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Burger Smith
Aug 28th, 2012 by Joemoney

2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 10
(2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 10)
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Burger Smith
www.burgersmith.com

To the Smithy –

I love the food in Louisiana and I am not alone. Lafayette, Louisiana was named Southern Livings Tastiest Town for 2012. From this tasty town has risen a new entrant in to the burger world, Burger Smith. Operating under the mantra of doing one thing and doing it well, Burger Smith makes the claim that making burgers is a craft and those who venture to pursue it are in fact “smiths”. Not coincidentally, this conjures up in my mind a blacksmith forging and shaping, which happens to be their logo.

Fortunately for the burger lover from Baton Rouge (ie. Me), a Burger Smith opened up shop not far from Louisiana State University campus.  On a recent visit home we headed out to try these crafted burgers for ourselves.Burger Smith is located in an old retail area that is being rebuilt after a fire at the old restaurant and bar The Caterie burned it down. Tucked in on the first floor, the small entry way hides that cavernous space inside. We arrived at 12:30 on a Thursday, prime lunch time, and the place was pretty full. We were shown a table in the back and to the left which turned out to be a very spacious bar area. With menus in hand were now equipped to choose the form of craftsmanship that would shape our opinion of these smiths.

 

Hello, Mr Anderson –

The menu touts fresh ingredients, fresh baked buns, hand crafting, and a special blend of signature beef to create an “authentic” burger. An interesting note is that after trying 29 different blends of beef, they settled on a blend using beef from Chicago which is known, according to them, for “quality and fanciness”. I’m all for quality and fancy beef but Chicago seems pretty far away when Texas is your next door neighbor. Anyway, I easily settled on the Smith Burger with cheese and added all of the ‘complimentary toppings’ with the additional ‘premium choice’ of an organic fried egg (of course). We also ordered a large fry for the table and fried okra just because I love fried okra! The wait was about 10 minutes which was more than reasonable for how busy they were. I was pretty hungry when our order arrived.

Right of the bat, the okra won my heart. I love fried okra, even frozen, but fortunately for me this seemed to be freshly made. It came with a creamy dipping sauce, but I’m more a of ketchup guy. The burger, however, garnered a lesser amount of my enthusiasm. Visually, the proportions were a little off. The veggies were vivid which was indicative of their freshness. The bun was fresh baked but was dominating the rest of the burger. The hand-formed patty was a tad undersized for the rest of the package. The first bite left a little to be desired. The flavor of the beef was forefront. It was seared nicely, juicy, and fresh but it lacked seasoning and fatiness. It was too lean and the scant amount of cheese was not sufficient to add the unctuousness you expect from a good burger.  The veggies tasted as fresh as they looked. The Smith burger claimed to be ‘Seasoned with spices and Smith Sauce for Louisiana flavor’ but none of this flavor was present. All I tasted was beef, fresh but unseasoned, and veggies. The fries were fresh cut and cooked crispy and made a nice addition to the okra as a side.

The Wrap It Up –

Louisiana Food! I had high hopes for a burger chain originating from here and taking over the burger scene, a la Five Guys or Smash Burger. Sadly, these craftsman, these burger smiths, have made the mistake that freshness and quality automatically equals flavor. Perhaps this burger was an anomaly, perhaps the cook forgot to season my burger, perhaps in this instance, they put out a burger that was not meeting their burger vision. Unfortunately, this was all I had to go on and there are already good quality burgers to be had in Baton Rouge.  Some may not be using words like ‘organic’ and ‘fanciness’ and some might but in the end it is about flavor.

 

Curbside
Mar 30th, 2012 by Joemoney

2 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 10
(2 votes, average: 7.50 out of 10)
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Curbside
www.curbsidetruck.com
Check the website for locations

Curb Your Enthusiasm –

Perhaps it is the elusive nature of foodtrucks, or perhaps it is only my semi-recent awareness of great burgers, but somehow Curbside has just now popped up on my burger radar. After my recent visit to Baton Rouge and reviewing the high end burger offerings at Fat Cow, a friend recommended I try Curbside next time I was in town. This was same way I learned about what is currently one of my favorite burgers, and coincidentally also a burger truck (bus). Thanks to spring break schedules, I had a free week and would be back in town so my first goal was to try the Curb out.

