Thursday, August 12, 2010

Foodie Girls Lunch Brigade - Episode 19

The Foodie Girls are nothing if not open-minded in our quest for ideas about where to eat.   A blog tidbit.  A recommendation from a friend.  A review in the paper.   A conversation at a dinner party.   But the source for this outing was unusual, even for us.

While we were waiting for our lunch at Sunnin, FG10 began telling us about a recent field trip she'd driven on for her youngest daughter.   I was only half listening until my foodie girl subconscious picked up on the phrases "best burrata salad", "incredible fries" and "unbelievable menu" where I should have been hearing "coloring books", "chicken nuggets" and "ketchup."

Me:  Where did you say this field trip was again?
FG10:  8 oz. Burger Bar
Me:  As in, Govind Armstrong's burger place?
FG10: Yep.
Me:  Like, the moms went there while the kids were at the field trip?
FG10:  No, that was the field trip!

I am completely flummoxed at the surreal educational life of an LA pre-K student.  It would be almost mock-able if it weren't so helpful to have this inside information.

Me:  AND??? Did the kids like it??
All of us are riveted now, waiting for her answer.
FG10:  They loved it!

Out of the mouths of gourmet babes...

Episode 19 - We pounce on 8 oz.

Yeah.  We heard about it from a bunch of four-year-olds.  And those preschoolers did not steer us wrong.  The menu is mouthwatering, including phrases like:

Cured in our Himalayan salt-tiled locker*.
Fried olives stuffed with chorizo
Short rib grilled cheese
Humbolt Fog
Green peppercorn aioli
Fried caper tartar sauce
Olive oil poached ahi
Stout battered onion rings
Pumpkin gingerbread shake

It's almost too much to process...and the fun of the place is a "build your own" approach that lets everyone create a completely custom burger out of the abundance of flavorful toppings.   While we were deciding whether it would be a FG faux pas for all of us to have burgers** , the waiter dropped by for a drink order.   Diet cokes all around, and one vanilla shake. 

We also order, on his recommendation, truffled potato skins, mac and cheese with chorizo, and the burrata salad so beloved by the pre-school moms.  He's back a moment later.

Waiter:  I'm sorry, we're out of ice cream, so we can't do that shake for you.
Us:  Really?
We look down at our menus.  Every single decadent sounding dessert item, and there are about ten of them, involves ice cream.  
Waiter:  Yes.
Our eyes narrow.  We happen to know that you can buy ice cream.   Easily.  Really close by.   We are not happy.  He leaves quickly and returns with the starches to appease us.

It almost works.  The potato skins are pretty much the opposite of the mess you get at TGI Friday's.  Instead of soggy mush buried beneath a pile of greasy cheddar cheese, these are almost airy...light and crisp and salty and rich with truffle oil, a dusting of Parmesan and parsley.  We cannot stop eating them.   The mac and cheese is fantastic.   The tiny bits of smoky chorizo are almost invsible, but add depth and heat to the dish.  The texture is also just right...not runny, not dry, but that perfect, cheesy in-between.   The lauded salad is indeed wonderful, with milky soft cheese, sweet tomatoes and a slew of greens in a bright vinaigrette, but it's just not fattening enough to hold our attention.

Waiter:  How's it going, folks?  Everything OK?
Us:  Delicious.  How's it looking on the ice cream run?
Waiter:  Let me go check on your burgers.

The burgers are also very, very good.  The meat is cooked exactly medium, pink in the center.  The house mix of sirloin, tri-tip, chuck and short ribs is delicious.  Between three orders we have them covered with balsamic grilled red onions, fried mozzarella, arugula, bacon, cheddar, roasted garlic aioli, gruyere and peppercorn sauce.   We also have one of those short rib grilled cheese sandwiches on the table for variety's sake.   And, of course, a huge basket of excellent, hand-cut fries. 

 Sample quotes:

"This is better than Umami"
"I am so happy right now"
"These fries are killer"
"My favorite place we've been so far"
"Are they serious about being out of ice cream?"

Personally speaking, I like but don't adore the burger.  The buns are just OK, bready and slightly dry, and I'm missing a little char or sear on the meat. But these are small distractions from an otherwise worthy entry into the expanding pantheon of LA's gourmet burger pubs.    The almost ridiculously meaty grilled cheese is a distant second in terms of the crowd's favor, but it's definitely nicely done.   It's simply hard to compete without toppings.

Licking our lips, we pay the bill after delaying just long enough to be sure that the ice cream truck really isn't coming.

Sigh.  I bet the kids got milkshakes when they came.

FG Final Verdict? 8 oz Burger Bar is ON the list!
Pricing Info:  Burgers start at $8 and go up, depending on toppings.  Sides $4,  Appetizers $5-8.  Desserts and shakes (!!!!) $4 and up.
FG Value Rating:  Fair Deal

*  Dear Santa, I have been very good this year.  Please bring me a Himalayan salt-tiled locker.  Love, me.
** It is a burger place, but we're supposed to be broad minded in our sampling...argh!!  And two FGs were going for the exact same combo of toppings!!! Compatible, yes.  Helpful to our audience? Not so much.

Where will the FG strike next?  Check our website to find out!

No comments:

Post a Comment