Monday, June 30, 2008

Up to New Haven and Meriden

I had to go up to New Haven this past Saturday for work so a trip to Louis' Lunch was inevitable. We made it there during the peak of lunch and, as expected, the wait was long. I heard the person in front of me order onions only to be told, "Not now, no time for that." Such is life at this 100+ year-old burger counter, rules are rules. After a 35 minute wait we were handed our paper plates with perfectly cooked, juicy and bleeding hamburger sandwiches (on Pepperidge Farms toast of course) with the obligatory schmear of Cheese Whiz...yum.

After eating, expert burger taster Kris and myself decided we were too close to Ted's in Meriden to not visit. Within 15 minutes we were sitting at the counter eating excellent steamed cheeseburgs. Someone came in after we ate and ordered one with sauteed onions. Huh? That's right, Ted's now offers sauteed onions on their steamed cheeseburgs. I was already two burgers down (for the afternoon) so I'll have to indulge next time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Apple Pan and In-N-Out Revisited

When I visited the Apple Pan the other day I completely forgot to give a copy of the new book to one of my hamburger heroes Charles Collins. Charles has been working at the Apple Pan for over 50 years now, and as I put it in the book, he has devoted a lifetime to your burger pleasure. The least I could do was get a book to him. So today, I made a second trip in 3 days and of course had another Hickory Burger. I was with a friend and he opted for the Steakburger (both pictured). I think Charles was happy to see the book.

After scarfing the burger, we headed over to In-N-Out again, this time to try out the Fries, Animal Style I spotted the other day. We hit a West LA location and after a short wait saw the fabled fry concoction for the first time. It was a tasty pile of goodness, melted cheese, sauteed onions, and special sauce piled high on their fresh-cut fries. It was actually a meal in itself and after the Hickory Burger and another In-N-Out cheeseburger I had a hard time finishing the fries.

Tomorrow I travel home, but on Saturday I'll be in New Haven, CT, at the famous 'birthplace' of the hamburger, Louis' Lunch.

A Fun Book Signing at Irv's!

This afternoon I had a scheduled book signing at Irv's Burgers in West Hollywood. Not a lot of people showed up (4pm on a tuesday is kinda rough for most) but those who did come down were great. I did what I love to do most, which is to sit around and wax nostalgic about America. I completely lost track of time and spent almost 2 hours chatting with my new friends Paul, Ted, and screenwriter/author Carl Gottlieb. I also got to eat one of my favorite burgers in LA - an Irv's double with cheese, pickles, mustard and mayo. While I was eating at my usual spot at one of the three beat-up stools only 5 feet from the traffic of Santa Monica Blvd., I noticed some grilled onions on the griddle. I had no idea that Sonia offered grilled onions. New friend Ted told me that I must get one of Sonia's breakfast burritos next time I'm near Irv's in the AM. I asked Sonia to pose for a photo out front and she quickly complied (above). I had no idea how tiny this burger icon was! (Or maybe I'm huge). The photo was snapped by DJ, the bookseller that came from Book Soup to sell books.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First Stop, In-N-Out

We landed at LAX and went right to the now-famous In-N-Out at the end of the runway. The family had not been in LA for more than an hour and we were already enjoying fresh cheeseburgers and hand-cut fries from one of my all-time favorite California burger stops. The vegetarian wife though had never been to an In-N-Out so I thought she'd enjoy an item from the secret menu, the 'Grilled Cheese with grilled onions', which is basically a cheeseburger, lettuce, onion, and tomato, without the meat. She was not impressed. I guess that's what I get for taking a vegetarian to a fast food burger joint.

As I was waiting for our food something caught my eye. "Were those chili-cheese fries that just went by?" I asked as two orders of fries heaped with something good passed. "Nope. Those are 
fries Animal Style," a cheery employee told me. We all know by now the extensive secret menu and the long list of goodness you can order and sound like a pro, but somehow the Fries, Animal Style slipped right by me. Imagine fries, those yummy, fresh fries, covered in melted cheese, grilled onions, and a large squirt of their signature thousand island dressing. Too bad I had just downed two Double-Doubles or I would have indulged. There's always tomorrow...

