Burger Quest :: Working Class Kitchen

Burger Quest :: Working Class Kitchen

I hadn’t realized how long I’d gone without adding a new burger to my celebrated (by me) Burger Quest list until yesterday when my co-worker/work son William suggested relative newcomer Working Class Kitchen as our destination for lunch. I’d been here for the first time a week or so ago, considering it as a Quest spot after seeing the many mentions of their burger online. With such a long lapse in time since the last Quest venture, I decided to go for it at WCK with their genuine, bona fide Chianina burger made with BEEF, a rate appearance on any Dianderthal list due to my on-again/off-again pescetarianism/semi-vegetarianism habits. Yesterday, it felt wonderful to be off as the Chianina burger was On. Right on, so juicy, so flavorful – the meat tender and succulent, attuned by the vibrant color provided by their scratch-made remoulade and sweetly caramelized onions. And much of the burger’s beauty was in the bun, a not-too-soft split roll dense enough to handle all the juiciness.

working class kitchen Long Beach chianina burger quest

Work son and the rest of my lunchtime pals marveled at the speed at which I finished my burger. Gone in 60 seconds? Pretty close. Probably in five or six healthy bites. Perhaps I almost bit off a couple of my fingers. Made in my hometown, enjoyed outdoors, and paired with a few handfuls of WCK’s divine frites, I was in lunchtime heaven as I savored this meal. Only thing about lunchtime heaven, however, is that it isn’t eternal. After 15 minutes or so, we had to pack it up and head back to the office. At least it was a Friday, giving me the weekend to look forward to.

working class kitchen Long Beach chianina burger quest working class kitchen Long Beach chianina burger quest working class kitchen Long Beach chianina burger quest

I am eternally grateful, though, that a great burger is such a short drive away from my workplace. Now if I can only find a way to make this burger fit into my diet should I resume my sometimes pescetarian ways. Maybe a monthly cheat day will do the trick. Whatever I do, the Burger Quest continues, with WCK shaking things up…

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. The Chianina Burger at Working Class Kitchen with cheese
3. PCB (Plan Check Burger) at Plan Check with americanized dashi cheese, ketchup leather, schmaltz onions, mixed pickles, crunch bun
4. 25 Degrees Number One Burger (turkey subbed for beef) with caramelized onions, crescenza, prelibato gorgonzola, bacon, arugula, thousand island
5. Burger Lounge’s Free Range Turkey Burger, served Lounge Style with organic white cheddar, grilled onion, lettuce, tomato, and house-made 1000 Island
6. Father’s Office Burger with arugula, caramelized onions, Gruyere, applewood bacon, and maytag blue cheese
7. Island’s California Flyer turkey burger (BBQ sauce, “Island Reds” – fried onion straws, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato & mayo)
8.Golden State turkey burger with provolone, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli, and ketchup, (added grilled onions)
9. Oh My Burger BYOMB (Build Your Oh My Burger) turkey with OMB sauce, ketchup, pepper jack, and onion rings
10. Holstein’s California Turkey Burger with sprouts, tomato, avocado, cucumber claw, pepperjack cheese, and Russian dressing
11. Yeah! Burger (Make It Your Own – turkey patty, whole wheat bun, pepper jack cheese, sriracha mayo, ketchup, grilled onions, honey mustard)
12. The Habit (Veggie burger made like a Charburger, with mayo, pickle, tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, cucumber, and sprouts)
13. The Counter (Build Your Own – turkey patty, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli, ketchup)
14. Burger City Grill (The BCG, turkey patty, pickles, grilled onions)
15. 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. Working Class Kitchen’s frites
4. Burger Lounge’s fries with house-made Ranch
5. Holstein’s sweet potato fries
6. 25 Degrees Half & Half (sweet potato and regular fries)
7. Father’s Office sweet potato fries with blue cheese aioli
8. The Counter 50-50 fries (half regular, half sweet Ps)
9. Oh My Burger sweet potato fries
10. The Habit french fries
11. Plan Check sweet potato waffle fries and regular fries
12. Bobby’s Burger Palace sweet potato fries
13. Burger City Grill fries
14. Yeah! Burger sweet potato fries
15. Hawkins House of Burgers fries

