Friday, July 23, 2010

Boon Eat + Drink - Guerneville, CA

Boon Eat + Drink in Guerneville on the Russian River is a delightful place with delightful food. We stopped by one Saturday to have lunch. The summertime crowd was out in force. The restaurant was pleasantly busy, but not too crowded.

Perusing the menu, I spotted the Boon Burger with grass fed beef, fiscalini aged white cheddar, arugula on a toasted milk bun with house made Parmesan herb chips ($11). I could not resist adding the truffle fries with house made ketchup and garlic aioli ($6). While we waited I soaked in the modern feel of this small storefront restaurant. It has a great vibe with both locals and visitors mixing in together.

The flavorful burger ported salty and savory beef in a hand formed patty. The sharp and zingy cheddar complimented the arugula well. The bun was baked soft and toasted nicely. The pickled onion was a nice touch. Sweat and spicy it contrasted with the other tastes. I added house made ketchup and may too. This is a finely crafted burger that I recommend without reservation.

The truffle fries were elegant and astounding with their crispy and garlicky tones. Cooked dark, they were cut medium with skins on.

Make sure you drive around after eating. This is a beautiful area with trees, mountains and the Russian River all working together.

Burger 5 spatulas out of 5
Fries 5 spatulas

Boon Eat + Drink
16248 Main Street
Guerneville, CA 95446

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Burger Me! - Truckee, CA

Burger Me! In Truckee, CA was another recommendation from my cardiologist. He took his family there when he was in Tahoe at North Star and texted me some photos. I decided to swing by on my way back to Cali from my three week road trip across the U.S. It was a nice ending to my trip.

The proprietor happened to be taking orders at the counter and recommended the BBQ Bison Burger ($9.95) a 1/3 pound patty of fresh Durham Ranch Bison with bacon, cheddar, jalapeños and BBQ sauce. I also ordered up hand cut fries ($2.50), hand cut onion rings ($3). The even had house made tea. I gave my name and took a seat at the concrete topped table. In fact everything in the place was either concrete or corrugated metal. This fit in well with the building, which appeared to be a former fire station or car repair garage. It was all opened to the beautiful alpine day. People also sat outside at picnic tables.

The burger came nicely wrapped in red and white-checkered paper. It towered, having shredded lettuce, tomato and pickle slices mixed in with all the ingredients mentioned above. The bun was firm and toasted, a little heavier than most, but to good effect. Burger was cooked well, which with bison, one would think would be a bit dry to due to the lower fat content, but it was still fairly juicy. I would like to try it a little more medium next time. The mix of ingredients was interesting. Not as much BBQ sauce as one gets on most BBQ burgers. This left room to taste the crisp and yummy bacon, the pickle and jalapeños. I removed the jalapeños while I ate the second half of the burger and really enjoyed the flavor.

The innovative onion rings wrapped themselves in a thick batter featuring paprika, onion and garlic powders. The onion was thick and sweet. This was a very different o ring than I have experienced and I quite enjoyed them.

Fries were medium cut with the skins on. Soft and tasty on the inside, they were crisp and salty on the outside.

Great food and a very pleasant atmosphere on a sunny Sierra day, made this a great burger experience.

Burger 4.5 spatulas out of 5
Onion Rings 5 spatulas
Fries 4 spatulas

Burger Me!
10418 Donner Pass Road, Suite A
Truckee, CA 96161

Wonder Bar - Casper, WY

Wonder Bar in Casper, Wyoming is way more than a burger place. My friend Teresa took me there to get a burger on a Wednesday night and the place was hoppin’. (For those of you not from the Midwest, hoppin’ means there were a lot of people there having a good time.) We went through the lively bar with its live music and sat in the restaurant. Our very attentive server took our orders.

I had the Roadhouse Burger ($8.99). A half-pound Weinrich Meat fresh ground patty topped with a fresh jumbo fried egg, bacon, Swiss cheese and served with Miracle Whip; not just mayonnaise. The bun was a Kaiser type bun, soft and nicely toasted. The beef was tasty, if slightly over cooked. It also included fresh onion, tomato and lettuce. The egg was fried hard. I would have preferred it slightly runny. The bacon was crisp and tasty. Overall it was a nice tasting burger, but I would tweak it by having it cooked a little less and having the aforementioned egg, runny.

Teresa had a Patty Melt Burger $7.99 and was quite pleased. One nice twist is that they include house made, freshly seasoned potato chips with the burgers instead of fries. We found these quite addictive, salty and crisp.

We also ordered onion rings ($6.49). These beer-nattered beauties were very tasty, crunchy and hot. Yum.

Reading up on the Wonder Bar, they have a nice history in Wyoming. Founded in 1942, a cowboy could ride his horse right up to the bar and get a beer for both he and his horse. They had actual pictures to prove it. You gotta like that.

Burger 3.5 spatulas out of 5
Onion Rings 4.5 spatulas
Potato Chips 4 spatulas

Wonder Bar
256 South Center Street
Casper, WY 82601

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hemmer Brothers Burgers, Sioux Falls, SD

Hemmer Brothers Burgers in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is easy to drive by as it is placed inside an office building on bustling S. Phillips Avenue. But make sure you find it. They make a nice burger. I parked in the nearby garage and went inside. The décor is basic tables with red vinyl covers, faux plaster exposing faux bricks, but that isn’t why we come to a burger place is it? The brothers put all their creativity into the food and it shows.

I ordered the Piggy Back Double Bacon Cheeseburger ($5.99). Hemmers’ grinds their own beef on site and in a little twist they grind in the bacon as well into each quarter pound patty. The single patty version is called the Squealer ($4.29). I ordered mine with American cheese. All the toppings and condiments are laid out fresh in the nearby condiment bar. I threw lettuce and onion under my bun, along with some mayo. The bun looks kind of crunchy on top, but in fact is fresh and soft. The first bite yields a sausage patty like effect, but I grew to like it more and more with each bite. The beef was juicy and flavorful.

Fries are hand cut on site as well. They are medium cut, crisp and hot. They don’t sag limply like some fresh-cut fries. They have fresh squeezed lemonade. Don’t miss this spot if you are heading to Sioux Falls. Or maybe even head there just to try these burgers.

Burger 4.5 Spatulas out of 5
Fries 4 spatulas

Hemmer Brothers Hamburgers
230 S. Phillips Ave., #101
Sioux Falls, SD 57104