Six Burger Joints That Serve Turkey Burgers In LA

Six  Burger Joints That Serve Turkey Burgers In LA

“You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars….We have munched Bridge burgers in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge and Cable burgers hard by the Golden Gate, Dixie burgers in the sunny South and Yankee Doodle burgers in the North….We had a Capitol Burger — guess where. And so help us, in the inner courtyard of the Pentagon, a Penta burger.” Charles Kuralt

There are hard-core burger bloggers. To be a serious member of the burgeratti you need to eat meat which is why the Lunch Friend came with me on the burger blog. I  do eat meat when traveling or trying new restaurants with amazing chefs but I prefer not to. I would rate the turkey burgers and she would rate the beef.  We have been teenagers and had kids. The two of us have consumed enough hamburgers in our lifetime all over the world to consider ourselves competent judges.

I think it is much harder to make a good turkey burger and not as many turkey burger bloggers. They can be dry or have too many spices in them tasting like turkey meatloaf.

How to judge a burger? Should it stand on its own? Should it bring out the taste of the condiments? I feel a great burger can always benefit from a little something on it. Great burgers begin with great meat. I like minimal toppings. I’m not a fan of tasting everything but the burger. The best hamburgers aren’t the most expensive ones unless you are in Australia or Japan where everything is expensive. Sometimes you are paying for a lot of fancy toppings. Burgers are something that everyone is a connoisseur of and has an opinion and a favorite burger place.

Here are our results. Remember the first rule of eating hamburgers is that hamburgers come when they are ready, not when you are ready.

Golden State Café http://www.thegoldenstatecafe.com

The turkey burger comes with ground turkey, provolone, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, aioli and onion. It is an amazingly good burger. Every bite was perfectly juicy which is not easy for a turkey burger. It was dense and chewy at the same time. The meat to bun ratio is flawless. The jalapeño coleslaw was light, creamy and delicious with a little kick if you don’t pick out the jalapeños. This is the Lunch Friend’s favorite place for burgers.

IMG_2055

IMG_2051

Bachi Burger http://www.bachiburger.com

The next restaurant on the LA Burger Blog tour was the long-awaited Bachi Burger. I had the The Lonely Bird. It was a ground chicken & turkey “Tsukune” Burger with herb pesto, žlettuce ,ž tomato and brown ale battered onion rings. There is careful attention to the elements that go into the burger as well as a beautiful presentation. All the ingredients tasted very fresh.

IMG_2098

The meat to bun ratio was spot on and I really enjoyed the bun which I don’t always eat. Pesto aioli was good but I preferred the ketchup.The burger had a sweet taste to it which I like. It was a bit on the dry side but still good. I would definitely go back. This is a new LA restaurant.The room is inviting and cool and the staff is very helpful.The Lunch Friend liked the beef burger. She went back with her family. They preferred Golden State.

IMG_2095

Short Order http://shortorderla.com

Next on my burger pilgrimage was Short Order. I had been there before and had high expectations. This time I had the Commando turkey burger which is a build your own burger. I had lettuce tomato, ketchup mustard and avocado It had a good texture  but had much less flavor than I remembered. The bun was soggy and thicker than I like.   It was a bit of a disaster.I don’t know if it was just an off day, but it was not the turkey burger that I had anticipated.The Lunch Friend was underwhelmed.

IMG_2069

IMG_2067

Umami Burger http://www.umamiburger.com

We went to the new Umami Burger at the Grove on a very hot day with the D-o-g – another burger connoisseur who basically eats anything that falls on the floor. The turkey burger was called Greenbird with avocado, green cheese, green goddess dressing and butter lettuce. Yes, it was green. The D-o-g preferred the beef. So did I. The Lunch Friend was bored.

IMG_2112

 Pono Burger http://ponoburger.com

I was expecting a delicious burger at Pono. I had been there before.The burgers are organic, grass-fed, and the other ingredients come from local farmers. It is the perfect philosophy for the green Santa Monica mentality.The brioche bun is delicious but I opted for the gluten-free one which is never good.The turkey burger was particularly dry.The Lunch Friend hated her burger. She said it tasted like boiled meat.The Lunch Friend does not like to say anything bad.The place is so cute and near my house so I was really hoping to give it a better review.

