Burger Archive

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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...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Munchy's, Wayne, NJ

Munchy's on Urbanspoon
Where: Munchy's, Wayne, NJ
What: Cheeseburger
Build: Fresh 8oz burger patty, lettuce, raw onion, pickle chips, Kaiser roll.
Comment: This place is right in my home town and I've been trying to get there for months especially since I spent a lot of my teen years eating at their original Little Falls location. But the new place on Valley Road is IMHO, much better. The staff was very nice and the menu is large enough to make you take a step back and take it all in because there is just so much to choose from. And a bonus for me personally is that you can order a breakfast or breakfast sandwich any time of day - that's huge. Just about everything is made fresh and the place is so clean even my wife would approve. On to the burger... In this day-and-age of law suit paranoia forcing burger establishments to serve well done burgers you can imagine how ecstatic I was to hear the counter man utter the words: "how would like your burger cooked sir?" Wow... somebody pinch me. I was already on the right track with this place. When asked, the man at the counter was not sure of the type of beef, but assured me that the meat is fresh daily. The condiments were fresh and the Kaiser roll was too which surprised the hell out of me because the Kaiser roll is a diner and food eatery staple in NJ and their freshness is always unreliably hit-or-miss. Also, whenever an establishment says they serve their burgers on this very substantial roll, it almost always overshadows the burger - but when the roll is as cotton-fresh as the roll I received, it squishes down, conforming itself to that lump of cooked cow goodness below. Very nice. So here's the deal... I grabbed the burger for me and a turkey wrap and cheesy tortilla soup for my wife and drove home as fast as possible to sample the goods. My wife was very happy with her meal. I, for some reason unbeknownst to me, had a complete and utter brain-fart-supreme and ordered my burger medium instead of the usual medium/rare. Don't ask, I still have know idea where that came from... anyhoo... the burger was cooked perfectly to my order, but alas, its temperature was more to the  med/well side of the burger spectrum by the time I got it home, (which is why burgers will never be a "take-out" food).  I was very happily surprised with the flavor of the meat and the size of it was large enough to fight back the large Kaiser roll making the burger-to-bun ratio acceptable. As I said, the onion, pickle and lettuce were all fresh and crispy/crunchy so I'm calling it a successfully day. And check out the prices, talk about family friendly? My only suggestion would be to use 2 slices of cheese and offer customers a choice of hamburger bun along with the Kaiser roll... A potato roll would be key as it's very trendy at burger joints now and it would make Munchy's burger look even larger. And there's nothing wrong with customers thinking they're getting a really good bang for their buck. Before closing, I have to mention the breakfast sandwich I got a few days after having the burger... Whoa... !   Don't miss them... goodbye Bagel Stop, Hellooooo Munchy's... I'll never go anywhere else for a THE&C sandwich - in a word:  AWESOME! 
As for the staff and ownership of Munchy's, I hope your business thrives in Wayne... Well done. See you soon. This burger gets a 8.5/10

**NOTE**  I grabbed this menu page off the Internet simply to show you a sample of Munchy's goods - there are another 2 pages to their menu!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

McDonalds - Wayne, NJ

McDonald's on Urbanspoon
"Two Sandwich Review"

