Showing posts with label burger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label burger. Show all posts

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Easy Car Rental and Road Trip to Napa with Drive Maven

During my recent trip to San Francisco, I got the opportunity to try out Drive Maven, a car-sharing service similar to Zipcar. Maven is General Motors' service, and you can rent GM cars by the hour or day from various locations around the country. For cities where parking is notoriously difficult and expensive like San Francisco, services like Maven is really useful when you need a car just for a day trip.
Drive Maven in Napa
Unlike Zipcar, there's no annual membership fee associated with Maven. Just like Zipcar, gas and insurance are included in the hourly/daily rates. In SF, the cars are parked in various garages throughout the city. To book the car, you can search the map for that city and select the most convenient garage for you.

I picked a garage on Taylor St, and they had new red Chevy Volt! I've been curious about this plug-in hybrid, so I booked it.
Drive Maven in Napa
Drive Maven in Napa

The Volt was $8 per hour - again it includes gas and insurance. Did I mention this VOLT was wifi-equipped? A lot of their cars are loaded with the latest tech, including Apple CarPlay and free unlimited 4G LTE WiFi. You bet I was instagramming using the car's wifi!

Everything is done with the Maven app. When you go to pick up your car, you can just unlock the car with your app using bluetooth. The car will detect that your phone is inside and you can start the car without a key (only when your phone is inside the car). Everything was seamless and easy (minus the tight spaces in SF's parking garages, but what can you do about that?). After that, I was off to Napa!

It was around lunchtime by the time we got to Napa Valley, so we stopped at Oxbow Public Market for lunch. The Public Market has a variety of food offerings, including Hog Island Oyster and Ritual Coffee.
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Saturday, December 3, 2016

21 Square Bar + Kitchen (Torrance, CA)

by @bstunoda

21 Square, named because the city is approximately 21 square miles, is the latest addition to the Torrance food and beverage landscape. It is located inside the Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach. A lot of attention was placed on creating a cool coastal vibe. I liked the uniqueness of the interior decor - the walls featured the city of Torrance in a creative way. The venue extended outdoors with a beautiful fire pit and adjacent seating.

The “21st Mule” is their version of the ever popular cocktail with Tito’s® vodka, ginger beer and fresh squeezed lime. I enjoyed both the presentation and the taste of “El Dude”. This is their house-made creation of Fugu Horchata vodka and Kahlua.
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In addition to the their cocktails, they feature wine and ten beers on tap. They’ve partnered with Absolution Brewing to create their own exclusive brew and that’s only available at 21 Square. It is a smooth ale and probably a great beginner’s entry into craft beer. In fact they make their delicious fish & chips using this very brew!
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The LYB (Loosen Your Belt) is a shareable dish consisting of tater tots, capicola, mortadella, salami, sausage, cheddar, mozzarella, chopped scallions and topped with a poached egg. It’s is the perfect item to share with a draft beer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

From Lunch to Jazz, Beat Brasserie is a Crowd Please Any Time of Day

Beat Brasserie was already a popular spot in Harvard Square, known for its live jazz music and drinks, accompanied by some great food. But recently, Beat Brasserie also opened its doors for lunch on weekdays, adding another great option for nearby workers and students to grab a bite during the day.
Beat Brasserie
The restaurant is much quieter during weekday lunches than during live jazz sessions, of course, which means it would be good for a working lunch as well.

I recently tried the lunch and started with an appetizer of Fried Rhode Island calamari, vegetable frito misto, green goddess dressing ($13.50)
Beat Brasserie
Instead of the traditional heavy calamari plate, I liked that this was more like a salad.

