Tasty Places :: Blue Bottle Coffee & Rolling Dunes

Tasty Places :: Blue Bottle Coffee & Rolling Dunes

I’m already a sucker for a clean, bright, hipster space. Add coffee and waffles and I could move in for weeks. Lucky for my family, the closest waffle-serving Blue Bottle Coffee is some 300 miles north of home so daily commutes to and from Long Beach to there would make it difficult to get my kid to school in the mornings and back home in plenty of time to make supper for the husband.

Over the week of New Year’s, I was at my parents’ home in Stockton, my back out of whack from several nights rest on the sofa bed and my brain fried from waiting, waiting, waiting out slow Wi-Fi. Before heading back down to Long Beach, I thought it might be nice to take a drive west to the Bay Area to visit family, a nice bulk of my cousins and an aunt and uncle living there. And since I’d be there, why not check out a spot that I’d heard about for years from a co-worker of mine, who’d raved of a certain coffee place with delicious waffles ever since returning from a conference in San Francisco. Blue Bottle Coffee. I looked it up.

Blue Bottle Coffee - dianderthal

First lesson learned was that this place was no longer just a Bay Area favorite; that there were now a couple of locations in Southern California. But I also discovered was that not all of their outposts serve waffles. And I wanted a waffle; after finding that the LA stores were waffle-challenged, I figured this was my chance.

I’d expected to have to cross the Bay Bridge to get to a Blue Bottle before visiting with my family in Oakland, paying a toll and shelling out even more to park at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. But be still my heart – there was a location in Oakland, and – gasp! – it served waffles! It was on.

The morning of my outing, I overslept and had difficulty getting the kids awake as we’d resorted to staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 while on vacation, settling down for breakfast each morning by 11:15. I’d planned to get to Blue Bottle by 10:00 – sip coffee, do a bit of writing, let my wonderful waffle digest and still have plenty of time to meet up with my cousins for lunch. By the time we finally got on the freeway, it was 9:30. In my haste, I looked up the website on my phone just before pulling out of the driveway, thumbing through the site until I saw “Oakland” and then mapped the address – 300 Webster Street.

With traffic, we arrived at 11:00, my youngest just as ravenous for the place as I was after all the waffle talk. I was pumped about my coffee, but oh how thrilled was I to finally get a Blue Bottle Coffee waffle.

Blue Bottle Coffee - dianderthalBlue Bottle Coffee - Webster

“Oh, we don’t serve waffles at this location. Those are at the WC Morse location.” Yes. I was at the wrong place. What I hadn’t noticed before was that there were TWO Oakland locations; so while I was correct about an Oakland site having waffles, when I’d looked up the address before leaving, I’d done so for the wrong Oakland restaurant.

But I’m Dianderthal – and when I’m hungry for something, you best believe I’m going to get it. I still ordered my drink at the Webster spot – likely the best latte I’ve ever had in my time here on the planet with its pure, rich flavor that needed no further enhancement in the form of a sweetener – but took it to go along with a Snickerdoodle for my youngest kid, who could only shake her head at my goof. It would be tight with a time for lunch already scheduled, but I HAD to get to this WC Morse location.

And get there I did – eventually, as I had to get from the 300th to the 4200th block in town. Once I made it, I was fortunate enough to find a parking spot, taking the short walk over by myself, the kids probably worried about how I might react should things go badly.

Blue Bottle Coffee - dianderthal Blue Bottle Coffee - dianderthal Blue Bottle Coffee - dianderthal Blue Bottle Coffee - dianderthal.comBlue Bottle Coffee - dianderthal

And this is when I found my potential second home – plenty of light and high ceilings and busy, bustling people, none of them perturbed by (or perhaps unaware of) my bulky camera, fixed on the space, the fixings and clicking away. I could go on about how fascinated I am by Blue Bottle, mentioning their training labs, free coffee tastings, the thought that goes into individualizing each of their locations to fit the neighborhoods in which they stand, the fact that they run a coffee machine repair shop – but you’ve likely stopped reading by now anyway (I do have a tendency to go on in these posts, don’t I?).

I’ve gone on long enough so I’ll just say here that the lengthy trip that brought me to my first Blue Bottle waffle (and my second Blue Bottle location) was very much worth it. Hand held, it was crisp and thick, the insides sugary and fluffy. Thank goodness the locations in Southern California are waffle negative or I might lose my home, lose my marriage due to my addiction.

