Super Duper Grand Opening in Union Square – June 9th

Tomorrow is the opening of local burger joint, Super Duper. I happened to walk by the outrageous line during their free burger give away from 1-2pm today. I haven’t tried it yet, but judging by the line and the few reviews on Yelp, it looks good! Since it’s a hike from my office, I’ll need to wait until the line dies down before I try this place. But, I’m looking forward to it!

Super Duper
721 Market Street
(between 3rd St & Kearny St)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhoods: Union Square, SOMA

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I Left My Stomach in San Mateo… or Top Peninsula Eats

Farewell upper peninsula. I’ve taken a position in SOMA San Francisco, and will be leaving Foster City. When people ask me what I’m going to miss, I am always going to tell them the good, cheap lunch spots within driving distance. So, here’s a list of top 10 Peninsula Eateries according to Kingston in no particular order:

Jersey Joe’s Hoagies & Cheesesteaks
21 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 592-7317

If you are looking for the best cheesesteak sandwich in the Bay Area, look no further than this San Carlos Cheesesteak establishment. “THE BEST CHEESESTEAK SANDWICH IN THE BAY AREA.” There I said it. For around $10 you get a delicious, mouthwatering cheesesteak, fries, and a medium drink. This establishment will be the one I miss the most. Make sure you put some Buffalo Hot Sauce on your Mushroom Cheesesteak. Oh… Man. In fact, this will definitely be on my weekend Peninsula visits. (BTW, for all you Philly freaks, they have the traditional Cheese Sauce.)

Ike’s Lair
555 Twin Dolphin Dr
Ste 115
Redwood City, CA 94065
(650) 637-8903

So, you get all the hype from the San Francisco Ike’s Place, and realize, that waiting 2 to 3 hours is really not worth it. Now for Peninsulites (Peninsulans? Peninsuli?) all we have to do is make a phone call at 9:00 am to pick up our sandwich at 12:30 pm. I mean, it takes all the guess work out of figuring out which restaurant to go to for lunch. My office did several 15-20 orders of sandwiches to bring back, since there’s no seating there. My favorite is the Not A Reuben (Paul Reuben for my SF Place homies) with Mustard around $9.50.

Old Port Lobster Shack
851 Veterans Blvd
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 366-2400
TheCultureBite Bite Back

Ah… yes. The Lobster Shack. Sigh… Where do I start. I’m actually not a lover of Lobster (I’m more of a crab type of guy), but their Lobster Roll is deeelish. I mean, come on. You walk into this establishment as if it were straight off an old port in Maine. Make sure you start off with some Creamy Clam Chowder, order a Maine Lobster Roll (if you don’t like mayo or green onions order the Naked Lobster so you can dip into a side of mayo or butter), and enjoy that side of fries. Can’t say I’ve tried anything else here, but I hear their BBQ is award winning! My meals were usually around $30 here, so take someone special.

Kabul Afghan Cuisine
135 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 594-2840

I love the lamb here. We used to come here for special occasions, and then we realized we should just come here for no occasion. The Kebabs are delicious, and they remind me of the song from the Flight of the Conchords “Most Beautiful Girl” ( Mostly because they mention kebabs and these are my favorite ones, specifically the Kabab-e-gousfand. Say that five times fast. The Lamb is seasoned just right and juicy. You get such large portions that I always have to take it home. The other dish I love here is the Challaw kadu. It’s a vegetarian dish with pumpkin in it. thdfsdf <–that was me wiping the drool off of my keyboard

Sushi Sam’s
218 E 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 344-0888

This is one of the more expensive lunch dining options in the San Mateo downtown area. I’ve come here for lunch a couple of times, but I’ve come here for dinner a ton of times! S loves getting the Omakase everytime we eat here, but I don’t mind trying all of their other things. The rolls are phenomenal, the Uni tastes fresh, and the service is fantastic. This has replaced my need to return to the Tsukiji Fish Market for my fresh fish. If I were an account manager with a good expense account, I would take all my clients here. My recommendation is to try the Omakase the first time, then try a few rolls. If you feel adventurous they do have some multi-course meals.

