Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Umami Burger

I was thinking about what to write about next, an I remembered this little gem I wrote a few months back and didn't publish.
I wondered, just what is an Umanmi Burger? I looked it up and found this:

“Umami /ˈmɑːmi/, a savory taste, is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty).

A loanword from the Japanese umami can be translated as "pleasant savory taste". This particular writing was chosen by Professor Kikunae Ikeda from umai "delicious" and mi "taste". The kanji are used for a more general sense of a food as delicious.”

Sounds good, right? So when we were looking to eat at the Packing House in Anaheim, CA, and every restaurant had long lines waiting to be served, we figured, why not! It’s almost next door, and it is in the same building as our final destination for the evening, the Anaheim Brewery.

We walked across the park, and went in the Unami Burger. We were greeted as soon as we walked in by a very friendly hostess. We told her we were looking for something to-go, and she handed us the menu and let us know the bartender would take our order. We walked up to the bar and took a seat. The bartender came right over and introduced herself. She was very upbeat, good attitude and personality.

I noticed that there weren’t too many people in the restaurant, even though just a short walk away, every restaurant in the Packing House was, well, packed. Perhaps this should have been a clue.

We ordered the Throwback burger and a Cali Burger, got our order and walked over to the Brewery.

The Throwback is a double cheese burger with miso mustard, Umami house ketchup, soy pickles and minced onion.

The Cali has butter lettuce, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, house spread and house Cali cheese.

Let’s start with the Throwback. I guess it’s supposed to be a tribute to the double burgers of the 50’s diner era, updated and enhanced. It sucks. I’m not sure if it’s the miso mustard, the house ketchup or a combination of the two, but the result is a bazaar taste that made it impossible to eat the entire burger.

As my wife unwrapped the Cali burger, a strange look came over her face. She mentioned the large amount of grease in the wrapping paper. She took one bite and looked at the burger in her hand. She stared at it for a moment, and grudgingly took a second bite. She placed the burger on the table, and said, “That’s disgusting.”

She pointed out that the entire burger was so covered in grease, everything just kept sliding out of the bun. It was so bad that the bun its self, had turned into a gooey glob of mush. The roasted tomato was a piece of tomato skin, that’s it no actual tomato flesh, just skin. The lettuce looked like it had been dipped in grease and tossed on the flattop until limp.

I have been married to this woman for over 30 years, we have eaten at thousands of restaurants all over the United States. Never has she had this reaction to a meal.

This was not my first experience at Umami Burger, I was having a beer with my friend at the Anaheim Brewery. I was getting hungry and told him I was thinking about giving the Umami Burger a try. When I asked him if he wanted anything, he declined. I tried the Truffle Burger and was pretty underwhelmed.

I thought I would give Umami Burger a second chance, they failed again.

Maybe by “Throwback” they mean you should throw it back in the bag, throw it in the trash, and go over to the Packing House and wait in line.

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