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No Bull Burger Purist - Born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Fast-food (Burger King) Ordering Tip

I'm taking a big chance with this post as my editor-in-chief Chantal is on her honeymoon.
CONGRATS CHANTAL AND ANDREW!!!





"This tip comes to you because it's 3AM, mid-August, 2017.
 I can't sleep, and I'm hungry".
~BC


I realized this little factoid about 30 years ago and I'm sure most of you fellow burger aficionados and grease freaks already know it.

If you order Fast-food during off-peak hours, you will most likely be served a sandwich that's been sitting around. In other words, you won't have to wait for your burger, it'll be waiting for you.

You can change this backward equation by simply ordering your burger without ketchup, it's as simple as that - you can always get ketchup packets on the side. This will force your cook to make you a fresh (er) burger. This applies to any Fast-food restaurant.

Example: 
You find yourself craving a Burger King Whopper at three in the afternoon when it's very possible the burger you just ordered has been drying out in a waiting tray for some time...

...all you have to do is order the Whopper with no ketchup and you will see the grill person begin to prepare you a fresh (er) burger because you've just caused him to sidestep the pre-made stuff.  Instead, you will get a burger patty out of a steam drawer, which, although not freshly grilled, will be much fresher (moister) than the one that is waiting in the tray.


Is there a foolproof method for being served a hot,  fresh, Burger King burger straight from the grill?

As a matter of fact, there is. When ordering a burger at Burger King, you can request of the cashier to have it prepared "off the grill" or at some BK's they will recognize "off the broiler," either way, any BK will do this for you.

This request sidesteps both the waiting tray and the steam drawer by routing a burger directly from the flame broiler to your bun. Since burgers-off-the-grill don't see the inside of the steam drawer, they will deliver a much more intense grill flavor; (the way I imagine BK burgers would have tasted 40 years ago). 

It's a shame that when you're in a restaurant whose core marketing strategy is its "flame broiled burgers" you still have to ask for one that's "actually" flame broiled.


Send me your comments if you try one "off the grill".
~ BC




Thursday, September 14, 2017

IHOP US-46 Totowa, NJ

Where:

IHOP 
360 Route 46, Totowa, NJ
https://www.ihop.com/Ihop-Locations

What:
Cheeseburger Omelette

Build:
This omelette is loaded with all your favorites. It’s made with ground beef, grilled and diced with hash browns, tomatoes, onions and American cheese, and topped off with ketchup, mustard and pickles.

Comments:
Don't do it.

Good thought, great concept, visually appealing, but it doesn't work. The textures of the ingredients alone are so mismatched I couldn't get one mouthful that tasted good enough for me to want another forkful. And when eggs and pickles collied, I want out - that's a flavor combination that really doesn't work together. The omelette (eggs) was also very dry which I think you can see from the photos. 

Too bad, this IHOP (Totowa, NJ) is usually spot-on with their breakfast fare. But I'm not going to bash the place, every one's entitled to an off-day. But this is not about overdone eggs, it's about the corporate office that thought this was a good idea, but in reality, it set all their franchiee's up for failure.

The next time I visit I'll be ordering the IHOP Mega Monster Burger (photo at the bottom of this page).  I never thought to try a burger at an IHOP, but it looks like it's got potential.





























The very best pancakes I ever ate.





IHOP's Mega Monster Cheeseburger
(Glamour shot - scroll down for the "actual" photo of the real thing)
Two burger patties with American and White Cheddar cheeses, served on a grilled Brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and red onion.




"Actual photo"
(found it on the Internet)
Although looking nothing like the glamour shot, the bun nowhere near "grilled", and the obvious absence of tomato and onion, I'm still going to give it a shot.
...to be continued

Monday, August 14, 2017

Smashburger - Pequannock, NJ

For my brother-in-law Jude, a Smashburger aficionado...

Where:
Smashburger



What:
The Triple Double






Build:

Two (2) beef patties, (approximately 3oz each) two slices of American cheese, and one slice of aged cheddar along with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, and Smash sauce on a toasted egg bun.

Comments: 

You'll need to travel far and wide to find a burger this good for $4 bucks! If not for one flaw, this burger would be a perfect 10. 

