Burger and Barrel

Monday, February 23, 2015
The_Burger_Adventure-Burger&Barrel

Burger and Barrel – 25 West Houston, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Bash Style
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$16 USD
Summary

They say if you make it New York you can make it anywhere. Well, Chef Josh Capon and his “WinePub” Burger and Barrel, have been making it for the last 6 years. They’ve now taken out People’s Choice award for best burger in NYC, up against 29 other worthy contenders at the New York City Wine & Food Festival. There’s nothing particularly fancy about B&B; it’s a Gastro Pub with a widespread menu offering several different burgers, pasta, salad and soup. Basically there’s something for everyone. But they must be doing a lot right, because bookings are essential. The only reason I was there was infamy. I ordered one of their Sunday brunch cocktails and a Bash Style burger that came with mustard cooked beef patty, a potato bun, onion & bacon jam, pickles, American cheese, special sauce and a side of fries.

Comments
“I wanted this burger to knock my socks off and declare it Burger Royalty. But, I had to settle for a hamburger that was just, “good”. This was not worth the hype. I mean, the patty was great and so were the onions. But there was just something missing from this burger. I wasn’t hungover. It wasn’t overly busy. How could it be awarded people’s choice five times? Surely I got a dud? I wanted an experience that heroed the meat but the burger ended up being too balanced for me. Maybe this is just the nice, polite guy of the burger world? The burger that doesn’t offend. But at the same time, doesn’t excite me. It’s me vs NYC, so if you catch this write-up Mr Capon, I’m free next weekend. Rematch?”


Minetta Tavern

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The_Burger_Adventure-MinettaTavern

Minetta Tavern – 113 Macdougal Street, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Black Label Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$27 USD
Summary

Those who know a thing or two about burgers will tell you that Minetta Tavern is the be all and end all of burgers. Everyone who’s anyone in the NYC food scene has been there to try there $27 pride and joy. There’s good reason too. The guys behind Minetta Tavern are also responsible for New York institutes like Balthazar, Pastis and The Odeon, and, they only use the best of the best. In this case, it’s Pat La Frieda Meats. They’re world famous and still family owned since 1922. They worked closely with the Minetta team to get their Black Label Burger shining brightest amongst the galaxy of New York burger joints. Although they’ve only been around since 2009, the place will looks you into thinking it’s been there since the old days. What’ll trick you is all the old-style caricatures, checkered floors, portraits from decades past and the red leather booths. I sat down and triumphantly ordered their Black Label Burger that comes with a beef patty – a mix of dry aged, skirt steak and brisket – caramelised onions and a custom brioche bun.

Comments
“It was oh so soft. This was the most subtle burger I’ve ever eaten. It kind of felt like listening to a lullaby or piece of soothing classical music. Each bite was fluffy, juicy and delicate. The patty crumbled in with each bite reveal a beautiful shade of pink. I’d say it was probably cooked closer to rare than medium but I’m so up for that pink with that quality of meat. Every bite had a bit of a crunch from the clarified butter they use to give it a nice seal. The onions again were so subtle but sweet. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re used to the fish and chip shop and that’s your jam. It’s the kind of thing burger enthusiasts dream about because the quality was just outstanding. Saying that, it’s not a burger I could eat everyday. It’s a burger that needs an occasion, a celebration maybe? It’s the birthday cake of hamburgers.”


Billy Goat Tavern

Monday, December 15, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-BillyGoatTavern

Billy Goat Tavern – 2700 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Burger:
Double Cheezborger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$4.55 USD
Summary

This Chicago institution dates back to 1934 when a young Greek immigrant named William “Billy Goat” Sianis bought the Lincoln Tavern for $205. Yes, there was a goat, and it (and its descendants) became the mascots. If you’re a classic SNL fan then you’re probably familiar with the Olympia Restaurant skit. If you don’t know it then check it out later because it’s features half the Ghostbusters and Cheezborgers! You see, Bill Murray and John Belushi (also in the skit) used to spend a whole lot of time in Chicago, so it was only right for them to eat at the most famous burger joint in town; Billy Goat Tavern. They loved the place so much they wrote a skit with Don Novello about the very-particular order method and the new to USA wait staff. Don’t try and order fries, only “cheeps”. There’s no coke, only pepsi. You can see these signs still around today the place. If you’re a burger geek then your choices are simple: Single Cheezborger, Double Cheezborger, Triple Cheezborger and then the Homerun (x4 patties). They do other kinds of sandwiches and dogs but you’re really not there for them. These world-famous burgers have allowed them to open over 9 locations in the city and led me to their Navy Pier location where basically, a boardwalk meets Luna Park style attractions. My Double Cheezborger came on a freshly baked Kaiser bun with two “designed to be stacked” patties and double cheez. No fries, only cheeps.

