Posts tagged ‘fries’
Ever heard of Taylor’s Automatic Refresher? It was the model for Rob Dalzell’s now shuttered Chef Burger, but it has drawn crowds in St. Helena and Napa for years. It recently changed hands and is now called Gott’s Roadside, but nothing else has changed.
This is no ordinary burger drive-in, though that’s exactly what it looks like. There is a long list of hamburgers, ranging from the Wisconsin Bacon Blue to the Texas burger. The ones we sampled were good, not great. But you can also order a cobb or Chinese chicken salad, chicken sandwiches in the style of the burgers, and even fish tacos. I had the ahi tuna burger, a thick tuna steak cooked rare and topped with Asian slaw and ginger wasabi mayo and served on the same egg bun as the other sandwiches. Sauces dripped down my arm as I sunk my teeth into this hefty two-hander–it was fabulous.
We sampled regular French fries, garlic fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings, none of which compared to Blanc Burger in Kansas City, but we managed to devour them anyway. The milkshakes, on the other hand, were winners. It’s probably best to judge a restaurant by how well they do a vanilla or chocolate shake, but we went for the mint chip and espresso bean shakes and they were outrageously delicious…and the perfect thickness. Not so thin that it’s like milk and not so thick that a straw is useless.
A good selection of beer and wine round out the menu, which is something you don’t often see at a roadside stand.
This is not a drive-in in terms of ordering. You walk up to a window, place your order and wait for your name to be called before hauling your tray to whatever free table you can find. There’s no indoor seating, though covered outdoor seating is an option in inclement weather. On a typical California day, the ideal place to sit is at one of the backyard picnic tables.
I have heard that the food is not as good at Gott’s as it was at Taylor’s Automatic Refresher. Though I never had an opportunity to try the original roadside stand, based on our experience I would buy that assessment. However it’s a very fun place to go on a pretty afternoon. I would definitely go back for the atmosphere and the ahi tuna sandwich. Probably a salad, too, if my snooping around the tables is any indication.
I’m certainly not the first to weigh in on the newest location of Blanc Burger and Bottles, but it’s still worth a mention. The Plaza venue is a big improvement over the original in Westport, which was way too small, and the Mission Farms location, which is way too loud. While this one may not be just right, it is arranged in such a way that some of the sound is buffered and, beyond that, it’s an attractive space with unique dividers and a room-long bar for eating and/or sipping beer.
The menu is basically the same, though there are a few additional items, including fried peppadew peppers, beer battered Shatto cheese curds, and a $100 short-rib stuffed burger with foie gras butter for a mere $15.
On our visit, we stuck to old favorites, all of which were every bit as good as what we had enjoyed previously at the other locations. The Bison burger was juicy, and I like the combination of pepperjack cheese and peppadew jam which tops it off. My other favorite is the Spiced Lentil burger, topped with spiced yogurt and cucumber salad. We shared truffle fries, which were a bit too oily for my taste, and the regular fries. I prefer Blanc’s sweet potato fries, but had no trouble polishing these off.
We didn’t have room for a milkshake, but one of these days I’m going to have to try one of the liquor based “grown-up” milkshakes. Beer drinkers have more than 100 to choose from, soda drinkers have some interesting options, and even the wine list is far from ordinary.
I suspect Blanc has a gold mine on its hands, situated as it is in the heart of the Plaza. It’s also refreshing that there’s another independent operator on the Plaza–for too long it has been overrun with chains. I hope this starts the reversal of that mentality, back to the way it used to be when the area was known for its unique specialty shops and restaurants.