Kriner’s Burgers and Pies: The Awesome Burger

I’ve been rather busy lately, and by busy I mean pretty fucking lazy.  Don’t worry, I’m still eating burgers like a fatty.  Kriner’s is already on the list, and to be honest it was a sleeper pick last summer.  It came recommended by a few people but didn’t strike me as a burger spot, but they nailed it.  Over the winter, after Bass Pro Shop opened up, Kriner’s opened a second location on the out skirts of Anchorage, closer to post.  This location looks much more like a burger joint, where the original spot is a diner style establishment.  The new location is very clean and has an open grill, which I always like for a burger restaurant.  Another thing the new place has that was absolutely amazing is a Tabasco station with pump serve of all 4 kinds of Tabasco.  It made my fucking week.

Now the food.  This time around I got the Awesome Burger.  Cheese, bacon, onion straws and burger sauce.  All around a good a burger.  The patty was a little over cooked, but nothing crazy.  Still better than the frozen patties some dives serve up here in the last frontier.  The hand cut fries are a fucking treat though.  Paired up with the Tabasco of your choice and you have got yourself a fucking meal.  They also have an option on the menu to build your own burger with a few special sauces that are pretty tasty.  Not the best burger in Anchorage, but one of the better ones for sure.  Give this spot a try.  Anchorage in general kind of sucks for cuisine so it won’t blow you away, but it will satisfy that craving you have for a beefy treat.  And seriously, Tabasco bar.

  

AmVets: The Heart Attack Special

I enjoy a good food challenge from time to time.  Shit, I’ve been known to eat a monster sandwich when the opportunity arises.  Reminds me of one of my favorite motivational quotes…”Any pizza is a personal pizza, if you try hard enough”…  Not exactly sure who said that but it was probably somebody awesome like Ghandi, or Carrot Top.  This brings me to the Heart Attack Special.  As you can see on the menu below this beast packs enough meat to choke Pamela Anderson.  With 1/2 pound of beef, 1/2 pound of spicy Italian sausage, ham, bacon, 6 slices of cheese and a fried egg it’ll fill you up.  They also, don’t use buns, they use grilled cheese sandwiches to hold this glorious bastard together.

A good friend of mine has been talking about taking me to this event for a while and it never lined up in our schedules until now.  It happens on Friday’s during the winter months here in Anchorage (so almost year round) and the reviews have been well received.   Another friend of mine just got back from Kosovo and we decided to move our weekly Ale House visit to the burger party.  People underestimate my stomach all the time, its OK, I don’t hold it against them.  But when they start talking shit is when I have to put them in their place.

I was late to the party do to a ‘work event’ that went about 5 hours longer than it should have.  My friend, I’ll call him Nancy for the amount he bitched, decided to order the Heart Attack as well, in an effort to show me up before I could even get there.  Of course I got berated with text messages and pictures of Nancy eating this burger while I’m putting in real work.  I don’t know the exact head start Nancy had, but it was at least 45 minutes.  He She was down to about 4 bites left by the time I got there.  I still came within minutes of slaying this beast in his her face. All I heard was excuses about his huge vagina small stomach, the sausage was too hot, so on and so forth.  It took me roughly 25 minutes to put this one in the book.  I’ll give Nancy some credit, she finished though (unlike most girls I take out).  So he she can write home about that.

I think there is another burger night left this season, and I’ll head back for a real cheeseburger.  This was a great burger but no way I can put it in the running for best burger in Anchorage.  It would be like putting Miguel Cabrera up against a high school kid in a home run derby.  They don’t even belong in the same ball park.  The Heart Attach was delicious on top of being a novelty.  Everything about it makes me think this place has some good as burgers.  Fat cooks, juicy patties and melty cheese.  Keep an eye out for another review on this place.  Hopefully Nancy will have manned up by then.

    

Max’s Beefy Burgers: Max’s Burger

Max’s has been on the list for a while now.  It’s at the corner of Boniface and Northern Lights, so not far off JBER.  It had a low priority on the list, I heard mixed reviews.  It stayed on the list because a lot of people don’t know shit about burgers.  From the outside it looks like a traditional burger joint, it even advertises foot long hot dogs and tacos.  SURPRISE mother fuckers, it is another Asian restaurant that happens to serve burgers, and for some reason tacos.  Like all the others it definitely left a little something to be desired (except the slightly above average Burger Jim’s).

