Tag Archive for lunch

Burger Joints of Hayward #1—1/4 Lb. Giant Burger

Chuck's in Raleigh, NC

Chuck’s in Raleigh, NC

Driving through the streets of Hayward, many small burger joints entice me with their siren’s call. You know the one: “Try me! I’ll deliver all the drippy, cheesy, beefy goodness you remember from that shack down the block growing up.” For me, these tempters recall the Charlie’s King Falafel in Old Orcutt, just outside Santa Maria, CA. Barely big enough for one person to order at the register at a time, young Becca always had the queen size and it always satisfied. I have no idea if their falafel was any good. I had no idea what falafel was until well after I moved away to college.

Ah, my memories…(photo from Yelp)

I paint that nostalgic picture to introduce a new series from the Gourmez. My resistance has failed, and I’m going to try each and every one of those burger joints in Hayward, so help me! Before you ask, yes, I’ve tried the iconic Val’s. It’s three blocks away from my apartment. But I haven’t been impressed. So if Val’s is the be-all end-all of burger heaven for you, well, our taste buds might not be best buds.

What makes a great burger joint? It’s more than just the patty for me, though the meat’s freshness and flavor is the most essential factor. What else matters? Quality of the bun: if it’s falling to pieces or mush before I’m done, that’s a problem. Grilled is appreciated as well. Cheese melt: That slice of cheese better be dripping all over the patty before you serve it.

William’s Gourmet Kitchen in Durham, NC, shows off its melting cheese.

Quality of the toppings: I like mayo, and I like it sloppy. I also want lettuce, tomato, onion, and maybe bacon, jalapeno, or avocado depending on my mood. Regardless, the ingredients must not make me wonder when the restaurant had its last produce delivery (this is my main problem with Val’s). Fries: Anything but steak-cut, boring, flavorless fries makes me happy (Val’s problem #2). Shake: I like to sip at my straw and actually get some shake through it, but I accept that the thicker the shake, the happier most people are, though I must maintain that such shakes should just be called ice cream (Final Val’s note: I haven’t had their shakes. I suspect that’s my biggest problem).

You have my criteria. And I have my first burger joint review for you.

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Little Star Pizza

Our waitress rushing out, concerned my husband left his bag behind. Thanks!

Our waitress rushing out, concerned my husband left his bag behind. Thanks!

Little Star is a small gourmet-pizza chain with three outlets in San Francisco. We chose it for an early dinner on a Saturday afternoon because it had the best ratings for open eateries in that neck of the Mission at that time, aside from the also-appealing arepas spot across the street.

At 3 pm, the place was empty, which is to be expected for most establishments. The menu is tiny, roughly five types each of deep dish and thin crust pizzas and about the same amount of appetizers and salads. Those pizzas come in small 9” and large 12” only, though personal pan pizzas are available at lunch for a reasonable price.

The color palette was cool tones, which I like, and the small bar at the entrance was especially cute. Medium-to-dark woods, silver tables, brick and sleet gray walls.

We started out with the goddess salad, little gems lettuce with creamy pesto dressing, chives, and toasted almonds.

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Curry Up Now!

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Curry Up Now! pulled us in for dinner with their lively logo, colorful chalkboard menu, and energetic vibe coming from their patrons.

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It’s a counter restaurant serving Indian-Mexican fusion, and if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I love experimentation. They play with the primary breads of both cultures, resulting in burritos filled with tikka masala, open-faced naan sandwiches, or aloo parantha quesadillas.

They have a variety of mango lassi though surprisingly no straight salty option. I had the mint mango.

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I loved the extra effervescence the mint lent, enhancing the mango’s fruitiness. It was on the thin-side for lassi, but I can’t help but think that’s good for the waistline. It tasted great regardless.

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