Sunday, September 13, 2015

Volta Gastro - Berlin, Germany

The Volta Burger cuts a handsome figure with its tasty onion ring stacked on top. 
Volta Gastro in the Wedding district of Berlin elicits many questions. Is it an old train station? Old Jack in the Box? (They have a menu item called Jack in the Box.)  Turns out it was a bakery. We took the long taxi ride to the remote Wedding district for a taste of the burger touted by a recent New York Times article. We were treated to annoying German rap music - too loud - and service typical of the "German Service Desert”, as alone local called it.  

But we Americans love our burgers and we ordered none-the-less. The Volta burger is €13 with fries, a pretty steep price.  The burger arrived as an impressive looking stack. The patty was large - probably 6 ounces. Ground loosely and not overpacked, the beef was rather bland, but juicy. Savory mushrooms added nice flavor. The greens were spinach mixed with bbq sauce and mayo giving it an unusual note. Cheddar cheese melted in nicely. A fresh tomato slice made an appearance.  The Kaiser bun was toasted and held up well. The onion ring on top was the best thing - a crispy sweet ring of yum. 

Shoestrings fries with skins were hot, but limp and not impressive

In the end, I enjoyed the burger. Our initial aloof server was replaced with a charming young british woman and things ended on an up note. One other thing, they have full cocktails and the Dark and Stormy was pretty good with the burger. 

Burger 3 our of 5 spatulas
Fries 2 spatulas

Volta Gastro
Brunnenstraße 73
Berlin, Germany
0176 77 55 64 22

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Burger de Ville - Berlin, Germany

The Burger de Ville double cheeseburger features 100 percent organic Angus beef and is an oasis for burger eaters in Berlin.
Burger de Ville in Berlin, Germany is an Airstream Trailer in the middle of the Kurfurstendamm shopping district. It's weird seeing food trailer in the middle of glass buildings. I had never had such luck with burgers in Europe, but it appears that Berlin is serious about Hamburgers. There we burger joints everywhere. 

The Burger de Ville cheeseburger (€4,60)  and double cheeseburger (€7,00) are from organic Black Angus. They are fabulous. Meat is tasty and fresh, griddled rather than flame broiled. Cooked medium well but still very juicy. Green leaf lettuce, pickle, tomato slice cheese special sauce top the patty. The sesame bun by Meisterbäckerei of Berlin toasted. Someone did their research. This burger would kill in the U.S.  
This Airstream Trailer is the home for Burger deVIlle in Berlin and is surrounded by tall glass office buildings. 

Fries were piping hot. Medium cut with skins, they tasted fresh cut.  Very tasty ketchup accompanied the fries. 

No smell billowed from the trailer. Their clever system pumped the air from the grill vents and filtered it. So if you get to Berlin, it is worth searching out one of the Burger de Ville Airstreams. You will feel right at home.

Burger 5 out of 5 spatulas.
Fries 4.5 spatulas. 

Burger de Ville
Kurfürstendamm 22
Berlin, Germany
+49 30 68073949

Hot tasty fries from Burger de Ville. Great with their special ketchup. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Grumpy's - Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho

The 1/2 Pound Cheeseburger at Grumpy's in Ketchum, Sun Valley, Idaho
Grumpy’s in Ketchum, Idaho’s Sun Valley is a place everyone told me I had to go. I had been to Sun Valley many times over the last 22 years, but for some reason had never heard of Grumpy’s.  Why didn’t I hear about it before? “Sorry We’re Open” proclaims their website. The people working at Grumpy’s were not grumpy, as advertised but were very pleasant, calling those in our party “honey” and “sweetheart”. 

Grumpy’s location has a classic burger joint lived-in feel, pleasantly dilapidated. Beer cans line the wall. Lots of memorabilia litters the walls. Graffiti, wall carvings and mementos abound. Most of the seating on this sunny day was outdoors. 

I ordered the 1/2 lb burger ($7.75 added) and added ham by suggestion of the woman at the counter, since they did not offer bacon. I added fries ($1.50). Everyone else got the 1/4 pound burger. We grabbed our seats outside under an umbrella. A golden retriever who seemed to know its way around came over and greeted us. Within a short time a young man emerged from the restaurant and yelled “Scott” and brought us our burgers. 

