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Nationwide Freezer Meats
Jul 23rd, 2013 by Joemoney

Nationwide 11 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 10
(1 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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Nationwide 2

I’m Back, and I’m Nation-Wide-

Nationwide 3Sacramende? Sacto? Sacramento, that’s it. For my first visit to the capitol city of California, I was pleasantly surprised by the small town feel of this big city. Having grown up in Baton Rouge, another capital city, I noticed several similarities. The areas around the capital building are nice, there are several restaurants, and some of them… are burgers! A quick poll to a friend who lived here for a short while brought up Nation-Wide Meats.  He was a little hesitant and noted that I may not like it. I think I may come off as a burger snob, but I really like any kind of burger as long as it is good. So, once I was free from my work commitments, set off to find this place. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful neighborhood where I found Nation-wide (btw, I was later told that the weather was typical and the neighborhood was not that great, which just shows how good people have it in California…).

Nationwide 7So Nation-Wide Meats has what they call “French Ground Steakburgers”, I’ve searched far and wide (translation, googled it) and could not find what exactly that means but when I hear the word steak I have to assume that they are using some good beef and grinding it fresh. Stepping in, the place has everything you look for in an authentic burger joint, well aged decor (as in things that are actually old), confusing signs about their hours of operation and what payment they accept, a simple letter board menu, and most importantly slightly cantankerous (in a good way) but genuinely helpful people behind the counter. Speaking of which, the gentleman who took our order talked to me for about 5 minutes because I work at the same company as his brother in law. So, with all the preliminary checks in place. It was time to order.

Sacto Mundo-

Nationwide 5You have the option of a steakburger or a hamburger. I imagined the steakburgers had to be better so I ordered one with Cheese and everything on it. I added fries and a shake to round out the order. Their shake selection was much better than I expected. Not feeling too adventurous, I just got the chocolate. The shake came out first and I did my best not to drink all of it before the burger came out. After about 8 minutes or so the guy brought a brown paper bag with my name and a few grease spots on it to the table. He also brought a small dixie cup with ketchup for the fries… That was interesting. Do they not trust customers to dispense their own? or do they want to ensure you don’t ruin the steakburger by putting ketchup on it? When I opened the bag the first thing I noticed was the fries. Typically a french fry is cut to 1/4″ or 1/2″ for a thick cut. These were about 1″ square. They were huge! They were fried nicely and I like the uniqueness but it took several bites to eat just one.

Nationwide 6The burger was slightly deceiving. At first glance it appeared to be dominated by the bun however on first bite, the pillowy, chewy, toasted bun conformed well to both contain the burger and assist in the two hand gripping (which this huge burger needed). This was a juicy, beefy, taste the freshness kind of burger. The patty of the steak burger had a great crusty sear, yet was cooked just enough to remain dripping with the beef juices. The cheese was melted well and the veggies gave a great foundation of “health” factor. I could now see why they restrict ketchup access. Ketchup is used to add moisture to a dry burger. At first glance people may be tempted to ruin the perfect balance before even trying it and realizing the juice contained within.

The Wrap It Up-

Nationwide 4I really enjoyed Nation-Wide Meats. There was no pretense or pageantry about how great their ingredients are our how fresh their local micro farmer supplier can grow carbon free, zero impact kale chips etc. Just straightforward, good burgers, fries, and shakes. BUT, this is not a cheap burger. The combo I ordered will set you back almost $15…. It’s worth it. This is how burgers should be made. The ingredients are quality, the setting is perfect, and I don’t care what Californians say, the weather is GREAT and Sacramento seemed like a great town (minus the Kings, of course :))!

Hodad’s
May 22nd, 2013 by Harold J. Forbes

logo_hodads1 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 10
(1 votes, average: 9.00 out of 10)
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Hodads 1

Hodad’s
945 Broadway
San Diego CA 92101
http://hodadies.com

 

Soakin’ in the California Sun! –

Hodads 2Ahhh! Beautiful Southern California! What better place to inspire a Burger Tyme guest post? Having already sampled the SoCal classic In-N-Out Burger and the gourmet up-and-comer Umami Burger as part of my travels, I decided it was time to seek out new territory for my fellow burger addicts while in San Diego to see a baseball game at Petco Park. After reviewing several San Diego “best burger” lists I decided on the one name that I saw on all of them: Hodad’s.

