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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...

Drinkin' Buddies

Drinkin' Buddies

Monday, August 3, 2015

Jersey Mike's Subs

Where: 
Jersey Mike's Subs (yawn)
557 North Franklin Turnpike Ramsey, NJ 07446

What: 
An "R2" which is a regular #2 or...
the 7" inch sandwich Jersey Shore style & Mike's way*.

Build:
Jersey Shore style: Provolone, ham and cappacuolo (this is the way Mike's spells it) on 7-inch submarine bread. *All cold subs include Mike's Way® with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, vinegar, oil and spices or... any combination gladly accepted. 
Comments:
Here's a propaganda snippet from Mike's website (my comment in italic):

Back in the fifties when Jersey Mike's was one of the only places in the world to get a sub, (um not really) people living at or visiting the Jersey Shore would flock to Jersey Mike's to get our delicious #2. If it's a favorite at the Jersey Shore, we're certain you'll like it too.

It all sounds like a nice romantic success story..."local boy makes good.” But, as with the intimidating number of burger joints popping up, there is an equal number of sandwich joints popping up that to me, are just as scary an endeavor to undertake as the burger chains, if not more.
Why someone would undertake the daunting task of opening this type of franchise is beyond me. Or perhaps I'm just not seeing the salami for the toppings? Perhaps the "sandwich guy" culture is every bit as strong as the burger culture and they are just doing it for the love of sandwiches and sandwich making? Could be. And I certainly hope so.
In any case, some of the rivals in today's sandwich world are:
Jimmy John's
Quizno's
Blimpie
Subway
Firehouse Subs
Charlie's Grilled Subs
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Togo's Sandwiches
Earl of Sandwich
Penn Station East Coast Subs
Au Bon Pain
Panera
Einstein Bros.
Così
Schlotzsky’s
Wawa

This list represents just a few that come to mind based on my Northeast location although I realize there are many other successful regional sandwich shops across the US.

I would like to think the most successful sandwich shops are using the best quality cold cuts, but I'm not so sure that's the case. I think the winner of this genre is the one who spends the most on advertising. For me, all the cold cuts at any of these places suck. But presentation, ambiance, trendy menu selections and convenience (which is today's food service superpower) all contribute to customers overlooking an obvious lack of quality and scarcity of food in these sandwiches. 
I'll just never see the attraction of these places, especially in New Jersey where there are great Italian delis everywhere. 

With that said, I must admit that for me, there is nothing quite like a Wawa "hoagie"... low quality cold cuts, thrown together, scarcity of meat, yet it still manages to serve as a fantastic snack food.

But if you really want a truly great sub sandwich... 
dis is da joint:
http://billcianciburgerreviews.blogspot.com/2012/08/where-white-house-sub-shop-atlantic.html




































Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Disney Food Fair, DisneyWorld

Where:
Various DisneyWorld Foodfare
Orlando, FL

What:
Pan-Asian Noodles and the Island Chicken Sandwich from The Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Angus cheeseburger at the Gasparilla Island Grill in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Comments:
The lunch we had at the Kona Cafe was great. (See below).

The burger at the Gasparilla Island Grill was awful. (See below).





Island Chicken Sandwich - Grilled breast of chicken with bacon, Swiss cheese, curry-mango mayonnaise and fried onions on a Kaiser Roll served with Asian pear slaw or sweet potato fries. $14.99 (June 2015)






Pan-Asian Noodles - Yakisoba noodles, wok-seared with vegetables and your choice of chicken or tofu in a ginger-garlic sauce. $17.99 (June 2015)






Grand Gaspy Burger - 1/3 lb. Angus burger, Tillamook Cheddar, pulled pork, barbecue mayonnaise, and onion frits. $11.99 (June 2015)

 Awful, simply awful, as are all Disney burgers.













One of my favorite rides...


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mother's Ale House - I had such high hopes...

Where:
Mother's Ale House
95 Mountainview BlvdWayne, NJ 07470Phone: 973-633-7400
http://www.mothersalehouse.com/

What: 
The Whiskey BBQ Burger

Build:
8oz Angus patty, pepper jack cheese, grilled mushrooms, whiskey BBQ sauce and haystack fried onions on Texas toast.

Comments:
Wanna know why the best thing you can order at a newly opened restaurant is their burger?

Because it's a fool-proof acid test for the food quality that you can expect from there-on-out, that's why. And unlike Mother's chef's attempt at cooking a burger, I've never seen this test fail.

It's what I've tried and written about so many times before, if a restaurant can't get the temperature of a burger correct, how could they possibly prepare anything more complicated successfully?

Let me rewind for a second. My wife and I had been wanting to try Mother's after the initial curious crowds waned. Last weekend we saw a shot so we took it. It was Saturday, the 18th of July in the year of our Lord, two thousand fifteen. The sun was out, and it was hot as hell, and it seemed like a beer and a burger could set the world right again. (WRONG!)

Both the facade and interior of Mother's are unique and interesting enough to arouse curiosity. The interior is definitely geared toward liquor sales. (And why not, it's where the money is). There are many bar stools and enough TVs to keep even a non-drinker seated for quite a while.

So far, so good, however - if you're going to charge $7 dollars for a 6oz glass of really crappy house white wine you are going to follow the way of the Dodo.
And mind you, a house wine does not get any worse than the one offered at Mother's. It's Frontera, which is so bad it's only $8.99 for an entire magnum at any local liquor store. Really? You're proud to serve this? What's next? Happy meals? 

Once a restaurant establishes their level of "house" wines and liquors, it is also establishing their base clientele. Nuff said.

