Smash Time

Thank you everyone for your nice comments and e-mails over the week. A little tidbit for you: FAOT received the most page views ever in one day on Wednesday. Wahoo, here’s to many more to come! (insert festivus emoji icons here)

As my sister mentioned in the comment section of my panko eggplant recipe, summer in San Francisco is fashionably later than the traditional times of June-August. It all fits in some how, considering the stereotypical ‘more different, even better’ persona that is usually tied to our little city by the bay. (And if you were to ask me what my opinion is, then I would respond and warn you that there are a lot of degrees of uniqueness in this seven mile twilight zone.)

So. What do you think of eating during the climax of summer, burgers on the grill? What about smash burgers for a change?

I received a media invite from Smashburger’s team a few weeks ago and was a little wary of going because I am not a huge fan of fast-food chains. However, I did my due diligence and researched the company a little before I made the decision to go for it. It didn’t hurt that the tasting happened to take place during the few short hours I’m free during the week and I also live close by.

Reflecting back, I’m happy with myself for going because I really enjoyed their corporate culture and most importantly, the burgers!

A friend of mine (and writer over at Mrs. Spaghetti) accepted my invitation to feast. We have almost all of the same classes together, which is awesome because studying just got a little bit easier.

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I never heard of Smashburger before, but recently learned that they opened in 2007 and already have 235 locations! The first SB was in Denver, CO and the founder wanted a burger that was delicious and juicy in every bite.

The guy in the middle looking down at something is Tom Ryan, the founder of Smashburger. He was our host of the meal and told us his philosophy and why they do things the way they do. I just wanted to tell you guys his credentials because they are pretty bad ass.

-Masters in Lipid Toxicology and Ph.D. in Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry

You don’t hear those everyday!

-Created the Stuffed Crust (a high person’s dream come true) at Pizza hut, the Dollar Menu and McGriddles from McDonalds

I really respect Tom because he does not just let other people do his work. He knew almost every statistic about all 235 chains and I could tell he was really proud and involved in the business.

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While getting my drink, I noticed they had Honest as their tea company. I usually do not see that very often so I used it to my advantage.

Smashburger also hand selects local craft beer to serve depending on your area. He even asked us for recommendations for what to put in San Francisco!

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First to come out was a huge tasting of different fries. The Smashfries (left picture) were so addicting, tossed in pesto, rosemary and sea salt. Veggie frites (on the right) were also tasty and great for people who have a potato phobia. My favorite (and the one I kept grazing on throughout my meal) were the flash fried dill chips. I’m not the biggest pickle fan but I loved the crispiness.

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The 7-course burger meal sounded scary, but rest assured, they cut them in quarters. Still, I ate the equivalent to 2 full sized burgers, a side of fries and a smoothie. Talk about getting it all in…

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My favorite part of the Smashburger tasting was seeing that they had more than just a standard classic. I might even over touch and call some of the options gourmet, like my favorite burger: the Truffle Mushroom Swiss on an egg bun (+fried egg=heaven) or the Bay Chicken (w/ baby arugula on a ciabatta bun).

Vegetarians, they even had an amazing spicy house-made black bean burger (first picture on the left)! Everyone loved it and it’s better than the frozen Morningstar ones that I see at some restaurants.

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Our cutie helper passed out PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY Haagan Dazs shakes at the end. It was almost as if I died and went to heaven.

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Just wanted to share other dining options, like a real Cobb salad. I don’t order salads much when I go out, but when my friends do I can’t help but notice how sad they look.

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The whole gang of burgers, ranging from angus beef all the way to chicken and vegetarian.

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Tom liked me so much, he hired me as the Executive Patty Operator.

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Just kidding, but he did show me the secrets to making a juicy, delicious burger.

Everywhere you read tells you to not flatten your patties (and don’t do it at home!). Smashburger doesn’t pack their patties, which allows air to go through and create enough space for the juices to stay in the patty. Although the burgers look flat, there was a significant amount of juice (enough to trail down my hands while eating!).

Thank you, Tom!

Oddly enough, he reminded me so much of my favorite biology teacher. I wonder if they’re related.

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PS: Really need to get my hair done. Rocio, come back to San Francisco…

My final verdict? I would try it at least once! There are so many restaurants in San Francisco that I hate visiting the same place twice, but I wouldn’t mind coming back if I was in the area and needed a quick bite to eat. This particular Smashburger is located in the Potrero Hill shopping center.

**Smashburger provided me with a meal but I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are proudly my own!

Have you had Smashburger? Are you a classic burger lover or the more different the better?

17 thoughts on “Smash Time

  1. I’ve never been to a Smashburger but it looks like it would be right up my husband’s alley! I, of course, wouldn’t object as long as we ordered those fries!! YUM!

    You always have the coolest foodie experiences – how fun!

  2. PhD in Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry? Say whaaaaat? Those burgers look delish. Personally, I’m a HUGE burger fan. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit because I know a lot of people don’t eat burgers, but I get burger cravingsssss. They’re just so good.

  3. It’s not even 7:00 a.m. and my stomach is howling reading this post, so thanks for that!
    I’d like to give a quick shout-out to Denver (well, CO in general) for giving proverbial birth to this impressive list of *”fast casual” dining establishments. Turns out Colorado is not only pretty, we’re also smart! .. I mean,

    Smashburger, Qdoba, Chipotle, Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill
    Noodles & Co., Boston Market, Quiznos, Mad Greens, Bombay Bowl

    *Side note – Remember when the America decided that Kentucky Fried Chicken should now be donned “KFC”, so as to sweep the word “fried” under the bucket? Apparently I missed the moment when calling “fast food” like it is became taboo. Out with the condescension and connotation and in with the more refined “fast casual”.

    Side note number two:
    Does anybody know how to make scratch turkey burger?
    I honestly can’t pull it off without it tasting like a floppy meatball.

    Number Three:
    Sie, did you know that dad used to grease up a cast iron skillet (shocking) and line it with rock salt? He would to pan-fry the burgs by pressing into the salt vs. pre-salting the patty (which slurps the moisture right out). He was a visionary, really.

  4. Ok first up, I made your Panko-Crusted Eggplant Caprese and it was magnificent! Second, this looks amazing. Damn you girl, it’s right before lunch time and now all I want is a burger!

  5. I’ve never been to smash burger, and I’d never heard of it until recently when they opened one in Novato. I had thought I’d never go, but I think your post sold me. Do you know if they substitute any of the burger patties with chicken or turkey? I want those fries!!

  6. I’m still full from that day! I think if you’re going to eat a burger then Smashburger is one of the best options out there in the “fast food/fast casual” world. I have a better appreciation for the business side of things after–he really had a hands on approach to everything. Glad to share a fun experience!

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