Open Wide And Say “Awesome!”

Please note – this review was written somewhere in 2011, so details may have changed, burgers may taste worse/better and we recommend double-checking location details before making a visit.

Is there a better holiday than the 4th of July? Once every year we all get to embrace our inner ‘mericans and celebrate the anniversary of our country being all like, “awww naw you didn’t, King!” by eating too much food, drinking enough beer to blind an Irishman and enjoying the warm weather. Not that we have much in the way of seasons here in San Francisco. I know most of the country is experiencing a heat wave, in exchange for spending months and months buried under snow and having to wear layer after layer of sweaters, coats and wool hats. Instead, we San Francisco residents get to enjoy mostly mild, pleasant weather, in our Faustian bargain in which one day God/Xenu/Oprah will smite us all with an Earthquake or by eliminating Asian noodle restaurants from our food sources. But in the meantime, yours truly got all up in that 4th holiday and ate my weight in wieners over the course of about four days, and I haven’t been able to say that since I went through a very confusing period in college around the time I discovered Morrissey. But I avoided burgers. Most of our crew even attended a barbecue prior to the 4th in which burgers were served, and while Chris went for one of the burgers, cooked to a delicious tartare-esque temperature, I stayed away – opting instead to wait for our review location.

It was difficult to conjure up the next location, because our prior review was a Sadness Parade consisting of nothing but hungover clowns and half-assed floats from banks. For a brief moment we even considered just ending the whole thing, because not only was our last review the very first time we had overwhelmingly negative things to say about burgers (gasp! ye gods!) but it made us question our very faith in humanity. As we entered into that somber conversation, Joe brought up that he was considering walking the Earth solving mysteries as he hunted for his lost half-brother. George said he was thinking about becoming a backup singer for Lionel Richie, because “Hello” is his jam, yo. And Chris and James thought it was finally time to get back to their lifestyle of being street hustlers, attracting gentleman callers with nothing but a smile and a sly look on the street corner.

But we couldn’t throw in the towel that easily. This intrepid crew of burger crusaders knew it was time to pull up our bloomers, march back into the flames of burgerdition and prove once again that the world was safe for truth, justice and the right to put both bacon AND a fried egg on a hamburger. So we looked around to find a spot that would help to reaffirm our hopes for humanity, with just a few bits of criteria: (a) it could be nowhere near a Barney’s, (b) it had to be very different from Barney’s and (c) Barney’s can suck it. That last one isn’t really criteria of any kind, but this is our list and we’ll make it however we want. It was with those aspirations of greatness that our crew decided upon Big Mouth Burgers, located at 24th and Valencia in the Mission area of San Francisco. They do have a second location in San Bruno, and the place has a decent word-of-mouth. But not a single one of us had tried the place. Even yours truly, who finds himself somewhat frequently on the hunt for tasty food in the Mission area after crushing many cups of ye olde Pabst Blue. But in my defense, there’s a pretty great cheesesteak restaurant next door which always lured my inebriated tastebuds in prior to making it into Big Mouth.

But with all of our merry band ready to go, we brushed our hands off like Popeye after proving violence solves everything and walked into Big Mouth in search of some tasty eats. Right off the bat the mood in Big Mouth was different from Barney’s – mostly, they seemed happy to see customers. In fact, we were greeted like conquering heroes by the staff, and only three of us were wearing viking helmets. It’s a pretty easygoing setup for the joint, which is ideal for lunch or fueling up before heading out to the bars. You walk in, order and pay at the counter and then grab a seat while they cook your burger, practically right in front of you.

Big Mouth has a few specialty burgers on their menu, including one called “The Hangover” – but, more on that later. You can also build your own burger from their list of ingredients, including a choice of bun. They do a standard 1/2 pound patty, which we – and our aortas – salute them for. And while they do not grind their meat on the premises daily, we were told by the staff they order fresh meat daily. And they DO handle their fries in-house daily. Already, things were looking up. We all made our selection and waited with bated breath, in the hopes of Big Mouth hitting a home run into our heart-holes.

Big Mouth isn’t going to win any awards for Best Decor, but it is a pleasant little burger joint with some personality, which we’ll take any day over well-scrubbed shiny newness and trendy signs on the bathrooms. Sodas come in cans, they have a couple of beers on tap and the decorations on the wall were probably showing their age when Reagan made the transition from complacent, bewilderingly-popular governor to complacent, bewilderingly-popular President.

Toppings on the table are the basicest basic to ever basic: ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper. What kind of ketchup and mustard? No idea, nor did it prove to be much of a deterrent to enjoying our meals.

The Big Mouth kitchen is almost completely in the same room as the dining area, so you can hear – and watch, if you’re so inclined – them make your food. This isn’t something I’m always necessarily excited about, since it seems to pop up mostly at places like Taco Bell or Subway, which usually means you’re either eating a chalupa while hungover all by your lonesome, or watching an angry philosphy major throw together your Cold Cut Combo on a lunch break. But not so with Big Mouth…their cooks know their way around a burger, fries and onion rings.

Speaking of, onion rings! Barney’s didn’t have any, and we were all getting perilously low on our blood levels of battered-and-fried vegetables. We always order them wherever we can, but this time we didn’t even discuss it beforehand and we ended up getting somewhere in the realm of 73 orders. They use a beer batter on their rings and serve them with a tiny tub of Ranch dressing, but they don’t really need the extra creamy “oomph” to your cholesterol. Very tasty onion rings, with no complaints. Before we could get all the rings crammed into our crammy-holes, our food began to arrive en masse. Lay back and enjoy, because we’re about to ravish you with hot meat between buns.


For George’s momentous return to the flock, he went hellbent for leather and got…his usual! Hooray for routine! George got his standard regular burger, cooked medium-rare. Big Mouth does their burgers medium-rare as the standard, another point in their favor and what most of us prefer, although you can order it cooked however you want. The burgers come with lettuce, onions, pickles and tomato on the side for you to compile as you see fit and come with an order of their fries.


Gaylord James got the regular Big Mouth Burger, topped with swiss cheese, their spicy chipotle mayo and bacon. A word on Big Mouth’s bacon – you go, Big Mouth. This place has their bacon prep down cold, and they throw quite a bit of it at you. The bacon is crispy without being overly fried and flavorful without taking over the burger. Plus, there’s a ton of it. Personally I haven’t enjoyed bacon on a burger this much since our very first review at Pearl’s Deluxe, way back in the summer of 1912.


Marci ordered up a Big Mouth Burger as well, and opted to go with the spicy chipotle and some barbecue sauce for her toppings. She went with the wheat bun too, just to give it a try.


Joe ordered the wheat bun for his Big Mouth Burger too – then negated any good that may have done by topping it with pepperjack cheese, spicy chipotle and the sweet porky goodness of Big Mouth’s bacon.


Leila…well, Leila was our special little girl on this trip. When she looked at the menu, she didn’t understand that “The Californian” didn’t actually come with meat. What it does come with is eggplant, red and green peppers and red onions marinated in rosemary and olive oil and grilled with provolone cheese on a foccacia bun with pesto sauce. Leila opted out of the eggplant and went with mushrooms instead, but when it came to the table and she realized there was no meat, she made a sad face like a kid who was just told they couldn’t get into the sandbox because somebody had made a boom-boom.


Which isn’t to say that it wasn’t a tasty sandwich – it was. Now, associates have asked if they can tag along on a burger trip, and if it’s okay if they order a turkey burger or – blegh – a veggie burger. And we always respond the same way – you go to hell with your turkey burger or veggie burger. If you want to order that, you go hang out with the San Francisco vegan loser blog, where you can judge meals based on how much karmic damage you did or how much it warmed your heart chakra. This is about burgers made from cows, and the more hopes and dreams the cows had prior to being turned into burgers the better. But Leila won’t be kicked out…yet. If you know Leila, you know nothing made her more disappointed than seeing that tray come out without a meat patty on it. She stopped just shy of tears, but then asked me for a strip of bacon from my burger to add to her meal, so she could avoid going without any meat whatsoever. And speaking of my burger…Chris and I both decided to dream the impossible dream and to soar with the eagles for this one. We both got The Hangover, Big Mouth’s specialty burger that takes the others, slaps it around and makes it want to order body-building courses from the back of a comic book.


Sit right back and I’ll tell you a tale, kiddies. Take a half-pound burger. Then top it with some American cheese, the most kickass of cheeses. Then throw a fried egg on top of that, cooked sunny-side up but not too runny. Then slather the bun with the spicy chipotle mayo, for a little extra richness and creaminess. Then take it to the limit and show nature who’s boss by throwing three fat strips of bacon on top.


It’s hard to tell if we were all enjoying our burgers so much because they were totally awesome, or if we were just overjoyed to not be eating at Barney’s…but I’m going to give Big Mouth the benefit of the doubt, because these were some hellaciously solid burgers.


Beefriffic Dreams Of Meatness: once again, they do not grind their meat in-house, but they do order fresh every day and handform their patties themselves. Their grill crew is also well-versed in the art of beef-karate, as they were cooked perfectly to order for the whole gang.


These weren’t the bestest, most amazing burgers we’ve eaten – but Big Mouth has no shame in their game. This is as formidable – and tasty – a lunch burger as we’ve seen, and for plenty of bang for your buck. The Hangover comes in at $9.75, and then comes with fries – and that’s the priciest burger on the menu. For a price like that a gentleman can take out his lady escort for a bite, and still have plenty left over for two glasses of brandy and a horse carriage ride to the clock tower. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Beef Score: 36 hooves out of 42.



Carbs carbs carbs: you can’t go wrong with a place that chops up their own fries, and Big Mouth certainly does it well. Chris got a glimpse into their backroom where all the chopping takes place, and it was a welcome change from the usual backroom situation Chris finds himself in – large men in leather bodysuits dancing to techno music with right-wing propaganda on the walls. Instead, it was a haven of potatoness, where wishes turn into rainbows prior to inspiring naptime in the tummies of all who venture nearby.


The onion rings are also tasty – the beer batter is flavorful but still retains the oniony goodness that inspires your lovers to plant sloppy kiss after sloppy kiss on you. They serve the rings with the Ranch dressing mini-tub, but it’s not really necessary unless you’re, like, totally into ranch, brah. Both the rings and fries get high marks…

Golden Brown Till We Die – Final Carb Score: 11 jiggly chins out of 14.


Overall Motif-Ness: Big Mouth Burger has that somewhat-crammed feeling of a nice local joint you could imagine swinging by regularly if you lived in that neighborhood. It’s not huge or polished to a shiny perfection, but it is welcoming and warm and pleasant, which was aided by the nice reception we got when we walked in.


All the burgers also come served on a small-ish silver pizza pan with the yellow paper, which really helps to make you feel like Lord Dionysus upon your sofa of meat.Big Mouth isn’t a First Date kind of place, unless you’re starting an awesome relationship with somebody you met at an Iron Maiden concert in the beer line who was punching another dude in the face for cutting in front of them. If that’s the case, head over to Big Mouth to carb up before you go get gnarly at a Gwar show and see who can get covered in more fake blood before being sacrificed to the Sex Worm. And if you are familiar with any of that, let me say hello to those fellow miscreants who wasted their youth. But for those who never got bodyslammed by a 330-lb. hairy and shirtless mechanic at a concert where most of the lyrics involved hobbits and wizards, you’ll want to take a date there when you’re at that magical period a few months in, when you no longer pretend the other one doesn’t fart or have an illogical fear of zebras or whatever weird stuff people come up with nowadays. I have no idea anymore; I’ve been married for nearly three years and we’re just perfecting the body-grooves in our bed and learning how to master pretending how to look like we’re listening. Decor el Amor: 77 spatulas out of 91. Look Upon Me, And Know Thy Future: as always, it’s important to note how a place makes you feel after eating it. Because we’ve said multiple times that this is a really solid lunch spot – but they are serving half-pound burgers, and nothing can make an afternoon of work less tolerable than having a gestating 1/2 lb. of meat inside your tummy, summoning you to plant your face on your desk to see if beef-sweat can finish that spreadsheet in time for the annual report while you catch a few z’s. A good contingent of our gang did the smart thing and cut their burgers in half prior to their first bites. Yours truly decided the Hangover required more dedication, and therefore went for it like a champion. And I was enjoying myself so much that I present to you the Worst Picture Ever for the Burger Blog thus far, and that’s saying a lot considering James always looks like a goon…


About 20 minutes after finishing The Hangover, I could feel the desire to sleep washing over me like the waves of constricted blood flowing out of my heart valves. I could probably have seen that coming, but the burger was so tasty I couldn’t help myself. Chris had the same experience with his, and everybody that finished their burger reported similar results. Those who cut it in half (and Leila, who chose poorly) had no such issues. If you’ve got stuff to do and you’re not a competitive eater, chop it in half. I would imagine that if I walked in around 9 p.m. with a belly full of booze (aka “happy juice”) it wouldn’t be such a devastating blow to the nervous system, but you’ll probably be better served by planning on taking out a doggy bag. That said, the meat didn’t make anybody feel bad – just sleepy. It was just so tasty we couldn’t help ourselves, and we paid the price because of it.