The burger and fries shared a basket lined with white paper. The sesame bun, lightly toasted, surrounded the burger patty along with shredded lettuce, onion slices, pickles, special sauce and american cheese. The burger patty itself was charcoal-broiled, charred crispy on the outside and cooked medium on the inside. A very smokey flavor masked the meat flavor. The patty was not very juicy and was relatively unremarkable so maybe the smokey taste was a relief. By comparison the 1/4-pound burgers were cooked clear through and grey in the middle. Get the 1/2 pound burger and eat half of it. 

The thin fries were your typical frozen, industrial style fries, slightly under-coooked and not that hot.  

Overall, I was unimpressed with Grumpy’s but it was a pleasant place to have a family burger on a beautiful day in Ketchum. 

Burger 2.5 spatulas out of 5
Fies 2 spatulas

860 Warm Springs Rd. 
Ketchum, ID 83340

Monday, June 29, 2015

Assembly - Santa Cruz, CA

The West Coast Burger at Assembly in Santa Cruz, CA, featuring artfully crispy bacon, cheddar topping and poutine  fries as photographed by the HoosierBurgerBoy.
Assembly in Santa Cruz beckons on a sunny afternoon along the coast. The doors open to a bustling downtown full off pedestrians. A breeze blows gently through the door. Chandeliers fashioned from deer antlers hang from the ceiling. This is a high-end dining experience. The burger is as well.

After being seated, I order the West coast burger with home made brioche bun, cheddar spread, pickled onion, secret sauce, salad and fries. ($13.50) I add bacon for $3. Avocado is $2.50, but I decline. The burger comes with fries, but they also have Poutine with aged cheddar and duck gravy for $8. My server says she can make my fries into poutine. 
Antlers form a Chandelier at Assembly in Santa Cruz, CA.
I order a glass of wine and wait for my burger as the restaurant starts to fill up. The burger arrives with bacon draped artfully around the patty; the smokey slices thin and crisp. The burger is grass fed and grass finished. It comes prepared to medium. Cooked perfectly, my burger tastes salty and delicious. The cheddar mixture gives a nice grace note of sharpness. I don't really taste the secret sauce, unless it's in the cheddar sauce. The bun holds together well under the juice until the last few bites when it falls apart on the bottom. This is a big win of a burger. 

The poutine fries are a work of art. The light duck gravy works as a condiment, not heavy and greasy but airy, salty and delicious it is spread sparingly over the hot, medium cut fries. 

I recommend this burger highly if you have the extra bucks and are in Santa Cruz looking for a great burger. There are lots of great things on the menu besides, so bring the whole gang and everyone can enjoy. 

Burger 4.5 spatulas our of 5
Fries 5 spatulas

1108 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
The front view of Assembly in Santa Cruz, CA. A great place to have a burger.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Burger. - Santa Cruz, CA

The Syd Barrett Burger at Burger. in Santa Cruz comes in a metal pan with Fries. 
Burger. in Santa Cruz is a regular stop for me when I am in Santa Cruz. They have an imaginative and creative offering and a very comfortable and fun bar atmosphere in the restaurant. The moment you come in, you are presented with a huge chalkboard behind the counter with lots of burger combos named after the famous and semi-famous. My favorite name is the obscure Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett whose eponymous burger is the mushroom swiss. The Kim Kardashian ($14.75) is a double Phatty, which is two bacon cheeseburgers between two grilled cheese sandwiches.

I ordered the Hank Williams ($7.75),  a 4-ounce Humboldt grass-fed beef patty, onion rings, bacon, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce. All burgers come with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles.  And shoestring fries. I also bought a chocolate shake ($5.25). The five of us finished ordering our burgers and were given a picture of Ozzy Osbourne as our "number" for our order to be brought to our table. 
The Shake at Burger was luscious. 
The shake came first, exquisitely topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. We had five spoons and the shake was quickly consumed. It was cold but still creamy. The shake was made with chocolate ice cream, not vanilla with syrup. It was sublime. 

The burgers came, nicely packed in small metal loaf pans: face up for easy photography with fries nicely tucked in. The burger was very good, the meat nicely spiced with pepper. The onion inside the ring was sweet and soft, bacon crisp, bbq sauce a nice accent rather than overwhelming. All the vegetables were crisp and fresh. The toasted bun was firm and fresh. 
The Menu is Considerable. No end of choices at Burger. in Santa Cruz.
The fries were disappointingly cold. We told our server and she cheerfully brought a piping hot mound of fries as a replacement. The hot fries were too thick to be called shoestrings. They were thin-cut, salty and crisp. Good if not remarkable. 

