its own take on the great American cuisine – Bowery delivers its beef on an English muffin, while Molly’s apparently serves up soylent green – Go Burger is perhaps unique in its newness, and… well, not much else. The ambiance is chic, well-lit (Hungry Cat) sports bar, with a menu that tries to toe the line between fashionably functional (Juicy Burger) and downright douchey frou frou (Stout). There’s the element of alcohol (Bowery) and the big name backer (Umami), with the classic letter board signs for nostalgia (Molly’s). It’s no wonder, then, that the Go Burger BLT is decidedly middle of the road.

Go Burger’s Angus beef blend (a combination of short rib, chuck, sirloin, and brisket – so says their talkative menu) is not to be blamed here; the coarse grind and perfect medium-rare temperature are a welcome sight between any bun. Yet, the patty mostly lacked a nice crust, and definitely lacked a touch from the salt shaker. So, while juicy and looking great, the mixture of blended flavors ultimately fell a bit flat. At least with the BLT burger, the exquisite bacon worked tirelessly to get things singing again. Thick-cut, smoky and delicious, the bacon was a highlight that is rarely given so much attention on burgers. Otherwise manageable toppings (the not-so-secretive ‘burger sauce’ and a circle of lettuce ingeniously cut to fit the bun) did little to outweigh the shortcomings of technique, while the sesame seeded burger bun keep the whole affair soft, pliable, and well-proportioned. Those Bowery guys should sneak over some night to see how it’s done.

As for the sides, spiked shakes are an option for those of us who care to dip a toe into ‘alcohol and dairy DO mix’ pool, as well as a line-up of curated beers. The duck fat fries, however, are a supreme disappointment. Thick-cut wedges are ill-suited for duck fat frying, leaving a mostly mealy experience, with only a few crunchy corners left to nibble on. Without the thin, crisp exterior and creamy insides, the duck fat becomes a player in name only. Otherwise, with huge hunks of potato lumber like those served at Go Burger, the duck fat tastes end up riding the pine.

Go Burger serves up an absolutely average burger for the neighborhood its in. Better than Juicy Burger? Yes. Stout? No. And certainly not better than Umami, one of 2010’s biggest burger stories, with good reason. In a Murderer’s Row of burger places on every corner, Go Burger manages to keep pace, and that’s about it. 

Video 26 Jan 4 notes

jmerchymerch:

Burger Club: East Coast Edition (Five Guys, Doylestown, PA)

I had my first experience with Five Guys this week.  With my dad and stepmom, we drove twenty miles from our house in New Jersey across the river to Pennsylvania.

Had I known that the default burger was a double cheeseburger, I would have opted to get the “little” cheeseburger, which is only one patty.  The beef-to-bun ratio was a bit much for me.  For toppings, I got lettuce, tomato, ketchup, pickles and grilled onions (all complimentary).  The meat was tasty but could have used a little more char on the outside.  The grilled onions and especially the toast of the bun were the best touches.  Overall, the burger was tasty, but not overwhelmingly delicious.

But then, the fries came in and saved the day.  Cooked in peanut oil and topped with a salty spice blend, they were fantastic.  We drizzled with a little malt vinegar and dipped in ketchup.  My dad kept insisting that we didn’t need the large fries, which was surprising (my family likes to eat).  I realized he was right, however, when we received our food and the humble cup of fries runneth over to fill the brown paper bag.  We stayed at chatted for a while, and were rewarded with an additional bag of fries for free. 

Where to next, Burger Club?