Wreckx-N-Effect – Final Aftermath Score: 54 Tummy ‘splosions out of 66.

Final Awesomesessment: Damir (pictured with George above) welcomed us with open arms. We all found stuff we enjoyed on the menu and the food was cooked just how we wanted it. We all laughed and had fun and really enjoyed our meal and we did it all for a pretty cheap price. Big Mouth isn’t the greatest burger you’ll ever eat, but you will have no regrets for stopping by to sample their wares. In fact, I’ve been craving another of those Hangover burgers ever since, and I’ll be back soon to scratch that itch. Big Mouth gets a TOTALLY RECOMMENDED from the Burger Blog. Thanks to the whole crew for the tasty meal. You restored our faith in not only burgers, but in mankind. With this trip we are once again renewed in our quest to eat our way through every burger we can get our greasy, sloppy hands on. And seriously – if you’re going for the first time I would totally get the Hangover. Both Chris and I were happy campers, even if it did hit me like the Sandman with a gallon of Nyquil.

Cool Dude With A Rad 'Tude

With that, so closes our 11th review. Thanks to our readers, and if you enjoy the Burger Blog you can also join us via our other locations on the intertubes, where we post even more nonsense just for the heck of it. And hey – tell your friends! We’d appreciate it, and why not share the gift of ways to waste time with those you love?

Facebook!Twitter!And ladies and gents, stay tuned. Our next review will be one for the ages, as we have something special planned that we can’t wait to show you. We’re totally pumped for what’s coming, and it’s going to be an epic entry in a blog series that we think stands as the most epic of burger blogs on the web. It’s going to be awesome.


The Tenth Dispatch From The Pit Of Despair: Mellow Marina Musings

Please note – this review was written in 2010, so details may have changed, burgers may taste worse/better and we recommend double-checking location details before making a visit.

San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods. And which of those neighborhoods you prefer says something about you as a person. If you enjoy sitting on sidewalks, having the aroma of marijuana waft through the air constantly and bathing only sporadically, then you should go hang out in the Haight. If you spend your free time talking about Lady Gaga, using the word “twink” a lot and finding new and trendier ways of distressing your jeans, you should be in the Castro.”But wait,” you’re wondering. “I’m a 30-something trophy wife who enjoys pushing my baby around in a high-end stroller while I wear the trendiest workout gear with no intention whatsoever of actually working out, opting instead to go shopping in expensive boutiques. Where do I go?” Or maybe you’re asking, “I’m a 20-something trust fund bro-dawg who likes to pretend I’m a mixture of Bradley Cooper, George Clooney and Pepe LePew. I really like to hang out in nice areas where there’s plenty of parking for my Lexus that my parents bought me to celebrate that one month where I paid my own rent, so I can chillax and look awesome in my slim-cut suit that’s never been in an office. Where should I be hangin’, brah?”Well, you lords and ladies, hop in your BMW, make sure your dad paid off your Amex black card bill and get your loudest shouting-into-my-phone voice ready, and head on over to the Marina!

The Marina isn’t shy about being San Francisco’s home of Botox and over-inflated ego, either. Here’s a description straight out of the SF Gate:”If you’re looking for diversity or an edgy or progressive feel, the Marina probably isn’t your neighborhood. Overall, this is the land of SUVs, chic fashion and killer spa treatments. Love it, or leave it to the pretty young things who call it home or home-away-from-home.”The Marina is the place where you can see somebody so sure of their importance that they will not only double-park their Range Rover on a busy street, but do so while blocking an intersection so they can casually load or unload their vehicle…

…or you can listen to somebody complain about how they couldn’t manage to preorder the iPhone 4 to replace their nine-month-old iPhone 3GS. I mean, c’mon – right now when they take a picture of themselves doing something awesome, they have to literally turn their phone around in their hand like a peasant. It’s enough to make somebody get into their Audi and drive all the way into wine country to sample glass after glass of the finest, most expensive vintages.  And it is here, my burger brethren, where we set our tale. It’s a bone-chilling, terrifying yarn that will send most of you rushing into the Mission to guzzle cheap bourbon with skinny-pantsed Band of Horses lookalikes or North Beach to watch a grizzled drunk cry by himself in front of City Lights Bookstore. And for those who live in the Marina…well, who are we kidding? They stopped reading ages ago in favor of getting back to talking about how amazing they are.

For a while now, the occasional e-mail would float into my inbox suggesting we stop by Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers. The Marina has a slew of restaurants, the popularity of which seems to hinge on how much seating they have in visible, prevalant areas where Marina residents can sit for hours, posing for the plebian passerby who dares to inhabit their enchanted airspace. But much like our fighting men and women march into battle without question for the good of our country, so did we sneak our way behind the velvet rope of inherited wealth and found a table at Barney’s to sample the grub. Much like the majority of restaurants in the Marina, Barney’s has a well-scrubbed veneer of new-businessey polish all over it, from the perfectly stained windows to the most current signage to the attractive waitresses whose uniform seems to be the tightest white t-shirt they can find.

They have both indoor and outdoor seating, and we opted to go outdoors for our meal. We were literally the first customers of the day, because when your restaurant sits in an area where people are either sleeping off the champagne hangover until Noon or meeting with their personal trainer so they can look really good for that job interview they totally plan on having someday, you don’t get a lot of traffic until later. Even so, our waitress managed to maintain a great sense of disdain towards us, allowing us to realize that we were nowhere near as special or wonderful as the precious snowflakes who wander in to slum with a trendy burger. Barney’s also has a decent menu of options, from burgers to sandwiches and salads. At least, it’s a decent-looking menu. But I suppose just about everything in the Marina looks great. Whether or not it has any value or soul to it, however…To start we ordered a variety of sides to sample. Barney’s makes no qualms about their burgers having to be cooked for about 10-15 minutes, and the sides all came out prior to the burgers.

Their regular fries come in either steak or “skinny” fry options, as though eating a deep-fried potato product should ever coincide with the word skinny. We got the steak fries, some skinny fries with a bit of garlic and then an order of the spicy curly fries.

The curly fries had a nice bite to them, but all of this stuff was clearly frozen prior to being dipped in the Fry-O-Later. They also serve the curly fries with a few tubs of ranch dressing, and although I think at this point the American flag could probably be altered to be a McDonald’s logo having sex with a Wal-Mart logo over a river of ranch, it always raises suspicion when served with food other than salad. I know some people enjoy it, but people also liked listening to the Backstreet Boys, and we all see where that got them.

The regular fries – both steak and skinny – were all right. If you haven’t touched a carbohydrate in six months they’ll probably taste fantastic, but at this point in the burger review game if you can’t make ’em fresh, you’re probably only going to get mediocre ratings at best on the sides.And hey – no onion rings! Yes, they have sweet potato fries (didn’t try ’em) and a basket of fried vegetables on the menu, but no actual onion rings. C’mon, Barney’s – it’s not like you’d have to hire somebody else to chop and batter the onion rings. Just make some space in the freezer and get with the times. Barney’s includes a slew of condiments on the table for you to dress up your burger, including the dreaded A-1:


There are members of my family who like A-1. There are members of the Burger Blog team who like A-1. But as far as I’m concerned, putting A-1 on beef is the equivalent of waking up in your racecar bed, washing your hair with a bar of soap and putting on your best extra-baggy Daffy-Duck-In-Hip-Hop-Gear t-shirt to wander on down to the annual Cornpone-N-Hamhocks Festival to win yourself a Ratt mirror to admire yourself in. Beef should taste like beef, especially if you’re advertising your meat as organic Niman Ranch. If people just want to drench their burger in A-1 they can just swing through a McDonald’s on the way home from work and eat it the way God intended…standing alone at their kitchen counter in the dark. Shortly after we finished the fries, out came our burgers. What is best in life, you ask? To crush your burgenemies, and see them driven before you. And now for the lamentations of the women.


Joe went with the Chipotle Burger – Jack cheese topped with spicy chipotle sauce, fresh red onion, tomato, lettuce & pickles, cooked medium well. In a move that surprised all of us, not a single one of the Burger Bloggers ordered an option that included bacon. This may be a first for us, and I would research further but my left arm seems to be numb for some reason.


However, we won’t allow the swine to get too comfortable…Chris got the Maui Waui, with grilled pineapple & Canadian bacon smothered in teriyaki glaze. While it’s not the ‘Merican bacon we all know and love and would bathe in if not for the unholy consequences, and while we should all fear our gravy-loving neighbors to the North, I’m glad we could maintain a record of having at least one of us include a pork product in each and every review spot. Chris gets his burgers medium rare, but Barney’s seems to favor overcooking a bit. More on that later.


Leila got the Greek Burger – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado & Feta cheese in pita bread.  Upon her first bite, Leila thrust her hand forward with her thumb extended sideways. The burger’s fate was now in her hands…would she approve and lift her thumb to the sky and the glory of the gods, or downwards and send it to Hades to push a boulder up a hill for all eternity? Read onwards and find out!


Marci got all healthy on us yet again by ordering the Sunshine Burger – sprouts and avocado on toasted whole wheat bread. It’s supposed to come with cheese, but Marci opted out of the dairy. Kids these days, I tell ya.


James got hisself a Blackened Burger, which Barney’s says they blacken with only the finest of Louisiana Cajun dust, which may be a euphamism for speed purchased at a truck stop outside Shreveport from a Waffle House waitress prior to a 19-hour haul to Texarkana. The burger also comes with a red onion, tomato, lettuce and pickle, and James added a slice of cheddar like the Yankee he is.


And like the proud conqueror I am, yours truly sharpened his broadsword, shined up his best chainmail and ordered up the Big Barney’s Burger – a one-pound patty served on a French baguette with red onion, tomato, lettuce and pickle. While I may not have gotten bacon, I think I can hold my head up proudly. At least, the guys at the table next to us were impressed, but that could also be because prior to the first bite I took my shirt off, beat my chest and then toppled over their table while screaming “Victory!!!” over and over again, in my typical Alpha Male style.


Well, maybe not. Possibly because of this blog (and also because of KFC’s nefarious Double Down sandwich) this beach season is a downer for your humble burger blog writer. Eating all these burgers has really put a damper on my typical Adonis-esque body, not to mention my Go-Go Boy career. The chaps just don’t look the same anymore, and old Mr. O’Leary isn’t as quick with the twenties as he used to be. Although Barney’s website has a slew of positive reviews available for you to read, they don’t include much info, such as the typical size of the patties. I’d have to say most of their burgers are a 1/3 lb., and I wanted to ask our waitress but she seemed perturbed when we asked for boxes for the leftovers, so I figured I could track it down afterwards instead of bothering Queen Fussypants.


Barney’s also says they will not serve rare meat, but as far as we could tell they won’t serve anything medium rare, either – those of us who asked for our burgers cooked at medium rare were served something more akin to medium, and even medium well. Each person’s preference is their own, eat ’em how you dig – but if a place is going to serve organic Niman Ranch beef and then grill it to the consistency of Joan River’s face, why bother with the Niman Ranch? Mo Better Beef: all of Barney’s burgers are made with all-natural free-range Niman Ranch ground chuck. It doesn’t appear that they grind their meat daily on the premises, and as I pointed out above they tend to overcook it anyway. Even as I took on the pound of meat on my own burger, I found I wasn’t really getting much of the typical burgery visceral thrill out of it, and overall it was pretty mediocre. At some of the other places we’ve eaten, if you had put a full pound of burger in front of me it would have been like a rabid tiger getting thrown a raw steak. But Barney’s inspired nothing more than a resounding “meh” from myself, and most of us agreed the burgers would rate very solidly at the bottom of our current menagerie of reviews. Final Beef Score: Barney’s has what looks like a decent selection of specialty burgers, and they seem to be going with a pretty great cut of meat. But to quote the cigar-chomping showbiz agent from a 1940’s Looney Tune that plays over and over in my head, “ya just ain’t got IT, kid.” In a burger world of fire eaters, sword swallowers and bearded ladies, Barney’s burger is a subpar ventriliquist whose twirling bow tie just can’t seem to squirt water anymore. Sorry, Barney – 31 beef tongues out of 112.