For starters, this burger was far from beefy.  I don’t know how to explain the opposite of beefy really.  I guess it would be similar to if you met a well endowed girl at the bar and hit things off, only to find out later that night she was wearing a push up bra.  You’re still going to finish the burger, but you just won’t enjoy it as much.

I ordered the Max’s Burger.  This consisted of grilled onions, mushrooms, jalapeno, mayo, ham, pickles, lettuce, tomato, bacon, american and swiss cheese.  That is a lot to go on a burger but it is probably to hide the fact they use thin frozen patties they use.  It was still tasty, but not burger tasty.  The fries are basic store-bought frozen krinkle fries.  Kind of weak.  This definitely not the worst burger in Anchorage, there are some shitty burgers in the last frontier.  This place is almost identical to Hamburger Haven.  A blind taste test would be almost impossible.  It lands at number six, but anything outside the top 10 is really not worth talking about.  About the only perk (and I use that term loosely) is that it’s priced fairly for what you get.  Less than $9 for a meal.

Tommy’s Burger Stop: The Bacon Cheeseburger

So, I’ve been a little M.I.A. since I got back from the desert.  2015 hasn’t been one for the ages (yet) so I have wasted spent some time catching up on my drinking and chasing some tail around Anchorage.  The jury is still out on how well I did with one, or both of those endeavors.  Either way it was enjoyable.  Throw Fur Rondy in the middle of that and I guess I’ve been “busy.”  Enough excuses, I did eat a burger that was fucking phenomenal.  Previously I had Tommy’s holding down the number three spot in Anchorage with Long Branch.  I have had several conversations about this because many people will argue it the top spot.  It had been about 8 months or so since the last time I went, and this visit put them in a tie with the Roadrunner.

This time I went with the standard bacon cheeseburger, the first time I went I had a jalapeno burger.   This burger though, with two cheeses melted on and some bacon that screamed ‘put me on a burger,’ was magnificent.  All their patties are Cajun seasoned.  I got there later in the evening, and they are always busy, so all that goodness cooked into the grill cooked into my burger and gave the beef patty and immaculate flavor.  This burger was like the first time I watched Desperado.  You know any Robert Rodriquez movie will be good so you want to watch it, then you find out you get a Tarantino and Cheech cameo with Salma Hayek doing full frontal.  Instant classic (side note, if you get a chance check out El Mariachi, the movie that made Desperado possible).

Other notes about Tommy’s is that my friend (who is being so lady like in the picture) got the blue cheeseburger and I was slightly jelly.  The slab of blue cheese they threw on there was cooked on the grill first and looked goddamn amazing sitting on top of that patty.  I will be eating that soon.  However, Tommy’s is small, really small, even smaller in the winter time with out the 3 extra tables they have outside. So seating is premium.  Fuck character, give me some space where I don’t have to listen to a kid yelling 2 feet away.  They also have a good, but expensive selection of beverages (also cheap fountains) which includes some Mexican Coke.  It’s a much different selection of burgers than the Roadrunner which makes it hard to pick a clear winner between the two.  After I try some more at Tommy’s it might change.

Baby’s Badass Burgers: The Original Beauty

As I sit here during my last night in this shit hole called Fort Irwin I feel it’s appropriate to make my final review. Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day, and as is tradition I don’t have a date. But hey, at least I got fucked this year (thanks Obama…). Baby’s Badass Burgers (or Titty Burger as my brothers in Comanche Co so affectionately dubbed it) is close enough, and probably more satisfying anyway. We all I know how I feel about my burgers. The name Titty Burger came about either due to the pin ups painted on the truck, or because the girl taking your order coincidentally wears very low-cut shirts and has to bend over to take your order. Hard to say no to that $3.00 can of soda with those headlights shining right in your eyes. I wouldn’t say it isn’t worth it since we have been living on cots in a warehouse with 150 other dudes for almost 40 days.

This is the burger truck I wanted to try in the first place when I had to go to that turd factory, Varsity Grill. If you happen to watch shitty reality TV, I hate you, but you have also probably heard of this place already. They appeared on ‘The Shark Tank’ where people pitch their stupid ideas in hopes that rich people will “invest” in them. Baby’s also claims best burger in LA according to the Travel Channel. Getting food advice from the Travel Channel would be the equivalent of getting your political advice from P. Diddy.

