LA Food Tour, Part 3 | Umami Burger and Chego

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

One morning, while browsing Yahoo! front page, I came upon this article: Is this the Best Burger In America?. By the end of the article, I was drooling and a coworker confirmed, it really is THAT good. So of course, I had to go try for myself...

Umami Burger


Must Have!! The heavenly Truffle Burger.


There are several locations in the LA area, the one I went to was in plain LA, and there are other locations in Santa Monica, etc. The LA location was surprisingly small, can probably only fit about 15 parties max, and I'm already overestimating. Good thing my friend and I came here at around 9 PM, so there was no wait at all. There aren't too many different burgers on the menu and indecisive me already knew what I wanted at first glance: Truffle Burger.

I don't know if it was the trifecta effect going on that night ...

1) I just came from the gym,
2) I love truffle anything,
and
3) Umami serves one of the best burgers in the world


...but this burger just blew my mind. This $11 burger has no frills, no distracting veges or extra ketchup, mustard or mayo to disguise the flavor. As you can see, this burger's a simple cheeseburger. The bun was fluffy and light, the cheese was homemade with truffles, and the medium-rare patty was perfectly moist and glazed with truffle oil. Trust me, I am not a burger person so this is a rare moment for me. Only small complaint that isn't a big deal to me at all, is the size of the burger - I can see it being"maybe I can eat two of these" small for some.

In addition to the Amazing Truffle Burger, my friend and I also shared their namesake Umami burger and two sides. I didn't do a good job of photographing this burger, but there is a small thin crisp of fried cheese between the meat and bun which was a bit unique. I didn't enjoy this burger nearly as much as I did the Truffle Burger, but the bun and meat were both moist and still was a good burger.


Umami Burger, Smushed Fries and Sweet Potato Fries

The Sides. When I read "Smushed Fries", I don't know why I thought it would be mashed potatoes, molded into fries, but clearly that's not what came out. Smushed Fries is just as it sounds, smushed potatoes, fried. It was served on a bed of their Roasted Garlic Aioli. I found the side just way too greasy and potatoes too huge for my taste. The Sweet Potato Fries were a clear winner for me, served with a side of their signature Umami Ketchup, the cut was just perfect and it was fried just right. I would name this the best sweet potato fries I've ever had. Their Umami Ketchup hinted at that mysterious fifth Umami flavor. Through some research, I found that it might be sardines.  Anyway, all sides also come with a choice of extra sauce on the side (there's about 10 to choose from), and we picked Roasted Garlic Aioli, not knowing the Smushed Fries would have it, and also Jalapeno Ranch, which I also found unnecessary. I just personally don't prefer cream based sauce.

The Verdict: The Truffle Burger at Umami Burger might just be the best burger I've ever had and I would always get it with a side of Sweet Potato Fries. Also, don't worry for those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, because guess what? Umami is opening up not one, but TWO new locations here in 2011/2012!

Chego



The next night for dinner, I went to Chego, a fusion Korean order-over-the-counter restaurant, from the owners of the famous Kogi Trucks in LA. Initially, I didn't expect the communal, I'm at a school cafeteria, feel of the place. But after I got the food, I wouldn't have cared if we had to sit on the floor. 

The creators of the Kogi Truck did not disappoint with Chego, a casual joint with a price point that even starving students can afford. Of course, in order to eat more, we shared a few things...


3 PM Meatballs | korean-fried, shaved green onions, blueberry habanero salsa, polenta patty


The Beefy T Bowl | generous nibbets of steak studded throughout chili fried rice

One Chubby Pork Belly | kochujang-lacquered kurobuta, w/fried egg, pickled watermelon radishes, water spinach, cilantro, cotija, peanuts


Scoops


My LA food tour ended at Scoops, a delicious ice cream joint with innovative ice cream flavors made with fresh ingredients, serving about 10 flavors with a daily rotating menu. A small (what you see in the picture above) gives you two scoops for only $3.50. I chose Brown Bread which apparently features Grape Nuts cereal, giving this popular flavor a fun crunch texture. My other pick was Rosewater Pistachio, which was also amazing. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I can definitely go for another round at Scoops in my next LA visit!

Thanks again to my lovely hostess, Sleepy, for a fun Gym Tan Eat LA Trip! <3

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