Comments
“I first saw the skit when we first started the blog. Little did I know it was based on real life. Went down the pier expecting to see tourists all over this place, but as it turned out, they were everywhere but the Tavern. The burger, made right in front of you as you line up at the counter, was really just a fancy cheese burger. Super simplified but fancier. I didn’t believe that’s the same bun they were using back in the old days. But I do buy that those fatty patties and cheese are the same recipe. I was only passing through but I can see the appeal of this kind of burger when watching “da Bulls” and downing a whole lot of beer. It’s not the kind of meal you walk a million blocks to try and find (like I did) but it isn’t bad. It was a quick, really soft and cheesy experience. But I think the hype sort of ruined it for me. Next time I’d clear my schedule, order a jug and a Triple, and settle in.


Umami Burger

Friday, November 14, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-UmamiBurger

Umami Burger – 2184 Union Street, San Francisco, California, USA
Burger:
The Original
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
7 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$12 USD
Summary

The idea behind Umami Burger was conceived in another, be it, the most sought out burger on the West Coast: In-n-out. It was 2005 and Adam Fleischman was digging into one of his favourite indulgences – a double cheeseburger – and he started to wonder why America was so fascinated with burger and pizza culture. He then thought back to his favourite cooking shows and remembered the word Umami. The gourmet burger scene was about to be born. Fleischman started experimenting with all sorts of ingredients to obtain the “5th taste”, throwing everything from seaweed, miso soup and fish sauce in between some buns. In 2009 he was ready, opening the first Umami Burger in Los Angeles in a failed Korean Taco shop. From then on it boomed with many more locations opening up and was even named 2010’s Burger of the Year by GQ. Each location usually has a signature burger on their menu, something that Fleischman hopes to move Umami Burger away from the chain burger store stereotype and towards more of a classier restaurant group. For example, the San Francisco location uses its surrounding for inspiration and offers a Bacon Wrapped Scallop Burger (which we here hold in contempt). I was there for the original though and proceeded to order, wait for it, The Original. It came with a Wagyu Beef blend patty seasoned in Umami sauce (soy) and dust (porcini mushrooms and dried fish heads), a parmesan frico, shiitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, Umami house ketchup all on a Portuguese-style bun, made exclusively for Umami Burger.

Comments
“It’s been many years since I first heard about this famous burger joint, but when I arrived at their San Fran store, it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it’d be all open kitchens and burgers flying around the place, but it was more like a Yankee Japanese restaurant. I get that’s where the flavour inspiration comes from but it was trying to be a little too cool. When the the burger came out it looked delicious – noticeably smaller than the Umami burgers I’ve eaten in Melbourne. The first bite was soft, salty and the patty was cooked nice and pink. The salty and sweet from roast tomatoes and shiitake did their part in upholding the Umami buzz, but I wanted more from the parmesan. At the end of the day, I’d say to Melbournians go visit Nshry because they’ve nailed the whole notion of Umami. If you’re by a Umami Burger in the States, I’d say try one of their other burgers that adds bacon or an extra patty. They might be the Original, but the Original has been trumped by Melbourne’s very own Nshry.


Three Crowns

Thursday, November 6, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-3Crowns

Three Crowns – 365 Victoria St, West Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Three Crowns American Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in area
Price:
$18
Summary

Some will argue that it’s North Melbourne, others West, but whichever way you look at it it’s still a great old pub for locals and tourists alike. Renovations have come and gone, but with it Three Crowns has taken on a new chef with an American inspired menu. Head Chef Chris Smith has given North Melbournians a selection of mouthwatering options like fried chicken, chilli cheese fries, tater tots and ribs from a smoker. Three Crowns know how to look after their locals, even giving them a 10% discount on a Sunday night. We had heard good things about their burger so we ordered a round of beers and a round of American Cheeseburgers that came with a 100% ground beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, bacon, tomato, “fancy sauce” and pickles on a brioche bun. For some extra coin you can double, or even triple your fun.