Of All The Gin Joints In All The Towns: Barney’s is a chain, but more of a localized chain – they’ve got two locations in San Francisco and four more around the East Bay. I’ve been told each one is a little different, but the Marina locale is a nice-looking spot, and it’s certainly nice to have the option of sitting outside. But the combo of the waitress (who must have just broken up with her boyfriend, had her car repoed and dropped her phone in the toilet just prior to walking up to our table) and the general attitude of the Marina clientele we were surrounded by turned what should have been a pleasant lunch into waiting in line for a Porta-Pottie at a Tractor Pull. First we had a group of ladies seated nearby whose conversation seemed to revolve around loudly talking at one another about the hardships of explaining things to people within the service industry, then treating the staff at Barney’s as though they were convicted sex offenders on work release. On their patio Barney’s has umbrellas, and one of the ladies first asked if they would open the umbrella nearest their table, then waved it away saying something like, “I don’t like it, get rid of it” when it displeased her. Then a group of bro-dudes was seated right next to us, and all they could talk about was what microbrew was best for bro’ing at lunch so they wouldn’t be too bro’d out at work afterbro’s. After five minutes of that you feel as though you’re trapped in a frathouse during a Madden Xbox marathon whose winner gets to pick what pledge they want to kiss. Why’d She Have To Walk Into Mine: I’m trying very hard not to judge Barney’s specifically on the neighborhood and the general attitude in the Marina, but as far as atmosphere you’re contending with the verbal equivalent of a loud fart in church. Even if the burgers had been overwhelmingly tasty, you’re still surrounded by Marie Antoinettes screeching into their Blackberries about, “Like, they should just, like, eat cake or something.” Once again, Sorry Barney – Final Atmosphere Score: 3 rays of sunshine out of 37.


These Carbs Just Got Real: We’ve had frozen sides before, and they can still be pretty darn tasty once they’ve been magically dipped in boiling grease and served to the table. If you prefer your carby goodness with your burger, you’d better ask for it, though – otherwise they’ll throw your selection into the fryer immediately and bring it out before your burger arrives. Of the selections we tried, the “skinny” fries were the weakest, with the steak fries a bit ahead and the spicy curly fries out in front. However, none of them are anything remarkable or Earth-shatteringly delicious enough to warrant a trip specifically to Barney’s. Final Carbrifficliciousness: four Potato Heads out of nine.


It Was The Best Of Times – The After-Effects: while Barney’s and its clientele clearly left a bad taste in my mouth, the quality of the beef meant no disastrous stomach issues following the meal. So, if you enjoy eating overcooked hamburgers while seated next to shrill, unpleasant people, afterwards you’ll feel great as you flee the scene like a bank robber! Always a bonus! It Was The Worst Of Times – Final After-Effects Score: Three weekends in wine country out of four.


So, should you give Barney’s a try? I’m told the other locations are pleasant, but given our experience at their Marina restaurant you’d probably have to tie my leg to a cannonball and shoot it into their patio to get me back there. It turns out Joe and Marci used to stop by Barney’s regularly, until they joined the Burger Blog and started trying all the other great spots we’ve eaten at and then they quit frequenting the joint. And in Marci’s words, Barney’s makes a burger that you’d probably be happy with at home – but not up to what you’d expect from a place calling itself “gourmet hamburgers.” Barney’s must be doing something right, because you don’t expand to six locations without pleasing some of your visitors on a regular basis. But after our meal and going for a short walk around the Marina, all I could think about was finding a burger in some dirty dive served to me by somebody who barely spoke English that we’d eat on a plank of plywood stacked on an old chicken coop while somebody outside begged for change wearing a stained Lucha Libre mask.You win, Marina. Short of jokingly voting me in as prom queen and dumping pig’s blood all over me, I get the message. I’m neither pretty enough, nor self-assured enough in my own awesomeness to hang out in you, and I live a pretty leisurely veal-calf-esque lifestyle. But your burgers suit you – they say all the right things, they look sexy and you want them to like you; but then you dig in and find out they’re unsatisfying and empty and you feel dirty for giving in. In a city filled with interesting options, Barney’s isn’t going to give you anything remarkable or surprising. We’ve never done this before, but it’s gonna have to be a Skip It. Yes, we may be obvious in preferring places with a bit of grime on them – but I’ll take the dirty character over scrubbed faux-perfection anyday. And with that, so ends our tenth review! Thanks to everybody who’s been with us for all this time, and especially those who send links to their friends and family and have been spreading the word. We appreciate all the kudos, and here’s to many more reviews of beef between bread.

Movin’ On Up – Finally Got A Piece Of The Burger Pie

Please note – this review was written in 2010, so details may have changed, burgers may taste worse/better and we recommend double-checking location details before making a visit.

You asked for it. You begged us for it. You demanded it. You got passive-aggressive about it and said something like, “I’m glad you enjoy ignoring me so much, it must be fun for you.” You got bitter and said you’d go read somebody else’s blog about hamburgers. Then you came crying back, because ain’t nobody got the goods like us, baby. We’re sorry we hit you, it won’t ever happen again, baby – we swear. But it could not be ignored. Sitting on one of the top floors of one of the biggest shopping centers in San Francisco, like a beacon of deliciousness, was Burger Bar. Created by a famous chef and offering some of the finest meats available, we knew that eventually we’d have to take it on and see what they had to offer. Today was that day. Each and every one of us woke up this morning, pulled up our big boy (and girl) pants and prepared ourselves for the quest. In fact, just about every single one of us avoided all but basic nutrition up until the point we walked into Burger Bar. Personally, I had some yogurt and an apple. James only had seven strips of bacon and one stack of pancakes at breakfast, and he typically throws at least a half-dozen eggs on the stack before coating it in syrup and whiskey. But we were all very excited for this one. Here’s James at work, just a few minutes before we left for Burger Bar:

James is either counting the seconds until the meal, or auditioning for the role of “Hectic Lawyer #2” in an upcoming episode of “Law and Order: Hospital Patrol.” To get to Burger Bar you have to go through Macy’s in Union Square. However, there’s a special elevator to take you directly to the restaurant on the 6th floor so you can feel like a Fat Batman on your way to the Calorie Cave.

We all giddily climbed into the exclusive “Burger Bar” elevator. But the class did not end there, friends…

That’s right – there’s even a sign on the correct button. So even if you’re 93-years-old, recovering from a boxing match and you’ve been freebasing Oxycontin for three days straight, you’d still have a hard time NOT finding your way up to Burger Bar. And once you get off the elevator, it’s all sunshine and roses.

If you’re looking for the perfect view to enjoy a burger, Burger Bar ranks pretty high. I can only think of a few other options that might be better.(a) the bow of an ocean liner traveling the Pacific at a table with Abraham Lincoln, Olivia Munn and a drunk Ghandi.(b) the driver’s seat of your new Lamborghini as you run over the worst boss you ever had and cops nearby cheer you on.(c) a never-ending loop in which you relive the final scenes of “Rocky,” “The Karate Kid” and “Rudy” thanks to a Wizard.

The crew at Burger Bar put a couple tables together for us immediately and seated us next to the window. Being that we’re all ballers who tip in gold kruggerands, we often comment to one another that it would be interesting to find out what the “common people” do in their spare time. This excellent view of Union Square allowed us to see just that, but from afar like nature intended. Turns out, they mostly eat sandwiches while sitting on grass, talk on their phones or, in the case of one disheveled gentleman, wander back and forth on the same 20 feet of sidewalk and yell at other people for about 90 minutes at a time.

True to the name, Burger Bar features a fully-packed supply of liquor. As we all hunkered up to the table and began perusing the menu, a few of us ordered beers. They also offer specialty milkshakes – AND specialty milkshakes with liquor, which none of us tried. While we’re chocked full of true grit and dedicated to our quest, pounding down a half-gallon of dairy and liquor combined is more of a Friday activity than a Tuesday-at-lunch thing. Well, not always – but I had things to do that afternoon that included driving and talking without slurring. Next time, I promise.

We also ordered up some of Burger Bar’s basic fries and onion rings while we took the time to peruse their extensive menu. Both the onion rings and fries were very tasty – fried to the point of perfect crispiness and very flavorful. The onion rings were even done so well that they didn’t have that trait of, when you bite into them, the onion inside pulls out of the batter and causes you to have a slimey trail down your face – not to mention leaving you with a handful of circle-shaped fried batter. Although I think at this point in American cuisine we’re just counting down to the first restaurant offering a basket of nothing but fried batter to dip into a gallon of buttermilk ranch and selling it as a side to a double-fried chicken steak sandwich.


And it did take us a while to make our decisions. Burger Bar has a few specialty burgers on the menu to choose from, but they also have a pretty epic Do-It-Yourself menu. You pick a type of meat and then select from toppings as varied as cheddar cheese to foie gras. They also have a Surf-And-Turf burger where they top the half-pound patty of beef with a lobster tail. Kudos to you for sheer ridiculousness, Burger Bar.

The Meat Selection

For a full look at all the options, which is pretty huge, you can go to Chef Hubert Keller’s website. One burger we all took note of – but nobody was willing to pony up for – was the “Rossini.” For $60, you can get a Kobe beef burger covered in sauteed foie gras and truffles and then drizzled in a rich sauce. Personally, I think this burger should only be eaten while seated at a table by yourself, wearing a tuxedo and a silk sash with “Champion of the World” written on it and facing the window, and you occasionally walk up to the glass and look at all the people NOT eating the Rossini and loudly shout, “VICTORY!!!”After much deliberation we all made our choices. Extend your pinkies and open wide, babycakes. Here comes the burgergasm.


Above is Leila’s burger – Country Natural beef on a Country Nut bun with mozzarella cheese, baby spinach greens and a pesto sauce cooked medium. Every burger is a standard 8 oz. (half pound) patty, and you choose from six types of bun. But look at that gooey, oozy goodness. Every burger also comes with lettuce, onion, tomato and pickle.


At this point no regular reader has to wonder what George got, but he did go for the gusto with the burger and ordered the Kobe Beef. The Kobe cows spend their lives being massaged and told they’re special and how someday they’re going to be something, and not just a graduate from a state school – they’re going to the Ivy League! In other words, they’re allowed to have hopes and dreams, and that brief glimpse of happiness helps to turn their flesh into melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness once they’re properly butchered and transformed into burger.  And for those new to the blog, George always gets a plain burger with fries. He got his Kobe medium-rare on a sesame bun.


Yours truly went with the Country Natural beef, medium-rare, topped with Monterey Jack cheese and a fried egg (I rule) on the Ciabatta bun. It was funny that we all spent so long debating what to order, because we had all spent hours earlier IM’ing one another about what we were going to get. After looking at the menu for fifteen minutes I went with exactly what I’d decided on ages ago, but it sure is fun to peruse and consider all the options. And I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t get any pork products on this burger, but I couldn’t deny the fried egg. For the record, the egg was perfect for the burger – one little push on the bun and the yolk broke and dripped down the sides of the burger and soaked into the top of the bun.


Just looking at that picture makes me want to do a jig of happiness. But I better not, for fear of sweating and breathing heavily.


James is nothing if not a middle-aged female housewife who enjoys cuteness, and so he went with Burger Bar’s special sliders. The three mini-burgers are all made with different kinds of meat. One is buffalo with caramelized onions, another is an Angus with plain bacon and the third is Country Natural beef with American Cheese. All come on a standard bun, and James decided to try the thick-cut fries. Not only are the burgers delicious, they are petite enough to allow for maximum dandy foppery.



Chris swung for the fences on his selection – Kobe beef, medium-rare with Swiss cheese on the Ciabatta. Upon his first bite he was completely in love, so much so that he quickly told James that he had to take a piece of the meat to try. James obliged, and after trying a small piece just said something like, “it really does just melt in your mouth!” To which I creepily said, “it’s like the meat gave itself to you.” Then Joe laughed. And we all learned a valuable lesson about ourselves. Mostly that we have twisted senses of humor.


Speaking of Joe and his evil Italian heritage, he ordered the Black Angus beef cooked medium-well, with the Jalapeno Bacon and Chipotle sauce. Yes, they have Jalapeno bacon. Burger Bar has three types of bacon, in fact, and they also offer prosciutto. If you’re indecisive and prone to overeating, just reading over Burger Bar’s menu could make your head explode. And if you go ahead and indulge yourself and order everything you want on your burger, you may also experience sharp shooting pains in your left arm, followed by darkness. Be aware.