IMG_2890

Burger Lounge http://www.burgerlounge.com

I was not planning on reviewing any chain restaurants but I happened to have a quick-lunch at Burger Lounge. Burger Lounge is a fast food restaurant that uses high quality mostly organic ingredients and free range beef. I had a bison burger and I really liked it. I went back with the Lunch Friend to try the turkey burger. She had the beef and was not disappointed. The patties though the same in weight as other places are flatter like an In And Out Burger. The burgers are half the price of the specialty burger restaurants and they have free drink refills. The onion rings are delicious and not greasy.The turkey burger was good, moist and definitely worth trying.

IMG_3052

IMG_3049

All the burgers were judged on appearance, presentation, flavor and texture. I’m not burger obsessed. I don’t eat them every day. I don’t have a burger tattoo to show my devotion. I like everyone else on the planet, just loves a good burger. Does anything else really taste as good as a great burger and fries?

Fly safe and thanks to the Lunch Friend for driving (I hate that) and tasting the beef burgers,

JAZ

Art In Hanoi – Thanh Chuong Viet Palace, Viet Nam

Art In Hanoi – Thanh Chuong Viet Palace, Viet Nam

“Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

 Thich Nhat Hahn

IMG_5082

There is no right way to experience an art museum or gallery .

IMG_5055

As a traveler who knows a little something about art, I always have a list of art work that I have to see in a country which I can check off in my brain.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.17.10 PM

But at the Thanh Chuong Viet Palace in Hanoi, I did not know the artist or his collection.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.16.36 PM

I did not know which was considered a masterpiece and which was not so I slowed down and looked at what I liked – what interested me and what touched me.

IMG_5064

It is easier to make a connection with the art that way – when you don’t know what it is that you are “supposed to see.

IMG_5085

It is a different experience when you choose what resonates with you instead of what is famous.

IMG_5069

The palace houses Vietnamese artist Thanh Chuong’s vast collections of Vietnamese spiritual and folk art along with his modern paintings. (artist)

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.24.04 PM

It is located forty kilometers from the center of Hanoi and covers over 10,000 square meters. There are thousands of cultural and historical artifacts from different Vietnamese dynasties which the artist spent his life collecting and storing.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.03.02 PM

It includes all kinds of architectural elements, different houses antique and replicated, furniture from all periods, statues, a theatre for water puppetry and a beautiful restaurant.

IMG_5079

Thanh Chuong comes from a talented and literary family. There is an altar to his father the writer Kim Lan and a room displaying his work.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.03.48 PM

IMG_5093

The palace is not without its critics. The “House of Auspicious Clouds’ has been called an artistic theme park, and “an ostentatious display of wealth and social status.

It attracts local and foreign visitors who are interested in understanding Vietnam’s artistic and spiritual culture.

IMG_5096

I loved walking around in this beautiful and very feng shui environment and finding all the old and new pieces together.

IMG_5046

The lotus ponds, bamboo beds, mud cottages made you think of Viet Nam’s history. I liked his modern paintings, sculptures  and the creative way he juxtaposed the old and the new.

IMG_5080

When you spend time looking at something, you actually begin to see it.

IMG_5067

A very special thank you to my guide in Hanoi Mr. Do Sy Quy. He was my first guide on this trip and set the tone for an amazing experience. “Buffalo Joe” is kind, friendly, funny, intuitive and very knowledgeable about Hanoi and Viet Nam history. I connected with him immediately and feel like I have a friend in Hanoi.

IMG_5070

Di du lịch một cách an toàn,

JAZ

Things Not to Say To A Bad Photographer

Things Not To Say To A Bad Photographer

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” Henri Cartier-Bresson

You are in charge of the photos.

Can you make me look thinner?

Did you get the motorbike whizzing by with pigs?

The camera you have can take amazing photos.

Take it again I was moving.

Take it now.

You missed the best shot.

You aren’t using an automatic flash are you?

Turn your flash off.

Can you make my hair longer?

I think you shot my bad side.

I wish I had that camera.

Did you get all the scenery?

I can take a better photo with my phone.

Can you make the background blurry?

Can you make me blurry and the background sharp?

I have the same camera.

Why is it blurry?

You forgot to take a photo of every course you are eating.

You forgot to take your food again.

Do you have a zoom lens?

Can you make me taller?

Can you Photoshop it?

Maybe you can get this in National Geographic.

Did you get it?

Fly safe,

JAZ

Bayon, Angor Thom, Cambodia

Bayon, Angor Thom, Cambodia

“Bayon can be said to be the most imaginative and singular in the world, because more unearthly in its conception, a temple from a city in some distant planet…imbued with the same elusive beauty that often lives between the lines of a great poem.”  Bruno Dagens

Bayon and Angkor Wat evoke similar aesthetic responses yet are different in purpose, design, architecture and decoration. Bayon was built in late 12th century to early 13th century, by  King Jayavarman VII. The dense jungle surrounding the temple camouflaged its place in relation to other structures at Angkor so it was not known for some time that the Bayon stands in the exact centre of the city of Angkor Thom.

