Chilebrown at home

Friday, November 7, 2014


What is all the fuss about? Have you heard about the latest burger in town? We wanted to experience what everyone has been talking about. This adventure brings us to Umami Burger in downtown Oakland. Downtown was once a decaying urban center and now has become a hipster destination. Come along with us and experience Umami burgers. Bring lots of quarters to feed the meter because it is burger time.

Downtown equals parking challenges. I have temporarily lost my parking karma because it took numerous laps around the block to find a pit stop for the Racing Honda. Even when we found our parking berth we had a several block walk. I came prepared with a pocketful of quarters. Gosh darn it, the coin slot was jammed. Luckily new meters take plastic and it was a good thing. My pocketful of quarters did not even cover a down payment on our premium priced parking spot. Before you could say Umami we arrived at our lunch destination.

We were greeted by a friendly hostess. It was several minutes before the noon hour and we were seated immediately. Our timing was perfect because the noon whistle blew and hipsters and office workers filled the place quickly. The inside was modern with a cool vibration. It was like we were in a club where everybody wanted to go. The menu was filled with burgers and fixings. This was no ordinary burger & fries offering. Each burger had unique flavor combinations. The fries had numerous savory toppings. It seemed truffle oil was used a lot. It took us a short while to make our decisions because of all the unique choices.

I chose ‘The Original’. This house ground beef patty was topped with Parmesan frico, shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, and Umami house ketchup. Each and every burger had a Umami trademark kiss branded on the hamburger bun. It was a beautiful looking burger. The meat was juicy and seasoned to perfection. The house ketchup combined with sun-dried tomato provided a deep rich savory umami flavor that rocked my boat. The caramelized onions were so good. The parmesan frico was a salty crisp component that got a little lost in the shuffle. The mushroom was flavorful. It I could find any fault to this combination it would be the size of the burger. It was not very big for this Mad Meat Genius. There also was only one small mushroom and one small sun-dried tomato. I am not sure if this was intended because half the burger got only the tomato or mushroom.

Ms. Goofy had a burger called the “Queso Fundido” This burger had the signature kiss branded bun cradling the signature burger topped with queso fresco, chorizo sauce and cilantro. She enjoyed and relished this cheesy rendition of a burger. We accompanied our two burgers with a house cured pickle plate. This small platter comprised of pickled carrots, beets, mushrooms, cucumbers, red peppers and soy beans. It was decent enough and the carrots had extra pucker power from its sour/sweet brine.
      We enjoyed our lunch at Umami Burger. It is a fun hip kind of place. This is not your ordinary hamburger and fries kind of joint. Umami Burger offers many unique and interesting burger combinations. Will we return? Maybe when and if my parking karma returns, it may happen. To be honest, dropping 50 dollars on two burgers, one beer and a plate of pickles was a little sticker shock for this wannabe hipster. If you want to play you must pay. Maybe, I would have enjoyed this adventure more if I had left Umami burger with a full stomach and not still hungry.


Big Dude said...

Always good to hear that downtown areas are being revitalized. That burger is a little thick for my liking but glad you enjoyed yours.

Three Dogs BBQ said...

Looks like Ms. Goofy chose well. That was a steep price for what you received. And to leave hungry? Do you wear hipster glasses when you go to hipster hangouts?

Chilebrown said...

Big Dude, They were thick but the angle of the shot makes them look larger than they were. A few bites and they were gone. Great taste but should of been called wish burgers. I wish there was some more.

Three Dogs BBQ, She enjoyed it a lot. I actually have several pairs of hipster glasses. I sometimes wear my Oakley shades that have the appearance, I am moving a high speeds even though I am stationary.

Dagny said...

I usually take BART into downtown to avoid the meter issue.

Chilebrown said...

Dagny, I had to take Bart and A.C. for so many years out of necessity that I try to avoid them now. I have my fingers crossed and have been performing random acts of altruism in hopes of my parking karma will return.

Greg said...

I likes the pickle idea. Burgers-burgers every where here. Novato has had three "upscale" burger joints open recently not including the In and Out. We've been making them at home so I can squirrel away the monies for more far flung adventures. I ponder what the next food rage will be. Can I get a shout out for a decent hot dog?

Chilebrown said...

Greg, Top Dog was and is the gold standard for hot dogs and sausage. It is an East Bay institution. I have spent many a late night sampling the offerings. (k)Caspers is another hot dog staple. If you want to go hipster "Dogey-Style HotDogs" in Alameda. I think the traditional ingredients are the best.

Chris said...

This one is on our list of places to try as soon as I am in a city or town that has one. Chorizo sauce sounds like something I could eat like a soup.