Friday, March 30, 2018

The Traveling Hobo Café (Watkinsville, GA)

20 Greensboro Hwy, Watkinsville, GA 30677

The Traveling Hobo Café is a small restaurant in the heart of Watkinsville, a town close to Athens, Georgia. It essentially is a fast food restaurant with a particular focus on burgers (beef, bison, lamb, vegetarian) and wings. They also have a variety of salads and sandwiches.

I get the Fried Pickles ($5) as a starter, which comes with creamy Cajun sauce. The small pickle slices are coated with a thick crunchy batter, but are devoid of any life or taste – they are sad, thin slices of dry, tasteless, rubbery pickle. I then get the Huge Chicken Tenders basket ($7), which comes with fries. The chicken tenders are indeed huge, but also very fat and a bit bland and dry. The Box Car Fries are big and curly and quite good, but a bit overcooked.

VERDICT: 77/100
Not living up to the local hype, but I’ll be back one day to try the burgers.

Grub Burger Bar (Atlanta, GA)

2955 Cobb Pkwy SE #820, Atlanta, GA 30339

Grub Burger Bar is a chain of (big) upscale burger restaurants for “burgers, shakes, cocktails and life”. It has locations from coast to coast. It has a large menu of burgers, salads, bowls and sandwiches. 

I get the Scorpion ($7.95): Trinidad Moruga scorpion sauce, grilled jalapeños, lettuce, tomato, pickles habanero on homemade bun. I also get Split a Decision ($3): two onion rings and some skinny fries. The burger is very tasty, but the fries and onion rings are not remarkable.

VERDICT: 87/100
Good, but not remarkable, upscale burger chain.

Farmview Café (Madison, GA)

2610 Eatonton Rd, Madison, GA 30650

Farmview Café is part of Farmview Market, a farmers’ market and restaurant to the south of Madison, GA, selling fresh local food. The menu of the café is traditional southern as well as salads and sandwiches, including burgers.

I get the Farmview Burger with fries ($9.95). The fries are really good: nicely seasoned and crispy. The burger is a huge, fresh, chunky piece of meat with bacon, fried Vidalia onion, local bibb lettuce and tomato. The big brioche bun can’t take all the juice. It is delicious, even if the sauce is a bit off and the burger wasn’t prepared medium, as I asked.

VERDICT: 93/100
Perfect for a good old honest burger and fries.

Old Ebbitt Grill (Washington, DC)

675 15th Street NW, Washington DC, 20005

Old Ebbitt Grill is an old-school steakhouse with dark wood and a big old bar. The large menu includes staples like salads, sandwiches, burgers as well as fresh fish and meats from the grill. It’s lunchtime when I get here and it’s bumping.

I get a cup of chili ($5.55) with onions ($0.29). The chili is very tasty and has a kind of sweet aftertaste. The fresh onions are perfect with it. I then move on to the Jalapeño Burger with fries ($15.29). The burger is big and excellently prepared (medium) and covered with a lot of jalapeños. The bun is big, has only a slight cheddar and jalapeño taste, but the thick slice of tomato is a bit overpowering. While the burger is very tasty, as is the Chipotle sauce on the side, it cools down a bit too quick. The fries are staple steak fries, well prepared.

VERDICT: 94/100
Excellent American fare. I’ll definitely be back.

Bobby’s Burger Palace (Washington, DC)

2121 K Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20037

Bobby’s Burger Palace is an upscale chain of upscale, fast food restaurants that features an array of burgers inspired by Chef Bobby Flay. It currently has 17 locations in the US, mostly in the Northeast. This one in downtown DC looks funky and offers a wide range of original burgers, sides and shakes. I get the Dallas Burger and the Undecided, i.e. a combination of two sides. The burger is indeed prepared medium and comes on a nice brioche bun with a heap of “spice crusted” slaw, pickles, and BBQ sauce. While perhaps not the best choice, it is really tasty and well-executed. My “Undecided” are three big onion rings and a batch of French fries, which come with two sauces. The onion rings are crispy but a bit bland, as are the sauces. The fries are pretty good.

VERDICT: 90/100
Good burgers in a funky environment.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Burgers Bar (Jerusalem, Israel)

HaHavatselet St 1, Jerusalem, Israel

Bar Burger is a small burger and sandwich place in a side street of Yafo Street, in downtown Jerusalem. It serves various meat sandwiches, mostly on baguettes.

I get a Crispy Schnitzel (ILS 25 or $7), deep fried coated schnitzel in freshly baked baguette with various toppings. I use the toppings too sparsely (lettuce, tomato, spicy paste), but it is still tasty. Coating of schnitzel is bit Asian and meat is juicy, while bread is crispy and light. Could have been better with some nice sauce.

VERDICT: 83/100
Nice concept and light fresh baguettes

Moshiko (Jerusalem, Israel)

Ben Yehuda 5, Jerusalem, Israel

Mishiko is a very busy, small shawarma and falafel place in downtown Jerusalem that offers those two classics (as well as sabich, schnitzel, humus) in different types and sizes of bread.

I get a pita shawarma (ILS 27 or $7.60) which comes in a thick and soft wheat pita with a selection of very fresh and tasty toppings but relatively little meat - moreover, the meat is on top and the toppings on the bottom. The meat is very tender but it has a bit odd taste (it tastes like cumin and curry).

VERDICT: 85/100
Fresh and tasty but combination of meat and pita didn’t really work for me.