Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Duck Is The New...Well, Duck.

Greetings, Readers!

Recently I've been traveling around a bit throughout Southern California in an effort to find a great venue for an event. It's been a really incredible experience, but as you know with any bit of traveling, exhaustion does set in.

Exhaustion and hunger.

Thankfully while touring around in Camarillo and Malibu, I passed by one of my favorite places in the area, Ladyface Ale Companie.

Now, I have previously reviewed Ladyface before, Post-2012 Presidential election, so you know by now my love of this place, but would the food still live up to my standard if I tackled another sandwich?

Only one way to find out.

Previously enjoying the Croque Monsieur, I decided this would be the time to try the Duck Confit sandwich. Duck can be tricky to work with as it can typically be a bit greasy and hence not so appealing to most people.

This sandwich though was excellent. A healthy dose of shredded duck, gruyere cheese, dried fruit mostarda and mustard greens stuffed into a fresh baguette, this sandwich provided a number of complementary and contrasting flavors. The mustard greens had their earthy and peppery flavors while the duck and mostarda provided smoky and sweet flavors that took turns in the spotlight with each bite.

The duck was not greasy, but tender and full of flavor. The sandwich has furthered my desire to find more duck sandwiches when combined with the great experience of the lavender Duck Confit at Sweetsalt in Studio City.

So, Readers, this sandwich still lives up to the quality of the other food offerings and the amazing beer provided by Ladyface. While Agoura Hills may seem a little out of the way for some of you, it's definitely worth making the trip out on a slow weekend afternoon.

I know it'll be worth your time.

Until next week, Readers...

Duck Confit
**** 1/2 Stars
Ladyface Ale Companie
23281 Agoura Road
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Pop Fly In Flavor

Greetings, Readers.

Look, I love baseball.

If you didn't know that before from previous stadium related posts, now you know. I am admitting that I may have a problem with my love of baseball. I just can't get enough of it.

Some of it is the sport itself, the action, the fun, the skill.

Another part is the stadium food. Enjoying a hot dog in the warm sun during a three hour game. There really is something about the whole experience.

So of course while I was in Japan, I not only took in a Giants baseball game at Tokyo Dome, but I had to try some of the stadium food.

The Japanese love (seriously LOVE) baseball, so the stadium had to have excellent food to enjoy with this most beloved of sports, right?

After attending a sumo match the previous day and enjoying Yakitori, I thought that a Teriyaki chicken sandwich would be the way to go for this sandwich outing.

Boy, could I not have been more wrong.

Between innings I decided to go with this Chicken Teriyaki sandwich over some of the other overtly questionable choices. The chicken patty was glazed with Teriyaki sauce but really provided no flavor at all. In fact, the entire sandwich was fairly bland.

Oh and then there was the gristle.

Yep. Gristle.

Imagine eating a sandwich while enjoying a game at Tokyo Dome and all of a sudden you have a very noticeably chewy nugget in the middle of your sandwich.

Also imagine how hard it is to dispose of that piece of gristle without insulting or disgusting Japanese patrons next to you. It's not exactly easy, but it had to be done.

This was the only regrettable moment of my trip to Tokyo, and luckily was overshadowed by enjoying a Giants game at Tokyo Dome.

So, Readers, while I do suggest you take in a game if you happen to visit Tokyo (the fans alone are fun to watch), I'd definitely suggest you stay away from the Chicken Teriyaki sandwich. Seriously.

Until next week, Readers...

Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich
* Star
Tokyo Dome
Tokyo, Japan

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Burgers of Burbank (Part 11, Finale)

The 7 oz. Burger
Greetings, Readers!

So, here we are. The end of the burger road. We've reviewed a few more here than what I've posted about, but I feel like I've discussed all the ones worth discussing with you.

So what are your thoughts? Did you enjoy the...

Wait a second.

One. More.

That's right, for old times sake, let's just do one more, one FINAL burger review on this burger tour of Burbank.

