Monday, June 7, 2010

Two Meals Along Nostalgia Lane - Pie 'N Burger And Philippe's

I was in Pasadena yesterday for some work-related business. As it was Sunday and the agenda flexible, my day started a bit late.. Hungry visited Pie 'N Burger. Been really wanting to visit the place again ever since reading Nick Solares' article on their burger on Serious Eats.

Of the few times I visited here (the last a looong while back) I had never tried the actual burger! How lame. Sharing some pictures that I took with my compact since it seems difficult to add anything more to Nick's thorough article.

Yes I ordered hash browns instead of fries. It was that hour where it felt a bit late for breakfast but it was also my first meal of the day so.. :)

Their unpretentious cheeseburger ($6.75) was all I wanted in a cheeseburger. For my lack of vocabulary everything I love about an In-N-Out but cranked up to not Ten but ELEVEN.. The griddled buns with an ever crispier edge. Fresh lettuce that seemed to want to spring unfold like a pop up tent. A slice of American cheese that doesn't overpower. Pickles, fresh onions (red). And of course a nice juicy patty with a great char (1/4 lbs)...
A fairly liberal use of thousand island sauce here which according to Nick is made scratch from an old Kraft recipe.

The burger also crushed a couple old notions of mine of what made a great burger..

That is that the patty had to be at least 1/3 lbs (this was only a 1/4 lbs) and how it also had to be cooked medium rare. In reality the patty just needs to be very moist which it was while still having that great char and beefy flavor.

The hash browns were pretty decent but hard to leave an impression after that lovely executed So. Cal. burger.

I had a great time and the servers were all fantastic. Next time maybe I'll leave room for a slice of pie. :)

Pie 'N Burger, 913 E. California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

Quick dinner later that day before returning back home was at Philippe's for a French Dip.

I've also only visited Philippe's a handful of times but again that felt like a long long time ago..

French Dip (Beef, $5.75), Mac Salad ($1), cup of Split Pea soup ($1.80). I kinda prefer eating upstairs where there are a few dining rooms sectioned off like somebody's home.

Extra dipped and completely drenched in au jus. Mmm.

Yup, pretty much how I remembered. :)

The au jus isn't very salty but is very flavorful like a robust beef consomme.

My friend likes the kosher pickles here ($1.05). Yes quite fresh crunchy good!

Careful with the horseradish! It's potent enough to cause temporary amnesia.

The macaroni salad was pretty mayo-ey and sweet. I still enjoyed it though where it had a fresh relish crunch. Pickled eggs anyone?

Umm, I'd like to say next time but I have my heart set on a Lamb French Dip with Swiss Cheese!

Philippe The Original, 1001 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012


Mike said...

I've only been to Philippe's once, but I still remember the fantastic lamb sandwich I had there. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get back up there.

K and S said...

haven't had french dipped sandwiches in awhile, the burger looks great too!

kaszeta said...

I still haven't been to Pie N Burger.

Phillipe's is great, although Mike is right, the Lamp Dip blows the French Dip out of the water

Dennis K. said...

Hi Mike! This was only my third time myself. I actually asked one of the workers on break what he was having and it was the lamb with swiss cheese. Sounded great and I thought they'd know what was best.. :)

Hi K&S! The burger is one of those very simple but well balanced executions of the So.Cal style. Some people don't like that much veggies on a burger though, haha.

Hi Kaszeta! CalTech is right down the street from Pie N Burger. Anyway I guess my next meal here will have to be the lamb dip!

Darlene said...

I love the old school decor of Pie N Burger. That burger is impressive. Glad to hear it lives up to the appearance.

KirkK said...

Hey Dennis - Love the double dipped lamb at Philippe's..... gotta go easy on that mustard though! ;o)

Dennis K. said...

Hi Darlene, I wish I was able to take more photos. The kitchen is in a little cute shack/hut like enclosure in the center of the long counter. Hard to describe but very cool. Yeah that was a pretty burger wasn't it!? :)

Hi Kirk, yup the lamb is definitely what I'll be having next... Come to think I guess that was a hot mustard blend, but boy it makes wasabi seem easy!

Sawyer said...

this is the second post i read today about pie n burger. i still have to try philppe's many iconic la joints to try before i leave. no pie??? that's a sin...

fliu said...

Oh my goodness. Could you take a BETTER shot of that burger?! That one should be submitted in a Burger Magazine or something. It looks so yummy :( Any place like that here in SD?

Was that Philippe's place on FoodTv at one pt? I thought i saw a clip of it once on that channel. What is extra dipped? Does that mean the whole thing is dunked in the jus? What's the hang time you have eat it before it falls apart :)

Dennis K. said...

Hi Sawyer! You know, I don't have a sweet tooth so I rarely have dessert.. But I'd love to try one of your homemade pies one of these days! ;)

Hi Faye! Ah thanks.. I got lucky. But I think serious burger magazines likes to see fries and not hash browns next to the burger, haha. But that's why I like my quirky photos. I hope to evolve a style of my own one of these days.
Anyway, the bread is dipped in au jus, twice in my case. Yeah I think foodnetwork covered the place a few months back (haven't been watching much these days cause the shows been sucking). The top bun seems to hold better with the crust so you can always eat it upside down worst case.. :)