Posts Tagged ‘Pastrami’

Perception never falls into the simple categorization of black versus white. Perception falls anywhere within a boundless spectrum of antipodes. The problem lies with people’s ability to conceive perceptions beyond their scope. You can ask a person what type of music they love the most, while the next person may loathe that type of music. Most people claim to not like country music, yet the truth reveals that they simply have no preference for it; however, few people actually get adamant about the music. Going beyond preferences commonly exists in food and beverages. Where one person may call something “the best,” another will claim something else as better. For example, my father swears by the $2 wine from Trader Joe’s, unable to accept that pricier fine wines taste better. Some people say that no other burger can top a common burger from corporate fast food or corporate restaurants. People truly get attached to their fast food burgers and refuse to believe that better burgers exist out there. Whether or not you claim to know about the best burger in the world, I encourage you to seek out these five burgers in the greater Los Angeles area this season and give them a try. Who knows – maybe you will alter your opinions after one bite!

5. Village Idiot‘s Griddle Burger

With all these newfangled restaurants popping up everywhere, sometimes it helps to exhibit a little modesty. Young adults want to visit the trendiest, hippest restaurants and/or bars because of interaction and mingling with others of similar age and personality. With so many of these new places around, some restaurants or bars just want to resemble the go-to place away from all the hustle of noisy places. Enter the Village Idiot in West Hollywood as your go-to place to relax. The Village Idiot looks like your typical neighborhood restaurant with no frills or anything fancy inside. They have an old-fashioned bar with plenty of seating in the dining area, perfect for parties of all sizes. With a wide array of food and drink options, Village Idiot will have something for everyone. For something familiar yet scrumptious, go with their Griddle Burger. This simple yet effective $15 burger carries two patties along with dijon mustard and a heaping serving of caramelized onions, with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and fries on the side. Accessorize your burger with cheese or a fried egg at an additional cost. Available throughout the day, this burger will help you get away from the bustle of daily life momentarily while you savor this local flavor.

4. Brew Kitchen Ale House‘s Smokin’ Bacon Burger

When attributing food to a particular location, each region has its own designation on how people should perceive it. For example, we often hear about western, eastern, northern, and southern food. While in the United States this applies mainly to the contingent 48 states, the rest of the world sees things differently. The world does not have northern (New England) or southern (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, etc) cuisine. Instead, the world primarily splits up regions by either its exact name (Japanese, Italian, etc) or simply east versus west. We know that eastern tends to refer to Asian cuisine, while western refers to American barbecue. Why barbecue specifically, I do not have the precise answer, but I do know that Brew Kitchen Ale House has a killer western-influenced menu. Tucked away in a strip mall in Los Alamitos, Brew Kitchen Ale House aims to bring a craft beer presence to Los Alamitos, historically a conservative city. They employ a rotating tap system much like other prominent craft beer restaurants, which greatly accompanies their food menu. Brew Kitchen Ale House contains many gastropub staples, such as their Smokin’ Bacon Burger. This meaty burger comes with sharp cheddar cheese, cherry wood bacon, beer barrel onion strings, and Uncle Joe’s Memphis Brew-B-Que sauce, served with a side of bar fries. Why people associate this particular combination of ingredients with “western” I will never know. However, I do know that you can pound this burger for just $11 at Brew Kitchen Ale House in Los Alamitos.

3. Dory Deli‘s Dory Burger

How does a business generate buzz and hype? Marketing comes in many forms, and each method of marketing reaches out to a different audience. Does a business use word-of-mouth? Does a business use friends & family referrals? Does a business pay for ad space? Does a business rely on internet and social media? No matter how a business chooses to market, they still need to get their name out there, but how they get from point A to point B can differ based on the business owner’s preference. But what if you have products so good that the product markets itself? Enter Dory Deli, a local treat whose name speaks for itself. Located just a stone’s throw away from the sands of Newport Beach, Dory Deli opened their doors last year to the delight of many locals for their use of locally sourced ingredients prepared with fresh, unique flavors. Although they have “Deli” in their name, Dory Deli functions as more than just a deli – they represent a full-service restaurant, along with fresh coffee and juices. Along the menu, you can find hot items such as their Dory Burger. This thick burger patty gets paired with pastrami, horseradish-beet sauce, sliced pickles, caramelized onions, and Swiss cheese on a brioche bun. This burger comes a la carte for $11. Parking nearby requires coins for meters, so if you want to park for free, expect to have to park further and walk quite a bit.