Blue Bottle Coffee - dianderthal

I’d still like to sample some of the drip coffee the next time I’m in downtown LA. Maybe they’ll bring their waffles here soon – I’d be willing to sign a 2-year lease for a window seat near the waffle iron if they ever do.

Blue Bottle Coffee
Oakland’s “Waffle” location (with other breakfast items)
4270 Broadway
Oakland’s coffee and other treats (no waffles) location
300 Webster Street
and locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York

And lunch with the cousins was excellent – we spent time at Rolling Dunes on Oakland’s Lakeshore Avenue; a cozy “after church” kind of place with homey, succulent dishes – pastas, sandwiches, breakfast items. The kids and I enjoyed our delicious meals, and even more appreciated catching up with the cousins.

Rolling Dunes Oakland LakeshoreRolling Dunes Oakland Lakeshore Rolling Dunes Oakland LakeshoreRolling Dunes - Lakeshore - Oakland, dianderthal.com Rolling Dunes - Lakeshore - Oakland, dianderthal.com Rolling Dunes - Lakeshore - Oakland, dianderthal.com

Rolling Dunes
3331 Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland

Tasty Places :: Boudin Bakery

Tasty Places :: Boudin Bakery

It’s a wonder I haven’t written up this place before. I’m a regular here. This is my place. I eat here morning, midday, and evening. Only the staff here doesn’t know it. And that’s because I live some 300 miles plus away from Stockton’s Boudin Bakery. When I visit my hometown in the summer and during the holidays, however, I stack up the visits, making up for the many days I’m too far away to stop in for cookies or a tangy, nutty salad or hearty sandwich, along with a cup of coffee (they serve Peet’s). image It’s the morning of New Year’s Eve, my 4th of six official vacation days, mixed in with two holidays, which equals a week and a half-long break from work. I’d planned to spend my vacation in many a coffee shop and cafe, filling up page after page of verse, making much progress on short stories and a new novel and several essays in various degrees of incompletion. Instead, I was stricken with a shrewd bout of sinusitis – an ailment that tricks you into thinking you just have a cold or allergies, and after a few days rest convinces you you’re feeling better, only to yank you back down into idle days in bed, the lethargy and pain so bad that it kills you just to pick up the remote to switch the channel once Live with Kelly & Michael ends, forcing the voices of Whoopie and now two different Rosies (when did Perez join The View) into your hazy nap dreams. Now firmly on Day 3 of my antibiotic regimen, I finally got myself up to write, to sip, and to eat, well rested and feeling closer to normal after one night on my parents’ sofa bed, snuggled deep into several layers of covers since the dryness of the heater causes the fragile little blood vessels in my nose to bleed. All this to say, I got to my happy place this morning. imageimage Yes, give me a plate of French Toast and potatoes served alongside a cup ‘a joe, and I’m a happy gal. Drop off a notebook and a pen, and I can keep myself busy for hours (I’d similarly be sated if one were to leave me in a room full of Star Wars Legos). What finally got me up out of my booth seat was the burden of errands I needed to complete today – taking my mom to the AT&T store, and grabbing fabric from JoAnn’s. Oh, life. But I did get some writing done, after eating of course. I always take pictures of my food at its most pristine, but thought I’d take some shots of my table when I’m in the trenches – first I separate (gotta get rid of the blueberries since I’m allergic, then I set aside the remaining berries because I like them cold; and then I like to cut up the toast all at once rather than as I go to expedite the eating part), then savor (although today, with all the photos – DSLR and then IPhone, then all the separating and arranging, my toast had reached an internal temperature of negative five by the time I stuck my fork into it), then push back the leftovers to write along with a refill of coffee. imageimage I’m lucky to have offices away from home such as these, the sounds of the real regulars laughing as they played some sort of game; the smell of simmering clam chowder, some folks already ordering bread bowls of it so early in the morning. Boudin is my kind of place, with tasty options, friendly staff, and a chill vibe. There are actually locations a bit closer to home – including a store that I always walk past on my way to Nordstrom Rack in Costa Mesa – but logistically the Stockton one might just be easier to get to on a regular basis (have you ever tried to find parking at Metro Pointe?!). And it’s home – even though I’m only in town two or three times a year, the same lady takes my order, the same lady offers me water while I’m waiting on my to go order. image So tomorrow and the next day and the one after that, don’t be surprised to see “diateit” Instagram posts of chowder and flourless peanut butter cookies and chicken pesto sandwiches. Boudin SF 5616 Pacific Avenue in Stockton and other locations

Tasty Places :: Cochon Butcher

Tasty Places :: Cochon Butcher

It was just supposed to be a sandwich. I was on a break – 30 minutes to hustle down a few nutrients before returning to the New Orleans Convention Center for the next round of my public health conference. The food court at the convention center touted Big Easy favorites like po’boys, etoufee, and jambalaya, but I was seeking something a little less flashy.

