Posts Tagged ‘Bulgogi’

The hot summer days lends perfectly to grilling weather. As an American tradition, citizens officially start the grilling season on Memorial Day weekend, as that signifies many things. First off, on that weekend, Americans celebrate an important federal holiday to celebrate and honor the lives of those lost while serving for the United States Armed Forces. The weather starts to significantly heat up by this weekend, following the inconsistent weather of April and much of May. As a result of the warmer weather, Americans take advantage of a holiday weekend off of work until the next federal holiday, Independence Day, to gather some friends & family for a party involving grilling. When thinking about grilling for a group of people, what food exactly comes to mind? I guarantee that hot dogs and hamburgers top the list. The notion to purchase these items in bulk contributes to the misconception that these foods do not taste good. The phrase “You get what you pay for” has never applied as much as it does now, as most who purchase in bulk tend to pay low per individual unit. If you seek quality, you will have to drop extra money for it. Hot dogs tend to bear questionable ingredients, but true hamburgers still exist in this world. If you happen to find yourself in Southern California this summer, check out these five places to grab some of the best burgers you will ever have. One bite into these will change the way you look at hamburgers forever.

5. Grill Em All‘s Suicidal A.K.A. Rey Fenix

When someone comes to Los Angeles from out of town, they may feel inundated by all the wonderful food that Southern California has to offer. When travelers want the most unique and ridiculous food, I send them to a select few places known for insane, wacky foods. If a traveler asks to eat the best burger ever, I will not send them to In-N-Out like most Californians would – I would send them to Grill ’em All in Alhambra. When it comes to insane burgers, no one comes close to Grill ’em All. When death metal and professional wrestling influence the ideas behind burgers, you know they will have something crazy going on, such as the Suicidal A.K.A. Rey Fenix, the July 2017 burger-of-the-month. Grill ’em All’s signature burger, The Behemoth, uses two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns. In the Suicidal, two double-decker quesadillas filled with refried beans and cheese replace the burger buns. The half-pound burger comes with shredded lettuce, queso fresco, chipotlé hot sauce, and diced tomatoes, making this slightly resemble a taco or burrito. The world has seen burgers in a quesadilla, but the world has never seen quesadillas used as burger buns quite like this before. But hurry – as the burger of the month, you only have a limited time to go try it out!

4. Pizza Port‘s BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

A burger by any other name would still taste just as savory. A burger can look like anything, even if it takes on the form of an entirely different food. When a restaurant specializes in one food but still wants to make something else, they get creative, which Pizza Port has done well. As the name suggests, Pizza Port specializes in pizzas and other foods that one would expect to find at a pizzeria, such as chicken and salads. For the traditional folks out there, Pizza Port carries a handful of traditional pizzas. For the adventurous, Pizza Port has crafted some gourmet pizzas, such as their BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza. This pizza pit comes topped with tangy barbecue sauce, beef meatballs, bacon, mozzarella & cheddar cheese, and red onions. It basically tastes like a western-style cheeseburger, just in a different shape. For best results, ask for this pizza on Pizza Port’s signature whole-grain beer crust. Like all their pizzas, this pizza comes in three sizes: small for $9.50, medium for $18.25, or large for $22.

3. Melt’s Bulgogi Burger

When it comes to Melt, word-of-mouth has never applied so much before. Tiny does not describe Melt, as they simply exist as a food counter in a supermarket, kind of like a mall’s food court. In Diamond Bar, a local H Mart houses its own food court with a plethora of unique food counters, ranging from unique desserts to traditional Korean food to all the fusion, which leads us to Melt. From a distance, glancing over at the Melt counter makes them appear like some ordinary burger counter, with hamburgers and fries shown on their menu. However, upon closer inspection, you will discover that Melt does the fusion thing here, and they do it well. They cross Korean cuisine over to the world of burgers and fries, such as with their Bulgogi Burger. Though it appears small, this makes for the perfect lunch portioned perfectly, as Melt tops their regular 4oz Angus beef patty with green lettuce, grilled onions, mayonnaise, and bulgogi aioli. At just $4.50, this makes for the perfect lunch that will break the monotony of bland lunches out there.