A few things to note:
The 3 slices of cheese are not all "slices" - the top and bottom are covered with slices of American cheese as advertised, however the "melted aged cheddar" in between the burgers is actually more of a cheese sauce; which was fine, and actually delicious. 

I have to commend the folks at Smash for their use of white onion. The onions were as crisp and sweet as can be which is a refreshing change from the bitter red hybrid onions we've seen far too often. The tomatoes were a deep red and very meaty and the thick cut dill pickles added enough acidity to contrast the richness of the meat and cheese perfectly. I would have loved to see crisp iceberg lettuce, but the leafy green stuff worked okay on this burger. The Smash Sauce was tasty as always and not overdone. 

The only issue I encountered was the "eatibility" of the burger. The egg bun, (which seemed to me to be a potato bun masquerading as an egg bun) was very tasty, but it's size was not sufficient enough to handle the burger with toppings. 

Bottom line: 
The burger is delicious and a great value, but things will get messy, very messy, making it impossible to eat this burger while driving.

Smashburger's Triple Double receives an 8.4 out of 10 on the BC rating scale.

Criteria & ratings for the Triple Double:
Meat flavor 10
Juiciness 10
Size 10
Freshness 10
Burger to bun ratio 5
Bun type 8
Overall taste with selected condiments 10
Eatibility 5
Temperature 8






I ordered this burger to-go and it was still excellent. I've got to try it again and eat it fresh at the restaurant.




























Monday, August 7, 2017

Sunset Pub and Grill - July 26th, 2017

See the BC burger rating scale defined after the review!



Where:
Sunset Pub and Grill
425 Beaverbrook Rd,Lincoln Park, NJ 07035
(973) 694-8700
http://www.sunsetpubandgrill.com/

What:
The Build-Your-Own Burger

Build:
10-ounce burger patty, caramelized onions, American cheese on a brioche bun.


Comments: 

If you're looking for decent food with a fun atmosphere, look no further. The Sunset Pub and Grill delivers on both.
I enjoyed a huge burger cooked to perfection while dining al fresco this summer...






...That being said, the burger meat was so darn tasty I'm going to have trouble describing it. In fact, it was SO good, that I'm afraid I'll never taste one that good from the Sunset Pub again. Forgive my cynicism, but I'm afraid when it comes to consistency, I've got zero confidence in most restaurants, and that's why I keep thinking, this awesome burger may have been a fluke. 



I enjoyed the burger on my first trip here in September of 2016, but this one proved to be even better - much better.
It's the meat – it was that delicious, savory, succulent, meat. I didn't get the opportunity to ask what the blend or fat content was so I'll have to make yet another trip back to find out. I can tell you this, the patty was a perfect thickness, the grind was coarse and loosely packed, and both the fat content and temperature of my burger were nothing shy of perfect. The meat was absolutely delicious.


The brioche was quite good also – not the garden variety, Americanized brioche improvisation we've been forced to accept at most restaurants.

Keep the burgers coming because the Sunset Pub & Grill received a 9.4\10.0 on the BC rating scale.

For those of you wondering how I arrive at my burger ratings, this is the scale and rating criteria I've been using for years...


BC Rating Scale:

Epic-Crap-Fail 1.0 - 2.9

Won't be back 3.0 - 5.9


Might try again if convenient
AKA: "as long as it makes a turd" 6.0 - 7.9

I'll definitely be back 8.0 - 8.9

Keep the burgers coming 9.0 - 10

Criteria & ratings for the Sunset Pub & Grill:

Meat flavor 10
Juiciness 10
Size 10
Freshness 10
Burger to bun ratio 9
Bun type 8
Overall taste with selected condiments 9
Edibility 9
Temperature 10



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nadie's Touch of Pasta - North Haledon, NJ

Where:
Nadie's Touch of Pasta
547 High Mountain Road,North Haledon, NJ
973-949-4600
http://nadies2.com/home

What:
Nadie's Salad
Gnocchi Appetizer
Iron Cast Chicken
Chicken Elizabeth

Comments:
Every time I review a non-burger meal, I have to hear about it from my diehard burger fans, so this time, I'm apologizing in advance (but not really) – I'm straying from our beloved topic with good reason. Nadie's Touch of Pasta is a force to be reckoned with, so PASS THE WORD.

