Burgers Part 3: The Not So Really Burgers – Ramen Burger and the Loco Moco – Common Theory and Trade Winds Tavern

A week passed and I was still pretty disgusted with burgers…


I kept it easy and slow. Avoided burgers at all costs. Then crossed the border to get two in a row.

And because I am a dumbass without a car, I had to take public transit. Hit two places that were near to each other. All the way to Kearny Mesa.


First stop, Common Theory.

The burger here… A ramen burger.

Not only a ramen burger.

One with kimchi, scallion cream cheese, gravy, and a sunny side up egg.

This is what that monstrosity looks like.

Close up.

And cutting into the egg!

That is the owner poking the egg with the fork.

He hovered near me for some of the shoot, which many times I actually dislike, but Cris turned out to be an awesome dude. That is his name. Cris Liang.

Yes. He is Chinese. And we got talking about Tijuana… and wait a minute. This dude spoke perfect Spanish. He was actually born in Rosarito!

So I guess he is Chinese/Mexican/American serving a burger influenced by South Korea and South USA?

Anyway.

The burger.

The burger is not really a burger. And it is one monstrous thing. Despite that a week went by… burgers were still a bit eek to me.

This one you obviously can’t pick up. It’s a knife and fork endeavor. The meat patty was delicious, the kimchi could have been more kimchish (stronger), gravy combo with scallions was great, and an egg is always welcome. Ramen as hamburger buns… meh. Not really. I wasn’t loving it.

Clever idea, but I don’t think I can call this thing a burger (even though I just did 20 times). The same thing could have been accomplished if it didn’t have a burger form. It’s very creative and awesome to look at. Doubt that hamburger buns would work, so I guess no option but ramen. It’s pretty out there. It’s pretty damn good.

The place had a GIANT menu and I saw other food going by. Some chubby dude next to me was going at some fried chicken that smelled delicious. The beer/bar menu is also gigantic. A couple on a date were drinking wine to the left of me (though this place didn’t seem like a wine place). If I ever go back, I don’t think I would get the burger since there were many other options.

If… I ever go back. It’s really out of the way for me.

The bar is ALSO great. The place, in general, had a great vibe. Though it’s in a strip mall, it doesn’t feel like it. Definitely some of the best in the area. Because… well… that area doesn’t have much.

Oh.

And that ramen burger would be a hit in Tijuana. This city loves its gimmicks. The whole place would be very welcome here.


I didn’t finish the burger. I ate most of it. That’s very unlike me. But again, my appetite was still low. Which totally sucked, because I had another burger to photograph.


I walked to my next destination. Trying to walk off the burger and get hungry again.

I didn’t.


The other place was Trade Winds Tavern. Again, in a strip mall. Kearny Mesa is an odd place.

The writer got the Loco Moco. It looked like this.

I’ve never heard of a Loco Moco. Apparently, it’s a Hawaiian thing. I’m not very fond of Hawaiian food. This looks delicious… but at the time, with absolutely no appetite, it wasn’t looking great.

Also, it isn’t a burger.

Yes. There is a burger patty in there… but come on!

Then spam, gravy, bacon, and an egg (on a bed of fried rice). Sounds like a delicious hefty breakfast to me. Not late dinner with a beer.

Also.

IT ISN’T A BURGER!

I was confused, especially because my assignment was to take pictures of burgers.

I took a bunch of pictures of the Loco Moco.

Then went back to the bar and asked if they had it in burger form. They didn’t. I asked if they could make it and the chef said yes. He came up with an awesome burger. Looked even better than the real Loco Moco plate. I suggest they add it to their menu.


BUT AGAIN!

I wasn’t hungry…

Chad came to the rescue and though he said he wasn’t hungry, as soon as I was done taking pictures, he wolfed it all down as if he was starving.

And honestly, I would have too… If it was normal me. Look at how good this burger looks. I made it look good, but I trust that it was also very good.

That looks like a damn proper burger.

Fries with parmesan also looked great.

I tried to add some scenery. The editors like scenery.

The burger glistening under the sun.

I asked for some help from the bartender to do the holding the burger shot. The egg dripped immediately.

Drip.

That was one of my favorite pictures.

I also developed a mini-crush on the bartender. She was adorable.

Then Chad crushed the burger.

Sorry if a bit gross of a picture.


After that, we probably went to Bitter Brothers. That’s a great brewery. But writing about it will be for another time.


It’s Saturday and I just had two mini Tijuana Adventures in a row. Chad came down on Thursday and I was out until 2 a.m.

Then my friend Joey came down late last night.

I was up until 2 a.m.

Both times, though I retire from tour guiding, I still do it. But it’s with friends. It’s different. I enjoy it like that. I actually enjoyed it with strangers as well. I’m just lazy and needed a break.


My favorite burger that rescued my appetite and gave me the confidence that I will eat burgers again comes tomorrow.

I really loved that burger…

Burgers part 4 and maybe final part tomorrow!

 

 

Burgers Part 2: A Food Bloggers Nightmare – No Tj Burgers, San Diego Only – MishMash and The Royale Reviewed

Burgers explained.


I was supposed to work on a text about the best burgers in Tijuana. That was going to be my third year doing a write-up.

The problem is, Tijuana doesn’t have that many great burgers, and I cannot repeat a place.

