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Posts Tagged ‘California Cheeseburger’

California Wide – Fosters Freeze Review


Foster’s Freeze, started in Inglewood, California  by George Foster in 1946, and claims to be California’s oldest fast food chain.   They now have nearly 100 locations, as well as a marketing agreement with El Pollo Loco, which sells their ice cream (soft serve) products.

The full name is Foster’s Old Fashion Freeze, and the full-line cafes come in a variety of shapes and sizes with full menus that include burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, and rings.

I was rolling through Lucerne, California, (“America’s Switzerland” – but don’t tell the folks of New Glarus, Wisconsin, or my pal Alicia Spradlin that!), the other day,  Northern California’s beautiful lake country, and spotted a roadside Fosters at high noon.  I am en route to Porkland, OR, but it was still a long hike.

Being as it was also time to download the morning’s coffee, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to revisit this California icon.

I say icon, because in one tale, the a Foster Freeze  was where the “t-bird” girl was parked, who was  later memorialized in the Beach Boy’s song “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

The standard burger at Fosters is called “The Original”, about a 1/4  pound and comes dressed with lettuce, tomato, and gobs for Fosters secret sauce, on both the top and bottom of the bun.   The special sauce, as at most places, is a variation of thousand island.   This particular Fosters was very generous with the sauce.

As you can see from the pic of the entire sandwich, the bun was beginning to show its age, but overall, this is a good burger, and I like the fact that with the combo, they give you a choice of fries, waffle, or rings at the same price.

Ambience is one thing that makes for a pleasant burger experience, of course, and sitting in the sun, next to California’s largest natural lake (entirely within California), made for a pleasant Foster’s burger stop!

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Foster's Freeze on Urbanspoon


Fosters Freeze Review


Los Angeles, CA – Boulevard Burgers


Sometimes, the very best burgers you can find are what I call “proximity burgers.” It’s like the woman who says “I’m not looking for Mr. Right, I’m looking for Mr. Right Now!” Such is the case with proximity burgers, the path of least resistance, the closest burger you can find (that’s not fast food), or in the case of today, a burger that one can stagger to and from near one’s hotel room.

Boulevard Burger has been around as long as I can remember driving around this neighborhood, which means at least 20 years.

The grill woman today was a trainee, a former resident of Portland and other environs, who kept peppering her co-worker for instructions.

I went with the standard bacon cheeseburger, with pickles, onion, mustard, and a side of chili cheese fries, w/o the cheese (a girl has to watch her figure!)

The burger was a standard food service frozen patty, and I’d venture a guess that most of the food in the joint was similarly supplied.

I’ve had the same cinnamon tinged beanless chili in a hundred locations, you can make whatever jokes about the appearance that you want, you can be sure I did.

The burger was fine, charred on a grill. Boulevard takes a hint from IN N OUT, and piles on fresh cut condiments. This was definitely a “mustard-pickle-ONION” burger, and I couldn’t finish it, nor the fries.

Glad I stopped by. Nice people, do a brisk business, and a menu that includes a few other sandwiches and breakfast items.

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Boulevard Burgers on Urbanspoon


Los Angeles, CA – Umami Burger (Snicker!)


Everyone in the world, at least the burger blogosphere world, has been talking about this burger for over a year. It wasn’t referred to in muted tones like the 2nd coming, but quickly became the 3rd, 4th, and 5th coming as Umami spread its wings across L.A. One usually knows what’s coming when a restaurant expands this fast.

I wanted to come away from popping my Umami cherry with OOOOOOOOOOh. Ahhhhhhh. Or at least with “Umami?” YOUR MAMA! Something clever.

Los Angeles Burger Reporter Larry the Lawyer and I went to explore a couple places today, when I told him of this upcoming tour, I suggested he pick one that is ‘massively popular’, and one or two that he liked personally.

Umami was the massively popular pick, with the runner up being The Foundry. The Foundry wasn’t open for lunch today, so we waddled into Umami and sampled their wares.

We were at the original location, which is smallish, but large enough for $10 valet parking. We ordered the signature burger, @ $10, and a side of hand cut fries (triple cooked the menu says), and a side of rings (“Malt Liquor Tempura Onion Rings”) $3. (3.50 for the fries). Larry had a Mexican coke, and me in my nightshirt, and he in his cap, I had plain old h20 tap.

So what IS umami? The fifth “taste” in our lives, following the four horsemen of the taste apocalypse: sweet, sour, salty, bitter. Some call umami “savory” and believe it belongs with the other four. For a further explanation of this (IF you must have one, refer to Umami Burger’s treatise here. For a kinder, gentler explanation, see Wikipedia’s entry).