After the final pitch of the ballgame, I trekked through the streets of downtown San Diego to find the place, which is actually the second location of Hodad’s just opened in 2011. The original Hodad’s is over in Ocean Beach where it built quite a following. Along the way it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and named one of the five best burgers in the U.S. by CNN. But screw the history of it all and the media recognition! Can you really trust the media anyway? All I wanted to know this day was whether this was a quality Burger Tyme.

After about a 15-minute walk from Petco Park I had finally made it to this unassuming burger joint. It wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but the line of people out the door was certainly a good sign. When the hostess (perhaps too formal a term for this place, but it is the best word I can come up with) realized I was alone she invited me to have a seat at the bar. And so I grabbed a menu and claimed a stool.

Hodads 3The menu was pretty simple. No snobbish gourmet-style burgers here! Just the basic hamburger or cheeseburger available as a single or double patty and with or without bacon. Also basic were the prices, with the most expensive offering setting you back a scant $12.50 including a side of onion rings. The only nonstandard burgers here were the Guido burger, a pastrami burger with ketchup, pickles, swiss cheese, grilled onions, and spicy brown mustard inspired by Triple-D host Guy Fieri, and the Blue Jay burger, a bacon cheeseburger with bleu cheese and grilled onions. Neither one sounded overly appealing so I went for a classic double cheeseburger with a side of fries. I also ordered a chocolate milkshake since the only sodas they had were Pepsi products, and I don’t do second-rate sodas.

While waiting for my order I took in a bit more of my surroundings. Almost every square inch of the walls was covered with old license plates, something I have always been fascinated with, adding to the relaxed aura of the place. I laughed when I saw the California plate personalized with “EFEN SWT” and the sticker about two feet below it that said, “Never Trust the Police.” On the beverage cooler there was also a sticker for In-N-Out Burger, an ironic tribute to the SoCal icon by this hole in the wall place that claims to have the “World’s Best Burger.”

What Diet? I’m on Vacation! –

Hodads 4After about ten minutes of waiting my milkshake comes out and it was nearly a meal in itself! The shake came out in a 32-ounce metal cup with a huge scoop of chocolate ice cream on the top and hanging off the sides. Breaking with Burger Tyme tradition I elected to start of the shake before the burger came just so I wouldn’t have a big mess from melted ice cream. I ate the ice cream down to a safe level by which time my burger arrived, and like the shake it was much bigger than I anticipated. It is a good thing I had skipped lunch because I would need the full capacity of my stomach to ingest this burger feast.

The burger was massive with one end shoved in a paper wrapper and the other hanging out in such a way as if to say “eat me, if you dare!” The two burger patties were probably about 1/3 lb. each and resting on top of fresh sliced tomatoes and onions, pickles, and shredded lettuce, sandwiched in by a lightly toasted sesame seed bun. I used both hands to pick up this monster and attempt to fit the thing in my mouth. Upon biting into the beast I was impressed by the excellent seasoning of the beef and how well the veggies complemented the meat, especially the pickles that provided a nice crispness to each bite. The patties were cooked to perfection and quite juicy, although before I was half done with the burger the bun could not handle the juices from the burger and the condiments and became rather soggy. Perhaps a bit more toasting could have improved the bun’s performance, but otherwise this was an excellent burger indeed.

Hodads 5Hiding underneath the burger was a large portion of fries, which once I finished the burger I began to tackle. The fries were battered potato wedges that had a bit of thickness to them, a departure from the thinner fry cuts BurgerTyme maestro JoeMoney has expressed preference for in the past but just the way I like them. The danger with this type of cut is that it can be difficult to cook so that the inside of the fry is not mushy, but these fries were fried for just the right amount of time with a crunchy outside and a firm warm inside.

The chocolate shake was a bit too much for me and I am ashamed to admit that I was not able to finish. The shake was nice and thick, however about half the cup was still in ice cream form. I guess that is why the serve it up with a spoon instead of a straw. I would have preferred a Coke to accompany this fine burger offering and perhaps the shake as a dessert afterwards.