Working Class Kitchen
1322 Coronado Avenue in Long Beach

Burger Quest :: Working Class Kitchen

Burger Quest :: Working Class Kitchen

I hadn’t realized how long I’d gone without adding a new burger to my celebrated (by me) Burger Quest list until yesterday when my co-worker/work son William suggested relative newcomer Working Class Kitchen as our destination for lunch. I’d been here for the first time a week or so ago, considering it as a Quest spot after seeing the many mentions of their burger online. With such a long lapse in time since the last Quest venture, I decided to go for it at WCK with their genuine, bona fide Chianina burger made with BEEF, a rate appearance on any Dianderthal list due to my on-again/off-again pescetarianism/semi-vegetarianism habits. Yesterday, it felt wonderful to be off as the Chianina burger was On. Right on, so juicy, so flavorful – the meat tender and succulent, attuned by the vibrant color provided by their scratch-made remoulade and sweetly caramelized onions. And much of the burger’s beauty was in the bun, a not-to-soft split roll dense enough to handle all the juiciness.

working class kitchen Long Beach chianina burger quest

Work son and the rest of my lunchtime pals marveled at the speed at which I finished my burger. Gone in 60 seconds? Pretty close. Probably in five or six healthy bites. Perhaps I almost bit off a couple of my fingers. Made in my hometown, enjoyed outdoors, and paired with a few handfuls of WCK’s divine frites, I was in lunchtime heaven as I savored this meal. Only thing about lunchtime heaven, however, is that it isn’t eternal. After 15 minutes or so, we had to pack it up and head back to the office. At least it was a Friday, giving me the weekend to look forward to.

working class kitchen Long Beach chianina burger quest working class kitchen Long Beach chianina burger quest working class kitchen Long Beach chianina burger quest

I am eternally grateful, though, that a great burger is such a short drive away from my workplace. Now if I can only find a way to make this burger fit into my diet should I resume my sometimes pescetarian ways. Maybe a monthly cheat day will do the trick. Whatever I do, the Burger Quest continues, with WCK shaking things up…

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. The Chianina Burger at Working Class Kitchen with cheese
3. PCB (Plan Check Burger) at Plan Check with americanized dashi cheese, ketchup leather, schmaltz onions, mixed pickles, crunch bun
4. 25 Degrees Number One Burger (turkey subbed for beef) with caramelized onions, crescenza, prelibato gorgonzola, bacon, arugula, thousand island
5. Burger Lounge’s Free Range Turkey Burger, served Lounge Style with organic white cheddar, grilled onion, lettuce, tomato, and house-made 1000 Island
6. Father’s Office Burger with arugula, caramelized onions, Gruyere, applewood bacon, and maytag blue cheese
7. Island’s California Flyer turkey burger (BBQ sauce, “Island Reds” – fried onion straws, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato & mayo)
8.Golden State turkey burger with provolone, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli, and ketchup, (added grilled onions)
9. Oh My Burger BYOMB (Build Your Oh My Burger) turkey with OMB sauce, ketchup, pepper jack, and onion rings
10. Holstein’s California Turkey Burger with sprouts, tomato, avocado, cucumber claw, pepperjack cheese, and Russian dressing
11. Yeah! Burger (Make It Your Own – turkey patty, whole wheat bun, pepper jack cheese, sriracha mayo, ketchup, grilled onions, honey mustard)
12. The Habit (Veggie burger made like a Charburger, with mayo, pickle, tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, cucumber, and sprouts)
13. The Counter (Build Your Own – turkey patty, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli, ketchup)
14. Burger City Grill (The BCG, turkey patty, pickles, grilled onions)
15. 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. Working Class Kitchen’s frites
4. Burger Lounge’s fries with house-made Ranch
5. Holstein’s sweet potato fries
6. 25 Degrees Half & Half (sweet potato and regular fries)
7. Father’s Office sweet potato fries with blue cheese aioli
8. The Counter 50-50 fries (half regular, half sweet Ps)
9. Oh My Burger sweet potato fries
10. The Habit french fries
11. Plan Check sweet potato waffle fries and regular fries
12. Bobby’s Burger Palace sweet potato fries
13. Burger City Grill fries
14. Yeah! Burger sweet potato fries
15. Hawkins House of Burgers fries

Working Class Kitchen
1322 Coronado Avenue in Long Beach

Ladies Who Wine :: The Social List

Ladies Who Wine :: The Social List

It’s been a while since we’ve had one of our Ladies Who Wine outings, so there was a big turnout for our visit to The Social List on Long Beach’s Retro Row, those attending ready to be social, and to make lists (of all the food and drink they planned to suck down).

The Social List easily gets your attention if you’re driving by. It begs you to stop in with its pale yellow façade, its bold lettering letting you know you’ve arrived; its patio seating and windowed doors summoning Long Beach inside while the aroma of their perky food, their hearty brews floats out onto 4th Street. Settled on a corner near the Arts Theater and The Center LB, The Social List holds its own with other culinary favorites in the area, like Lola’s and Number Nine.