Where: McDonald's, Wayne, NJ
What: McDouble & the Grilled Onion and Cheddar Burger
Build: McDouble - Two beef patties, two slices of processed American Cheese, pickles slices, minced onions. 
Grilled Onion & Cheddar Burger: Beef patty topped with grilled caramelized onions and processed Cheddar cheese.
Comment: Remember my pledge, "No Food Snobbery", I'm just sayin...
I ended up at McDonald's because it was one of those days when I was stuck in the car and starving and realized there was only $3 bucks in my pocket. And you can call me "old school" but there's just something very wrong with paying for fast food with a credit card. Anyhow, I immediately went into survival mode and started asking myself questions like: Where can I get the most burger for my buck? - What burger joints are on my way home? - How can I maximize my purchase to sustain me until my next meal? That's when Mickey D's popped into my head. It's been a very long time since I've hit this fast food chain up for some burgers (it's my least favorite of the big chains). But again, I was desperate. I parked and went inside because I needed to concentrate on ordering and I sometimes feel rushed at the drive-thru window mainly because of all the choices and the distracting glamour-shot photos of the food. Naturally, my current financial situation of $5 dollars (I was able to find two more dollars in change in my truck's console) led me straight to the Value Menu where I spied the two burgers listed above and promptly ordered them thinking I'd "Frankenstein" them. For you Nube's, the art of "Frankensteining" a burger is to create a single (larger) burger from the parts of others. (If you've never done this, you need to try it.) And BTW, the art of, as well as the name "Frankensteining" is my creation so don't be using it without my permission.  
I figured I could make myself a double Grilled Onion and Cheddar Burger by putting two together which I had hoped would create a respectable size burger. It worked, and BTW, MD's is on to something with those grilled onions - WOW they were tasty. I would guess they are the same onions used on the "Steak, Egg & Cheese Bagel" which is pound-for-pound, the best thing on the menu. Again, the onions = very good, the burgers, not so much. But at $2 bucks for a double Grilled Onion & Cheddar Burger ($1 x 2) it was a great value. Now remember, it's McDonald's, and their food quality is constantly under the liberal media's microscope which makes me feel a little like all the big Fast Food chains are singled out to some degree so I decided to check around on my own to see what I could find on their burger ingredients. MD's advertises "100% Pure Beef" and with all my Internet surfing (including I could not find anything to the contrary. So since their "100% Pure Beef" statement seems to be true, I still can't help wondering why the burgers don't taste very much like real beef. I imagine it takes a hell of a lot of processing for meat to lose it's flavor. I also think that if not for the seasonings: salt, pepper, onion powder (if I had to guess) it would be hard to think of these burgers as being a meat product. In any event, it was a decent-tasting sandwich. The cheese is processed White Cheddar and doesn't have as much of that "candle wax" look and texture as their standard American cheese does. 
As for the McDouble - I "Frankensteined" that too. Yes, I ended up with what was essentially a quad-burger for $2.58 ($1.29 x 2) and if you nuke the burger when you get home to melt that "candle wax" American cheese, you'll find it is a decent sandwich for the money spent. Value, Value, Value. Oh, and did I mention the McDouble has cheese fore and aft? Love that. Also, having two burger bun tops is great, kinda like only eating a muffin top and tossing the dryer, less desirable bottom. I ordered mine with NFK as usual and overall I'd say I was a very happy camper. Mystery meat or not, my 2-burger meal consisted of both a double burger and a quad burger for under $5 bucks which sufficed until dinner. And again, try the grilled onion burger... I was very pleasantly surprised. Yes, Fast Food establishments really do have their place in the world. 7/10

Bill's Burger Factoid: 
A single cow yields in the vicinity of 5,000 McDonald's burger patties. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Texas Roadhouse, Bethlehem, PA


Where: Texas Roadhouse, Bethlehem, PA
What: All-American Cheeseburger, a Classic Cheeseburger ordered medium/well.
Build: 1/2 lb. fresh ground chuck with lettuce, tomato, and onion
Comment: I'm very excited to share my first guest review on the blog. Congratulations to Miss Emma of Hunterton County, NJ for being our first guest burger reviewer!! Emma is an avid blog reader and fellow burger enthusiast (and all around good kid) who has submitted a burger she thought was awesome! She's also my Sous Chef during the summer months helping me with all things grilled... An awesome kid who's got more culinary maturity than most people with TV show's on the Food Network... In other words, we can trust her opinion, especially when it comes to burgers. So without further ado, let's look into the mind and taste buds of Miss Emma...

Here is the transcript of the original email comment I received from Emma:

Hey Uncle Gilly! Its Em. So we went to Texas Roadhouse for
dinner tonight- and I ordered a burger. So, I thought,
 Why not do a review on it! I have the info below..

Texas Roadhouse

1/2 lb. fresh ground chuck with lettuce, tomato, and onion
All-American Cheeseburger
Classic burger with American Cheese. Ordered medium/well

-Sesame bun was toasted to a golden crisp
-Meat was seasoned and cooked to perfection
-Very messy, all the lettuce fell out of burger when i bit it.
-Cheese melting in between burger and bun
- Perfect amount of condiments
-outstanding french fries- right amount of salt, crunchy
-10/10: You KNOW I'm not just saying that it is a ten out of ten- this
burger is one of the best I have ever had(the best being the butter
burger)! I would most definitely come back(and I will!). Besides the burger,
the Roadhouse has bread that tastes like Auntie Anne's pretzel, and a
bucket of free peanuts before you start your meal. Perfect, just perfect.

