Wednesday, December 5, 2012
The burgers at Top Notch are unquestionably some of the most consistently great burgers in America. It always amazes and delights me to know that burgers like this exist out there, burgers that will always be there for you. Not the same can be said of the original owner Diran J. Soulian who Grub Street Chicago reported unfortunately passed away last month after running Top Notch for over 60 years. It seems like the place is in good hands however, and if it's any indication, the King Size I ate tasted the same as the first one I consumed way back in 2005.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Burger Land is a regional show. One episode explores what I like to call the Wisconsin Burger Belt, or the latitudinal route between Milwaukee and Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. In the show I get to revisit my hamburger heroes at Wedl's, Pete's, and of course Solly's in Glendale. The episode ends with a visit to a place in the region that I have not been to before, in this case it's Village Bar in Madison. A second episode visits New Jersey with stops at White Manna, Rossi's and one of my personal favorites White Rose System in Linden. The show ends with a visit to a new joint in Newark called Hamburgao that serves a crazy Brazilian take on the burger.
Please tune in on Sept 2nd and see what we've been working on. I'm very proud of this show and hope you like it too. It has truly been a labor of love for all involved and I think is shows.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The following day I took a bunch of locals to a place that (amazingly) none had been to before - the one-and-only Irv's Burgers in West Hollywood. Sonia greeted us with open arms and would not let us pay. When I tried to sneak a 20 into the tip box Mama came running out of the kitchen and pinched me HARD in the side to scare me off. I love this burger, the place, and of course Sonia's family. What was even more rewarding this time however was watching the look that came over the newbie's faces upon first bite. I had clearly created a few new disciples.
On day three I headed over to Cassell's in Koreatown and just made it before they closed (at 4pm). Not a soul in the place and a stellar burger as usual. The grinder in the window once again reminds all that this is freshly ground for sure. And a bonus to getting this burger is the free dollop of Cassell's signature horseradish potato salad, easily one of the greatest things I've ever eaten. Unfortunately for most Los Angelinos a detour to Koreatown (though not really far from anything) is like a New Yorker hitting up a burger joint in, say, Battery Park City. Most just won't do it.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
I met Chris for the first time in May 2010 while I was compiling burger data for the revised edition of my book. When I pulled up in front of the restaurant he was already outside, hand extended, welcoming me to his 35-year old burger institution, Chris Madrid's. The man talked a mile-a-minute and in no time I had a Shiner Bock in my hand and an order in the kitchen. He was a true host, always smiling and clearly loved everything about the world he had created from the people who worked for him down to the burger he made famous.
"The Macho Tostada Burger is a sight to behold. As you contemplate how to eat this enormous pile of heavenly goo, take a moment to appreciate what is in front of you. The bun, toasted on the grill, can barely contain the brown-and-yellow hues of its contents. The burger patty itself, a thin-pressed wonder made from fresh 75/25 beef, is hidden beneath layer of refried beans and cascading cheddar.
The burger is impossible to pick up. I found that cutting it in half made things slightly easier. My first bite of this legend sent me soaring. As I easily made my way through the macho I wondered why this burger was not replicated in every corner of America. The beans and chips worked so well with the beef and the cheddar tied it all together. Chris said it best when he told me; “It’s like a hamburger and an enchilada plate in one.” What an amazing invention. -Hamburger America 2011
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
It's been a while but I've just uploaded the next episode. Chicagoland Burger Triptych, episode #5, was shot way back in November 2011 and includes 3 of my faves - Edzo's in Evanston, the new Mburger in the Water Tower, and the classic Top Notch Beefburgers way down on 95th St. in Beverly. The entire journey took almost 4 hours to complete but Serious Eats Chicago's Nick Kindelsperger came along for the trip to keep me company. It was a long yet rewarding lunch.