Wednesday, September 25, 2013

So Long Summer

Greetings, Readers.

Last week I finally put the lid on summer the best way I knew how: A hot dog from a nearby hot dog cart.

As the cool wind picked up outside of the studio, and the sun was hidden behind the dark clouds of oncoming fall, I thought back to the past few months of sandwiching.

Burgering a plenty had happened, usually followed by light and heat-quenching beers to wash those sandwiches down.

Sure, I could continue doing that year round if I wanted, but like the two (one and a half?) seasons that we have here in Los Angeles, this sandwich was the symbol of moving on into different territory.

For the time being.

I've constantly walked past this hot dog cart on the CBS Radford lot here in Studio City. Every time I passed, I'd smell the grilling of hot dogs and sausages and the salty and brined ingredients sitting nearby. Ever time I passed, I'd say "Next time. For sure."

Six months later, I was finally sitting next to the cart, enjoying this Chicago style hot dog, topped with a pickle, yellow mustard, chopped onions, tomatoes, sweet relish, pickled peppers, and a dose of celery salt.

The smoky grilled hot dog combined with the salty, bitter, peppery and sweet ingredients in a way that pulled your taste buds in so many different directions at the same time that I couldn't keep track of when one sensation started and ended.

The ingredients were incredibly fresh too, adding a notable crunch to contrast with the fluffy white hot dog bun and the slight pop of each bite of the hot dog itself. Poppy seeds also jumped into the mix by adding a slight flavor as the bun was covered in them.

Overall, this was a great hot dog, and an excellent way to say goodbye to Summer as the Autumn winds started to kick up.

So, Readers, what do you like to top your hot dogs with?

And have you ever heard of a Danger Dog? Looks like I have a new sandwich to start seeking out in the months to come.

Until next week, Readers...


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Morning After...Deliciousness.

Greetings, Readers!

I was wondering to myself this morning: if I had unlimited money and time, would I be able to eat every sandwich that I'd like to try on my list?

Would I live much longer at all if I even tried that?

I thought of this because after brewing a new batch of beer this past weekend, I headed to Stout Burgers & Beers in Studio City on a double date to catch up with some friends.

I had reviewed the Stout Burger on a previous visit to the Studio City location nearly a year ago and much has changed since then, notably my burger adventuring of the past 4 months. I've had a lot of different types of burgers since then, so could another one from Stout Burgers & Beer hold up to the standard that I've created over that time.

I settled on the Morning After Burger, mostly because of my bacon addition but also because of my new favorite burger topping: egg. The delicious beef patty was topped with rosemary bacon, melted aged cheddar, chipotle ketchup and the above-mentioned over-easy egg.

The beef patty, freshly ground and formed each day in house, was wonderful: full beef flavor that permeated through all of the added ingredients. The bacon was crisp and delicious. The chipotle ketchup added some spicy and sweet flavors to the burger which contrasted with the smooth aged cheddar flavor that shone through.

The yolk of the egg was still a little runny, so on the first bite the rest of the burger was covered with it, providing a great complementary flavor to the rest of the burger. Seriously, if you've never had egg on your burger before, start with The Morning After.

You'll never go back.

In the end, I may not have visited somewhere new, but tasting a new burger is a great experience in itself. Especially when it is as good as The Morning After.

As a side note, the menu recommends pairing this with any of the pale ales they have in house, and I would totally agree with that. Despite agreeing though, I settled on an Elder Brett by Epic Brewing. A refreshing, slightly sour ale that is great in any situation.

Until next week, Readers...

The Morning After
***** Stars
Stout Burgers & Beer
11262 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Hills Are Alive... With The Sounds of Sizzling

Greetings, Readers!

Finally here in Los Angeles we've seen a break in our high temperatures. While I understand it's still technically summer, I admit I'm quite glad that the temperature is showing signs of changing as we head towards a season that acts like fall is supposed to act.

Looking back over the past few months though, I see I've gotten around to quite a lot of places, burgers joints especially. I actually hit even more places than I had written about and elected to skip over a few at the time. Recently, I had been thinking of one place that I skipped reviewing that I wanted to share with you now.

