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Burgers

Manhattan Beach: Simmzy’s

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The Skinny:  Simmzy’s is a small crowded American style gastropub in Manhattan beach that serves over 20 kinds of beers on tap, wine, burgers, and salads.  The place was recommended by my brother who said that their burgers was 2nd to none, especially the Bacon Blue Deluxe which is stacked with wood-fired grilled Sterling Beef, Bleu Cheese, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Garlic Aioli, fried Shallots, and Candied Bacon.

So I went with that, along with some Shoestring Fries and 15 Minute Wings.   As for beers, I ordered the Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale and a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale.  I also had to finish my brother’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout since he later remembered that he was on antibiotics.

 The Good:  The medium well done Bacon Blue Deluxe was juicy and delicious.  I usually don’t like Bleu Cheese but it wasn’t too overwhelming in the burger.  But what I really liked about the burger overall was how the bun managed to soak up all the juices flowing from the beef patty and still maintained it’s form.  It was just a tasty and well built burger.

The 15 Minute Wings were also good.  They were crispy, messy, salty, sour, sweet, and had a nice heat that crept up on you later.

 The Bad:  The chopped up Candied Bacon didn’t seem candied at all, it was just salty.

 Would you come back again?  Yeah, I think I would, but parking is a bitch.

 More Info:  229 Manhattan Beach Blvd | Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 | www.simmzys.com 

– MJ

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Cheesecake Factory: The Farmhouse Cheeseburger

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The Skinny:  I went to a birthday get together at a Cheesecake Factory in Irvine and I haven’t been to one of these restaurants in over 3 years.  When I got there I ordered the Farmhouse Cheeseburger which has a Runny Egg, Beef Patty, and a smoked Pork Belly packaged into one meal.

The Good:  The Pork Belly was delicious, and as my brother would say, “it’s very hard to fuck up Pork Belly.”

The Bad:  The Farmhouse Cheeseburger was dry, the cheese was the shredded version you find at the Sizzlers salad bar, and the Beef Patty wasn’t seasoned well if at all.  The Fries also sucked ass.  After reading the menu’s nutrition handbook provided by the Cheesecake Factory at each table, I was even more pissed that I wasted 1530 of calorie intake on that piece of crap.  I now officially hate the Cheesecake Factory.

Would you come back again?  Fuck no.

More Info: www.thecheesecakefactory.com

MJ


Hermosa Beach: Hot’s Kitchen

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The Skinny:  Hot’s kitchen is a gastropub in Hermosa Beach that specializes in 5 dollar mini size burgers, tacos, and a very large selection of beers.  There are about over 50 kinds of those tacos ranging from Oxtail and Jerk Rubbed proteins to Alligator and Duck Confit.  I was expecting to get the Foi Gras Burger.

I went with family and we ordered:
Fat Burgers (Fried Egg, Grilled Onion, Shredded Lettuce, Mayo, American Cheese)
Mexilaci Burgers (Roasted Poblano, Corn-Jalapeno Mayo, Fried Onion Ring, Oaxaca Cheese)
Hot’s Burgers (grilled Onion, Avocado, Tomato, Cheddar Cheese)
Grilled Korean Wings
Grilled Buffalo Wings
Lobster Heirloom Tomato Salad
Clams in a Spicy Beer Brother with Leguisa, Spinach, and Cheese Bread
Mussels in a roasted Red Pepper and White Wine Broth and served with Toast
A Bunch of Tacos (don’t remember what they were though…)

The Good:  Everything we ordered were all solid, but the one thing that was really memorable for me was the Fat Burger.  Despite it’s small size, the Burger packed a big beefy punch and the runny Egg made it even more excessively good.  I didn’t get to try a Taco and the Lobster Heirloom Tomato Salad, I did however get to pair the Clams and Mussels in their soupy broths with my very hoppy and refreshing Green Flash Imperial IPA….and it was very tasty.

The Bad:  For some odd reason, the things I wanted were on the menu but they weren’t available for that day.  I was hoping to get the Foie Gras burger I’ve read about on Yelp and some Crispy Picatta Wings, but I got neither.