Photo 11 Jan 2 notes SF, CA: Spruce
What, no picketing? No pierced-up twentysomething with a bucket of fake blood to splash on every elegant diner waiting patiently on the sidewalk? This is San Francisco, where the two most popular menu items are tofurkey and smugness. Except, the truth is, SF has itself a medium-rare underbelly.
Between hopping cable cars and trying to avoid the magnetic tourist draw that is Pier 39, SF can be a pretty exhausting place. It’s not just the hills; burritos beg to be eaten, excuses yearn to be doled out to homeless men begging for change. It’s no wonder, then, that sometimes San Franciscans crave a little iron-fortified red meat. It’s the ultimate rejuvenator. So on a blustery December day, not far removed from the fowl gluttony of Christmas, some beef and bun seemed like the perfect midday meal.
Thankfully, Spruce exists. Tucked a single cute-as-you-please block off of the main drag in SF’s Presidio Heights neighborhood, the dark wood bar is kept light and shiny by basement-to-skyscraper windows that suck in so much natural light you’d think they singlehandedly pull the Sun closer to Earth. The key at Spruce is to get involved with the bar, and leave the fancy stuff for the other side of the room. Besides, it’s the only place you can find the Spruce burger, an earthly burger that regularly reigns champion as the best that SF has to offer on the matter. Once seated at the elegant bar or one of a small handful of tabletops, the uber-informative menu arrives: $14 (with some of the best duck fat fries you’ve had), and not a word of the burger’s composition or components. At Spruce, silence is also delicious.  
Having long ago eschewed the gimmicky English muffin for a house-made bun, Spruce has otherwise maintained the same delicate blend of Niman Ranch chuck, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions, with a few scattered pickled vegetables tossed about on the side. As the crisp white plate arrives at the hands of your crisp tan waiter, take a moment to examine the burger as a single unit, hand-formed, juicy, and brimmed with melted cheese. The first bite acts as taste witness to the visual scene above: this is one seriously delicious burger. Further pulls at the patty reveal a coarse, fatty grind that outdoes the Ozersky ‘squeeze test’ by a mile, especially when cooked to a delicate medium-rare. The lightly toasted bun provides a touch of texture alongside the burger’s crust, while the surrounding toppings work to save themselves by coming off superfluous. It won’t work, delicate morsels; you’re too delicious.
Without a doubt, Spruce understands the level of quality, attention to detail, and fine tuning that goes into making any meal great. It just so happens they use these ideas to craft one of the finest burgers in California. 

SF, CA: Spruce

What, no picketing? No pierced-up twentysomething with a bucket of fake blood to splash on every elegant diner waiting patiently on the sidewalk? This is San Francisco, where the two most popular menu items are tofurkey and smugness. Except, the truth is, SF has itself a medium-rare underbelly.

Between hopping cable cars and trying to avoid the magnetic tourist draw that is Pier 39, SF can be a pretty exhausting place. It’s not just the hills; burritos beg to be eaten, excuses yearn to be doled out to homeless men begging for change. It’s no wonder, then, that sometimes San Franciscans crave a little iron-fortified red meat. It’s the ultimate rejuvenator. So on a blustery December day, not far removed from the fowl gluttony of Christmas, some beef and bun seemed like the perfect midday meal.

Thankfully, Spruce exists. Tucked a single cute-as-you-please block off of the main drag in SF’s Presidio Heights neighborhood, the dark wood bar is kept light and shiny by basement-to-skyscraper windows that suck in so much natural light you’d think they singlehandedly pull the Sun closer to Earth. The key at Spruce is to get involved with the bar, and leave the fancy stuff for the other side of the room. Besides, it’s the only place you can find the Spruce burger, an earthly burger that regularly reigns champion as the best that SF has to offer on the matter. Once seated at the elegant bar or one of a small handful of tabletops, the uber-informative menu arrives: $14 (with some of the best duck fat fries you’ve had), and not a word of the burger’s composition or components. At Spruce, silence is also delicious.  

Having long ago eschewed the gimmicky English muffin for a house-made bun, Spruce has otherwise maintained the same delicate blend of Niman Ranch chuck, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions, with a few scattered pickled vegetables tossed about on the side. As the crisp white plate arrives at the hands of your crisp tan waiter, take a moment to examine the burger as a single unit, hand-formed, juicy, and brimmed with melted cheese. The first bite acts as taste witness to the visual scene above: this is one seriously delicious burger. Further pulls at the patty reveal a coarse, fatty grind that outdoes the Ozersky ‘squeeze test’ by a mile, especially when cooked to a delicate medium-rare. The lightly toasted bun provides a touch of texture alongside the burger’s crust, while the surrounding toppings work to save themselves by coming off superfluous. It won’t work, delicate morsels; you’re too delicious.

