Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Summer of Burgers Continues...

Greetings, Readers!

Were you aware that yesterday in the UK was National Burger Day? Well, what better way to honor that wonderful holiday than by having a burger at a local Scottish-inspired pub?

It's been quite some time since I first heard about The Morrison LA in Atwater Village.  So when asked where to have a double date with friends, this place immediately had popped in mind.

How fitting that it should happen so close to a nationally recognized celebration of the Burger in the UK.

Each month, The Morrison LA has a different specialty burger on their menu. After perusing their incredible beer list, my eyes were immediately drawn to the monthly specials section. That's when I knew what I was going to be ordering.

The Blue Cheese Bourbonator is a testament to the greatness of the burger. A thick six-ounce brisket and ground chuck patty is topped with Stilton blue cheese, bourbon caramelized onion, bacon jam and garlic aioli. You can also add a side shot of buffalo trace bourbon to complete the experience.

Yes, all of those things.

The brisket and chuck patty was delicious. A smooth flavored, juicy patty with a somewhat smoky flavor that paired well with the Stilton blue cheese which offered its own slightly pungent flavor. The bourbon onions contributed a smoky tang along with the delicious bacon jam. The garlic aioli added a flavor contrast that was welcomed with all of the smoky flavor.

Despite the juicy burger patty, and the copious amounts of other ingredients, the bun held together quite well until the end. Contrasting the smoky and tangy flavors of this sandwich, the bun also added a slightly sweet flavor enveloping the burger.

This burger is a treat for your tastebuds that you will want to revisit again and again.

For those that get there before the end of the week and are looking for a less meat-intense option, there is the veggie option of the Atwater Burger which has a quinoa based patty.

Overall, The Morrison LA is a great place. The other food options all seem mouthwatering as well, and their beer selection offers great options in numerous different styles. Even their dessert options are great, which, by the way, try the bread pudding. It's fantastic.

Frankly though, as far as this burger goes, it's one of the best I've had.

Long after finishing it, the Blue Cheese Bourbonator came back to my mind and tastebud memory. It's only available for a short time at The Morrison LA, so if it sounds appealing to you (and why wouldn't it be?) I highly suggest you head down there as soon as you possibly can.

You will not be disappointed.

Until next week, Readers...

The Blue Cheese Bourbonator
***** Stars
The Morrison LA
3179 Los Feliz Boulvard
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fast Food and Guilty Pleasures

Greetings, Readers!

You know, last week's blog entry on In N Out Burger had me thinking about fast food in general here in California. I had some other sandwiches I planned to review, but this was a topic that stayed on my mind since last week.

Sure, we've got the Big 3 fast food burger spots here, but there is a wealth of fast food restaurants in the area that I would easily place above them, if I were in the mood for fast food.

With how many amazing spots there are in Los Angeles for great non-fast food sandwiches, this isn't often, but it occasionally does happen.

So let's take a look at a few of my favorites that are well known for being out west.

Jack In The Box: With commercials featuring their lovable "CEO" Jack, this fast food chain isn't as far out with their menus as the next two entries, but does feature some oddball items. Also, like the next two fast food spots, the calorie count for some of their items will absolutely make your eyes bulge. When I feel like slumming it food-wise, I'm a big fan of the Sourdough Jack, one beef patty, copious bacon pieces and Swiss cheese on toasted sourdough bread. It's sloppy and it's not something I would normally recommend, but we all have our guilty pleasures. Oh, and for my Philly readers, their Philly Cheesesteak sandwich commercials are both insulting and hilarious.

Carl's Jr: With its sibling chain Hardee's back east, this chain is known for some ridiculously large portion sizes as well as wild commercials, usually employing celebrities or very attractive models to show off their food (for example, this one). Along with Jack In The Box, this is another caloric overload of a meal, but in general the meat is a step above the rest in flavor. Right now, their newest burger is the Buffalo Blue Cheese Burger, which you can wash down with a gut busting Shake, and even a strawberry Pop Tart ice cream sandwich after.

