Archive for Tag ‘bacon burger‘

Johnny Memphis’ Smokehouse Barbecue – Manhattan Beach, CA

Johnny Memphis' Smokehouse Barbecue

Well this was a surprise. I spent 4th of July weekend in LA, and I have built up a decent selection of burger places to try out there. We ended up being rather busy the whole time and never made it to any of those places, but I still got a burger in. After a long and almost stupidly-hot day somewhere in “the valley” (my LA geography is terrible) we wanted to grab some food on the way back. Johnny Memphis’ Smokehouse Barbecue was mentioned, and thankfully the whole car agreed.

I hadn’t heard about this place before, and it was a typical strip mall location. It has somewhat recently changed names and ownership. Not being a local I am unsure if there were menu changes or just behind the scenes stuff, and their website is absolutely of no help (I really need to push my web design services to all these restaurants, but that is a whole other story). Anyhow, this place is totally non-assuming from the outside. I have no judgement over being in a strip mall, as I have had great and terrible burgers in terrible and great looking places.

Johnny Memphis' Smokehouse Barbecue

The menu is large, and has a good variety. They offer 6 burgers, which seems like a lot for a BBQ smokehouse. They have plenty of other meaty goodness, and the giant stuffed potato and pulled chicken sandwich my girlfriend and her sister ordered also looked great. A little something for everyone, which isn’t always the case at a place like this.

BBQ Bacon Burger at Johnny Memphis' Smokehouse Barbecue

Obviously I went with the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger. Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Onion Rings, Sharp Cheddar and Barbecue Sauce. I am capitalizing these words because they are all important. This was one hell of a burger. $8.99 and it came with seasoned shoestring fries. 4 items on a bun, and nothing more could be needed. Where do you even start when breaking this burger down? It requires some serious smashing if you are trying to go bun to bun on your first bite, but you will be doing yourself a favor if you can manage the complete bite. They have house-made bbq sauce in two varieties, and it is great. Real sweet style barbecue sauce, and you can really taste the honey. Even in the pictures you can see how strong a base honey is in the sauce. My mouth is literally watering thinking about it. Not in the cute writery sense, but am I actually wondering why I didn’t smuggle a few containers of it back on my plane.
Ok, so a delicious barbecue sauce does not an amazing burger make. But that onion ring. It was a beautiful thing. I have never had a better onion ring on a burger. At one point, I thought there was some cornbread involved (which I later may be experimenting with in a segment possibly titled “Failures in my Kitchen” or “How I Lost Everything in the Fire”). The batter is just absolutely stellar. And that ring was massive, and covered just about every bite of the burger. Success. The bacon offered its own hint of unique flavor too, and though it was much more subtle it was another reason this was so good. A blt with that barbecue sauce would make a killer sandwich on its own, that is if you ended up there for breakfast.

BBQ Bacon Burger at Johnny Memphis' Smokehouse Barbecue

The patty here is large and mine was cooked just right. And while it was large, it had the perfect thickness to surface area ratio. With the bacon and onion ring on top, you definitely want a lot of area, and it delivers. This was a messy burger, but the meat was nice and juicy without sogging up the bun or getting everywhere. I thankfully was only covered in sauce and not grease. It reached a point where I was dipping fries on my hands, but what more could you ask for from a bbq sauce claiming to have the best sauce west of the Mississippi (I think they have a chance)? The bun was nice and airy, and complemented the rest of the burger well. Nothing out of the ordinary, but definitely tasty.

This was a total surprise for me. We stopped here so randomly, and it’s now a go to place whenever I head back into LA. I haven’t had a western barbecue bacon onion-ringed burger this good in a very long time. If you are anywhere nearby I highly recommend you go!

Rating:
★★★★½

Johnny Memphis’ Smokehouse Barbecue
http://jmsbbq.com
3564 N Sepulveda Blvd,
Manhattan Beach CA 90266

Burger Meister – Cole Valley

After going to a few bike shops with a friend, we looked up places nearby to eat, and realized we were two blocks away from Burger Meister in Cole Valley. I didn’t even know they had a location there, but I have been to their other two in the city a few times. The Cole Valley location is the most tucked away of the group, and they have a handful of tables inside and outside.

Burgermeister - Cole Valley, San Francisco

From my previous few trips, I had the notion that they lean on the expensive side for a typical burger joint. After my last visit I think their prices are fairly standard, though the sides and add-ons are where the cost will creep up on you. They use all Niman Ranch beef, so the quality is definitely there. I ordered the Western Burger, which for a 1/3 pound burger is $10.25 including a side of fries. I believe the 1/3 pound option is relatively new, and does help make the price more reasonable. A standard 1/3lb cheeseburger and fries is $7.75. Sides of sweet potato fries, onion rings and the like are from 4-5.25 dollars.

Burgermeister - Western Burger

Somehow on this visit I managed to escape the wrath of my BBQ sauce, but my friend was subsequently drenched from his Meisterburger. I am a staunch believer in that once you pick your burger up, you never set it down again, and I am usually not so lucky. These are all messy burgers, usually at least a 3 napkiner.

The western burger is a solid burger. The bbq sauce is nice and sweet, the onion rings are massive and perfectly crisp, and the bacon and cheese tied it all together. No soggy bacon here. The burger is thin and wide, giving enough surface area for their variety of toppings, which is one of the main reasons Burger Meister is so good.

There are no complaints here, the 1/3 lb burger and curly fries filled me up just fine. Everything tastes real good consistently, making it a great go-to restaurant. Nothing too memorable, but you’d have a very hard time being let down here, as they have something for everyone.