2. Working Class Kitchen‘s Chianina Beef Burger w/ Foie Gras

Five years ago, a ban on the sale of Foie Gras in California went into effect. However, that ban mysteriously went away in early 2015. While California restaurants may now legally sell Foie Gras once again, many restaurants have felt the aftermath of the ban, and most avoid serving it for fear of the ban returning. As such, it takes some dedicated hunters & searchers to locate where to obtain Foie Gras, such as at Working Class Kitchen in Long Beach. Although located in the middle of a bustling city, Working Class Kitchen resides off the beaten path, so in order to discover it, one must actively look for it as opposed to passing by it. But if you do decide to visit Working Class Kitchen, you will discover some fresh, natural food that you can feel proud to consume, such as their Chianina Beef Burger with Foie Gras. The base burger costs $7 and comes with simply caramelized onions and remoulade spread on a potato bun. For $4 extra, Working Class Kitchen will throw an ounce of Hudson Valley Foie Gras onto the burger. As if the beef burger did not already have enough juices oozing out, the Foie Gras will add even more meaty goodness to the burger. Consider this a cheat meal, because if you eat this, you ought to eat clean the rest of the day.

1. VaKA Burger Express‘ The Vaka

In a condensed city such as Los Angeles, hidden gems and hole-in-the-wall places exist in every nook & cranny. If you discover or someone tells you about VaKA Burger Express and you decide to go look for them, you may require more than one try to actually locate them. If you simply drive to the address, you may completely pass by them, as they have virtually no signage visible from the street. You have to actually enter Whittier’s The Real McCoy and make your way to the bar to find the counter for VaKA Burger Express. Once there, you will discover a mini burger paradise with some of the best hidden burgers this side of Los Angeles, such as The Vaka. Blitz your taste buds with this burger that features a beer-battered tempura ring, muenster cheese, bacon jam, and VaKA’s signature smoked barbecue sauce. Do note that they store their barbecue sauce cold, so the first few bites may feel like a blend of hot and cold. For $11.50 for this burger, you will never taste another burger like this again.

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How does one discover the best of local food spots? They ask the locals, of course. When one travels, they still need to eat. What will they choose to eat at their new destination? Will they stick to corporate chains that they have familiarity with? Or will they explore the local places to savor the local flavor? How would they find these local places? Will they search their smartphones for them? Not all places will appear in searches, however. Some hole-in-the-wall places do not have an internet presence, so digitally searching for some of the better places may not work out. It takes word-of-mouth from the locals to spread the information of such places, such as a little food stand simply called Melt.

When it comes to Melt, word-of-mouth has never applied so much before. Tiny does not describe Melt, as they simply exist as a food counter in a supermarket, kind of like a mall’s food court. In Diamond Bar, a local H Mart houses its own food court with a plethora of unique food counters, ranging from unique desserts to traditional Korean food to all the fusion, which leads us to Melt. From a distance, glancing over at the Melt counter makes them appear like some ordinary burger counter, with hamburgers and fries shown on their menu. However, upon closer inspection, you will discover that Melt does the fusion thing here, and they do it well. They cross Korean cuisine over to the world of burgers and fries, such as with their Bulgogi Cheese Fries. Though it appears small, this makes for the perfect side dish portioned perfectly, as Melt tops a side order of fries with melted cheddar cheese, marinated ribeye beef, bulgogi aioli sauce, chopped green onions, jalapeños, and housemade Melt sauce. Although you cannot share this due to its size, it costs so little that anyone can enjoy their own order of Bulgogi Cheese Fries for $4.75 each.

Interested in tasting this creative creation of fusion? Head on over to the H Mart in Diamond Bar, and locate the food court within to discover Melt. Melt has no method of marketing other than word-of-mouth, not even a website or social media. If you like what you encounter, help them out by telling friends and family about Melt!

2016 has arrived, and we welcome this new year with the reinvention and reintroduction of traditional world events. While the world will welcome the Summer Olympics and the United States will welcome a new president, the notion of bringing back something familiar spreads to other subjects as well. When something goes away for a while and returns much later, we refer to those things as classic. Some people say that the classics never go out of style, but eventually, all good things must come to an end, and classics do too. For that purpose, millennials must continually search for ways to improve or adapt methods in all aspects of life. Today’s culture revolves around two types of people: the safe, and the risk-takers. Safe people will find something they recognize and stick with it, preferring not to deviate away from the norm. Risk-takers feel adventurous and love to try new things. In general, safe people live a bland, boring life, while risk-takers live an exciting spontaneous life. Excitement gets your adrenaline pumping, so add some spontaneity to your life by seeking out these five burgers in the greater Los Angeles area this season.