Enter Yelp! and its dandy nearby search function. As much as I delight in researching cuisine in lands both far and near, I’d done very little preparation for my latest trip down south. My schedule has just been too dang crowded to get into obsessive and crazed Dianderthal mode. So I decided to trust Yelp! this time and happy was I to see the first listing had a 4.5 rating. And it was so close. And familiar – I recalled passing it the day before, thinking it a dapper place to unwind after a heavy conference day (they served wine!). Turns out it’s a pretty popular lunch spot too, the line out the door filled with ravenous and bleary-eyed conference goers. Some of them sipped on cocktails and idled about while they feasted (likely the attendees of the techie conference in the halls further down from my meeting – perhaps their firms didn’t frown on noontime drinking; or folks who just didn’t give a damn – why’d I have to be a responsible and professional public servant?). The sandwich, I had to remind myself.


But then I saw the menu, once inside. Quickly opting for the turkey sandwich, I let my eyes wander over the other selections, curious about their desserts, their side dishes; figured there might be a coleslaw or potato salad I’d quickly pass up. Instead, I found those magical words that spark my salivary glands so easily: mac-n-cheese. It was plain and simple. Not a four-cheese mac-n-cheese. Not a bacon or a truffle or a tomato mac-n-cheese. Just MNC, 8 bucks. Sign-me-up.


They might have been right to call it crack mac-n-cheese because after one taste, I was hooked. I’m an addict. A fiend. A mac ho. I might do illegal things to get that MNC again. Leave it to me to try this dish the afternoon before departing Louisiana, just hours before having to hop on a plane to head some 1,600 miles away, leaving me with a MNC jones that truly hurt. Unless I can find a version in LA that can rival, my taste buds, my belly, and the rest of me will have to suffer until my next trip down to Nawlins. It will prove challenging to find something as rich, creamy, savory, and zesty, or with a crackling crumb topping as melt-in-your-mouth gorgeous. If I had just an ounce less of pride, I’d have licked the plate clean. Thanks to Butcher, I’ll be daydreaming of cheesy macaroni for weeks.


Neither forgettable was my sandwich, although I didn’t have room to start in on it until later, finally finishing it on the plane (to the envy of my mile-high up neighbors within smelling distance). Packed with the most boldly smoked turkey I’ve ever tried, the sandwich was purely satisfying with avocado, sprouts, and a basil aioli. It may have just been a sandwich, but it made me breakdance mentally (to Slick Rick’s The Show).


Lastly, I was the easy target for counter merchandising efforts, the bourbon-soaked pumpkin cake begging me to buy two pieces – one for me, one for the husband since I was returning home on his birthday. Or one for me, another for me in case I liked the first so much that I might go into pumpkin withdrawals if I didn’t get a second piece soon.


With plate after plate of touristy food going in (and out) of me over my brief visit, I was thrilled finally to fnd the palatable, scrumptious dishes New Orleans is known for. Butcher gave me hope and high expectations for my next trip to Louisiana which, thanks to Butcher’s mac-n-cheese, will be sooner than later. And that time, I’ll have come for the mac-n-cheese, a slice of cake, a cocktail, a pretzel with cheese (spotted at the table next to me), and – yes – the sandwich.

Cochon Butler
930 Tchoupitoulas St. in New Orleans, LA

Eating Chicago

Eating Chicago

Where, oh where did Dianderthal go? Oh where, oh where can she be?

It seems that autumn has sucked me up. The Sunday before Labor Day, I fell into a busyness swamp, then pulled myself out only to be swept up into a vicious cyclone of overwhelm, and was then thrown into a sea of tight schedules and deadlines. Oh, and then came Ebola (remember my full-time gig as a public servant at a local health department?). With three of four kids playing on volleyball teams in addition to dance classes, solo rehearsals, team leader duties at church, a half marathon, a birthday, a couple work trips, homework assistance, my part-time teaching job, and a 15-year anniversary, I blinked and it was mid-November.