WOW Em! This sure does sound good.... I'll have to try one the next time I'm in town. It's
always exciting to hear when someone hits a good burger joint. Thanks again for the review
and please keep them coming if you try any other good burgers!

                       Miss Em, Servin' em up.....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Park Wayne Diner, Wayne, NJ

Park Wayne Diner on Urbanspoon
Where: Park Wayne Diner, Wayne, NJ
What: BLT & Grilled Pastrami Reuben
BLT: Bacon, Iceberg Lettuce, Tomato, Toasted Rye Bread
Grilled Pastrami Reuben: Pastrami, Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese, Russian Dressing, Toasted Rye Bread
Comment: First up, the BLT....  It's pretty hard to F-up a BLT right? Well, the Park Wayne has no trouble doing just that.... Let's see... you can't screw up lettuce.... or tomato, or mayo... and toasting rye is equally hard to mess up... so that just leaves the bacon.... Aaaah, yes, the bacon.... cook it till it's crisp and you win... millions of families do it almost every weekend morning... bacon and eggs, bacon egg and cheese sandwich, bacon and cheese omelet.... yet an established diner like the Park Wayne who has been in business for years and years for some reason has yet to learn the time honored secret of how to cook bacon that doesn't resemble pork jerky. You can pan-fry bacon, deep fry it, or bake it on a cookie sheet... it always comes out crispy and tasty.. but noooooo, the Park Wayne has a secret way of cooking bacon which in every-way-shape-and-form and for all practical purposes is nothing more than chewy pork jerky. REALLY? EPIC CRAP FAIL - I'm not even rating this one.
Next up, the Grilled Pastrami Reuben.... Another one that's hard to screw up. If you are not doing your own brining, all you need to do is thinly slice a slab of commercial Pastrami - Best's, or Boar's Head, etc... and throw it on the flat grill for a few minutes, then toss it on top of toasted rye bread with some sauerkraut and Russian dressing and smother it with Swiss cheese and you've got a winner... well,,, thank God that's what happened... it was very good.. and very large... I couldn't finish it... (well, of course I could finish it and a second one at that, but I only ate 1/2 of it because I'm already as big as a house). Anyhoooo..... Not much more to say except check the photos... and I'm sorry for so few pics, but my wife was with me and she gets very embarrassed when I take photos of my food so I had limited shutter time.... the Reuben gets an 8/10 - if they ever want a 10/10 from me they'll have to start making the Pastrami the old fashioned way... 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Disney Food - Disneyworld, Orlando Florida

Hill Country on Urbanspoon


The Mara in Jambo House at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Fairfax Fare on Sunset Blvd in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Angus Bacon Cheeseburger

Truffle Macaroni & Cheese Gourmet Hot Dog

 Angus Bacon Cheeseburger: 1/2 lb burger patty, American cheese, bacon, sesame seed roll, french fries

Truffle Mac & Cheese Hot Dog: Standard 8/lb size dog, truffle mac and cheese, bacon crumbles

First you should know that my family is a bunch of Disney freaks and we've stayed at just about every hotel they have to offer so this is not my first rodeo. This is going to be a mixed bag review of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Now remember, you're at Disneyworld, where even the worst things in life don't seem too bad - including food. I need you to know, I understand the fact that when you're at a quick service food stand inside a theme park your bar level for expectation of food quality should automatically be set pretty low simply because, sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don't.