5. Grinderz‘s Double Cheeseburger

When coming up with a winning product, two routes exist: you can invent, or you can reinvent. On one hand, creating something brand new comes with great risk that nobody will want said new item. On the other hand, you can only redesign something so many times. If attempting to redesign something poses a roadblock, why not just go back to basics and make the base item significantly better? Enter Grinderz, where they take a classic approach with an old timey burger shop and bring some modern flair into it. The bare bones menu at Grinderz resembles another overhyped Californian burger institution, with simply burgers, fries, and drinks. Grinderz does their own thing by doing food right with high quality ingredients and customization for your order. To taste the true flavor of Grinderz, go towards their Double Cheeseburger. This double meat & double cheese monster comes with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles, and your choice of thousand island or chipotlé mayo dressing. You can snag this cheeseburger for $5.50, or for $3 more, you can combo it with beer-battered fries and a medium fountain drink.

4. Smoqued BBQ‘s Hangover Burger

Many people have faced this problem before: they wake up on a Sunday morning with a massive headache, no appetite, lack of energy, and the need to vomit… maybe. Nearly every adult has experienced the dreaded hangover that results from overindulging on alcohol without other nutrients or hydration. Unfortunately, only time can cure a hangover, but a person hung over can take steps to alleviate some of the symptoms, such as eating greasy foods. Oily or fried foods absorb some of the alcohol that remains in our stomachs, so a hearty breakfast will generally hit the spot, such as that at Smoqued BBQ in Orange. Many locals regard Smoqued BBQ for their namesake barbecue meats, yet Smoqued BBQ carries many other items as well, such as their Hangover Burger. In this burger, Smoqued BBQ uses a patty made with ground beef brisket, which they then top with roasted red peppers, arugula, cheddar cheese, smoked bacon, and a fried egg between two slices of Texas toast. Just for the heck of it, you can order this burger with a side of more bacon. Relieve your hangover for just $12.99, or just come on in any time and enjoy this burger, hangover or not.

3. City Tavern Culver City‘s Brew Burger

When visiting any pub, one can expect to see familiar items present. As far as the drinks go, expect to see the typical beers on tap, house wine bottles, lines of whisky and bourbon, and the usual mixers. When looking at pub grub, one can usually expect snacks like pretzels, finger foods like nachos, or handheld foods like burgers. Why not combine some of these with a burger that features a pretzel bun? Make your way over to City Tavern in Culver City to find one of these. Although City Tavern has a second location in Downtown Los Angeles, this post refers specifically to the Culver City location because they have different menus. Although themed like a whisky bar, City Tavern represents your usual neighborhood gastropub with their craft beer selection and fancy menu items. However, one does not need to go extraordinarily fancy in order to enjoy a great meal here. For example, take their Brew Burger. For this burger, City Tavern uses a blend of beef and chorizo as the patty, which they then top with pub cheese, mustard aioli, and watercress in a pretzel bun, which they top with a fried onion ring on top. This savory burger can tickle your taste buds for $13.

2. Apollo Burgers’ Bulgogi Burger

Never neglect the hole-in-the-wall businesses. Small mom & pop shops exist all over the place, and most people simply drive right by them never noticing them. Some mom & pop shops can hold the greatest hidden gems ever, but it takes word-of-mouth to get the news out there, especially if that mom & pop shop has no website, no social media, or no internet presence at all. With no marketing power, mom & pop shops have to deliver something so good that the constituents will do the marketing for them, such as with Apollo Burgers in Garden Grove. Representing the typical neighborhood burger diner, Apollo Burgers appears to have the most basic menu and appearance of any mom & pop fast food restaurant. If you look at any typical menu item, nothing would immediately stand out. You have to know what to order here, such as their Bulgogi Burger, a regular cheeseburger with beef bulgogi in it. While it may not ever win awards for beauty, it has won awards for taste, especially with how tantalizing the bulgogi tastes. After a bite of this burger, you will want endless bulgogi from Apollo Burgers.

