Burgers

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - Chipotle Ketchup2Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, JFAT for short is one of those establishments turning out solid cuisine for a slightly higher price point. With the rapidly eastward growing city of Brea, JFAT is a nice addition to Village at La Floresta. Joining heavyweights like Mendocino Farms, Slapfish, Urban Plates, and Whole Foods, JFAT fits right in. We were lucky enough to get hosted by JFAT and had a chance to try some of their dishes. We also took home a bottle of their chipotle ketchup. No joke, this stuff is really delicious. I’d call it more of a BBQ sauce than a ketchup, and the sauce actually has a nice kick to it. It isn’t too sweet or smokey like a BBQ sauce, and it has some reminiscence of a ketchup. The kick from the chipotle peppers is really pronounced and is good with almost everything they have.

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - Santa Fe Caesar2The Santa Fe Caesar salad was interestingly delicious. I usually like traditional caesars (with sardines and all), but the addition of the grilled corn gave a nice texture. Contrastingly, the avocados gave a nice creaminess. The southwestern flavors really punched up this salad. One thing I would change is the salad presentation. The dressing was on the bottom of the whole stock of Romaine and there wasn’t a lot of it. Either a half cut of the Romaine or more drizzle of the dressing on top and bottom would have helped.

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - Burger2This burger was massive and the flavors worked amazingly. The patty was cooked to a perfect medium. The bacon and onion rings gave a nice smokiness and depth of flavor — Shout out to the Double Western! The best part of this burger was that Anaheim chili. The pepper gave a nice flavor throughout the burger and balanced it out nicely. Honestly, we took some time finishing up other dishes and of course, taking pictures. Even so, the fries were crispy and the burger was juicy after sitting there for some time.

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - Flatbread2The flatbread was quite a treat. The sweetness and saltiness really played well together. The pear and black fig jam made this “pizza” subtly sweet. The sharp blue cheese was needed as it made each bite creamy and funky. My favorite, the prosciutto was nice and salty to flavor the whole thing. The addition of arugula gave a nice rounded flavor to the whole dish.

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - Fried ChickenCould this have been my favorite dish of at JFAT? The buttermilk fried chicken was last of our meal, but not the least. I’d like to have had actual bone in chicken pieces as the filets were kind of boring. What saved this dish was the garlic mashed potatoes and the addition of thyme gravy. The thyme gravy flavored the whole dish perfectly. In hind sight, the dish was missing something — I guess at the time, I didn’t know what it was. I think a nice dab of Louisiana hot sauce would have been a perfect pairing to bring everything together.

Jimmys Famous American Tavern - InsideMy experience at JFAT was an awesome one. The decor was a nice mix of old American tavern with modern accents. The staff was wonderful and the food was spectacular. JFAT is definitely the premiere eatery in the Village at La Floresta center. Their happy hour menu also seems to be something that everyone can enjoy. Their menu changes seasonally, so we definitely would be coming back to see what they have in store.

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Smashburger – A Classic is a Classic

by Franklin on March 7, 2015

The first time I had a Smashburger was in La Jolla at La Jolla Cove Beach. This was year back, before any locations made its way near Los Angeles and Orange County. It was delicious then, and it is delicious now. The fast casual experience from a burger joint was new and exciting. The fresh ingredients and

Everything about the Classic Smash burger was, for a lack of better words, classic. The tomato, lettuce, and pickles were so fresh. The beef was of great quality and every ingredient was tasty. Of course, I had to go classic and have American cheese on there. The best part was the potato bun — it was fluffy, chewy, dense and flavorful. It was so moist and conforming to every bite. The bread, cheese, and beef alone would have made a great burger. The addition of the tasty Smash sauce was great.

Every great burger needs french fries. Fortunately, Smashburger fries are legit. Their shoestring (my favorite kind) were perfectly salted and seasoned. The texture was so crispy and satisfyingly crunchy. It did have a slight taste of frozen potatoes, but the fries were still delicious. I think even a little more time in the fryer would have made for even crispier fries.

Smashburger was just as good as I remember, maybe even better than I remember. The fresh ingredients, the fast casual atmosphere, and good service is all I need in a burger joint. The patty was memorable, and the bun was even better. Smashburger is a smash hit in my book. They are huge in the East and Mid-West, and I’m glad their here in LA and OC.

