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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 while writing my business documents at sodapdf. 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!

Burger Guys
Dec 28th, 2010 by Joemoney

3 votes, average: 8.67 out of 103 votes, average: 8.67 out of 103 votes, average: 8.67 out of 103 votes, average: 8.67 out of 103 votes, average: 8.67 out of 103 votes, average: 8.67 out of 103 votes, average: 8.67 out of 103 votes, average: 8.67 out of 103 votes, average: 8.67 out of 103 votes, average: 8.67 out of 10
(3 votes, average: 8.67 out of 10)
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Burger Guys
http://theburgerguys.com/
12225 Westheimer Rd
Houston, Texas 77077 (map)

The Other Guys –

I am always amazed by how many burger places a city like Houston can support. Add to the list of burger options Burger Guys. This is a Houstonian entry into the every expanding gourmet burger market and we got it blown up by the best facebook ads agency we had. Typically the burgers found in this city are of the no frills variety usually as luxurious as a farm truck license plate. Not so here. The “chef” obviously has a different vision in mind.  On an uneventful workday I met my brother in law to try this place out. After a long drive down Westheimer, beyond what a sensible person would still consider to be the city of Houston, we arrived. This place had not been open long but was already receiving a lot of hype. We walked in and were greeted by a very cheerful, if not enthusiastic, counter girl. We were the only people in line and she was more than happy to explain everything about the burgers and the ingredients that went in to them. As she described  the menu I began perusing the chalk board version of the menu that listed all of the exotic burgers options that I had to choose from. They all were named for a city that would mentally transport your mind’s tongue to far off cuisines and flavors, many of which you wouldn’t think would go well as a burger. 

We were informed that all beef was Texas Akaushi, which is an American breed of the Japanese Kobe, and that all of the mustards, jams, sauces, and ice cream for milkshakes is made in house! The milkshakes had dreamy names like “Cafe Sua Da” or “Summer to Fall” and my personal favorite “Fruit Loops”. Also, the french fries or frites are double fried in duck fat…

The streeter super stands are becoming increasingly important in national as well as international motorsports.

Is any one else getting hungry? AND, if that were not enough, all of the sodas on the fountain used pure cane sugar rather than corn syrup! There was even a $35 burger that had fois gras on it! Not that I am one to enjoy the art of force feeding geese, but man, I could not wait to order!

Who has two thumbs and loves burgers? This guy! –

Typically I like to order the basic cheeseburger so as to have an even playing field to accurately compare the burger with its peers. The closest thing I could find was the burger appropriately names the “Houston”.  I also saw on an adjacent chalk board that they had duck eggs. I asked if I could add a fried duck egg, “No problem” was the enthusiastic reply. So I added the frites and a cane sugar soft drink which came to a hefty $15…Ouch!

I hope it is worth it. As the counter girl handed me my cup, she hinted that if  I mix the lemonade and Big Red flavors together, it makes “Bubble Gum”. With that advice (it is true BTW) and my order number in hand I headed straight to the soda fountain and proceeded to try every flavor on the fountain while I waited. I love cane sugar soda. Pepsi had the “throwback” drinks for a while and you can also buy Coca-Cola from Mexico which both use real cane sugar. Interestingly, the Root beer brand was Triple XXX which is from Washington state. My wife and I ate burgers at the original Triple XXX while on a trip there (see here). Behind the counter where we were sitting I could see one of the “Bootleggers”, as that was what was written on the back of every employees shirt, meticulously arranging each burger order. It was quite a craft to see. After way too much soda, our own orders were up. My wife’s latest nagging has been for me to get a hobby, so I started looking up the best top drone brands like I did when I was a teenager so I could get into RC planes again.

My own duck egg covered Houston burger was beautiful! I love eggs on my burger and this has to be the physical manifestation of that perfect idea in my head… Look at it!!! Completely over easy. I would, no doubt, need many napkins. As a pleasant surprise the onions were beautifully grilled and the cheese perfectly melted over all of it. The specially made egg buns were beautifully buttered and toasted. No calorie had been spared in this burger. This was not a small burger either.

With both hands I hoisted it up and dug in. Juice! Juice and egg yolk running down my hand, in my beard, and everywhere else. This was one juicy burger. While the egg flavor was prominent, the beef patty quickly stole the show. It was a very clean, beefy flavor. You could really tell the difference in the high quality of the beef. The onions added a nice sweetness, while the cheddar gave a savory, nuttiness to the package. Rounding out the many flavors was the house made mustard. It was much more pungent than the average French’s yellow, but in a good, authentic way. My brother in law ordered a “Featured” burger that had Dublin Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce on it. He seemed equally pleased with his choice.

