Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm shutting down this site!!!

And moving to

It'll still redirect from, but if you are following this actual address, make the switch!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Champa St. Burger Works

Last week, I visited a place I've trying to avoid: Champa Street Burger Works (hereafter referred to as CSBW).  Here's why.  I got a coupon from them in the mail, and I didn't like the vibe it was putting out.  Weird, I know...but my suspicions were somewhat confirmed when I checked their Yelp reviews.  Although there were a few good reviews, on the whole it seemed like people were saying, "It's not bad."  Hardly a compliment.

Well, I'm a snob.  I'm an arrogant burger-consumer.  But I'm an adult, this is America, and I feel like I owe it to myself to screen the burgers that I feast upon.  But my conscience got the better of me, so I swallowed my pride and my friend Jeff and I used a BOGO coupon on a couple combo meals.  We went to the Belmar location in Lakewood, but you can also find a CSBW in Parker.  If anyone actually lives out there.

You know, it wasn't too shabby.  Mind you, it wasn't amazing...and I get the sense they might be the type of place that has bad days and good days...but if I were stranded on a desert island and they had a huge shopping complex there and the shopping complex had a CSBW, I wouldn't be overly disheartened.

The beef is from Anderson meats, and they use a 80/20 chuck.  No blends here, but they make the patties in house.  They use a not-often-seen dual grill setup, much like 5 Star Burgers in Southglenn: they start the burger on an open flame grill to impart some grill marks and flavor, then the burgers are finished off on a traditional flat top.  Makes a medium-rare burger hard to come by, and our burgers ended up in the medium to medium-well range.  Still acceptably juicy, however!

The buns are very buttery but inconsistently toasted...your basic white egg bun, and decent flavor if toasted well.  Mine was a bit too cold still.

Here's a great aspect of their cheeseburgers: 2 slices of cheese!  In fact, ratio was probably the best part of this burger.  Great meat to bun to cheese ratio.

Lastly, the produce.  They have a little bar where you can doctor up your burger.  (Anyone been to Fuddruckers?)  Not extensive, but they've got LTO, jalepenos, banana peppers, and some condiments.  I hate shredded iceberg, by the way.

So, all in all, with better consistency in bun toasting and burger temperature...I think CSBW could make an acceptable burger.  I'd have to agree with my fellow Yelp reviewers: "It's not bad!"

Pics for your perusing pleasure:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Del Frisco's

I found myself at Del Frisco's last week for a business lunch. Unfortunately, I didn't have the guts to pull out my camera and start snapping pictures of my I can't prove I was there. But I did order the $13 prime burger and fries. You won't see it on their dinner menu, but I guess you can find it in the bar if you go at night.

I ordered it medium rare, and it came out juicy and hot. The waitress told me they use 100% tenderloin prime beef and grind it themselves, then broil it. My burger had a nice crust, and came topped with well-melted cheddar cheese. They've got some other cheese options that I didn't bother with because they weren't yellow (that's tongue-in-cheek...I like bleu, swiss, jack at times).

The burger came with a very fresh thick cut beefsteak tomato slice, some lettuce, and onion. Also included were some crispy ridged pickle chips dusted with some fancy pants green herbs. Wonderfully fresh produce.

Overall, the burger was cooked well, was juicy and flavorful, and a good experience. The first bite was the best, but I started to get a little bored as I methodically gutted the second half of the burger. That's my fault, though...I just don't think I was in a real "burger" mood (which they are no excuses for, and I berated myself for it).

If you've got $13 and need to schmooze some people over lunch, try the Del Frisco's burger.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I am still of the opinion that Freddy's is more of a Steak 'n Shake copycat than anything, but that doesn't mean you can't get a decent burger there.  Here's a review:


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Burger Thoughts - Week of April 15th

I got a great livingsocial deal last week.  So I went to Tony's Market and had them grind me up some fresh beef.  I requested 80% chuck (he used a fatty prime cut), and 20% brisket.  I had to buy 3 pounds since it was a custom order, but no matter.  It was a big, elongated ball of glorious, bright red, mercilessly shredded bovine flesh.  An artist's canvas if I ever saw one.

I had enough money to buy some thick-cut Boar's Head American cheese...a few fresh tomatoes and onions...a head of lettuce...and a Toblerone just to push me over the dollar limit of my coupon.  I don't know much about Toblerones.

Jeff (my burger comrade and confidant) picked us up some burger buns from a local bakery, and my buddy Brent (a self-made chef and flavor guru) concocted a batch of his burger sauce (mustard, mayo, ketchup, paprika, spicy sweet pickles, and caramelized onions -- the proportions are jealously guarded in a recipe vault).