All that aside though this burger was tits. Just all around fantastic. I’m not giving it extra points because I’ve been eating field chow for the last 5 weeks either. The Original Beauty comes with swiss cheese melted over sautéed onions and mushroom with Baby’s Sauce. Thick, juicy, hand pressed patties cooked to perfection. A good pink throughout the patty that would drip on your hands with out disintegrating the bun. I would say that 90% of the time when a place has their own “sauce” it is just thousand island. Not the Baby’s, it was actually an original flavor that complimented the beefiness superbly. Couldn’t tell you what it was but I liked it. I may never know if this is the best burger in LA (not that I won’t try) but it blows the pants off almost all the shit I get in Anchorage. The fries where on point as well. Reminded me of the ghetto fries the cook would make us back at Kettering in Flint, MI. Whatever seasoned salt they used did the trick. In conclusion, if you get a chance you should flag down this food truck, it’s what dreams are made of.

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Some BBQ Place: Ribs and Potato Salad

I had a nice review lined up for this place because it wasn’t bad. It’s a food truck that stands up for the food truck community. Unlike the garbage Varsity Grill. But after yesterday’s Super Bowl I’m more or less at a loss for words.

It wasn’t the best ribs I’ve ever had, my own are much better, but they didn’t stick to the bone and were nice and meaty. They make their own BBQ sauce that was pretty good but the authentic smokey flavor was slightly astray.

Outside of that it was your basic Dallas Cowboys. Lots of hype, looks good on paper and fools most people into thinking it’s better than it is. Surprise mother fuckers, this isn’t my first rodeo, I know better. I heard lots of people talk it up and I attribute that to those same people eating army chow for 3 straight days before trying it. They have obviously never been to a real BBQ joint, or stopped at the Rite Aid parking lot of Wixom Road where that one brother sets up his giant BBQ and sells that shit out of his truck. That’s some good BBQ. Everything here was pretty much off the shelf items like Heinz mustard with Costco potato salad, coleslaw and rolls. I didn’t try the baked beans, but I’m not worried I missed anything.

But really, how do you not give the ball to Marshawn?

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Sami’s Varsity Grill: 1/3lb Cheeseburger

As I sit here at Ft. Irwin approaching the half way point to this little “adventure” I am realizing that my posts are almost non-existent. Mostly because there isn’t much to report on here, and it’s also a pain to post from my phone. However, there were a couple of opportunities for some cuisine that doesn’t come from plastic packaging.

When we first got here and shacked up in the RUBA there was a handful of food trucks that gave the soldiers an option to buy some food. Yes, the army chow provided is “free,” but it is only served twice a day, so lunch you can either eat an MRE or buy something. I personally love food trucks, as any freedom loving American should. If you have ever been to Portland it’s part of the culture of the city. You can even download an app that will tell you everything you need to know about all the food trucks around the city. New York has the hot dog carts, pretzel carts and falafel stands on almost every corner. Anchorage has the reindeer sausage stands all over downtown that sell some bomb ass sausages and brats well into the late night/early morning hours. If you ever get the chance to hit up Arts, Beats and Eats in Royal Oak, MI I would highly suggest it, food trucks like whoa. Hell, even in Juarez, Mexico if you want a tasty treat go find the cholo slanging tacos on the side of the road.

Down here I was trying to save some money to spend on booze when I get back to Alaska by eating as much army chow as possible. However, as hard as I tried I couldn’t resist the allure of the food trucks. When I finally broke down I obviously went for the cheeseburger stand.

The line wasn’t that long, maybe seven people in front of me. Well, an hour later I finally got to put in my order. Yes, one whole fucking hour at a food truck. Shit, at half an hour I thought about walking away but I committed at that point. I gave them the benefit of the doubt thinking maybe they were cooking them as they were ordered. They also serve hot dogs so maybe not everyone is ordering a burger (not really sure how hot dogs would slow things down though). I finally get to the front of the line and the mother fuckers aren’t even using the grill at this time. Ol’ Boy is back there cleaning the grill, and Fat Boy gets me my 1/3 pound burger out of a warming tray. On top of this, they were out of bacon. Once I finally got the chance to eat this burger it was plain as fuck. Not really any other way to explain it. The bun was fine, the cheese melted but the patty itself was just kind of there and was cooked very very thoroughly. I should have just hit up an MRE if I knew I was going to be this disappointed.