Sonic: This OKC based company has been expanding in recent years, and its closest location is in Orange County, but that hasn't stopped the commercials from being on LA television multiple times an hour. The food here can border on the ridiculous like Carl's Jr., and it even had one of the worst burgers as named by Men's Health magazine. Sonic is also known for their huge hot dog selection.

And so now that my guilty pleasures of fast food are out in the open, join me in revealing your favorite spots to slum it up with fast food. Next week, I promise we'll move back into some of the better sandwiches of the area.

Until then, Readers...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dinner, Animal Style

Greetings, Readers.

Recently, I had been going through my catalog of reviews and noticed one glaring error. One especially glaring error since I live in southern California, the birthplace of many fast food joints.

So, Readers, let's talk about In N Out Burger.

If you don't live out west, you've probably heard of this fast food chain that started in 1948. Whether from its references in The Big Lebowski or from the whispered rumors of a "secret menu" (all of which are totally true...or mostly), In N Out is a western staple of fast food.

When approaching the counter, the menu is deceptively simple: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Double Cheeseburger, fries and either soft drinks or shakes. This is where you can start to get creative. Would you like a "3 by 3" (3 patties, three slices of cheese)? Or how about "Protein Style" (a burger with lettuce leaves in place of the bun)?

Then of course, there's  "Animal Style" where you get an extra dose of sauce and grilled onions on top of the patty.

For this time, and pretty much every time I go, I ordered a single cheeseburger, Animal Style, with Animal Style fries and I swapped my soft drink out for a chocolate shake. The ingredients arrive to each In N Out location fresh and aren't stored at the locations under heat lamps or in freezers. They're fresh in and fresh out, which means that their flavor is much better than your regular run-of-the-mill fast food location.

The patties, while on the thin side compared to other chains, burst with flavor, and the fresh lettuce provides a lively crispness to the sandwich. The American cheese and Animal Style addition add a nice mellow flavor the round out the sandwich.

Oh, and for you newbies, the fries are freshly made at each location. A potato goes into a small fry maker, a handle is pulled, and fresh-cut fries shoot out.

And don't forget the chocolate shakes. Made with real ice cream, these are definitely the best shakes you can get from a fast food location, so don't miss out on them.

All in all people, if you're out West and you're looking to try a fast food location, you can't go wrong with In N Out Burger. The fresh ingredients and great flavors make this a can't miss food tour stop in Southern California.

If you've had In N Out Burger before, Readers, what's your usual order?

Until next week...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

An Argentine Afternoon

Greetings, Readers!

You know, besides being able to find delicious sandwiches where ever I go, this blog serves a few other purposes for me (and hopefully inspires you to do the same).

The first reason behind this blog is to discover new places in my area, to see more than my usual favorites. Secondly, this blog thoroughly serves as a way to catch up with friends who I may not normally see.

Over the past year especially, I am asked by numerous friends to join me on a sandwich outing, which adds to the enjoyment of the day. Recently I was able to accomplish both of these purposes on one trip when meeting a friend at Lala's Argentine grill in Studio City.

I've eaten at Lala's years ago, but did not have any of their sandwiches, and if you're not in the mood for one of those options (why wouldn't you be though?), the other food is excellent.

Especially anything with chimichurri sauce. Seriously.

Looking at the sandwich options this time, I opted for the Picante Chicken Sandwich. The Picante is a simple sandwich, grilled chicken breast, lettuce, tomato and Argentine sauce, but is very delicious.

The grilled chicken breast was thin, juicy and a bit spicy along with a slight smoky flavor from being grilled. The lettuce and tomato added both a crispness and freshness to the sandwich, and the Argentine sauce added a bit of tangy flavor to contrast the rest of the sandwich. Overall, an enjoyable sandwich for a warm summer day, and a nice contrast to all of the red meat I've been eating lately.

My only complain through was the bread. While it did hold together until the end, it didn't add much to the sandwich in flavor or texture and was immediately forgettable. Ah well, they can't all be perfect, right?

So that's it for this week, Readers. Have you found your new favorite summer sandwich, or enjoyed a sandwich recently with friends? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Until next week, Readers!

Picante Chicken Sandwich
**** Stars
11935 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA