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?”


Ripponlea Food and Wine

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-Ripponlea

Ripponlea Food and Wine – 5 Glen Eira Road,
Ripponlea, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu beef burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
17 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$24.90
Summary

Located opposite Ripponlea train station this little restaurant will charm the pants off you with its friendly staff, open kitchen and a comforting food menu, making you feel like you’re at your Mama’s house for dinner. There is something quite soothing about the how the heat from the kitchen enters the dining area with its white tiled walls and dark timber seating giving you a warm sense of familiarity. We went for the Wagyu beef burger that came with mustard, crispy bacon, tomato, cornichons, smoked cheddar with a side of fries and habanero mayo.

Comments
“I knew straight away I was going to turn this into a massive mess so to try and minimise the impact I decided to cut it in half. First thing that really stood out was the height and size of the patty, it had a really crumbly texture and plenty of herbs mixed through for flavour. Due to the size, it was cooked fairly well which left it fairly dry. Then, combined with the dry and flakey bun you really began to notice the lack of juice. The melted cheese and crispy bacon obviously helped the burger, however the thick chunks of tomato and pickle didn’t compliment at all.”
“From a place that had some great simple comforting food I had an expectation the burger would be OK and to a degree I think it was. The pattie was rustic and rissole-like with some great tasting characteristics and cooked to perfection. The bun though, didn’t keep its integrity throughout the meal. The mayo was really good with the chips. The one thing I didn’t like was the amount of greens – too much!”
Ripponlea Food & Wine on Urbanspoon


Big Mouth

Sunday, August 24, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-BigMouth

Big Mouth – 168 Acland St, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Big Mouth Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in area
Price:
$21
Summary

They probably read about it in Lonely Planet, but there’s good reason tourists flock to St Kilda all year round. They might deter some of the more “refined” Melbournians, but chances are most of us, at one point or another have taken a stroll down Acland St for a drink or bite to eat. Sitting at the top of the busy street is an Big Mouth. The Art Deco building has played very different roles since its opening in 1938: a second hand furniture store, a cabaret, a band room, reception centre, Russian ball room and a wax museum. But now, as it stands the bar/restaurant/nightclub caters for all kinds of folk, whether its for a big night or a big steak. We sat in one of their dining rooms and ordered the Big Mouth Burger that came with an Angus pattie, Monterey Jack, sweet pickles, pickled onion, chipotle aioli & fries.

Comments
“I really didn’t enjoy this burger experience, it was hard work with some overbearing flavours and texture. First of all it’s an extremely dark restaurant, which isn’t helped when the burger is served on a long skinny plank of wood added to the challenge. The bun was a very crusty, dry kaiser roll, with very little give in it, creating a giant crumbly mess, which didn’t pair very well with the domineering sweet pickles and pickled onions. The beef patty, when eaten on its own was delicious and juicy, however with nothing to absorb and trap the flavour in, just ended up adding to the mess.”
“The patty was cooked OK however it did taste a bit garlicky for my liking, but with the ever so creamy combination of Jack cheese and mayo it quickly regained points in my book. Looking at all the other burgers my burger comrades ordered it seemed that the kitchen was having an inconsistent night. As much as I liked the bun I really could have done with less bread in my diet that day. Rather than including the greens in my burger and just saved them later for a fresher-upped for the palette.”
“On paper this was right up my alley. It came out deconstructed and I wasn’t sure what for: pure laziness or they wanted to add as much greenery as you like. I went for none of that. There were great hints of creaminess and plenty of crunch from the crusty kaiser. It was hard to tell where it was actually coming from but garlic was apparent all around this burger. It was great. Not over powering or anything, it just lingered around. The patty was soft and salty and the chipotle aoili rounded out each bite with some spice. The pickled onions also provided a nice tang and I’m glad weren’t of the Zuni variety for a change. I think I really liked this burger. I reckon 21 bucks was a smidge steep though (mainly because of lack of chips).”
Big Mouth on Urbanspoon


Racks Ribs Co

Friday, August 8, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-RacksRibsCo

Racks Ribs Co – 680A Glen Huntly Road, Caulfield South, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Racks Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$12
Summary

Located in South Eastern suburbia this little cosy, woodgrain-walled shop greets you with friendly staff and the tantalising smell of BBQ. With mouth-watering menu options of delicious meat cuts cooked BBQ style, you can’t help go home still smelling like a cook-out. Their busy nights are Friday and Saturday so we recommend you get there early and be prepared to come back again to try all the assortments of “fall-off-the-bone” meats they have on offer. We went for their famous “Racks Burger” served on a brioche bun with a basted 180g pattie, mix lettuce, tomato, sliced cheese and Racks sauce.

Comments
“As we were the only one’s in here (and it’s quite a compact little shop), I could see how much care and attention the chef was putting into each burger. Which is why I was amazed when he opened a fresh bag of buns, then burnt one on the grill, turned to the girl working with him and muttered something along the lines of “oh crap, I burnt that one” and then continued to serve it to me. My dining companions seemed to be enjoying theirs, however it was pretty hard to accurately assess its flavour and texture when it felt like biting into a charcoal briquette.”
“I really enjoyed the whole experience; the service was friendly, the shop smelled of BBQ and was warm and cosy for a winters day. The burger itself was OK, but nothing in the burger really popped up for me with the exception of the delicious Racks sauce glaze. What really sets this place apart for me is entertaining the thought of sharing a rack of ribs with a group of friends then moving onto the burger. I did pay an additional $3 for the chips which I think was a no brainer; no meal is complete without chips.”
“As soon as the burgers went on the grill the smell of nice charred meat was in the air. It was a lovely looking burger although before I bit in I was a little worried the patty might be a little too far on the dark side. Yes, it was crunchy on the outer, but ended up being so soft on the inner. It was really well-balanced and had notes of sticky sweetness from the base sauce, sort of reminding me of a Big Mac Sauce. It was an all around solid burger but I wish it had a little more cheese and maybe even a pickle on the side to finish off the meal.”
Racks Ribs Co. on Urbanspoon