Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Slater's 50/50

The Slater's 50/50, originally uploaded by ~db~.

I have heard a lot about Slater's 50/50 over the last couple of years. And it's no surprise when you're signature product is a burger made of 50% bacon! I mean, what burger lover wouldn't be interested? So it was that when I visited Pasadena yesterday and found myself near the restaurant, I was compelled to try it out.

And it was good. Very good. Much better than I thought it would be. It addition to the beef/bacon patty, there's mashed avocado, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle adobo mayo, topped with a "sunny side up" egg, all set in a nice and soft white brioche bun.

If I may digress for a moment. I put "sunny side up" egg description in quotes here because it wasn't sunny side up at all. The whites of the egg were completely solid, with the yolks almost fully set. In fact, the entire egg pretty much slid out as one piece when I took my first bite. This is almost always the case when I get an egg on a burger and completely defeats its purpose, which is to allow the yolk to break and drench the burger with its creamy unctuousness. It's unfortunate and usually results in my setting the egg puck off to the side.

Now, back to the burger itself. When ordering, I was told they didn't offer it medium rare, because of the bacon. So I ordered it medium and this turned out to be the correct choice. It was juicy and (obviously) full of flavor. My two biggest concerns about a burger made of 50% bacon, that it would be too salty or that the bacon would overwhelm everything else, were thankfully unfounded. The creaminess of the avocado balanced the salt, the bit of heat from the cheese and mayo cut through the fat. And while much of the bun was left behind, it was soft and tasty and perfect for sopping up the juices. It's a messy meal, but not overly so. The pickle was fine, but in place of the egg, it could have really used some crunch inside the burger.

Still, despite the worthless egg and lack of fresh-veggie crunch, it was a good burger and I'd gladly have it again. Also, the place was fun, busy but not overly loud, and all the staff were helpful and pleasant. Oh, and there are something like 100 different beers available. I sat at the bar and ordered a draught Harp Ale, which went well with the sandwich. Burger and beer, about $16.

S'Links Three Cheese Burger

S'Links Three Cheese Burger, originally uploaded by ~db~.
After several visits, the biggest problem with S'Links is presentation. Unlike a master, such as Willie at Vicious Dogs, too often my meals at S'Links have that "just thrown together" feeling, taking away from otherwise fine ingredients.

Such is the case here with the Three Cheese Burger. Rather than giving me a coherent package, I'm essentially given the components to assemble myself. Which usually isn't a problem, if it's given to me actually ready to assemble. But you'll notice here that many of the ingredients below the meat are literally falling out, meaning I've got to lift the patty, setting it aside while I reassemble the veggies before replacing the burger. Also, you may not notice, but they literally set the burger onto the Thousand Island dressing on the top bun, meaning a good amount of the sauce on the bread was left behind on the side of the burger. None of this affected the taste, mind you, but it does effect the experience, and I only mention it here since it's been a consistent issue at S'Links. There just isn't much care given on how the food is presented.

Now that's off my chest, the burger itself was fine. The meat was over-dense and overcooked, but not by much. The Cheddar, Provolone, and Monterey Jack cheeses keep things very moist. The veggies are fresh and the Monrovia Bakery bun is a great sop for all the drippings. So a good, if not great cheeseburger, dropped in a paper basket, ready to be reassembled. About $8.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Pepper Steak From Andy's Subs

Pepper Steak From Andy's Subs, originally uploaded by ~db~.

It was my first time at Andy's Subs in Canoga Park, chosen using the sophisticated "I'm hungry, where can I eat?" method. It was a fortuitous choice, and hopefully won't be my last visit.

I ordered a regular sized pepper steak sandwich and it was easily one of the best I've ever had. Unlike many others, the beef wasn't overcooked. Instead it was a perfect medium rare, with each thin slice somehow still pink in the middle. The veggies are fresh and the bread soft, which was good, given the amount of juice dripping through my fingers. I ordered a regular sized only because I was in a hurry, but could have gotten a large for only 50 cents more. Well worth it. Pepper steak sandwich, under $6.