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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 specially like the ones grilled,  like in the best charcoal grills from Top9Rated.com. 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 place is located next to the jewelry store where they sell plantwear accessories. 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.

P. Terry’s Burger Stand
May 16th, 2013 by Joemoney

P Terrys 21 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 101 vote, average: 8.00 out of 10
(1 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10)
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P Terrys 5

P. Terry’s Burger Stand
www.pterrys.com

What Does the “P” Stand For –

P Terrys 1Back in Austin, Texas! This is my seventh or so time to visit this city, once again, for work. I’ve been here enough that I have places that I like to go to and things that I like to do. A friend of mine, a UT alum, and an Austinite/Austonian(?) who has followed Burger Tyme since the early days, recommended that I check out P. Terry’s the last time I was here. I opted in stead to go to the highly touted Hopdoddy Burger Bar. While it was a good burger, my wallet was hurting. As burgers have been elevated and seemed to have plateaued at the ultra gourmet and costly end of the dining spectrum, it would be nice to have a good and cheap option to fall back on. So this go ’round, I decided to take the advice of a trusted local and headed to the P. Terrys on Lamar in South Austin. I arrived early for lunch on cool spring day. This location is a drive through with outside seating, so that was ideal. It was about 11:15 and there were few cars so I was able to place my order pretty quickly.

P Terrys 3Keeping in line with Austin values, P. Terry’s emphasizes, several times with different signs, that the product here is fresh, locally grown, all natural, etc, etc. This is the same mantra that most burgers are sold upon these days and it usually translates in to a hefty bill for a single burger and fries. To my surprise, the prices were more reminiscent of the In-N-Out menu. A burger, $2, double with cheese $3.50, burger fries shake $6.75. Awesome! If this were just half decent for the price I would be excited.

D Licious –

P Terrys 7Stepping up the window, I placed a basic order for a double with cheese, fries and a chocolate shake. Given the short line when I arrived (which was steadily increasing), my order was ready for pickup in a few short minutes. I was handed a white bag and my milkshake. I went over to the seating area and emptied the bag like a kid on Christmas. The burger was wrapped tight in paper, as was the large portion of super thin cut fries.

P Terrys 8The burger is a throw back to basic burger joints. Thin patties, griddle fried, with cheese put on at the end. The bun is nothing fancy but soft and fresh. The veggies were basic but fresh as well and added some moisture that thin pattied burgers usually need. My first bite revealed a more seasoned patty than I was expecting. It was just salty enough but also had a nice bite of pepper. The double patty was the perfect amount of beefiness. I liked the fresh cheese slices but it could have been melted a little longer on the patty, but hey, this is fresh fast food.

P Terrys 9The fries were excellent when you compare the price for how much and what your get. They were fresh cut and very thin, somewhere between 1/4″ to 1/8″. The were not double fried crispy, but they had a nice crisp that didn’t turn soggy and. The milkshake was also good, but definitely had they Hershey syrup flavor… I’m sure it was organic though.

The Wrap It Up-

P Terrys 6P. Terry’s was a great recommendation! The food scene, and more specifically the burger scene in Austin is great, and can get quite pricey. Its great to know that there is a cheap and quick option for a good burger when I don’t have time to dress up for a Burger Tyme. It was so good in fact, that a few weeks later, I took my wife there after a day trip to the visit a few of the state parks outside of Austin. We were tired, we were dirty, and we wanted something quick and substantial. P Terry’s fit the bill perfectly… It also helps that just around the corner is Gourdough’s…. but this is not Doughnut Tyme…..

Elevation Burger
Feb 6th, 2013 by Joemoney

1 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 10
(1 votes, average: 6.00 out of 10)
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Elevation Burger
www.elevationburger.com

Rocky Mountain High-

Burgers… Burger Tyme… Sigh, I haven’t had the enthusiasm, as of late, for planet Earth’s favorite food.  I found it difficult to get excited about a burger unless it was made from beef raised next door, ground as we are speaking, with buns baked by artisans from the 17th century, topped with veggies from the garden of Eden… $20? No problem with quality like that! Right? It seems as though the pendulum has swung too far to the gourmet (read: expensive) end of the spectrum and I’ve lost sight of what makes a burger good. To get the magic back, during the holidays and the month of January I only had a few burgers at some old favorites like Christians Tailgate (was my first burger love in Houston) and Dearman’s Soda Fountain. These places offer the essence of burgers. No frills, no claims of superior ingredients, just good, tasty burgers.

When I returned from the holidays, I was recharged and ready to go out Burger Tyming! Fortunately there was a burger place that recently opened which seemed to be a mix of these burger philosophies. Simple but quality. Elevation burger aspires to elevate the simple burger without gimmicks or frills, just quality ingredients. We’ve heard this before. Let me be clear, I’m fine with quality however the result is usually either great burgers at great cost or average burgers at great cost. So the challenge is, can they over come the cost stigma associated with “quality” by turning out a great burger?

Iiiiiii Just Want to Elevate –

Walking in to Elevation Burger, I was impressed by how clean everything was. As much as I like dive bar burgers, its a bit refreshing not to have to worry about what might have been included with your order. The style is a mix of modern design mixed with natural elements like bamboo “wood” tables and chairs. The menu is pretty straightforward. Burgers come double or single patty ( a la In-N-Out), you select from a long list of toppings (a la Five Guys), add fries, add drink, and repeat. Something that I greatly appreciate is that they recommend trying the “original” which includes a standard set of toppings; elevation sauce, pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes.

