San Francisco is known for a number of things including:
1. TV- It has been the setting for a number of TV shows, past and present. Notable shows have included Full House, Hotel, Party of Five, and Dharma and Greg.
2. Music- Some of the more notable bands in American History hail from the San Francisco area. Classic rock bands like the Grateful Dead, the Steve Miller Band, Santana and Jefferson Airplane, modern day rockers Third Eye Blind Train and even one hit wonders 4 Non Blondes began in the Bay area.
3. Food- Everything from bakeries to renowned food trucks to some of the most famous restaurants in the country reside in San Francisco.
That said, I realized that after 5 days in San Francisco that I hadn’t had a burger yet. Like any other city with any sort of food scene, there were numerous choices. After a quick scope of burger research in the Bay area, it only made sense to go to the Burger Bar. Not only was it across the street from my hotel, it was the creation of Hubert Keller, one of the most respected chefs in the US. According to his website, Chef Keller was the first great chef to give burgers the haute cuisine treatment, from freshly ground, hand-shaped burgers to a menu of innovative toppings in a hip, casual setting. Sounded good to me.
The hip, casual setting started with a 6 floor ride up the Macy’s elevator. We got to hang out with a portly businessman who was obviously heading to the place I was and a couple of old ladies who got off at the 4th floor to hunt down some red tag sales. The elevator opened to reveal a bright,open restaurant with bar and table seating. We quickly ordered a beer from a reasonable selection of draught and examined the menu. The burgers ranged from $10-$60, the latter being a Remixed Rossini Burger which was kobe beef stuffed with short rib topped with lobster tail and shaved black truffles and truffle sauce on an onion bun (doesn’t quite flow as well as the Big Mac song but I’m sure Train could sing a song about it in the style of “50 Sides to put on a Burger”..funny thing is there are exactly 50 sides available at the Burger Bar). I went middle of the road and order the peppercorn burger for $17.25. In particular I was interested in the famous Fleur de Lys peppercorn cream sauce. I also liked the option of skinny vs fat fries…..I like the fatties when it comes to fries and these didn’t disappoint. The burger hit the mark. The well seasoned patty wasn’t overwhelmed with pointless toppings. Even the famous sauce was served on the side so as to not disrupt the precious patty.
I have plenty experience with San Francisco television and music set in San Francisco. I grew up in the mid-eighties wanting a new drug while I didn’t stop believing and felt sorry for my sister for having to endure Sara by Jefferson Starship. I scratched my head wondering how Jessie from full house scored Rebecca Romijn, saw the Olsen twins before they were tramps, witnessed the fact that Thomas Gibson actually had the ability to crack a smile and tried to figure out why people thought Jenna Elfman was funny.
I can now go to bed knowing I have experienced my share of San Francisco’s trinity of Americana; television, music and food. Not only did I have a burger, I had it with the same sauce served at the iconic and now historic Fleur de Lys. Hubert Keller seemed the perfect guy to provide it (not only is he a renowned chef but he looks like a villain from McMillan and Wife).It was an expensive but delicious taste of the Bay area. I must say I also enjoyed the steak fries which are as difficult to find as a “Sister Christian” 45. I’m glad I left though because a few more Keller burgers and I’d probably end up with a unplanned visit to Trapper John MD and “Drops of Jupiter” in my head for the next six months.