Charlie's Hamburgers, Folsom, PA


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...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wendy's, Nanuet, NY

Where: Wendy's, Nanuet, NY
What: Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche
Build: 1/4 pound burger, crisp bacon, two slices of American cheese and Portabella mushrooms in a cheddar sauce on brioche bun.
Comment: I love a Wendy's burger on occasion, and this burger is good, maybe even very good – but after I finished it, I walked away thinking how difficult it was remembering how it tasted. I then ordered and ate a "Dave's Hot and Juicy" single and thought, WOW, that was a really good burger. But in fairness, the mushrooms on the Bacon Portabella Melt were surprisingly good and fresh tasting…incredible for a fast-food burger! 

I couldn’t help but notice that Wendy's spelling of "Portabella" is different than what I’m used to; the double "o" version, "Portobello.”  After doing a little digging, I found out that a Portabella Mushroom is a large dark brown mushroom, which is simply a fully mature Cremini Mushroom (actually only a few days older than Creminis). The name “Portabella” was popularized in the 1980s to sell what was then considered an unglamorous mushroom. Also, since the Portabella is harvested later, it can easily reach 5 inches in diameter, and has a much more concentrated flavor.

So, getting back to the drawing board…which spelling is correct, Portobello, or Portabella?  Answer: Both. However, the Mushroom Council has adopted the double "a" version to establish some consistency. Sorry for the rambling, but I was curious. In any event, the mushrooms surprised me. 

One more thing; Wendy's debuted their awesome pretzel roll this summer but never told anyone it was an LTO (limited time only) item and this fall they replaced it with the "buttery brioche" bun. I'm not going to go into a tirade on this (although, like millions of other Wendy's customers, I easily could) but honestly, this was so not good on so many levels. In any event, the counter girl told me the pretzel bun will be back this summer (high five) and at the end of the day, this was just another variation of Wendy's burger. 8.8/10

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Time Out Cafe, Wayne, NJ

Where: Time Out Café, Wayne, NJ
What: The New Jersey
Build: Shaved Boar's Head Provolone cheese, ham, salami, capicola, prosciutto, lettuce, tomato, onion, oil & vinegar, mayo, oregano, fresh Italian bread.
Comment: It's been a while since I've strayed from burger reviews, but seeing as the title of my blog states "Mostly" burger reviews, on occasion, I do have an obligation to publish other foods when I feel they are above and beyond the norm. And that's exactly what this sandwich is. My son gets the credit for finding this gem. Who'da thought a world-class deli sandwich is being made at a gas station in New Jersey?

Historically, sandwich names have varied based on their geographic origins. To name a few: “Hero,” New York; “Grinder,” New England; “Hoagie,” Philadelphia; “Torpedo,” NE Tri-state area; “Poor Boy,” St. Louis; “Po' Boy,” Louisiana; “Blimpie,” Hoboken, NJ; “Zeppelin,” Eastern Pennsylvania; “Italian Sandwich,” Maine (how creative); and of course, the “Submarine Sandwich,” New Jersey/New England (for me, this compilation of meat and cheese will always be called a "Sub"). You can Google any of these names and read the full history of exactly how these sandwiches obtained such diverse epitaphs.

‘Nuff said, now onto the meat. I ordered the "New Jersey" which was billed as the "huge" sub stuffed with everything from menu item #2 through #5. (How could I not order this?). I then watched as the Boar's Head cold cuts were hand-cut to my order and layered with the precision of a diamond cutter. The finished product was wrapped, hefted over the counter, and placed in my hand. That's when I realized my little 8-inch sub was nearly a full pound! I salivated for the full 5 minutes it took me to get home, placed it on the counter and reached for my camera. The rest is history, as you'll see in the photos.

I'd like to acknowledge the fact that it's downright heartwarming to know someone finally realized it doesn't take much to outdo every other quick, mini, or on-the-go mart associated with gas stations; you really can serve good, fresh food for customers on the go. My advice to 7-eleven and the like: "watch your back”; Time Out Café is making it happen. In fact, I put this sandwich above the White House Sub Shops in Atlantic City. Yes, yes I do.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Scotchie's, N. Coast Hwy., Drax Hall, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Where: Scotchie's, N. Coast Hwy., Drax Hall, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
What: The entire menu - Chicken, Chicken Sausage, Pork, Roast Fish (fillet), side of Roast Yam, Festival and Rice and Peas.
Comment: We stole away from our all-inclusive resort one day to try out Scotchie's which we'd heard was a popular restaurant with the locals. It's also listed with Fodor's Travel and has been featured on an episode of the Travel Channel's hit series, "Bizarre Foods" hosted by Andrew Zimmern. It's known for it's authentic jerk chicken along with other jerk spiced meat and fish. Great experience, friendly people and some really great food. The chicken was as tender as it could be and the Red Stripe was ice cold. Check the photo captions for details...
Since there was no burger, there's no rating, but still some great authentic Jamaican food.

Jamaican currency prices, divide by 102 and you'll have the prices in USD.

Chicken bathed in jerk sauce and laid over red hot sweetwood logs.

This photos not blurry, it's the smoke, at times you couldn't see far at all.

Kegs full of water (I'd guess to prevent them from being "acquired") they had very comfortable cushions and the shade was key.

That's our cab driver in the white shirt, he not only waited for us to finish eating, he set our table and helped us with ordering.

The local island bar you always wanted to find.... and with $2 bottles of Red Stripe, (Jamaican brewed beer)  it was hard not to stay here all day.

Scotchie's famous Sweetwood smoked Jerk chicken

This is Festival, it's basically a cornbread fritter that has almost a doughnut texture with a bit of sweetness - The perfect side to eat with the meats.

Jerk smoked Pork

Roast fish fillet with okra, peppers, onions etc... this dish was awesome...

Dune Dog, Jupiter, Florida

Where: Dune Dog, Jupiter, Florida
What: Half Pounder with Cheese & The Great White Reuben
Half Pounder Build:  1/2 pound Angus burger, lettuce, raw onion, pickle, soft bun.
Half Pounder Comment: Sadly, I did not photo the "Yankee Nachos" which are quite possibly the best nachos you could ever ask for... (A heaping basket of waffle fries smothered in chili, cheese, tomatoes, onions, scallions, and jalapeno peppers.)
Yes, The Dune Dog has fantastic foot long hot dogs, but this blog is for us burger freaks so I tested the waters with their half pound cheeseburger. I was very pleasantly surprised - it was excellent, and cooked exactly to my medium-rare request. (Although the burger continued to cook to a "medium" doneness while I was taking photos). The burger was juicy with a great charcoal flavor that was not overdone. The burger seemed a tad smaller than 8oz, but I'm not going to split hairs here, try one and let me know what you think. The DD Half Pounder gets an 8.5/10 on the BC rating scale.

The Great White Reuben Build: Grilled Dolphin on rye with Swiss, kraut, and 1000 island dressing.
The Great White Reuben Comment: You almost have to give this sandwich a 10/10 just for the innovative thinking that created it. Who the hell would marry a fish fillet and sauerkraut? But it works! And it works well. The sandwich almost had a creamy quality about it. The blend of toppings was balanced and tasty. I'm ordering both of these sandwiches for myself the next time I visit... it'll be sort of a pseudo surf & turf.... nice. 
This beauty gets a 9.3/10 on the BC rating scale.

I will def be back to the Dune Dog the next time I'm in Fla.