1. The Riders Club Cafe‘s DIY Burger

A corporate fast food chain business has a slogan to “have it your way.” Human nature dictates that people desire control over any situation, and want to control as much as possible without allowing others to do the controlling. When it comes to food, customization appeals to all customers. This explains why businesses that allow you to build an entrée from the plate up have gained a huge following, such as Riders Club Cafe. This local Orange County institution has faith in the customers’ decision, the decision to craft the burger just perfect for them. This has led to the Riders Club Cafe creating a menu revolved around their DIY Burger. Starting at $8.65, the base burger comes with lettuce, pickles, grilled or raw onions, and house spread on a Challah bun. Each burger comes with kettle chips, and house pickled beets upon request. Customers can choose the base patty between beef, veggie, chicken, or portabello mushroom. Cheeses cost $1 each, which includes cheddar, muenster, swiss, goat cheese spread, blue, or havarti. Additional toppings cost $1.25 each, which includes bacon, grilled mushrooms, roasted chili peppers, avocado, or a fried egg. Despite customization, each burger tastes incredible, as if the chef had to cook the best meal of his life.

Welcome to the 21st century, where today’s population of young adults have grown tired of traditional things and seek new, modern things. Colloquially referred to as millennials, today’s young adults grew up during a time where their parents stuck to traditional methods of living as a safer, low-risk way of raising their children. However, that all changed over the past decade when these children grew up not wanting to 100% resemble their parents, and have changed the way people live today. For example, the United States finally legalized same-sex marriages this year. As another sign of the changing times, millennials have grown tired of eating the same things that they have grown up with, and now crave different, unique, fusion foods. For example, while many may still like traditional tacos with meats like carne asada, new tacos like pork belly tacos exist that millennials now prefer. Fusion exists in all sorts of food, from tacos to burritos to burgers to pizza. If you prefer the latter and seek fusion pizza, look no further than Mr. Pizza.

While I try to refrain from posting about chain businesses on my blog, Mr. Pizza has such a small presence in Southern California that I ought to give them some light to show others how true fusion pizza should taste. Based out of South Korea, this pizza chain that opened over two decades ago serves up pizza with a Korean twist. While they have traditional pizzas such as pepperoni listed in the back/bottom of their menus, people visit Mr. Pizza for the unique crusts and toppings that few others do for their pizza, such as the Bulgogi Pizza (50/50 pizza pictured above, Potato on left and Bulgogi on right). The famed Bulgogi Pizza comes topped with tomato sauce, Korean-marinated beef, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. Basically, imagine eating a Korean-style cheesesteak sandwich but in pizza form. As for the other half pictured above, the Potato pizza comes with tomato sauce, potato wedges, ground beef, corn, mushrooms, onions, bacon, mayonnaise, and mozzarella cheese. The pizza pictured above features the Cheese-filled crust. These two make for two of the more popular pizzas served at Mr. Pizza, along with the Half & Half, comprised of Potato Gold and Shrimp Gold.

With so many different styles of pizzas available at Mr. Pizza, you cannot go wrong with what you choose. In fact, you would need to come back to Mr. Pizza over and over in order to try every single pizza that they carry. Mr. Pizza has locations in Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Century City and Buena Park – the Buena Park location opened less than two months ago. Check out Mr. Pizza on Facebook and Twitter for more about their delicious pizza pies.

By the end of 2008, the first ever gourmet food truck had hit the streets in an attempt to revolutionize the way people think about food trucks. People started talking, and by the end of 2009, the public started to see more and more of these gourmet food trucks that deliver new and interesting foods. Prior to the boom of the gourmet food truck fad, these cuisine styles did not get much exposure, as they only had their roots in the restaurants that served those cuisines. Gourmet food trucks not only had the advantage of mobility of exposure, but they heavily utilized social media to reach out to the public, also setting a precedent for business owners to heavily push social media as a means of marketing and advertising. The concept of fusion cuisine remained relatively uncommon until the gourmet food trucks blasted it all over social media, and now many restaurants have capitalized on that concept. Notably, Asian & Latin fusion really took off thanks to the abundance of Asian & Latin gourmet food trucks, so we got to see things like short rib burritos or pork belly tacos. Many restaurants now offer Asian & Latin fusion cuisines, but not all of them get it right. Luckily, the folks over at Seoulmate have an expert at hand to ensure the proper serving of Asian & Latin fusion cuisine.

