Food Recalls
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Posts Tagged ‘Hamburgers’

Nationwide – Smashburger


Rolled into Smashburger, my first visit.   The Smash started in 2007 in Denver, by fast food vet  Tom Ryan, who did stints at Pizza Hut, Quiznos, and McDonalds.   His wiki bio gives him credit for introducing the thin crust pizza at the ‘Hut, and for McGriddles and McFlurry at the golden arches.

Named for the cooking process, whereby a ball of ground beef is placed on the griddle and smashed to ‘seal in the juices’,  the Smash  had over 100 locations in 2011, aided by a heavy infusion of venture capital.

The menu offers burgers, chicken, hot dogs, and salads, with a wide variety of toppings to compliment your burger, some gratis, others at a small charge.

There are different types of fries and sides available as well.

I went with the medium (1/3 pound) burger, on a pretzel roll, with mustard, pickle, blue cheese, and onion straws.  Took a side of rosemary/garlic fries on the side.

The burger truly is excellent for fast food, and the toppings are premium quality.  The fries are crispy shoestrings, and the additional flavoring was fairly subtle.

Locator for your nearest  Smashburger.

Here’s the  their menu .

Smashburger on Pretzel

Smash w/ Blue Cheese


Joliet, IL – Steak ‘n Shake Steak Dog


First the  “Steakburger”, now the “Steak Dog”.  I’m a fan of Steak N Shake, have been for years, even though they never seem to be located in my part of the country, I stop when I am able.   My previous forays have been written about here.

This trip a mere dunk in / out as I was making my way across  “Main Street USA” (I-80) in Northern Illinois, Joliet to be exact, in search of Jake and Elwood.

The Steak Franks are 100% beef, chunks of sirloin, and are offered in varying styles, including “Chicago” (mustard, diced onions, sweet pickle relish, tomato slices, pickle slice, and sport peppers); “Chili Cheese” (Genuine Chili, shredded Cheddar ’n jack cheese, and diced onions); “Carolina Slaw” (mustard, diced onions, and creamy coleslaw); “Cheesey Cheddar” (grilled onions and smothered with loads of melted Wisconsin Cheddar).

I had a dog and a burger.  The dog’s beef flavor is great, one of the best for a skinless.  The only downside here was both buns were a bit “dry”.  They shouldn’t fall apart.

Steak ‘n Shake makes frequent references on their menu to “Genuine” chili, and I have no idea what that means, do you?  BTW, I saw billboards on my trip for S n S offering $3.99 all the pancakes you can eat.  Yummers.

Menu online, as is a locator.

Steak N Shake Steak Dog

Steak 'n Shake on Urbanspoon


7-Eleven “Fresh to Go” Cheeseburger Review


7-Eleven Fresh to Go CheeseburgerI’ve reviewed a lot of heat and eat burgers this year, and although I’ve had them from 7-Eleven before,  my past bites were generally a “brand name”, like the Big A, from the Chef Pierre company in Cleveland, a big supplier to mini-marts, schools, food service, the military.

This is the first one I’ve had with the 7-Eleven brand on it; the company has been offering more of their own branded product over the past couple years, and why not?  Cheaper to make, higher profit margin.   It’s official moniker?  “Seasoned chopped beef steak with cheese on a bun.”

I have griped in the past that 7-Eleven needed to update their packaging for those of us who chose to “Fresh to Go” at home.  The heating instructions formally included the standard “press button 3 for…”, to correspond with in-store microwaves.  “7-Eleven,” I cried, ‘tell us how long to cook it at home,”  and apparently they heard me, as packaging now includes these instructions.

Packaging gives no clue as to who makes these for 7-Eleven.  Apparently since they are “finished product”, they don’t have to have a USDA plant number emblazoned on them.

(But I’ll find out and let you know).

Instructions called for 50 seconds on high in the nuke chamber, I went with a full minute to compensate for an aging microwave.   The sandwich was heated through at that (it is on the shelves thawed, but probably shipped frozen).