Marci got the Country Natural beef cooked medium on the wheat bun with Jalapenos and Chipotle sauce. She really liked the sauce and said the Jalapenos were very spicy and fresh and complimented the meat nicely. Each and every one of our burgers was cooked perfectly to order. The toppings were all fresh and cooked perfectly as well, but believe me – all of this does show up on the bill. When we all decided to join together to battle the forces of normal human waistlines in our burger quest, the original goal was to find burgers under ten bucks. That quickly went out the window in favor of just trying the best burgers we could find, because we’re all made of money. But Burger Bar is by far the most expensive place we’ve visited.


But during the eating, none of us thought about the inevitable forking over of cash. Onto the specifics…Beeferosity: Burger Bar grinds their own meat daily, meaning a great, fresh flavor. Being able to choose from a variety of meats means you can vary your choice depending on cost, animal preference (they have buffalo and turkey burgers too) and general desire towards respecting your health, if you’re one of those who plans to live until you’re 109 just so you can watch all your friends die and dance on their grave while eating a salad with a light vinagrette. The topping selections are also epic. While it’s not uncommon to get a choice of cheeses or maybe a sauce or two, you can really feel like a God among men by ordering some black truffles and half of a grilled lobster to accompany your burger. All of us began wondering what kind of damage a fat man with an unlimited cash supply could do in that restaurant, and before long we harbored fantasies of being able to order the $60 Rossini with a big plate of fried cheese, washed down with buttermilk and a tub of homemade Ranch dressing and even being able to order your waiter to sit and watch you eat it all like an Emporer of Obesity.


Burger Bar knows their meat, and nobody had any complaints about their choices. Final Burgerness Score: 199 Cows With Hope out of 200. Carburating: Upon trying his first “skinny” fry, George declared them as close to perfect as he’s ever tried. Imagine a McDonald’s french fry without any of the problems of cheap, lousy production or having to stand in line with America’s Squashed Dreams and you’re on the path towards the flavor. The onion rings were none too shabby either – great batter coating the rings, fried to a golden brown and nice and crunchy while retaining the onion flavor.


We also ordered up some of Burger Bar’s buttermilk zucchini fries, because once you’re really set on going to town on the calories, you may as well go hellbent for leather. And I’m happy to report these were also great – still retaining the zucchini flavor while doused in a delicious buttermilk batter and deep-fried. And Burger Bar doesn’t bother to haul out a tub of creamy sauce for you to dip them in, nor do they need to. Unlike a plate of T.G.McGilliCuddy’s Happy-Hut and Chowporium’s Jala-Spice Explodo-Ranch Onion Wings, you will require no sauce to lube these down your throat holes. Shake Your Food Thing: the carbohydrate options to accompany your burger at Burger Bar are brownriffically magic. Much like every other aspect of the restaurant, they’re geared towards comfort food heaven and they hit the spot. The sides aren’t that pricey – especially compared to the rest of the stuff on the menu – and they’re great. 77.239 Atkins points out of 80.


Atmospherical: You take a special elevator to the 6th floor of an upscale shopping center. You get off and are greeted by big LCD screens with pictures of beautiful people loving life while eating hamburgers. You walk into the restaurant to see an amazing view of downtown San Francisco and the skyline around it and then you sit down to eat a delicious burger. The only way they could ruin this is by bringing in a busload of drunken senior casino gamblers to hold a seminar on “Proper Denture Cleaning” and “Maximizing Your Complaining” while feeding them cocktails made with stool softener. It’s one hell of a view in one hell of a location. SanFrantasticness: 4.5 burned-out hippies in Golden Gate Park out of 5.


Know When To Hold ‘Em: There’s always danger in the air when a place serves up a half-pound burger as their standard. Most of the crew opted to slice their burger in half for the sake of safety, but Chris and I both decided to live like the Warrior-Poets we are and we ate every bite of our burgers. Following the feast, both Chris and I felt great. No cramps, meat-agony or pangs of regret. Actually, everybody felt great and the only person who reported any listlessness or beef-ennui (I’m smart!) was George. But take this into consideration – George spent the holiday weekend eating other burgers and barbecue, and while the rest of us were in calorie-limiting mode for at least a day prior to Burger Bar, George had a nighty-night snack the evening before of ribs. While I applaud his dedication to showing the livestock who’s boss, I think his lack of energy that day has more to do with eating like King Beefypants of LiveForevervania. You won’t be finding yourself agonizing afterwards, unless you insist on behaving like George and wash down your Bacon Muffin with a tall glass of gravy for breakfast. Know When To Fold ‘Em: No problems. 274 stomach hugs out of 275.


Fork It Over: the cost. We rarely discuss how much a place will set you back, at least in any depth, because we all sleep at night on top of piles of twenties. In this case, though, I’ll make an exception because it should be something you’re aware off before you walk in. Everything about the food here is impeccable – great preparation, quality ingredients and remarkable service. Hell, even the waiters and waitresses are gorgeous. But you are definitely paying for that quality. George hit a record for the amount spent for a single person on one of our burger trips, and the rest of us weren’t too shabby either. You will enjoy your burger immensely, but you will also be paying substantially for that burger. Know that going in and be ready for it. This is an Event Burger for special occasions, but if you’re a big fan of red meat between buns, then you should probably give it a shot.Final Verdict: Recommended, but save your sheckels before you go. Thanks for reading, folks. If you have the inclination we’d love to have you join us on Facebook or Twitter, and if you like the blog please spread the word. We really appreciate all the love and we’ll be back soon with even more – in fact, coming soon – our TENTH review. Yay!


A Million Burgers In The Naked City

Please note – this review was written in 2010, so details may have changed, burgers may taste worse/better and we recommend double-checking location details before making a visit.

All of us here at the Burger Blog have found that, since starting this and rocketing to worldwide fame, we get a few questions on a pretty regular basis from people. The first one is almost always, “are you afraid you’re going to die?” Well, we all have the metabolisms of vikings, so we’re fine. Pass the bacon spread, this bacon sandwich is dry – and are we out of Krispy Kremes? This wheat bread won’t do.One of the questions that usually follows is, “do you ever get tired of hamburgers?” Simply put, no – we don’t. After all, each and every one of us is a true red-blooded American. A day isn’t complete without at least 18 ice-cold light beers, a pre-1984 Van Halen record and a healthy dose of red meat. You should hear us all when we’re together – all we talk about is our preference for extreme right-wing ideology, what a shame it is Michael Bay hasn’t won a Best Director Oscar and all the great places we can find cow flesh. We all love it so much that occasionally, one of us wanders into a restaurant all by our lonesome and eats a solitary burger.

And that is exactly how our latest review site came to our attention. For that contingent of readers who don’t live in the Bay Area, the Union Square region of the city is magical. In one square block you can find high-end fashion, meaningless touristy nick-nacks and, on occasion, an insane homeless person who greets strangers with their genitals. Walking there the other day, within five minutes I had been called a racial slur whose race I have no attachment to, AND saw a man holding a sign that simply said, “Love Yourself!” Ahhh, San Francisco. But when a young lady with a pep in her step and an urge for shopping looks for the place to peruse the latest in handbags, garish boots or gigantic sunglasses, she heads to Union Square. And that’s just what our own Leila did just a few weeks back. Actually, she does that somewhat regularly. But it was on that particular trip that she found herself standing outside a newly-opened burger restaurant. Being the intrepid woman that she is, she didn’t back down from the challenge. She walked inside, proudly ordered and hunkered down to sample their basic burger all by her lonesome. Revitalized by burger she then marched around Union Square like Popeye on Spinach as she hunted for bargains on leggings and Mukluk boots, and it was decided that we all must sample this cuisine.

Burger House is connected to a little mini-conglomerate of food, including a cafe and a pizza spot. They do seem to take the burger-making seriously, as they’re using pretty solid ingredients. And plus, they have cutting-edge viewscreen menus, so you can pretend you’re ordering hamburgers on “Star Trek.”

Anytime you can hunker up to a counter and make your selection from a brightly-lit LCD screen instead of a boring-old printed menu, you’re earning points from me. I look forward to a future in which we all wander around silently with our touchscreen phones and iPads and whatever else encasing us in electronic convenience, like a sterile cocoon of light and happiness where nobody can touch you and episodes of “The Wire” are always 99 cents. From ordering at the counter you’re given one of those little number signs to signify your identity through tags – just like the Lord intended! – and you can grab a seat in the shared dining area for the three restaurants. And with that, let’s slide on down the rabbit hole into a mystical world of fantasty and meat. And yes, that does sound a little gay.

George got the same thing he always does – the FDR special, with a side of prohibition and a bowl of Women’s Lib. Well, actually it was just the normal, plain burger with an order of fries and a bowl of chili. But it’s fun to make fun of George’s age. Last week a 24-year-old made fun of me for mentioning “Mr. Belvedere” and having owned a Sega Genesis, so this is my way of taking it out on the world. Burger House does a 1/2 lb. burger as their standard, and considering we were all walking in pretty hungry, we were pretty enthused at this. Because the only thing better than reviewing a burger is getting to review a half-pound of it.

James got the Philadelphia Burger, featuring provolone cheese, griddled onions and some hot peppers. As you can tell, he’s very excited about it. And if he did that in Philly, they’d probably punch him in the face.

After going for a normal cheeseburger on her first visit, Leila went with their Cable Car Burger – lettuce, tomato, bacon and typically swiss cheese, although Leila switched it to provolone because she’ll forever hate the Swiss for their claims to timemaker superiority and chipper songs during Nazi rule. The Cable Car also includes fresh avocado, although just about every restaurant in San Francisco just uses some Cali-esque term as shorthand for “and here’s some avocado.” Ordering a Surf’s Up omelette? Get ready for a big dose of avocado. Settling in for a big West Coast Panini? Hope you like avocado! Getting a Bro-Ham Gnar latte? Open wide for a tall glass of avocado juice. You get the picture.

Joe got the Buffalo Style Burger. It gets slathered in a healthy dose of hot sauce, covered in grilled onions and then doused with bleu cheese dressing. For those times when you want to eat a big plate of hot wings, but you also need to ingest a half pound of seared hamburger. It’s a hell of a country, folks.

And I also got the Philadelphia Burger, the same as James. That normally doesn’t happen, because while we’re nowhere near as organized as people seem to think we are, we do usually at least confer before ordering. On this trip, though, we were briefly split up for a while. Picture the middle chapter of “The Lord of the Rings,” except Leila and I were Merry and Pippin and George was our Gandalf – wise, bearded and prone to wearing lots of white. Also, kissing dudes. But we showed up in waves, mostly because Joe wanted to stay at the office late to watch a space shuttle launch. I may be able to pull a Tolkien reference from memory, but Joe is a Grade-A space nerd of the highest order. He plans to give any children he ever has, boy or girl, the middle name “Buzz” and he calls his car the U.S.S. Asskicker. But that could also be because he only listens to REO Speedwagon when he drives.

We got our usual assortment of fries and onion rings, because we’re go-getters who achieve things, goshdarnit. The fries are actually chopped and peeled fresh every day, and the same goes for the onion rings. I know people think the Bay Area is filled with nothing but health nuts and organic food, but as somebody who has managed to gain weight since moving here from the Midwest – America’s Home Of The Frito Pizza – you’d be amazed at all the places that take the time to make junk food well. If you’re going to harden your arteries, it may as well be from fresh potatoes soaked in duck fat and dipped in a creamy sauce made from organic goat cheese, and not congealed Little Debbie hate-goo pumped into your heart via a plastic syringe you bought in a vending machine.

The batter on the rings was good, but if I had any complaints I’d have to say because they’re sliced so thin, they get cold relatively quickly. The thinner approach is one we hadn’t encountered yet for the blog, and one we were excited to try – but after about five minutes they were starting to get chilly. They serve the rings with a creamy dipping sauce, but as the rings got cold the batter flaked off and soon the cup of white sauce was filled up with scabby chunks of the batter. The fries, however, were pretty great. A nice thick cut, but still crispy throughout the entire fry. They were hot and tasty without being greasy.