On a particularly nice south Louisiana evening we decided to give it a try. Typical of food trucks, Curbside serves burgers at a different place every day and utilizes social media to keep the tech savvy crowd up to speed. There was  a food truck “round up” going on that night where Curbside and several other trucks with differing cuisines were gathered. We made our way out and found the round up. Without a doubt, Curbside was the most popular. While other trucks had between 5-10 people lined up, Curbside easily had 30 people just waiting to place an order. This was a good sign and I was kicking myself for seemingly being the last person to know about this.

Curb Appeal –

The line was moving surprisingly fast. The only thing really slowing it down was when they had to pass orders through the same window that they were taking them in. The menu was also surprisingly high end for burgers. This being only the second burger truck Burger Tyme, I was noticing a trend. Not having a fixed location apparently frees you to have gourmet, local ingredients like; fresh ground beef, house made pickles, praline (prah-leen for those who say it wrong) bacon, and their signature condiment – pork belly preserves. They explain it as pork belly cooked down with garlic, shallots, and some other things until it has a texture of marmalade (see photo below)…

Our turn to order came as I attempted to stop drooling. I ordered the K.G.B. burger which combined the praline bacon, pickles, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg (my weakness). “We’re out of eggs but we still have the bacon”, I was told… What a dilemma! Still thinking of candied meat I told her that was fine. My wife ordered the Brian burger which had the preserves on it. I was secretly very happy because I was going to have a bite of hers, although she did not know it yet. We rounded out the order with some fresh cut fries. We were given a number and the waiting began.As with all food truck dining, seating was at a premium, meaning there was none. Fortunately there was plenty of ground to sit on, so we grabbed a premium spot under an oak tree and watched as the line never seemed to get shorter. With impressive speed our number came closer and was finally called.

The first thing I noticed was the presence of an EGG! Either they were messing with me or they could see how sad I was and found one. Either way I was already happy. I was also impressed with the quality of the lettuce. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more vibrantly green and appetizing leaf, be it on a burger, salad, or anywhere! Visual inspections over I took a bite. WOW! This was a flavorful burger. While difficult to put in to words,the praline bacon added a tasty sweetness with an almost vanilla or coconut note. It was crunchier than regular bacon, almost to the point of being too hard, but very good. The patty had a weaker sear on it than I prefer but was seasoned well and added a nice beefy foundation to the overall flavor. I’m usually not a fan of cheddar on burgers merely because it doesn’t melt well but the rich nuttiness was a good match with everything else going on in the burger. I took a bite of my wife’s burger to try the preserves and it was as good as I was led to believe. When I think of preserves I think of sweet jam but this was savory and smoky. It was a nice condiment and I can see why they would put it on everything they sell. The fries were very good too, thin cut and cooked perfectly.

The Wrap It Up –

What is it about food trucks? Specifically burger trucks?! The food has been consistently better than most of their brick and mortar counterparts. Curbside was no exception. The scavenger hunt aspect of tracking down your meal combined with the  payoff at the end of delicious burger is what will keep me coming back. While there were few elements that I think could use a little refinement, a lot more about Curbside leads me to say that this is without a doubt one of my new favorite burgers in Baton Rouge! I just wish I had known sooner!

 

Fat Cow Burgers
Feb 1st, 2012 by Joemoney

2 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10
(2 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10)
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Fat Cow
www.fatcowburgers.com
4350 Highland Rd Ste B1
Baton Rouge, LA 70808 (map)

Pretty Hot and Tasty –

Back in Baton Rouge for the Holidays and there is news… Burger News! There is a “new” burger place near the south gates of my old alma mater, Louisiana State University, and they serve what I consider to be Baton Rouge’s first entry into the gourmet burger category, Fat Cow. When I asked a few friends about this place the response was always the same, “Good but a little pricey”. Well, let’s see; Fat Cow’s menu has all of the key words that would suggest to the discerning burger lover that their burgers are not typical to the straightforward burger traditions found in Baton Rouge so far. Duck fat fries, foie gras, gruyere, and red onion marmalade are all options on burgers at this place. No one loves a good gourmet burger and is more willing to pay for the privilege than me so on a cold and wet south Louisiana evening we headed out.