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The Golden State – Burgers and Bacon

by Franklin on January 25, 2015

The Golden State on Fairfax was at one point touted as having the best burgers in Los Angeles. I am a burger snob, and I can say that if the time was taken, I can one dope burger. The menu is simple: burgers, sandwiches, salads, and sides. They even have Let’s Be Frank hot dogs as well. After trying a few years back, I realized a blog post is well overdue.

I always get the original called “The Burger.” The patty is made with Harris ranch beef. It is topped with Fiscalini Farms cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, arugula, aioli, ketchup. I got it with a side of jalapeño cabbage slaw wich is made with cabbage, carrots jalapeño, and red wine vinaigrette. Literally, all the ingredients listed were so fresh and exactly how I would want it. Nothing was soggy, or over done or underdone. It is like they knew what I wanted and met every specification. The beef was pure and delicious. I would have liked a better crust on it, but it was still quite nice. I always prefer the fake American cheese on my burgers, but the Fiscalini Farms cheddar had a complex flavor that gave the burger some maturity.

The BLTA: bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Avocado was a favorite of mine. Adding the avocado made everything creamy and cohesive. The bread choice wasn’t my favorite, but the ingredients inside made everything perfect. The side cucumber salad was amazing with this sandwich. Persian cucumbers, arugula, lemon vinaigrette all mixed together went so well with this bacon filled beauty.

The small shop pumps out some massive and delicious burgers. They really know what they are doing and know what they are talking about. The fresh ingredients and blend of flavors really went well. Nothing was over the top or gut busting. The burgers just had so much balance and maturity.

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Commissary at the LINE HOTEL – The Greenhouse

by Franklin on November 17, 2014

The Commissary at the Line Hotel was an interesting dining experience. The the concept here is quite unique and somewhat confusing. The greenhouse symbolizes the freshness of fruits and vegetables, yet this place is not a vegetarian restaurant. Commissary is very much a regular restaurant inside a beautiful greenhouse. The location and interior design is what draws everyone. I think the food could have been more exciting or less pretentious. The menu doesn’t even have a description of what you are getting. If its a fish dish, they just simply put, “fish.” If you are getting a burger, it just says “burger.” It’s kind of like, “you don’t need to know what you are eating, just eat it.”

The corn here was incredible. What we did was shave off the kernels from the cob and just mix it in with the ingredients. Definitely an ode the to Mexican street corn of LA, this hit the spot. The char on the corn really brought out the sugars and sweetness. Mixed in with the chili powder and tart aioli of some sort, it was a classic flavor combination. I liked that there was some cheese, but not a lot — this gave the corn a chance to really shine through.

The asparagus was quite delicious as well. The grilled asparagus paired with a tart lemon sauce was amazing. Some parts of the asparagus was tough, but all around had great flavor. The addition of the Parmesan was another ode to the Mexican style corn.

You order boring, and you get boring. Looking at the menu, we really wanted to give the burger a chance, but really didn’t want to. It really didn’t have much going for it. No side of fries, no perfectly medium rare beef patty, no soft delicious bun. It was just a normal burger. Again, it had a nice contrast of fatty beef and tart sauce, but that is all it had going for it. Come to think of it, all of these dishes had similar properties to it. I am beginning to see a trend here.

Eating at the Commissary was a fun experience, but the food was just average for me. Nothing was exciting, apart from the corn. Nothing stood out and really challenged my palate. The ingredients were indeed fresh and everything was prepared nicely. I just expected a lot more. Definitely though, this would be a nice spot to hang out during daylight to have a few bites and a drink. The atmosphere is perfect and the ambiance is just right.

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Library Ale House – Koreans and Grilled Onions

by Franklin on October 26, 2014

After a long day at Venice Beach, we decided to hit up Library Ale House. The somewhat small bar was packed with people. It was almost as small as a coffee shop, but people just stood or sat at the bar. The woodsy interior and small feel felt very “English Pub” like, but with better food. Feeling like something greasy, we were ready to order.

Oddly, this bar/restaurant gave chips and salsa. Now my British pub atmosphere turned into a Mexican cantina restaurant. Don’t get me wrong. The chips and salsa were welcomed nicely. Just your ordinary chips and salsa.

