Umami Burger, Los Angeles, CA

June 3, 2010

Although I’ve never attended a Fellowship of the Bun meeting, I have been keeping close tabs on the group and would like to share my experience of an absolutely fantastic burger I found in Los Angeles.

The name of the restaurant is Umami and, although I believe the original is somewhere on La Brea, I dined at the newer location on Hollywood Blvd. in the southeast part of Los Feliz (near Silverlake).

Hands down, this is perhaps one of the most delectable burgers I have ever tasted.  Starting with the bun, the bread is lightly toasted and has just the right amount of ‘fluff’ to it.  Best I can guess, it is a semi-sweet type of bread and maintains its consistency throughout the entire meal.

All burgers in the restaurant are prepared medium-rare and, in light of this, I can only assume part of their perfect taste is an extremely high grade of beef.  The burger is incredibly juicy but somehow not at all greasy.  It is topped with cheese, sun-dried tomato, caramelized onions and a light homemade sauce.

From start to finish, this burger is perfect.  Although side items are sold a la carte, the sweet potato fries only add to this all-around perfect meal.  They are lightly salted and, from what I can tell, also have a hint of brown sugar and/or cinnamon added.

I’m not a huge fan of the restaurant itself.  It has a very LA-ish vibe, and by that it is trendy, overly pretentious and a bit pricey.  But, if you can set that aside, the burger will not disappoint.

Expect to pay about $16.00 for the burger, fries, drink, tax and tip.

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HBC Meeting: Bad Behavior Friday @ Hill Bar and Grill

June 1, 2010

Friday June 4th 7:30pm at Hill Bar and Grill

http://www.hillbarandgrill.com/
33111 Haley Rd
Waller, TX 77484

Attention all members,

The next meeting will test your limits.  This was the place where we all went in high school to see who could set the burger eating record.  The burgers are huge!  The record back then was a triple hill burger, a dr pepper, all of the fries, and a piece of pecan pie.  13 yrs later I’ll be lucky to finish a single and some of the fries but I am going to try to save some room for a cobbler or piece of pie.

The burgers here are legendary and have been on numerous top 10 lists but the HBC has yet to arrive so we will be the final judges.  We will meet for a drink in the man room at 6:30pm and car pool since it is quite a trek but it will be a fun trip with some darts and pool to play afterward.

Hope to see all of you there!

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Bellaire Broiler Burger

May 26, 2010

Bellaire Broiler Burger in Bellaire, TX was the latest stop for the Houston Burger Club.  Rushing to get over to BBB before its doors closed at 8:00pm, Dave called ahead and BBB was kind enough to reserve a spot of our group.

Bellaire Broiler Burger reserved the HBC a section

Upon entering the BBB, the first thing we noticed was the decor; it was like being back in the 70s, but in a good way.  We wouldn’t have been surprised if the tables and chairs were the same ones used when the place first opened.  The place was clean and the staff friendly.  We promptly ordered our burgers, grabbed some beers and took in the atmosphere while we waited for our numbers to be called.

Bellaire Broiler Burger cheeseburger

Everyone seemed to experiment with different toppings, the most unique being Matt’s burger that included two hot dogs (see pic below).  The scores indicated that, for the most part, the toppings were fantastic as was the presentation of the burgers.  The patty was thin and received good marks for flavor but was a bit underwhelming when it came to the juiciness.  Onion rings were big, crispy and good.

Bellaire Broiler Burger hot dogs in the burger

OVERALL RATING
Bun (1-10): 7.0
Patty (1-10): 7.4
Juiciness (1-5): 3.3
Toppings (1-5): 4.1
Visual (1-5): 3.9
TOTAL (35 Max): 25.8

Onion Rings (1-5): 3.7

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Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse

April 16, 2010

Who knew that such an expensive place would be such a hit?  14 people came from all over town to go check out the nicest Burger Club outing yet.  Chris came straight from the shop, Dave came from vacation or something like it since he showed up in shorts which was clearly against the dress code.  After some quick thinking, Jim provided Dave with some spare rain paints that allowed him to enjoy his lunch in style.  We were given the room which sits in the middle of the restaurant between the main dining area and the bar.  This is definitely a fine dining experience with white linens and and the HCB members took it up a notch.  Two bottles of red wine, several drinks all around and a massive plat of thin cut sweet onion rings.  This was all after the round of drinks in the bar.  I did mention this was a lunch outing, right?

Ok, now for the good stuff:  Burgers are only offered on Friday during lunch and the only two options are:  The “Vic” (bacon & cheese) or “Anthony” (Blue Cheese) and they both cost $11.95 and come with steak fries.  Most people stayed with one of the two but there were a couple of “Anthony’s” + bacon ordered which seems like the best of both worlds.  Overall, this was a great experience, a really good burger with only the finest of ingredients made even more special with the VIP HBC experience of our own room.

The average score of 28 pts put it into the “Best Of” category.  The onion rings made me want to sit down with a bowl and devour the entire lot.  Delicious.

OVERALL RATING
Bun (1-10): 7.3
Patty (1-10): 8.1
Juiciness (1-5): 3.9
Toppings (1-5): 4.2
Visual (1-5): 4.5
TOTAL (35 Max): 28.0

Fries (1-5): 3.7

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Perry & Sons Market & Grille

April 7, 2010

If anyone has ever had the famous pork chop from Perry & Sons Market & Grille then you are aware that they know a thing or two about their meat.

