Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chicago Burgers

(I'll get the experimental stuff out of the way first)  Although it's a stated "rule" that any restaurant with a Drive-Thru will not be rated, I'm making this exception simply because... it's White Castle.  So many people in LA have only seen the freezer-section-of-their-grocery-store version of this burger, so I figured, "why not give it a Burger Eater's Rating?"

(standard) pickles & onions

Presentation: For a fast-food burger, the Slider is pretty cool.  It comes in a little box (pictured below).  The box also serves to keep the burger warm.

Taste: Boring. The pickles and onions are basically what your tasting.

Quality: Poor

Variation of ingredients: Even for a fast-food restaurant, the variation here is lacking. Granted, it's a slider not a burger, so this sandwich is really small.

The Burger Eater's Rating: 3  (on a scale of what I would rate other fast-food burgers)

The real rating here is for Fox & Obel's char-grilled cheeseburger, (www.fox-obel.com).  Fox & Obel is a high-end market in downtown Chicago.  They sell some of the best meats and cheeses I've seen in one place.  Think Dean & Deluca.  At the back of Fox & Obel is a cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Every time I go to Chicago I will eat here.  The atmosphere and quality are great.


lettuce, tomato, red onion, white cheddar

Presentation: Pretty standard.  Served with fries on a white dinner plate.  The bun is the most attractive item on the place.

Taste: I'm not the biggest fan of iceberg lettuce on a burger.  It waters down too much of the flavor in the meat and sauces (there are no sauces on this burger).  I added some ketchup knowing the sandwich would be a little dry.   The white cheddar was subtle.

Quality: The quality of the meat was amazing.  It was well prepared (medium-rare) and was juicy and tender.  The bun was really fresh and warmed.  I can't speak much to the quality of the toppings since they didn't add much flavor.

Variation of ingredients: I would have liked some arugula or romaine instead of iceberg lettuce and a sauce of some kind.

The Burger Eater's Rating: 7

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


This December I had the privilege of reviewing some sandwiches in  Australia...

First off, let me say that Australians, as a rule, have a tendency to OVERCOOK all of their meat.  It's very difficult to enjoy a sandwich like this since the flavor in the patty is lost and the sandwich in general is more coarse. 

Nonetheless, when the burgers are made right, they are comparable to the best out there.


Hayman Island - Hotel burger - All beef patty, bacon, tomatoe, lettuce, caramelized onion sauce, on an onion bun.

This was a great burger to start off with.  The meat was tender and the flavors were great.

Presentation: This is how all hotel burgers should be served (don't get me wrong, some of my favorite burgers come from hotel kitchens).  This one really looks like it's come out of a commercial... but the picture above is an unphotoshopped imge of what was actually brought out. Big points here.

Taste: The bacon carried most of this sandwich's flavor.  The onion bun was a nice touch as well. Not a whole lot of kick from the patty since it was well-done (I ordered medium).

Quality: This burger was clearly a solid winner in terms of quality.  All of the ingredients had an organic, pure flavor and texture.

Variation of ingredients: Aside from the bun, the ingredients were pretty standard.  A little cheese never hurts... Especially when the meat is overcooked. I quickly learned that this was my American bias towards how meat should be cooked and served.

The Burger Eater's Rating: 8

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Stout has an awesome selection of burgers and micro-brews from around Southern California. Truly an impressive location and hang-out environment for any night of the week.

Whenever there's a huge selection of burgers it's sometimes overwhelming.  In some cases, if we're tasting with a large enough group, we'll order a few different sandwiches and split everything.  I came here with one other Burger Eater and we ended up eying the same thing: the Shu Burger.

chipotle sauce, light bell pepper, and pepper jack cheese
(I love spicy)

Presentation: Stout likes to keep it simple, and I like that.  No frills with the delivery, which basically means you get exactly what you want. If you're expecting fries, don't.  You'll have to order those separately.

Taste: Strong but not overwhelming spiciness. If you're looking for a classic burger go elsewhere. The cheese and sauces compliment each other nicely, but this detracts a bit from the taste of the meat.

Quality: Ingredients were of a decent quality. Nothing fancy or sub-par. I'd say it's slightly above the average quality level of most burgers, especially in the under $10 price range.

Variation of ingredients: This is the kicker... They have so many different combinations of exotic ingredients on the menu that deciding which burger to get was the most difficult eating decision I've made in a while. Bravo!

The Burger Eater's Rating: 9.5

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Taste's 8 ounce kobe beef cheese burger comes close to a big win, but falls short.

Ingredients: Onion Jam, Organic Arugula, Tomato, Sesame Bun,
Choice of Gorgonzola, Aged White Cheddar, Goat Cheese

The burger I'll be reviewing includes aged white cheddar.

Presentation: the Kobe burger comes stacked reasonably high with a side of shaved fried potatoes.  The fries drew most of my attention, but the burger looked amazing.