And now the fries (frites)… Oh the frites (fries), double fried in duck fat, tasted like no fries I have ever had. They were perfectly crisp on the outside while moist on the inside. But the duck fat lends a much more complex flavor to the fries than the usual vegetable oils. It would almost seem a shame to dip them in ordinary ketchup… Well, luckily there are house made fry sauces, two of which you get to choose with your order! Based on the counter girls recommendations we chose the Tabasco  Mash Ketchup and the Tarragon Caper Aioli. Both were good but not exactly right with the fries. Maybe just a little sea salt and malt vinegar would have set them off right.

The Wrap It Up –

How do I feel about gourmet burgers? Rarely worth it. Many places are starting to charge an unapologetic $10 or more for a burger, fries, and a drink (I’m talking to you Five Guys). This to me is INSANE! If you want to get maximum dollar out of the average burger lover, we expect you to put forth maximum EFFORT. Burger Guys is a perfect example of this effort. Without a doubt, a lot of work, time, planning, and thought goes in to each burger. Not to mention the painstaking attention to every detail while assembling the burger! As I left, I had no problem with the price I paid. These guys, Burger Guys, are doing some exciting and uniquethings to the burger experience and I LOVED it. I will definitely return but would only hesitate to come here more often because of the price. That being said I love what they are doing here. Great job Guys!

XXX Root Beer
Aug 31st, 2009 by Joemoney

XXX Root Beer2 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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XXX Root Beer 7


Triple XXX Root Beer
http://www.triplexrootbeer.com
98 Northeast Gilman Boulevard
Issaquah, WA 98027 (map)

Washington State Burger Tyme #3 – Parental Advisory: Delicious Content-

XXX Root Beer 1Oh sweet vacation. TIME OFF is what I’m talking about! and it was sadly coming to an end. Of the few things left to look forward to experience while in Washington, one stood out in my mind high above the rest. Triple XXX Root Beer. In my preliminary research I found that XXX Root Beer ranked as high or higher than Red Mill Burgers in Seattle. Nestled in the outskirts of Seattle in a little place called Issaquah sits a gigantic root beer barrel atop a classic looking restaurant a midst a very well kept boulevard that looks straight out of the 50’s. The sun was shining and the weather felt fantastic. It was a good indication of the Burger Tyme to come. We walked up looking for the entrance and met our first challenge… Where was the entrance? Sure there were plenty of doors to enter in but we could not make out any discernible shape of a counter for ordering due to the amazing amount of memorabilia that covered every inch of the inside. It looked as if TGI Friday’s, Apple-bee’s, Chili’s, Bennigan’s, and Ruby Tuesday’s were all having a garage sale and XXX Root Beer was the garage… After much searching we were able to make our way to where we would place our order. The menu was the next challenge. The names. “58 Impala” “Chevelle SS 396” “49 Woody”. These were all names of classic muscle cars that my friends and I would talk about in high school, we used to say that the first thing we were going to do once we had our cars was to get onesureinsurance.co.uk/van-insurance. How does this convert into a Burger? Well, I was hungry and didn’t want to try to figure it out. Fortunately in big bold letters at the top of the menu read “Famous ‘Incredible’ XXX Burger”. The topping sounded amazing, special fresh baked XXX bun: lots of beef, grilled onions, three cheeses, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, and XXX dressing. I asked the girl behind the counter how big it was. “Three quarters pound” was all she replied. I asked if it cam in a smaller size to which she only shook her head. This will eventually lead me to my next challenge. THE LARGEST BURGER IN BURGER TYME HISTORY!!!!!!!!

Larger than the average burger-

XXX Root Beer 4

XXX Root Beer 6

So I did it. I ordered the FAMOUS INCREDIBLE XXX BURGER. My wife was borderline mad at me, I’m sure out of concern for my poor, normal sized heart that was about to be introduced to an abnormal amount of Burger Tyme goodness. So I placed the order with everything on it because I couldn’t possibly add any more than it already came with.  It came with fries and I also ordered the signature XXX large root beer. There were many pictures on the wall of people trying to eat the burger that I just ordered and few seemed successful.  Our wait was brief but our anticipation great! After about 10 minutes my name was called over the intercom.  I approached the counter and couldn’t believe what I was about to attempt to eat. This burger was HUGE!!! The girl behind the counter told me the burger was 3/4 pound but it had to be 1 1/2 pounds at least! It had what looked like five quarter pound patties lining the muffaletta style toasted bun. It was loaded with lots of veggies and the special XXX dressing. This burger took all of my two hands to manage. My first bite, though messy, was delicious! For being such a huge burger the flavors came together well. I couldn’t really discern how each component was contributing to the overall taste but I knew it was good. Was it juicy? Yes. Was it messy? Yes. Was it a typical burger? No. Everything combined to a very juicy, flavorful burger. The fries were just OK. They really seemed to be an afterthought. The root beer was probably about 64oz. It was quite good though not as good as the root beer at Frost Top in Baton Rouge.