Everyone really enjoyed their burger. We had a good time hanging out. We all agreed we will come back next time we are in Santa Cruz. 

Burger 4 out of 5 spatulas
Fries 2.5 spatulas
Shake 4.5 spautals. 

1520 Mission St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 425-5300

The interior at burger is well lit and inviting. A bar in the back is quite popular. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bishop Burger Barn, Bishop CA

The Double Cheeseburger with Bacon from Bishop Burger Barn combines lots of flavors for a smokey, satisfying burger experience.
Bishop Burger Barn in Bishop, CA is a beef oasis. Situated just off the main drag on West Line, it feels timeless in its small-town quirkiness. 

You walk up to a packed place. A little building with an outdoor window is where you order. A Drive through goes right through the line of people waiting to order. Outdoor seating spreads around the old complex, including a fenced in pet area out back. It took about 15 minutes to get my food on this very busy August Saturday. 
Bishop Burger Barn in Bishop CA features outdoor seating, drive-through, walk-up window and a great burger.

My Nutella Shake ($4) came first. Very, very creamy and yummy. Just creamy enough to be sipped through a straw. I kind of ordered it on a whim, but on this 91 degree day it was very refreshing, with that chocolate-hazelnut Nutella goodness. 

The food came a few sips later. I ordered the double cheeseburger ($6.85) with everything including grilled onions (+25 cents) and bacon (+$1) It is quite a stack, it's a good thing they paper wrap it to keep it together.  The patties are thick and hand formed and cooked a nice medium. They were tasty but not especially juicy.  Lots of butter lettuce, fresh tomato and grilled red onions. The sesame bun was perfectly toasted. American cheese melted everywhere. The crispy bacon added a smokey note. With the optional thousand island dressing it all combined for a tasty burger.

A local note: The Burger Barn uses Bishop-raised grass fed, Angus beef. 
The fries and Onion Rings from Bishop Burger Barn

The "crispy" fries were coated. While I am not generally a fan of coated fries, they were crispy and hot. The onion rings were better. Beer-battered and thick, they were very sweet. They audibly crunched even as they cooled off. The staff brought ranch and ketchup without me asking, which is a big plus. I have to have ranch on my onion rings.

This is a really fun, local treat. If you are making a trip up 395, take the detour a couple of miles to the Burger Barn. It's worth it. 

Burger 4 spatulas out of 5
Fries 2 spatulas 
Onion Rings 4 spatulas 

Milk Shake 4 spatulas 

Bishop Burger Barn
2675 West Line St.
Bishop, CA 93514

Misters work overtime on the line at Bishop Burger Barn on a 90 degree day in Bishop.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bartlett Hall - San Francisco, CA

The Maverick Burger with Kobe Butter Beef at Bartlett Hall

Bartlett Hall in San Francisco's Union Square area has been touting themselves as having a great burger: Kobe beef with butter, butter and more butter.  All the ingredients are in place for a great experience. Very nice space. A bar. Lots to eat. 

We were there during the Pride Day parade and the World Cup match between Costa Rica and Greece.  The bar was fairly quiet. We sat at a high table near the bar so we could watch the Giants game and the World Cup match at the same time. There was a large table of Costa Rica fans cheering their team on. They won. 

The Maverick is the name of the burger. At $16 it is pricey. The description says it is a Kobe butter burger. The thick burger was perfectly cooked to medium and would have been magnificent if it was hot. It was griddled, not flame broiled (a plus) with a nicely cooked exterior of crisp dark beef.  It was warm and palatable but had sat too long. The buttery cheddar concoction on the top oozed flavor. I loved the onion crisps. The beef was tasty and lightly seasoned.  

The Kennebec fries are unremarkable. They reminded me of a lot of the fries you get in chain restaurants. Medium cut. Salty. No skins. They were hotter than the burger, but nothing special. 

I would love to try the place again when the place was busier and the burger was hot. It is nice to have his type of place near Union Square. 

Burger 3.5 out of 5 Spatulas
Fries 2 spatulas

Bartlett Hall
242 O'Farrell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102