Located at the former Mosher’s Gourmet on 7th Street across from Wilson High School, Seoulmate could possibly represent the next hidden gem that Long Beach has always craved. Open since December 2013, Seoulmate looks like a food stand at the side of the road, just like another famous Long Beach landmark; however, Seoulmate proves that one cannot judge a book by its cover. From the outside, it looks like a fast food shack. From the inside, you will discover what could turn into your next favorite lunch spot. Sporting a bold menu consisting of traditional Korean dishes and fusion Korean entrées, Seoulmate has the right stuff to satisfy anyone’s appetite. Sure they carry the traditional bulgogi, kimchi, and bibimbap, but ask loyal customers what keeps them returning to Seoulmate, and they will respond with the fusion items. From burgers to tacos to tortas to burritos, Seoulmate adds some Korean zing to whatever they concoct. The fan favorite, The Old Boy burrito, contains a massive portion of bulgogi beef, along with kimchi, onions, cilantro, lettuce, and rice wrapped in a flour tortilla. You can grab The Old Boy for yourself for $8.50, but I recommend turning it up a notch by adding avocado for just $0.75 more.

Fans of those runaway gourmet food trucks no longer need to worry about hunting down their next meal, as they can simply approach Seoulmate and take a burrito for the now and a burrito for the later, as this burrito can make a great meal or snack later on for those who can reheat it then. Check out the rest of Seoulmate’s menu, a wonderland of fusion flavors, on their website linked above, or check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

When talking about something that markets well, people see how well something will perform around the world. Things that people in any country can connect with usually indicate that it works well with or without translation. For example, instrumental music works very well across the world due to a lack of lyrics binding it to one language. Take a look at the history of Lindsey Stirling – she originally appeared on America’s Got Talent, where a judge criticized her that her performance would not market well. Well it turns out that a young attractive violinist that can dance, sing, and mix dubstep could market very well on an international level. The significance of the international market greatly influences any business decision from the top of the corporate ladder all the way down to daily exchanges. Besides music, food translates very well around the world. Everybody around the world has to eat, so food makes for a great way to sell a brand or concept in other regions. When regions clash, you end up with fusion, which Grill ‘Em All has stepped up this month at their restaurant in Alhambra.

Now paying homage to the eastern world this month, Grill ‘Em All continues to ramp up their repertoire of burgers so off-the-charts that they can only serve it for a month. Just like the nature behind the restaurant, expect no formalities at Grill ‘Em All – heavy metal reverberates between the walls here, breaking down any and all barriers, yet accepting all who enter the doors to Valhalla. These doors extend all the way around the world, and this month, those doors greet South Korean death metal band Tokkaebi, roughly translating to goblin. Much like how punk rock has gone global, death metal reaches all corners of the world. To honor death metal around the world, Grill ‘Em All creates this Korean-inspired burger by topping a half-pound beef patty with kimchi (spiced pickled veggies) and Gochujang (savory hot sauce), then placing it over a pajeon (Korean-style pancake), bulgogi (Korean beef), lettuce, and sriracha sauce (really spicy sauce). Although this sounds like a spice attack, everything else in the burger contains the heat rather well. Of particular note, the bulgogi stands out the most. The way that Grill ‘Em All grills the bulgogi makes it crisp with a unique caramelized taste. If you happen to pluck out a piece of the bulgogi to eat by itself, you may find yourself craving only that ingredient.

Grill ‘Em All also calls this the Wing Kanemura, which refers to a wrestler if you Google that name. How a wrestler relates to a death metal band, I have yet to discover; perhaps the wrestler used the band’s music as an entrance theme? But I digress – you have until the end of this month (read: next week!) to snag a Tokkaebi Burger at Grill ‘Em All for just $12! Now that Lent has ended, you have no excuse for bringing yourself, your friends, and your family over to Grill ‘Em All for a taste of the East!