Taste: Most of the flavor cam from the onion jam but the dry, heavy bun diffused most of the other tastes.

Quality: All ingredients were fresh. The meat quality was practically as good as it gets - very tender, and juicy.

Variation of ingredients: Besides the bun, the burger is comprised of the same basic ingredients as the Father's Office Burger.  However, this burger falls short on taste and is nearly twice as expensive.

Burger Eater's Rating: 7.5

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Houston's is one of my favorite places for French Dip. It's a great chain of restaurants that serves American classic food. Until last night I hadn't tried the burger, but it came so highly recommended by readers that I had to bring it to the top of the list.

Houston's offers three different burgers - The Cheeseburger, The California Burger, and The Hickory Burger.

I'll be reviewing The Cheeseburger and The California Burger.

The Cheeseburger:

 Fresh-ground chuck with Cheddar, tomato, lettuce and onion on a house-made bun

This sandwich represents the American classic cheeseburger.  If your looking for an all-around tasty, no frills burger this may very well be your best option (in the LA area).

Presentation: Served open-face, The Cheeseburger displays all of its fresh ingredients.

Taste: the charbroiled patty basically melts in your mouth. All the flavors just seem to make sense. There's nothing surprising or outrageous.

Quality: you get what you pay for with this one. For 15 smackers you get a great quality cheeseburger.

Variation of ingredients: Romain lettuce may have been a better chTasoice over iceberg. Again, with a classic like this it's hard to go wrong.

Burger Eater's Rating: 8

The California Burger:

Fresh-ground chuck with melted jack, avocado, arugula and red onion

Presentation: The California Burger is also served open-face. It appeared a bit thrown-together, especially how the avocado just rested there in attached slices.

Taste: If you like avocado, you will love this burger. It's not an overwhelming ingredient but it very nicely compliments the melted jack and the tenderness of the meat.

Quality: The ingredients in this burger are the same caliber of The Cheeseburger.  The homemade bun tastes great.

Variation of ingredients:  This sandwich really does encapsulate some of the essence of So Cal taste - a bit spicy with some avocado to balance extremities.

Burger Eater's Rating: 8.5

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kogi burger = Pacman

 Kogi is a chain of mobile/catering-truck restaurants in So Cal. They primarily serve Korean style Mexican food like tacos and burritos. This week Kogi is offering the Pacman - a burger based on some of the core ingredients featured in their other offered items.

Warning: the truck line can cost you up to 2 hours of time. It took 90 minutes for this one...

Two different salsas, beef, chicken, pork,  sesame mayo,  lettuce, and jack and cheddar cheeses

Presentation: Pacman is presented in the shape of our favorite round and yellow video game character.  It's playful and also gives a sneak peak of the ingredients.

Taste: the flavors in Pacman are unique. From start to finish each bite has it's own unique taste. Sometimes you'll get a spicy bite, sometimes sweet.  I've never had a burger that tasted quite like this one.

Quality: Not impressed with the quality in Pacman but when you're ordering a burger from a truck there's not much you should be expecting.  I wasn't looking for gourmet ingredients... just a tasty burger. I would have liked a better quality bun. It tasted like store-bought sesame... very generic, bland, and dry.

Variation of ingredients: a clear winner in this category.  Pacman offers a mixture of Mexican, Asian, and American ingredients for a creative concoction.

Burger Eater's Rating: 8.5

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Counter

The Counter is a 22 store international franchise based out of LA county.  They're becoming well known for their custom burgers.  The concept at The Counter is to build your own burger to taste from the following listing of ingredients:

This review is of a 2/3 lb. beef burger, with Tillamook Cheddar, grilled onions, honey cured bacon, peppercorn steak sauce, on a regular hamburger bun.

At first glance the burger is intimidating.  It's stacked high with the add-ons.  It becomes immediately obvious that the sandwich is not going to be easy to eat.  In fact, it's probably the hardest burger to keep from falling apart while eating. 

Presentation: The massive stack is cool looking. However, this approach can easily become overkill. I saw several burgers in the restaurant that measured close to a foot high... That's just ridiculous.  It's going to lose points due to the fact that it kept falling apart and out of my hands.  If I wanted to eat cut up pieces of a sandwich I would have gone to Costco for some free samples. 

Taste: The sandwich as a whole tasted great.  The cheese was tasty, the meat was tender, the steaksauce was awesome.  The bacon and grilled onions were pretty standard.

Quality: High quality ingredients all around. I was impressed.

Variation of ingredients: Obviously this place is a winner in this field.  I've never seen so many options.  If you think about it, there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of burgers that can be created from the available ingredients.

Note: They need different bun sizes scaled for different amounts of toppings and different patty weights.  If the bun was larger this would have scored a higher rating.  I recommend sticking with a small patty if you like eating with your hands.

Burger Eater's Rating:  7.5