I managed to convince a my Burger Tyming wife and sister in law to join in and we made our way to Tigerland. Walking in Fat Cow you are faced by the large chalk board menu. There were way more salads than I anticipated for a burger joint, to the point that I was actually impressed. If I wasn’t there for the burger I might have tried one… might. Additionally there was an impressive assortment of creative milkshakes, many of which used creole cream cheese as a main ingredient! They had me at cheese… Being that it was around 8pm on a weeknight and the weather wasn’t particularly pleasant, there were quite a number of people enjoying bowl games and burgers. After mulling over what has to be the least expensive foie gras burger I have ever seen ($15?! every other gourmet burger joint seems to think it should be in the $30 range), we were ready to order.

Holy Cow –

I made my mind up on getting the Wentworth burger. It had a snobby kind of name with some snobby kind of ingredients that were right up my alley; black forest ham, arugula, slices of apple, red onion marmalade, brie for the cheese, all on a sweet bun. Mmmm mmmm! If that doesn’t sound good! I added the Fat Cow fries and a tiramisu milkshake. The ladies ordered a 120 burger to split which comes with bacon, gruyere cheese and caramelized onions.  The wait was about ten minutes and was easily passed watching the bustle behind the long counter. During this wait I noticed that the burgers here were flame grilled instead of fried which is not necessarily a bad thing. While we waited and had more time to consider our orders, my sister in law decided she had to have the chocolate and peanut butter malt.

With the extra shake ordered, our food began making its way over the counter. Served in what looked like a cookie sheet, my fancy pants burger and about three potatoes worth of fries began intimidating me. I took Wentworth with both hands and dug in. The bun was soft, substantial, and lightly toasted. It had a nice chew and a sweet quality but was slightly more bread than the whole burger needed. The patty had a nice texture but was overpowered by the odor of the brie and saltiness of the ham. While I was seduced by the list of ingredients on this burger, the combination provided for more of a thick sandwich experience rather than a burger with toppings. The fries were great! You could easily split this with four people. I sampled the 120 burger and the bacon, gruyere, and caramelized onions blended nicely with the salty, beefy patty. I have to admit, I was a little jealous.

Lastly, the shakes. My tiramisu shake was quite a jolt. It was beautiful with the lady finger and powdered coffee sprinkled on top. I don’t drink coffee so the shot of espresso in the bottom was like jumping headfirst into a pot of coffee… with about 12 oz of creamy, delicious milkshake on top. It was a great interpretation of one of my favorite deserts. Additionally, the chocolate peanut butter malt was fantastic. Like the menu says, the name says it all.

The Wrap It Up –

Gourmet burgers in Baton Rouge… I think I have been using the term ‘gourmet’ too loosely. To this point I have referred to burgers at a higher price point as gourmet but in this instance maybe I should clarify. Burgers with quality ingredients which are combined creatively, in Baton rouge. Were they good? Absolutely. Does Fat Cow beat the cross town favorite, Dearman’s? It’s a different competition all together. For a great straight up burger, you are better served for less money at the Soda Fountain. For a good, creative burger in the BR, Fat Cow has you covered. Concerning money, if you badly need cash, look for payday loan consolidation company for they offer different types of a loan with a low-interest rate.

