Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chewy's Luau Dog

Chewy's Luau Dog, originally uploaded by ~db~.

Chewy, one of the cooks at Vicious Dogs, created the Luau Dog. It's a grilled pineapple sausage, topped with a honey-mustard glaze, and a fantastic salsa made with chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, and mango. Excellent, especially on a hot, hot day. About $9 for the dog and onion rings

Vicious Chicken Apple Mediterranean

Vicious Chicken Apple Mediterranean, originally uploaded by ~db~.
Leave it to Willie at Vicious Dogs to bump up his Vicious Mediterranean by switching out the regular dog with a chicken and apple sausage. It's topped with hummus and a rather classic cucumber salad with tomato, onion, and parsley. About as refreshing as a hot dog can be, it's one of my favorites. About $5 for the dog.

The Pier Burger

The Pier Burger, originally uploaded by ~db~.
I hadn't been to the Santa Monica Pier in several years. So when Labor Day provided a day off, I headed down to the beach. Pier Burger is a small "shack" on the pier itself, with a sign declaring "Last Burger on Land" and "At the End of the Custard Trail" (huh?). It looks like it's been there for years, but it turns out it's relatively new place, opened by King's Seafood, known for its decidedly more upscale places around town.

I ordered a Single Pier Burger, with a side of fries and an iced tea. The burger is pretty fantastic. Melty cheese, caramelized onions, really fresh tomato and lettuce top the burger, which is surrounded by a soft potato bun pillow. It quickly all melds together into a tasty little mass of flavor.

Seeing how small the burger is, I almost ordered a double, but am glad I didn't since I was stuffed by the time I was finished. The fries are of the skinny variety. A bit too thin for me, but they tasted good. The iced tea was refreshing on a hot day. A really good lunch. About $4.50 for the burger, $2.75 for the fries, and $2.50 for the iced tea.

Spring St Smokehouse Chili & Hush Puppies

Sitting incongruously just on the edge of Chinatown Spring Street Smokehouse is another restaurant I discovered because of it's air conditioning. Well, I'd actually been wanting to visit for a while, and the 100+ degree temperature that day simply provided a good reason to go in for some cool air and a cold beer. Oh, and some chili and hush puppies.

The chili is really good. Big chunks of meat, just enough beans, and a lot of not-too-hot spice. The hush puppies were okay, but too dry. I also had a really good lager from North State. The service was friendly, but during my entire meal there was at least two staff (I think one was an owner or manager) chatting at the bar, often more than two. The customers seemed to be an afterthought. At one point my waitress ran out of the restaurant chasing a lady carrying Chihuahua puppies in her arms who walked by the front window. I found out later the woman was selling them for $100 each and my waitress wasn't interested ("If she was giving them away, I would have taken every one"). So, good food, but not such professional service. About $8 for the chili and hush puppies.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Number One Burger from 25 Degrees

25 Degrees Number One Burger, originally uploaded by ~db~.
There was only one reason I stopped for lunch at 25 Degrees at the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Blvd today. Their air conditioning. It was a blistering Sunday afternoon and as often happens on such days, the quality of the AC is as important as the quality of the food when choosing where to eat.

So I went in, sat at the bar and asked for a glass of ice water while perusing the menu. I didn't have to peruse long since the Number One Burger sounded pretty good. A big (1/2 lb I think) ground sirloin patty, with caramelized onions, prelibato Gorgonzola, crescenza, bacon, arugula, thousand island, all inside a big soft bun.

A very good burger, though it was a lot to eat. Too much for me in the end, as I was unable to finish, though I did try real hard. I hate leaving uneaten food and a smaller patty, less cheese, and no bacon would have been perfectly fine and would have (hopefully) saved me a few bucks at the same time.

That quibble out of the way, let me repeat that it was a very good burger. I asked for it medium-rare and that's what I got. Not medium, which is the norm, but actual medium-rare. The irony here is that, unlike steaks, I actually prefer my burgers cooked medium, but order them medium-rare so I don't get them medium-well. So next time I'm at 25 Degrees, and there will be a next time, I'll order it medium. Okay. That's just a long way of saying the burger was cooked exactly the way I asked for it.

I mentioned earlier I could have done without the bacon, but the arugula was good and the caramelized onions were fantastic. There was too much cheese, but having two different kinds of cheese worked well. The bun was soft and sucked up the juices, but sturdy enough to hold up. Really delicious. About $12 for the burger. About $6 for the unseen but equally delicious sweet potato fries. And about $7 for a nice IPA to wash it all down. Air conditioning, priceless.