Comments
“You can see the care and attention that went into creating this burger, as it’s a far cry from your traditional pub burger. The American influence on the new menu is clearly obvious. Texture-wise, it did alright by me, with a super soft brioche bun, juicy patty and creamy cheese with the only crunch coming from the bacon and the barely noticeable lettuce and tomato. The fancy sauce added a nice little kick, which cut through all the subtle flavours that combined so well together.”
“A Pub-Burger is something that’s very close to this writers heart. Yeah, sometimes you have a burger you hope to forget due to its rissole-like patty and its slice of canned beetroot, however this was not the case. Even though this was one damn greasy experience, the meal itself was still reasonably good. The patty was cooked nicely and covered with melted cheese and delicious bacon. The bun really couldn’t hold it’s integrity even from when I received it, it even looked a bit soggy.The meal was uber filling so I advise on skipping a meal before you go. I did like the chips and the tip jar! My money went to the Stones (you’ll know what I mean when you go).”
“It looked impressive. Espescially with the site of the American cheese oozing out the sides. The spines of lettuce poking out of my burger worried me in the beginning but I came to find they didn’t impact my meal at all. There was an awesome sticky fattiness to each note. It coupled with the sweetness of the melted cheese oh so gloriously. For me this sets a standard of how a burger should be cooked. The bun was on the heavy side and after falling apart I actually left a quarter of it on the plate – it was too much. A surprisingly non-pub style burger that I reckon I’d go back for. Un-Australian in a good way.”
Three Crowns Hotel on Urbanspoon


Tuolumne Meadows Grill, Yosemite National Park

Sunday, November 2, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-Yosemite

Tuolumne Meadows Grill – Tioga Rd. (Rte. 120),
Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Burger:
Cheeseburger + Bacon
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$8 USD
Summary

If you drive 5 hours east of San Francisco you’ll encounter some of the most breathtaking views on the planet. Yosemite National Park’s incredible vistas attract everyone from lollygagging tourists, avid hikers, animal lovers and artists. There are plenty of things to do and see in the park but chances are you’ll be driving through Tuoumne Meadows; a popular spot to set out for a range of hikes and trail-rides. Not far away from the visitors centre you’ll find a shack with a flyscreen door where hungry campers and hikers can get their fix for classic Americana. They do mostly sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs but you can always get a nice plate of bacon and eggs if you’re there before 11:30am. I ordered a Cheeseburger with extra bacon that came with an oat/flour topped bun with a beef pattie, lettuce, American cheese, onion, tomato and pickles.

Comments
“Regardless of all the veggies involved, the burger was actually so simple. For some odd reason it was a smidge cold and wet, but like most things in life, I’d blame the lettuce. I liked that they don’t add any sauce. It means you can make your burger how you want it. I felt like it didn’t really need it because you got a lot of sweetness from the fresh onion and pickle. It also helped to make the simple beef pattie the hero of burger. For once I’d probably say you don’t need the bacon. It didn’t really do much for the burger. If you were looking for something with more grunt, I’d double my pattie next time. Overall, it wasn’t anything amazing, but I really expected a lot less quality and for a higher price (without bacon it was $6). These guys could charge what they want but they know that a hungry hiker is probably going to order a few of these after a long trek.


Hooters

Friday, October 3, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-Hooters
Hooters – 6922 Hollywood Blvd, Suite 109, Hollywood, California, USA
Burger:
Hooters Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$12.08 USD
Summary

On April Fools Day 1983, six men sat in Clearwater, Florida, talking about a business prospect. They chose this day as a joke because they figured their idea was destined for failure. Decades on and many tight shorts later, Hooters is a booming enterprise. Half sports bar, half breastaurant, Hooters is still an all-American family friendly venue that has “good times on tap”. Making a name for themselves for their super smiley Hooters girls and spicy chicken wings has lead Hooters to open 430 locations all over the world all the way from Tokyo to Prague. At 11.30am along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I looked forward to escaping the California sun and diving into a cold beer and juicy hamburger. Just like their waitresses, the burgers come in different shapes and sizes, but I opted for the classic Hooters Cheeseburger. In between a soft traditional burger bun was a medium cooked beef pattie, American cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato and ketchup and mustard left on the side to add as I pleased. I couldn’t decide between the Curly Fries or Tater Tots, so I just got both.

Comments
“Forget about the plunging neck lines and ass-cheek-revealing shorts. The experience at Hooters is delightful. If you’re in a terrible mood their staff will be sure to cheer you up in a jiffy. The Hooters girls’ positivity and bubbliness rubs off, and surprisingly not in a sleazy way. Floor staff aside, the food is the real reason for my visit. The Cheeseburger was pure Americana with its dripping cheese and super soft bite, but it wasn’t anything amazing. The patty was OK on its own, but when combined with the raw onions it made for a meaty, salty treat. I like that the burger didn’t come with sauce because these guys appreciate everyone likes something different squirted on their buns. They know that they’re not gourmet so they don’t try to be. I was recommended to try my burger cooked medium but should’ve gone medium-rare to get a bit more juice. Overall, a really lovely experience. Beers as big as your head, burgers and super friendly staff. What more could you want?”