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...

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bailey's Smokehouse, Blauvelt, NY

"Blog Reader Guest Review"
 written by:

STEVE SPENCER, owner, operator, pitmaster of SMOKIN' YANKEE BBQ, NJ

Bailey's Smokehouse
136 E Erie St, Blauvelt, NY 10913
(845) 398-1454

BBQ Sampler Platter for Two
Includes: Pulled pork, brisket, sausage, and ribs.

Smokehouse Stacked BBQ Pat LaFrieda burger 
topped with pulled BBQ short rib, bacon, onion rings, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and apple butter sauce.

Corn soufflé
Mac and cheese with pulled pork stuffed egg rolls
BBQ "Burnt Ends" (brisket end cuts, sweet & tangy BBQ sauce).

As a self-proclaimed foodie and Pitmaster, I am ALWAYS skeptical when going to a BBQ restaurant – let's just say I've tasted more bad BBQ than good in my life. When I visit a BBQ restaurant, the first thing I’m immediately drawn to is their source of fuel and the machinery used to burn that fuel. I was pleasantly surprised to see logs and logs of hardwood ready to be eaten by a Southern Pride smoker. To me, that indicates we’re starting off right!
Now let’s get right to the good stuff.

The BBQ Sampler Platter for Two (pulled pork, brisket, sausage, and ribs):
The platter was HUMONGOUS! Never mind the size of the platter, what won me over was the pulled pork. Moist, very tender, well-pulled, succulent with a balanced smoke throughout the meat. The meat was free from fatty areas that can sometimes ruin it for me. A definite two thumbs up on the pulled pork.
I am a rib man, so I was looking forward to the ribs – I found them to be flavorful, bite-off-the-bone and "smokified." I would definitely order the ribs again. The sausage had nice flavor and you can tell it was a special blend made by a respectable butcher. The one area that was borderline for me was the brisket. To Bailey's credit, it's VERY difficult to keep brisket serve-ready. It did have a bark but I was expecting more. You could taste the smoke in the meat, which was good, and it was tender, but I found it to be on the dry side and not too visually appealing. I've had much better brisket in the promised land of Texas.

As for the sides (corn soufflé, egg rolls stuffed with mac and cheese, and pulled pork): Stop reading this now and go to Bailey's to order these two items. The flavor and texture contrast were off the meter for pulled pork egg rolls. Crunchy, savory with a bit of sweetness. I kept going back for it and had to stop myself when I remembered that there was a ton more food coming my way! The corn soufflé is a decadent explosion of goodness that will make you a Christian, and you should only eat with closely kept company because the first thing you will say is "Oh my God," and then your mouth will be making a bunch of strange sounds, "mmmmm, ohhhhhh, wow, ugh, damn!". At least that’s what my mouth did. The corn soufflé was sweet and moist yet creamy with a pillow-like texture cooked to perfection. Winner, winner.

BBQ "Burnt Ends" (brisket end cuts, sweet & tangy BBQ Sauce):

The burnt ends were decent. They certainly were not lacking flavor or sauce. They had a decent bark on the outside and a good ratio of fat to meat. They were just a little too sticky and saucy for me. However, a near religious experience was had when mixed with the mac and cheese egg rolls.
My overall rating of Bailey's is a definite thumbs-up. The ambience was nothing less of everything that suited my tastes – old wooden bar, large TVs with sports on, beer, the smell of sweet smoke, and BBQ. I definitely see myself as a frequent customer of this establishment in the future.

Thanks for taking the time to write for the blog Steve...happy smokin' 

We arrived at Bailey's at 11:30am to beat the rush and by 12:15 the place was packed...

Egg rolls stuffed with mac n cheese and pulled pork

Burnt ends

Burnt Ends

Pitmaster Steve Spencer

Bill's burger review:
The Smokehouse Stacked BBQ Burger consists of a Pat LaFrieda patty topped with pulled BBQ short rib, bacon, onion rings, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and apple butter sauce.
The burger was presented very nicely, however, it did not taste nearly as good as it looked. I'm not saying it wasn't LaFreida meat, but the coarsness of the grind, flavor and texture when cooked were nothing I've ever tasted before. I ordered a medium-rare temperature but my burger was served at medium-well, which turned to well-done within a few short minutes. I'm afraid it was very disappointing for me ~ BC

If it only tasted as good as it looked ~ BC

Medium Well when served.

Corn souffle' bottom, onion rings middle, ribs top right...

Sausage was very tasteful but a bit dry ~ BC

Corn souffle' was stupid good ~ BC

Brisket & Ribs

Crazy good corn souffle again...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

RE-POST REVIEW: Bobby's Burger Palace from July, 2015

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...

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

The Dallas

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

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.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Nanuet Hotel & Restaurant

The Nanuet Hotel & Restaurant
132 Main St, Nanuet, NY 10954-2803

Bar Pizza

Homemade crust topped with half cheese, half pepperoni and cheese.

Established in 1944, The Nanuet Hotel offers an excellent, albeit non-conventional pizza with regards to a typical NY-NJ bar pie. The pie also closely resembles its rival, The Nanuet Restaurant, which is just up the block and across the street. These two Rockland County establishments are as renowned as they are old.
Side note: From what I can gather from Internet research, The Nanuet Restaurant, located a little further up Main Street, was founded by Bob Lampone and Frankie De Lucia who originally worked at the hotel and later opened the restaurant in February of 1952. They’ve been there ever since.

That explains it – two pizzas, each a very distinct style, yet very similar. The taste difference I'll leave up to you.

The visual comparison...

The Nanuet Hotel & Pizza

The Nanuet Restaurant & Pizza

On to the pie... 

Seeing and tasting this style of pizza reminded me to always stay humble and open-minded when trying new foods, especially pizza. We are often quick to judge a pizza based on our own personal favorites which are usually located within a 2 mile radius of where we grew up. If you can put aside the taste buds you grew up on and taste this pie with complete impartiality, you'll be able to appreciate these pies for what they are – delicious. 

If you approach this pie with a predetermined expectation of what it "should" taste like you will most likely turn your nose up to this pizza for the simple fact that is doesn't conform.

Much like that of their adversary, the crust of the Nanuet Hotel pizza is more like pastry dough than pizza dough, yet it's impossible to be disappointed. The amount of cheese was perfect, the tomatoes were great and that crust… I just keep thinking of that crust... it had a flaky, buttery taste to it, which I thought was a nice diversion from standard New Jersey, Italian bread style crust. 

I loved the cozy retro ambiance of the seating in the bar area as much as I did the pizza…the whole experience worked for me and I can't wait to get back. Next time it'll be a plain pie because in my opinion, less is definitely more with this bar pie.

Bill's Rant:
One major con for the NH – the pizza took waaaaaaaaaaay too long to be served, especially for a lunch hour. Our pie took every bit of 40 minutes. Not good for business folks, I guess that's why there were only retirees eating lunch (except for us, we’re not there yet!). Shame, because it would be a killer lunch spot if they could knock out pies in 10 minutes.

With the exception of the serve time, kudos to the Nanuet Hotel people, who did an excellent job.


"Last night I fell asleep at the wheel
and smashed all my pottery"