Qualibeef: Burger House uses Niman Ranch meat for their burgers, and again – they do a 1/2 lb. as their standard burger. The beef itself is good and the quantity is nothing to sneeze at, especially considering the price – none of the burgers costs more than $10, unless you count the “King Salmon” burger, but unless it could “moo” and know the kinky thrill of being branded, it’s not a burger – it’s a fish sandwich. Sorry, Salmon. All of us were in agreement that the joint could use a few more specialty options, and the woman who took our order said that was something they were looking into. They do offer a Napa Burger, which comes with fresh goat cheese, watercress and meyer lemon honey mustard – but c’mon; nobody in our group was going to order that. We all knew if we sat down and said, “I got the Napa Burger with fresh goat cheese and watercress!” it would be the equivalent of throwing the Dandy Fop to the Lions. I’m sure eating that is as delightful as pulling on a pair of clean pantaloons, tying up the chest upon your ruffliest shirt and frolicking on down to a field of daisies to write sonnets with a quill on only the finest parchment, but even the female contingent of our group avoided it.

Burger House has a stadium-quality condiment bar, except you won’t have to deal with a shirtless guy with a logo painted on his chest stumbling in front of you to get ketchup as he drunkenly mumbles to himself about RBI’s or something. Some of Burger House’s specialty burgers come with their own specific sauce on it and don’t really require much additional topping – but the option is nice. They also use an egg bun that they get shipped in fresh daily from a local bakery – and we all liked the bun. In our final assessment, the quality of the beef was good, but couldn’t maintain over the toppings on the burgers themselves. James and I both agreed that the best bites of our Philly-style burger was at the end, when the cheese and peppers were mostly gone and just the beef was left. George enjoyed his plain burger, but we all agreed that these were better than good – but still not great.

Beefitude Score: 77 out of 93.2. Starch-Nemesis: The fries at Burger House are really tasty. Once again, we’re reminded of the importance of chopping your own fries.

None of us could come up with a negative thing to say about the fries – they were crispy without being burnt, flavorful without being too salty and big without being overwhelming. If you enjoy a big french fry, you’ll love Burger House.But again, the rings – they cut ’em fresh, and the batter was good. The rings aren’t greasy, either – but the thin-cut and light-on-the-batter preparation means they get cold very quickly. What tasted great when they were first brought to the table get kind of mushy within a matter of minutes, and it’s a shame because they’re obviously looking to put their best foot forward. Because the place is new, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a retooling on the rings soon, but in the meantime – get the fries. You’ll be happy.

And for the sake of completism, there’s a picture of George’s chili. It also got good marks – not too spicy, but still very flavorful and savory. Carbrifficness: The fries go high, and the rings get low. They’re the Salieri to Burger House fries’ Mozart. They want to do well. They mean to do well. But they just fall short. If the fries at Burger House die from exhaustion while writing their final opera and end up in a big pit covered in de-lousing powder, you know who did it. The sides get three altos out of five, and my pretentious “Amadeus” references get one.

Atmospherics: since the restaurant is in the middle of Union Square, it goes without saying that space is limited. There are definitely three different decorating schemes at play at the front – cafe, burger joint and pizza slice stand. All three then siphon off into a decently-sized dining area that is decorated in a relatively trendy motif. It’s comfortable and you get to be around a weird mix of people – while we were there we sat next to a table of Germans who didn’t know how to ask for ketchup, then also poured sugar on their spaghetti. If you forget about the aggressive streak, Germany could be the world’s wacky neighbor. The eateries around Union Square tend to fall into one of two categories – somewhat ghetto, and chic and expensive. Burger House is a clean, pleasant restaurant attached to two other similar restaurants that won’t assault your senses with trash or a bum painted silver listening to “Mama Said Knock You Out” on a boombox with blown speakers. Yes, that happens.

Final Appearance: not too shabby. For the price it’s a nice, clean restaurant that keeps tidy. If you have to use the restroom, you will have to ask for the key – but that’s part of eating around Union Square. Everybody with a bathroom has to deal with an assault of wandering tourists, shoppers drunk on brunch mimosas and hobos who live on a diet of 22-proof malt liquor and garbage noodles, and they have to battle at their gates to keep the hordes from invading. If you’ve ever had to use a Carl’s Jr. bathroom, you’ll be grateful for having to find an employee to get the magical spoon that grants you restroom access.

The aftermath: With a half-pound of beef, you’re running the risk of several problems. Firstly, it could whisk you away to nappy land, where you gestate and allow the fat and protein to gel into the lovely extra inches you get to carry around until you get obsessed with yoga or die. Second, you could give yourself a lovely case of what my Filipino mother-in-law calls “sour stomach,” but the rest of us would probably call the Screaming Meemies, Montezuma’s Revenge or the Green Apple Splatters. Burger House goes for the quality beef, which kept most of us happy. We were all full, yes, but only one of us – Joe – didn’t feel too great. That’s mostly because Joe starved himself all morning long, barely touching anything and then upon getting his burger, crammed it into his mouth like he was competing in an eating contest. Seriously – George, Leila and I had all gotten our burgers prior to James and Joe even arriving, and Joe finished his before any of us were even close to the last morsels. So while we were all sympathetic to Joe’s inevitable moans of not feeling so great, I think that one is all on him. The rest of us felt fine, and I even had hot peppers on my burger. Although none of us ate much the rest of the day, these burgers won’t destroy any chances you have of walking around afterwards, avoiding awkward social interactions or just plain leaving your digestive system in ruins. Unless you starve yourself for twelve hours and then swallow it whole like a donkey, in which case plan on heading home to rock some PJ’s and question your life decisions.

And don’t get me wrong – the burgers have some greasiness to them. Above is a shot of the napkin party I had to throw to keep my hands clean, and after having to throw out a shirt following our last review and the gallon of milkshake I spilled all over myself, George and I both went with putting a napkin in our collar like we were Looney Tunes characters having dinner. But the burgers manage to maintain that fine line of being greasy – but not too greasy. Think Donald Trump in season one of “The Apprentice,” as opposed to current Trump who keeps Bret Michaels around. Eat these burgers with the knowledge that you’ll be fine – but be aware that they are a 1/2 lb. If you’re not a huge eater, you should probably leave some on the plate. So: looking for a hearty burger near Union Square and you don’t want to do a lot of walking or pay a lot? Burger House will satisfy. There are other burgers not far away that we enjoyed more – Pearl’s Deluxe, Mo’s Grill – but for a convenient burger spot a step above the fast food not far away, Burger House will fit the bill. Burger House also has the advantage of being located nearby a San Francisco booze haven, the Gold Dust.

The Gold Dust was opened in, let’s say, 1844. For some reason, they put carpet on the floor. Then after ninety years of people smoking, fighting and vomiting in there, they banned smoking indoors in California and then kept fighting and vomiting but decided cleaning the carpet was for pansies and that the smell of millions of Pall Malls wafting through the air from below was the scent they’re looking for. They also have a resident band consisting of players who were probably learning to play guitar when Eisenhower came up with the “I Like Ike!” slogan and who still call Creedence Clearwater Revival “young whippersnapper” music. The place sucks you in like a vortex, and before you know it sobriety is a long-lost memory of times gone by. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping by for a beer. It’s one of those little San Francisco spots that still endure, but don’t require somebody to wear a costume…

…and we can all get behind that. Thanks again for reading, folks. Looks like we’ll have some announcements coming soon, and in the meantime we appreciate it if you tell friends or hook up with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Mo’s Gabba Gabburgers (or) A Party In Our Tummies!

Please note – this review was written in 2010, so details may have changed, burgers may taste worse/better and we recommend double-checking location details before making a visit.

When I was but a lad of nine years old, my grandfather took me on his knee and gave me a few tidbits of wisdom. Rule number one: when in a knife fight outside a tavern in South America, the man with the most amphetamines in his bloodstream wins. And number two: beware the quiet ones. While a narcissistic douchemonger like myself may chatter away like a monkey in a tree, giving away every detail, the quiet ones are lurking in the shadows and taking notes, biding their time and wringing their hands ever so supervillain-y. And when they strike, look out. Such is the case with our own James. From the outside, James appears to be a mix between the nicest 6th Grade Camp Counselor you ever met and Boo-Boo Bear. He remains quiet and pleasant, perhaps only pilfering from your pic-a-nic basket – right up until the moment he goes all Clint-Eastwood-at-the-end-of-“Unforgiven” on you and drops one hell of a line. And at our most recent review site, which we were all very fond of, he had perhaps the best bit of criticism: “My only complaint is all the laughter of children.”

The reason we were exposed to the laughter of children is because for our review we found ourselves at Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco. The area was founded around 1835, which is a great factoid for geeks. The name also translates from the Spanish for “Good Herb,” which is a great factoid for our 4/20 followers. Yes, this is another thing you can equate with marijuana. Although you probably find a way to include marijuana in every conversation. Dude, did you know Citizen Kane is all about how everybody should just chill with some hellafied chronic and stuff? Yeah, brah – that’s what Rosebud signifies, not a sled, dude. Now your mind’s more blown than, like, a bomb or something! Man, have you ever really listened to the lyrics to the Mister Rogers theme song? It’s like, a metaphor for worshipping ALIENS, dude…

Now, it has come to our attention that not all our readers are residents within the Bay Area, nor do many have any plans to travel here. That’s fine – we’re total whores for readers. Tell your friends! E-mail it to your grandparents, and they’ll try to burn it to a Betamax tape and watch it on their 8-Track stereo in between Henny Youngman albums! However, if you haven’t been to San Francisco then you wouldn’t be familiar with the general greeniness of the city. Many years ago, some city founders thought out loud to one another:Ye Olde City Manager: “I say, old boy, this city has plenty of haberdashers, opium parlors and bootblacks. But you know what will make us the envy of the ivory coast?” Colonel Earl Duke VonOldentimes III: “Why, no! What could it be, old boy? Surely not another string of drinking taverns filled with ruffians whose fisticuffs offend the ladies of the night, out to pick the pockets of the gentleman?” Ye Olde City Manager: “Certainly not, you roustabout! Nay, what this city needs is parks! Parks as far as the eye can see, where a man down on his luck or simply full of homemade wine can sleep for days, occasionally waking to tell passerby that he needs a three-pence to afford a bracing shot of absinthe, or to randomly shout to passerby that he is their lord and saviour, and they should purchase him one of those new-fangled sandwiches!” And so it was that San Francisco would end up having a slew of parks and green areas all over the city, Yerba Beuna included. Yerba Buena’s general area also has a waterfall dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights, a Merry-Go-Round, a movie theater, an ice rink and a bowling alley – for those who enjoy sports, but also like being very drunk while participating in them.

For our purposes, we pulled up our bloomers and marched into the breech once more to venture to Mo’s Grill, a lovely little spot on the second level above the skating rink near the kid’s play area. This is a restaurant that yours truly (Drew) and my wife (Leila) had eaten at many moons ago prior to catching a movie nearby, and one of you (a reader!) suggested it again. While my memories of it were mostly fond, I do tend to drink – so we decided to make it our target for this adventure, like a fat A-Team out for vengeance. You’ll pay for giving us diabetes, beef – by giving us MORE diabetes. Mo’s is by no means a large restaurant, and it’s also in a pretty busy area – but we got there around 11:30 a.m. and there was only one other person in the joint – an old guy grabbing a salad. This is usually not a good sign, as great food will often draw a crowd regardless of location. For instance, if you’re in the Mission and wondering what taqueria to grab a burrito at, walk right past the clean, well-lit spots with windows unfettered by blood spatters or pornography advertisements on the walls and queue up at the one with the line outside the door with the cook who looks like the bad guy in an Adam Sandler prison comedy, and you will most likely get the greatest burrito you’ve ever eaten. However, Mo’s may just be a well-hidden and forgotten burger treasure in the middle of the city. They have a lot going for them.

Take a gander at the loveliness above: a Hobart grinder. Not only do they grind their own meat, they use one of the best grinders to do it. Upon seeing the Hobart, George got very, very excited. For one thing, George knew what Hobart was, whereas the rest of us had to look it up. For another, George knows his quality gadgets. The dude’s apartment could double as a remote control plane museum, and his home stereo equipment would make a teenage boy’s head explode. Then there’s the menu…

That’s a solid selection of specialty burgers, but I’m also fond of the generic clip art. Like a cheap banner at a roller rink birthday for a 6-year-old, or the invite for a senior citizen retiring from their job as a Wal-Mart greeter, the generic clip art says, “I want to make this special…but not TOO special.” Mo’s is generally decorated a decade or so behind the times, which is just fine with us. And as far as we’re concerned, they can install shag carpeting and wood paneled walls if the burgers are solid. And Mo’s did not disappoint. Our efficient waitress took our orders and almost immediately, stuff started happening. Just about everybody settled on a soda or water, but George is no regular man. He doesn’t always drink beer, but he does enjoy one with a burger…

Not to mention, if you’re going to enjoy a burger, why not warm up with some chili first…

There are actual hunks of steak in that chili, folks – and our waitress didn’t even bat an eye when George gave his usual routine of “No cheese, extra onions!” In fact, our waitress was like a steely-eyed Terminator of waitressing. More on that later. For now, let’s stop all this fussin’ and a fightin’, and get with the burger love.

