Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Attack of the Burger Monster!

Greetings, Readers!

Something you may not know about me, unless you follow me on twitter here, is that besides sandwiches I also enjoy reading comic books.

So, in order to fill my love of Iron Man, Hellboy, Spider-Man, Batman, etc, I tend to visit a few comic conventions a year. I've done Comic Con before, Comikaze and a number of other ones, but this past weekend was one of my favorites: Wondercon in Anaheim.

After a day of wandering aisles with friends, looking at trades, art, and numerous things that would fall under the subject of pop culture, we left the Anaheim Convention Center at the end of the day to be greeted with a number of  fantastically smelling food trucks.

Inspecting each of the trucks available, and trying not to decide just with my stomach, I ended up picking Burger Monster. Their burger selections seemed fantastic, and their logo cracked me up. For a true burger lover though, these guys take an obsession to a whole new level.

Their menu itself isn't large, but the sandwiches sure are. Scrolling down the small list of sandwiches, I settled upon the Pigzilla, which seemed to be a special for the day.

A burger topped with Sriracha-marinated pulled pork (yes!), Swiss cheese, coleslaw, a thick slice of tomato, Burger Monster BBQ sauce, and ranch all between two sides of a brioche bun.

The main problem I had with this sandwich happened to be that I didn't exactly know how to eat it. It's a very messy sandwich and not wanting to look like a five-year old after eating spaghetti-o's, this presented a real problem.

Luckily though, with the skills I have gained in eating sandwiches the past few years, I managed to escape without so much as a drop of red sauce on my clothes. The spicy and smoky pulled pork was delicious. It had a bit of tangy punch to it and was soaked with the BBQ sauce and Sriracha marinade. The Swiss cheese added a gooey texture with smoky flavor and the cole slaw added a slightly sweet crunch.

The most impressive part of this sandwich was the brioche bun. Compared to the other ingredients it didn't really add too much flavor or shine through because of the spicy, tangy, smoky barbecue flavor, but what it did do was hold together until the end. That is an accomplishment in itself for how much sauce is on this sandwich.

What made it even better is that there was some bun left over to soak up the remaining sauce.

Overall, this was an excellent follow-up to a great day at a comic book convention. If you can find the Burger Monster truck while around Los Angeles and Orange County, I highly suggest you try them. Even if Pigzilla isn't on the menu that day, the rest of their burgers sound equally delicious.

They even have a vegetarian option for you non-meat eaters who might be interested. So, really, you don't have an excuse to miss this truck.

So, next week I'll be in Hawaii, so I won't exactly have a sandwich review for you (sorry!) but make sure you tune in the following week as I will start the first of a few reviews from the 50th state.

Until next time, Readers...

**** 1/2 Stars
The Burger Monster

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Viva, Las Vegas

Greetings, Readers!

Of all of the places I've visited over the past few years of working on this blog, one of the closest and most notable places that I've missed has been Las Vegas.

Years ago I had an interesting experience in Vegas while stuck in town after missing my connecting flight back to Los Angeles. It's a time I laugh about, but has no place here in a food blog as something terrible happened.

I ate at McDonalds.

I know, I know! But I was stuck in a terrible motel off of the Strip and needed something to eat while waiting for my flight in the morning. Forgive me!

This time around though, the visit was much better. Joining me were a number of friends for bachelor weekend and for Saturday lunch we headed to a place on the strip called Twin Peaks.

In the same vein as Hooters, I'm sure you can now figure out why the place is called Twin Peaks, this place serves up a lot of 'man-food' which amounts to hearty pub-style sandwiches and dishes.

Wanted to kick the day off with a full stomach, I went for the Hangover Burger, a thick all-beef patty topped with a fried egg, American cheese, bacon, red onions, mayo, lettuce and tomatoes. This burger may scream out breakfast to you, but really it's a great sandwich for any time of day. As I've said in some previous burger posts, I've become a huge fan of fried eggs on top of a burger. The change in flavor as well as texture is a welcome addition to the burger.

Topping this off with the fresh flavors of crisp lettuce, tomatoes and red onions was a nice contrast to the meaty patty, thick cut bacon and the the greasy fried egg. All combined though with the thick burger bun, this is definitely a sandwich that can fill you up or get you back into fighting shape after a night of drinking in Vegas.

My main complain here is the American cheese. We really need to have to move past this cheese as an option on a standout sandwich. It's nearly flavorless compared to many of its dairy brethren. A cheddar cheese would have worked much better here and provided an added flavor that would have been much appreciated.

Overall, this time my experience was significantly better in Vegas than last. I have this burger and plenty of friends to thank for that.

Until next week, Readers...

The Hangover Burger
**** Stars
Twin Peaks
3717 Las Vegas Blvd.
Ste. 285
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Got That Summertime, Summertime Sandwich

Greetings, Readers!

I hope this latest blog finds you well and full of sandwiches. The past week has seen the start of the new Baseball season, which is officially the start of spring, not some random day in late March.

And with the start of the Baseball season, comes the return of ballpark-inspired foods, and I'd like to talk about one of my favorites today (besides the classic hot dog).

Pulled Pork.

A pulled pork sandwich is one of life's great treats. You could have it spicy, sweet, or smoky. You could have it on a bun, or saddled up next to some potato salad on a plate. You could even just take a fork of it straight from the pot to your mouth.

Any way you shred it, it's a great way to prepare pork for the summer time. Especially paired with a crisp summery beer.

I've done a lot of research of finding the perfect way to make pulled pork and I've certainly tried a few styles, but today I'd like to share with you a recipe I've recently come across that makes excellent pulled pork. You'll need a slow cooker (one of my favorite inventions of all time!) for this one, and the good part of a day to make this.

You'll want to start with a five pound cut of pork. I've used pork shoulder both times I've cooked this. Start by cutting up two medium sized yellow onions into thin slices and four cloves of garlic (more if you want it really garlicky). Line the bottom of the crock pot with this mixture. Pour in one cup of chicken stock so you have the beginnings of a delicious hot tub for your pork to rest in.

In a small bowl, combine one tablespoon of dark brown sugar, one tablespoon of chili powder, one tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Mix this up well and then rum this mixture onto the entire pork shoulder. When you're done, place it in the slow cooker and set on high for six to eight hours. Shred and remove any bones or fat.

I've also added a cup of the liquid in the pot to the final shredded pork for some extra flavor.

The resulting pork has a little bit of smoke flavor, and a noticeable sweet kick to it that brings out the natural pork flavor as well. By getting sweet slider buns, I've made mini sandwiches out of the mixture which are easy to consume with one hand while holding a light colored beer in the other.

If you wanted to counteract the sweetness and add a little crunch to your slider, i'd suggest making a jalapeno slaw (regular cole slaw would be too sweet), or for fun add some potato chips for a saltier addition. Barbecue sauce is also a good ingredient to use, port-cooking, in order to add a smokier/tangier flavor.

Anyway, if you try this out, let me know what you created and added to the pulled pork sliders. I'd love to hear your ideas.

Until next week, Readers...