Without a doubt, Spruce understands the level of quality, attention to detail, and fine tuning that goes into making any meal great. It just so happens they use these ideas to craft one of the finest burgers in California. 

Text 5 Jan 2 notes New Burger Terms

This is important.

dco1:

The burger has staggeringly evolved in recent years, and new terms are required to describe these new creations. So far we have Upperdecked & Dry-docked.

Please reblog and add on to this compendium of new burger terms.

Text 18 Dec 3 notes The Park - Echo Park, CA

‘Burger deals’ exist as a sort of cultural medium - they are ubiquitous to the thin-pattied griddle spots and standard chain burger troughs alike, yet beef and bun north of $14 is not uncommon in Los Angeles, and elsewhere. The great American burger deal is seemingly everywhere at once, and nowhere substantive. Enter The Park, relative culinary newcomers with a Wednesday night burger that just might cover the extra gas it takes to get there. 

Tucked due west of Chavez Ravine, home to the all-you-can-eat bleacher seats and woeful LA Dodgers, sits The Park (or just Park? or 1400 Park? or idontknowwhatelse?). Squatted low, slimed a sickly green, and caged into a corner like a wild-eyed caveman freshly unfrozen, The Park seems hyper-aware of its surroundings, but still doesn’t know what’s expected of it. The walls are adorned with etsy-style cling on tree outlines, various knick-knacks, and a touch of oh-so-poorly done holiday charm. The floor is black and white tile, reminiscent of every East Coast diner from thirty years ago, with the slightly sticky dark wood tables to boot. But one look at the paperstock menu shows a touch of class and sophistication simmering just beneath the neo-cool surface. Seared shrimp, the necessary riff on mac & cheese, and a ‘vintage’ hanger steak with smashed fried potatoes all dot the menu with equal pluckiness, while most every night ‘The Park Burger’ sits descriptionless in the corner, leaving only a $10 price tag as a calling card. But this is not your run-of-the-mill day that ends in -y, it’s WednesdaY, and the burger gods are shining through bleak LA clouds on a little patch of Echo Park. 

On Wednesdays, The Park undergoes a price reduction and a foot traffic explosion, as the burger deal emerges to see it’s shadow. For $5, the middleweight brisket and sirloin-blended patty teams up with a BreadBar bun and your choice of add-ons, from cheese to egg, and most other bits of the farm in between.  Combined with fries and a few pullings from the garden (lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles) for no additional cost, The Park becomes possibly the best burger dealmaker in the county. Word may already be out, though; this place gets busy early and the lack of a corkage fee helps keep it that way all night. 

It is surprising, then, that the burger itself isn’t quite up to the standards that it could be. With a legion of Wednesday regulars, The Park seems dangerously close to hitting the glorious trifecta of price, ingredients, and execution. Instead, it crushes the first, gets a piece of the second, and works the pitch count for a walk on the third. The patty, while a strong and beefy blend as a standalone, lacks a touch of salt during cooking, and could benefit from a more substantial mouthfeel. And while Beef and Bun always advocates medium-rare, let it be known that anything touching medium or above will result in a drier-than-desired patty, which does not bode well for the burger as a whole. The bun, while serviceable, comes off a touch too bready for personal tastes, but is certainly no worse than the omnipresent brioche of so many other misguided spots in this city. What remains, then, is a patty that needs a touch of sprucing up, which (while no large shame in itself) should come in the form of extras at a dollar apiece. A slice of cheddar, some grilled onions, and two long strips of bacon should have more than done the trick, but two of the three once again fell short. The onions found themselves stuck in culinary purgatory, having not been given enough time to really caramelize down, but no longer perked up on their own; not to mention the scarcity of their amount. Meanwhile, the bacon (full disclosure: the burger discussed here is NOT the one pictured above) arrived cold, hardened, and in the dreaded X pattern, forcing upon the burger an unbalanced appearance that could only be rectified by breaking brittle bacon bits and repositioning them accordingly. Perhaps this is only the failure of the waitstaff, who were admittedly overworked as the crowds poured in. At any rate, the warmth of both burger and consumer were missing. 