The Wrap It Up –

Hodads 6Is this truly the world’s best burger as the restaurateur claims? Probably not, but it is certainly in my personal top five. For you Burger Tymers from Houston, I would say this is very similar to Christian’s Tailgate, both in the style and quality of the burger and the general vibe of the establishment. A more toasted bun and leafed lettuce instead of shredded lettuce would have made the Hodad’s burger better in my opinion. Despite these minor shortcomings, if you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a unpretentious place to have an outstanding burger at a reasonable price Hodad’s should be at the top of your list.

About the Author

Harold J. Forbes, in addition to being a hardcore Burger Tymer, is an accountant and author focusing on personal finance and preparedness topics. You can learn more about Harold and his books on his Amazon author page at http://amazon.com/author/haroldforbes.

Umami Burger
May 31st, 2012 by Joemoney

2 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 10
(2 votes, average: 8.50 out of 10)
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Umami Burger
www.umami.com/umami-burger

The Essence of Pure Flavour –

A while back, a friend of mine moved to Los Angeles. I’ve promised to visit whenever I got the chance and so far the closest I have ever come was San Francisco, which after a few texts to meet up I realized is not very close to LA. Among her many tales of improv comedy and LL Cool J sightings was mention of a truly unique burger. On my way back from skiing in Salt Lake City, I had a fortunate three hour layover at LAX. That seemed like enough time to have a Burger Tyme. Within minutes of landing, she picked us up, and we were on our way to try Umami Burger. I had heard many great things about this place and was excited to finally try it out. We were headed to the Hermosa Beach location which means on this first visit to southern California, I’d also get to see the beach!

When we arrived at around 6pm, this place was already packed. Our server showed us to our table and began explaining what Umami was all about. According to here and confirmed by the website Umami is the “pleasant and savory taste imparted by glutamate”. Um, OK. My interpretation, it is the indescribable sensation of flavor… or mushrooms… I’m not sure which. With that in mind, the menu seems almost genius. Every ingredient seemed to have an element of caramelized this, roasted that, or truffled something which invoked flavor sensations of some of my favorite burgers. Add to it the sights and smells of the “U” branded burgers being dished out, and I was ready to crane kick the nearest Cobra Kai who tried to get in between me and this Burger Tyme.

Honor to Your Burger –

I placed my order for the Umami Burger thinking it would offer the best example of the umami concept. Toppings include shitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, a parmesan ‘crisp’, and umami ketchup. I also could not resist the special of the day umami tater tots and, being from Louisiana, an Abita root beer. Once our order was in, the waitress served us some of the house made condiments and revealed to us that her favorite burger was Ray’s Hell Burger in DC. I found it slightly odd that Umami wasn’t her favorite but I made a mental note to give it a try next time I’m there anyway.

The wait seemed longer than it was given how hungry I’d become but I was soon presented with an inspiring burger. The buns alone looked delicious enough to fill up on. Visually this was a very well executed burger. The sear on the patty with the deep colors of the roasted veggies (and fungis?) combined with the Saturn ring of parmesan made me slightly reluctant to disturb it… but only slightly. I took my first bite and the flavor (there’s that word again) was amazing. It was sweet, savory, meaty, and had great texture. The bun was as good as it looked, pillowy, chewy, and slightly sweet. The ‘crisp’ of parmesan gave it a nice crunch. The patty was thick and perfectly cooked to medium rare. I loved it. The tater tots were not so inspiring. They looked amazing but had the texture of warm play dough. They supposedly were stuffed with cheese but other than a few cheese colored specks were just deep fried starch balls that were not very good.

The Wrap It Up –

Once our meal was over, we walked to the beach for a brief view of the Pacific Ocean, and then it was back to the airport. The visit was short and bittersweet. Oh Umami… You’ve teased me. Now I am thousands of miles away without any chance in the foreseeable future to have another. Word is that they are on the verge of expanding to other locales than LA. I would love that. This is a pricey meal, $20 when it is all said and done, but this is a unique, original burger that I would gladly pay for. Again and again!