Pouting is one of my favorite foods. I mean, just fries and gravy is good enough, but to add braised oxtail with the house made fries and cheese curds just puts it over the top. The pan gravy was good and rich, but I would have liked it much thicker. At the end, the fries turned soggy from the soupy gravy. The braised oxtail was nice a succulent though. The flavors were complex and rich, and not salty at all –under seasoned if anything.

This was accompanied with the Alehouse burger. Made with ground USDA prime chuck, the patty was tasty. Topped with melted onions, gorgonzola, arugula, garlic aioli on a brioche bun, the flavors seemed reminiscent of the he Office Burger, though nowhere near the caliber of Chef Sang Yoon’s creation. What’s with Koreans and their obsession with grilled onions anyways? Well, it is delicious, and I am Korean. I guess that answered the question. (Where were we?) The burger. It was good. The mixture of blue cheese and grilled onions made a very strong flavor combination. You really can’t go wrong with that. The side salad was a life savor. All the rich flavors of the beef, cheese, and pouting needed to be balanced. Thank you, salad.

Library Ale House was a nice spot. The atmosphere is relaxed and the small space and central bar area really made me feel welcomed. Any beer lover would be happy here. Any food lover would be happy as well.

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Library Bar – Eating While Everyone Drinks

by Franklin on September 26, 2014

The Library bar to me seemed like a hip spot. The high reviews of Yelp and intriguing food items looked hopeful. And it’s a library? Or at least they try to make it look like one. Honestly, the place was small, dark, and the night I went, people were way too drunk. Maybe I was just sober and everyone seemed more drunk. People were just loud and ther were much too many people with glazed over eyes. Good thing I had the food to look forward to.

The burger at a bar has to be their staple. It must be good and their main even as far as food is concerned. The Library Burger was such a disappointment. The patty was dry without a single dribble juice left inside. The bread so stale and dry, it didn’t help with moist factor. Every bite was boring and just unpleasant. I basically cut my losses and just ate the meat with the cheese and veggies.

Before you read on, just note that this bar is a bar first, restaurant second. Maybe restaurant third? The food to me was just not there. The pork belly skewers was a turn for the better. This was not that bad, I mean, it’s pork belly after all. The fatty meat covered in sweet glaze was good, but not addicting. As far as pork belly dishes go, this was just ok. If you must order something, order this. Nothing else will do.

I can’t tell you if the drinks at the Library Bar are good, but from the looks of it, it seems to be doing ok. There’re definitely were more people drinking than eating. We were definitely the odd group out on the bar. I kind of understand it. It’s a cool place to meet friends for drinks or end/start the night. Basic rule of thumb here, and you will be happy here: Food no, drinks yes.

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I have been on a burger craze these few days — more like weeks. I’ve been ordering the burger everywhere and anywhere I go. When it came to ordering the fried chicken or the PCB at Plan Check, I chose the burger. I know they were known for their fried chicken, but the power of the almighty burger was much too strong. And ketchup leather? Need I say more?

The Check Burger has Americanized dashi cheese. This to me sounds like American cheese with MSG inside it somehow. The flavor wasn’t any different and entire unnoticed. The ketchup leather and schmaltz onions really took over in the flavor department. Caramelized onions is one of my favorite burger toppings, and ketchup is my least favorite. Interestingly, the ketchup leather gave a nice sticky tang flavor whereas the onions were nicely sweet and savory. The mixed pickles were nicely welcomed. The beef patty was perfectly cooked medium rare. As a matter of fact, this is where the PCB shines. The beef was a so pure and delicious. Ithe unalterated beef stood out so perfectly in this burger. My only gripe about this burger was the bun. It was plain and boring. With a little care for an artisan crafted bun, this would be a perfect cheeseburger in Los Angeles.

Plan Check has lots going for it. Being one of my favorite restaurants on Sawtelle, the somewhat small bar and kitchen is popular amongst locals. The staff is some of the friendliest I have ever seen. Extra care is taken in the food by the chefs in the kitchen. Only the best of the best is used. That, I respect greatly, and hope other restaurants follow suit.