There is still a lot to like about this burger, it’s just a shame that most of it has to do with price. Without the Wednesday night $5 burger deal, The Park might easily become just another mid-range dinner spot with a deflated burger resting woefully at the bottom of a menu. Perhaps another trip will assuage suspicions of mediocre execution, and elevate this burger to a level above ‘satisfactory’. At least, with the deal as it is, you can bet that going back again is the plan.

Video 5 Dec 1 note

Nickel Diner - Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles is not for the faint of heart. Or, perhaps more clearly, those with heart problems. Rather than desperately clutching your bodega-bought groceries as you navigate the steam grates in a life-or-death attempt to reach your doorstep before nightfall, downtown Los Angeles has slowly started killing us with kindness and cholesterol. Drago Centro? Bottega Louie? Old standbys like Philippe’s, Pacific Dining Car and Clifton’s? Thank you, DTLA. I’d get up to hug you but my arteries hurt. 

 By no means has downtown Los Angeles stopped transforming, but it could be argued that the momentary respite it has achieved in the eclectic, urban spaces between aged and au courant have given rise to a new dining experience: a sort of modern vs. mastadon throwdown. And burgers, ever the polarizing topic, are right in the mix.

 On this night, the target is Rowdy Red Wine & Burger Bar, a wood-lined basement burger spot tucked two escalator rides under the 505 Flower building in the Financial District. The funky name, the recessed lighting, and the fact that it’s a fucking wine bar all scream “I’ve only been open since 2009!”. Baby steps, right? But A Hamburger Today sure liked them, so they must be the talk of downtown burgerdom. Right?

 “Closed.”, says the man working the security desk.

“That can’t be - they’re open until 7 on Thursdays.”, says the befuddled burger reporter.

“No, they’re closed. Finished.”, says the eye roll with a mouth.

“WHEN?!”, says a hint of incredulousness and fear.

“Monday.”

(silence).

Who closes their business forever on a Monday? And who, after two years, misses said business being closed by THREE DAYS?!

 Nevertheless, undaunted (and with a thumb-of-the-nose to all that is new and glitzy in downtown LA), the expedition - and this post - unexpectedly turn with an eye toward Nickel Diner, that longstanding greasy spoon that inhabits “the nickel”, that section of Main Street where the Old Bank district ends and Skid Row begins. Nickel Diner is no stranger to businesses coming and going, having been a part of downtown for -

Wait. Nickel Diner opened in 2008? Goddamn it, downtown. You’re the worst. 

Unfortunately, the Nickel Diner burger isn’t much better. Upon first contact, the thick white sesame seed-studded bun seems an unwieldy opponent to the delicate burger balance. Load up on some heavy veggies and suddenly the lightly charred and cheddar-draped patty starts to look diminutive and, frankly, scared. A few bites in confirms the suspicion, as the beef (ordered, as always, medium-rare) has turned a pale grey - no doubt from the abject terror of being bullied around by its much larger burger components. While not altogether dry, the burger didn’t squeeze juice the way one might hope, and with half a loaf of bun to sift through on your way to the meat, be prepared to keep the water refills flowing. 

Nickel Diner, as it turns out, wears just as much makeup as the rest of downtown - the tin signs and bright red booths play well under the dim lighting of a Skid Row turned divebar, but the white light truth is that most of the substance gets lost in all that pomp.

Too much bread, not enough good red meat.  


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