Thursday, March 28

Umami Burger - The Plant Cafe Organic - San Francisco

Big. Juicy. Lips.

These are actually burger buns in the Umami Burger logo. Although I would not be surprised if some marketing executive sat in his/her fancy office and thought up a logo with sex appeal for a burger chain. Rawr! Umami has been on my list for some time. Another one of the trendy hotspots being plastered all over Facebook. I always want to try hyped about places to judge which of the three bears' level of hyped it is - overhyped, underhyped, or hyped just right. Follow along with me as I tell this tale.

We were upsold by the very nice waitress into getting truffle cheese fries. The cheese solidified too soon leaving a top layer of umami tasting cheese embedded with soggy fries on top of just regular plain fries. She upsold us indeed...

($15) Sherry and I strategized for many minutes on how we would order one surf burger and one turf burger to make a surf and turf meal. We both had our eye on the ahi tuna burger from Umami's website except it is not sold at the San Francisco location. If I hadn't taken the train all the way up JUST to try this place, I would have saved my Umami de-virginization for one of the SoCal locations with the ahi burger. Alas, when your first choice in surf is taken, try the next best thing, the scallop and pork belly burger. This was interesting. The individual components were cooked well and very good on their own. A burger made of scallops and pork belly though, really? It's a novelty combination that works for a few bites and then gets old.

($11) And onto the turf portion, the infamous Umami burger. Shiitake mushrooms, carmelized onion, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp, and umami ketchup. Let me tell you, I learned to HATE parmesan crisps after eating some gross toe-fungus-butt-crack tasting parmesan crisps in Brazil. But this one from Umami, quite delicate and nice. Maybe it was just Brazil...

It gets better, the burger patty is so juicy. Just the right portion size. Very full of that umami flavor. The buns (and this is true for both burgers) is probably the tastiest burger bun I've ever had. Toasty like a grilled cheese sandwich on one side, fluffy in the middle, and branded with a unique "U" on top.

And the accessory to bring it all together, the red lipstick on those juicy lips, was the umami ketchup. You've got ketchup that tastes a little like mushrooms. Hard to describe. Just gotta try it.

Since we were already in the Marina district, where healthy living is all the craze (not that I mind), we each spent $5 on this tiny 8oz cup of veggie juice from The Plant Cafe Organic. Sherry got something with beets on the left and I got something with green that turned brown. I forget the combination but it had kale in it for sure because kale and I are long time lovers. $5 for a drink you finish in 2 minutes - expensive you say? Well it was the best darn veggie juice I've had ever. Totes want to invest in a juicer now. Does it count to just chew a bunch of veggies really fast in your mouth?

Umami was hyped just right. The Umami burger and most likely all the turf burgers are very good and definitely worth a try. The scallop and pork belly burger and also the cheese fries, not so much. Let that not deter you though, the beef burgers alone are worth it. I recommend you check it out. 

I guess this was a day of all trendy things because juicing is a huge trend right now. I love it though because I'm really just a hippie at heart, just too poor to get more than a $5 juice cup. I window shop at Whole Foods and then selectively purchase from Safeway's organic section when it's on sale. C'mon some of you do this too. *virtual high five*

Umami Burger on Urbanspoon
As a reminder, there are only 37 hours left to pledge for the Food Tourism Conference. Let's bring it home!

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