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Gordon Ramsey, the restaurant mogul is on a roll. Planting seeds in Caesars Entertainment properties, Chef Ramsey has his name on most of the Las Vegas properties. From a steakhouse in Paris, and an Irish Pub at Caesars, the TV star’s sure has a repertoire of making money involving food. Now, Gordon Ramsey takes on the all mighty burger. As mentioned before, Las Vegas has one too many steak restaurants, but the burger isn’t getting much love. Every other restaurant serves burgers, but finding a gosh darn good burger is Vegas is hard to come by. The restaurant lies right near the entrance of Planet Hollywood. The look and feel of the restaurant was that of a high end sports bar. It is Gordon Ramsey we are talking about after all.

The Roasted Jalapeño Poppers was a must. The menu stated that there was “one fiery surprise.” The surprise? Of the many jalapeno poppers, one of them is left whole without the insides (seeds and all) cleaned out. Think Russian Roullete with spicy stuff. Honestly, the “special” one wasn’t that much spicier. The cheddar bacon inside the jalapenos was delicious. Bathing in their individual shot glasses filled with cheddar ranch, every bite had a lot of flavor and a lot of sauce. A bit salty at times, but the spicy salty mixture was welcome.

To cool off our tongues, we ordered the Shake #4 — layers of crème brûlée pudding and an oreo shake topped off with an Oreo cookie was perfect. The custard filling was smooth and sweet. Mixed with America’s favorite cookie with some cream, this dessert shake was quite satisfying.

Put an egg on a burger, and I am sold. The Farm Burger was a recipe for a perfect burger. Included was duck breast bacon, English sharp cheddar and a fried egg. The beef was impressive in the quality and the way it was cooked. Perfectly medium rare, the inside was pink with no signs of raw meat and no gray meat. The duck bacon was a nice touch, but my favorite was the runny egg. It served as a nice sauce for the burger and rounded out the saltiness really well.

Every burger needs a side of fries. We ordered the parmasean truffle fries, and did not really care for them. Maybe because I really like thin shoestring fries, and hate thick cut fries. The parmesan was good on it, but the best part was the truffle aioli. With real chunks of truffles (because we all know Chef Ramsey hates truffle oil), the sauce made all the difference. Dunking these thick cut fries in the sauce was almost like cheating. The fries could have been from the freezer, but still delicious.

I had a few bites of he fresh roasted Chili Dawg. When I saw the list of ingredients, I knew I had to order this. It had roasted fresno pepper, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, avocado, red onion, and was topped with chipotle ketchup. It was a chili cheese dog, like the ones from Pink’s or 7-11 — this was a chili pepper dog. The chilies were not spicy though, which was a good thing. It gave a nice sweetness with a little kick. The bun was amazingly soft, and I appreciated it. The actual hot dog was a little salty — actually, a lot salty. It was really overbearing, and had to sauce it up just to cover up the saltiness. It was a nice snappy frank though, and the flavors really worked well together.

Dessert came a second time, and the gourmet burger and hot dog ended with Sticky Toffee Pudding. I had the sticky toffee pudding at Gordon Ramsey Steak at Paris, and it was freakishly delicious. The Push Up Pops version wasn’t as refined, but just as delicious. The salted peanut ice cream mixed in with the sticky toffee was a great mixture. This salty and sweet mixture served up in a push pop was fun to eat. I remember eating Flintstones ice cream from these things as a kid. I would prefer to eat it with a fork on a plate, but the delivery was kind of cool and nostalgic.

It looks like Gordon Ramsey has a hit. It does suffer in the identity department. The decor inside seems cheap yet classy, but still exudes sports bar, but not. At the end of the day, the food is all that really matters. It surely doesn’t have that Gordon Ramsey refinement, but the food is still superb. Definitely, this could be a contender in being one of Las Vegas’ best burgers.

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Some days, you just have to treat your body good. As a food blogger, I eat some gut busting, heart unfriendly meals. Fried pork belly this, carbo-rich that, and anything fried, laden with butter, sugar, and Nutella is the name of the game for a food blogger. Sometimes, you have to treat your body right. The Veggie Grill offers some awesome vegetarian dishes as well as salads. The extra needed healthy foods really regenerated my digestion and rejuvenated my body. For a moment, I thought to myself that I can eat like this every day. Eating healthy is important indeed, and The Veggie Grill makes it a little easier to handle.