So, if you see this rolling turd of a food truck serving up burgers in your area, avoid it. Not only will you be disappointed, you will be late for wherever you were going. Even if you have nowhere to be at anytime in particular, you will be late and unsatisfied. They also claim “World famous chili cheese dogs.” Sorry broskie, you aren’t National or American Coney Island so nobody gives a shit about your hot dogs. All you really need is some ball parks, Hormel and a bucket of cheese wiz and you have a solid chili cheese dog. You could even switch out the ball park with a cardboard tube and I’d probably still eat the mother fucker. Not even going to waste my time on their fries, there is no point.

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Player Hater’s Ball

Unless you live on Mars I’m pretty sure you either saw or heard about the Seahawks bat shit crazy win over the Packers in the NFC title game. The Seahawks basically gave the Packers a 56 minute head start then finally said it was go time to make it to their second consecutive Super Bowl. As a Seahawks fan it made me pee a little. If you are a Seahawks hater you probably peed a little too. As a lifetime sports fan there is only one thing I know for sure, people love a winner. This is when the general populous stars throwing around the term “bandwagon fans.” It’s inevitable. You see it even in your home markets. When I first moved to Michigan I would go to Tiger’s game, often by myself. This was because they were on the verge of losing 115 games and nobody wanted to go. Even with a brand new stadium they couldn’t get more than 10,000 fans in the ballpark. Now, it’s standing room only on weekends and big games. Everyone loves a winner.

Success brings out another type of “fan,” the haters. I have seen the Seahawks latest success breed more new haters than new bandwagon fans. These are the people who call you a bandwagon fan because you have a new game jersey. Well the Seahawks changed their uniform 3 years ago and have a slew of new superstars, of course you are going to see them at the bar. You want to know why teams update their jerseys? So they can sell them and make money. It could be someone who still has their Steve Largent jersey in their closet at home but feels like repping a Kam Chancellor uniform because he is bad mother fucker. These haters are much much more annoying than the bandwagon fans. They claim everyone is a bandwagon fan. They never cared who was a Hawks fan before they finally noticed the team from the northwest beating everybody with a swagger not seen since the ’85 Bears. When the Seahawks were losing nobody even thought twice about them outside of the NFC West, but now that they are in the forefront of the NFL people are tired of watching them beat their team. Most of these haters have already forgot Seattle was in Super Bowl 40 in Detroit. In reality the Seahawks have had a great fan base for years before their recent success.

December of 1984 the Seahawks retired the #12 in honor of their fans. The No Fun League subsequently instituted new noise rules the following year that nobody really cares about. After their new stadium was built the organization was even accused of pumping crowd noise into the stadium. The crowd noise that set the Guinness world record was 137.6 decibels, only 12.4 decibels below rupturing your ear drums. That’s fucking loud. It can actually be noticed at near by seismic research facilities. This noise does make for a nice home field advantage, leading the league in opponent false starts.

Personally, I welcome “bandwagon fans.” Part of winning is expanding your market share to make money, and pumped that back into the organization. Whether you’re a new fan or an OG fan doesn’t make a difference to me. I used to be the only one at bars wearing my Alexander jersey and would be sitting by myself, but now there are people to bullshit with wherever I go. It’s part of the experience. Sure they might not know who Cortez Kennedy is, but they sure as shit know the current roster. People have to root for someone, there only two teams left playing so go ahead and pick one. Unless you’re from Wisconsin or lost money on that game, I find it hard to believe that you didn’t get excited watching that finish last weekend. Haters are going to hate, ballers are going to ball, it’s science. But if you want to come into the bar wearing a brand new #3 jersey, there is always room at my table.

Go Hawks!

Fatburger: The Fatburger, Large

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So far I’m going to say 2015 has sucked. After I blacked out on NYE it’s been a downhill slide. First I have to spend my birthday month at Ft. Irwin, CA doing some bullshit, next I have to watch the Seahawks games in the goddamn laundry room here because it’s the only place with a TV, and the fucking Buckeyes win the National Championship. Seriously, what’s next?

