Thursday, November 28, 2013

Best Damn Cheeseburger at 4505 Meats- San Francisco, CA

The San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers Market is a virtual food cornucopia, a foodies dream come true, a place where local Bay Area farmers and vendors peddle their wares- and where some of San Francisco's most famous chef's come to shop. It's not uncommon to spot familiar Food network TV personalities or some of the Bay Area's top sports celebrities. I've spotted famous chef Chris Cosentino at least twice but that could be due to his ownership of Boccalone, a Ferry Building cured meat shop that features "Tasty Salted Pig Parts" 

4505 Meats at the Ferry building farmer's market
The story behind 4505 Meats is an interesting one- the idea was born from Michelin five star chef Ryan Farr and brother Cessalee. Their full story can be found here, but eventually led to the opening of the 4505 butchery location in 2011, however to this day, they don't operate a full time restaurant, but rather an outdoor stand at the farmer's market.

The Farmer's market menu is limited to only a few items- a featured burger, hot dog, sausage on a bun and fries. 4505 does like to include seasonal vegetables as enhancements to popular menu items- in this case it was Heirloom tomato.

I ordered the Best Damn Cheeseburger ($9) and added a sunny side up egg ($2). The burger uses 100% grass fed, hand butchered beef and is served on a homemade buttery sesame scallion bun topped with Gruyere cheese, lettuce, onion, sliced red onion and secret sauce.

Best Damn Cheeseburger at 4505 Meats
The burger arrived in an unassuming cardboard fast food tray with a couple of toothpicks holding it together. To the average passer-by it would just look like your run-of-the-mill burger...but boy would they be wrong.

The meat was tightly packed and cooked to a perfect medium. The patty had a subtly gamey, grass-fed taste to it however this was not off-putting at all- in fact, it was the start of something wonderful. The heirloom tomato was as sweet as candy and with each bite, mixed with the burger's oozing juices, the runny egg yolk, heavenly melted gruyere cheese, and special sauce to deliver what I think is the widest flavor profile I've ever experienced in a burger. This burger was so juicy that it would run down your arms if you let was nothing more than- well just spectacular.

I don't give out too many ratings this high...I mean the burger needs to be really special, memorable, craveable...Oh best damn cheeseburger, how I dream of you at night!

Aburgeraday rating: 9/10

4505 Meats on Urbanspoon

Black Truffle Cheese Burger at The Cowfish, Charlotte, NC

Hungry for a burger? Hungry for some sushi?, Hungry for a sushi inspired burger?- well at the Cowfish you've come to the right place. With Locations in Charlotte, NC and now also in Raleigh, The Cowfish is a trendy high-end burger-sushi bar that serves a fusion of Asian inspired sushi and traditional North American style burgers all under on roof- and doing both very, very well.
The Cowfish Charlotte, NC
(photo courtesy of
The Cowfish only uses Meyer Black Angus antibiotic and hormone free, humanely raised cattle for their beef burgers and every burger is cooked to order and served with your choice of a side which includes choices like fried pickles, bacon slaw, onion strings and sweet potato fries just to name a few.

I went for the Black Truffle Cheese Burger ($13.00)- a 8oz beef patty served with lettuce, roasted shallots, truffle-infused sauteed mushrooms served on a brioche bun with roasted garlic aioli .

The Black Truffle Cheese burger at The Cowfish
This burger is the epitome of indulgence- it was juicy, flavorful, but not too rich. Each of the ingredients compliments each other and there isn't any one thing that jumps out at you other than- man this burger is damn good!

The truffle is ever-so subtlly 'truffley'
The mushrooms a bit earthy,
The cheese a touch "tangy"
The shallots a bit sweet
...and the garlic mayo rounds it all out.

I have to say that this Cowfish burger qualifies as one of the top 10 burgers that I've ever tried- an I've tried TONS of burgers.

Highly Recommended.

One tip- The Cowfish is a popular place so make sure you are prepared to wait a while even during off-hours- We were there on a Tuesday at 11:45 AM and there was already a 30 Min wait- luckily there is plenty of seating around the bar, but if bar seating isn't your cup of tea a 30 min wait is well worth it here.

Aburgeraday rating: 8/10

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Bacon Cheesy Burger at Burger 21- Charlotte, NC

Burger 21 is an upscale Florida-based burger franchise that is the brainchild of the owners of Melting Pot restaurant's Inc. Their entry to the burger market is another addition to what seems to be an ever growing, yet highly competitive Charlotte fast-casual burger market. With the first franchise opening in Tampa Florida in 2010, Burger 21 has begun national expansion with recent additions up the Eastern seaboard all the way north to NYC and newly announced locations as far west as Phoenix.

Burger 21
The menu includes a number of things you'd expect from a higher-end burger joint- hand-made burgers, fancy thin-cut fries (like the cheese ale fries with bacon, cheese and scallions) and hand spun milkshakes. There's also a few surprises like their dipping sauce bar that features a number of sauces and ketchup's to dip your fries in or drizzle over your sandwich.

The Condiment Bar at Burger 21

Burger 21's name originates from the 21 burger options available on the menu- 10 beef burgers, and 10 that are not beef +1 monthly special that changes the 21st of each month.

Burger 21 uses only hormone-free certified Angus beef that's never frozen, ground fresh daily and seared on a flat-top grill.
The Bacon Cheesy Burger at Burger 21
Today I went for the Bacon Cheesy Burger ($7.49) topped with pickles, lettuce, red onion, tomato. (mayo, mustard and ketchup are optional). The burger came out cooked to medium and featured a crumbly patty. The burger blend seemed pretty basic and was reminiscent of ground chuck but seasoned just right and juicy. The American cheese was fully melted and the bacon thin, crispy with a slight chew. The brioche bun was slightly sweet but could have been a tad bit fresher, but apart from that, the Bacon Cheesy Burger was a pretty tasty burger that I'd come back for again.

Aburgeraday rating: 7/10

Burger 21 on Urbanspoon

The Culver's Deluxe at Culver's- Fort Mill, SC

Opening it's first location in Wisconsin in 1984, fast food chain Culver's can now be found throughout America's heartland. Culver's new location in Charlotte, NC is conveniently located just off I-77 right on the SC border with quick highway on/off-ramp access. At time of writing this review the location was brand-spanking new with plenty of indoor and limited outdoor seating.

Culver's is known for it's burgers and for it's fresh frozen custard that gets spun into a variety of frozen treats.

Culver's Charlotte, NC
Burgers are made with fresh, never frozen 100% US beef and are flat top cooked with light seasoning and served on a toasted buttered bun given it it's "butter" burger name, also, burgers that come with cheese feature Wisconsin cheese.

I went for the Single Culver's deluxe topped with mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle and American. The burger arrived quickly and had a phenomenal crust- far more crust than I've ever had which added a different taste and texture dimension. The crust didn't dry out the burger at all, in fact it locked in all of the juices. Patties are thin and I'd recommend opting for the double, or even the triple if you're bringing a big appetite, but for a quick lunch bite, the single was perfect. The buttered bun was a nice touch. Add the mayo and the cheese and you get a decadent crunchy crispy, cheesy melty combination.

The Culver's Deluxe burger at Culver's
Overall, Culver's ranks near the top of regional burger chains that I've tried and even thought they don't fall into the gourmet category they still produce a good quality product. Add the fact that they serve custard and other tasty frozen treats and it makes Culver's a great destination for the whole family.

Aburgeraday rating: 6/10

Culver's on Urbanspoon