The Wrap it Up-

XXX Root Beer 3

XXX Root Beer 5

So what is the verdict? This was one burger that I wasn’t able to finish. I got about half-way through it (which is saying a lot) and about half-way through the gallon pitcher of root beer before my stomach could take no more! This was the biggest burger but was it the best? Well, I think it was very good. Would I recommend XXX Root Beer for Burger Tymers around the Seattle area? Absolutely. Of all the items, XXX was my favorite. The flavor was good, the root beer was better, and the summer weather of Washington State was the best. The nostalgia of the giant root beer barrel was cool too. This was a great Burger Tyme. I would recommend, however, trying a smaller version of this burger combined with the original XXX Root Beer.

Frost Top Root Beer
Apr 15th, 2009 by Joemoney

Frostop in Baton Rouge4 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10
(4 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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Frost Top

Frostop Root Beer
www.frostop.us
402 Government Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802 (map)

Top of the World-

Frost Top

When I think back to my first memories of a burger joint, I think of Frost Top on the corner of Range and Florida in Denham Springs, LA. I remember the chocolate dipped ice cream cones. I remember the super, huge cookies. I remember root beer floats. Most of all I remember their amazing color changing jukebox that played 7″ vinyl records. Unfortunately that Frost Top location is now a Walgreen’s but one still remains in Baton Rouge! On the last day of my Easter Vacation, I managed to gather four Burger Tymers from our Baton Rouge chapter to join me in experiencing nostalgia in its fullest. The location in downtown Baton Rouge has been around since the 50’s. Now, Frost Top’s claim to fame is their root beer, which I will talk about later, but we were there for a burger! The interior of this location was not as childhood, dreamy as I remember the other one being but it had it’s own appeal. From the big root beer mugs on the side of the road to the the black and white checkered tile, this place is classic! It was reassuring that when we arrived a little after noon that the parking lot was full. We walked in and got in line to place our order. There are a few options at Frost Top including poboys, burgers, sandwiches, and even gumbo. Frost Top classifies their burgers as “Lotaburger” and “Wholotaburger”. That translates in to 1/4 lb and 1/2 lb respectively.

The Frosting on the Cake-

Frost Top Burger So we made it through the line and I placed my order for the “Lotaburger” with cheese and everything on it. I also ordered a side of fries and of course, the Frost Top Root Beer. While paying for the order I inquired as to whether they made their own beef patties and was informed that in fact they do. While waiting for our order I enjoyed the frosty mug of root beer that I ordered (more on this later). Our number was called after a few minutes and we sat down to a very good looking burger spread. Every element of the burger was pretty good. The bun was fresh as were the veggies. The 1/4 lb patty was a not particularly flavorful or juicy. The cheese was not as melted on the patty as I like. As you can see, it was placed under the patty on the burger which is not that big of a deal, but I like to see the cheese slice draped on top of the patty, like a burger patty shirt. The fries were adequate. They were freshly fried which was good but were of the frozen, not fresh cut variety.

The Wrap it up –

Frost Top Root BeerEverything combined at Frost Top for a good burger but not a great one. The atmosphere and the history of Frost Top were very cool and make it worth checking out. While there was nothing wrong with the burger, nothing quite stood out to make it great. The 1/4 lb patty was a little thinner than I would have liked. Perhaps I should have opted for the “Wholotaburger”. All in all it was a good Burger Tyme for around $6 including burger, fries, and a drink. Oh, and what a drink. The Root Beer at Frost Top is AMAZING!!!! They keep the mugs chilled in a freezer which as the root beer leaves the tap and hits the glass, begins to frost up in the mug. It creates a thick layer of root beer ice around the mug which I loved! It was like drinking candy! I may return to Frost Top if only for the burger but I will DEFINITELY return to Frost Top for the Root Beer. It’s that good!

Hint – Frost top also had great milkshakes. My wife and I ordered a large chocolate shake to split which was about $4. It was HUGE! Between the two of us we could only drink about half. My sixteen year old, high school football player younger brother, however, was able to drink the whole thing.

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