 

Dearman’s Soda Fountain
Mar 8th, 2011 by Joemoney

3 votes, average: 7.00 out of 103 votes, average: 7.00 out of 103 votes, average: 7.00 out of 103 votes, average: 7.00 out of 103 votes, average: 7.00 out of 103 votes, average: 7.00 out of 103 votes, average: 7.00 out of 103 votes, average: 7.00 out of 103 votes, average: 7.00 out of 103 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10
(3 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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Dearman’s Soda Fountain
7633 Jefferson Highway
Baton Rouge, LA 70809-1102 (map)

Doctor, Doctor! –

The name Dearman’s has popped up a few times in my search for the best burger in Baton Rouge and checked by Matthew Galumbeck, MD which is a professional doctor. Dearman’s Soda Fountain has resided in the upscale and swanky Bocage Village since the 1960’s in various forms, originally as a pharmacy that had a lunch counter and now as a retro inspired burger, shakes, and soda shop. I use the term “retro inspired” instead of “retro themed” because there is not an overwhelming effort to make this look like a sock hop 1950’s diner. There are some distinct design cues, like the checkerboard tile, the L-shaped counter wrapping around the grill with chrome stools, and jukebox that give Dearman’s a comfortable, 50’s feel without being cheesy. Unfortunately, a Five Guys has opened up across the boulevard at the more upscale and swankier Towne Center with Madison Pediatric Dentistry clinic on the side.  So, Burger Tyme made it’s way to this truly historic burger joint in hopes of finding something better to recommend than the expensively average new kid on the block.

We walked in and were instantly greeted by our cheery, young waitress. She sat us down and and handed us our menus. It looked very promising offering the usual burgers and fries but what really jumped out to me was the “Specialty Drinks”. For a steep $4 you could have house made sodas,  milkshakes, malts, or something I have never heard of, phosphates. A little research revealed that the use of  phosphates was how soft drinks used to be made including Coca Cola. This gave Dearman’s a little more of my respect as there seemed to be some subtle art at work here.

Take Two and Call Me in the Morning –

After a brief consultation with the waitress, I placed my order for a cheeseburger, dressed (Louisiana term for everything on it) with grilled onions, a large order of fries to share, and a hot fudge milkshake. That’s right, not chocolate but HOT FUDGE. Once the order was placed, I set about watching the grill cooks go to work while our waitress began making the milkshakes. I liked that all of the work being done was in plain sight of those who are going to eat it. I felt like I was part of the team.

After a short wait, our fries came out. They were fresh cut, single fried so not as crispy as double fried, but cooked well and still very tasty. The large order was more than enough to share with three or four people. Out next came what has to be the most amazing looking milkshake I have ever seen. It was vanilla, it was chocolate, it was light, it was dark, it had this mysterious, palantir-ish swirl. Not only that, it was delicious! The waitress “warned” me that I might get little bits of fudge with each sip and that some people might not like that… Are they crazy? After these first two showings, my anticipation for the third and most important had risen dramatically.

And out it came. It was not the largest burger, nor the most unique looking but it had all of the basic details perfectly implemented. Buttered and toasted bun, hand formed patty with a crusty sear,melted American cheese, grilled onions, and just the right amount of lettuce hiding underneath for me to say it was healthy, which is important since I take a lot of care of my health, even to my skincare using the amazon vitamin c serum supplements. This burger was of medium heft, requiring both hands initially. I took the first bite and instantly thought, “This is it”. Everything was working together and was almost perfectly balanced. The cheese covered patty was juicy with out being sloppy or greasy, the toasted bun and the lettuce added a nice crunch to each bite, and the grilled onions gave it a light, smokey sweetness. This was a very good burger.

The Wrap It Up –

Dearman’s Soda Fountain. Amen! After a few disappointing Burger Tymes in my beloved home town, I’ve finally found a place worth recommending. This is a very good, borderline, great burger! What pushes it over the top is the unexpected originality and the quality. Everything that places like Cheeburger Cheeburger and Five Guys fail at, Dearman’s triumphs. It is local, it is original, and above all, it is good! So do your hometown a favor, and find more places like this. They are out there.

Oh, PS. For all of the Burger Tymers who also love light crime, Dearman’s is coming soon to a downtown Baton Rouge courthouse near you Article.