Kale has been a huge part of my healthy diet these days. Back in the day, it was only good for food decor, but now is considered a super healthy food. The All Hail Kale salad was wonderfully zesty and flavorful. It included marinated kale, quinoa, red cabbage slaw, corn salsa, and agave-roasted walnuts. I switched out the ginger papaya vinaigrette for the lemon vinaigrette. I am not a fan of sweet dressings at all. The lemon vinaigrette was fresh and the flavors popped. The bitter greens and the acidic flavors melded together to great a healthy dish.

For some, there is no substitution for beef. At The Veggie Grill, substitution is the only option. As a natural carnivore myself, eating the boca protein “beef” in the All-American Stack burger was a shocker. I know it wasn’t meat, but it really tasted like beef. If someone had to make a meat substitute to be the closest thing to meat, this would be it. It just had the consistency just right and flavor. Topped on this gorgeous burger, it really didn’t feel like it was missing anything. Topped with grilled veggie steak, pickles, lettuce, tomato, crispy onion rings, and thousand island dressing, the “burger” tasted quite like the real thing. With the addition of sweet potato fries, nothing was missing. I know having fried onion rings and fried sweet potato isn’t quite the healthy meal you were looking for, but come on. Compare that to a full on fatty beef patty, and this is quite healthy.

The Veggie Grill is probably my go to healthy joint. It has some great options for meat lovers like me. The salads are on point and always offers a fresh option for everyone. They even have protein style bowls and entree plates as well. This is indeed a perfect place for a vegetarian looking for some meat.

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Humble Potato – Hambagas and Fries

by Franklin on May 3, 2014

Humble Potato has a simple concept. It puts a Japanese twist on American comfort food. This fast casual has an identity crisis. I initially thought they were a French fry shop– you know, kind of like a create your own French fry bar with your choice of toppings. I was surprised this place has no real emphasis on potatoes, but more on burgers. Good thing!

I ordered the Battle Royal– “Organized chaos!” Towered high is fresh Angus beef, “fried egg-splosive” egg sprinkled with seasoning salt, avocado, romaine, thick cut tomato, onion, Applewood smoked bacon, and HP spicy sauce. This burger was taller than it was wide. It was difficult to eat. Honestly, the burger gets an “A” for effort, but the is about it. The bun was off, and the beef was cooked all the way through. No medium rare or even medium here. The avocado gets lost in everything and all the ingredient come through individually. The burger fails to bring everything into one cohesive meld of things. It was an interesting burger.

The Shichimi & Garlic Parmesan Fries was quite the contrary to the burger. The potatoes themselves were fried to a crisp. It was the crunchiest and most solid French fry I ever had. The plastic fork had such a hard time poking at the fries. Think potato chips in the form of thick fries. This made for some awesome crunchtastic fries. The shichimi seasoning was a nice touch, and the Parmesan just created that extra depth. Of course, the garlic was welcome immensely, and everything came together quite nicely. I’m telling you, the crunch was insane and nothing like I ever had before.

The Humble Potato was an interesting experience. I getting he concept of Japanese American fusion, but I don’t quite understand the restaurant name. Nonetheless, the food was interesting. The burger, s let down, and the fries, an interesting surprise. Come here only slightly hungry. Get the fries — the hot dogs are next on my list.

Humble Potato on Urbanspoon

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I remember going to Islands as a kid. When I say kid, I mean a high school kid. I had a driver’s licence, I had a car (more like half a car), and that is all I needed to hang out with my friends at Islands with some burgers and fries. On my recent visit as an adult, not much has changed. That’s a good thing. The food was just as good as I remember, and chill and relaxed atmosphere made all the difference. Everything started with drinks. Every burger needs the company of a good shake. One of the hardest decisions is vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. I was feeling like strawberry, and I made a good choice. It was creamy and thick, and not too sweet. This was a good start to a great meal.