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This outing’s beverage lesson, provided by Nora, educated the table on beers. Sour beers, which until last night I’d never heard of. They’re made tart from a careful balance of bacteria added during brewing, a risky trick though an oft-practice one in Belgium. The art of developing a pleasingly soured brew has spread to the US in recent years, Nora informing us that sour beers are what all the cool kids are drinking. We followed up our lesson with a practical application, ordering a couple bottles of Silly Sour to share. I adopted one of the bottles as my own once the table had a try at it, the taste reminding me of a cool summer shandy, though not as sweet.

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In addition to beers, we munched on small plates and a couple of entrees. I quite enjoyed my chicken apple cinnamon (!) sausage, a different choice than my usual type of go-to fare. I’d get it again, along with the patatas bravas and the butternut squash and onion jam toast.

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We had a special guest in the form of Kristina’s cousin from Paris, so in addition to sour beer, I got a quick schooling in European geography. And with French, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin, and Portuguese speakers around the table, I was able to practice many a foreign language – and to give my not so pleasant British accent another try. They say it tends to drift toward Jamaican. Despite my likely offense of certain groups, it was another fabulous time indeed with the Ladies, our lesson, and our love of food. The Social List is certainly a place we’ll have to check twice and then some.

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The Social List
2105 E. 4th Street on Long Beach’s Retro Row

Tasty Places :: Working Class Kitchen

Tasty Places :: Working Class Kitchen

Working Class Kitchen is the newest gift to Long Beach from Michael’s Restaurant Group. The folks that brought the southland’s most celebrated pizza to my city (from Michael’s Pizzeria if you didn’t know – now, you know) – in addition to the elegant Michael’s on Naples and new Naples favorite, Chianina Steakhouse – now offer an every day kind of place for people like me – I certainly am what you’d call a working class kind of gal.

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A sort of gastro-butcher, WCK packs sandwiches with fresh meats brought in daily from local sources. You can pick up a sandwich stuffed with smoked ham, meatloaf, or corned beef, or grab a freshly butchered rabbit or a pork shank as fixer uppers of your own. For lunch, the gang and I were on our way to Los Compadres (as usual) when I noticed a sign for WCK parked on the sidewalk near the Walgreens on the corner of Redondo and Anaheim. Seeing the word “kitchen,” I had to investigate further, Googling the place instantly and deciding that I’d try it out the next day. Sandy agreed to go with me, so the two of us left behind our Los Compadres leftovers the following day, ready to add something new to our lunchtime repertoire.

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I really wanted to try the Chianina burger, which received high praise from those sharing about WCK online. But deciding to postpone a Burger Quest mission to a day when I’d have more time to savor, could pair my burger with a beer, I went instead with the grilled cheese, a wonderfully crisp and melty construction, enlivened with roasted red peppers. Sandy got the smoked ham, a good choice, she said, balanced and rich. My favorite find here, however, were their frites – you know I’m not just a fly girl; I’m a fry girl. And these fries did it for me, greasy and chewy and fluffy, the way fries are meant to be. Can’t wait to have more of these with my burger when I return.

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I was glad their food met my expectations (which were high) but also, the place has a cool factor that is digable. Industrial and bare and rustic, the vibe says it’s a place to sit, to hang, to revel. It’s just what we working class people need. Their motto Sine Labore Nihil is Latin for Without Work, There is Nothing – a stance WCK seems to take on with pride, and one I appreciate, especially when I can treat myself to local spots like these using my hard earned money.

Working Class Kitchen
1322 Coronado Avenue in Long Beach

Tasty Places :: The Attic

Tasty Places :: The Attic

Tomorrow is my next half marathon – Surf City, which a year ago was my very first half marathon. So you’d think I’d be unfazed; to lack anxiety since this will be my fourth such race. But I’m off my game. Unlike my previous big runs, I didn’t train for tomorrow. Not that I didn’t want to. In fact, this race really wasn’t truly a BIG run but a training run for the upcoming LA Marathon, 26.2 miles from Dodger stadium to the Santa Monica Pier. However, over the holidays, my knee checked out on me. It was painful on several occasions but one morning, during what was supposed to be a 10-mile run, it just shut down after mile 4, and I had two slowly limp two miles home. The doctor agreed that it’s likely my IT band causing the problems, irritated due to my weak knee muscles and my wide women hips.