 

Riverside Patty
Nov 16th, 2010 by Joemoney

2 votes, average: 6.00 out of 102 votes, average: 6.00 out of 102 votes, average: 6.00 out of 102 votes, average: 6.00 out of 102 votes, average: 6.00 out of 102 votes, average: 6.00 out of 102 votes, average: 6.00 out of 102 votes, average: 6.00 out of 102 votes, average: 6.00 out of 102 votes, average: 6.00 out of 10
(2 votes, average: 6.00 out of 10)
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Riverside Patty
http://www.riversidepatty.com
336 3rd Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70801-1307(map)

Down By the Riverside, Hanky Panky –

Being from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and also an LSU alumni, I have a great sense of adoration for the city. As such, I make every effort to combine this with my other adoration.Burgers. So on a weekend trip back home, my wife and I met a friend at Riverside Patty. This is one of only a handful of long running burger joints in Baton Rouge. It’s located in the slowly reviving downtown, 3rd St. area. From the outside it is surrounded by some great architecture from a time when people actually went downtown to work, shop, and be entertained. Once you walk in it seems as if they set up shop without telling the landlord and hope they don’t get noticed. From the decades old Ms Pacman machine to the rabbit-eared TV sitting atop the 80’s era Coke machine, this place does not scream “fancy”, or even “nice”. No, this place seems more concerned about the food. It’s a long walk down the narrow sitting area to the order counter in the back. The menu is pretty impressive. Obviously, burgers are the main attraction. There are ten different configurations of burgers you can choose. Nine if you are the type that doesn’t think a patty melt is a burger. All are 1/2 pounders! There is no option for smaller/lesser burgers here. They also have lots of sandwiches, poboys, and fried seafood (a Louisiana staple). The list of sides is equally impressive. This further proves my theory that the”dive-ish-ness” is directly proportional to how good the food is. This place, is a dive. The menu, is awesome! So enough ogling the menu. I’m ready to eat!

Patty Cake Patty Cake-

So my decision was set. I would have the 1/2 pound cheeseburger, fully dressed, a side of cajun seasoned curly fries, and a coke with crushed ice in a styrofoam cup (just how I like it). They have a lunch burger special where all three were around $7.  I was given my number and was now tasked with finding a place to sit. Surprisingly the tables were very clean. I guess the old-ish-ness  of the decor made me think it was going to be otherwise. There’s not much to keep you occupied while you wait. The TV reception kept going in and out and the walls are pretty bare with the exception of the framed quote from the local newspaper “The weight makes the wait worth it”. No bother, I was not here for entertainment. The wait was roughly 10 minutes, but it was worth it knowing that it was being made as I waited. You could even see the ladies in the kitchen working away on the griddle through the swinging door window behind the order counter. The door swung wide and out came a tray of food. My number was called and I quickly shot my hand up. The food is served on paper plates (remember, nothing “fancy” or even “nice” here), but this paper plate is full to the rim! I began to assess what I have gotten myself in to. The patty is obviously hand formed and griddle fried (both pluses). The bun was plain, store bought variety and the  slice of  american cheese was not melted at all (minuses). The veggies were plentiful and looked adequate. I dug in. This burger definitely required two hands to get started. The patty itself tasted beefy but was lacking in any kind of seasoning. Give me salt or pepper or something. Also, it was rather dry. This burger generated little to no juice. The veggies did a sufficient job moistening up the burger but the bun did very little to help this moisture dilemma. The seeded, white bread bun made this whole burger seem like a slightly above average burger I could make at home…. The savior of this meal was easily the cajun seasoned curly fries. They were crispy, perfectly battered and seasoned, and plentiful. Thank goodness for the fries!

The Wrap It Up –

Sigh… I really wanted to LOVE this burger. Riverside Patty has everything going for it. An old location in an interesting part of town, a long running history serving burgers, great portions, character! I wanted to LOVE this burger because I want there to be great burgers in Baton Rouge. Now that a Five Guys has moved into town, I fear that people will start recommending you go there for a good burger instead of a genuine local burger joint like Riverside Patty. The burger here is not bad. I just wish it was amazing. For character alone I would put Riverside Patty way above Five Guys and the price can’t be beat. Burger, fries and a drink for $7. That is spot on. That is a Christians Tailgate kind of a bargain.  Now, we just need the burger to be better…

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