Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Cathedral City (Palm Springs)

At the tale end of our Palm Springs getaway the Canadian and I went to FrickleBurger, the ultimate in German burger fare. Let me start by saying, when you walk in you are jovially greeted by the owner/cashier/server, Mike, who's voice sounds just like Eric Stonestreet's on Modern Family (seriously close your eyes and listen to him while he speaks to the other customers!) Mike takes you through the menu, kindly learns your names, and makes sure you have all the burger accessories necessary -malt vinegar, ketchup, home made blue cheese dressing- for maximum FrickleBurger enjoyment.

The Canadian opted for the most popular item, The Big Kenny, which consists of Bratwurst, sautéed onions, sauerkraut, chopped bacon, and bleu cheese. It was beautiful. The bratwurst literally melts in your mouth. You remember pixie sticks? How they just dissolve on your tongue? That's how good this bratwurst is. Then consider the fact that this delicate bratwurst is on top of a perfectly cooked burger with all the toppings. Because the blue cheese dressing is the creamy element that cuts the savory flavor profile, ask for extra so you can pile it on! I can see why its a customer favorite.

I chose the Country Comfort which comes with melted cheddar, BBQ sauce, red onion, tomato, shredded iceberg, and an onion ring. Usually I steer clear of BBQ sauce on a burger because I find it overwhelming, but this was just the right amount and it didn't overtake the other ingredients. The red onions are clutch on this burger because they're the main crunchy element. Next time I might add chopped bacon to it!  The one complaint with both burgers is the bun; the burgers themselves are already heavy (you can see the awesome stack of goodies in those pictures!) and the buns are super dense, adding unnecessary weight.

Fries were delicious, thick-cut the way the Canadian prefers, with awesome tater tots mixed in! Tater Tots! Mike brings them out personally in a brown bag to absorb grease, evenly salt and retain heat, and then he pours them into the basket at the table.  Fries are of course served with the home made blue cheese dressing, which finds a nice balance between creamy-ness and pungent blue cheese flavor. Mike also offers up malt vinegar, which is delish on fries if you haven't experienced it yet!

Certain sodas on the fountain machine were on the fritz, so Mike offered up bottled soda to patrons.  He checked on us partway though the meal and even refilled my diet coke for me. FrickleBurger is an oasis in the desert with a great family heritage and hearty fare to satisfy your hunger. There is also a build-your-own option which might be borderline dangerous for foodies like me who's eyes are always bigger than their stomachs!

Monday, June 4, 2012


West LA

Last weekend the Canadian and I went to Plan Check, and it was so awesome, that we went back this weekend with the 2 people who told us about it in the first place, Pete and Victoria. (Special shout-out!) As you can read on Plan Check's website, the name comes from their proximity to the Building and Safety Department in Little Osaka.  Head Chef Ernesto Uchimura, previously an executive chef at Umami, has outdone himself, so I'm going to dive straight in. 

For cocktails, I had the Ronin which I loved, the Canadian had the Bento Box and Victoria opted for an Old Fashion with their housemade moonshine.  I'd recommend sticking with their specialty cocktails. They also have a beer and wine menu, with several good options.

Appetizers are so-so; the goat cheese was delish, the duck breast ham was a disappointment. The best starter is actually a side dish: the Stuffed Mushroom. And, I hate mushrooms, so that's really saying something. The boys loved the spicy cucumber with sriracha.

Now lets talk about the stars of the show, all served on toasted buns, and nearly impossible to pick up. The Chef's Favorite has bacon two ways, cheese two ways and a fried egg. It's gooey, crunchy and full of flavor. I could not pick it up to save my life. This burger is for breakfast lovers. 

The Pastrami Nosh is amazing. A huge chunk of pastrami, tossed on a flat top and crisped up, then spiced with a kimchi mustard, served with the bun inside out and a fried egg on top, its a beautiful interpretation of the traditional deli sandwich. 

Then there's the Bleuprint, with a strong, but not overpowering, bleu cheese and salty "pig candy" aka thick cut bacon, and the flavors mix perfectly. Chef Uchimura uses a unique blend of slightly untraditional ingredients to develop the traditional flavor some patrons will be seeking.

The last burger we had was the PCB, or Plan Check Burger. This was a creamier burger, the americanized dashi cheese and schmaltz onions create a rich, smooth flavor, and it gives you a chance to try the much-talked-about ketchup leather.

We had both sweet potato fries and regular, equally delicious, but the kimchi ketchup didn't really do it for us, I recommend asking for the salt & pepper mayo when you order the fries.  

And their famous dessert, the cruller donuts, taste like they waved a magic wand and turned churros into donuts. Served with cream and fresh fruit, its worth eating, even though you're already stuffed! I apologize for the lack of photo, I may have had too many Ronins...

So fellow burger lovers, go to Plan Check and taste the latest stash of gourmet burgs LA has to offer.