burgers

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.

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon

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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.

Gordon Ramsay BurGR on Urbanspoon

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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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