Los Angeles Burger Blog

Researching alternatives

Posted in Uncategorized by justjoe78 on January 18, 2010

I’ve been hitting the not-so-healthy foods as of late and hit a staggering weight on the scale yesterday. So, I’ll be checking out some less fatty alternatives over the next few months.

My goal for the new year was to lose 30 pounds. I stepped on the scale yesterday and the goal suddenly became 40 pounds.

I want to keep burgers in the diet, but will probably be opting for side salads and lettuce wraps.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Posted in Reviews by justjoe78 on January 10, 2010

I promise that I will get some non-chain articles in here soon..

Yesterday, I had the desire to do two things: take a long scooter ride and enjoy a delicious burger. Accomplished both.

Five Guys is a VERY, VERY popular QSR in the Washington, DC area that has recently started selling franchises and expanding nationwide. And if I had the seed money to open one myself I would do it in a heartbeat. In the meantime I will travel the 30 or so miles to the closest one. I had the luck of living in the DC area for a while and enjoyed many a burger at one of President Obama’s favorite burger joints.

Upon entering any Five Guys location you will encounter a sea of white and red tiles. Above the tiles are laminated copies of magazine articles and reviews stapled to the wall. Above those are corrugated plastic signs touting their various achievements. One of the articles describes a Five Guys location as having “the ambience of a restaurant bathroom”. Accurate depiction, but we are talking about high quality at a low price. Some of the older locations in northern Virginia are take-out only, but most of the newer ones have seating.

The menu is very basic. Burgers, fries, hot dogs, and a vegetarian “option”. A burger is actually a double, and the “little burger” is a single. The burger patties are close to 1/4lb each so the “Burger” is 1/2lb. You can add any of the listed toppings free of charge. Fries are a different story. There are two varieties of fries: “Five Guys Style” and “Cajun”. A board in the restaurant tells you where the potatoes for the day are from. They are fresh-cut and cooked in peanut oil to order. I’ll explain how they are served in a bit when I talk about presentation.

Upon ordering, the average wait for food is about 5-10 minutes since it is all cooked to order. While you wait, feel free to enjoy the peanuts that are in big boxes around the restaurant. Sadly, with the peanut oil and the open boxes of peanuts all around FG is not friendly to those with severe peanut allergies. They’re aware, but have no intention of changing this. Ketchup and salt vinegar are available for those who want it and Coke products are proudly served, usually with free refills (depends on location).

All Five Guys meals are served the same way: in a brown paper bag with the burger wrapped in foil and a cup of fries plus more fries dumped in the bag. No trays. My ritual involves ripping the bag open to create a tray, unwrapping the burger and using the foil to dump the ketchup on. They do have cups available for the ketchup, but I look weird with 17 cups of ketchup on the table. The fries are served in a cup (used to be styrofoam, now paper) and are available in two sizes. The “regular” easily can serve two and the “large” is just plain excessive unless there are three or more in your party. Again, the “large” is an insane amount of fries.

All burgers are cooked well-done for health code and efficiency reasons. Since Five Guys prides themselves on offering fresh food, it is imperative to eat it as soon as possible. Yesterday I had what I would call the “perfect” Five Guys burger: fresh off the grill, bun not smushed by the foil being too tight, and just the right amount of ketchup and mustard.

Right now the only LA area locations are Carson and Cerritos. Sadly neither are close to me, but as I said before I will go the distance for these burgers.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
South Bay Pavillion
20700 Avalon Blvd
Carson, CA 90746

And today, I discuss Red Cat

Posted in Reviews by justjoe78 on November 26, 2009

For starters, Red Cat is not a burger, nor is it a sandwich of any sort. Red Cat is a wine. A delicious, delicious wine.

My first exposure to Red Cat was a few years ago when I lived in the Finger Lakes region in New York. The Finger Lakes are known for their wineries and are quite popular up and down the eastern seaboard. Finding any in Los Angeles is a challenge. Let me tell you about the wine, then tell you how I went about acquiring some.

Red Cat is produced by Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards in Hector, NY. Hector is a SMALL town along the eastern shore of Seneca Lake. If memory serves me if you blink you will miss it.

From the website: “Red Catawba and Baco Noir make this semi-sweet red an irresistable compliment to pizza, burgers, wings or a hot tub.”

The wine is a bright red and comes in a clear bottle to let that color shine through. To me, it has a nice but not too sweet taste. It is best served with comfort foods. It does not pair well with pastas or a nice steak. It does complement your Double Double or whatever you have picked up. C’mon, the label has a cartoon cat in a hot tub.

The winery will not direct ship to California, (Other NYS wineries do, by the way) so my only other recourse was to make the journey from the San Fernando Valley to Tustin and visit Total Wine.

I’ve long been a proponent of mass transit, and I saw that Total Wine was along a bus route accessible by Metrolink so I chose to depart from the Van Nuys train station for the voyage to Tustin. The train was running way behind due to a disabled Amtrak train further up the line. This pushed my whole timetable off. I had hoped to make a round trip via Metrolink since it is the most direct transit route. Ends up that with the delay I missed the last train back to LA. That meant a bus trip from Tustin all the way back to downtown LA and then the Red Line back to the SFV. Yeah. Thrilling to say the least.

My time at Total Wine was short. I knew what I was looking for, and it was right there on the shelf waiting for me. I had hoped to pick up some other Finger Lakes wines, but that was just a little too much to ask for. Took my three bottles of Red Cat to the register, gave the cashier a little story about how I used to live near the winery and how it is just impossible to get out here and I came from the Valley to get it. He seemed impressed.

