On a recent trip to San Francisco, Napa, Lake Tahoe and Vegas, I found myself eating more burgers than I normally would. It started with Shake Shack, that NYC-based burger joint where we had our first meal in Las Vegas one late night. And the rest just followed.
It was easy to find Shake Shack in Vegas. Right along Las Vegas Boulevard. Can’t miss it if you’re standing right in front of MGM’s New York New York Hotel. Hard to resist if you come upon it and find no queue! Typically there is a line, but not this one late night on the Strip. Swell! I like this burger joint if only because their burgers are juicy, right-sized, sans frills. I don’t enjoy it when I couldn’t open my mouth wide enough to take in all that burger goodness. The Shake Shack burgers fit just right 🍔
The day I first tried it was in its original roadside site in St. Helena in Napa Valley. Not burger, but I tried its special that day — beef brisket sandwich. So when we found its new branch right at the San Francisco International Airport’s Gate A10, we didn’t give it a miss! Quite honestly, I was way happier with the brisket than with my burger.
Back on the Strip, we tried the Burger Lounge inside Aria Resort and Casino. I enjoyed the avocado-smeared burger bun from this grass fed-beef burger joint except that my attention was diffused because it was located right inside the casino next to the poker room. If you’re tired of burgers or dining with vegetarians, this is a good place for everyone to enjoy because of their many healthy options.
Off the Strip but still in Vegas is an interesting cluster of restaurants and mall called Tivoli Village. We tried the burgers and steak in this steakhouse called Echo and Rig. There are also vegetarian and gluten-free options. This steakhouse got mixed reviews but we were happy with what we ordered. Service was very good but we’re talking about burgers here, right? So, I’d say it’s good but kinda pricey.
Thinking burgers, you’d likely wish to try one from that celebrity chef’s chain. Planet Hollywood on the Strip can take care of your Ramsay burger fix. By this time though, we were growing tired of burgers — grass-fed beef, angus or not — so we tried Gordon Ramsay’s fish and chips. Did we like it? Seriously, this chain is overrated. Not for me. Their lemonade is even too sweet! And their fries, average. My tip is to skip it. Burger King is even way better. And In-and-Out too! Both are all over Vegas. And I found a new favorite: Habit Burger Grill, not for its charburgers but for its tempura beans. A great sub for potato fries! Another random find is this unpretentious place called The Grid Bar and Grill’s burgers. Sinfully delicious with salted fries or onion rings, bacon, egg if you like, smeared with mayo or catsup, plus a minimum adornment of greens between the buns. Not bad finding this burger joint in Northshore on our drive down from Lake Tahoe towards San Francisco. Yum!
Napa has a number of interesting dining options with a very wide price range. There’s also a good curious crowd, and wine bars rule. Especially wine bars offering good, reasonably-priced food. In Bounty Hunter, one need not agonize what to order. Their signature dishes will save the day without burning a hole in your pocket.
Beers on tap, 40 wines and a 30-page beverage list. How can you go wrong? After all, it was voted best wine bar in Napa Valley 5 times. And oh, that beer can-standing chicken looking so proud, arrogant and snobbish shouldn’t be missed. Pair that with a smokin’ platter of apple wood-smoked brisket, pulled pork and bbq’d ribs and you’ve got a meal to feed a family. You may order sandwiches and sides like cole slaw, chips, corn bread and salads to complete your meal.
I was so averse to eating more meat the day we dined here, and ordered a vegetarian sandwich. The grilled portobello, squash, pimiento and eggplant was a hit too. Of course I tried some of that chicken but none of the ribs and brisket. My friends seemed to have enjoyed the platter though. Oh yes, I also had the artisanal craft beer.
Next time you’re in the area, check out Bounty Hunter. It’s right in the heart of Downtown Napa. Happy hours or not, you’d enjoy the “western vibe” here. And don’t forget to snoop at the bbq pit just right outside the bar to see them chickens “standing in line”.