The taste and texture were fine, as was the price ($2.49 for 6.7 ounces, or about .37 per ounce.  The bun tastes fresh enough, and the whole patty experience was reminiscent to the Ball Park brand burgers I tested a couple weeks ago.  Kind of a “built in grilled seasoning.”

As it comes on a bun, of course this is a no-no for the gluten free followers.   And I would venture a guess it doesn’t approach “all natural” either, as the ingredients list for the patty, bun, and cheese runs to over 40 separate ingredients.

Would I buy it again?  Sure, and you know why.  I am a burger whore.

Side dish?  7-Eleven Select Brand Kettle Style (Original) chips.  Made in the USA.  No idea where.

7-Eleven Fresh to Go Cheeseburger

7-Eleven Fresh to Go Cheeseburger


St. Paul, MN – Smashburger Review


Smashburger St. PaulKawikamedia and the Minnesota Burger Posse stopped into a Smashburger in St. Paul.  They were impressed with the quality and service.

Smashburger has a “localized” special burger at many locations, and Kawika went with the “Twin Cities”, which Smashburger describes as “layers of melted cheddar cheese, aged Swiss cheese and garlic grilled onions with lettuce, tomato and mayo on an onion bun.”  Sounds good to me.

I’ve never been in to a Smashburger, the nearest one is an 8 hour drive.  The chain employs  a “design your own” concept.  I’d  go with a single patty, bacon, blue cheese, onion strings, and Franks Buffalo Sauce.  Nice.

Smashburger Twin Cities Burger

Smashburger (Highland Park) on Urbanspoon


Nationwide – Wendy’s (Update)


A colleague at work ran out to Wendy’s today to fetch a pail of ….burgers for the crew.

They were doubles with cheese.

They were the pretty standard rectangular patties reminiscent of Wendy’s of old, but it was the new bun and pickle. I’m not one for burger pickles on the “sweetish” side, and Wendy’s are.

The lettuce was in tough shape and got discarded immediately. As I said in a previous post, the new fries are great just out of the fryer, but don’t hold up over any period of time.

Lunch at Wendy’s today was one of my favorite “F” words: FREE.

Other than that, I don’t have a kind word.

Dave Thomas would probably be as unhappy as Ray Kroc, if either were alive today.

Wendy's Double w/ Cheese


Portland, OR – Renner’s Grill Experiments on Us


Renner's Grill, Portland, Oregon

Renner's Grill, Portland, Oregon

Mrs. BurgerDogBoy and I were invited by the affable owner of Renner’s, in Multnomah Village, to stop by and do a taste test on some new food he’s playing with.  No, it wasn’t a “blind” taste test, but I can tell you honestly, one of those came later in the night. (Inside joke).

Marshall was playing with different burger and fries recipes, and we were delighted to be his lab rats. First came two different orders of fresh cut fries, sprinkled with sea salt. One was twice-fried, (as masters say one MUST do for great fries), one was not. Both were made with Yukon gold taters. The twice-fried got two thumbs up from us, even though it took us eating two giant baskets of ’em in their entirety to make that decision. (OK, we didn’t NEED to eat two baskets, we WANTED to). The fry intake was lubricated by one of Renner’s generous pour Lemon Drops for Mrs. BDB.

Next up, Marshall laid on the burgers, and laid them on thick. Thickburgers. 6 oz of lean ground, a fine dense grind, topped with two hefty slabs o’ cheese, crisp lettuce, tomatoes, purple onion, garlic aioli, nestled between a bakery soft, sesame-studded, grilled brioche. And with another mound o’ fries, this time from the Russet family.

I was in burger heaven. Even Mrs. BDB, who severely limits her annual burger intake (balancing me, I guess), enjoyed the mass o’ meat.