Would you come back again?  Yes and I’m going to order that Foi Gras Burger when I do…and they better have it!

More Info:  www.hotskitchen.com | 844 Hermosa Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA — (310) 318-2939 | Parking will be a pain on a busy night.


Spot Bar & Gastropub

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The Skinny: The Spot is a rather new restaurant found on the outskirts of Koreatown.  The self proclaimed managing foodies aspire to be like The Lazy Ox and  Father’s Office.  Their goal is to give affordable Gastropub food to college students, sports fans, and people that are not in the mood for Ktown.

The Good: The interior was nice, Dogfish was on tap, and the food was free.

The Bad: If Gordon Ramsey from “Kitchen Nightmare” came to this Spot, he’d use words that would be censored on cable TV and follow them up with “disgusting.”  I ordered the Mac & Cheese with Truffle Oil and Dogfish  to wash it down.  A co-worker who was with me at the time, got the Jalepeno Burger with fries and a Stone IPA.  I was going to order the sliders myself, but was warned that they were the frozen kind.  When the Mac & Cheese came out it was in the form of Bow Tie Noodles with loose white liquid as cheese.  I actually have no clue what Truffles are suppose to taste like so if it was in there, I wouldn’t have known.  I give credit to the marketing because the addition of the word “Truffle” certainly fooled me.   The dish wasn’t bad, but it was disappointing since I was expecting Elbow Noodles and a thicker Cheese encrusted with Bread Crumbs.  The Jalapeno Burger my co-worker got, now that’s a different story since I had half of it.  While I might have been saved from getting the sliders that were probably once cryogenized in the freezer section at Wal-Mart’s Superstore, the patty for that burger was like a hockey puck that’s been laying out under a hot sun for too long.  It came packaged nicely and the Fries were good, but I had to keep opinions to myself when a staff member asked me if everything was okay.  Later that evening my co-worker would spend a long cleansing time at his apartment’s bathroom.

When I went to The Spot, I was actually there because one of my co-workers had business with the manager.  She seemed really enthusiastic about the place and had a lot of ideas on how to make The Spot better, but unfortunately, if the food isn’t good, the place will struggle.  I’m sure Gordon Ramsey and Robert Irvine from “Restaurant Impossible”, would take one look at the menu and say,  “there’s just too many items.”  They’d both go into the kitchen and get rid of all the frozen pre-made ingredients and strip that menu down to a few signature dishes and seasonal specials.   Personally, if I ran the place, I’d invest in a good meat grinder instead of a web designer and buy meat from a local butcher like McCall’s Meat and Fish and make fresh burger patties on “The Spot!”  Then I’d build the whole menu around that all American classic.

The Spot has a lot of potential but it should focus first on making quality food instead of trying to cut corners in order to pay for temporary cosmetics.

Would you comeback? Nope, I rather go out of my way to The Lazy Ox and even the original and more crowded Father’s Office.  Of course, I haven’t tried all of their menu items so I can’t say all their stuff is bad.  I do wish The Spot staff  well because I don’t want anyone to fail at something they want to succeed in.

More Info: yelp them | www.myspotla.com

MJ


Freds 62

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The Skinny: Freds 62 is one of those joints that you first go to because you’re with your drunk friends….and someone says…HEY let’s go to FREDS!  You probably went clubbing in Hollywood and its one of the closest joints that has good food and has a lot of street parking nearby.  For a few years I was going to friends at night and only at night until I moved out to Los Feliz.  I stopped going at night and then started going during the day, and guess what everything doesn’t always taste better when you’re drunk!  Actually FREDS during the day is WAYYYYYY Better.

