Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Double Cheeseburger at Original Tommy's World Famous Hamburgers, Los Angeles, CA

Imagine spending the whole day at a crowded theme park crawling with thousands of people on Memorial Day weekend, getting in your car at the end of the day to head to a relaxing dinner spot and typing in the wrong address in the GPS only to find yourself lost in downtown L.A- irritable, hungry and willing to try just about anything. That's how I found or should I say, stumbled upon Original Tommy's Burgers.

I knew nothing about this place before I saw it out of the corner of my eye, but as I was passing by, I knew from the nostalgic look of the building that this place had been around for a long time- and I just had to give it a try. Opened in 1946 on the northeast corner of Beverly and Rampart Avenue near downtown L.A, Tommy's Original World Famous Hamburger's now has 34 locations mostly across Southern California and 2 locations in Nevada.

Tommy's is known for putting chili on almost everything on the menu- Chili-burgers, chili-fries, chili dogs...and so on. Today I went for the Double Cheeseburger- a killer bargain at $3.30.  All Tommy's burgers come standard with tomatoes, mustard, pickles, onion, a double thick slice of cheese and chili- and lots of it. The chili is good- real good- nice and thick, meaty, and, makes the burger extremely filling. The beef patty is almost secondary- it's in there, but not the highlight.

In any case, the burgers are good and hit the spot- add Tommy's history, it's devoted following of burger fans, and the fact that it's open 24 hours and this makes Tommy's a must on every one's burger bucket list and a place that you must try before you die.

Aburgeraday rating- 8/10

Tommy's Original World Famous Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wendy's Dave's Hot 'n' Juicy 1/2lb Double, Anytown, USA

In an effort to regain slumping market share, fast food giant Wendy's decided to remake their 42 year old hamburger in late 2011. There's a great article in USA Today on the process that Wendy's went through where everything changed...except for the ketchup.

Of all the National fast food joints- McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's, I'd always prefer a Wendy's burger over the other 2- even after my dad always called Wendy's burgers "bone burgers" due to always finding a shard of bone or ligament in almost every burger he ever ate there over the years- that aside, I still like the place.
Wendy's Dave's Hot N' Juicy Double
Today's Dave's hot n' juicy double was- well...wasn't so juicy. The meat was somewhat dry and crumbly and had average flavor, lacked good fat content, moisture and tasted like the patty had been cooked twenty minutes ago. The bun was chewy and toasted just right, but the iceberg lettuce- even though crisp, was white and tasteless. When Wendy's launched their new burgers, they removed mustard and went for mayo instead, which I think I prefer and complements the burger better. The purple onion and fresh tomato is a nice touch to round out the burger. The cheese was processed american and was hardly melted at all, probably because the patty had been cooked a while ago. Even though this isn't the shake shack- it's still an OK burger.

Aburgeraday rating- 5/10

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cheeseburger at the Burger Joint, NYC

Don't expect to find this place while casually walking the streets in Manhattan. This place is hidden- it's part of their "thing"- the mystique and mystery is an important part of the whole dining experience. Located behind a red velvet curtain in the lobby of the classy Le Parker Meridien hotel near Central Park, lies a dark and dingy place called the Burger Joint- which dishes out fresh- never frozen beef burgers that are grilled on an open flame.  The menu is limited to a burgers, fries and and some drinks- Don't expect much else- their motto is "if you don't see it, we don't have it".
A red velvet curtain hides the entrance to the Burger Joint
I read about this place from searching forums, review sites and top 10 list for the best burgers in NYC. This place continuously comes up as a must try if you are looking for a good burger- some say it's the best in the city. The reviews also tell of stories that the place is run like the soup Nazi from Seinfeld, and a sign at the register warns that if you don't follow the order process- you get sent to the back of the line...and indeed- I did see a group of foreigners told to step aside as they couldn't figure out what to order quick enough...however, they were invited back to the register once they figured things out. Also to note- they take cash only.

The ordering process 
You place an order by choosing a Hamburger or Cheeseburger, then, how you want it cooked, then the toppings ("the works" for everything) and if you want fries or a drink. I simply opted for a Cheeseburger- medium rare, with the works.

The burger was pricey at $8 and I had really high expectations, however the burger joint failed to deliver on the goods. Don't get me wrong- the burger was good- very good, it just didn't live up to the hype of it being the best burger in NY that I read about. First, the bun. It was fresh, lightly toasted but lacked a meat grease shield. By the time I had taken the first bite the bun was near mush in many spots. This might be a sign of a juicy burger, however this issue could easily be fixed by putting in a lettuce leaf shield under the burger instead of direct burger to bun contact. A simple trick by other burger builders.
Cheeseburger at the Burger Joint, NYC
As I had stated, the burger was super juicy and cooked to medium rare perfection- just as I had ordered however, it didn't have that crust that are created by flat-tops. It was a also little lacking on the seasoning- perhaps a bit more salt was needed. The cheese was real cheddar, not processed american, all melted and gooey and the sauce was o-so reminisent of the shake shack with a hint of horseradish.

All in all, this place is worth a visit- if it's just to experience the hype. The burgers are really good, but I just don't think that they're the best in NY.

Aburgeraday rating: 8 out of 10

Burger Joint
119 West 56th Street
New York NY 10019-3318

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shackburger at the Shake Shack, NYC

Move over In-n-Out...stand down Five Guys...the Shake Shack is the new game in town. Opening in 2004, the Shake Shack has locations in NYC, Florida, DC and Connecticut as well as the Middle east.

Shack Shack claims that they are "a modern 'roadside' burger stand serving the most delicious burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, beer, wine and more"...Their real claim to fame is a special blend of beef ground daily and hand formed before being made to order.

Today I took on the Shackburger ($4.55)...and I have to admit that I may have died and gone to heaven. The shackburger was simply awesome. Topped with american cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and special sauce, it was the bun that did it for me. It was awesomely fresh, soft and chewy. The beef patty was super moist, perfectly seasoned and extremely flavorful. On my last bite I had some excess buildup of the ShackSauce which had a subtle, yet distinct hint of horseradish. Total utter burger awesomeness- this is one burger that I would keep coming back to and possibly eat every day- except for the calories and cholesterol :)

Aburgeraday rating: 9/10

Shake Shack (Multiple locations)
691 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
(646) 435-0135
Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Giant with Cheese at Bob's Giant Burgers- Fremont, CA

Bob's Giant Burger's has been a Fremont, CA institution for many years. Located on Fremont Blvd near Grimmer, Bob's has a pretty simple and inconspicuous store front that has plenty of parking and outdoor seating (no indoor seating).
Bob's Giant Burgers as seen from Fremont Blvd.
The menu is pretty limited. Some beef and turkey burgers, grilled cheese, hot dogs, fish burgers, fries, onion rings, soda's and shakes. Prices aren't steep with dining for 2 coming in at about $20.

Today I tried the Giant with cheese ($4.89). Burgers are flat top fried and all items are cooked to order so plan to wait a few minutes for your order to come up. The buns are toasted and burgers are topped with special sauce, a generous portion of fresh onions, pickle, tomatoes and lettuce.

The Giant with Cheese
The Giant with cheese had a good sized juicy single patty, and a soft and lightly toasted bun. The cheese was a nice melty american. The special sauce was tangy and cut through the fat. The onion was a bit potent this go 'round but all in all a great burger. 

I'd recommend Bob's to anyone who might be having a craving for a simple no-fuss American burger.

Aburgeraday rating- 7/10

Bob's Giant Burgers
40720 Fremont Blvd
(between Clough Ave & Woodland Ter)
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 656-3356 
Bob's Giant Burgers on Urbanspoon