2. 25 Degrees Huntington Beach‘s Number 4

Cheese: you either love it or you hate it. Cheese has existed long before anyone even thought to record the discovery of it. Since the beginning, cheese has made its way all over the culinary world, and has seen countless variations. The texture, flavor, shape, aroma, and other factors all vary based on where it started, how it started, and who made it. Certain cheeses fit certain foods better; for example, mozzarella goes well with pizza, while cheddar goes well with hamburgers. In more recent times, creative chefs have mixed up cheese types to attempt to draw out new flavor combinations. Some have worked, others have not. But when a combination does work, the chef will hastily add it to the menu, just like at 25 Degrees. While 25 Degrees has multiple locations including one in Los Angeles, each one has its own menu, so this will focus on its Huntington Beach location. 25 Degrees represents your typical gastropub and whisky bar, with a lineup full of different beverages and a menu full of goodies. At night, most people go here for the drinks. Throughout the rest of the day, people go here for both the food and drinks, where they might order something such as the Number 4. Unique to the Huntington Beach location, the fourth burger on their menu has bacon, barbecue sauce, mezzo secco cheese, jack cheese, chipotlé aioli, and a fried onion ring. After a few bites, you may just want a side of the cheese by itself due to its savory nature that does not overwhelm the taste senses. To experience this cheesy bliss, check out 25 Degrees in Downtown Huntington Beach order the Number 4 for $11.

1. Rockfire Grill‘s Carnitas Burger

If something on the menu has the word (ham)burger in it, you can bet it will have ground beef in it. Traditional hamburgers have the ground beef patty inside a hamburger bun. However, the definition has expanded to allow more than just the bun to define the dish. For example, hamburger pasta means pasta that has ground beef in it, even if it contains just ground beef pieces instead of a solid patty. Because of this expansion of the definition of a hamburger, creative minds have come up with other ways to build upon the traditional dish. Aside from different toppings or different ways to build the patty, one can take a look at the bun. Everyone has surely seen lettuce-wrapped burgers know as “protein-style” burgers, but you can use more than just an ordinary bun to hold a burger, something that Rockfire Grill has grasped the concept of. Rockfire Grill’s primary draw revolves around their use of a wood-fire oven to bake and cook most of their ingredients. From pizzas to flatbreads to fresh focaccia bread, Rockfire Grill has a unique approach to fresh foods. They use this oven to cook not only their meats, but the breads they use for their menu items, including their burgers and sandwiches. Rockfire Grill wraps their burgers inside their fresh-baked focaccia bread, creating something similar to a pita wrap. Their Carnitas Burger contains two different meats stuffed inside a focaccia bread. After splitting open a fresh-baked focaccia bread, Rockfire Grill fills it with an angus beef patty, salsa verde, pulled pork, tender greens, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and their house spread. You can taste this fresh-baked difference for $8.95 at the original Rockfire Grill in Mission Viejo, or check out their newer locations in Santa Ana and Newport Beach.

Reminiscing back to our childhoods, we recall all the good times and bad times that significantly impacted us as children. Everyone remembers certain moments during their childhoods that has permanently affected our personalities today. Even without anything to capture those moments, we can still reminisce about the good old days through photos taken way back then. In fact, today’s society has accepted Throwback Thursdays as an homage to the good old days, when life did not bear so much worry, and we could live out our days without fear or oppression. These days, society has to deal with corruption on many levels, from governments to the internet to bullies in school and more. Like the human immune system, society reacts to these corruptions by implementing methods to combat those problems by either minimizing problems or eliminating them altogether. This may not restore the good old days, but as a society, we still like to look back to what paved the way for us to stand here today. Significantly, we remember the foods we once ate as children, even recalling the low prices. Those old signs advertising $0.10 French Fries did not lie – food stands actually sold items that now cost ten times more, or even more than that! Though we can still buy the same fast food items as back then, we have much better options today as far as finer dining without the inflated price tags. If you miss those $0.10 fries, wait until you see some of the appetizers that you can share with friends or enjoy as an entrée. I have discovered five different shareable appetizers that you can find in the Greater Los Angeles Area, and you can either enjoy these on its own or share them among the table.

