Category Archives: Fast Food

Protein Style

I don’t always eat burgers – in fact, it’s a rare occurence – but when I do, it’s got to be In N Out.

To those who don’t know, In N Out has a secret menu with some popular items like their Animal Fries (fries topped with their famous sauce and grilled onions) and the Protein Style. Protein Style is basically their burger but wrapped with lettuce leaves instead of the regular burger bun. I got it –

In N Out

 

– and I love it.

The cooked beef patty juxtaposed with the light, fresh lettuce is just heaven in my mouth.

Eating the Big Apple

When I plotted a graph of my monthly food expenditures for the past year, a friend noticed a spike in the month of July and asked, “Was that when you went to New York?”. He was spot on. My friends and I had some pretty decent meals to say the least and here are some of the more memorable ones we had:

1) Shake Shack
During this second trip to New York, I had time to check out Shake Shack in Leicester Square. The square itself is a pretty sweet location to just sit on the bench and chill with your friends (and maybe some squirrels) while you devour that hard-earned Shake Shack burger, a trophy from your 30 minutes of waiting.

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Verdict? Pretty good. However, it has yet to usurp In N Out from its throne in my heart.  Maybe I’m too impatient to wait that long for a burger, or maybe I’m just biased towards the west coast. My friend absolutely fell in love with Shake Shack though and was extremely eager to make another visit to this establishment.

2) The Halal Guys
Yay to vendor food! Its location made it an ideal lunch stop before my visit to the Museum of Modern Art.
Long line? Yes. Overrated? Maybe. Bang for your buck? Absolutely. For $6, you get a chicken rice plate that is worth two meals (or one very satisfying meal if you have a hearty appetite).

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My recommendation comes with two warnings though:
1) The hot sauce is the spiciest shit. And you know that I am dead serious because I rarely use expletives to describe things and least of all, food.
2) One bowl is rumored to be roughly equivalent to 2000 calories. It is up to you what to do with this information…

3) Ippudo Ramen
My friend and I walked into this restaurant at an odd hour for lunch, about 3PM, and successfully avoided the long line that I’ve heard can go up to 2 hours. We were instantly seated and I proceeded to ordering my first twenty dollar bowl of ramen in my life.

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A little skimpy with ingredients, but the noodle and broth were great. My favorite was actually the egg, half-boiled to perfection.

4) John’s Pizzeria
I used to believe that restaurants within the vicinity of main tourist attractions are tourist traps with mediocre food. For a place nested pretty close to Times Square, this restaurant sure has fine pizza. Absolutely love the thin crust and all that cheesy goodiness.

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5) Kale Salad
Nothing out of this world but I never knew that a simple kale salad with golden raisins, pine nuts and lemon dill dressing could taste this appetizing. Perhaps my body was just intensely craving for some greens after nearly a week of nearly everything but vegetables.

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Chelsea market is a great spot to hit if you, like me, enjoy looking at food. The garden in the second floor balcony is really worth checking out too. Here are a few sights in the market:

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The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. I was definitely tempted to get a whole lobster or a lobster sandwich.

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Meating in Austin

Honestly, I am usually not a super huge fan of food like hot dogs, burgers and barbecued meat. However, there was no way I would pass up the opportunity to try these while I was in Texas. With so many people in the South loving their meat, I just had to find out what was so special about their burgers and what nots over here. Can their food convert a not-so-avid meat eater to a a meat-hungry carnivore?

Bratwurst @ The Best Wurst, Sixth Street 

Bratwurst This bratwurst came from a food truck on Sixth Street, a street lined with bars and clubs. The sausage and the sauerkraut were good but the best part was their curry ketchup. Call me a noob but this was my first time having curry ketchup and I absolutely loved it!

Beef Brisket Sandwich @ Salt Lick, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Beef Brisket Sandwich

 Perhaps I should have lined up for two hours at Franklin’s for what is supposedly the best barbecue or ate at Rudy’s which is a local favorite but I did not. My laziness to go out of my way for good meat has ended up with me stuffing myself with whatever barbecue meat I could find at the airport, half an hour before leaving Austin for good. For airport and barbecue food, Salt Lick is actually pretty good bang for your buck. I have had meat-loving friends who really enjoyed this sandwich but the meat was not quite impressive enough to make a not-so-avid meat lover go crazy.

Everyone, and by that I mean every single Austinite that I have had the chance to talk to about food, raves about Hopdoddy’s. This gourmet burger bar is well known not just for their burgers but their milkshakes too. Thinking a burger alone was sinful enough, I decided to skip the milkshake. Lots of people rave about their Primetime Burger, which had way more meat than I imagined.

Primetime Burger @ Hopdoddy’s Burger Bar, Anderson St

Primetime Burger

Primetime Burger

 Honestly think that was hyped up way too much but hey, I’m not a meat person.

Unhealthy Vegetarian for a Day

My appreciation for vegetarian and vegan food has grown a lot since I have been in California. If you think vegan equals super healthy and bland food, this picture may make you think twice…

Space Cowboy @ Saturn Cafe, Berkeley

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The Space Cowboy features a burger with veggie patty, onion rings, fake bacon, mayo and regular vegetables found in burgers like lettuce and tomatoes. The patty itself was good but I thought the fake bacon had a weird crumbly texture to it. Still a pretty good burger considering it is vegetarian, and it gave me the illusion that I was eating ‘healthy’ fast food.

Bongo Burger

Persian  Burger @ Bongo Burger

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Fast Food Fix

Someone back at home once told me that the best burger he had ever eaten was Carl’s Jr Portobello Mushroom Burger. I decided to give Carl’s Jr a shot and I have to say that their burgers are pretty tasty and savoury. I still have reservations about declaring the best burger ever, but that guy did not lie about it being good and it still left a good impression on me.

I also decided to stop by Five Guys near the UCLA campus. What I really like about Five Guys is the fact that you get to choose as many toppings and sauces as you want  from their list of fifteen. I went a little overboard with the toppings, which resulted in a very soggy and non-photogenic burger. The flavour and savouriness of the burger still made up for the bun’s sogginess. I would say it was a good trade-off. This burger would have been perfect if it had Bongo Burger’s warm and seed-toasted buns.

As for the french fries, I liked the ones from Carl’s Jr more than the ones from Five Guys. Five Guys’ tasted a little too starchy and clumpy for my liking, but I guess that’s a matter of personal preference.

Needless to say, I have had enough burgers and french fries for the month, unless an In N Out cheeseburger should  somehow come my way 🙂