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Big Mouth Burgers – San Francisco, CA

Burgers, West Coast By July 24, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: The Big Mouth Burger: a 1/2 pound of USDA Prime All Natural Chuck, charbroiled and served with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle and mayo
the bucks: $8.95
the coordinates: San Francisco, CA

Most of the country would balk at a cheese-less burger for $9, even if it was a 1/2 pound of USDA Prime all natural chuck and came with fries. But most of the country ain’t got nothing on a warm sunny day in San Francisco, which could just about sway almost anyone that you might be in the greatest city in America. This well reputed metropolis surrounded by natural beauty, enriched in culture, and well recorded in the history books, just about owned the food movement in America, if not the world, for the latter part of the 20th century. Farm to Table took root in the Bay Area first thanks to Alice Waters and spurred a whole generation of chefs to come. The Asian pantry collided with European cooking sensibilities here. I won’t even get into the whole wine thing, but I will say that when one looks beyond all the vitricultural brouhaha, the beer made in these parts is just as good. Yeah, San Francisco is a hell of a town, and an even better one if you are hungry. Finding a great burger is not a hard thing to do. Finding Bang for your Burger Buck – well that was kind of a conundrum.

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Matt’s Bar – Minneapolis, MN

Burgers, Midwest By July 2, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: The Jucy Lucy: a burger stuffed with american cheese, topped with grilled onions and thinly sliced pickle
the bucks: $6.75
the coordinates: Minneapolis, Minnesota

The search for Bang for your Burger Buck can certainly take you places. You may find yourself so deep in the hood your Spidey Sense might be tingling to the tune of a scene from Training Day. Or you could find yourself smack dab in the middle of fly over country, at a modest looking neighborhood bar that somehow has drawn the likes of major Food TV personalities and the President of the United States. Like the slogan of the site says – it’s about the journey as much as it is about the burger. Cheap Eats, and certainly great burgers, come in unexpected places. And speaking of, this is one solid griddled to perfection serving of ground chuck, stuffed with American Cheese for $6.75. Like the City of Minneapolis, the Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar seems like a quick read. But after you sink your teeth into both burger and the city, you will find that what seems to be antiquated food traditions, are in actuality paying dividends in our current foodie renaissance. Before I get too carried away with all that let’s talk about how the Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar evokes White Castle and why that is actually a good thing.

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The Silo on 7th – Austin, TX

Austin, Burgers By June 5, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: The Eggs Benedict Burger(Angus beef and pork breakfast sausage patty blend, topped with a poached egg, hollandaise sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion)
the bucks: $8.50
the coordinates: Austin, Texas

Two foods that we all know, love, and trust have been conducting a covert takeover of menus across the country.

Yes, I’m talking about Bacon and Eggs.

When spoken in the same sentence one quickly dismisses them as two pals who take morning strolls in the neighborhood together. Much like Peanut Butter and Jelly do around lunch time, or what Meat and Potatoes often do after dark. But unlike PB&J or Meat and Potatoes, Bacon and Eggs are splitting up, and showing up in all manners of food, at all hours too. Beyond the over the top and lets face it, the outright obnoxious trend that is the meat straw in a Bloody Mary, Bacon can show up pretty much anywhere at anytime, and it’s welcomed. Bacon on burger? But of course! Bacon on fowl? They call that a Turkey Club and even the most paranoid Tea Party toter will say that’s as American as Apple Pie. Bacon on Pork? If I could count the times Ina Garten wrapped a pork tenderloin in bacon in anticipation of Jeffrey coming home from a hard day of yachting then I could, well I could count a whole lot, like Rain Man did when the box of toothpicks hit the ground. But back to bacon and eggs and really, back to eggs, because despite their long history of showing up in a plethora of dishes and cuisines around the world, their appearance in the food world of today qualifies it as a bonafide food trend. Eggs show up for lunch and dinner. Pizzas, Pastas, Vegetable side dishes – here they pretty much take the role of Foie Gras for the vegetarian. So, if it’s no longer a big deal for eggs to show up for lunch and dinner, why not have a burger show up for breakfast? The peeps at Silo on 7th seemed to think so and with that I present to you the Eggs Benedict Burger and a Bang for your Burger Buck taste of East Austin.

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Hinano Cafe – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By May 15, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: double cheeseburger with house toppings(lettuce, tomato, red onion)
the bucks: $8.50
the coordinates: Venice Beach, CA(12 miles west of Los Angeles)

It has been said that etiquette may well be a thing of the past. And perhaps images of young men holding open doors for the elderly or school children rising when a teacher enters a classroom are indeed as frozen in time as those crude etchings of Wooly Mammoths found in the caves of Southern France. Contrary to this notion, I do believe that, in certain instances of modern context, etiquette still does occur, though in ways that may seem more subtle or unexpected to our forbears. Take for instance the dive bar. That hallowed home away from home where the working man or woman spends some quality time and dollars, in libation and revelry, with fellow working men and women. A place where convenience, affordability and joy intersect. The dive bar is more than just a bar, it is a pseudo private club for the blue collared. They are places that are claimed, that are deserved of our loyalty. It would be poor etiquette to covet another man’s dive bar. Therefore I cannot honestly claim Hinano as my own because it aint in my hood. I am no beach dweller, and it may well be at least a lifetime or two till the day when I can afford to hang my hat walking distance to the beach. But I can visit. I can pay to park so I can essentially pay to put my feet in the sand. And since I have an hour or two left on my meter, I might as well go crush a burger.

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Super Burger – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By April 30, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: 7.5oz bacon cheeseburger with house toppings(lettuce, tomato, thousand island dressing)
the bucks: $6
the coordinates: Pasadena, CA(14 miles northeast of Los Angeles)

Eating alone is a fascinating thing to observe. In the modern era, thanks to smartphones and social media, I suppose we never are really alone. All the Twitter followers and Facebook friends in the world can’t mask that lone diner. The lone diner is certainly more common in certain venues as the likelihood of spotting one dropping $300 on a tasting menu at Alinea seems far less likely than catching one at a roadside stand for a $1 taco. Regardless of a venue’s pomp and price, or a menu crafted from foie gras or frankfurter, watching a diner eat alone is captivating. Captivating because of our own imaginations and the questions that pop in our heads. Who is she? What does he does he do? Does he live alone? One would assume certain professions would embrace eating alone. Spies, Vigilantes, certain Super Heroes. Travis Bickle definitely ate some meals solo. Paul Kersey too. While a mohawked Robert DeNiro would be tough to picture at Super Burger in Pasadena, I could buy a Charles Bronson circa 1974, sitting alone, getting a day’s worth of calories in one sitting, before looking for trouble on a subway platform. After all being a Vigilante means you work ’round the clock and best to get a full belly in one sitting whenever possible. Which brings us to a bacon cheeseburger with the most bacon I have seen on a cheeseburger, or a lumberjack breakfast special for that matter.

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Grill ‘Em All – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By April 16, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: “FTW” Burger. Bun. Cheese(American). 
the bucks: $6
the coordinates: Alhambra, CA(10 miles east of Los Angeles)

We are in the age of pretentious foodie bullshit. If talk is cheap, foodie talk is going for Costco/WalMart wholesale prices. Blame it on Twitter. Blame it on Food Television. Hell, blame it on marketing, that’s where it all stems from really. But cry not, honest and humble lover of all things edible, there is an oasis in the sea of gluten free, farm to table, non GMO, double organic with a dash of free range, foodie discourse. One is most certainly the site you are reading. The other is the post you are about to sink into, or more accurately, this burger you are about to sink your teeth into:

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