But now I’ve found a new determination – a re-commitment to my blog and the seven of you who read it. In late August, I spent four days in Chicago, and ever since have wanted to share my food experiences.

So to Chicago, what I remember of it – the many tasty bites I enjoyed now a savory blur. I’ll pull up the pictures I took and let them jog my memory.


Here are just a few of the doughnuts I tried in the Windy City. Of the many I tried, Firecakes served what I recall as my favorites, in particular the Butterscotch Praline, the Valrhona Chocolate & Espresso Cream, and the Triple Valrhona Chocolate Cake. Firecakes was just a place we passed on our way to Navy Pier, yet was drawn to by its buzzy glow and enchanting entry. Actually, it was the husband who initially spotted it, pointing towards it with a grunt, compelling me to join him. Well played, Mr. Brown.

DSC_0951DSC_0969 DSC_0963 DSC_0954DSC_0946

This is Weber Grill, a place recommended by the concierge at a hotel where we were not staying [*when traveling with Mr. Brown, its our goal to stop at every Double Tree hotel and affiliate we happen upon to get warm cookies; at the Double Tree Magnificent Mile – our second DT of the trip – he also asked for dining suggestions]. While not a major chain, Weber Grill still had the feel of one due to the association with the Weber brand. If there is such a thing as Chicago BBQ, I’m not sure how authentic this place is. However, as skeptical as I was, this joint wasn’t terrible. In fact, my sangria proved mighty tasty.


I didn’t eat at Mickey D’s but picked up McNuggets for my kid following my solo adventure to Little Goat. With leftovers in hand for my husband, I knew she’d be ready for some grub by the time I made it back to the hotel, so I stopped to get her some deep fried awfulness. But if that wasn’t the swankiest McDonald’s I’d ever been to…


If I’d travelled with girlfriends instead of the family, I’m sure several hours might have been spent here, in Eataly, one of only two in the States. A third is supposed to open in Los Angeles but by the time it gets here (2017!), I’ll have busted open from all of this eating. To Chicago’s, I ventured twice – once with the gang for a stop at the Nutella bar and then dessert shop for sweets, and then again a morning later, waking as my husband and kid still snored for a coffee and croissant getaway. When I return to Chi-Town, I’d love to indulge in Eataly’s cheese offerings, wine, pastas, seafood, olive oils, vinegars, pastries – I guess it’s a good thing this outlet won’t be nearby for another couple of years to give me time to lose the 30 lbs I may gain in just one trip.


As cute and sweet and lovely as Doughnut Vault is, I only had one bite of my DV buttermilk old fashioned. Not because it wasn’t tasty, not because I enjoy wasting my precious duckets, but because I purchased these doughnuts soon after finishing breakfast at Xoco; and though I set them aside for later, I had that dessert visit to Eataly I mentioned. And then more food and more food and more food (including yet another doughnut spot, Glazed and Infused). You know you’re eating well when you can’t finish off a couple of doughnuts.

DSC_0752DSC_0431DSC_0451DSC_0425 (2)DSC_0424 (2)DSC_0423 (2)

Across the street from our hotel sat XOCO, a place I’d visited years before when in Chicago for a conference; and a place I frequented twice on this occasion, and would have a third time for churros if I hadn’t been stuffing myself with various other Chicago treats. It’s owned by the celebrated Rick Bayless, one of my first favorite chefs. Likely my most memorable dish of the trip was their Torreja, a wood-oven baked French toast topped with bacon-pecan sprinkles (while on vacation, I take a vacation from abstaining from bacon). Yes, Hyatt Place offered a fine selection in their complimentary breakfast buffet, but rarely do I get a chance to eat Bayless for breakfast.


And there he was! I saw him as we passed by the restaurant one morning. My husband tried to get me to go inside and ask to take a picture with him but I got cold feet.


And you can’t leave Chicago without pizza. I made the mistake of going touristy with my deep dish at Gino’s East – not awful but I’m sure there’s better Chicago-style pizza in the city. As our first meal, it wasn’t the best way to start our trip but, as you’ve seen, I easily made up for it.