Had some time to kill thanks to me missing the last train so I had my first McRib of the year. Haven’t had one of those in a long time. Review pending.

My travels back took me past several places I have not been to yet. I now know where Disneyland is. I’ve only been out here a year and haven’t been there yet. I’m more of a Walt Disney World type of person.

All-in-all, it took about nine hours to aquire $24 worth of wine. Worth it? Yes. Will I take mass transit again to get it? Probably not. Will I ask BevMo if they will order it? Yes.

Should you try Red Cat? Hey, I don’t review wines. Don’t take my word for it.

McRib is coming back!

Posted in Uncategorized by justjoe78 on November 16, 2009

I know it isn’t a burger per se, but the McRib sandwich is coming back to McDonald’s on November 30th. Through my Twitter account (@laburgerblog) I did receive the confirmation from an official McDonald’s twitter acct (@mcdonalds_socal). I can’t wait.

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BOCA Burger @ Home

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized by justjoe78 on November 11, 2009

BOCA Burger

I was feeling hungry tonight, and instead of my trying to cook something (you don’t want to see that happen) or head out to pick up some food I chose to cook up a BOCA Burger.

There is usally a pack of BOCA Original Vegan patties sitting in the freezer for the times when dinner prep seems like a major undertaking.  They are really low fat (less than 1g) and a good source of protein and iron.

Being a lifelong meat eater I hadn’t even considered putting a BOCA burger anywhere near my mouth until a few years ago.  However, since I was introduced to them I can’t say that they haven’t grown on me a little bit.

BOCA burgers can be prepared several ways (grill, skillet, or microwave) and are probably served best on a bun.  I’m not vegan and I have no plans on becoming one so topping choices are wide open. 

Today’s BOCA burger was microwaved (for convenience) and served on a bun with bleu cheese and ketchup.

BOCA Burger

Today's BOCA Burger w/Bleu Cheese

Since I’ve already been through half of the current box, I guess it is a repeat item.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that everyone should keep some in their freezer for a quick and nutritious entree.

BOCA Foods Company
PO Box 8995
Madison, WI 53708

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Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized by justjoe78 on November 11, 2009

Just a quick intro.  I was sitting in a Coffee Bean recently and wondered what I could blog about.  I’m not a foodie in any sort of way, but I do love me a nice cheeseburger and some fries.  My arteries don’t agree with this, but I only have one life.

I’m sure that I can draw a few readers out of the fellow burger lovers here in Southern California.  I’ve eaten at several places already but I will do my best to make fresh visits so I can give all of you an idea of what makes this burgerholic tick.  I’ll be headed to QSRs (Carl’s Jr., In-N-Out, etc…) and traditional restaurants.

If you have any suggestions for places for me to try (I’m still new to LA), feel free to leave me a comment.

Bon Appetit

“The Big Carl” from Carl’s Jr.

Posted in Carl's Jr., Reviews by justjoe78 on November 10, 2009

I discovered Carl’s Jr. a little more than a year ago when I moved to California.  Prior to moving I had only been in one Hardee’s restaurant about 90 minutes away from where I grew up.  This particular Carl’s Jr is within walking distance of my house.

I have been a huge proponent of the Big Carl since its debut.  I call it “elegance in simplicity”. It also happens to be the cheapest burger combo on the menu. ($1.99 for the burger, $4.39 for the combo.)

The Big Carl is pretty straightforward: two all-beef patties, lettuce, cheese, and special sauce on a sesame seed bun.  Personally, I substitute ketchup for the sauce but I do hear that the sauce is delicious.  The patties are the standard broiled patties we are used to seeing on the Famous Star and friends. A Six Dollar version would be nice, but at the same time excessive.

One minor issue with the burger.  In all of the print and TV advertising it is pictured with a leafier lettuce that holds together better.  I have only seen it served with iceberg lettuce.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with iceberg but it does throw off the symmetry a little bit.

Served today with fries and a Diet Coke.  Carl’s Jr. makes some decent fries.  Natural cut and also criss-cut.  They suit my palate just fine, but I’m not here to critique the fries.

A few items for my Carl’s Jr. wishlist:

  • Offer a ketchup pump/bottles in the dining room.  I like ketchup on my fries but I don’t like opening packets.  There is a can of Heinz Ketchup with a pump attached sitting on my kitchen counter.
  • Faster dining room service.  Tonight I got my food in about three minutes but there have been days where I have had to wait close to ten.  This does vary between franchisees, though.

I’m not big into giving ratings, but if you want my opinion this is one burger worth stopping in for.

Carl’s Jr.
7649 Van Nuys Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91405


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Likes and dislikes

Posted in Uncategorized by justjoe78 on November 10, 2009

I’ve never been really big into exotic toppings on my burgers. I tend to keep things simple: meat, cheese, condiments. I have never put mayonnaise or onions on anything and I have no plans to do so in the future. Recently, I have experimented with a variety of cheeses primarily because I eat Boca burgers at home and need something to add a little flavor. I won’t touch many of the “secret” sauces that are offered with many burgers simply because they are mayo based. (In-N-Out: I’m sure the spread is delicious. It’s not you, it’s me.)

So, what do I put on my burgers?
-Meat (burger patty)
-Cheese (traditionally American, but I’m open)
-Pickles (depends on the restaurant)
-Meat toppings (bacon and such)
-Ketchup/BBQ sauce
-Mustard (depends on the mood and restaurant)

For those of you out there who say there is no place for ketchup on a burger I implore you to reconsider.

Happy eating!

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