Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Doc's of the Bay - Classic Burger - Burger Challenge 2011, Part 1

Let me start by saying that I love salt. LOVE salt. When I was a kid I used to just eat salt plain. I used to even salt my food before trying it. If I had to choose between a sweet dessert or a salty snack, I would always choose the salty snack. So I am a big fan of NaCl.

I braved the cold and rainy weather, still battling my illness and headed down to UN Plaza for today's Burger Faceoff 2011 between fivetenburger and Doc's of the Bay, hosted by Off the Grid. Unfortunately work tasks kept me in the office longer than anticipated so by the time I arrived at 1:30, fivetenburger had already closed up shop and Doc's was down to the single digits of their remaining burgers. I was looking forward to a side by side comparison, but since that wasn't going to happen, I satisfied myself by getting only one.

The people at Doc's were super friendly and because it was so late there was no line. I received my burger in under five minutes and the girl that served it to me recommended that I try their ketchup which she described as fabulous. They were all out, but when I asked they gave me a whole new bucket of ketchup containers to place out so I took one and went to find a seat.

Unfortunately UN Plaza at Civic Center is a crappy area overrun with homeless people and birds, neither of which I am fan of. OtG doesn't have any seats set up, so I looked around, spotted a touristy couple and parked myself next to them to enjoy my burger. When I opened the bag it looked really, really yummy, stacked high with a thick slice of tomato and a large piece of bright green lettuce. My patty was covered in gooey, melty cheese and the bun was light, toasty and buttery. It had all the makings of a great burger.

Until I took the first bite.

The overwhelming saltiness replaced any other flavor that should have been detected with this first bite. I wrinkled my nose and continued on, hoping that I just happened to bite into an area that had an abnormal concentration of salt. But that wasn't the case. As I kept eating my burger got saltier and saltier. I tasted each component separately trying to isolate where it was coming from, and realised it was the burger patty. I am glad I was recommended ketchup because I needed the sweet sauce to help balance out the salt. I am also glad I brought an entire bottle of water with me because I needed it. Even as I sit here, an hour after eating my burger, my tongue still feels funny from all of the salt.

This leads me to believe that I must have just gotten a bad burger. I will give them the benefit of doubt and say that something just went wrong today, or with this batch of patties. If I wasn't so hungry I would not have even finished it so I am going to go back on another day and try another burger. The rest of the fixin's were all very tasty - I particularly enjoyed the slight crispiness of the bun which was soft and airy on the inside. The veggies were all fresh and the ketchup was particularly tasty - more sweet than acidic with a slight undertone of honey. The ketchup was the winner in my book, and I was wishing I had fries to dip.

The winner of this challenge: fivetenburger, and I haven't even had it yet! Okay, maybe that is a bit unfair, but until next week when I can try Doc's again and determine that today was just a fluke, it's going to be hard for fiveten not to win.

Doc's of the Bay (@docsofthebay) $7.00 per burger

Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!

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