Everyone loves to hate Yelp, but I have a confession to make: it’s the most used app on my phone. While individual restaurant reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt, I have found the “Hot & New” and “Nearby” functions surprisingly useful for discovering under-the-radar spots like Super Burger.
With 300 glowing reviews and a very respectable 4.5 star rating, Super Burger kept appearing whenever I searched for notable restaurants within a mile radius of my home. Once I perused the bevy of burger-licious images and skimmed through the write-ups, Super Burger’s charms could not be denied—I needed to eat here immediately.
Super Burger, which is located on the corner of Altadena and Villa in Pasadena, has been around for years. However, it wasn’t until Jean and Ben Khe took over the al fresco stand in 2009 that word began to spread about their incredible burgers.
Continue reading ‘Super Burger – Pasadena’
With its tremendous reputation, tiny space (just 1,400-square-feet), and no reservation policy, Au Cheval is one of the more difficult seats to snag in Chicago. After failing to score a table without a tortuously long wait several evenings in a row, I decided that dining right when the doors opened at 11 AM was my best bet. Sure enough, I was seated without a hitch at that early an hour.
Opened in 2012 by restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff (Gilt Bar, Doughnut Vault, Maude’s Liquor Bar, Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf), Au Cheval is the quintessential upscale diner. Sodikoff and Executive Chef Jason Vaughan (L20, A16) have dreamed up a sensational menu featuring updated diner classics and globally-influenced fare. The execution is phenomenal, surprising and delighting diners at every turn.
Joining The Astronomer and me for our super-early lunch was our friend Britta. More bellies means more smiles and more food—everyone wins!
Continue reading ‘Au Cheval Bar & Diner – Chicago’
When A Hamburger Today discovered burger “greatness” in my neighborhood a few months back (“Classic Burger Joint Greatness at Jake’s of Pasadena“), I immediately bookmarked the spot with a future lunch date in mind.
I’ve walked past this ruby red, burger-slangin’ hut in Old Pasadena dozens of times over the years, but it wasn’t until reading this piece of positive reportage that I was motivated to sit down for a meal. It was just the nudge I needed.
I am not sure what Jake’s menu was like when it first opened its doors in 1947, but these days it’s a build-your-own-burger situation supplemented by a half dozen composed “Signature Burgers.”
When my lunch date and I entered the restaurant, we were greeted with order forms on clipboards and pencils to make our mark. A friendly waiter slash cashier picked up the forms from our table as soon as we finished filling them out.
In addition to burgers for each of us, Nastassia and I shared a basket of truly fantastic onion rings ($3.49). The batter, crazy-crisp with nary a trace of grease, made these irresistible.
Continue reading ‘Jake’s Burgers – Pasadena’
Instead of driving straight from Pasadena to Thousand Oaks for a family gathering a few weeks back, The Astronomer and I took a roundabout route through Burbank then to Chatsworth for doughnuts, burgers, and more doughnuts. We rarely, if ever, travel this far north and west, so we wanted to make the trip worth our while.
What was really terrific about this jaunt was that it felt like a legitimate road trip even though we never left county boundaries. The vastness of Los Angeles never ceases to impress me.
My heart welled up with pure joy as we approached the bright yellow building on Devonshire Street. The Munch Box has been around since 1956 and is on the Cultural Heritage Commission‘s list as one of the best surviving examples of Googie architecture.
Today, the stand is owned by Buck Barker, his wife, Claire, and their two children, Julie and Andrew. Mr. Barker bought the eatery in 1985 from his uncle, John Kent, who was the restaurant’s original owner.
The menu hasn’t changed too much since The Munch Box first opened 57 years ago. While many diners were downing dogs this afternoon, The Astronomer and I stuck to the hamburgers; it was what we were in the mood for.
Continue reading ‘The Munch Box – Los Angeles (Chatsworth)’