Sunday, March 30, 2014

Squeeze Inn - Tracy, CA

The Cheese Skirt on my Squeezeburger has a piece of bacon for good measure. 
The Squeeze Inn in Tracy, CA claims to have pioneered the cheese skirt, which I first experienced in at Nobby’s in Chico. The owner, Dean Davis, told me that the Nobby’s founder had learned the technique when he worked at Squeeze Inn before starting Nobby’s. Having gone to the source, I could not wait to try it

I ordered the Famous Squeezeburger w/ cheese and bacon ($8.59). It has Mayo, mustard, dill pickle, tomato, onion, lettuce. I ordered my onions grilled. The burger has 1/3 lb patty on sesame bun. I also ordered the combo fries and onion rings. $3.99. 

The Squeeze in is a very friendly place walking in. When I had arrived the server proudly told me they were famous from a stint with Guy Fieri on The Food Network. The owner Dean, came over and said hello. Another nice touch is a photo of Kramer from Seinfeld on the wall. 
The onion rings and fries are hot and ready to munch.
The Burger is awesome. It has a fluffy but solid sesame bun. Everything was hot off the grill with a great mix of mayo, mustard and onions. Dill chips were cold and crisp, the green lettuce fresh. The cheese skirt is like cheese chip on the side and spread several inches in all directions beyond the bun. I love breaking a piece off and tasting the sharpness of the cheese. The bacon was salty and firm, almost crisp and a nice compliment to the taste of the cheese. 

Fries are medium cut. Hot and good. Onion rings were hot, beer-battered and crisp. Sweet inside. 

If you are in Tracy, skip In-N-Out, Five Guys, Nations, Sonic, Jack-in the Box and go to Squeeze Inn for a real burger of unique character.

Burger 5 spatulas out of 5
Fires 3 spatulas.
Onion Rings 3 spatulas

Squeeze Inn
2742 Naglee Rd.
Tracy, CA 95304

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pink Pony - Scottsdale, AZ

The Pink Pony in Scottsdale, Arizona was a must for burgering when we made our first sojourn to Arizona to watch the Giants at Spring Training.  The Pink Pony is a long-time tradition in Scottsdale for all those who attend the Giants games a few blocks away at Scottsdale Stadium.  My friend Gil Zeimer, who recently wrote a guest blog here, said we had to get the Pony Burger.

After the Saturday game, we headed over to the Pony.  The newly remodeled Pony has little in common with the old dive it once was, according to those we spoke with. It is modern and sleek and would not feel out of place in Los Angeles. We were told it was a two–hour wait for a table so we decided to wait for a spot to open up at the bar. We put in our name for a table, just in case.

At the bar, Giants fans traded stories and we joined right in. Four men who share season tickets at AT&T were on their 14th consecutive outing to spring break.  We chatted with them as we waited for a bar spot to open up. After a mere 45 minutes my pager went off and we got our table.

I ordered the Pony Burger ($12) with Wisconsin Cheddar, crispy Pork belly, avocado, garlic aioli, slow roasted tomato, bibb lettuce and butter bun + fired egg. But our server, Vincente, said that the Giants fans had made a run on the place and the huge trove of buns they had at the beginning of the day were gone! No burgers. I was crest-fallen. He promised to see what he could do. Sure enough, Vince came back and said the chef did not want me to go away disappointed. He would make a special bunless version of the burger just for me!

It was fabulous. The meat was salty and juicy. Very flavorful. The roasted tomato added a nice counter-note to the garlic aioli.  The avocado was more like guacamole in consistency and could have been left off. The sunnyside-up egg was a great topper. The bibb lettuce cradled the whole thing next to some excellent fresh-cut fries.

I will definitely head back to try the bun version in the future, but this one was fabulous and the service was stellar.

Burger 4.5 spatulas out of 5
Fries 4 spatulas

Pink Pony
3831 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bel Campo Meat Company, Larkspur, CA

By Gil Zeimer, Guest Blogger,

The Belcampo Burger is 5.6 oz of dry-aged beef with NY cheddar, caramelized onions, butter lettuce and house sauce for $11. 
HBB Note: My friend Gil Zeimer and I enjoyed this burger recently at Belcampo. Gil, a writer by trade, had been bugging me to post. Thankfully for us burger lovers, he finally got tired of waiting and wrote it himself. The burger is great. I agree with the rating he assigned it. Enjoy the review and the burger!

There’s meat. And there’s sustainably grown, stress-free, organic-certified meat 100% from a butcher shop restaurant’s own land near Mt. Shasta.

That’s the unique selling proposition at Belcampo Meat Company in Larkspur, CA, a short walk from the Golden Gate Ferry terminal and a recent addition to the Marin Country Mart.

Belcampo states that their “animals are raised on our farm at the base of Mt. Shasta, where we grow our pastures, and cultivate our fields the old fashioned way with rotational grazing and an integrated and holistic approach to pasture management that is structured to support 12 unique species. Our farm is certified organic by CCOF and certified humane by the Animal Welfare Association. At the farm, our success is measured by our ecology’s health: our soils become richer, our pastures and farm fields denser, our water cleaner, and our energy sources more sustainable.”
The French Dip features medium rare roast beef with creamy horseradish on ciabatta. And, of course, hot jus. 

So does all of this TLC get handed down to the pasture-raised meats in the Belcampo Burgers? Pretty much. The Belcampo Burger ($11) that Scott (HoosierBurgerBoy) ordered was sandwiched between a tender brioche bun –– succulent, medium rare, and perfectly grilled.

While I’ve enjoyed the burgers here on several other visits, I actually prefer the French Dip Sandwich ($12) because the rare roast beef and its au jus were the most fragrant and delicious I’ve ever had.

We also ordered the French Beef Tallow Fries ($7), which were thinly cut and a bit salty, but quite tasty.

Not in the mood for beef? This restaurant also offers lamb, pulled pork, chili cheese fries, and quite a few salads.

The adjacent Butcher Shop offers steer, bacons and sausages of the world, ground beef, double cut steaks, goose and duck.

If you’re traveling throughout California, there are other Belcampo Meat Companies in Palo Alto, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and Downtown Los Angeles.

Burger 4 spatulas out of 5
Fries 4 spatulas
French Dip Sandwich 5 spatulas

Belcampo Meat Company
2405 Larkspur Landing Circle, Building 4, Larkspur, CA 94939
(415) 448-5810