First up, The Bad - While staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge's Kidani Village (btw, don't ever stay there - email me if you'd like the reasons why), on our first night after traveling we went for a quick bite to eat at The Mara, a quick service restaurant in the Jambo House complex (the older and much nicer of the Animal Kingdom accommodations) I ordered the cheeseburger with high hopes but was very disappointed. This could have been a really good burger if they didn't cook the meat to infinity and beyond. The bacon was good, the cheese was creamy and tasty, the bun was very fresh, and then there was the meat - a slab of charcoal, (I even tucked some Fries under the bun in a last ditch effort to make it taste better). I fully understand cooking burgers well done is a way to cut down on one of many liability issues Disney faces, but there are new "slow-food" chains out there that are cooking burgers well while keeping them juicy and fresh tasting - 5 Guys just to name one. If they can do it, how can the culinary magicians at Disney not pull it off??? What a shame, I could tell it had potential too, that Angus flavor was there, it was just way too well done and at 9 bucks, it shouldn't-aughta to be that way so I'm rating it on the low side of boring and at that I'm being generous - 5/10. (check my rating chart at the bottom of the home page).

Next up, The Good - Fairfax Fare at Hollywood Studios - My brother-in-law is responsible for finding this beauty... who'da thought a truffle mac and cheese dog at a Disney food stand? I had to try it, and it was worth it. Creamy mac and cheese with a hint of truffle accented with bacon on a fresh roll... it was great and if not for the "too small" size of the dog, this would've gotten higher marks. 8/10.

Now, I need to vent... next up, The Ugly - Throughout all the parks I was constantly seeing food establishments with extremely long lines... why? why, why, why? I mean, let's face it, everyone at Disney is on vacation, and you don't usually count your change on vacation simply because you're on vacation and you are ready to spend your hard-earned money to have fun. Yet I kept seeing people heading for something to eat and turn and walk the other way because they didn't want to waste so much time on a food line. (Can't blame them). Disney has put so much effort into making the lines for rides quick and painless I can't for the life of me figure out why they don't create more places to get food. So many people with pockets full of money who are not eating simply because they couldn't get near the food counter without wasting a good portion of their park time. As Walt says: "it's a happy place" but wouldn't it be a lot happier if everyone was walking around glowing from a full, satisfied belly instead of worrying when you'll be able to get your family something to eat? I give the food service an overall fail rating - 3/10.


Monday, February 4, 2013

East Coast Burgers, Ridgewood, NJ (Second Sitting)

Hill Country on Urbanspoon

"Two Sandwich Review"

East Coast Burger Company, Ridgewood, NJ

Double CB & Green Chili Burger

Build: Double CB: 
Two 4oz. Creekstone Farms burger patties (chuck-hanger-short rib blend), American cheese, lettuce, raw red onion, pickle. 

Green chili CB: 
4oz CSF burger, house-roasted green chili's (mixed with some habaneros), Monterey Jack cheese, ECB sauce, baby bib lettuce. 

If you've my January 17th review of ECB, you'll understand why I couldn't stay away for very long.

I love what owner, Mr. Mark is doing at ECB and along with some friends egging me on to try the green chili burger, I ended up walking up to the order counter drooling.  The green chili burger is great, the full flavor of the green chili comes through on the first bite and the creaminess of the Jack cheese along with the heat from the habaneros is all perfectly orchestrated. 

However, I just can't get past the awesome flavor of the Double CB. It's definitely my favorite burger, not much more to say... you need to get to ECB and test drive one - or two. I got my usual favorite toppings of raw onion, pickle and lettuce which I feel are just enough to accentuate a burger without masking it's flavor. (Yes, it's taken me years of experimentation to come to that conclusion, so try it).  

The crispy skin on these beauties tucked inside a Martin’s sesame roll are nothing shy of a slice of Heaven, and the double dose of cheese always tells me the proprietor takes great care in his craft. To get a better idea of the ECB experience, just click on the high-res photos below, and tell me you're not jones'n for a good burger. One of these days I have to get around to a non-burger menu item, I'm hearing great things, but I just can't get past the smell of rendered animal fat poppin' and spittin' on the grill. 

Here's my 2-cent tip for ordering at ECB –

I've noticed the temperature of the burgers come out a tad more well than ordered, so if you like your burger temp medium, order it med/rare, but keep in mind this is subject to change depending on who is cooking. 

One more tidbit - Mr. Mark tells me things are changing for the buns.... Do I smell Brioche in the oven??? I'm not tellin'... but look for my third and final review of ECB in a few weeks.....

These babies get a 10\10 on the BC rating scale.