Roam Artisan Burgers
Jan 31st, 2011 by Joemoney

1 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 101 vote, average: 9.00 out of 10
(1 votes, average: 9.00 out of 10)
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Roam Artisan Burgers
http://roamburgers.com/
1785 Union St
(between Gough St & Octavia St)
San Francisco, CA 94123 (map)

When In Roam

Still in San Francisco, I wanted to make use of the little time I had to explore the city and experience some great burgers West Coast style. Among my searching the name of a small burger eatery kept popping up. Roam Artisan Burgers. Usually, the word “artisan” strikes a romantic chord in my heart as I imagine something like wood burning oven baked pizzas made by someone who’s family has passed down the craft for generations in some far off place where technology and mass production has not corrupted pure skill and talent… But usually my experience has been bread that has gone hard and ingredients that are lacking in flavor. However, I am a sucker for the artisans. I set my GPS and once again made my way up, down, in, and through the steep streets of San Francisco in search of this burger artist’s fantasy. It was a misty, overcast day and parking was hard to find. I managed to get a spot about 5 blocks away with an elevation drop of about 300 feet (maybe, it was steep). In spite of these conditions, Roam was full of people. Not only that, but some patrons had their dogs with them. HUGE plus in my book for letting you bring your pet in with you.

Roam Artisan Burgers claim is that they use only sustainable, organic, carefully sourced ingredients all in an effort to make great burgers.Read more here (link)…. Hmmm. OK. That sounds great but seems to try to appeal to the socially conscious diner. Does this mean a great burger? As I looked over the menu the burger line-up was definitely impressive and I had faith that their efforts made prior to my eating would pay off.

Roam Is Where the Heart Is –

The line was short and having done my research I was prepared to make my order. On the menu is a burger called the Sunny Side. As the name would suggest it has a fried egg on it, organic free range, of course. It also includes aged white cheddar, caramelized onions and sweet chili sauce. Reading the description alone made my mouth water. I also ordered a side of Russet fries (cooked in rice bran oil) and Straus Family Creamery Dagoba Chocolate Shake (organic ice cream)… OK, so you need a few more words in your vocabulary to order fries and a shake here. All of the attention to detail was really impressive, but not cheap. This burger, fries, and shake combo topped out at $16. Ouch!

I was given a small chalk board placard with my number on it and  found a seat. BTW all tables are made out of reclaimed wood. Cool. The wait was not long. Out first was the milkshake. It was tall and creamy and very, very good. I have to give props to the Straus Family because their ice cream makes one heck of a shake. Next arrived the burger and fries… It was an amazing burger to behold. It had a perfect visual balance of all ingredients, most noticeably the free range egg which perfectly covered the entire burger… The melted aged white cheddar running off of the patty was also great. I immediately dug in. WOW! This burger was GREAT! All of the flavors played so well with each other. The patty was juicy and beefy with just enough saltiness. The greens and tomato were very fresh. The bun was the sesame seeded bun that San Franciscans seem to love. It was fresh and did a good job keeping most of the juices and egg yolk in the burger and out of my beard. What really set this burger apart from many others that I have had was the addition of the sweet chili sauce. It gave a wonderful complexity and heat to an already delicious burger.  The fries were great as well. I’ve never had fries cooked in rice bran oil but these were perfectly crisp on the outside and moist in the inside. They were sprinkled with what appeared to be sea salt and fresh herbs. They were fantastic.

The Wrap It Up –

So I am a fan. If this is what organic, earth friendly, enviro-consciousness taste like, sign me up! Just let me get my wallet. This was great and the effort that went into Roam Artisan Burgers pays off hugely, but so will you. A $16 burger meal is not a casual lunch choice and puts these burgers well into the gourmet burger category. Deservedly so. These burgers are fantastic and certainly of the highest quality. The question is, is it worth it? Yes! Without a doubt. I am now 1500 miles away from Roam and have no idea when I will be back in the San Francisco Area, but I already know the first place I want to go when I get there.