And that’s Chicago (with a stop on our way to Purdue at MJ’s childhood home in Gary).

Xoco: 449 N. Clark and one other location
Doughnut Vault: 401 N. Franklin
Firecakes: 68 W. Hubbard
Weber Grill: 539 N. State Street and other locations
Glazed and Infused: 813 W. Fulton and other locations
Eataly Chicago: 43 E. Ohio
McDonald’s: 600 N. Clark and other locations

Tasty Places :: Little Goat Diner

Tasty Places :: Little Goat Diner

That’s right. I’m a bona fide Top Chef fan. You might even call me a Top Chef freak since it’s my favorite show. I’ve watched every single episode, and most as they aired, resorting to DVR only if there’s an emergency (or that one semester when I had class on Wednesday night years ago). It’s my guilty pleasure, even though I don’t really feel any guilt for my love of this show. It’s good television, and probably responsible for turning me on to food beyond my standard burger-pizza-spaghetti-enchilada-taco fare. Top Chef is part of the reason why Dianderthal even exists.

Those of you who keep up may remember Stephanie Izard, a Chicago chef who bested Season 4 favorite Richard Blais (who eventually won TC Season 8) becoming the series’ first female winner. The Chicago chefs on the show have always been among the more confidant contestants, and with the restaurant scene that is Chicago, it’s no wonder why. Though I’ve been to the Windy City a couple of times before for work, this week marked my first purely tourist venture there so I had to get my eat on.


Only problem was my family, who grub differently than I do while also tripling a check. I have no problem dropping a couple $20s for an appetizer, entree, cocktail, and dessert, but to do so with my husband and kid, who’d likely not appreciate ambiance, big name chefs, farm-to-table ingredients, or any other notes of culinary significance, would be disaster. Then we’d end up up going to Chili’s or Subway to appease their appetites later on. So as with my Top Chef indulgence, I felt no guilt sneaking out of the hotel room late morning one day while my husband napped (he does that a lot) and my kid sat plugged in to a show on Netflix. My destination? Izard’s casual diner Little Goat, the baby sister to her fine dining Girl and the Goat original.

I was invigorated with some sort of traveler’s high the moment I stepped out in search of my bus stop, ready to leave the limited radius of the city we’d stayed in since our arrival. My Only Child Syndrome kicks in when I get to explore places alone, my brain feverish with the possibilities, the freedom of not worrying about pleasing or satisfying anyone else. This quick getaway was all about me, me, me.

And my belly. So I was set to please and satisfy it (since it pretty much rules the whole of me). It was easy to find and at 11:40 am the place, really a neo-70s coffee shop, was hip, happening, and wide awake, full of lunching Chicagoans. I was thrilled to be seated at the counter right near the expediter, giving me a front row view of all the action. Though I had my e-book and camera to keep me company, my attention stayed on the fun that was LG’s non-stop kitchen, pushing out burgers, fries, and other homey delights.


My friendly waitress informed me that Little Goat’s breakfast was served all day. With no set plans on my agenda, I decided to make my late morning feel brunchy, ordering the Cheesy Shrimp & Grits from the breakfast menu along with their Tempura Mashed Potatoes. And also since I had nothing to do (aside from hurrying back to the room before the family decided I was neglecting them), I ordered a drink, something called Yoda Juice, a cocktail that, simply for the name, I couldn’t resist trying even if it would have been blended with actual bits of (Little) goat. Or even with bananas (have you heard of my disdain for bananas?). Thankfully, it was citrusy and simple, a refreshing drink that got me woozy after a few sips. Blissful with this drink Yoda would be.


And blissful with my food was I. The fragrant, richly saline broth of the shrimp and grits got me salivating as soon as it was placed in front of me. Somehow, the veggies stayed crisp and distinct while floating among the dish’s other components, their flavors boosted rather than muddied by the broth; the grits bolstered by it. And the shrimp were succulent, fat, and wonderfully briny. If I had a spoon (or a straw), I would have sucked down (up) every last bit of that soupy ocean. I set my plate aside only because I wanted to try my potatoes, something that delivered on my expectation of what a tempura potato would be. Neither dish would be conquered in one sitting, but I’m a leftover queen so I was happy to ask for a couple of boxes. After taking both of my plates, the waitress returned with just one box, telling me she’d accidentally dropped my shrimp dish, and that the kitchen was firing up a new one for me to take home. She apologized about this. I was doing somersaults in my head.