The High: I’ve tried a ton of sandwiches and breakfast items at this local favorite and I have to say that I love the burger’s here and the Cali California Omelet…oh yeah the Eggs Benedict is pretty amazing too.  The Burger Medium Rare is perfect and not too messy unless you get avocado like I did( In that case it becomes a slippery mess of green goodness).  The Cali California Omelet has avocado in it also and its just all around awesome…with savory chicken sausage and the sun dried tomatoes are a perfect addition.  If you don’t like goat cheese you can ask for something else.  This place is always busy and it has a great vintage diner decor.  There are also “Patio” aka sidewalk tables that are nice to sit at in case you have a dog, want a smoke, or have a friend that’s about to puke in the gutter.   Fred’s is open pretty much all day and all night so if all the markets exploded in the area….you’d still be able to get some food at anytime as long FREDS stays open.

The Low: Honestly the food during the day is WAY better, and well I guess it is true…making drunk for food for drunk people is probably the way they thing about cooking after 2AM in this place….after all no one is ugly after 2AM and nothing tastes bad either.  The downside to this place is that…IT IS SUPER POPULAR.  Anytime of the day there is a wait….so be prepared to chill out for a bit or jump back in the car for PLAN B if you go during peak times.

Oh Yeah! TRY THE BOSSA NOVA WAFFLE….its Mmm Mmmm GOOoooood

More Info: www.yelp.com | fred62.com | 1850 N Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027 | (323) 667-0062

Echo


Heart Attack Grill’s Spokesman Blair River…

The spokesman for an unapologetic cartoon-ish grease pit for gluttony, dies standing 6’8 and nearly 600 pounds; from pneumonia at 29 years young.  He leaves behind a Heart Attack Grill of Halloween nurses for adults and lard frying technicians.  While I will never willingly follow in his footsteps and hit up Heart Attack Grill myself, I can at least say that the former state wrestling champion Blair River, lived his life to the fullest and pretty much figured out how he’ll end it.  It’s just unfortunate that his legacy didn’t go exactly the way Heart Attack Grill expected him to.  I mean, come on…pneumonia?  Really?

R.I.P. Blair River (read more…)

– MJ


Bristol Farms: Home Cooked Burgers

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The Skinny: Because of my disappointment in that On-The-Bun place, I decided on a whim to go to Bristol Farms Market and buy my own set of burger ingredients for dinner.  I ended up spending about 30 bucks on 3 Lean Ground Chuck Beef Patties, 4 Sesame Buns, a Red Onion, a bag of Baby Purple Potatoes, slices of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, a bottle of Arrogant Bastard, and a $6.60 Goose Livery Terrene.

While snacking on the Terrene with a butter knife, preheated at 450°, I roasted those little balls of carbs with Light Olive Oil and freshly crushed Kosher Salt and Black Pepper.  I simply cut them into halves, tossed them around in a bowl with some Olive Oil and placed them on a tray with tin foil.   After seasoning them, I let those potatoes roast for about 50 minutes in the oven.

With the burger, I started off by caramelizing the thinly sliced Red Onion on high heat with Balsamic Vinegar and just a little bit of Fish Sauce.  After few taste tests, I put the caramelized onions off to the side to cool off and got a new pan and dropped some butter on it’s heated surface.  With the Burger Patties I was using, I salt and peppered one side only and placed that side on the hot buttered pan and let it cook for about 4-5 minutes.  With the raw side of the patties sticking up from the pan, I seasoned those surfaces the same way before flipping them.    I would only flip the burger patties once and add a slice of Sharp Cheddar on top of each.

While waiting for those patties to finish cooking, I toasted the bread in the oven for just a minute.   I  then got some Miracle Whip Mayo, took a few tablespoons of it, and splashed it with Habanero Tobasco and stirred it around.  When it was time to construct the burger, I put that Mayo mixture and a slice of tomato on the bottom bun to help protect it from all the meat juices that was going to come flowing down.  And to finish it off, I added the burger patties and the caramelized onions on top.

In the end, the burgers came out a bit savory, sweet, spicy, and juicy while the pink centered patty had a nice crust thanks to the butter used to cook it.  My family loved it!  The roasted Purple Baby Potatoes did come out pretty good, just be sure to leave the skin side of the potato wedges down on the surface of the tray.  Otherwise, you’ll get some of the sides steamed rather than crispy.

– MJ