IMG_6227

To get to the temple you cross a bridge lined with amazing statues.

IMG_6191

IMG_6189

You continue on to my favorite place – the terrace of the elephants.

IMG_6192

DSCF4921

IMG_6215

IMG_6216

On approaching from a distance, it resembles a rather formless initially disappointing jumble of stone.

DSCF4904

Inside you discover a maze of galleries, towers and passageways on three different levels.

DSCF4905

DSCF4916

The structure is rich in decoration, detailing scenes from battles, religious rituals, and everyday life.

IMG_6242

DSCF4908

IMG_6251

The most famous thing about the Bayon Temple are the over 200 faces carved into the stone temple towers – some indistinct and crumbling and others perfectly preserved.

IMG_6207

It is generally accepted that four faces on the towers are images of the bodhisattva (fully enlightened beings) who delays entry into Nirvana to aid the spiritual development of others.

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 9.37.23 PM

The characteristics of the faces – a broad forehead, downcast eyes, wild nostrils, thick lips that curl upwards slightly at the ends-combine to reflect the famous ‘Smile of Angkor’.

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 9.38.25 PM

The feeling at Bayon Temple for me was very different from Angor Wat. It is smaller, greyer and in the jungle.

IMG_6229

There are slabs of stone and crumbling ruins all around.

IMG_6208

You can see how they brought the stone from quarries thirty miles away and lifted it up.

IMG_6196

My guide in Cambodia was Mr. Wong Kimsien. Kim was very knowledgeable and fun.  He had a good sense of humor and was able to go with the flow  and switched gears whenever necessary. He also took most of these photos and the ones at Ta Prohm as well.  He is a very good photographer.  Thank you Kim for being such a good tour guide and all your kindness.

IMG_2755

Bayon is less crowded than Angor Wat so you can even find a quiet space for a blessing  under the sightless gaze of the ever-present faces.

IMG_6257

DSCF4915

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

 

 

Where Is The Biggest ……….. In The World?

Where is the biggest……. in the world?

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” Dr Seuss

The tallest building in the world is now in Dubai.

The largest department store in the world is in South Korea.

The largest sports stadium in the world is in North Korea.

The biggest factory in the world is in China.

The largest restaurant in the world is in Syria.

The longest highway is in Canada.

The largest museum in the world is in Russia.

The largest cemetery is in Iraq.

The largest oil refinery is in India.

The largest investment fund in the world is in Abu Dhabi.

The biggest Ferris Wheel in the world is in Singapore.

The heaviest building is in Romania.

The largest hospital in the world is in South Africa.

The fastest train in the world is in Japan.

The largest theatre in the world is in Poland.

The largest dairy farm in the world is in Saudi Arabia.

But the country that sells the largest hamburger in the world is the epicenter of hamburgers, the USA . We are still big at some things.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Why Don’t We Eat More Cambodian Food?

Why Don’t We Eat More Cambodian Food?

“Now that you are eating the rice, you can enjoy the taste of the food.” Cambodian waiter in Siem Reap to me.

I don’t like rice but I am grateful to rice for keeping people from starving. It is the most widely consumed food in the world especially in Asia. In Asian countries it is weird if you don’t eat rice. So this trip I managed to not eat rice in Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Viet Nam but in Cambodia everyone eats rice. If they see that your plate has no rice, they put rice on it. In many restaurants, rice is free or included. They did not understand the no rice thing. Having had so much starvation for so many years, it is odd for them to see people jogging to lose weight or not eat rice. I needed to eat some rice in Cambodia to understand the food. I felt a little of that first world privilege that I had a choice not to eat it.

IMG_2687

Khmer food takes influences from a variety of countries. Cambodia was a French colony for many years and also has many Chinese immigrants, so both French and Chinese foods are widely found. Thailand is nearby and influences the flavors as well. as well. Common ingredients are rice and sticky rice, fish sauce, palm sugar, lime, garlic, chilies, coconut milk, lemon grass,, kaffir lime and shallots.

IMG_2698

I have never eaten Cambodian food before so I can’t judge anything other than that I thought it was fresh and delicious. The flavors are strong, clean and not too spicy for me. (Cambodian curry)

IMG_2691

Hunger is a legacy that lives on in Cambodian food and everything is edible. This is not my first fried bug country but there are a lot of them here. Platters of fried tarantulas and spiders are common in the market.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 2.44.58 PM

They told me the red ants that were biting my leg on the hammock were delicious when cooked with beef and they were right.