This is Leila’s Western Burger – cheddar cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce. She went with the regular fries, and she gave high marks to the barbecue sauce itself. Mo’s serves their burgers with a healthy (i.e. unhealthy, yay!) dollop of mayo underneath the burger, then patty and toppings with a dry bun and allows you to stack up the veggies and other condiments as you see fit. Or, y’know, just start jamming all the meaty, fatty goodness into your body as you laugh at the vegetables and shake your fist at God.

This is Chris’ burger – a standard cheeseburger with swiss, and he gave the cole slaw a try as well. Mo’s burgers are 7 ounces, just shy of a half-pound, and again – they grind their beef daily and use center cut chuck beef. Chris enjoyed the cole slaw and had nothing but good things to say about his burger.

This is Joe’s choice, the Alpine. Stacked with Swiss cheese and mushrooms – and not just ANY Swiss – imported Swiss. This cheese came directly from singing songs with runaway Nazi kids, and partners great with the mushrooms. Joe also opted to try the garlic fries, which were quite tasty.

George went with his tried-and-true order – regular burger, no cheese, medium rare. He briefly considered trying one of the specialty options, then remembered that he’s been ordering this same option since the day Lincoln was shot, and he’s not changing it anytime soon.

Here’s James with his BBQ burger. James also went the extra mile and got bacon on top of it. After he asked for the extra bacon, we all joined in on a chorus of Bette Midler. James is indeed the wind beneath our wings. We also all enjoyed the way they serve the burgers on a silver platter. We are, after all, captains of industry whose monocles shine like the gold kruggerands we buy them with. But deep down, if you’re going to ingest nearly a half-pound of beef with toppings, you want a big metal tray to eat it off of.

And here’s my bacon burger. Clearly, a complicated process went into cooking this:Step 1: Cook burger to order (in this case, medium rare).Step 2: Fry up two large thick slices of bacon. Step 3: Place bacon on top of burger.Step 4: Serve to large man with greasy face. In our last review, I managed to choose a burger that didn’t include bacon. But like Keanu Reeves at the end of “Point Break,” I can’t help but grab the pistol and jump out of the airplane without a parachute. But instead of chasing after brah-dude Patrick Swayze, I’m just jumping for the joy of pork products. Someday a doctor is just going to pull up this website and start quoting reviews at me when I ask him why I need to take so many pills to keep my heart from exploding. And as all longtime readers will know, we order the onion rings at every location possible. At Mo’s we had three orders of them on the table, and we were not let down by these golden rings of fantabulousness.

These were the standard side order size, and even amongst all of us I don’t think we finished a single tray. When they started bringing out our trays of rings, we started ooh’ing and aah’ing like drunk Vegas tourists at night in front of the Bellagio fountain show.

We dug in, and the results were good. Everybody was pleased with their selections, and the burgers were cooked precisely as we’d ordered. In fact, we’ve been hoping for somebody to whiff our order so we could turn up the snark volume, but Mo’s would not be denied – they rode us hard and put us away wet.

And with that, let us once again grade our burger experience with whatever criteria and point system we feel like. Cowrifficness: the beef quality was good, and it’s hard to argue against a place that grinds their own. We were all very happy with our burgers, and they cooked them perfectly to order. Hell, even the bacon on top of some of our burgers was a perfect crispiness and complimented the beef.

Because people like a number system, I’ll go with an 88/103. The size was good – not too big, not too small. Both George and Leila cut their burgers in half to enjoy later and they were very satisfied, but the rest of us couldn’t resist and plowed through the whole thing. Mo’s beef is among the best we’ve eaten so far in this journey.Carb-o-tasticliciousness:  Their fries are decent. The garlic fries are also tasty, without having an overwhelming garlic flavor to them. But “Exhibit A” has to be the onion rings.

These lovely orbs of golden brown goodness came to party, and unlike some other locations we’ve eaten at they didn’t even attempt to include a dipping sauce. As we’ve established in prior entries, ranch dressing usually means a hot mess of frozen garbage. A “special sauce” is a nice touch, but with a solid ring you don’t need any extra. Batter it up, dip it in boiling grease and serve it, calories ahoy! Mo’s rings are up there with the likes of the Bullshead’s. Because of their dedication to the art of fried vegetables, they get a carb rating of four XL’s out of a possible 5. We salute you, Mo’s Grill.

Fancy-Schmanciness (and) Servicatude: As a group of ballers, we all like to live our lives as closely as possible to the lyrics of our generation’s greatest songwriter, Taco, and his seminal work “Puttin’ On The Ritz.” High hats and Arrow collars, white spats and lots of dollars – that’s us. Now, nobody could possibly call Mo’s Grill a hoity-toity spot, but the environment is pleasant, bright and clean, and the view is pretty great. They have some outdoor seating, but there’s also wall-to-ceiling windows in case it’s chilly outside.

And the waitstaff…our waitress appeared a bit bewildered at our overly-chipper entrance (we all run in like a class of 2nd Graders that just mainlined a case of Pixie Stix) and wasn’t sure what was up as we started snapping pictures. But that never stopped her from kicking ass on the service side. Again, our food was perfectly prepared to order. It came out fast and at the same time, and even George’s occasionally Princely demands for more napkins didn’t make her flinch. She was at the ready with drink refills and kept nearby without hovering. And when we asked to split the check up, she didn’t bat an eye – she took our demand and schooled us. Check this out:

That, my friends, is what you call Dropping Some Science. She put down individual totals, then assigned a number to each – and THEN she gave us a diagram of what numbers are which, even including the window. If we’d walked in from a three-day binge of gas huffing we still wouldn’t have been able to mess up paying our checks. In fact, although I tipped 20 percent I think I may have to go back and tip her some more. While she was obviously bewildered by our general idiotic behavior, she kicked some serious butt. Mo’s Grill, you get the San Francisco Burger Blog’s first-ever Mr. Belvedere award. Not only did you make our meal pleasant, but you taught us all a lesson in the process. You taught us how to love. Greasiness: Mo’s treads the grease line very, very well. Look again at those onion rings – they’re crispy and hot when they come out, but they’re not turning the paper underneath into a replica of a 17-year-old’s pillowcase. The burgers had a touch of the grease, but the buns are slightly-toasted rolls that can take it. Nobody’s burgers fell apart in their hands, although Joe’s gooey Alpine did start oozing a bit. The regular fries were crunchy without being a mess, and the garlic fries had a little more juice to them, but nothing ridiculous. We all felt great afterwards – full, but not like we were in for three or four hours of regret, like that feeling after you pull into Reno. Mo’s grease rating is 779 out of 1587.

Mo’s Grill final outcome: Recommended. We all enjoyed our meals immensely, and if you’re in the area of Yerba Buena Gardens and looking for a burger, you’ll be a happy camper at Mo’s. Extra bonus: as we proved, you can generally act like morons and they’ll still treat you like royalty. Thanks, Mo’s! Why, we even felt so good afterwards that some of us went to see “Kick Ass” at the nearby theater, and we had enough energy to continue our streak of idiocy.

That’s Leila, in a car made for kids. Leila happens to be Filipino, so she can easily be stored in cupboards, shoeboxes and laundry hampers.

And at the movie theater, Chris gave the “Marmaduke” promotional standup the respect it deserved. As he posed for this, a nice looking Asian couple walked by and we were sure they were going to look at us like we were being inappropriate or immature (we were). Instead, their response: “Awesome.” Awesome indeed, Burger friends! As you may have noticed, Marci was absent from this review. Unfortunately, an English lord invaded her countryside farm and savagely murdered her favorite pet goat. She has begun swordsmanship training and has sworn a blood oath to avenge the goat, no matter how long it may take. We expect her back for the next review. As always, we love comments, and please follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook – there are links underneath the profiles. Thanks for reading!

Two-Place Vs. Dangly-Feet Man In “My Burger, My Life!”

Yes, Okay.

Please note – this review was written in 2010, so details may have changed, burgers may taste worse/better and we recommend double-checking location details before making a visit.

In this tumultuous world filled with war, sickness and the never-ending sadness parade that is “The Marriage Ref,” we here at Northern California’s 3rd favorite hamburger-centric blog are proud to present another review, barely a week after our last one went to print. And why wouldn’t we? It’s been a nice couple of weeks here at Burger Blog headquarters. First up, early last week some random posters on Craigslist took it upon themselves to put up links to the site, calling it funny and entertaining. Craigslist, as anybody who has ever perused it will know, is typically home to only abject racism, unbridled sexism, illicit gay sex and “massage therapists” whose idea of a Happy Ending involves drugging their client, dragging them to a plastic-lined room and strapping them to a table with Saran Wrap so they can have a dramatic conversation about being “Cthulu’s Fist of Destruction.” Well, it turns out all those racist sexist sociopaths trolling for anonymous power-bottoms really work up an appetite, and they came back in droves! Thanks, Craigslisters! On top of that, George got recognized on the street for the blog. He was minding his own business in his neighborhood, wearing a bright pink t-shirt with neon lettering proclaiming, “YES, I AM ON THE BURGER BLOG!” and handing out copies of the last review he’d printed out at Kinko’s when somebody walked up and asked, “aren’t you on the Burger Blog?” Actually, he was just running some errands and minding his own business when a person he never met before asked him if he “ate hamburgers and people took pictures of him.” And indeed, he does. And indeed, we do! And with that, let’s move forward with more eating of hamburgers and taking pictures of it. San Francisco's Ferry Building

For our most recent adventure we trekked our way towards the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Once a major commute hub, the building has transitioned more into being a foodie capital. Have you ever wanted to try a cone filled with different cuts of pork? Or try five types of caviar at once? Or spend $13 on a cupcake? The Ferry Building can take that sunrise and sprinkle it with dew, friends! The Ferry Building is also home to a Farmer’s Market that occurs multiple times each week. In addition to the standard booths featuring people with names like “Rasta Sun” selling you jars of syrup they collected while tripping on Black Beauties, the markets also feature multiple food stands cooking grub on the street that is so good people will line up for it. And, you can also see crazy people dressed like vikings! What’s that? You desire photographic evidence? So let it be written, so let it be done…Exhibit A: Tasty chicken!

And Exhibit B:

But we weren’t there to stand in line for chicken (although it is delicious) or clothe ourselves in the best in crazy person finery – we were there for burgers. Located at the North end of the Ferry Building is a restaurant formerly known as Taylor’s, but now known by the name Gott’s. The place has long been a staple for the hungry lunch crowd wandering in from the nearby financial district and has a pretty large menu of salads, sandwiches, seafood and soup. And of course, burgers. Since the name change and new ownership, it appears the menu has remained pretty much the same as when it was Taylor’s, and we decided it was time to give them a day in burger court. Gott's front entrance

Gott’s is a pretty popular lunch destination. The picture above was taken around 11:20 a.m., because we Burger Bloggers don’t stand in long lines, as they are for poor people. But be aware; if you go around 12:15 p.m. be ready to do some waiting. They put out menus for you to peruse as you wait so you can be ready to pull the trigger when you get to the counter, and Gott’s calls itself “Tray Gourmet” – it’s a cafeteria-style place where you order at the register, get one of those flashy-light robot boxes that explodes like a 3-year-old with a crate of sugar inside them when your order is ready and you find seating wherever you can manage. But the food is pretty solid – when the suggestion of the place came up, Chris even noted that he’d eaten there multiple times and that the burgers looked good, but that he’d never bothered to try them because the Ahi Tuna Burger was fantastic and that’s what he always ordered. Chris and Leila ponder the menu

It took us all a few minutes to come to a decision. Chris was tempted by the burgers with bleu cheese involved, then he remembered that at Urbun Burger he’d tackled enough of it to turn his heart valves into a sampler platter for an upscale wine tasting. Leila contemplated trying the Ahi Tuna Burger that Chris was so fond of, but we told her to pull up her bloomers and order some beef before we forced her into hand-to-hand combat with a rabid hobo somewhere in the Haight. We have rules, dammit. Leila waiting for our burgers.