I place my order for an Elevation Burger (double meat, double cheese), “Original” style. I opted to add caramelized onions and hot pepper relish. I added french fries (cooked in olive oil), and an all natural, organic chocolate Oreo malt. I was pretty hungry at this time and the wait felt longer the 7 or so minutes it took for the order to be brought to our table by the super polite cashier. The burger was not initially impressive. The patties are thin, as advertised, the cheddar is not melted (which it never does), and the bun looked pretty dry. The fries however looked great. Slightly thinner than normal and piled high. The burger tasted much better than it looked. Generally I don’t like cheddar due to its inability to melt and remain melted, but it was perfect with this burger. Nothing really stood out as spectacular but the overall flavor was fresh and light. It was not greasy at all but not dry. The fries were great. I’m not sure how much that has to do with being cooked in olive oil but they were perfectly crispy. The chocolate Oreo malt was as good as you can imagine, too thick to drink but a perfect dessert.

The Wrap It Up –

Elevation Burger is very good and high quality. I appreciate that they are not trying to reinvent the burger or insult their customers intelligence with the combinations. However it is not a great burger, which it needs to be to justify the $10 plus dollars this meal costs. Here’s the flipside. In the current burger environment, Elevation burger is middle of the pack price wise but will satisfy burger cravings without leaving you feeling greasy and gross. Getting ones burger mojo back is not easy. Oh wait, yes it is! Until next Burger Tyme!

Corner Burger
Oct 20th, 2012 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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Corner Burger
www.cornerburger.ru
76 Bolshaya Gruzinskaya
Moscow, Russia 125047 (map)

From Russia, With Love –

“How’s your Russian?”… That was the message greeting me when I opened my work email recently. We had a project that needed a few people to make the long journey to this capital city. Most people I talked to were surprised that I was excited for the chance. I grew up in a post cold war America so my perception of Russia was sadly based on video games and Mission Impossible movies. Given that this was a rare opportunity, my wife was going to come along on the trip and joined me in the complicated and expensive process of obtaining a Russian visa. The time arrived and we took the long flight to Moscow. When we arrived, my initial impression was that Moscow was exactly as portrayed in movies. Cold, overcast, row after row of apartment blocks, scowling men, and women smoking long skinny cigarettes. The fact that Russian signs are not easily readable by a westerner further added to the excitement.  Every evening when I returned from work, as we would venture out into the city the beauty of the place quickly became apparent starting with the impressive Metro System (photos), going to a ballet at the Bolshoi, and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square. The combination of classical architecture, remnants of Soviet history, and Russian Orthodox cathedrals that peppered the city made for an experience unlike anything we’ve had before.

While preparing for the trip, I began looking for good burger places to check out. This is a city that got its first McDonald’s in 1990 after the fall of the Soviet Union. Quite famously, thousands of people waited in line for hours to just to try it (video). The burger culture is relatively new but has been whole heartedly embraced. There were several places to choose from, none of which were particularly cheap. Did I mention that Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world? Once I adjusted for sticker shock, one place that stood out was Corner Burger. True to its name, it was just around the corner for our hotel. One late evening we headed over to have our first ever Moscow Burger Tyme!

Moscow is for Lovers –

Corner Burger was a surprisingly upscale and modern burger restaurant. We arrived at around 11pm and this place was still busy. Perusing the menu revealed several burger options, all which sounded good and were the ruble equivalent of $20+. We were brought a bottle of water and stumbled through the language barrier to place our order. I selected the Corner Burger de Lux, which comes with two 100gr beef patties, cheddar cheese, CB barbeque sauce, bibb lettuce, red onions, pickles and tomatoes. It also came with fries and cole slaw. For the heck of it, I also ordered a chocolate shake. It was late, there were still plenty of people and roughly two servers. By this point I’ve come to learn that customer service is not a focus in Moscow. This could explain the 20 plus minute wait for our order. The milkshake came first. It was much closer to chocolate milk than what I was expecting and a little chalky, like the used Nesquik to add the chocolate. I guess milkshakes haven’t translated yet.

Our burgers came shortly after and were quite good looking. There was a lot of great looking veggies and the meat patties were thick covered in melted cheddar. The amount of CB bbq sauce on the burger was a little off putting. After biting in I confirmed that I could have used less bbq sauce as it made the burger a bit too sweet. Overall the flavor was great and only improved as I worked my way to the center where the sweet to salty ratio became more balanced. The bun was soft and toasted, the veggies were very fresh and crisp, the patties were nicely cooked and juicy. For $25 this wasn’t the most hefty burger. I could easily manage it with one hand. The cole slaw, while a nice extra, was loaded with dill ( apparently a popular flavor in Russia) and didn’t really go well at all with the burger. The fries were of the frozen variety and were OK but nothing special.

The Wrap It Up –

I loved Moscow! It was both what I imagined and nothing close to what I expected. The complex history of communism, combined with thriving capitalism, along with the centuries of Russian culture is ingrained in every thing, including the burgers. It was nice looking, it was expensive, it wasn’t exactly suited to western tastes, it wasn’t served with a smile, but it was good and I was happy to try it! I know that the international politics and relations between the US and Russia are complex to say the least, but I think there is some serious potential for common ground here.

Would I recommend this burger for those visiting Moscow? Not really. If you absolutely have to have a burger, sure, go here, spend $50 or more for two burgers OR go into a restaurant with no english anywhere, order some borscht or a blini or some stroganof, and soak in the Moscow experience! By the time it was time to leave I was trying to figure out a way to visit again but I was also happy to have my simple, cheap, and delicious burgers at home. So until next time, Das Vedania.

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