For lunch entrees they have some overlap with the dinner menu, like the bowls and burgers, but they also have a quiche of the day, tuna nicoise salad, and others. The day I dined there for lunch, they had a rabbit pasta on the menu.
Beat Brasserie
The pasta was delicious and it was a good lighter option for lunch as well.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Devouring the Bar Menu at Grill 23 and Bar (Boston, MA)

Grill 23 and Bar may be celebrating 30 years of being one of the best steakhouses in Boston, but don't forget about the "Bar" part of the restaurant! Grill 23's bar menu features some great cocktails and satisfying bites like these Foie gras slider on cider doughnut with jalapeno jelly.
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No, really. Seared foie gras on a donut! I went to the bar menu launch party there and I think I ate 3 of these babies, and still wanted more. I would definitely come back for these - Foie gras lovers have to try them!

Grill 23 and Bar also has some nice cocktails - I love Death & Taxes in particular, with the smokiness of the cigar infused bourbon and the sweetness of the peach.
Grill 23
Grill 23

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fritzi DTLA: A Game Changer in the Arts District

One of the newer restaurants I was excited to try was Neal Fraser's new Fritzi in DTLA's arts district. I've been seeing a lot of instagrams of their rotisserie chicken, and most importantly, waffle tots, aka potato waffles.
Fritzi
Yes, waffled tater tots. Get it with cheese, always.

The potato waffles can be ordered as a side, or you can get them with an order of the rotisserie chicken
Fritzi
You can order the rotisserie chicken as 1/4 chicken for $15 or 1/2 chicken for $19, and it comes with your choice of fries, tots, or potato waffles, and a choice of vegetables of the day. You can also order one of their dipping sauces starting from $0.50 and includes options like green harissa, black garlic aioli, Louisiana aioli, or Vermont beer-cheddar (I love the harissa).
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I typically don't order chicken, especially chicken breast, but that's because many times restaurants make them too dry. That won't happen with Fritzi's rotisserie chicken, though, with its perfectly tender and juicy meat.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Romantic Cavatina Heats Up The Sunset Marquis

A romantic, quiet outdoor dining just off of the Sunset Strip, Cavatina is currently flying under the radar. It's surprising that not more people know about this restaurant, which offers a solid menu of both food and wine.

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Not a lot of people know about this restaurant that is hidden inside the Sunset Marquis hotel, but it offers a gorgeous outdoor dining experience. Get a table on the outside that overlooks the man-made waterfall for a more romantic setting.
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Cavatina's cuisine is originally headed by James Beard winning Chef and Restaurateur Michael Schlow who has a restaurant empire on the East Coast. I've previously had a great lunch experience at Cavatina, but now I returned to try the dinner menu. The evening provided a very different ambiance as well!

Lamb meatballs, tomato, cumin, pine nuts ($12)
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It's nice that the tomato sauce here doesn't overpower the flavors of the meatballs themselves.

Homemade potato chips ($7) with green chile onion dip - this one's a mainstay on the menu that I've had during lunch before.
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Yellowtail, cucumber agua chile, pickled persimmon, masago ($19), a light and refreshing dish that highlights the texture of the yellowtail.
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Monday, March 21, 2016

Going Berserk with The Rick Reuben Burger at Grill 'Em All

by guest blogger @iam_robot

By now I trust you all have heard of Grill 'Em All's extravagant burgers. Since its opening as a food truck 6 years ago, Grill 'Em All has been known to serve the masses with daily fix of beastly-looking burgers and loud heavy metal. A few years ago, I remember getting a Behemoth Burger (BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, pickles, bacon and beer soaked onions on grilled-cheese buns) during Venice art walk First Fridays could be a 2-hour ordeal and it almost seemed like a miracle when its impresarios, Chef Ryan Harkins and Matthew Chernus, opened up a brick-mortar shop in Alhambra (of all places) sometime in 2013. I knew when I saw them won $50,000 from the first season of The Great Food Truck Race, they’d do something extraordinary.

death-to-false-burgers
The colorful storefront – located strategically on the busy streets of Alhambra between Main St and Valley Blvd – tucked subtly between Menchie’s Yogurt and Applebees. Walking inside the shop, my first impressions were of the loud heavy metal blares and the gluttonous smell of sizzling meat and bacon. I couldn’t help but notice the long chalkboard menu showing their eclectic burger offerings: Chili-topped burger, peanut-butter-jelly & bacon burger, waffle buns & fried chicken sandwich, champagne hollandaise burger, etc. 

But today, I’m not eating any of those – I’m getting something BIGGER and BETTER. Finally, I had the chance to devour The Rick Reuben aka Hornswoggle, a St Patrick’s Day themed burger with Beer Braised Kraut, House Corned Beef, Thousand Island & Swiss on a Half Pound Burger with Caraway Topped Buns. This burger is available throughout the month of March.
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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Beta Burger Brings Sous Vide Patties to Fast Food

Using the sous vide method to cook burgers has been done by some higher end restaurants, but at a fast food restaurant? Beta Burger, steps away from the Roxbury Crossing T station, may be the first. While I do think thick patties are the best for sous vide, using this method for the usually thinner fast food style burger still promises a healthier and juicier burger than its counterparts.

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The patties have been slow cooked all day, and when you place your order, they will grill it briefly. You can order one of their three burger options, or build your own with a choice of toppings. Their fries (dubbed "skinny fries") are thin fries that come with a packet of seasoning - pour the seasoning in the bag and shake. They had 4-5 seasoning options but everyone opted for the garlic parmesan.
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Topping options include the usual like onions (fresh or caramelized), tomato, along with mushroom, bacon, peppers, and perhaps some special ones for the month - we'll get to that later.
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Friday, October 9, 2015

Oktoberfest Burger at Hard Rock Cafe

For the month of October, Hard Rock Cafe will be serving a special burger, the Samuel Adams Octoberfest Schnitzel Burger. This is two pieces of breaded pork schnitzel with a beer cheese sauce made with Sam Adams Octoberfest beer, smoked bacon, sauerkraut, whole grain mustard, arugula, on a Pretzel bun. The burger with a side of fries is $16.95.

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Of course, this burger is going to be paired with the Samuel Adams Octoberfest.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Shake Shack Introduces Roadside Shack Burger

Shake Shack just introduced their newest limited edition burger: The Roadside Shack. Inspired by many traditional roadside burgers, this beef cheeseburger is topped by caramelized onions that have been simmered in bacon and beer.
I asked for a double patty which costs $8.99 ($6.19 for a single)

Shake Shack
If you haven't had Shake Shack before, they use 100% Angus all-natural beef burger, and it's a great burger patty. I thought the caramelized onion wouldn't be that heavy, but thanks to being simmered in bacon, this burger was quite rich and made the burger even juicier! It certainly takes you back to eating on the side of the highway, but this time with better ingredients.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Drinks and Beyond at Drink (Boston, MA)

Drink Drink in Fort Point is arguably Boston's most famous cocktail establishment. There's no cocktail menu at Drink, just a crew of highly talented and highly trained bartenders under the direction of Ezra Star. They're ready to make you any drink you want, or suggest a cocktail based on your taste preferences. Everyone seems to always be working on something new and interesting.

The line and wait at this place can get pretty crazy, but if you come early (they open at 4pm), there's no line and you can get the full attention of the bartenders.

Because of the status that Drink has in the city, they also can get their hands on some exclusive you can hardly find elsewhere. We tried some special Del Maguey mezcal, a San Pedro Taviche, a blend of Espadin, Tobala, and Tepextate.

We also had a daiquiri made with pineapple infused Plantation rum. Don't let your mind go to Malibu or something like that, Plantation is levels above that. This was a really lovely rum with nice tropical aromas, and it was not yet available in stores.

Drink

Monday, May 18, 2015

Haggis Burger and More: Hard Rock Cafe's World Burger Tour

I don't even know how many years it's been since I stepped into a Hard Rock Cafe, but when I heard from Deep End Dining that the Boston location is offering a haggis burger during the World Burger Tour promotion, I decided I had to try it!

I didn't know this before, but each Hard Rock Cafe location has their own unique burger, dubbed Local Legendary Burger. During the World Burger Tour, which is happening now until June 30, the Hard Rock Cafe locations in the USA will be showcasing different local burgers from all around the globe. Each US cafe will feature four different burgers, and the menu will vary from cafe to cafe.

The Boston location is featuring the haggis burger (Edinburg, Scotland), schnitzel burger (Cologne, Germany), Andean Burger (Santa Cruz, Bolivia), and the Chamorro Burger (Guam). I couldn't fit all four in my stomach, so I tried some:

Of course, I tried the Haggis Burger from Edinburgh, Scotland.

World Burger Tour

It's a beef patty topped with haggis, Monterey Jack cheese, golden turnip frazzles, whiskey maple glaze, lettuce, tomato, served with fries.
World Burger Tour
They even got the nips and tatties in there! That's turnips and potatoes, if you didn't know.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tasting Through Umami Burger's Core Menu

Umami Burger may have a new burger each season like the vegetarian caprese burger last year, but at the heart of it are their core burger menu. To bring back the focus on this core menu, Umami Burger on Broadway in downtown recently invited bloggers for a tasting menu of the core burgers, paired with a variety of drinks (remember, the Broadway location has a full bar since it used to be Umamicatessen). Nine courses, all paired with a beverage.

To start with were the sweet potato fries and onion rings, along with the "secret menu item", cheesy tots. The tots are made with potatoes rolled in parmesan and cheddar, then covered with panko crust.

Umami Burger
The appetizers were paired real sugar Mountain Dew to balance out the salt. The cheesy tots, as you can imagine, were everyone's favorites and were gone in seconds.

Course 2: Truffle Burger (housemade truffle fondue, truffle glaze, truffle salt, truffle aioli)
Umami Burger
So much truffle needs to be paired with a big, robust beer, and Umami chose the Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout. It's been a while since I had Umami Burger and they still had that nicely cooked patty - pink in the middle - and the iconic griddled Portugese-style bun. Yep, still good.

Course 3: Manly Burger (bacon lardons, beer cheddar fondue, smoked salt onion strings, umami ketchup, mustard spread)
Manly Burger

A messy burger, but definitely worth getting your hands dirty! I love the cocktail that this was paired with as well:  Maple Bacon Old Fashioned (bacon-washed Evan Williams, maple syrup, orange bitters, garnished with house-made candied bacon). Because bacon.
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Monday, March 9, 2015

Cambridge Brewing Company (Cambridge, MA)

Cambridge Brewing Company was one of the first places I explored in the Kendall/Tech Square area. It was on the way to/from work and when this Angeleno first moved to Boston and started walking to work, a mile seemed soooo far. So why not stop in the middle for a brew, right?
Cambridge brewing
They have 5-6 flagship beers, but I like browing their specialty and seasonal list, of course. The first beer I had here was the Olmstead's Folly: an herbed ale with Japanese knotsweed and cranberry.

You can get a taster pours of any of the beers, too, which was what I did the last time. Sgt Pepper is their award winning Farmhouse ale with peppercorn. I also tried a Gruit (German for "herb", this refers to an old style of beer made without hops) called Grandchester Meadows. This beer was a collaboration with Mystic Brewery and Earth Eagle Brewings. The last one was Machinery of Night, a blended and barrel-aged sour - also my favorite of this round.
CBC

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Florida's Eco Burger Chain BurgerFi Now Open in West Roxbury (MA)

There's been a trend for new chain restaurants to be more sustainable and eco-friendly, and BurgerFi out of Florida is one of them. To start with, all their burgers use all natural Angus beef. Not only that, they use tables made of recycled wood, and chairs made of recycled Coke bottles. Their fans supposedly use 66% less electricity than normal.

Their most popular burger is the Breakfast All Day.