For this final review, we visited Not A Burger Stand.

What's that you say? Wouldn't that mean there aren't any burgers at this place?

Well, not really. It's mostly not-burgers (beef brisket, crab cake and portabella sandwiches, etc.) but there is one on its menu: the 7oz. Burger.

This burger is a straightforward, minimalist affair: A little bit of mayo, a little bit of mustard, a 7 oz. all beef 80/20 patty with two slices of Swiss and lettuce. Despite being so simple, this was one of the most enjoyable burgers on the trip.

Not A Burger Stand is known for their "Deal of the Day" chalkboard signs
There wasn't an overload of flavors fighting for my taste buds' attention, just delicious beef flavor with a few supporting flavor friends. The beef itself was simple, with a prominent, yet simple, flavor. Speaking with the cook between bites, we found out that he uses simple 80/20 mix ground beef, hand shapes them himself into patties and only seasons with a little bit of salt and pepper.

Simple, yet delicious.

A great and simple burger, and a great and simple restaurant in Burbank. Seems like the best way to end this journey.

It can be a little tough looking back on so many burgers and trying to decide which one was the best or worst, but the fact is that out of the many we've tried each one had its own bright spots. Some were delicious, some were risky, but all of them had one thing in common: a love of the art form of the burger.

So if you're in Burbank in the future, and looking for a good burger, hopefully the past few weeks of reviews can lead you in the right direction. Maybe you even find one yourself that you weren't expecting to enjoy and you can share with me and the other Readers for our mutual benefit.

Many thanks to Bryan for proposing the idea and then joining me on this excellent adventure through the art of Burgering.

Which Burgers were some of your favorites, Readers?

Until next week...

The 7 oz. Burger
**** Stars
Not A Burger Stand
1221 Riverside Drive
Burbank, CA 91506

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I Love You, Tokyo

Ohaiyou Gozaimasu, Readers!

I have returned from my 8 day journey to the wonderful capital city of Tokyo, Japan.

Granted, I didn't eat many sandwiches there as the numerous options of delicious sushi and various types of noodles took precedence while there, but I did happen upon a sandwich dealer while walking through the neighborhood of Ginza.

Tucked beneath the tracks for the local JR Yamanote train line, The Beat Diner can be hard to find if you're not looking for it.

Also being tucked beneath a subway, every so often during your meal the entire place rattles as the train passes overhead. It definitely adds to the atmosphere of the place.

And speaking of atmosphere, the place has it in handfuls. A rugged brick interior with walls adorned by classic American rock records, it's a tribute to 60s and 70s America, right down to the classic american food: The Hamburger.

Every burger is listed in two different sizes, essentially 1/3lb and 1/4 lb options, and for this time out I decided to go with the straight up 1/4lb Cheeseburger.

While not expecting much out of sandwiches in Tokyo, and having had so many great ones recently in Burbank, I was blown away by how delicious this sandwich was.

After being given a small paper bag to wrap the burger in (a la West Coast style) I dove right in and was hit with a delicious beef flavor and a well rounded, melted cheddar flavor. A little bit of crisp lettuce tops of the burger added a freshness as well as textural crunch.

The fries were also excellent, and I wish there had been more. Very flavorful, lightly salted, and with a bit of crispiness on the outside.

This was really a fantastic burger, not just for Tokyo, but for any burger love in general.

As I've found with many sandwiches over this journey, sometimes the best ones appear to us through accident. Here we were, hungry and looking for lunch after touring the Imperial Palace grounds and we happen to pass by a local restaurant that mostly neighborhood locals would know of. We didn't expect much, and were absolutely blown away by this find.

If you're ever in Tokyo, and you should definitely make sure you are at one point in your life, you should absolutely try to find this for a break from the country's delicious sushi and udon offerings. You will be thoroughly rewarded for doing so.

Until next week, Readers...

1/4lb Cheeseburger
**** Stars
The Beat Diner
Tokyo, Japan