IMG_2752

My new favorite Cambodian dish is  Amok, a popular Khmer dish. Amok is  a national dish, made from fish, coconut milk and curry paste and cooked in banana leaves.   I had it with fish and chicken.(fish amok and morning glory)

IMG_2689

I love trying new restaurants and my new favorite restaurant is in Siem Reap Cambodia.  It is Batchum Khmer Kitchen restaurant (http://batchumkhmerkitchen.com) I ate there twice. The food is fresh  and organic (as most food is in agricultural communities).

IMG_2683

It is located in a quiet part of the Angor Archaological Park overlooking tropical gardens and rice paddies. (watching the quick tropical rainstorm while eating)

IMG_2763

The second day I went for a coffee and did not plan on staying for lunch but it is so beautiful and relaxing there  and the food is so delicious and the staff is so friendly that we ended up staying.

IMG_2755

In the Khmer language the word for rice and food are the same. In Cambodia, they go together.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

Anti – Semitism in Europe – Again?

Anti – Semitism in Europe – Again?

“At Auschwitz, tell me, where was God?” And the answer: “Where was man?” William Styron

We are all born into some story, with its particular background scenery, that affects our emotional, social and spiritual growth.

My story was anti-Semitism. My grandparents were part of the well documented immigration of eastern European and Russian Jews at the end of the nineteenth century to America. Restrictions and barriers were placed on Jews that made it impossible to have a normal self-sustaining life in their countries.   In Russia and Poland, pogroms (physical attacks on the Jews and their villages) happened on a regular basis.

Both my parents were born here and had experienced anti-Semitism growing up. My father was a high-ranking officer in the army (not a job Jews could have at that time) and had fought in two wars. He experienced extreme prejudice during his twenty years in the army. My mother grew up on a farm where they were the only Jewish family in their town. She also had a lot of experience with bigotry and discrimination.

When they had children, they moved into the most Jewish neighborhood they could find so their children wouldn’t have the same experiences. Many holocaust survivors moved there as well. I grew up hearing all the stories.

I  was able to read at a very young age and for some reason read the story of Anne Frank when I was nine years old. I looked at the picture of Anne. She had brown hair and brown eyes. I thought that she looked like me and she was Jewish also.  I decided in my nine year old wisdom  that they  could come for me too. I quickly became friends with the only Christian I knew, Frankie, the son of the superintendent of our building. His family could hide me if it happened again.

Children don’t understand prejudice. The world is black and white to them. If someone is mean than you don’t like them. But for someone to not like you and want to kill you because you are Jewish, or Black, Gay or Muslim – that is a hard concept for kids. It has to be taught. As in – if your parents hate them or are afraid of them, then they must be bad. Being hated because I was born into a Jewish family that wasn’t even religious was hard for me as a child to comprehend.

I grew up on the beach and saw a lot of people with numbers on their arms. All the old people who I knew had heavy European accents. For a brief period I thought they counted the older people and when you became old you got an accent. Many of my friends were the children of holocaust survivors. Their lives were shrouded in mystery and darkness.

The holocaust changed so many lives by simply observing just how horrible certain humans can treat each other. It didn’t just scar the survivors but anyone who came in contact with their stories. I grew up in a frightened community. I have always felt how tenuous the world was and that things could end at any moment just as it had for Anne Frank.

As I got older, I became obsessed with reading everything I could about the holocaust. I saw every film and documentary. Someone asked me once “What job I was going to get as the leading authority on the holocaust?’ But I needed answers. How did it happen? Why did people hate us so much? How do people hate for no reason and of course – the nature of evil.

I learned that evil can happen when it is beyond the realm of civilized human consciousness – like planning to kill all the Jews in Europe by gassing and burning them in ovens, flying a plane into the World Trade Center, murdering all the intellectuals or killing  or kidnapping children for going to school.

I am watching that evil again. I recently  saw a map on CNN listing the number of Jews living in each country in Europe. Was that the same map that Hitler looked at? The last time I saw a map listing the number of Jews in each country in Europe it was in a holocaust book showing the number of dead Jews from each country.

So there are no lessons to be learned from the past. The people committing atrocities don’t think of themselves as evil. They commit these acts in the name of righteousness or religion. As someone who loves stories, I wanted restoration and redemption in my story. But instead the monsters of my childhood turn out to be human beings in the present.

Fly safe,

JAZ