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...

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Some Food for Thought

Some Food for Thought

Before you read this, I'm letting you know this is me rambling off a bunch of bullsh*t, - I'm just trying to pass the time until I fall back to sleep.

Grilled cheese burger from the Park Wayne Diner in Wayne, NJ.
 (not on the menu, I requested it).

~Chew on this~
I realize taste is an extremely diverse topic that carries with it as much individuality as fingerprints or snowflakes – it’s fair to say every person has their preference of some food and tastes over others.

With that said, the number of variables that go into just one bite of food are staggering, making the odds that you'll love everything about what you are tasting astronomical.

~Eating 101~
Enjoying food is a visual experience every bit as much as a flavorful one. For instance, do you prefer yellow to green zucchini because of a slight flavor or texture difference, or is it more of a subconscious choice? By that, I mean it's possible that you choose yellow over green zucchini simply because of the color. Who knows for sure, or gives a damn for that matter?

We can probably all agree that a colorful, visually appealing dish is always more appetizing than a bowl of mush, even though the mush may also taste great. Who hasn't said, "This tastes much better than it looks"?

Now let's talk about aroma. The smell of food frying or baking, searing or grilling. Which aroma gets your stomach rumbling? An apple pie baking in the oven, garlic frying in olive oil, the bouquet of crisp bacon, or perhaps the comforting smell of a turkey roasting?

The next thing we experience while eating is not taste, but texture. Yup, texture – you can tell immediately if you're going to like what you're about to shove into your pie hole just by that first bite. It can be mushy, crispy, soft, hard, mealy, gritty, chewy, slimy, crunchy, tender, creamy, oily, rubbery, stringy, tender, juicy or watery, but if the feel of it doesn't agree with you, good taste or otherwise, you're not going to eat it.

Now, for the sake of argument, let's say you've made it past the first three hurdles and it's off to the finish line – taste.

Let's assume that so far:
-the food is visually appealing.
-the aroma is mouthwatering.
-the texture of the first bite was agreeable.

You now have green lights on all of the preliminary criteria, so you're off to the actual tasting where sight, smell, and texture are combining with actual flavor.

And here they are, the 5 basic tastes...
Bitter, Sour, Sweet, Salty and Savory (Umami) or of course, any combination thereof.

You are now at the precipice of culinary delight, enjoying tens of thousands of sensual food combinations which are all coming together for your dining pleasure.

I'm going to bed.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Steve's Burgers, Garfield, NJ

Steve's Burgers
506 US-46 - Garfield, NJ
(973) 772-1770

Steve's Fatty Melt

6-1/2 to 7 ounce burger, 100% chuck, 80/20 sandwiched between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches topped with bacon, lettuce, red onion & pickle.

Steve has done it again. He got me. Just when I thought it was safe to eat a normal meal consisting of a cheeseburger, fries and a soda, he lured me back to the dark side... to the side where "normal" has no meaning. To the place where he's flat-grilling burgers and tucking them in-between two full sized grilled cheese sandwiches. I was defenseless. I raised the white flag and surrendered the moment I set foot in the place. 

On this day, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, Steve was making Fatty Melts, and I was about to order one.

It's as impressive as it is satisfying to see heads turn in a restaurant as a server walks past with a dish of something that looks so delicious you can hear people grumbling, "why didn't I order that?" and "I should've read the specials menu". That's what made me think, "better luck next time folks" as our server placed a monstrous fatty melt on our table.

Aside from being more medium-well than medium-rare the beef was able to hold onto some fat and flavor for another great dining experience at Steve's.

For the remainder of this review my photos will speak louder than my words ~ enjoy.

BC Rating Scale:
Epic-Crap-Fail 1.0 - 2.9
Won't be back 3.0 - 5.9
Would try again if convenient. 6.0 - 7.9
I'll definitely be back 8.0 - 8.9
Keep 'em coming 9.0 - 10

Criteria for ratings:
(Each criteria rated 1 to 10)

Steve's Fatty Melt:
Meat flavor 10
Juiciness 7
Size 10
Freshness 10
Burger to bun ratio 8
Bun Type 10
Overall taste with selected condiments 9
Edibility 8
Temperature 6

This burger receives a 8.7 out of 10 on the BC rating scale.

(Bonus Photos)
Steve's Cheese steak
"It too was Awesome"

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.

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

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.

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


360 Route 46, Totowa, NJ

Cheeseburger Omelette

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.

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. be continued