Everyday Beijing
637 S B St
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 373-7878

If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for some Northern Chinese food. There are so many different variations of Northern Chinese food, that it’s always fun to try a new one. Some of them may have the XLB’s with the thin skin or the bun skin, some might have fresh soy milk, this one has Cumin Lamb. Yes, people, the lamb is excellent. Also, I love the meaty meat pancakes.

Saffron Buffet Line
Saffron Indian Bistro
1143 San Carlos Ave
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 593-4269

It was always a treat to come here. It’s a really cheap buffet ($10), and there’s such a wide variety of Indian food to choose from. You come in to the joint, and you’ll notice that there are white table cloths on each table. I kept thinking, oh no, Indian food and white table cloths don’t seem to go well together. Then you sit down, and realize, wait, I should just get my food right away. The smell of restaurant is fabulous, if you love Indian food. Once you get your plate, you are greeted by a salad bar. I usually skip this, as I’m here for the main event. I spoon a little bit of rice, then, it time. Time to pour on the different curries on each side, Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer. There are 8-9 different curries to choose from, and they all have their own tastes and textures. The last thing I pick up is the Tandoori chicken at the end and I’m ready to sit back down. Now, once you sit down, you’ll notice that buttered Naan has been magically placed on your table. Oh man, the waiters are wonderful. Sometimes, you can catch a sports game on one of the two televisions if something is on, otherwise, just sit, relax and enjoy the orchestra of Indian flavors.

Jack’s Prime
3723 S El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 638-1479

You want a tasty gourmet burger? Then you better come to this modern diner style establishment. They’ve got all the good stuff you could ask for at a burger joint, milk shakes fries, burgers, onion rings, and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it all. I personally recommend the Angry Cowboy which is a burger with smoked bacon, onion rings, jalapeno relish, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce. Yeh doesn’t sound healthy, but it’s delicious.

Cha Cha Cha Fried Plantains and Pork
Cha Cha Cha Cuba
112 S B St
San Mateo, CA 94102
(650) 347-2900
TheCultureBite Bite Back

I love this place. The food is excellent, and the service is outstanding! My usual favorites are the Fried Potatoes with Chili Aioli, Fried Plantains, Ceviche, Calamari, and Mussels. Actually, I didn’t find anything I didn’t really like. One extraordinary thing is that I would actually enjoy drinking their Sangria. If you know me, I usually don’t like drinking alcohol. It’s so good here, how could I not? This place was introduced to me by my good friend, Victor D., who introduced us to the owner, Mario. Mario is a very friendly individual who has very interesting tales of the history of his family. You should ask him about the raft that’s posted on the wall. =)

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Five Guys Burgers and Fries – Vacaville

Five Guys BurgerFive Guys Burger and Fries
1651 E. Monte Vista Ave.
Suite 102
Vacaville, CA 95688

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

Sorry In-n-Out. It’s been a good decade, but now it’s time for a new guy to wear the crown… make that five guys. Five Guys Burger and Fries is an East coast burger joint slowly making it’s way to the Bay Area. Never frozen, the hamburger patties at Five Guys are hand formed for every order to maintain its backyard BBQ freshness. Randomly, they have all-you-can-eat peanuts. I don’t understand the combination of peanuts and burgers, but hey, it’s free!

The scene:

The award-winning burger joint is slowly creeping its way to the Bay Area with locations in Vacaville, San Jose, and Fremont. The interior is reminiscent of In-n-Out with the same 50s-style and red and white color scheme. The peanuts really are the gimmick though. No need to be hungry while waiting for your food, just snack on a bowl of peanuts.

The food:

The burgers are more on the expensive side, but you’re totally paying for the quality. What’s funny is that K, T and I came into Five Guys with the intention of only getting an order of fries (since it was 5pm and close to our family dinner time). We ended up getting a burger, a hot dog and an order of fries. We couldn’t resist!

