Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Vomit Alert

A couple weeks ago, L&L Hawaiian BBQ served me pig vomit on a plate, but I was able to look the other way. I mean, it was takeout and it was a naturally messy dish so, you know, stuff happens. But when I gave their burger a try I received something that's simply inexcusable. This, my friends, is what you call quality control, or lack thereof:

This chunk of whatever is actually thicker than the burger...including the damn buns

Now, I can't identify what part of the lettuce this bombardment actually is. Is it part of the stem? Is it just an overly wrapped super crunchy piece? I have no clue and I didn't intend to find out but this is absolutely disgusting. Another view:

Look how big this damn thing is!

What the hell, L&L???

I openly challenge anybody from L&L management to eat a burger topped with this giant cock-roached shell of an obstruction. I mean really? REALLY? You're gonna put this on a burger? Yeah, okay, later days, L&L.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What's the Deal with Lettuce?

It seems like there's a trend where, perhaps in an effort to fill up plate space, restaurants feel the need to load up your meal with an absurd amount of lettuce. This is true for burgers and sandwiches as well. When did it become cool to be bombarded with lettuce? I simply do not understand, just like I did not understand this plate here from Boto Sushi:

I guess the new cool thing is getting TWO sides of salad?

What's the deal with that second giant thing of lettuce in the upper left hand corner of my tray here? I don't get it.

Like at all.

Nor did I touch it. Why would I? It's a giant thing of undressed lettuce that doesn't seem to have any purpose in this meal other than taking up space. Am I supposed to mix the steak in with it perhaps? I don't know! The meat was pretty good. I mean, it's not an epic meal but it's good. But the real highlight here is that random thing of lettuce that's just awkwardly out of place. I don't get it, man.

If you can explain what that second helping of lettuce is then please let me know. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Food Photography Part V

Ok, I realize this is takeout and I realize this is fast food but...damn:


The Choco Loco from L&L Hawaiian BBQ. Two beef patties topped with two eggs on top of rice, macaroni salad, and drenched in gravy. Yeah, it's not on a plate and it's takeout but...damn.

It tasted okay. Canned gravy, beef was just eh. I will say that L&L's macaroni salad is really good, though...but...damn.

Zoiks!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Breakfast Burgers

Many restaurants are starting to jump on the bandwagon of resolving an issue that strains the will of indecisive foodies such as myself: do I want breakfast or do I want lunch? When going to restaurants that specialize in breakfast alongside an equally tasty lunch menu, it's a riveting challenge to try and confidently pick a side. It's like voting in an election between two bozos; you know they're both horrible people and are gonna screw you, but which one is gonna screw you less? This is where the concept of Breakfast Burgers comes into play, as was the case at the Broken Yolk Cafe:

The burger is a beauty but if you can count the number of fries on your plate, then you've got a problem

So Denny's actually has an item called the Bacon Slamburger, which is a beef patty topped with hash browns, bacon, an egg, and a cheese sauce. The Good Morning Burger is a bit different in the sense that it literally combines two meals by topping the burger with two eggs and bacon and bottoming it out with lettuce and tomato. The result is a huge but messy burger that's pretty tasty for the most part.

The problem I have here is with a burger this difficult to pick up, you're basically stuck with resorting to a knife and fork. Unfortunately, last I checked, it's kinda sorta difficult to cut a piece of lettuce with said utensils. That's where the design of this burger fails a bit because it's just not easy to eat. While I love the concept of Breakfast Burgers, you really don't need the extra condiments. It just kinda makes things awkward, you know? One of the eggs was also overcooked; major pet peeve.

I'd probably try it again since it combines two of my favorite vices; big burgers and big breakfasts. However, just be aware that while it's a beautiful piece of gourmet architecture, it does have its flaws. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Return to Blogging

Little bit of a soapbox ramble tonight. I more or less retired as a full-time blogger for nearly two years before deciding to revive Greg's Gourmet and return to the blogosphere. There were two reasons why I stopped: 1) It was getting old posting the same junk food over and over. You can only post a picture of a hamburger so many times. 2) Gordon Ramsay. While the schmuck took my viewership to new heights, writing up nightly recaps for Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef took its toll on me. Pair that with the fact that Hell's Kitchen has been sinking in quality faster than Bob Filner's political career over the past few seasons, so that made it extra arduous to try and come up with content for. That was 2013.

The evolution of the archive

In 2014 I only updated the site once or twice a month just to show that I'm still maintaining it. After putting so much work and effort into Greg's Gourmet over the years, I didn't want it to turn into a digital graveyard. But as you can see, 2013 & 2014 combined doesn't even come close to the kind of content I was producing in 2011 & 2012. So...what changed my mind?

Google+

Yes. Google motherfarking Plus

I was doing a bi-yearly check of my page and was looking at some profiles of my friends when I noticed a new feature: profile views. Well how about that, Joan has 10,000 page views. That's great. Hey, Jett has 80,000 views. Not sure how he managed that but okay. I wonder how many I have?

???

