AM17: Fatburger

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I have another quick chain visit for today.  I’ve been listening to a podcast about chain restaurants recently called Doughboys.  The most recent episode was about a burger chain called Fatburger.  I had never heard of it before and was surprised to find one in Lincoln.  Well, to my disappointment it actually turned out to be in Thunder Valley Casino rather than in Lincoln proper, but I couldn’t get this place out of my brain for a few days so I decided to check it out for lunch.

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The last time I had visited Thunder Valley was at least 10 years ago.  One major thing that I noticed as soon as I entered the first set of doors was that smoking was obviously permitted inside.  It was thick in the air.  I didn’t actually realize it was still allowed, even in Indian casinos.  This is a huge turnoff, and I can generally handle smokers in most situations (I smoke cigars myself).  Indoors or around food is where I draw the line.

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Obviously this is a food court environment, so the service and ambience were basically non-exsistant.  I decided to go nuts with this burger, especially considering the name, and went with the XXL, a 1lb monstrosity.  All fat burgers with “the works” include mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, relish and mustard.  Taking things further, I added nearly every premium option that is available: cheese, bacon, fried egg and onion rings (the only thing I didn’t add was chili).  My combo with fat fries (steak fries – they have skinny fries also) and a large soda came to a whopping $19.02 before tax.

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14 minutes later and I had a heavy, massive burger which towered over the already largish fries next to it.  As I picked it up from the counter I overheard at least 2 separate people point it out to the person they were with.  It was a spectacle.  It was also hard to get my hands around it, let alone eat the thing.

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The fries were meh.  They definitely needed some salt.  I barely touched them though due to the size of the burger.  That by the way was, actually, surprisingly amazing.  As I was leaving and getting a refill on my soda I briefly watched the person grilling patties.  They started with cubes of ground beef and smashed them down with a flat, metal stamp-looking tool.  That beef tasted amazing, it was nicely seasoned.  It was also really freaking hot.  I had to adjust my grip now and then because my thumb, on the bottom of the burger, was actually getting too hot a few times.  Anyway, what I really enjoyed was how all the crazy ingredients somehow came through and I could taste each individual, discrete flavor.

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If this was located anywhere other than Thunder Valley, I could see myself returning to experiment with different sized burgers and combinations of toppings.  It really was that good.  I just don’t feel any desire to step back into that smokey casino again to do it.  I’m deducting 1.5 from my score just for that.

Website: http://www.fatburger.com

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AM16: Taylor’s Corner

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I have an occasional habit of driving aimlessly in search of lunch on the weekend.  Last weekend this happened, and although I eventually settled on MooYah in Rocklin, the route I took in the end was less than direct, as the GPS trail below shows.  I noticed this little burger shack along the way that had me extremely curious though, and today I went back to check it out.

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This is Taylor’s (or Taylor’s Corner), aptly named as it sits right on the corner of Sierra College & Taylor in Loomis.  I find these type of places fascinating for some reason, probably because they are few and far between, although I know they’re not always very special (see Sam’s Classic Burgers).  This one I had high hopes for.  I think it was because they had a couple of distinctive features that set it apart from others.  They are open early for breakfast and they have a massive list of shake/malt flavors.

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I pulled in at around 11:30 and it was a little slow, just a few customers at the time.  The building is small and there is only outside seating.  Despite the heat of our Summers it seems like it’s actually a nice place to eat.  They have a big carport built over 4 standard picnic tables, and the other 5 tables towards the back end all have umbrellas.  On top of this, the place is set up with misters.  Today they only had the misters running on the main building itself, but with a breeze I was still getting a cool spray now and then all the way at the furthest table.

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I took several minutes to look over the menu, including the insanely long list of shakes. According to their website they are constantly changing and adding to it!  I finally settled on a Double Bacon Cheeseburger (mayo, pickles, lettuce, onions, cheese, bacon, ketchup & mustard)[$8.39], a side of Garlic Fries [$3.99] and a S’mores shake [~$3 or $4, price was not listed].  It was a bit more pricey than expected with my total coming to $17.49.

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The wait was not insignificant.  My shake took about 7 minutes and was brought out to me, and my food followed about 9 minutes later.  The shake was fantastic.  It was smoothly blended and had a chocolate and marshmallow-y flavor with a hint of graham cracker.  Like with Sam’s, the styrofoam cup kept it very cold for a while.

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My burger looked pretty great.  Lots of melted cheese and two fairly thick pieces of delicious-looking bacon stood out.  Underneath the slightly-thicker-than-In’N’Out patties was a small amount of shredded lettuce, a few rings of white onions and three pickles.  The sauces were light and only added hints of their flavors overall, letting the beef, cheese and bacon shine.  If they told me the bacon was cooked to order I would probably believe them.  It was easily some of the best bacon I’ve ever had on a burger (fancy restaurant burgers not included).  It was crisp, but not too crisp, and still had little bits of juicy fat to them.  The bun was perfectly soft and could have been baked fresh that day for all I knew.