Renner’s is a great neighborhood hangout all on its own, but they are working hard to develop some new signature food items;  I’m not privy to which of these items, if any, will end up on the menu.   I’m just a lab rat, not a confidante!  So you’d best check in there 3 or 5 nites per week to see what’s up.

Tell them Mr & Mrs BurgerDogBoy sent you. That may not get you any special treatment, but it will us!

Renner's Grill, Portland, OR

Renner's Grill, Portland, OR


Beaverton, OR – Canyon Grill


Canyon Grill

Canyon Grill

“Voted Best Burgers in Town!” the sign outside says. Doesn’t say by whom, or what town. I’ve driven by this place a million times, on Canyon Rd, or “Car Dealer Row”, or more appropriately these days, “Empty Car Dealer Buildings Row”, as quite a few are in the wind these days.

I first spotted the Canyon when I was at Chicago Windy City Hot Dogs for an Italian Beef. Regretfully, the Chicago spot has gone to hot dog heaven as well. Tough crowd, tough neighborhood.

The Canyon is one of those places where you immediately have the impression that they have been around forever, and always will be, attended to by some loyal family, generation 1 or 2. It’s neat inside, with a small seating area, but a large patio outdoors, with heaters in the winter. Basic condiments adorn each table, along with a small jar of free peanuts for noshing on while you are waiting for your order.

After I ordered and paid, I sat in the sun with the NY Times Saturday puzzle, munched a few peanuts, and wandered in after awhile, and was pleasantly told by the help that they would bring my burger out when it was ready. “It’s done when it’s done” said the cook, but with a smile. Kinda different from the gruff treatment one has come to expect at another local institution, Giant Drive-In, Lake O.

I said “no problem” and also smiled, to let them know I wasn’t being pushy or impatient, as Mrs. BDB says I am on occasion. I apparently get “the look.” In short order (get it?) my bacon cheeseburger and fries were delivered, the burger perched betwixt a soft kaiser, with shredded lettuce on both top and bottom, tomatoes on top, dill chips on the bottom.

Canyon Grill Bacon Cheeseburger

Canyon Grill Bacon Cheeseburgern short order (get it?) my bacon cheeseburger and fries were delivered, the burger perched betwixt a soft kaiser, with shredded lettuce on both top and bottom, tomatoes on top, dill chips on the bottom.

The fries were seasoned with a (house-made?) salt/pepper seasoning, with a bit of kick, reminiscent of Tony Chachere, but not – this had larger flakes of the spices. A lot of this seasoning ended up in the bottom of the basket, lowest layer of fries, and a few of them were kinda hot, but not in an offensive way. The shoestrings themselves were fried perfectly, in one of the “lighter” oils, and I suspect most burger boys would say are equal to McDonalds, the gold standard for many people.  Lagniappe:  they throw in a little ramekin of ranch for your fries.

The owner has chosen a high quality beef, and a bacon equal to it, as the (not frozen) patties are cooked to just south of medium, if you don’t specify.

It’s a good burger, and a good value. Worthy of a return trip for me, or a first trip, for you. He has weekend breakfasts, which if we have another nice Saturday, I think I’ll give a whirl as well.

Canyon Grill Portland

Canyon Grill Portland

Canyon Grill Bacon Cheeseburger

Canyon Grill Bacon Cheeseburger

Canyon Grille on Urbanspoon


How Do You Say?


Traveling abroad soon? You’ll never be hungry again with the following translations for “hot dog.”

Spanish – Perrito Caliente
Italian – Caldo Cane
China – ??
French – Chien Chaud
German – Heisser Hund, or Wurst
Portugese – Cachorro Quente
Swedish – Korv, or Varmkorv
Norweigan and Danish – Grillpolser
Czech – Park v Rohliku
Dutch – Worstjes
Finnish – Makkarat




This is “Burgers and Dogs Are My Life”, where you can post photos and snide comments of burgers and dogs you have loved (or hated). The recommended format is shown in the existing posts, try and include a shot of the place as well as the entree!   Let the games begin!

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