DeBell's Golf Club is located up a steep road into the hills in Burbank, which gives the Clubhouse Grill an excellent view out over this part of the valley. While Bryan (@818NewGuy) and I had gone on a relatively cloudy day, I imagine on a clear sunny day you can see fairly far.

The Clubhouse Grill is a swank little rest area for golfers between rounds, with a bar as well. Sitting down near one of the windows with a view, we looked at the menu and settled on the basic cheeseburger.

"The Best In Town" it said.

"Oh, really?" we said.

At the top of the burger section on the menu, DeBell's Clubhouse Grill proudly states that their burger patties are freshly ground and handmade on site, and topped with their own special sauce. Along with that, the cheeseburger comes with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and grilled onions.

The patty was grilled well and had decent flavor, but the other ingredients didn't add much to the burger at all. The grilled onions were a bit tough and the American cheese, while melted well enough, didn't add much in the way of flavor. The burger could have been helped a bit with a more flavorful cheese, even something as simple as cheddar. Overall, this burger was not even close to the "best in town", but the experience as always was enjoyable.

Getting out of the city, without actually getting out of the city, made the trip worthwhile. Sometimes the sandwiches I research may fall short, but there usually is at least one redeeming factor. If you're looking for a new place to get away to, even just to have a drink, it might be worth trekking into the hills to visit the Clubhouse Grill.

Just don't feel pressured into buying the burger.

Until next week, Readers...

The Clubhouse Cheeseburger
*** Stars
DeBell Golf Club Clubhouse Grill
1500 E. Walnut Ave
Burbank, CA

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Turning Up The Heat With Some BBQ

Greetings, Readers!

Hopefully you all had an excellent Labor Day weekend of pool parties, relaxing, and barbecues.

And maybe a little less heat and humidity than us here in Los Angeles.

It's a rare day indeed when escaping north to Santa Clarita means a break from the stifling heat that was in LA, but this past weekend I went to meet with my friend Justin for a day of comic booking and sandwiching in his hometown.

With the Labor Day holiday in mind, we headed to Rattler's Bar B Cue, a local restaurant with a deep love of good, home-cooked barbecue food.

Everything on the menu looked appealing and I even originally thought I would order a plate of Tri Tip instead of a sandwich, but I finally settled on a good ol' BBQ standard: a Pulled Pork Sandwich.

The thin strands of pork were so incredibly tender and juicy that every bite just melted in your mouth. The barbecue sauce added was exceptionally flavorful with contributions of smoky and tangy flavors. You can tell good barbecue when there is a wide range of flavors attacking your taste buds. Hidden beneath the smoky and tangy flavors, there were light sensations of sweet and spice as well. All blended together for an excellent experience..

Every table is also equipped with a jar of more barbecue sauce that can be used to douse anything you want. In my case, the Fire Fries were covered in the sauce, as well as my sandwich halves.

Let's be honest with ourselves: you can really never have enough barbecue flavoring, right?

I also ordered the sandwich Southern Style, which included a helping of sweet cole slaw on top of the piled-high pulled pork. The crunchy and sweet slaw contrasted well with the tender and smoky pork to create a wonderful experience of competing flavors. I'm sure the sandwich tastes well enough without it, but the addition of cole slaw makes it top notch.

While the French bread roll isn't anything to write home about, it did stay together well until the end, and was an excellent tool to soak up more of the table-side barbecue sauce.

The Fire Fries also come as advertised. I had imagined some spice would accompany this side because of the name, but I was fairly surprised by how much heat each fry provided. If you plan on eating the entire side, I recommend that you be someone who truly enjoys some heat.

Overall, my experience at Rattler's was an incredibly enjoyable one. The meal was top notch BBQ, and the delicious table side garlic rolls and drinks in mason jars added to the enjoyment of the meal.

So that was my Labor Day sandwiching adventure with delicious barbecue. What sandwiches did you have at barbecues this holiday weekend?

Until next week, Readers...

Pulled Pork Sandwich
**** Stars
Rattler's Bar B Cue
26495 Golden Valley Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91351