I didn’t celebrate my fresh leftovers for too long, as my husband (newly awake from his nap) ate my food as soon as I got in (just about anything is good enough when it’s on me and able to be enjoyed in bed; I brought back McDonald’s for the kid). But I couldn’t complain since I was still slightly inebriated, and had had the great idea to pick up a couple of doughnuts on the way back. Can’t wait for my next trip to Chicago so I can return to Little Goat to eat the many other items on the menu I passed up since I only have this one little belly. And lots more Yoda Juice.

Little Goat Diner
820 W. Randolph Street in Chicago

Tasty Places :: La Boulange de Sunset

Tasty Places :: La Boulange de Sunset

This kind of a cheater post because I’ve already written up La Boulange de Sunset’s young Southern California cousin, a bustling new spot on La Brea, but why miss an opportunity to share tasty food pics. Besides, for this particular outing, I ordered  brunch instead of a late evening burger – the differences in experiences at these locations were practically day and night! 🙂

My girls and I were visiting my parents in Stockton, but took a little drive west to cheer on my work son William as he crossed the finish line at the San Francisco Half Marathon. He’s such an overachiever – now on his third half of the year, me with just two under my belt. Am I jealous of the special medal he received for doing both San Francisco and Surf City marathons? Definitely yes.

La Boulange Sunset || on dianderthal.com :: #laboulange #sanfrancisco #restaurants La Boulange Sunset || on dianderthal.com :: #laboulange #sanfrancisco #restaurants

But I still said I’d give him a ride across the bridge back over to the Oakland BART station where he’d left his car – only if we could stop and indulge ourselves in some vittles, however – my girls and I hungrier than William and his 13.1 miles. Yelp! helped us find La Boulange not far from the finish line, a spot among many in the area. We kind of rolled the dice and went for it.

La Boulange Sunset || on dianderthal.com :: #laboulange #sanfrancisco #restaurants La Boulange Sunset || on dianderthal.com :: #laboulange #sanfrancisco #restaurants La Boulange Sunset || on dianderthal.com :: #laboulange #sanfrancisco #restaurants

French toast was on the menu, so of course I asked for that when I ordered; a brioche toast that was kind of mushy in the middle. I didn’t mind the mush, although perhaps because I thought it was intentional; and the flavors of the brioche were so bright, the edges crispily sweet. My kid would have liked hers a little more well done. William was pleased with his post-race choice of a sausage and chips.

La Boulange Sunset || on dianderthal.com :: #laboulange #sanfrancisco #restaurants La Boulange Sunset || on dianderthal.com :: #laboulange #sanfrancisco #restaurants La Boulange Sunset || on dianderthal.com :: #laboulange #sanfrancisco #restaurants La Boulange Sunset || on dianderthal.com :: #laboulange #sanfrancisco #restaurants

Perhaps next year, we’ll come here again – only difference is that I hope to have a very special medal around my neck too.

La Boulange Bakery – Sunset Location
1266 9th Avenue in San Francisco (and other locations)

Burger Quest :: Bobby’s Burger Palace

Burger Quest :: Bobby’s Burger Palace

This wasn’t a planned outing. It was on my way to another Burger Quest trip (Holstein’s) while in Vegas for my daughter’s dance competition that I spotted Bobby’s Burger Palace, (yes, that Bobby) along the way, all glass and shiny and Vegas glitzy. Perhaps it called out my name as I swam along the drunken crowed. All I knew was that I had to try it. I had to work it in to my already impossible schedule.

There was a small window. I had two hours on one of the days of competition between my daughter’s last dance and the awards ceremony for that category. If I ventured out alone, if I hot-stepped it through the casino and down the Strip, I could do it.


And so I did it, getting all bubbly with sweat while doing so. With all the effort, I was a little perturbed when I sauntered up to the To-Go counter at BBP only to be ignored completely by the woman who hustled behind it. I didn’t even get as smile or the “just one second” finger. While being ignored, I had a couple minutes to glance at the menu, where I spotted a brilliant grouping of words: Cactus Pear Margarita. And that’s when I decided – I still had plenty of time; and the staff behind the sit-down counter across the way seemed happy, even eager for customers; and hey, if you’ve seen one dance competition awards show, you’ve seen too many of them – I needed to hang out at BBP and enjoy the whole burger (and Cactus Pear Margarita) experience.