This is also how I feel Fatburger has been sliding over the years. It’s been almost 10 years since the last time I had Fatburger. It was outside of Seattle and was glorious because I could get my value meal with a Red Hook ESB. They still do it on an open grill, you know, because people like to watch. But let me back up a minute to explain something before I get into the burger.

Fatburger started as Mr. Fatburger in 1947 in LA, until Lovie Yancey bought out her partners in 1952 and dropped the Mr. Much like In-N-Out it remained mostly a California chain and rivaled In-N-Out for cult status. If you are like me you know that even Ice Cube enjoyed some Fatburger at 2 in the morning. Where I feel that Fatburger started slipping and let In-N-Out take over as the burger to have was when Fatburger sold out to an investment firm in 1990. In-N-Out is still owned by the same family that founded it. With an investment firm taking over the franchise it was no longer about the burgers, but about making money. It’s a commodity, not a legacy. You can see this when you enter a Fatburger these days, it is more and more like a fast food joint than a burger joint. The one I stopped at in Barstow, CA even sells wings. WTF? They have also expanded globally with franchises in places like Pakistan and at sports stadiums where In-N-Out has barely reached Texas. Even back in the day McDonalds and White Castle where real burger stands and we see what franchising has done to them (even though I’ll still crush a crave case like it was my fucking job).

With that aside, the burger hasn’t gone by the wayside yet. One thing that I like is that they do cheeseburgers, and that’s it. No fucking around. All you chose is medium, large, XL, XXL or even the XXXL which is 1.5 pounds of beefy goodness. They make it fresh right when you order it, no frozen patties. This burger is still better than most of the shit I get in Anchorage so they haven’t abandoned all their principles in the quest for riches. Another thing I love about Fatburger is you get to chose your fries, skinny, regular or fat fries. No other places let you do that and I love me some shoestring fries. All in all I’m still a fan of Fatburger but get it soon because who knows what the next 10 years will have in store for this chain.

Arctic Roadrunner: Kodiak Islander

Kodiak Islander

Kodiak Islander

The Arctic Roadrunner has been at the top of my list for a long time followed closely by Burger Jim’s, and now solely in third place Tommy’s.  This is because Long Branch, one of the first places I ever got a burger in Anchorage, had a kitchen fire and is out indefinitely.  The original Arctic Roadrunner on Arctic Blvd was the one that got the top ranking with their Kenai Whopper, a double cheeseburger that was fucking on point.  I decided to try their second location at Old Seward and International (across the street from the Peanut Farm or The Great Alaskan Bush Co. depending on your preference for drinking holes).  This time I decided to try something a little different, the Kodiak Islander.  It comes with mayo, lettuce, tomato, mild chili peppers, bologna, salami, ham, american cheese, mozzarella cheese and topped with an onion ring.  Of course I was not disappointed.  Their 1/4 lb patties are fresh pressed and not frozen, and they are actually cooked to order.  I ordered it medium and it came out with some pink in the middle.  Hard to find places that pull that off up here.  Granted I would like a little more meat but it was juicy enough I didn’t care.  Even with the amount of toppings they put on this burger they didn’t take away from the heart of a cheeseburger, the cheese and burger.  You could still get a full beefy flavor in every bite.  Their buns also do their job, just enough fluff and stability to hold the whole thing together.  I would prefer the Kenai Whopper again next time I go, or their straight up bacon burger is pretty fucking good as well.   The Kodiak is a nice twist though if you want something a little different.

This location is a much bigger venue than the original drive up stand on Arctic.  Plenty of seating and has all kinds of Alaskan swag on the walls.  This location is also great in the summer time with their patio seating right on the little stream that runs past it.  One thing about both locations though is that they are cash only.  The prices are pretty fair, my burger, medium fries and drink were around $11.50 and filled me up.  I will be putting this place to the test when I get back from this event in California next month.  Burger Jim’s and Tommy’s are coming for the belt, nobody stays on top forever.  This isn’t the Mayweather of burger joints, it will have to fight Pacquioa to prove itself.  Plus the Local Burgerman won’t beat your wife or girlfriend, it will treat her real respectable like.  Even give her free refills if she wants.

Inside the Road Runner

Inside the Road Runner

Picture of Long Branch on fire

Picture of Long Branch on fire