Originally on Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne, Nadie’s long awaited reopening in North Haledon occurred (I believe) around October 2012, and let me tell you, you will not find tastier, fresher, Italian food anywhere in the tri-state area. At a little over four miles from my home, I'll be racking up the miles to Nadie's in no time.

First up, Nadie's Salad – 
I'm not one to go crazy over salad, but this one is loaded with meat... yes, salted, cured meats and cheeses. It's the chef’s choice of mixed lettuce topped with cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, ground salami, pepperoni, and provolone with a balsamic dressing... amazing!




Next up, crispy gnocchi with sautéed mushrooms, peas, hot pepper flakes, butter, truffle oil, and Parmesan cheese.
This special appetizer is a dish that not only solidifies my observations, but also thrusts Chef Nadie's abilities into the upper stratosphere of textures and flavors. All components of this dish were peerless; just inspect the ingredients above. The only word that can accurately describe this dish is "decadent".

            


Next, the Iron Cast Chicken.
The flavors Nadie has combined here complement each other so well, it's hard for me to describe just how delicious this dish really is. The chicken filets are seared in a cast-iron skillet with Nadie's secret spices, and topped with bruschetta and spinach. This dish is very unique with spices not easily identified, and chicken filets which, although thin, are never dry but always moist and full of flavor with just a hint of some unidentifiable exotic middle-eastern spice.

            

Each of Nadie's courses are made with equal parts quality and freshness every time. I finish my appetizer only to be drooling with anticipation of my entree.

Lastly, Chicken Elizabeth – 
Sautéed chicken breast with spinach, prosciutto, and mozzarella cheese in a white wine sauce. Almost standard Italian restaurant fare, right? Oh nay-nay my friends. Nadie has once again married ordinary flavors and ingredients in ways a restaurant patron only dreams of.

           

            

I have to say, Nadie's is one of those restaurants that maxes out my novice descriptive writing skills. It's just difficult to put into words exactly how delicious some of their dishes are. I keep comparing Nadie's innovative flavors with that of Scalini Fedeli's in Chatham, NJ, only Nadie's doesn't have an arrogant wait staff. But Nadie's food is every bit as good, if not better.

Nadie's is "it", and at affordable prices. Now if I can only convince Nadie to make a soft-yolk ravioli in a truffle, cream, butter, garlic sauce...

P.S. Don’t forget to BYOB.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rony's Rockin' Grill, Bergenfield, NJ

Where:
Rony's Rockin' Grill
83 N. Washington Ave,
Bergenfield, NJ
201 665 4755
http://www.ronysrockingrill.com/

What:
Cheeseburger: 6 oz. patty, cheese, onion, lettuce, Rock Sauce, bun.

Simon & Garfunkel Combo: Two plain cheeseburger sliders with fries and a soda.

Comments:
Glad to see Rony’s still has that great, quality burger I sampled at the first location in Glen Rock. As for my recent outing at Rony's new location in Bergenfield, let's just say Rony renewed my faith in the Mom & Pop burger arena. I love to see people loving what they do for a living with pride and a relentless energy to succeed.

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
~ Confucius

In hindsight, I should have ordered the sliders, and I plan to the next time I visit Rony's. My boss ordered them and they looked awesome. This is not to say that my burger was below par – it wasn't. In fact, it was darn good... Rony's slightly spicy Rock Sauce is not your run-of-the-mill special sauce. Rony's has got something unique going on there. I do, however, prefer the basics of burgerdom, i.e., meat, cheese, bun. And, although the cheeseburger with Rock Sauce was great, the simplicity of the sliders was calling my name. They are a full 3 oz. burger (weight after cooking). IMHO, it's an absolutely perfect sized slider. All-in-all, these burgers are great. Rony's receives an 8.8\10 from the BC rating scale.

BTW, the fries are some of the best you will ever taste... they've been voted best in Bergen county and I have to agree.

And, don't forget to check out his homemade magic brownie... a chocolate, chocolate, brownie made with a bottom layer of pure chocolate and Oreos baked in for an extra layer of pure decadence.