Half a million. Where in the world did that come from? This is far and away more than anyone else in my circles. In fact you can add most of their views together and it wouldn't even equal this. I did some research and the number is "legit" in the sense that there is a formula, though naturally it's inflated because Google has to save some face for its failed social network. Basically whenever a piece of content that you've created is seen in someone's stream then that counts as a page view. They don't necessarily have to click on anything but just as long as it shows up. 

For example, if someone is doing a search for cheeseburgers and one of my pictures shows up in the results then that counts as a page view. Since the formula combines all content created from all of Google's services, there's opportunity here for big numbers. Since Greg's Gourmet is produced via Blogger then it made sense that my pictures have been showing up in a lot of view streams. Regardless of what kind of traffic resulted in that I still think it's pretty cool. It means at some point I was kinda sorta doing something right. That's when I felt my blogging passion return. Don't get me wrong: Google+ still sucks. It's been a failure of Dane Cook proportions and I even wrote a rant on it a couple years ago. But it has served its purpose. 

So here we are in Greg's Gourmet's fifth year of eating and I'm happy to be back. I don't think I'm gonna go as nuts as the early days but I still want to make it as fun as possible. And with a return means a little change of branding, as I'm phasing out the cartoon version of me and sticking strictly to the fire letters. Check out the evolution of the logo:


Starting in the upper left is a sketch drawing that Rich Samuels made of me years ago. This was the first "official" logo as I was developing the site. Then the burger came along followed by the cartoon version of me holding said burger. This is the logo that most people affiliate Greg's Gourmet with. And then lastly we've got the fire letters which is what I'm going forward with. 

So I'm hoping to stay consistent and maybe blog regularly on certain days but whatever I do I'll try to keep it fun.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Steak Vlog

A couple years ago I toyed with the idea of starting a Greg's Gourmet Vlog. See, with Greg's Gourmet I take pictures of the food I eat and post them for the world to see. With a vlog I could take VIDEO of me EATING the food and post it for the world to see! People would be more engaged, it would be in real-time, and of course the audience could dote on my boyish good looks.

Well, the vlog lasted for all of one video in the summer of 2012 before I realized it would be too much work to regularly maintain in addition to all of the food blogging and Chef Ramsay nightly reviews I was doing at the time, so I quickly abandoned the idea. But for your enjoyment, here it is in all of its gourmet glory: The pilot episode of the Greg's Gourmet Vlog featuring a New York Steak from the Virginia Creek Settlement in Bridgeport, California:


And for the stills:

Photo quality pre-dates Greg's Gourmet in HD

Now, I've been to this restaurant twice; once in 2011 and again in 2012. I don't remember if it was this trip or the year prior but one of the owners noticed I was taking pictures of the food and talking about putting them online. With a timid and uneasy tone, she tried to probe me with a couple vague questions to figure out who this internet food critic is. I would imagine bad press would be devastating for a restaurant in a town of 500, but I assured her that I was a fan of the Settlement. I don't quite understand why they serve two pounds of disgusting asparagus with their steaks but, you know, whatever.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Local Author Gourmet

So this past weekend I ventured up to Los Angeles, or "Santa Clarita" as they like to say, for an event at the Newhall Public Library celebrating local authors. My uncle, Rich Samuels, took part in the event to promote his new book, Own the Scrawny, a sequel to his 2012 hit, My Life at the Bottom of the Food Chain. The event lasted 5 hours and served as a great tool for networking and exposure. See video below food pics.

Now then, the thing about going to LA is that whenever I'm there I'm gonna eat and I'm gonna eat a lot. My various trips to the City of Angels over the years has left me with stomach aches, internal cramps, gargling gas, food poisoning, GERD, explosive diarrhea, and even a trip to the urgent care following a Thanksgiving leftover incident. Naturally I haven't learned anything from past experiences so this weekend I embarked on a good amount of fine Santa Clarita Valley dining that, amazingly, didn't leave me with any of the above. Let's get right into it:

Restaurants are now carrying more combo dishes to help aid indecisive pricks such as myself

Here we have a Teriayki chicken and beef combo plate from Kabuki. This is the only thing I order when I go to Kabuki because I'm too scared to eat sushi and, really, there's nothing else that can beat it. Why order just Teriyaki chicken when I can have a slab of beef along with it? It's the best of both worlds.

I didn't originally notice but this does kinda look like regurgitation on a plate

Breakfast brought us to Dink's Deli & Bagel Bakery which I'm kinda surprised to learn has a paltry 2.5/5 rating on Yelp at ALL THREE of its locations in Santa Clarita. It had been a while since I last had breakfast here but the food didn't taste as good as it once did. It was just...bland. Filling and unhealthy, yes, but it didn't really do much for me, kinda like the new Hobbit movie; you think in philosophy it's gonna be great but in reality it's just Peter Jackson giving you the middle finger for two and a half hours. This particular Dink's location doesn't carry Yoohoo anymore either. Sad face.

I don't know where people get the idea that I have a sugar problem

Most people will call me crazy for dropping bills at the Sweet Factory, but the truth is that their candy is fresher than packaged, store-bought stuff and they have a MUCH wider variety. See those blue sugary cola bottles? YOU CAN'T FIND THOSE ANYWHERE!!!

Video of the weekend's author event starring Rich Samuels and shot by me!