BurgerFi
The patty is sandwiched between hash brown and a sunny side up egg, then topped with bacon. On the bottom there's caramelized onion.
BurgerFi
BurgerFi
Other than burgers, they're also known for serving frozen custards - concretes in particular, the frozen custard so thick it's supposed to stay in the cup if you turn it upside down, hence the name "conrete". No, I didn't try flipping it upside down ...

In the one I tried, the vanilla frozen custard is layered with red velvet cake. Other flavors include key lime pie and one with peanut butter, chocolate, and brownie all in one.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hey 19: Fun Food and Cheap Drinks in Torrance

There are tons of great Japanese restaurants in Torrance, from oden and yakitori to soba to wonderful pastries, but I wouldn't know where to drink in Torrance. Until now, when Demi Stevens of Ortega 120 opened up Hey 19, a pub with affordable drinks and comfort food - serving until late at night.

Hey 19
The drinks range from $7-8.25. You can hardly get those prices even at happy hour in LA! Yay for low rent in Torrance. I tried the South Bay Storm (Cruzan rum, Campari, lemon, pineapple, Roy Rogers - that's coke and grenadine, $7) and the Classic Cup (housemade Pimm's #1, lemonade, ginger ale, cucumber, mint, orange - also $7).
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Just like the popular margaritas at Ortega 120, the drinks tends to be strong and sweet, easy to drink. It turns out Demi prefers her own drinks less sweet so she made me another one that's coming on the menu soon. She said people tend to Uber down from LA in groups to drink because of her much cheaper prices!
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Brunch at Kirkland Tap and Trotter in Somerville (Boston, MA)

The burger at James Bear winner Tony Maws' Craigie on Main was so popular, he opened up Kirkland Tap and Trotter to make more accessible burgers. But the two burgers will remain distinct, though, keeping the Craigie burger "sacred." Instead, Kirkland Tap and Trotter will serve their own version along with other casual fares.

At any rate, I've been wanting to try KT&T for a while, and I got the chance to join Boston Brunchers for brunch one weekend.

We all started by sharing some orders of the Sticky Bun ($5)

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I liked the (relatively) lighter consistency of the bun, and the amount of nuts they've put in between the folds!

I had a hard time choosing what entree to get since there are a few that sounded interesting and delicious, but since this is my first time here, I decided I should try the burger.
Grilled grass-fed cheeseburger, kimchi Russian dressing, Emmenthaler cheese ($12) with fried egg and house-cured bacon (+$2)
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lunch at Del Frisco's Grille in Burlington, MA

I first heard of Del Frisco's Grille from their Santa Monica location, but didn't have the chance to check it out. Apparently it's a national chain and there's a location in Burlington, MA.

While the more formal Del Frisco had been around for longer, the company has refocused their efforts on the more casual Del Frisco's Grille. All the new locations they are opening will be the Grille, and each one will have a different decor. The Burlington location has a red-themed decor.
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We started lunch with the Ahi tuna tacos, guacamole
Del Frisco's Grille
Coming from LA, this dish is nothing new but still good with fresh tuna and flavorful guacamole.

Next we had a series of flatbreads, starting with the Roasted tomato and mozzarella flatbread
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I was pleasantly surprised with this pizza. The flavors were better than I had expected, especially with the roasted tomatoes.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Alden and Harlow (Cambridge, MA)

As a UCLA and Caltech alum, I'm jealous of the Harvard students. They have so many great restaurants right outside of their campus! One of the hottest restaurants right now is Alden & Harlow, named one of Bon Appetit's Best New Restaurants in America.

This restaurant under a movie theatre looks deceptively small from the outside and when you first walk in, but it actually has a large dining area in the back.

Menus are divided between snacks that are $8 each, including Pistachio crusted halloumi cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes, warm bread

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Pickled green beans are served at every table to start
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My favorite dish from that night: Oil cured tuna belly, buttermilk creamed corn, lemon, cherry tomato ($17)
Alden Harlow


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