5. Plan Check Kitchen‘s Sweet Potato Waffle Fries

Many of us grew up with French fries as a classic side. During the turn of the century, restaurants started to utilize sweet potato fries instead of regular fries. They do not cost that much more, have a completely different flavor, and have more health benefits than regular potatoes. Some of us may even remember waffle-cut fries, or as one fast food chain calls it, criss-cut fries. What does all this mean? Head over to Plan Check Kitchen to find out. With three locations around Los Angeles, Plan Check Kitchen serves up delicious faire out of their small kitchen. While each location has a slightly different menu, you will always want to check if they have the Sweet Potato Waffle Fries available. Simple yet fulfilling, this plate of waffle-cut sweet potato fries gets fried in beef tallow and served with a side of peach ketchup made in-house. While the above photo makes it appear small, it can easily satisfy two people at just $6 per order.

4. The Oinkster‘s Piggy Fries

A certain Californian fast food institution has an ever-popular off-menu item that nearly every Californian has tried at least once. Most people who have tried it swear by it and nothing else, albeit many local places make something just as good, if not better. If you have heard of The Oinkster, then you know about what I refer to. As its name suggests, The Oinkster specializes in meaty foods and delicious sides to go along with them. At both of The Oinkster’s locations, you can find Piggy Fries on the menu. Contrary to its name, these fries do not have any meat in them at all, though you can get crafty and add the meat in yourself. For just $4, this boat of fries comes with housemade thousand island dressing, caramelized onions, and shredded cheddar cheese. If you want to make this truly piggy fries, unload a sandwich onto these fries for the ultimate meal.

3. Dolce Bistro & Bakery‘s Spicy Maple Bacon Popcorn

Americans have a strange fascination with bacon. Something about this small strip of pork drives people to spend obscene amounts of money to add it on to something. Fast food restaurants routinely charge a dollar more to add a piece of bacon, while some restaurants charge up to $4 more to add some bacon. I will never understand why people do this, but I do know that if I crave the flavor of bacon, it had better taste good, so I go to Dolce Bistro & Bakery in Montclair. As their name suggests, in addition to a full-service restaurant, they also have a bakery full of delectable desserts, but I shall talk about that in another post. For now, we focus on the restaurant side where they have lots of great food such as the Spicy Maple Bacon Popcorn. Dolce Bistro tosses popcorn with chili powder and cumin, then mixes in maple bacon for an easy snack that everyone around the table can enjoy. Enjoy it with friends, enjoy it on its own, or enjoy it for the occasion for just $5.

2. The Hat‘s Pastrami Chili Cheese Fries

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 The Hat. This traditional diner now has eleven locations throughout Southern California all serving up their famous pastrami, but to truly savor their pastrami, go big with the Pastrami Chili Cheese Fries. Beware: the $13 price tag paints the picture that you simply must share this with others. No sole person can possible tackle all of this in one sitting, so if you have a hungry group, satisfy all their hungers with this mountain of meat.

1. Leadbelly’s Barbecue‘s Loaded Pork Garlic Fries

While I can understand food allergies preventing people from enjoying certain foods, I could never understand the people who cannot eat certain foods due to their religion. Red meat simply tastes too good to pass up, so I feel bad for the people who do not eat beef or pork or both. They miss out on the goodness of these meats, cancerous or not. For those who crave the meat, look for a barbecue restaurant, such as Leadbelly’s Barbecue. Tucked away in a corner between Fullerton and Placentia, this restaurant slings lots of meat in many different styles, even on top of fries like on their Loaded Pork Garlic Fries. Leadbelly’s tosses French fries with garlic and then tops it with pulled pork, bacon, pork belly, Parmesan cheese, jack cheese, and chives, which they serve with a side of gravy to pour over the top. At $12.95, this massive plate can easily feed a group of four or more. Go easy on the gravy – its richness can make one full fast.