Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Burgers of Burbank (Part 10)

 Greetings, Readers!

Have you been waiting patiently over the past week to hear more from our exciting Burgers of Burbank tour?

A few days ago Bryan and I hit up two excellent places, starting off with Apollo Charburger.

This tiny, greasy-spoon type restaurant at the corner of Magnolia and Glenoaks Blvd. is a place I have known about for quite some time but had never tried, mainly due to its very limited hours.

During the week they close up at 4pm, so the race was one as soon as I left work at 3pm.

Arriving only 20 minutes before they closed, I was greeted by two burgers that Bryan had already ordered (and with quality decision making skills): The Pastrami Burger and a Bacon Cheeseburger.

I know what you're thinking, Readers: "We appreciate your dedication to the art of sandwiching, especially when you share two burgers at the same time just for our benefit."

It's a hard job, but someone must do it.

Both burgers were pretty straightforward offerings with cheese, lettuce and pickles topping the burger patty and their differing additions.

Speaking of the patty, it was delicious in both cases. Even though it was a fairly thin patty, it was full of delicious all beef flavor that permeated the sandwich and worked well with the condiments, never giving them a chance to even partially overpower its flavor.

For someone who enjoys pastrami as much as I do though, the Pastrami Burger was the lesser of the two burgers. Sure it was topped off with a healthy dose of pastrami, but it was a bit chewy and the flavor didn't shine through.

The Bacon Cheeseburger worked much better. The smoky bacon flavor mixed very well with the beef patty, and the crunchy lettuce and pickles broke up that flavor with their salty and fresh flavors.

Despite my love for pastrami, my love of bacon once against trumps in this burgering adventure as well. Even if you're not a bacon or pastrami fan the burgers here are pretty basic, yet solid and delicious offerings. You won't be disappointed even with a straight up cheeseburger.

Until next week, Readers.

Pastrami Burger
3 1/2 Stars
Bacon Cheeseburger
4 Stars
Apollo Restaurant
401 N. Glenoaks Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Burgers of Burbank (Part 9)

You have read the title of this entry correctly, Readers.

Here we are, on the 9th entry of the Burgers of Burbank Tour, and we are still far from over.

A few entries ago, I mentioned that Bryan and I had one day where we attempted to eat five different burgers in an afternoon. In today's blog, I'd like to discuss the burger we had at Granville Cafe.

I am intentionally skipping over the burger we had at a nearby location right before Granville. I'd rather not bore you with the details. Then again, if I were going to this location, I probably wouldn't be there for the food anyway.

Granville Cafe is a great little restaurant tucked away on San Fernando Blvd. Despite being full from tasting burgers all afternoon, our palates were still attracted to the idea of the server-recommended Bacon and Blue Burger, along with two beers from their delicious beer menu.

This thick, 100% all natural Angus beef patty, applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, arugula, blue cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and topped with Granville's homemade Port Sauce and Chipotle Aioli makes this an incredible sight to see.

This is not a burger you would want to try after four previous ones, but despite being weighed down, The Granville Bacon and Blue burger was still noted as a clear standout of the day.

The Angus beef patty was delicious, full of beef flavor, and noticeable in this sandwich, especially compared to the previous burgers we tasted with overpowering, salty condiments. Compared to those other lesser burgers, the condiments and extras on this sandwich work together and compliment each other and the meat. Their combined flavors add a more mild, smoky and less acidic flavors than other burgers crowded with condiments.

Blue cheese is an excellent choice to complement the delicious applewood smoked bacon and the smooth flavor of the Angus beef.

This burger is a clear winner so far and would rank in the top three of the Burgers of Burbank so far. Not only was the sandwich well crafted, but the favors served as perfect compliments, and even through the haze of four previous burgers, we were still able to make room for this one.

Let's just not ever do that again, okay?

Until next week, Readers...

The Granville Bacon and Blue Burger
**** 1/2 Stars
121 N. San Fernando Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Burgers of Burbank (Part 8)

Greetings Readers!

I know that I've taken a few weeks off from reviewing the Burgers of Burbank, but I believe now is the time to dive back into the topic, with fresh eyes and taste buds.

A few weeks ago, while continuing my journey with Bryan, we headed to a local bar that I had been to on a number of other occasions: Joe's Great American Bar and Grill.

On my previous nighttime visits, this place was packed with rowdy and dancing patrons, all moving to a live country band that played for a majority of the evening. Sounds fairly "American" doesn't it?

Sounds like the burger should also be good, right?

Despite having a food menu at this bar, I wouldn't say that it is in anyway a restaurant, or even a brewpub, and usually in situations like this the food will tend to be dissatisfying at best.

Despite this though, the Fried Egg and Bacon Cheeseburger seemed like it could be a real standout. A combination of breakfast and one of the most delicious variations on a sandwich to ever be? It seemed like the risk worth taking.

The fried egg on the sandwich was really well done. It had a mellow flavor that is a natural compliment to the flavor of beef, but this is where the enjoyment with the sandwich ends.

For the most part, this burger suffers from problems we've seen with other burgers on this journey, namely the overcondimentification (patent pending word) of the sandwich.

Too many condiments, too little meat, and the only flavor your get is mustard, ketchup, pickles, and raw onions.

In this case, a little fried egg too.

One of the worst problems here was with the bacon. Obviously this problem becomes more compounded and noticeable because, well, it's BACON.

It wasn't crispy at all. It was almost soggy. Definitely soft at best.

Even though the bacon flavor was noticeable over the condiments, it wasn't enough to help turn this sandwich around.

Some places just aren't made for burgers, and in this case I should have gone in with even lower expectations to begin with. I've had fun evenings with drinks and friends at Joe's Great American Bar and Grill before, but I definitely will not be returning to sample this burger again.

On that note though, on to new Burgers next week!

Until then, Readers...

Fried Egg Bacon Cheeseburger
1 1/2 Stars
Joe's American Bar & Grill
4311 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Return To An Old Favorite

Greetings, Readers!

After taking a break from burgers for last week's blog, I felt compelled to take one more week off before returning to the Burgering Adventure.

I wanted to return to a place I hadn't been for quite some time: Sweetsalt.

It's been awhile since I've been to this little shop on Riverside, but it looks like business has been good as they've expanded the seating area inside.

I had originally planned to get the Duck Confit sandwich that I had gotten on my last visit but perusing the menu led my eye to the Short Rib sandwich.

Now I've had short rib sandwiches before (here and here) so this wasn't anything new, but would it be able to hold up to my previous experiences?

The short rib on this sandwich was delicious. Shredded, sweet and at the same time a little spicy, from the beginning it's noticeable that this is a standout.  Topped with goat cheese, braised onions, roasted garlic and a handful of wild arugula, which added a mild mustard flavor to the mix, this is a top short rib sandwich. it is definitely a contender for one of the best in the area.

Also knowing what the rest of their menu is like (especially the outstanding Lavender Duck Confit), Sweetsalt is now even more of a must-visit place in Toluca Lake.

So now, for real, I will return to reviewing the Burgers of Burbank again next week. I have so many more to tell you aout, and Bryan and I are about to take on some more again very soon.

Until next week...

Short Rib Sandwich
**** Stars
Sweetsalt Food Shop
10218 Riverside Drive
Toluca Lake, CA 91602