Pearl’s Deluxe Burger
Jan 21st, 2011 by Joemoney

1 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 101 vote, average: 7.00 out of 10
(1 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers
http://www.pearlsdeluxe.com
708 Post St
(between Jones St & Leavenworth St)
San Francisco, CA 94109 (map)

Mother of Pearl –

San Francisco… Californ-eye-ay! I have not been to this state before and after 29 years of seeing it in movies and music videos I had high expectations for the Golden State. As usual, work brought me to this part of the country for a few weeks and I came prepared. Thanks to much internet searching (I use this phrase instead of verbifying the name of a multi-billion dollar company) I compiled a lengthy list of prime Burger Tymes. One stood out above them all. Pearl’s Deluxe Burger for two reason’s:

1. Pearl is the name of our super cool Australian Shephard (see top right) and I trust her endorsement.
2. Pearl’s Deluxe Burger has a cool logo and promised an actual burger experience, unlike the many enviro friendly, vegantarian offerings that seemed to dominate the dining landscape in this city.

With the decision made I convinced a vegetarian coworker from India to come with me on the premise that Pearl’s has a veggie burger. We began our trek up and down and through the steep streets of San Francisco on a Tuesday night. I have not had much “big city” experience, by which I mean a metropolitan area where people live and spend time in the evenings. It was really cool to experience the energy of San Francisco at night. No matter where I was there always seemed to be people coming and going and having a great time. We finally arrived at Pearls on a steep Post street. We made our way inside the small, small dining area. Obviously space is at a premium in this city and Pearl’s Deluxe Burger has packed in the maximum amount of Burger Tyme per square foot as possible.

Pearl of Great Price –

We went inside and crammed ourselves in to the line to place our order. I should warn you that all food in San Francisco seems to be much more expensive than an most other places I’ve visited. With that thought in mind I was able to justify the prices. $7 for a cheese burger. $4 for a shake. $2 for a soda. $2 for fries. The combination of a burger, fries, and a drink were going to cost right at the $10 Burger Tyme threshold putting this almost in the gourmet burger category. They had an option to upgrade the burger to Kobe beef for only $4 dollars so I opted for that thinking that an $11 Kobe burger actually seems pretty inexpensive and definitely qualifies as  gourmet. I also ordered a chocolate shake and fries to round out this $17 order. My poor coworker was not so lucky. While discussing the veggie burger  he learned that they used egg to make the patty. This was a no go for him so his dinner consisted of a milkshake and onion rings. Poor guy.

We took a seat at the counter in front of the window and watched people passing up and down the slanted sidewalk. My milkshake arrived first. It was chocolaty and creamy which equals good in my book. One thing that I really enjoyed about it was that they gave me a wide straw which made the shake easy to enjoy. Nothing is worse than trying to drink a thick shake through a normal soda straw that keeps collapsing under the pressure exerted while I’m trying to drink. My burger and fries where ready shortly after and the burger looked great. I have never seen cheese so perfectly melted on a burger. The kobe beef patty had a beautiful sear and was visibly juicy. The veggies looked fresh and the un-toasted bun had sesame seeds on both the top and the bottom. I would come to learn that this is San Fran’s favorite kind of burger bun. I dug in immediately. I had never had Kobe before but I sort of expected it to taste different than normal beef somehow. It was good and juicy but just not noticeably different than a regular beef patty. The cheese was GREAT! I was able to see them place the two slices of American cheese on the patty as they grilled it and the result was some of the gooeyist cheese I’ve ever had on a burger. It was great! The veggies added a nice “healthy” touch to this gorge fest. The fries on the other hand were not that great. They were plain ol’ frozen fries. At least the price was reflective of the effort to make the fries.

The Wrap It Up –

So lets sum up. Tiny burger joint in the middle of down town San Francisco. Expensive burger meal. High quality burger ingredients. Good shake. Sub-par fries. No real veggie option (sorry bro). Total for all of this was $17… yikes. But I did not leave Pearls Deluxe Burger for so cheap. .. Why? I liked it so much that I bought a t-shirt. That’s right! This was a great burger in a great environment AND I loved the logo! My only suggestion is to save $4 and skip the kobe next time and just enjoy the burger made from traditional, American Hereford beef. Also, the prices here may seem high in comparison to every where else in America, but burger prices seem to be going up across the board and I have to be fair and compare it to what the going price is for the area.

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