DSC_0087 DSC_0091

My choice was a hard one with so many burgers that sounded special and promising. The Crunchburger with American cheese and potato chips piqued my interest, yet I ordered one called The Dallas as I’m a sucker for BBQ sauce and Jack cheese. And I figured the coleslaw served just under bun would be a cool and tangy companion to the meaty cheesy robust flavors of the burger.

Unfortunately, I was sorely underwhelmed with my choice. Initially, I blamed my selected protein, the ground turkey patty. Turkey burgers are a pretty easy find these days as restaurants attempt to cater to a variety of palates, including those who like healthier options. I don’t do turkey for health reasons. I just have a long and storied history with cows (as noted in other Dianderthal posts) and don’t like to eat them. If I wasn’t such a picky eater, I’d probably be a vegetarian (I’ve tried!). But I do poultry.


In keeping things healthy, some places, such as BBP, use white meat for their turkey patties. This was the mistake I initially identified here, as the patty was dry and lacked anything but that wimpy birdy flavor reminiscent of a sad Thanksgiving. I might forgive them this since turkey burgers are typically the beef burger’s awkward little sister; an afterthought. But this is a burger place. If you’re going to do a burger place right, you gotta make sure that all your offerings – chicken, angus beef, veggie – are on point. After dwelling on it some, I realized that my disappointment with the burger didn’t alone lie with the meat. I didn’t get a spark from anywhere – the cheese, the slaw, the sauce were all very gray and dull. A better assembling would have perked up a bland turkey patty, but that didn’t happen here. And like Forrest Gump says, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

DSC_0096 DSC_0103

What I can get excited about are my drink and the sweet potato fries. The drink especially made my sweaty walk-run to BBP worth it. It was a smooth and slushy cup of fun, despite the brain freeze it gave me.


But this here quest is about burgers, not margaritas (although I wouldn’t mind partaking in a margarita quest). Here’s how Bobby’s Burger Palace stacked up.

Bobby’s Burger Palace
3750 S. Las Vegas Blvd. in Vegas and other lcoations

Official Dianderthal Burger Quest Burger List:
1. Hawkins House of Burgers turkey burger with everything (mayo, mustard, pickles, tomato, red onion, lettuce), cheese added
2. PCB (Plan Check Burger) at Plan Check with americanized dashi cheese, ketchup leather, schmaltz onions, mixed pickles, crunch bun
3. 25 Degrees Number One Burger (turkey subbed for beef) with caramelized onions, crescenza, prelibato gorgonzola, bacon, arugula, thousand island
4. Father’s Office Burger with arugula, caramelized onions, Gruyere, applewood bacon, and maytag blue cheese
5. Island’s California Flyer turkey burger (BBQ sauce, “Island Reds” – fried onion straws, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato & mayo)
6.Golden State turkey burger with provolone, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli, and ketchup, (added grilled onions)
7. Holstein’s California Turkey Burger with sprouts, tomato, avocado, cucumber claw, pepperjack cheese, and Russian dressing
8. Yeah! Burger (Make It Your Own – turkey patty, whole wheat bun, pepper jack cheese, sriracha mayo, ketchup, grilled onions, honey mustard)
9. The Habit (Veggie burger made like a Charburger, with mayo, pickle, tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, cucumber, and sprouts)
10. The Counter (Build Your Own – turkey patty, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli, ketchup)
11. Burger City Grill (The BCG, turkey patty, pickles, grilled onions)
12. The Dallas at Bobby’s Burger Palace – spice crusted ground turkey patty with coleslaw, jack cheese, BBQ sauce, and pickles

Fry Factor
1. Island’s fries with ranch dressing
2. Golden State fried sweet potato wedges with garlic aioli (and a few with curry ketchup)
3. Holstein’s sweet potato fries
4. 25 Degrees Half & Half (sweet potato and regular fries)
5. Father’s Office sweet potato fries with blue cheese aioli
6. The Counter 50-50 fries (half regular, half sweet Ps)
7. The Habit french fries
8. Plan Check sweet potato waffle fries and regular fries
9. Bobby’s Burger Palace sweet potato fries
10. Burger City Grill fries
11. Yeah! Burger sweet potato fries
12. Hawkins House of Burgers fries