Everyone recommended Slow Burger… but here’s the thing. I don’t like it. They are not good burgers. It’s not a good restaurant in general. I am thinking of giving it YET another chance, but it’s been like 5 chances already.

But again, people love Carls Jr. So there’s that.


I chose a few places to write about and one in San Diego. The Friendly.

The Friendly was going to be my intro and say that there is not a burger in Tijuana that is as good and solid as The Friendly, which is the shittiest best burger one can ever have. It’s dirty. It’s cheap. It’s a greaseball. And you cannot modify it.

It’s Randy BoBandy’s ideal of a burger. Junk perfection. Go get one.


Then I was going to mention that there are some burger places in Tijuana that are worth it.

So I started my investigation.

And…

The first burger got me really sick.

LIKE REALLY SICK.

Warning. You might wanna skip between the next lines.


SKIP.


I’m not going to disclose the place because I believe it was a stupid mistake. I’ve eaten there before and I was fine. Not this time. This time… it was horrible.

I had the burger. It tasted fine. It was going to be a positive write-up. It was a normal evening. Went home and felt like always felt (in a deep pit of depression… I’m kidding).

At 4 a.m…. my stomach started bothering me. Like a sharp pain in the gut. Knives. Knives perforating under the skin.

Got up. Went to the toilet. Exploded. Painfully.

Felt gross. Thought it was over. Went back to bed.

Less than an hour later, the pain was back. I tried to ignore it and tried to go back to sleep. Nope. Decided to get up for an Alka-Seltzer, and as soon as I got up… I felt it. The pain was worse than before.

Ran to the sink. And barfed. Barfed. Barfed. Barfed like a mother fucker. Just kept barfing until I almost filled it up with barf.

It hurt so much I was crying. It felt so fucking gross.

I showered. And cried. While barfing in the shower.

My stomach was empty. The knives were still there. And I kept barfing.


CONTINUE.


After that, I told the editor and the gang of writers that I was out. I couldn’t even eat or smell a burger. The idea of it sounded disgusting…

But of course, a few days later I had to be in charge of the photography.

I was sick for a couple of weeks. Anything I ate, my stomach wasn’t happy. I tried to eat healthier and calmer. It helped, but it was still bad. My burger and food craving, in general, was at its lowest.

GREAT!

Nightmare: A food blogger with absolutely no appetite.


Still. Work calls me. And my gig is sweet. I had a list of fourteen burger places to visit. I wanted to hit them all up. Then I saw how difficult that was as a task ahead and ended up going to eight. Not bad.

Pictures are GREAT!

Some of my favorites.

And I get to try some of the best burgers in San Diego. And I have a favorite one for sure. The one that revived my appetite and made me not lose all hope that burgers disgust me from now on. I’m just… really fucking picky.


The first burger I had was at MishMash in Barrio Logan.

Highlights: The mother fucking cheese is DELICIOUS!

Here’s the owner handing me the burger:

When I got there… I was still a bit disgusted by burgers. And this is a monster burger. It started fine, then I noticed that it was very spicy. I thought it was the sauce, but noped. More bites. Ok. There’s habanero in there somewhere.

I mentioned the spicy to the chef. Oh yeah.

They make their own cheese. And the one I got was infused with habanero. REALLY nice kick.

I couldn’t wolf it all down like my prefer eating method because… again… my appetite was low. But I finished the burger. And when I was done… I didn’t feel good.

NOT THE BURGER’S FAULT. My stomach was just not cooperating.


No need to skip.

It wasn’t horrible as the last time.


After that, a stranger joined me for the second burger. That stranger, Marta!


I had the idea of creating like some sort of food club. That way we can all go to one place, get a lot from the same menu, and have conversations about food.

Also, I can take tons of pics.

I’m busy, so I haven’t been able to form this club. But many people seemed interested.

Marta was one of them.

So she joined me for my burger quest.


Second on the list was The Royale in Mission Beach. Marta picked me up and we drove there.

This burger looked REALLY good. I actually wanted to eat it. It is smaller and it just looked jampacked with flavor. It looked more like the burger I needed with my weak stomach instead of the monstrosity at MishMash. But as much as I wanted for my beast of an appetite to be there… it wasn’t.

Told you it looked good.

I tried the onion rings. They were good damn onion rings.

And the restaurant is beautiful in general. Super nice aesthetic. So nice, that while we were there, a large group of people with cameras arrived. A meetup group called @BeersandCameras. They were all shooting film. There are some behind the scenes of me taking pictures of the burgers on my personal Instagram here.


Yes. Marta enjoyed the burger. And I enjoyed the company.

My old roommate, the Chadmaster joined us.


And turns out. He is good friends with the owners of this place.

And it turns out… they previously crashed in my apartment.

And it turns out… that he got the same burger.

Look at that beauty.


Despite not fucking trying it… I rank it as one of the best burgers out there.

Seriously.

Just from the smell, the pictures, and the groans of satisfaction of Marta and Chad (hahaha I made it sound gross). It’s also cute. I like those type of pickles. Mustard seeds look amazing. Bacon, onions, and cheese. Fuck.

I know I’ll have to try it.

Again. My appetite was non-existent.


One burger revived it and made me believe in burgers again. That one burger… on the next post.


To read what other writers wrote about the burgers, click here!