We made our choices and grabbed a seat outside. Gott’s has some indoor seating as well, which was already pretty packed by 11:30 a.m. on the day we made our trip, but they also have a ton of outdoor seating. And one of the best parts of eating at the Ferry Building is the view – it’s a pretty picturesque spot. Whereas in the Mission you may only get to see random hipsters walking by or weirdos selling bootleg DVD porn, while dining here you get to sit on the Embarcadero and enjoy views like this:Ooh.


We all hunkered up to a table outside and enjoyed our beverages. George was the only one to have any alcohol, although he maintained his street cred by going with a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, the beer of choice for awesome dudes with rad attitudes! Gott’s has a pretty solid selection of beer and wine available, along with the typical sodas and quite a menu of shakes – and for a little bit extra they’ll even drop some cookies in it for you. Because while dreamers may wait for things to come to them, the real go-getters make diabetes happen for themselves. Another great part about sitting outside is that on the bench he was sitting at, George’s feet couldn’t reach the ground. He is by no means tiny or Smurfish in his general outward appearance, but when you see a grown man whose feet dangle from his seat like a toddler on a toilet, you can’t help but want to snuggle him with a Spongebob blanket. Even Leila’s feet touched the ground, and she’s Filipino – a race known for their skill at Limbo contests. Awwwwwwwwwwww.

The Burger Crew awaits the test subjects.

And finally, time to unleash the burger porn upon the world. Prepare thyselves, Burger Blog readers. These are enough to transform an anorexic woman into John Goodman…The Blue Cheese Burger and Garlic Fries

Leila went with the Blue Cheese Burger – topped with a pile of crumbled blue cheese, lettuce, pickles and the “secret sauce” on a toasted egg bun. The garlic fries are so garlic-y that, yes, they come out tinted green, like the Incredible Hulk of potato options. And instead of the patty-o-cheese we witnessed at our last review, this one came with the cheese actually crumbled. George's standard

George went with his usual – the standard burger, sans extra toppings – some lettuce, onion and tomato, maybe some ketchup and mustard. He went with regular fries with a little vinegar on top, and he said they were pretty tasty. And as you can see, all washed down with a frosty PBR. This paragraph makes George sound like your 113-year-old Uncle Bosephus in Nebraska, doesn’t it? Marci and her Wisconsin Sourdough

Here’s Marci with her Wisconsin Sourdough burger – griddled mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese, mayo and barbeque sauce. It typically does come on a sourdough bun, but Marci opted for the regular toasted egg bun. And yes – after weeks of avoiding it, Marci enjoyed her first burger review so much she has opted to join the team! Not only that, but Marci was the first one to finish her burger – which by Burger Blog law means you’re required to join. We put her through the initiation and she’s now a member, complete with ID card and knowledge of the secret handshake. (hint: the secret handshake involves greasy hands) Patty Melt and Chili Cheese Fries

Above is Chris’ Patty Melt – swiss cheese, griddled onions, mayo and dijon mustard on a toasted rye. And yes, he went with the chili cheese fries as his side, and yes – they were awesome. Housemade chili, cheddar cheese and green onions. Well done, Gott’s. I believe this is the first time we’ve had chili fries included in our review, and they were a good inaugural run. The Western Bacon Blue Ring burger

Here’s Joe’s Western Bacon Blue Ring burger – topped with an onion ring, crumbled blue cheese, bacon, pickles, red onion and barbeque sauce on their standard egg bun. When Joe first took a look at the menu, he quickly exclaimed, “Has anybody taken the Western Bacon Blue Ring one yet?!? I’ll do it!!” In short, Joe was excited to try this burger. For Lent Joe has been abstaining from whiskey, so he’s had to work overtime to find harmful things to put into his body. Seriously, Joe likes to drink whiskey like an Italian Kennedy. However, a few bites of this burger and he felt his need to guzzle the sweet brown goodness subside. For at least a couple of hours. The Texas Burger and Onion Rings

And finally, my choice for the day – the Texas Burger, with Jack cheese, fresh guacamole, salsa, mayo and pickled jalapenos on the egg bun. For the first time in Buger Blog history, I managed to make a choice that didn’t involve adding a pork product on the top of my burger. And of course, we have to try the onion rings at every place we can. The burger had a nice amount of bite and spice to it, the guac was pretty fresh and while I did have to pause a few times to adjust to the spiciness, it was nothing I couldn’t handle. I am, after all, a firey Latina woman who splits her time between turning the beat around and loving to hear percussion. In all fairness, we had been expecting Gott’s to fall squarely in the circle of mediocrity, but when our food started coming up we all got excited. Imagine expecting to see “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” but then the lights go down and the title card comes up and instead it’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: Chipmunk Harder.” Yes, we were actually that excited. Because while “AatC 1” (as we hardcore chimpunkians know it) was pretty awesome, “AatC 2: The Quest For Curly’s Gold” is totally epic. And that’s what we all thought of our burger choices. We dove in, and the results were good. THAT is a tasty burger!

George was very happy with his burger and the preparation. Gott’s grinds their meat fresh daily and serves vegetarian fed beef with no antibiotics or growth hormones. They do a standard medium-well burger unless you ask otherwise. Also, if you want tomato on your burger you’ve gotta ask for it. George said it was due to bad weather hurting the tomato crop, but as always I blame the Irish.  The Texas Burger after the first bite

I went with their normal preparation on my Texas Burger and was still pretty happy. I’m normally a Medium-Rare kinda guy, but the beef quality was solid enough – not to mention the toppings on my burger spicy enough – that I didn’t notice if it was too cooked for my tastes. While not typically a fan of many things Texan – cowboy boots, pollution and firing pistols in the air to celebrate getting your G.E.D. – this burger was a right purty slab of beef. Beef Quality, or Qualibeefity: I honestly don’t know the size they do at Gott’s, but I know it’s not a 1/2 pounder. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a 1/3 lb. patty. The size was just about perfect for lunch, and the beef itself is really solid. They do offer a double cheeseburger, but whomever chooses that option would have to be a beast of a man. Or a Yeti that wandered in from the hills and hungers for flesh and somehow understands exchanging money for goods or services. In order to assign some sort of number value to the beef, let’s give it 14 “Moo’s” out of 15. You did it, Gott’s! Leila enjoys her burger.

Starchosity: Everybody was really happy with their side orders. Leila really liked the garlic fries, and they were nice and garlic-y without being overpowering. George was also happy with his regular fries, and he did drop a little vinegar on them to embrace his inner Canadian, eh. Somewhere inside that man is a mulleted 33-year-old gas station attendant who only wears hockey jerseys.Chris was pretty satisfied by the chili fries, and they were gooey and magically delicious. And Joe, Marci and myself all really liked the onion rings. Joe and Marci's burgers with onion rings

A friend from our Facebook page noted when I posted this picture a few days ago that the onion rings appear to be 99 percent batter and onion flavoring – in other words, perfect. They are definitely tasty, although the slices of onion inside are also pretty hefty. These things are basically big giant scrumptious rings of oniony goodness – i.e. a basket of rings to rule them all, or at least make me impossible to be around within 90 minutes of eating them. We couldn’t verify that they make them fresh, but if they were frozen then they’re among the best frozen rings we’ve ever come across. I award them 67 Carbtastic Points out of a possible 72.4. Greasinessosity: After our last grease bomb batch of burgers, going slightly less on the grease quotient was something we were all up for. Gott’s managed to toe that fine line between greasy and tasty, and although the burgers did get a little sloppy they weren’t overly messy. The remnants of the Texas Burger

 An extra bonus for wrapping the burgers in a bit of brown paper – it helps to keep your hands from becoming totally sloppy, and it’s a nice touch to the presentation on top of it. Even a super-messy burger concoction like the Texas Burger only required a few napkins to clean my hands back up. Also, being able to see the paper become clear in front of your eyes reminds you to quaff deeply of life, because eating like this isn’t going to earn you any world records for longevity. Don’t Know What You Got Till It’s Gone: The after-affects of our last burger were pretty bad…too much burger, too much grease and most of us spent the rest of the day trying to sleep off the mess we’d created in our lower intestines. After eating at Gott’s, not only could you actually function like a normal human being, you could conceivably do so with only a bare minimum of meat-sweating, digestion-burping or general desire to sneak under your desk and nap the day away. This is a great lunch burger, unless you enjoy spending 1-5 p.m. oozing dead cow out of your pores. Outcome: 44 percent nap-inducing. You could definitely find a way to convince yourself to hibernate for an hour or two following these things, but you could also keep moving and be a productive member of society, if you’re into that sort of thing. Presenting: Yes, it’s a cafeteria-style lunch stop, but it’s a really good one. The place is clean, the line moves pretty fast and they even give you that big metal tray, instead of a cruddy plastic one like when you were in middle school. So instead of pretending you’re back to being 12-years-old, covered in acne and wondering if anybody likes you enough to push their greasy face against yours, you can pretend you’re in a prison movie that takes place in 1948. I say go all the way and start a fight at your table and possibly sexually assault someone of the same sex while you’re at it. The line at Gott's after Noon

By the time we were all wrapped up with our burgers, we noticed a couple of things. (A), we all ate our burgers hellaciously fast because we were enjoying them so much. And (B), all of us were really happy with our burgers. Marci said hers was one of the best she’d eaten in her entire life. George loved his, and Chris said while he wasn’t completely happy with his patty melt, the fault was his own – he didn’t specify medium-rare when he ordered and he would have preferred a different cheese choice. Final outcome: Totally recommended. We didn’t expect it, but Gott’s at the Ferry Building really managed to go above and beyond. And it was also a nice touch to be able to function and move around afterwards; a few of us wandered through the Ferry Building, sampling stuff and getting some awesome stuff for later. Inside the Ferry Building

Cheese, cheese, cheese!

Joe tries some olive oil

And another quick note: readers of the Blog may have noticed that James was absent from this episode. Sadly, James was injured during an underground boxing match. You see, in his free time James is known as El Tigre Loco in the basement mixed-martial arts circles around Antioch, California. During a match with infamous fighter The Incredible Rooster, James slipped during a roundhouse kick and sprained his ankle. He plans to be back for the next trip, and we’ll be happy to see him. Thanks again to all of you who have been becoming fans on Facebook, following us on Twitter and sending us messages, e-mails and tweets with suggestions. Well, to that one guy who said we should review McDonald’s: you shut up. But the rest of you, thanks a lot. We really do appreciate it. If you’re interested in joining us on Facebook and Twitter, there are links and info on the side underneath the profiles. See you next time!

Professor Flip-Flop’s Fliptastic Flipventure

Give us any chance, we'll take it - give us any rules, we'll burgereak it

Please note – this review was written in 2010, so details may have changed, burgers may taste worse/better and we recommend double-checking location details before making a visit.

Last time here at SF Burger Central, we came up with a list of options and descriptions to give you, our loyal readers, a few ideas about where we might go and what we may sample. We even gave you a chance to vote on it. This time, we went for a more scientific route. The next time you have an important decision in your life, feel free to use our method, which is derived from an ancient mathematic equation devised by the wisest men the 12th century – clearly the laziest, drunkest century ever (c’mon – THIRD crusade? Boring!) – had to offer.Step 1: Drag feet, watch “Lost”Step 2: Oh, yeah – burgers! Step 3: Half-assedly make list of optionsStep 4: Even more half-assedly – quarter-assedly, even – make decisionStep 5: At last second, change minds and go somewhere else.That’s right, your favorite team of Burger Samplers has all the decision-making power of a 14-year-old emo girl trying to decide between the checkered “Jack Skellington” backpack or My Chemical Romance t-shirt at your local Hot Topic. When you spend your days making life-or-death decisions, like whether a cougar with lazer eyes could defeat a shark with brain-grenades in a fight in space, you lose track of time. However, no amount of laziness can keep us from our burgers, goshdarnit. We made a date to consume beef and we stuck to it. In fact, yesterday was a proud moment for our little team. Y’know that awesome feeling in your favorite teams when they somehow manage to gather in one spot even though they’re scattered all over the place? Like when Captain America yells “Avengers Assemble!” or when the old dude with the cigar would blow into a seashell on “The A-Team” and somewhere, a naked B.A. Baracus would be in the woods, eating a raw deer he’d just killed with his bare hands and he’d run like a wolfman to go put on his chains and say things about “fools” and pitying those same fools? That’s how we rolled yesterday.Before lunch we were all busy around the city. Joe had a doctor’s appointment, James was reading to kids, Chris was teaching nunchuck safety to homeless people and my wife and I were having crazy tantric sex. Oh, and George. George was drinking. Regardless, when the time came we arrived at our chosen destination, tummies empty and faces ready to be stuffed with beef. And we chose Flipper’s in the Hayes Valley neighborhood.Awwwww, how quaint.

