San Diego Burger Week 2016 - recap
Has anyone noticed that I can be quite the glutton sometimes? Yes, it was quite a while ago yet I've been a bit hesitant to "prove" this with an actual post. Case in point: San Diego Burger Week. How many $5 burgers can one eat in a period of ten days? Burger, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways, or rather, visits!
Small Bar - To start the week off, there was the Sunrise Burger... Sausage flavored popped into mind on first bite although the patty itself wasn't that seasoned to me. The bacon egg and cheese more than made up for it - Dennis really enjoyed this one. The yolk was not runny enough to make a big mess so sorry, not much egg porn there. The part that reverbated the most was the softest and fluffiest bun ever plus the baked on cheese bits. You win best buns of the week!
Royale with Cheese - This food stand is hidden in the back of Park and Rec. Because they happened to be short a cook that night, the wait time was 30 minutes. In the meantime, I chatted up some new friends at the bar until Dennis joined me later. After burger delivery, one bite made me into quite the happy foodie. The patty seasoning was on point and combined with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese, pickles and some amazing "special" sauce. A bonus: out of this world delicious tots that were crunchy and salted with a slight sugar touch! Now imagine them TOGETHER! omg.
The Rabbit Hole - I had the day off so met a friend for lunch. The Chuck Norris burger cooked medium rare was seasoned and super juicy although a bit oiler due to the ground chuck. The bun held up well. The huge chunk of lettuce was a thoughtful touch for any bunnies that wanted to visit here (just kidding). I ordered the duck wings to share but turns out my friend was too full. Sooooo I ate all those finger-licking saucy duck wings on my own and didn't have ANY complaints.
South Park Abbey - Good company is always appreciated so I met up with Mary, Jake and T from This Tasty Life. The same burger and wings combo was available from last year so I opted to chip in for the dirty wings before realizing I had no cash that day. I O U wings. I admit I didn't eat a burger on this visit but Dennis and I did try it last year.
Station Tavern - A few blocks away, I went solo and ordered a black bean burger, very tasty and chock full of healthies. A little more char or crust to the patty would have pleased my mouth more. Another plus was the cilantro based sauce spread over the bottom bun. Good stuff but I still missed the meat!
Gaslamp Tavern - Our downtown burger crawl started here with a classic burger - patty cooked medium and great salt and pepper flavor. A light mayo dressing plus garlic chive aioli sauce gave it some charm under the sweet and buttery soft bun. It was simple but satisfactory.
Quad Alehouse - Apparently you travel up to the third floor to reach Quad Alehouse. There, the burger meat was paired with moist pulled pork, though not as good as ours (we might be partial). The white sauce was excellent though not mixed throughout. Overall, I expected a little more out of it, especially with all the components! Maybe the juices soggied up the buttery light brioche too fast? Dennis enjoyed a Michter's Rye Whiskey old fashioned on the side.
Andaz Hotel - We headed up to the rooftop area for our last stop of the day. Unfortunately heartbreaker burger did exactly what it was called... with dry meat and overtoasted bun. I wanted runny egg and creamy avocado but it didn't pop or spread out... *sob*
This was our break day, except that we defaulted to a burger when our original order fell through at Tableside Commons. They were not participating in burger week though.
The Brew Project - This burger was a special off the menu. My biggest complaint was that my burger did NOT look as sultry as the advertised pics. Look at that tiny onion ring. I did squeal in delight over the roasted tomatoes and bottom layer of blue cheese! The patty had a nice peppery heat but was cooked almost rare in some parts. The juiciness soaked into the bun even faster than at Quad Alehouse! The side fries were thick but decent.
Nunu's was a few blocks down with a generic bun, alluring onion ring, and thousand island style sauce. The smoke stack burger was well received as a classic burger but fell short compared to the creativeness and taste of prior burgers.
Carnitas Snack Shack - There was no line after 9pm on a Tuesday but perhaps everyone was out having tacos! This was the smallest burger of the week and thankfully added variety in taste due to the seared pork patty. The bread was doing its best to hold everything together but it was still a squirter! I wish it were as magical as my first visit but I still scarfed it down! To be honest, I probably could have eaten two. I filled some of the void with pistachio bread pudding from West Coast Tavern (sorry no picture) but ended up waking especially hungry the next morning!
This was a real break from burgers!
Bub's at the Gaslamp - A friend and I split the Carolina burger, which was as pleasing as the sliders from Taste of Downtown. My favorite part was the sweet yet tangy bbq sauce! Then we headed off for some dancing at Moonshine Flats!
This was the day it POURED. I braved the rain for more!
Waypoint Public - This off-the-menu burger had minimal seasoning and no wow factor plus the $5 side of Kennebec fries upgrade was pulled up only because of the cheese sauce. One high and mighty note was the fried green tomatoes appetizer which my friend Mercy from Baron's BBQ Beat had ordered. At least we got one hit!
Tostadas North Park - I went solo again and walked a mile to the next stop. Their shrimp burger contained four shrimp, mushrooms, cheese and leafy greens! I could taste a slight kick to the included white sauce but unfortunately for me, their three additional house salsas were all spicy as well! I found this burger to be too peculiar and fall apart but I would recommend instead the tostadas!
The final day. And then I can stop this silly self challenge.
Mish Mash. The deal was 2 for $5 so we ordered one of each slider (original, pb&j, jalapeño) plus an extra original. Yum to the cheese, wisps of fried onion, and juicy patty in the original. The sweet and salty pb&j struck a pleasant chord against the meat too! The jalapeño were crunchy raw but didn't challenge my spicy senses!
Florent - I tried an unimpressive SDRW lunch here earlier this year but gave it a second chance for burger week's trio of sliders. The patties were slightly oily but gushing in the dinner rolls! We loved the Hawaiian style one with the little bits of pineapple (not too sweet overall) topped with thinly sliced ham. I savored the buttery rich foie gras version yet was most drawn to the sweet fruity jam underneath! The lamb belly version didn't seem to meld together with the rest of the slider though and had this strange apricot-like fruit underneath, perhaps dehydrated? Still, a big improvement on taste from my last visit.
Whiskey Girl provided us the final half pound burger. Stringy onion crisps, a banging Jack Daniels BBQ sauce and flaky layered bun made for a great finish to burger week.
And finally burger week was over. Even though I felt the overload of calories, I really enjoyed visiting "new to us" places during San Diego Burger Week. And surprisingly, I wasn't as burgered out as the previous year! Maybe I'm too good at this now.
Another plus... I won giftcards from the CityBeat Instagram contest for eating so much. How often does THAT happen? This means I get to revisit some of the participating restaurants! YES! =D