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 

Monday, November 9, 2009

The 3rd Stop

The 3rd Stop is a great place to hang out with friends and meet new people.  It's a laid back environment with a friendly staff and a huge selection of micro-brewed beers.  Much to my surprise, The 3rd Stop has one of the best burgers in the LA area as well - the Kobe Burger.

The Kobe Burger is served on a warm egg bun with provolone cheese, arugula, and a secret sauce.  Additional side sauces can be ordered.  The sandwich comes with a side of salty fries and I highly recommend trying some of the available beers - there are dozens to choose from - as well as the Nutella Pizza for dessert.


My favorite features of the Kobe Burger are the tenderness of the meat, and the flavor of the bun.  The cheese offered almost no enhancement to the flavor or texture, and that was my greatest disappointment.  The addition of some of the optional sauces is key.  Pick one or two that fit your taste and start dipping or spreading.

Presentation: The burger is brought to you in classic deli form, with a large toothpick to keep things together.  This category didn't stand out, but we were sitting outside with dim lighting, so the key for this rating is going to come from the other measurements.

Taste: With the sweet chili sauce this burger competes with the best of them for taste.  Standard, the sandwich is lacking in this field.

Quality: Probably as good as it can get.  The quality of meat is superb and the bun seems to be home-made.

Variation of ingredients: The fact that you can choose from a multitude of sauces sets this burger apart from many others.  It allows you to pick your favorite flavors and mix and match.

Burger Eater's Rating:  9