So the story goes, some guys, somewhere, one day, were sitting around and came up with the whole umami thing and decided to exploit it via the perfect umami vehicle, hamburgers. In checking our vast world-wide network of sources, one of our investigators turned up a transcript of that first session, we reprint it here, without permission of the participants:

(Fade in, two men sitting in a booth at a nondescript diner)

George: You have to taste this burger, Jerry, it’s most excellent. Really SAVORY.
Jerry: Why the heck isn’t savory one of the four “tastes’ anyhow? It really gets a bump rap.
George: No foolin’. Even Steinbrenner would agree with that.
Jerry: I think it needs a name, a definition, something unique.
George: Youmama it does!
Jerry: No, that’s not quite right (furrowed brow, thinking). We’ll think of something, and we should open our own diner featuring this new flavor.
George: That would be difficult, since this flavor isn’t really defined. You know, it’s really NOTHING.
Jerry: Yep, we should have a diner that features NOTHING as a flavor. We’ll make millions!

And the rest is history, as they say.

We were served our umami burger, cut it in half to share, it was topped with some condiments, indistinguishable, and a smidgen of mushroom and slice of tomato, both of which appeared to have come thru a half hour in the microwave. The menu says all beef burgers are cooked “medium rare”, but that’s subjective, isn’t it? Everyone has their own definition of cooking stages, as we were to learn later in the day.

Anyway, a bite….two. And a collective WTF? Really folks, this is the emperor’s new clothes of burgers. It’s about NOTHING. Truly. Get over it.

The onion rings could have been from anywhere, and while the beer flavor comes through, umami also gives new definition to the concept of “tempura,” leaning towards way too thick of a batter.  Don’t even get me started on the fries.  Boys, if you wanna try this kind of thing, go check out “potato souffles” in New Orleans.

Damage? $22 for food and drink, $10 for parking.

Save your money folks, move on…these aren’t the droids you are looking for.  Apologies if there are typos…. I was still laughing as I wrote this.

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Umami Burger on Urbanspoon

Umami Burger on Urbanspoon


Napa, CA – Andie’s Burgers


It’s always a pleasure to hook up with world famous radio personality “Martin in the Morning” (ret.).  Martin in the Morning has shunned the spotlight for years (unless Faux News calls and says “give us a quote?  we pay!).  Martin in the Morning achieved a certain claim to fame when an Iowa bar named a sandwich after him, he’s been trying to recapture his “15 minutes ever since.” Soon he will be posting regularly here, and hoping that will give him a little ego boost. I contacted him ahead of time and said I would be zipping through the rolling hills of his burg and he should pick an outstanding burger for us to sample.

We agreed to meet at the “Squeeze In” (or Squeeze Inn, or Squeez’in), a local place of some repute. They apparently work magic with a bounty of cheese atop burgers. Alas, they were not open on Sunday, so it was off to choice number two, “Andie’s,” located at a local car wash.

I’m all for car wash food and cuisine of that ilk. In high school I would take girls on first dates to the Greyhound bus station to sample chicken soup from a vending machine (it was a test). Cool guy, huh?

We pulled up to Andie’s, a small building with outdoor tables, and perused the posted menu. I went with their variation of a blue cheeseburger, and Martin went with the Dali Lamma special “make me one with everything.” Ba da bump. Ok, it wasn’t called that, old joke, a stinker like my blue cheese. We topped off our order with a side of FRINGS! (a basket half-full of onion rings, or half empty of fries.)

Martin’s choice was called the Andie’s Burger (clever!) and came with mushrooms, grilled onions, garlic sauce, avocado, and jack cheese; all Andie’s burgers (except mine) come with mayo, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, red onions, and pickles unless otherwise specified, and are served on a toasted potato bun. My burger was called the Blue Cheese Burger

This was so long ago (over 48 hours, I have to take a sec to look at my imaginary ketchup-stained notes to remember the experience).

Oh, yeah. The burgers were damned tasty, and the fries extra fine. The salty, crispy, shoestring type. Martin objected to an overabundance of avocado on his burger. I didn’t object to an overabundance of blue cheese on mine.

Oops, just remembered, there are more photos on my camera, have to go out to the car for it. Hold on.

Great burger, great friends, great fun. A return trip to be scheduled!

Menu is online.

Pictured: Exterior, Andie’s Burger, Blue Cheese Burger, Frings.

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Andie's Cafe on Urbanspoon

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