Without dragging this on, I'd like to point out to the folks at Mother's that you've got a potentially very cool business about to happen if managed correctly, and I'd love to see it succeed. I realize that you recently opened and are working out some kinks, but is there any reason that there should be dirt, crumbs, napkins, etc., on the floor under the bar stools that looks as if it hasn't been swept since the previous day? If nothing changes, I'm afraid you'll be on the road to becoming the new and improved Gabriel's.

My wife and I both ordered our burgers medium as our waitress told us that "medium means pink inside with a tiny bit of red in the middle".  

Mmmmmm, no, medium means that your burger will be cooked Buzz Lightyear style, to infinity and beyond.

But to be fair, as well done as our burgers were, and although being very obviously dry, they were still quite tasty. This made me think how really great these Angus burgers would have been if only cooked with some care. 

I will definitely return to MAH for another sample of the burgers. I am pulling for this place... I sincerely hope it does not disappoint again.

This burger gets a 4/10 on the BC rating scale.



My photos below will fill in any details of the story that I've missed...



















My wife's burger looked like it had potential also... what a shame...

































Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bobby's Burger Palace - Episode #3, Still Killin' It

A note to all you Food Snobs and Haters...

For the record:
Yes, I eat fast food burgers (get over it), but I've never considered them to be actual burgers – I consider them more of a snack food that defies classification. Take White Castle for example... would you consider them to be burgers in the traditional sense? No. But where would we be without them?

On to the review...



Where:
Bobby's Burger Palace
610 Bergen Town Center Mall
Paramus, NJ 07652
(201) 368-7001

What: 
The Dallas

Build:
Spice crusted burger topped with coleslaw, Monterey Jack cheese, BBQ sauce and pickles (crunchified, of course).

Comments:
My third and final review of BBP has not only proved that they consistently serve very high quality food, it has also given me the chance to devour yet another great burger.


As usual, the staff at Bobby's pays very close attention to the temperature of your burger to ensure that what you've ordered is what you are served – and as always, the meat flavor is fantastic. Also, if you're like me and have sampled more than one of Bobby's burgers, you'll know that the toppings for each burger on the menu were meticulously chosen to blend and contrast for a great burger experience every time.

Once again BBP gets a 10\10 on the bc rating scale.












































I went to lunch with my boss this day, she got the "Topless Burger Salad" which is any burger of your choice on top of baby greens with balsamic dressing. She said it was very good and it sure looked it. (Shout out to Pat B. for being a good burger buddy).









For me, the Burger Sauce at BBP represents a conundrum. In fact, it's more than just a conundrum , it's a paradox wrapped in an enigma. The flavor of this sauce is so obscure, so not welcome in a hamburger establishment, so devoid of flavor it blows my mind that it's still in the rack every time I return. But don't take my word for it, go ahead and try it.







Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jyoti, Indian Restaurant, Wayne, NJ


Where: 
Jyoti - Exotic Indian Cuisine
24 Route 46 East
Wayne, NJ 07470
973-890-2224
http://www.jyotirestaurant.com/home-jyoti


What: 

Papadum with onion and green chutneys upon being seated (papadum is an extremely thin dough that is fried or baked until crisp).

Appetizers:

Paratha, which is a buttered pan-fried flat bread, plus onion panir which is an unleavened bread filled with onion and fresh minced cauliflower. 

Our second appy was a vegetable samosa, which is a crispy turnover filled with mildly spiced potatoes and peas.
Lamb Rogan Josh – Cubes of lamb marinated in Indian spices, cooked with chopped tomatoes in a creamy sauce.


Entrees:

Chicken Tikka Masala – Pieces of Chicken Tikka cooked in a creamy sauce with fresh tomato and Eastern spices. (Tikka refers to chicken roasted in a  clay Tandoor oven)


Comments:
I love this place; the food, the atmosphere, the exotic spices…everything. And although my review is going to be very positive, it is most assuredly unbiased.


Keep Scrolling Down...







Upon being seated, our server placed down what I would describe as the Indian version of tapas – a plate of bread/chips called papadum, accompanied with a plate of onion chutney and green chutney to pick on while cruising the menu. Delicious (Shout out to Sabah for gettin' us the skinny on Papadum). The onion chutney is delicious and it's ingredient list almost impossible for me to guess due to what I consider to be a plethora of spices used. The green chutney however had the distinct flavors of fresh mint and cilantro and perhaps a dollop of yogurt. Excellent.







Next up: I ordered a Haywards 5000. This popular Indian beer came in a 650 ml bottle (that's a 22 ouncer!), and I didn't find out until the next day that Haywards is 7.5% alcohol. It’s no wonder I was feeling no pain when I got home.



Our appetizers consisted of a few Naan breads, one plain, buttered and one stuffed with onion and cauliflower. We also ordered a plate of veggie Samosas stuffed with potato and peas served with a brown dipping sauce which, to me had flavor seemed to me to be an Indian spiced version of steak sauce with tamarind being the predominant flavor.  Really great stuff.







Next came the entrees...



My wife's Chicken Tikka Masala was creamy and spicy with the flavor of fresh tomatoes popping through the cream. Soon after followed a great afterglow of heat... that wonderful Indian heat. So good. What great comfort food.




The flavors of my Lamb Rogan Josh are a favorite of mine, and although the dish lacks spicy heat, the spices used are nothing shy of fantastic. Especially when ladled over Jyoti's fragrant basmati rice.   




And last but not least, while finishing up our meals and contemplating dessert, it happened...

The lights went out... yup, no electricity. We sat in complete darkness for about 15 minutes before being led to the server station to pay by candlelight. Needless to say, they were very happy to see that we had cash.

Can't wait to go back to Jyoti and sample some more new and exotic flavors from the East.