This morning the Apple Pan was the plan for an early lunch. I knew that if you get there at 11:45 seats are always available. Get there at Noon and you're screwed. I chatted with Charlie, owner Sunny, Lupe, and a few other countermen. I ordered my usual Hickory Burger (pictured) and fries, but skipped the milk today for root beer. The wife and kids ordered their famous and tasty tuna sandwiches and by the time we finished (10 mins) the place was mobbed.

Tomorrow I'll be signing books at Irv's Burgers in West Hollywood. Thursday, a visit to Marty's.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Signing Books at Irv's, West Hollywood

I'm heading to LA this week to talk to producers about a potential Hamburger America reality TV show. Of course, I'll be pushing the new book on this trip and making a stop at Irv's to sign books. If you find yourself in West Hollywood this Wednesday, June 25th around 4pm head over to Irv's Burgers for a double with cheese and a signed book. Click here for a map. I'll also be at the Apple Pan on Tuesday the 24th at noon, but just to eat a Hickory Burger and banana cream pie.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I visited Zaitzeff again the other day with friend and blogger Adam Kuban. We braved the 95 degree heat and the thick lunch crowds of Wall Street and were rewarded with excellent, fresh-ground beef burgers. Adam was there on assignment, I was there for lunch. I remembered that the last time I visited, even though I loved the burger, I needed more. This time around I ordered the 1/2 pound burger over the 1/4 pounder and was very satisfied. The burgers are cooked medium-rare without asking and are juicy as hell. I often forgo tomato and lettuce but always say yes to grilled onions. We discovered on this visit that Zaitzeff gets their ground beef from the high-end meat purveyor D'Artagnan.  That's why these burgers taste so damn good.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Visit with Gayle King on Oprah XM Radio

Just got home from my visit to Gayle King's talk show on XM Radio's Oprah channel. What an amazing interview! The studio is set up like a small living room with mics attached to comfy talk-show chairs. The room is thankfully missing the traditional large desk console and is virtually free of buttons, sliders, and flashing lights. It was like a talk between friends instead of a stiff radio show.

The first thing out of Gayle's mouth was something to the effect of, "Everyone knows that Oprah is my best friend, but I have a new best friend...George Motz!" Even though she pronounced my name wrong I was honored by the new title. She was a great interviewer and was amazed that I was not obese, asked about my cholesterol, and openly told me to shave the sideburns. I kinda felt like I was on a radio version of 'The View'. She clearly loves hamburgers and truly appreciated my input on the subject. The producers of the show had burgers brought in from PJ Clarke's and Corner Bistro for tasting and by the time I walked into the studio she was already halfway thru one. The PJ's burger was amazing, even though it was over 30 mins old, but the burger from Corner Bistro was so overcooked I could have broken a window with it. The burgers we are holding up in the picture are half-eaten PJ burgers. After the show I thanked Gayle for creating a larger awareness about burgers in America.

I'd like to do a mini burger tour with her. I think it'd make a great segment on Oprah.

Monday, June 2, 2008

NASCAR and Burgers

Made it to Dover, Delaware over the weekend to watch the greatest sport around - NASCAR. Food at the track was pitiful (the enormo turkey leg is popular at racing events but we stuck with the corndogs). We saved ourselves for a stop at the ubiquitous Five Guys hamburgers on the way back to Brooklyn. I was convinced there would be one near the track since this burger chain was from the DC area. Sure enough, we found one, empty, in Bear, DE., just off I-95. Once again, I enjoyed a juicy bacon double with those tasty fresh-cut fries. It was a well-earned treat after sitting in the sun with all of those drunken, sunburnt Dale Jr. fans (you can't see them in the picture because they were all thrown out for fighting by about the 100th lap of the race). By the way, check out the guy in the picture, just below my chin, caught in the act of cracking open a freshie, a Silver Bullet of course.