We started off with the nachos. These were pretty standard nachos. It had cheese, olives, guacamole, and sour cream. One thing I really want on nachos, and this is a personal preference, is nacho cheese. I know nacho cheese is a step down from the real stuff, but I need the fake ooey gooey. The melted cheese soon cooled off and web of chips stuck together. What I like to do is get a bunch of cheese in between two chips and make a little sandwich. The guacamole and sour cream did a good job in keeping everything creamy. I like the addition of the olives as it gave a nice salty flavor. Of course, the heat and acidity of the jalapenos cut the richness of the cheese. This was a standard plate of nachos and a perfect start.

The burger the restaurants main attraction, and the black pepper crusted Kilauea burger. The crust on the meat was so perfect. The meat was overcooked, but I really like my beef patty on the bloody side. The jalapeño in combination with the pepper jack cheese and chipotle aioli gave it a nice zesty flavor — not at all overly spicy. Topped with their signature Island Reds, it was a delicious burger. The crunch from the fried onion strings and the melted cheese made a great cheesy crispy mix. The best part of this burger really is the black pepper crusted patty. It is so in your face and full of flavor. I wish I could have this with a fried egg on top. Now that would be awesome. I had my burger with a side of sweet potato fries. Theirs was different that other places because it was more firm and crispy. Most places have sweet potato fries but are often limp. I liked how these spent a little more time in the fryer. Dipping these in their ranch, which by the way was salty, was so good. By the way, I love ranch that is salty and savory more than the creamy counterpart.

I wanted to for something not so heavy, so I opted for the fresh grilled mahi mahi tacos. Topped with chipotle-white sauce, cabbage, cilantro & diced tomatoes, the fish tacos were only healthy, but tasty too. I didn’t really care for the ranchero beans, but it was a good hearty condiment to the fish tacos. The start of course was the mahi mahi. It was grilled nicely and the flavors were in your face. I liked their corn tortillas too. I wouldn’t have expected a burger joint to take that much care in fish tacos. This would have been perfect with the appetizer nachos I had earlier. Only if I had waited.

To put an end to all the deliciousness, ordered dessert. The chocolate lava cake sounded too good to resist. It entailed a fudge brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. The whole thing was drizzled with chocolate syrup, topped with whipped cream, roasted almonds, and of course, a cherry on top. The fudge brownie itself was chocolate goodness. The ice cream helped balance out everything nicely. I mean, we are talking about brownies and ice cream here. With the crunch of toasted almonds, it can’t get any better.

Eating here really took me back to my adolescent years. The relaxed atmosphere and good food was really all I needed. I like how as I grew up, everything stayed the same. I guess you can say it got a lot more fresh and clean, but the whole beach side relaxing feeling is still there.

Islands on Urbanspoon

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Let’s talk about the best burger you ever stuffed your face with. I still to this day am still looking for the best burger. Sometimes, an In-n-Out Double Double will do — Animal Style, with grilled onions, raw onions, and secret sauce. As good as that is, it doesn’t scream out gourmet. And every good burger needs the perfect batch of french fries on the side, and In-n-Out is far from it. The Office Burger at Father’s Office is acclaimed by many to be the best burger in Los Angeles. I know that may be a shock to diehard In-n-Out fans, but Sang Yoon’s Office Burger is quite delicious. The gastropub offers some of amazing beer selections and pairs well with the menu. For this blog post, it will only concentrate on the burger and fries.

The Office Burger received a lot of criticism because some say it’s not a burger, but a sandwich. Instead of a traditional bun, they use a French roll of a sort. My question to you is, what makes the sandwich, the patty or the bun? For no reason whatsoever, let’s just call this a burger. Come on.. it’s a burger. The melted gruyere and Maytag blue cheese ain’t enough of a reason to call this a burger? How about the dry aged beef patty? What sandwich has grilled onion bacon compote? Honestly, the reason I like the Office Burger is because of this onion bacon compote. The sweetness of the onions and savory bacon create such a perfectly “umamic” flavor profile. (I don’t know if umamic is a word, but I will try and see if it’ll fly.) This went perfectly contrasting to the arugula in the burger. Everything together with the patty, cheese and compote perform a perfect symphony on your taste buds.

As I mentioned, a good burger needs an equally good side of fries. Father’s Office fries are quite delicious. Maybe it’s because I like shoe string fries, and I like my fries crispy. Dipping it in their tangy aioli puts all other sauces to shame. I see why they still to this day don’t have ketchup at the restaurant. Crispy and firm, the fries are something to reckon with.