My previous visits to the steak house at memorial city had risen the bar to a new level. A trip outside the beltway to the original Perry’s location to see how it all started.  HBC had a good group size and a special table reserved for us.  The inside of the restaurant was ice cold like a meat locker.  I do not know if it was normal or just a onetime thing but it did have an impact on the experience.  I had the Texas burger that came with shredded cheese, sautéed onions and jalapenos.  If I would have added bacon, it would have been my favorite burger combo.  Those who did order the bacon said it was quite delicious.  I was able to order it medium rare but was hoping for a little more in the juiciness category. Overall it was definitely a fun outing and a different location but the quest will have to continue.  The juiciness, toppings and visuals received  average score of 3.5 with the bun getting a decent score of 7.7 and the patty receiving a low score of 6.8. The half pound burger costs $6.99 and a side of onion rings cost $3.99.

OVERALL RATING
Bun (1-10): 7.7
Patty (1-10): 6.8
Juiciness (1-5): 3.5
Toppings (1-5): 3.5
Visual (1-5): 3.5
TOTAL (35 Max): 24.9

Fries (1-5): 1.14

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The Petrol Station

March 10, 2010

More of a bar like Onion Creek than a true restaurant. Only four burgers to select from, a regular burger that you can add your own toppings, a lamb burger, the rancor (bacon, fried egg) and the hulk (mushrooms, spinach, artichokes). The burgers were a decent size and very messy. Again, scores varied greatly but one thing everyone seemed to agree on were the low scores for the fries. The place itself was very low key for a Wed and the outdoor seating in the back was perfect for the night.

Unfortunately, we did not get a picture of the beautiful rancor burger.

$7.85 for regular burger.

OVERALL RATING
Bun (1-10): 6.9
Patty (1-10): 7.3
Juiciness (1-5): 3.5
Toppings (1-5): 3.8
Visual (1-5): 3.6
TOTAL (35 Max): 25.0

Fries (1-5): 1.14

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District 7 Grill

December 28, 2009

District 7 Grill kobe burger

The burgers stood out at District 7 Grill, mainly becaase of the buns served with the burgers, square artisan bread, and the non-traditional offerings. Only two burgers really fit the bill, the kobe beef burgers and the angus burger. Other burgers offered include the mahi mahi burger, turkey burger, seared gulf shrimp burger and gardenburger. As is the norm with the group, scores varied greatly but overall, the scores were high. The place itself resembled a diner, complete with counter/stools as well as booths. No draft beers and the bottled beer was room temperature warm. Overall, a cool place with a different but good burger.

OVERALL RATING
Bun (1-10): 8.0
Patty (1-10): 7.3
Juiciness (1-5): 3.8
Toppings (1-5): 3.8
Visual (1-5): 4.1
TOTAL (35 Max): 27.0

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Bubba’s Burger Shack

September 24, 2009

Bubba's Burger Shack cheeseburger

Ended up at Bubba’s Burger Shack, previously featured on the Food Network and known for their buffalo burgers. The buffalo burgers were very juicy for a buffalo burger and had good taste. The white bun also scored considerably higher than wheat bun scores. Putt decided to eat two burgers, one buffalo and one beef, both were excellent with the beef coming out on top-just slightly. No fries in the offering but the jalapeno potato salad works just as well with their burger.

$4.50 for a buffalo burger

OVERALL RATING (two scores not submitted)
Bun (1-10): 7.4
Patty (1-10): 8.3
Juiciness (1-5): 4.0
Toppings (1-5): 4.1
Visual (1-5): 3.9
TOTAL (35 Max): 27.6

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Five Guys Burger and Fries

August 27, 2009
Cheeseburger - Five Guys

Five Guys cheeseburger

First weekday trip for the Burger Club was to Five Guys off of Voss. Expectations were high but the scores came out mixed. Burgers were small but the “regular” burgers included double meat. Toppings were plentiful to choose from and came at no extra cost. Both burgers and fries are cooked in peanut oil (hydrogenated, which is safe to eat for most peanut allergy sufferers) but the fries weren’t too tasty because there were plenty of leftovers with the exception of Weitzel’s; he ate everything, including the brown paper bag and the foil that the burgers are served in. Additionally, Five Guys does not serve alcohol which was a major negative.

$5.69 for a bacon cheeseburger.

OVERALL RATING
Bun (1-10): 7.4
Patty (1-10): 7.4
Juiciness (1-5): 3.2
Toppings (1-5): 4.4
Visual (1-5): 3.4
TOTAL (35 Max): 25.6

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Hruska’s Store and Bakery

August 16, 2009
Cheeseburger - Hruskas

Hruskas cheeseburger

Ranked no. 42 in Texas Monthly and located in Ellinger, between Austin and Houston, we stopped by this store and bakery on our way back from TubeKujda 2009. Scores ranged from low 20s to low 30s but the majority of the scores reflected a very good burger, especially the bun. Because it was really like a convenience store, there were no fries, onion rings, tots and shakes; just burgers.

$4.65 for a bacon cheeseburger.

OVERALL RATING
Bun (1-10): 8.3
Patty (1-10): 7.8
Juiciness (1-5): 3.9
Toppings (1-5): 3.7
Visual (1-5): 3.9
TOTAL (35 Max): 27.7

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