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The fries were probably the weakest link out of the meal, and that’s not even to say they were bad!  The were extra golden and crispy, which I like in fries.  There was a whole lot of fresh minced garlic in them, though it was not apparent at first.  Much of it was in clumps down below the topmost fries.  It was tasty, I just feel that they were a buck or two overpriced for what they were.  I’d probably just get standard fries in the future.

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So overall, quite impressed with this little hidden (to me anyway, since I don’t think I had ever driven that stretch of Taylor before last week) gem just to the north of Roseville.  My meal was quite filling.  The prices were just a bit high, I feel, and the wait was fairly long, but I certainly enjoyed it, especially the awesome shake.

#240: Buck & Sadie’s Angus Burgers, Wings & Brew

A quick way to exhaust one’s dining out budget for the month is a short visit to New York City, which is partially why it’s been a little quiet here for a couple weeks!  New month, new budget, so back to work!

Tonight my grandmother and I tried out one of Roseville’s newest restaurants, Buck & Sadie’s Angus Burgers, Wings & Brew.  They opened just last month in the old Fresh Choice location on Douglas at Rocky Ridge.  I’ve been waiting for this one for quite a while since I first heard about it last year.  They took their time, and it shows because it’s a very nice place inside!

Outside they have a small patio under the shade of the vine-covered pergola.  Inside, you have a walk down to the counter where you place your order, get a number and take a seat wherever.  The place is decked out with wood and warm colors.  I love the vintage incandescent lights hanging throughout the dining room. Off to the right when you enter is a bar serving a pretty wide selection of beer and also wine.

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As the name suggests, the focus here is burgers and wings.  We didn’t have wings today but I really want to come back and try them out, the Sriracha Honey sauce is calling my name.  They also have a selection of small bites such as potato cheese balls, mini deep fried pretzels and truffle french fries (yum!).

We each ordered a burger.  She went with The Shroomy (grilled mushrooms and onions, lettuce, tomato, jack cheese & Shanty sauce)[$8.99] and I The Inferno (pepper jack cheese, grilled smoked jalapeños, battered onion strips and Mama’s sauce).  I got a fountain drink and she got a 16oz Coors Light (jokingly labeled “House Water” as the style).

Our order took just under 10 minutes to prepare and was brought out to the table.  The beer came shortly after as it was apparently missed at the bar when the order first went in.  Soda’s were via two brand new Coke Freestyle machines.  These split the ice and soda dispensing into two outputs (probably a good revision since a lot of people always appear to be confused by the older version every time I came across one).

Both burgers were dressed nicely with a little pickle on top and served with crispy golden fries.  The fries were excellent!  They appeared lightly beer battered and did not need any ketchup; a sign of an excellent french fry in my book.

I usually would set aside a pickle when it comes on top of the bun like this, but it was so small I just popped it in one bite.  This was surprisingly delicious!  It had a very cider-like flavor to it.  The burgers are cooked medium (more like medium-well I would say since there was no pink inside).

I probably should have picked a different one for my first burger here because the jalapeños were very hot and flavorful, much like what I recently experienced at Moo Moo’s Burger Barn in Rocklin.  They must also keep them in a spicy brine.  They hugely dominated the flavor of the entire burger.  Overall it was good though.  The jack cheese was nice and melted and the onions added a little crisp texture to it.  The bun, which I believe they bake in-house, was fantastic!  It was buttery soft and relatively thin, yet held together throughout the entire meal without a problem.

For dessert they have house-made frozen custard ice cream in shakes, root beer floats or scoops, or on top of a warm brownie.  Several toppings are available as well.  I love frozen custard, so I had to try it out.  Being a purist I stuck with a single scoop in a cup with no toppings.  I’m not sure why, but frozen custard is exceedingly difficult to find in the Sacramento area (if you know of it somewhere, let me know in the comments below!).  Anytime I visit Texas, Reno or the Bay Area (all places I’ve found amazing custards) I have to have it.  This custard was not quite the same as the kinds I love.  It was more of an ice cream texture, albeit a bit heavier and smoother.  Despite that, the vanilla flavor was incredible.  Definitely some of the best vanilla I’ve had in a while.  I will absolutely be trying a root beer float when I return for wings!

Overall, a very good new spot in town and in a great location.  Great, friendly service, food and beer selection.

UPDATE:  I ended up stopping in for lunch the next weekend and had the Sriracha Honey wings, truffle fries and a root beer float.  All were great!