I’ve had a few Office Burgers in my eating career, but never really blogged about it. The question remains though, is The Office Burger the best burger in Los Angeles. It possibly is, but tastes vary between people and time. I was surprised to find the waiter ask me how I wanted my burger cooked though. I guess forcing people to eat burgers medium rare like back in the day doesn’t fly anymore. The Helm’s location is second to the original Santa Monica location. Still though, the gastropub offers amazing beer and a burger to compete with anything around.

Father's Office on Urbanspoon

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Serendipity 3 is a famous stop for tourists in Las Vegas. Situated central to the Las Vegas strip, it sits just outside Caesar’s Palace. The colorful pink and whimsical design makes Serendipity 3 a fun place to eat. Known for their Golden Opulence Sundae, the $1000 dollar, word record holding as the most expensive dessert, the restaurant isn’t quite high end. The atmosphere is fun and casual. I remember going here when it first opened, and though the decor received an upgrade, the food and service seems to be stagnant. Nothing was out striking or extraordinary. It’s still a fun place to grab a bite and dessert in the form of a frozen hot chocolate. Popularized by the movie Serendipity, the NY base was where it all started.


The ABC burger seemed like the only legit burger here. ABC, meaning Avocado, Brie cheese, and caramelized onions made this burger what it is. The picture really makes it look small, but it was a bit larger than that. The amazing part was the blanket of melted brie over the top. It gave the burger a nice silky texture, as did the avocados as well. The caramelized onions gave a nice savory note, and everything worked perfectly together. They accidentally gave us regular fries instead of the sweet potatoes like we ordered. I liked their version of the sweet potato fries because of its sweetness. Each fry had a nice sugary crust.


We all come here for one thing only — that is their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. It is a hot chocolate mix, mixed in with crushed ice and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It’s not really an ice cream, and isn’t overly sweet. The chocolate flavor shines in this bowl, and the pure cocoa is the star. If you are looking for a sugary indulgence of a dessert, this is not for you. If you like chocolate flavor, and like it cold, then this is perfect!

Serendipity 3 is an awesome place to be. The colorful wallpaper and interesting nick-nacks make it a fun destination. Close to the Bellagio Fountains, Caesars Palace, and anything central to Vegas, it’s easy to “stop by”. Honestly though, not everything was all fine and dandy. Some of the waiters were kind of sketchy. One waiter tried to serve us water from a table who didn’t want them. The burger bun was a bit on the dry side. And honestly, the restaurant keeps getting the interior/exterior changed — that could be a good thing or a bad thing. Fine tuning these things and maximizing this prime real estate could really help solidify this restaurant.

Serendipity 3 on Urbanspoon

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I was at Huntington Beach the other days, before it was cold cold. I had wanted to try 25 degrees in the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood for a while now. On my stroll around Huntington Beach, I was pleasantly surprised to see it in Orange County!

I orders the number three – it had mezzo secco, jack cheese, green chile, chipotle, and avocado. All that was missing was bacon. Honestly though, even with the salty holy grail of all burger toppers missing, this burger didn’t need it. The flavor of the beef was so pure and clean. Juices dripped from all corner of this burger. All this time, bacon burger were masking the pure taste of beef. The avocado and cheeses made somewhat of a mash of guacamole and each bite just dissolved in my mouth. Score!

On the side of the burger was an order of onion rings and sweet potato fries. These were also quite good and I had no complaints. The onion rings had a great crunch on the outside –the batter was perfectly light. The sweet potato fries were a little soggy, as almost all mostly are, but still had a great crisp left in them. These two were a great match with the burger.

For dessert, we order the Guinness shake. I was intrigued and where else can you order such a thing? This shake isn’t a Guinness “taste-alike” kind of drink. It straight up had a lot of Guinness beer in it. They did ask for ID after all. The creamy, chocolaty goodness mixed with Guinness was genius. It worked so well and the flavor was complex with that beer added in. This is a must order when you are here.

The decor inside and out was classic. Adopting cues from the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, the center that took over the majority of the restaurant. I didn’t have my point and shoot or my DSLR, so my iPhone camera had to endure the low light situation. Though the pictures came out subpar, the burgers are a different story.

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