Hayes Valley isn’t one of the more well-known neighborhoods in San Francisco, but it is a nice little area. While it doesn’t have the rugged shirtless mustachio’d cruising-ness of the Castro, or the general odor of unwashed former noodle chefs sitting on the sidewalk playing cardboard banjos and yelling at you for pot money like the Haight, there’s plenty of solid cuisine and it’s a worth a visit. The restaurant itself is a clean, decent-sized joint with quite a bit of outside seating as well. From the reviews on Yelp, I see it’s also relatively popular as a brunch spot, mostly because they offer ten dollar bottomless mimosas, and if you can promise 20-somethings – or, let’s face it, early-30-somethings like myself – as much cheap bubbly mixed with orange juice as you can guzzle into your poverty hole, you’re going to draw crowds. By the time a person has had some mediocre eggs and toast and slugged down a half-gallon of gas station Cristal, there are really only two options: write a review on Yelp that consists of “I lov Fli9pers blergh,” or take a nap. Or both – probably in that order. But they bill themselves primarily as “gourmet burgers,” so we formidable burger consumers decided to give them a day in burger court. Unfortunately, early impressions were not great. As George and James were running a little late, the rest of us ordered up a plate of onion rings and chicken wings. While we may wait for the burgers, neither sleet nor snow will keep us from stuffing our face with calories, which I believe was Ben Franklin’s original version of the Postal Service slogan. And besides, we have sworn a blood oath to our Norse god Odin to always sample the onion rings wherever possible. And you don’t screw with a blood oath to Odin. That dude controls THUNDER. Flipper's Onion Rings

The rings had obviously spent a long, luxurious life being frozen in a large plastic bag after having been flash-fried in a processing plant in Idaho. And then, in an effort to fancify them, like a cheap whore in a new red dress headin’ out to land her a husband, they sprinkled them with parmesan cheese. Chicken wings and a pickel, everybody's favorite combo

And above, the wings. Not exactly the large, meaty wings you’d hope for, and then the addition of a pickle. I love pickles. But when you’re eating wings, you expect some other sort of coupling – some carrots or celery, perhaps. But a pickle? That’s like combining Class and the singer Fergie, or age-appropriate clothing and the singer Fergie. Or acting ability, and the singer Fergie. You get the point. Plus, a red herring of appetizers is the addition of gallons of Ranch dressing. I’m from the midwest, also known as Home of the “You’ll Drink Your Ranch And Like It” policy, and my mother fed me a gallon milk jug of Ranch each and every night before bedtime, just like my uncle, father, grandfather and great-grandfathers before me, god rest all of their young souls after calling them home to the Lord at such inexplicably young ages. But Ranch is a pretty big sign that the joint isn’t exactly confident in their offerings when they have to scoop up several large tubs of the stuff in order to help ease it down your gullet. It’s sort of the cuisine equivalent of a doctor grabbing his extra-large tube of gel and telling you to get on your hands and knees on the table, with your knees up to your elbows. However, George and James arrived shortly after, and we all made our selections from Flipper’s pretty large menu.

The service at Flipper’s is pretty nonchalant. Our waitress made almost no impression on me, although I will admit I can be a narcissistic douchebag. She stopped by with our beverages and food and refilled our drinks fairly often, and she also dealt with one of us behaving like Little Lord Fauntleroy at one point very well, but more on that later. While we were waiting for our food, George mentioned that he needed to make a phone call. Unlike most of us, though, George doesn’t own a cell phone. As far as he’s concerned, you can take your Twitbook and Myface it up your FriendTube hole, thank you very much. But this also means when he’s out and about and needs to make a phone call, he needs to find a payphone. The last time payphones were easy to find around San Francisco was probably somewhere between when them thar hills were full of gold, the 1910 outbreak of Copper Madness and the reopening of San Francisco’s original gin speakeasy, “The Boastful Chinaman,” following prohibition. Y’know, a time when gentleman wore spats, ladies didn’t shamefully expose their ankles and all hats were shiny. George is old school.His other option is to ask his friends for the use of their phone, and honestly all of us were excited just to see George with a cell phone in his hand. Chris hands over his Blackberry

Like a space monkey investigating the obelisk

After making his call, George mentioned he’d been at dinner with the family of a friend and that their young son owns an iPhone, and when he mentioned some video on YouTube the kid pulled it up in seconds, and how can phones do that and kids these days and that goldern rockajuke music and get offa my lawn. And before long, we were all showing him the miracle of modern technology.Phones! Phones! PHONES! What to DO about all these phones?!?

And although he was amazed at what modern cell phones can do, I think he’s stuck in his ways of continuing to hunt down payphones and fighting off the rabid hobos who use their housings as their bunkbeds in order to make a call. And before we knew it, the food was out. As always, if you have impressionable young kids in the room you may want to make them leave, because I’m about to give you a heaping helping of appetite-arousing burger porn, like the fat John Holmes I am. The Clipper Flipper

Above: James’ Clipper Flipper with melted jack cheese, avocado and bacon, cooked medium well with steak fries. While the bacon was nowhere near the behemoth slices we’ve seen already in our 30 million years of burger questing, James was happy with the flavor. Also, the avocado wasn’t the best or brightest we’ve seen thus far. The Papa Flip

Next up for your cramhole, Chris’ Papa Flip, topped with a tangy barbecue sauce, aged cheddar, bacon and grilled onions, cooked medium rare. Chris also went for the optional curly fries, as did a few others – steak fries are the norm. The California Sunshine - Bro!

Here’s Joe with his California Sunshine, with some aged cheddar, avocado and alfalfa sprouts. As you can see, Joe is totally psyched up to bro down on it, and at no point did it harsh his mellow as he totally gnar’d it, holla! You may have also noticed, Joe’s is the first one without a cute “flip” title. Most of the menu is in that pattern, and then towards the bottom somebody decided, “Hey, let’s FLIP the script, amIright holyCRAP I’m hilarious! Anyway, I can’t think of anymore ‘flip’ names, so we’re not doing that anymore. Cool?”The Chili Flip. Hello gutbomb, my old friend...

Next up, and certainly not last in the pantheon of OhMyGod, my wife’s selection of the Chili Flip, covered in cheddar and then a healthy scoop of chili. This one remains in the “Flip” title pantheon, but is justified, I think. In our experience, your stomach, intestines and loved ones will be flipping and flopping and running away like villagers at Frankenstein with pitchforks and torches after combining the venerable powers of a burger and chili together in one straight dose of lunchtime fuel. And yup – it was my lovely bride who made this selection. Yesterday we inaugurated her as an official member of the burger club, although it was nothing special. After she finished the above monster, we all agreed she may as well join our ranks. It was kind of like that look of realization you saw on that friend in college who had been calling himself bisexual for four years, and in that time took one ugly girl on a date to Applebee’s, but slept with 4,287 dudes, and then he finally just starts saying he’s gay. Yup, coming along for all the burger trips – she’s on the team. We’re happy to have her. The Maui Treat

Here’s my Maui Treat, topped with tangy barbeque sauce, pineapple and diced ham. I swore before we went that I wouldn’t end up getting another burger with a pork product as a topping, then the sweet angel of pigflesh called my name yet again. I am a weak, flabby man. Bow before King George of Burgertown

And last, but determined not to be least, was George. As always, George wants none of that frou-frou extra on his burger. He got a plain burger, no cheese or toppings other than the standard lettuce, onion and mustard. Then he asked for a bowl of chili. Then, when it arrived with a sprinkle of cheese, he asked the waitress to take it back and bring one with no cheese. Then he asked for some extra napkins. Then he asked for some extra pickle spears. Then he commanded the serving wench to clear the banquet room of peasants as a man of his stature should not have to dine with the ruffians and their garbage stew. To her credit, our waitress took all of it in a pretty easy stride, although to also be fair to George he was pretty casual about all of it. George has the air of a man who has sent food back to the kitchen many times, but has been cool/drunk/easygoing enough about it that I’ll bet nobody has ever spit in his food and just thought he was an awesome dude. Of course, George is among the few people to have been to the same booth at House of Prime Rib enough times to wear a butt-groove in it like the sofa of a couch-dwelling bong-ripping Xbox junkie. The dude is pretty mellow, but we all got a kick out of watching him act like Whitney Houston on a cocaine jag before a concert and expecting everything yellow to have been removed from his sight. And now for the nitty gritty. For those new to the Burger Blog, here’s the basic criteria: we talk about whatever we want in whatever order we feel like. James: available for burger commercials, kid's parties and Bar Mitvahs

Beat the Meat: This was the first place we’ve been as a group that had no option to upgrade on beef quality. None of us really complained about the quality of the meat, but we did have several people who weren’t totally 100% happy with how their burger was cooked to their specifications, i.e. James’ burger was overcooked, and so was George’s. Not “burned to hell” overcooked, but above their preferred level. The patties come standard as a 1/3 pounder, with one burger on the menu weighing in at a 1/2 lb. if you need that extra oomph of energy to help you run the race, win the situp competition or nap harder than you’ve ever napped in your life.Being a lazy, lazy man, I have no idea or the desire to lookup how we’ve judged this before, but I would say that out of the three joints we’ve been at so far, Flipper’s comes in third. Let’s give it 44 Beef Points out of 99. California Sunshine runnin' through my brain

Sides Comin’ Atcha: None of the side dishes were freshly made, which isn’t necessarily a crime but the onion rings weren’t even worth the gas they produced in my colon. But luckily, the fries were all solid. Both the steak fries and curly fries were tasty, with the curly fries adding a little spicy bite. Either would be a solid addition to a burger, depending on your typical preference. I award them a relatively middling award, due to their mediocre onion rings: 13.8 starch points out of an available 30.9993. Not totally shameful, but I’m guessing if we’d dipped further in that appetizer menu of fried cheese and jalapeno poppers, we would have discovered a great look at what would essentially be the freezer contents of a stoner who had just made a visit to his local grocery store after stopping by his dealer. Yon Princess George in his Land of Meat

Greased Lightning: It ain’t a quality burger without the right amount of grease, and Flipper’s came through. Most of us were able to keep our burgers together during consumption, although mine was definitely falling apart. The buns just couldn’t handle all the grease, which may be the 3rd gayest phrase I’ll type all day.They weren’t total gutbombs, however, and to be fair my burger was topped with a barbeque sauce AND diced pork, so any complaints I make about grease is essentially the guy in McDonald’s with three Filet-O-Fishes on his tray complaining his Diet Coke is too big. I’d put Flipper’s grease quotient right on the money. Who says you can't look manly sucking a straw?

In the Wake: Everybody who has ever tried street food in Barbados, participated in a burrito-eating contest or been punched in the balls twice during a street ninja battle to prove your father wasn’t dishonorable knows that sinking feeling as your body adjusts: one minute, you’re fine – the next, OOOF. Your head beads with sweat, your hands tremble, your sphincter begins to tighten. This can happen with a burger in the aftermath. How about Flipper’s? Both my wife and I were noticably groggy following our burgers, but I’m also giving them credit for the fact that Leila and I both covered our choices in either pork or chili, which is somehow a metaphor for our marriage that I may not be ready to deal with. Nobody else mentioned any ill effects later on, although George noted he didn’t feel the need to eat much for the rest of the day. And I’m guessing Joe still ran 14 miles while doing jump-crunches or something. That dude is healthy. I give them a greasy rating of 19 Panda Expresses out of 42. Not bad. A gleeful soveriegn

Our Final Decision: None of us were disappointed in our burger, and there was nothing to make us hate it. But the overwhelming consensus was that, out of the three places we’ve reviewed as a team, this place is definitely soundly at number three. It’s a pleasant spot and if I lived in the neighborhood, I can imagine I’d be eating breakfast there regularly, getting drunk on bottomless mimosas there frequently like the mincing P.Diddy fairy I am, and stopping by once in a while for a burger. But as far as destination burgers go, we were not convinced. In other words, you could do a lot worse than stopping at Flipper’s for a burger, but if you’re taking the time to stop by somewhere specific, we would recommend one of the other spots we’ve been more. Surveying His Kingdom

Thanks again for reading, everybody. Feel free to leave comments and let us know what you think! You can also now follow us on Twitter!