All told, we created some tasty towers of pure American ingenuity.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pat LaFrieda beef

Pat LaFrieda beef is well known on the east coast, primarily New York City.  Personally, I've never eaten it, but it gets great reviews and is used in well-respected burgers.

Here's the thing.  You can now get Pat LaFrieda beef through US Foods, a nationwide food service that probably delivers food to a ton of restaurants you've been to.  Check out this LINK.

A buddy of mine just tasted it here in Denver.  We were both skeptical since it comes pre-formed and pre-ground.  But, here are my buddy Jeff's thoughts on it:

Okay - 8 oz, pre formed, Pat LaFrieda patty.  He doesn't tell you the fat content (but it was for sure 80/20 or more fat) He doesn't tell you the exact blend... but they said some chuck, some short rib, and then other cuts.

Salted and rubbed with a little oil and then thrown on the grill.  Nice crust b/c of the oil... grilled to a perfect medium rare.

REALLY good flavor, and just the right amount of juiciness. 
We had these buns that were part hamburger bun part croissant.  It was a little sweet, a little flakey, but the bottom was soft and held up to the moisture.  

On the burger was a melted slice of blue jack, part blue cheese (flavor) and part jack cheese (melt).  chopped raw white onion, thin sliced dill pickles, shredded green leaf lettuce (really nice touch) NO SAUCE...

Overall top 3 burger I have had in 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Beer Kitchen - Westport, Kansas City

This guest review comes to us from a man who has taught me a lot about meats.  My own dear Pa.  He reviews a spot in Kansas City that I am pumped to try next time I've got a spare meal and I find myself in Missouri...:

One week ago I ate at Beer Kitchen in Westport, MO ... the true artist/hippie part of town. I've been going to Beer Kitchen ever since it opened, but never got their burger. Last week forever changed my inner calibration of how I judge burgers. When the upper limit of the scale gets its roof torn off like a double-wide in a tornado, you know you have to recalibrate. What are the ramifications? Some burgers that languished on the bottom end of the scale fall into oblivion ... but small loss.

Anywho, back to the burger. The burger meat they use comes from a local butcher named McGonigal's; famous for their high quality steaks, smoked meats, etc. But this blend of 3 cuts is different and special. I can't remember all three, but short-ribs is in the mix.

Although The Baron is a stickler for American cheese, I chose a mild Tillamook cheddar (Oregon) for this baby ... and was that a winning combination! Because beauty is in the mouth of the beholder, I also chose raw onion instead of the menu item 'carmelized red onion jam'.

The one down side was the limp, thin piece of fancy lettuce they topped it with. When it's fancy and thin, the heat from the meat wilts it into nothingness.

Besides those items, nothing ... I put nothing else on my burger; no pickles, no mustard, no mayo, no ketchup, no nothing. Why? Here's my whole philosophy: Beer Kitchen makes their own ketchups (3?) from scratch! Instead of saucing up the bun with ketchup and allowing it to soak it up before I get to the last bites, I prefer to put a pool of ketchup on my plate and dip each bite ... preserving the bun AND making certain just the right amount is on each bite.

You know a burger is good with the first bite. You know a burger is great when the last bite makes you moan as loudly as the first. And that's what this burger had going for it. It's as if they put an additive in the meat that never allowed me to become desensitized to the flavor ... bite #1? Incredible ... bite #last? Incredible.

Hands down, the best burger I've had in KC. Prior to Beer Kitchen, Westside Local (near downtown KC) had top spot. I'll go back and review that one in the coming month. 

Guest Reviews and Sundry Items

The last few weeks I have taken to cooking a lot of burgers at home, which has unfortunately cut down on the new reviews. (Budget concerns -- With Mrs. Baron and the two young barons-in-training, the "new burger" budget line occasionally takes a hit to buy actual groceries.)

But, I'd be remiss if I didn't give you a few bullet points about burger-related items that I've been mulling over lately:

  • My buddy Brent has been working on a sauce I'd like to try - chopped caramelized onions and spicier pickles are in the mix.  Sounds intriguing.
  • I really want to re-visit Park Burger, Lark Burger, and probably Crave.
  • Fresh, crisp iceberg lettuce is underrated
  • Fat content in burgers is so crucial.  PLEASE don't make burgers at home with less than 80/20 beef.
  • I don't want In-n-Out to come to Denver.  It'd ruin the novelty for me.  Like when Krispy Kreme Doughnuts arrived -- so cool for about a month, and now nobody cares.
In light of the fact that I've not got a new review on deck, PLEASE SUBMIT GUEST REVIEWS IF YOU HAVE THEM!  Even a short review with a quick photo or two will delight this blog's 7 regular readers...