Burger – The standard here is 2 burger patties with grilled onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, pickles and lettuce. I am such a Five Guys noob that I didn’t realize that all toppings were free and I could’ve had the burger “all the way” with jalapenos, A1 sauce, and hot sauce in addition to what I ordered. Dang! I had been craving a burger for a while and this totally satisfied the need for a fat juicy burger. The meat tasted very fresh and lightly seasoned and the toppings were plentiful. The only set-back was that the patty was so juicy, it soaked into my bread.

Cajun Fries – We got a small order of Cajun fries, but there was nothing small about it. This order could literally feed 5 people. I was in awe watching the guy behind the counter pouring each order of fries into white cups. After he sticks the white cup in the brown paper bag, he takes another scoop of fries and dumps it in the bag. I don’t know about you, but when I used to get fries at MacDonalds, I would get a kick out of the extra fries I found at the bottom of the bag. That was MacDonalds. Imagine getting an extra scoop of fat steak fries covered in some kind of Cajun seasoning. Ah-mazing. Also, you have to love spicy if you get these fries. They are addicting, but hot!

Well, that was my adventure of driving 1.5 hours out of San Francisco just to try Five Guys Burger and Fries. They’re opening 200 storefronts this year, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a San Francisco location. In the meantime, I’ll happily enjoy my In-n-Out.

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Sam’s Kitchen – Slider Burgers

Sams Kitchen Plate of Sliders

I’ll admit, I really don’t cook much. I’m more of an eater. I usually come home from work and dinner is ready on the table for me to eat. A couple weeks ago K and I offered to cook our Sunday night family dinner to give my dad a break from the kitchen. My parents always say, “You can always cook, you know.” But when we actually do cook, they become completely uneasy when I use my dads All-Clad cookware and pretty much every other dish in the house. So, K and I wanted to do something special to appreciate all of my dad’s hard work and make slider burgers. And not just any kind of slider, three different kinds – beef, beef with bleu cheese, and lamb, mint and feta burgers!

Since there are 3 different kinds of burgers, I’m going to break out this one post into 3 separate recipes. But, all 3 generally follow the same cooking instructions.

Recipes after the jump

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Best Burger Tips

Courtesy of Flickr

Now that we’re in Spring and Memorial Day is right around the corner, TheCultureBite wanted to share some tips for making some Awesome Burgers for your next outdoor BBQ.

The Meat

  1. Grind Your Own Meat. Or have the butcher grind it for you. For juicy burgers, make sure you use coarse ground burger patties.
  2. Your Burgers Need Fat. No fat, no taste. Keep fat to about 20%.
  3. Add a Dimple. Press your thumb in the middle of the burger to minimize bloating
  4. Salt And Pepper. That’s it. Adding other ingredients increases the chance that a burger will fall apart.
  5. Form, then Salt. Form the Burger before adding Salt. Preferably, salt right before grilling.
  6. Beef… it’s what to Grill. Turkey and Buffalo are alright, if you are lame, but if you are awesome, then you’ll use Beef.
  7. Keep Meat Cold. The worst thing for your burgers is to allow them to warm in your hands.

The Technique

  1. Do no Press the Burger. You don’t like it when your Dad/Boss/Spouse, stands over you while you are working on something important, and neither does your meat.
  2. Flip Once. Build those Grill Marks, then Flip.
  3. Flip, Then Cheese. Cover the Grill to evenly melt the cheese.
  4. Toast, not Roast, the bun. Nobody likes to eat burnt bread. Lightly Toast it and keep the center nice and moist.
  5. Hot Grill, Good. Make sure the Coals are well heated, not heating. When you are getting a good heat, burgers should just spend 4 minutes on each side.
  6. Use a Thermometer.
  • 120°F and below for rare (red/raw in the center)
  • 130°F for medium-rare (pink and warm)
  • 140°F for medium (totally pink, starting to dry out)
  • 150°F for medium-well (grayish pink, significantly drier)
  • 160°F and above for well done (completely gray, very little moisture)

Add your own Tips in the comments!

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