Our noble quest to sample “The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die” (according to GQ columnist Alan Richman and featured on Oprah) moved ahead today with a trip to Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa. Bistro Don Giovanni’s Grilled Bistro Burger, ranked No. 11 on the list, is quite the char-grilled burger. The thick patty, squeezed between two fantastic buns (this writer believe that “custom” buns can push any great or even good burger into the awesome category), presented a grilled outer crust encasing a wonderfully lean but juicy interior. Karen loved the fact that the meat is ground in the restaurant and the Grilled Bistro Burger can be served so raw that the wait staff almost needs to herd it to the table. Karen topped hers with lightly grilled red onions while I opted — surprise — for bleu cheese. Onion rings rounded out Karen’s lunch; fries completed mine. (According to our superb waiter, the fries were made from potatoes grown in the garden about five feet from our window seat.)
This topped off a very nice day in the Napa Valley, where we hit Summers Winery & Vineyards, Conn Creek Winery, Domain Chandon, and The Hess Collection Winery. They all had some good wines, but we ended up picking up Summers Winery’s 2005 Rosé (Definitely not your father’s rosé!), Conn Creek’s 2003 Grand Reserve Villa Mt. Eden Cabernet Sauvignon (a very drinkable cab) and Hess’ 2004 Artezin (a zinfandel with grapes from Mendocino, Sonoma and Amador counties, and very fruity). It was a great day off!
Oh…didn’t write about it before, but our first sampling from “The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die” took place a few months ago with a trip to The Burger Joint in San Francisco. Again, if you like burgers, this is a great place to visit when in The City. This is your basic 1950’s retro burger place. The menu only offers hamburgers, cheeseburgers, mini cheeseburgers, Gardenburgers, chicken breast sandwiches and hot dogs. All come with fries or onion rings. The beverage list is just as simple. The Burger Joint’s burgers are made with pure beef (Niman Ranch beef – no chemicals, no hormones, no antibiotics). They are GOOD. We visited the Valencia Street restaurant, and once you get past the neighborhood’s run down appearance, The Burger Joint is one of the cleanest (even the bathrooms were among the cleanest I’ve seen) and “best-est” burger places around.
Once we’ve recovered from eating these red meat marvels, I’m thinking that our next stops will be at Seattle’s Red Mill Burgers (for the Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese), then to Santa Monica for a stop at The Counter (to experience its Build Your Own Burger) and Houston’s (for it’s California Burger), even if Houston’s is part of a larger chain.