Saturday, January 30, 2016

Plan Check Kitchen+Bar - Los Angeles, CA

The Plan Check Burger



Plan Check Kitchen+Bar in Los Angeles is the offspring of Umami Burger. We stopped in for a burger at the Sawtelle location. The place was already buzzing at 6 pm on a Friday night in this bustling neighborhood. 

We grabbed the last spot available at the “Chef’s Bar” facing the kitchen. We loved the fact that the place has a first class cocktail bar. I ordered a Little Osaka Sour ($12). Patricia ordered a glass of wine. In no time our drinks arrived and we placed our food order. 

I ordered the PCB - Plan Check Burger ($12.50) and she got the Short Rib Pot Roast ($16). We also got an order or the Sweet Potato Waffle Fries ($6).

We watched the busy kitchen assembly line making the food and talked to a friendly guest next to us. The food arrived. The burger sat handsomely on an iron mini skillet. The Americanized Dashi Cheese oozed over the sides of the patty. The mixed pickles stuck out and the sesame covered “crunch” bun was perfectly shaped and nicely toasted. The first bite made me think of seaweed. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it was an unusual sensation. Onions were grilled soft and flavorful. The ketchup leather added a rich note. The meat was juicy and tasty. 
Sweet Potato Waffle Fries at Plan Check Kitchen+Bar

Our neighbor cut me off a piece of his Chef’s Favorite Burger ($14) and I must say I preferred it. The bacon slices and bacon Thousand Island dressing combined with the two cheeses (melted Amercian and a cheese crisp) to make a really delightful, if more traditional tasting burger. 

The Sweet Potato Waffles were a good idea. Accompanied by peach ketchup and nicely salted, they had sat too long in the counter before reaching us and weren’t as hot as I would have liked. They stayed crunchy however. 

We ate dessert. The Cruller Donut is a misnomer. Basically it is a circular churro with cinnamon, custard, whipped cream and bananas. It is a creative idea. Once again, not hot when reaching us, but still tasty.  

Overall, I found Plan Check a fun experience and a lively setting. (We walked by a little later and it was packed.) But it does have the distinct feel of a chain-in-waiting, with not as much passion and soul as I would have liked. 

Burger 3.5 spatulas out of 5
Sweet Potato Waffle Fries 3 Spatulas

Plan Check Kitchen+Bar
1800 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
1800 SAWTELLE BLVD
LOS ANGELES, CA 90025
(310) 444-1411
Cruller Donut Dessert at Plan Check Kitche+Bar

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cassell's Hamburgers - Los Angeles, CA

The Patty Melt at Cassell's Hamburgers in Los Angeles' Koreatown.
Cassell’s Hamburgers in Los Angeles, CA is a fabulous spot in Koreatown for catching a burger after a drink. We had just finished a couple of rounds of cocktails at The Normandie Club and slid next door to check out Cassell’s. 

At night it feels like you are in an Edward Hopper painting sitting at the classic tables in the classic styled diner. We ordered burgers. Patricia got a plain 1/3 pound cheeseburger with cheddar ($9.99) and I ordered the 1/3 pound patty melt ($10.99). We also ordered fries ($3.50). 

The staff was a hoot. Our waitress was friendly and talkative. The young man who brought us our burgers was equally delightful. Patricia asked if he had won the lottery. He said no, but  friend in Chico Hills had posted a picture of the $1.5B winning ticket on Facebook. That would buy a lot of burgers. 
Cassell's Hamburgers has the classic diner look. 

The Patty Melt was awesome. Crisp rye. Sweet grilled onions. The swiss cheese squirted out from the bread to form a cheese skirt. The patty was loosely ground and juicy - not too tightly packed. The bread was nicely toasted and tasty. I liked the mustardy sauce on the side for dipping the burger. 

Patricia’s plain cheeseburger was yummy as well. The white bun was firm and spongy. Cheese melted perfectly over the tasty patty. 

The fries were just ok. Medium cut. Probably from frozen. Nothing special. ($3.50)  

We loved the atmosphere and the burgers. Swing by Cassell’s for a trip back in burger time. 

Burger 4 out of 5 spatulas
Fries 2.5 out of 5

Cassell’s Hamburgers
3600 W 6th St. 
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 387-5502
http://www.cassellshamburgers.com



Wednesday, January 13, 2016

WesBurger - San Francisco

The WesBurger with Irish Cheddar, Grilled Onions and JalapeƱo Pickle Relish.
Wes Burger is opening soon in the Mission in San Francisco. In the meantime, Wes Rowe is showcasing his formidable burgering skills at a pop-up every Wednesday night. The pop-up is at Mojo Bicycle Club on Divisadero. Wes takes over the cafe and cranks out a different burger and version of tots every week. 

The night we went, WesBurger was concocting a delicious burger with sharp Irish cheddar, caramelized onions, homemade jalapeƱo pickle relish ($11). I added bacon for $2 more. The burger patty sported coarsely ground brisket, loosely packed and fried in an iron skillet, creating a lovely crisp salty exterior. His white bun is locally produced. 

Before the burger came out we were treated to his weekly tot construction. Dubbed Irish Poutine ($8), the piping hot tots were topped off with shredded cheddar, bacon and a curry sauce, a crazy combination that worked. I stopped myself from eating too much and ruining my appetite. 

The burger arrived to a hearty “Scott!” from chef Wes. We picked it up and headed back to our table by the window on busy Divisidero. One bite and I was on the WesBurger team. The patty has plenty of fat and taste despite my concerns about low fat content from the brisket. Wes told me that he leaves enough of the brisket fat to get it where it needs to be. The Coarse grind allows the fat to melt down through the patty. Bacon was not crisp but very flavorful. The pickle relish was not overly spicy, making a sweet and acidic compliment to the sharp cheddar. 

Beverage note: Wine and beer from the Bicycle club were a nice bonus with the burger. 

WesBurger opens on Mission near 18th sometime in March, they will have 3 or 4 burgers on the menu and a nightly special. Chef Wes is using the pop-up to gauge the favorites. I might have to check back on another Wednesday and place a vote. 
The Irish Poutine with Cheddar, Bacon and Curry Sauce smothering the Tots.

Burger 5 spatulas out of 5
Poutine 4 spatulas

WesBurger

Popping up at:
Mojo Bicycle Club
639-A Divisadero St, 
San Francisco, CA 94117


Chef Wes Rowe