Rating:
★★★★☆
Burger Meister's Twitter
Burger Meister's Facebook Page
http://www.burgermeistersf.com/

(zoom out for all locations)

Zazie – Cole Valley, San Francisco

Zazie is a romantic little French restaurant that gets very little ink for just how good it is. Every dish has been delicious (I’ve heard, as I only order one thing, save for the surprise Prix Fixe menu on Valentine’s Day). Zazie is perfect for a special occasion; the atmosphere is really great inside, which you will almost never hear me talk about, but for a nice place it lacks the snobbishness of many others. Every meal starts with an incredibly fresh and hot roll, which is far too small for how delicious it is. This roll was definitely a precursor of what was to come. And to end the meal they have some insanely decadent desserts. My favorite is the chocolate-coma inducing Baked Chocolat Chaud, which tastes almost like brownie batter topped with tons of melted marshmallows. Absolutely delicious.

But none of that matters here. What is important is that Zazie is hands down the best place to take your significant other for a special occasion/romantic dinner, and still have one of the best burgers you can get your hands on. They offer one burger, the Zazie burger, with white cheddar, tomatoes proven├žals, and a side of grilled potatoes. I don’t know what tomatoes proven├žals are, so they are swept off to the girlfriends plate. The bacon for a $2 additional charge is well worth it, and brings the total for this bad boy to $14.

Zazie Burger

The whole time you wait for your burger, all you can do is think about that tiny roll they served you early on. I think the service is reasonably quick, but after eating that little roll the only thing running through my head is how I could probably eat about 20 more, or if the people at the table next to me won’t be looking when the waitress drops off their rolls. Time seems to just crawl, which is just about all I can do after eating the burger and then the dessert. Finally the burger arrives, and it delivers. The bun is just as good as that little roll, buttery and crisp on the outside. White cheddar has been popping up more often lately, and it is a trend I like (hopefully it becomes the next pomegranate or avocado or sweet potato fries). The white cheddar and bacon, again a crucial addition, are a stellar combination. It’s obvious Zazie takes pride in what they serve, and both the cheese and bacon are rich and flavorful. The bacon is crispy enough where you won’t have to worry about pulling the rest of it out when you first bite into it, which as we all

know can throw off the whole balance of a burger. Surprisingly, the fancy leafy greens on top also compliment the burger very well.

Zazie Burger

This has to be one of the most well-balanced and refined burgers out there, while still being a true burger. I didn’t know this burger existed when I went to Zazie for the first time, and was expecting to have to eat something way too “fancy” where I’d just end up pushing about half the plate to the side. Instead I was absolutely blown away by this burger. Wouldn’t matter if this was from a burger shack, a trailer, or the fanciest restaurant, this is a top 5 burger all the way. Add in the killer dessert, and the fact that you can impress your date there, who will be more than happy with their menu whatever their taste may be, and you’ve got one of best experiences for any burger lover.

If this burger were any cheaper, I’d be there twice a month for sure.

Rating:
★★★★★
Zazie Restaurant's Twitter
Zazie Restaurant's Facebook Page
http://www.zaziesf.com

941 Cole Street, SF
415-564-5332

Fiveten Burger Truck

As we all know by now, the newest culinary craze, especially in San Francisco and other big cities, is food trucks. Just about anyone who writes has exhausted this topic, but I have been pretty excited to have them show up a few times a week within walking distance from my work. Without a fresh cycle of trucks though, I’ve gotten bored of them just like the nearby restaurants, but the more options the better.

Then, everything changed.

Menu at 510 Burgers

I heard of a burger truck that would be somewhere in the Financial district. A good 20+ minute walk for me, but there is a severe shortage of decent burgers around my work. I hustled on over to a makeshift food truck get-together, as I’ve never heard of them being there before or after this visit. And there a good size line awaited me. All in all I waited about an hour to order and receive my burger, a fiveten burger with bacon ($7.50). But was it worth it!

510 Burger

I devoured it on the way back to the office, and I believe this was the first time I’ve ever been burned by a burger. Be warned, these are very juicy burgers, and should be eaten immediately, or unwrapped before you transport them. My only complaint is that the juiciness can make your bun soggy quickly if you leave it all wrapped up. And that is rather problematic, seeing as these are some of the best buns I’ve had. They are sweet, fluffy, and flaky, on par with the gourmet Zazie burger (who make some of the best rolls in town). Apparently they are custom buns baked fresh locally at north beach bakery co, which I now need to visit.

As mentioned, the patties are juicy and flavorful. Every aspect of the burger compliments each other, and nothing is too overpowering, including the bacon. It is all extremely well balanced. It’s a pretty averaged sized patty at 60z, so it’s definitely good for lunch. A side of the garlic fries will fill you up, and from what I’ve seen they are generous with their portions. Not a big fan of garlic fries or putting my coworkers through its ill-effects so I have held off on them for now, and always end up being full afterwards anyway.

The rest of their menu looks pretty good even though I probably won’t touch it. Chicken, steak, sausage, or truffle-scented grilled cheese sandwiches for those not feeling like a burger (i.e. girlfriends). They also offer a grassfed organic burger for $8.75 that I have yet to pony up for. They are Oakland based, and seem to rotate between Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville and SF.

I’ve trekked to fiveten 3 times now, and I’ve been very satisfied every time. This is the best burger in downtown San Francisco, yet sadly it is only around once a week. You will be hard pressed to find a better burger, especially at the price.

Rating:
★★★★½

Find and follow Fiveten Burger on twitter and facebook to find out their current schedule.

510 Burger Twitter
510 Burger Facebook Page