Between short runs and lunchtime walks up Signal Hill, I’ve only done 22 miles this year, a total I should be completing per week (and then some) at this point in my full marathon training. So at Surf City, I just plan to go for it. I’ve rested, done a bit of strengthening, and I’ve stretched. I won’t be breaking any personal records but I hope to slow jog the 13.1 miles without incident.

The Attic :: Long Beach :: dianderthal :: surf city marathon
Even taking it slow, a girl’s gotta eat! So after picking up our race packets, William the Work Son (aka my Race Ace) and I swerved back down to Long Beach to get our carb on. We debated Italian for pasta, Thai for noodles, but came across Attic’s day-long breakfast, and their Hot Cheetos mac & cheese. I’m not a fan of Hot Cheetos. Before today, I can’t recall ever trying one. But I didn’t chicken out of digging in, splitting a bowl as an appetizer. I’m sure I got more than my fair share of carbs with the five or six spoonfuls I sucked down, along with a year’s worth of fat and processed chemicals. I admit, however, that I did enjoy those crispy spicy bits of badness mingled in with the velvety cheese.

The Attic :: Long Beach :: dianderthal hot cheetos mac cheeseThe Attic :: Long Beach :: dianderthal hot cheetos mac cheese

Still full from breakfast (my stomach hasn’t stretched back out to pre-fast size – I’m sure it’ll be back after the Super Bowl), I was only able partially able to tackle my carbalicious entree of fries and a crab cake sandwich (what The Attic calls a Crabby Patty). I did sample what will be my next entree on my return – a bite of William’s Nutella waffle, part of his waffle sampler that also included a bananas fosters waffle, a bacon waffle, and a blueberry. The Nutella packed a pretty darn great, a wondrous griddle fare sweetened with the rich Nutella sauce and fluffy cream. Delightful is the best way to describe it.

The Attic :: Long Beach :: dianderthal The Attic :: Long Beach :: dianderthal The Attic :: Long Beach :: dianderthal

The Attic :: Long Beach :: dianderthal The Attic :: Long Beach :: dianderthal

Perhaps the Attic will be my destination next weekend at some point, especially if my knee holds up fine tomorrow and my full marathon training kicks in again (in which case I’ll need to put in 16 miles next Saturday). Glad the Attic is here as my local go-to power thru.

The Attic
3441 East Broadway in Long Beach

Returned to The Attic on Valentine’s Day for an elegant lobster bisque, shrimp po boy, turkey meatloaf, a mint julep, and chocolate molten lava cake. All delightful.

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Tasty Places :: Panxa Cocina

Tasty Places :: Panxa Cocina

Today ended my 21-day Daniel fast – and you know I had to break fast the Dianderthal way, with my homies at a new restaurant. The choice was Panxa Cocina, Broadway’s latest culinary delight in the LBC. My fro-worker and co-eater Kristina got me curious about the place, as she’s done before, previously telling me about such delectations as Anaheim Packing House and Tavern on 2. It’s kind of annoying because I’m supposed to be the one who knows what’s new, what’s hot, what’s tasty. I’m Dianderthal. But I forgive her because she’s yet to steer me wrong. One of these days, I’ll have to figure out her secret. Perhaps she’s really some sort of restaurant insider, getting scoops left and right in hopes that she’ll drop word to me and I’ll write a glowing review on this here blog o’ mine.

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But enough whining. I’m here to dish about dishes. We had plenty of them, work son William joining us for a threesome. I’m glad he did as, in addition to the appetizers of shrimp escabeche and potato-cheese pancakes we ordered, he asked for the chicharones, crispy pieces of fried chicken skin served with a tangy red sauce. All our pre-meal snackins proved a welcome re-entry back to unhealthy eating for me, the potato cakes surprising my palate with the luscious bits of pineapple served on top, and the sweet-savoriness of the succulent shrimp in the escabeche popping when swept through the creamy aioli drizzled on the plate. My favorite taste of the night, however, belonged to the seafood enchiladas, my entree. They don’t skimp on the lobster, the shrimp in these fresh, juicy rolls topped with a creamy green sauce. I’m hooked on these – had to force myself to eat just one so I’d have a fulfilling leftovers lunch the next day. As much as I’d like to try something new on my next visit, I’m sure I’ll pick the seafood enchiladas once again.

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Panxa is fairly new, just opening before the holidays. But it’s already a spot, and will get hotter when they launch lunch and happy hour in the next coming weeks. What a welcome addition to this luscious strip of Broadway. Between these blocks and Retro Row, I foresee spending lots of time and money in LB’s southern parts.

panxa cocina long beach dianderthal
Panxa Cocina
3937 E. Broadway in Long Beach

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