Monday, December 31, 2012

The SMASHED Go Burger

The SMASHED Go Burger, originally uploaded by ~db~.

I've been pretty lucky in finding good burgers lately, and the string continues with the SMASHED Burger from Go Burger on Sunset and Vine. Not surprisingly, it's a burger which is smashed down on the griddle (this is actually preferred by many aficionados when cooking a burger on a griddle instead of a grill since it maximizes the surface area undergoing the Maillard Reaction). It's topped with American cheese and placed upon a bed of grilled onions inside a Parkerhouse White Bun. Very good.

The patty was cooked properly, with just a hint of pink in the middle. The onions were gilled enough so they only provided a little resistance before giving way with each bite. And while I'm wary of big puffy buns when it comes to burgers, this one was perfectly light and airy, not dense like too many others.

I ordered a side of sweet potato fries which were also properly cooked. Though when I asked about any dipping sauces beyond the ketchup and mustard set at the table, the waiter seemed genuinely surprised before offering a small list. I chose the chipotle mayo, which was short on the former and long on the latter. Next time I'll try the aioli. I also got a Scrimshaw pilsner from North Coast Brewing. Nice, with a clean finish. An excellent burger, fries, and beer for under $20.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pulled Pork from Not A Burger Stand

Pulled Pork from Not A Burger Stand, originally uploaded by ~db~.
The first time I ate at Not a Burger Stand this was the sandwich everyone was talking about, so I was sure to order it when I returned. Unlike their thick-cut brisket, with its chewy strands, I like the substantial pieces of meat in this pulled pork sandwich. Of course that assumes the pork is cooked to a proper tenderness, which this is. The sauce has good flavor but is a little too sweet for my tastes and I'll probably order it on the side next time. The bun is toasted and, unlike with their hamburger and chicken sandwich, its size is a good thing, soaking up all the messiness. The cole slaw provides the crunch, and I like that the slaw isn't overly wet. The side of baked beans are properly cooked, and might be a bit too sweet, but not overly so. Overall, very nice. Pulled pork sandwich and baked beans, about $9.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Eine Bockwurst Currywurst

Eine Bockwurst Currywurst, originally uploaded by ~db~.
I was in Silverlake today and decided to have lunch at Berlin Currywurst. I ordered the bockwurst (veal and pork) currywurst, which comes with farmers bread, and a side of grünzeug, which is a sauerkraut salad with carrots and fresh orange pieces.

It was all good, though one side of the bread was pretty dry, as if it were cut from the end of the loaf. And didn't restaurants stop sprinkling spice around the edge of the plate a decade ago? Also, when the friendly person behind the counter asked how hot I wanted it (they have four heat levels), I said "hot, but not overpowering". So of course he gave me the very mildest heat level. Next time I'll be sure to specify level two or three. But these quibbles are minor. The sauerkraut salad was a surprise and quite refreshing. All in all it was a nice lunch for just over $11.

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd, originally uploaded by ~db~.

Willie at Vicious Dogs has a new one for the holidays. The Good Shepherd is a well grilled andouille sausage topped with grilled onions and Gorgonzola cheese in a regular bun. The sausage goes especially well with the Gorgonzola, which in turns holds all the onions in place. It was a very good dog, though I'd probably go with a poppy seed bun the next time. Also, it needs some brightness, maybe chopped peppers or something. Still, it was tasty and I'd definitely order another one. About $9 for the dog and garlic fries.

The Slaw Dogs Cheeseburger

The Slaw Dogs Cheeseburger, originally uploaded by ~db~.
A straight ahead cheeseburger from The Slaw Dogs in Duarte. A 1/3 pound patty topped with American cheese, with fresh tomato, onion, shredded lettuce, and pickle chips. Add a dollop of "secret sauce" (ie. garlic aioli) and you have a real good burger. About $5.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Brisket from Not A Burger Stand

Brisket from Not A Burger Stand, originally uploaded by ~db~.

Like the other BBQ sandwiches at Not a Burger Stand, the beef brisket is served open-face with a heap of cole slaw on one half of the big soft bun and a pile of meat topped with sauce on the other. The brisket had great flavor and was fall-apart tender, though it was a bit dry and perhaps cut a bit too thick. A good sandwich, it is impossible to eat without making a mess, so be sure to get extra napkins. Sandwich and sweet potato fries, under $12.

Gumbo Ya Ya

Gumbo Ya Ya, originally uploaded by ~db~.

It was the day after Thanksgiving and I wasn't in the mood for leftovers, so I took the Red Line to the Hollywood and Highland Center and hiked up three flights of stairs to The Gumbo Pot. I've enjoyed their Farmer's Market location and was glad to see they're expanding.

I got a small gumbo ya ya, with cornbread, and a side of greens. It was good, if not great. Definitely filling. The pork was tasty, but the shrimp were overcooked and the andouille was kind of dry. The greens weren't very tender and not to my taste. But the cornbread was good and sopped up all the liquor. I'll be back, though maybe next time it'll be the jambalaya. Gumbo and greens, about $9.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

King Tacos from El Taco Loco

King Tacos from El Taco Loco, originally uploaded by ~db~.
Driving through North Hollywood, I was hungry for lunch when I saw El Taco Loco, a tiny place in a tiny shopping center with a sign proclaiming its 95 cent tacos. I was sold! It was still before noon and the place was empty, giving me a moment to look at the menu. I was pleased to see the King Taco, a hard-shelled Dorado style taco with creama, a melty Mexican cheese, and a pico de gallo type of salsa. I ordered two with carne asada, and the friendly person behind the counter added a few chips. A small salsa bar provided the condiments.

I love Dorado style tacos and these did not disappoint. Not much to say except it's a simple, well made taco, with flavorful meat and a fried shell which is crunchy and not oily. The creama contrasted well with the meat, and the Mexican cheese was mild, serving as a kind of binder keeping the shell from shattering. Really good tacos, I'll be sure to return. Well under $3 for the two tacos.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Chicken BBQ Sandwich from Not A Burger Stand

A relatively new place, the oddly named Not a Burger Stand has become a favorite of mine. The chicken sandwich is offered grilled with BBQ sauce, or more traditional with lettuce and tomato. I ordered the former. Real good, with a properly cooked (i.e. moist) piece of chicken covered in the (not-subtle) house barbeque sauce. It's served open-face with a modest heap of coleslaw on the top bun. And while yes, the bun is a bit too big, for me it didn't detract from the sandwich and was useful for mopping up the drippings. The sweet potato fries were awesomely fantastic and didn't even need the honey-mustard dip, which was too thin for my taste. Overall it was quite good. About $9 for the sandwich and fries.