Current Weight: 164.4 lbs.
I first reviewed Slater's 50/50 back in April after driving nearly 90 miles (one way) for their famous "50/50" burger -- made from 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon. That day, my friends Smitty and Thai joined me at the Anaheim Hills location where we ordered a combination plate of four different deep-fried appetizers, 50/50 burgers all around and three bacon brownies for dessert.
Less than a month ago, Slater's opened a second restaurant in Huntington Beach. I hadn't seen Smitty or Thai since our first Slater's sojourn. When I told them I was planning on another visit up north from San Diego, Smitty suggested Slater's--Huntington Beach faster than it took you to finish this sentence.
Oddly enough, I was born and raised in Long Beach -- roughly 15 miles away from Huntington Beach -- but, I can only remember visiting the city once before. For this. Before you pass judgment, let me remind you that I'm now driving 85 miles for a burger and beers with two of my oldest friends. Again. Now, you may judge me.
This past Saturday, I valiantly -- occasionally profanely -- fought the traffic driving north on Interstate 5, arriving at Slater's more than two hours after leaving San Diego. The Huntington Beach location is brighter and more open than the Anaheim Hills site (although the parking lot is matchbox-small with valet service available -- and necessary -- once it fills up). The restaurant's spacious interior provides ideal sightlines for the eye-popping array of 80 beers on tap behind the bar.
I opted for the Palomino Pale Ale from...Bootlegger's Brewery! Like my blog! Kind of! This was a lighter, well-crafted balance of mild sweetness, acidity and citrus notes. Smitty was accompanied by his lovely wife -- a blatant, brazen violation of our by-laws -- and she ordered a bacon Bloody Mary. This is a real thing. Her glass was rimmed with bacon salt and garnished with a bacon strip protruding out of the vodka and towards the heavens from where it originated. She offered me a taste. Soo-POIB!
For our appetizers, we stuck with the fried dill pickle chips -- the breakout star of April's appetizer platter -- and added beer-battered onion strings and French fries. THIS is the correct Slater's snackin' combination with a delicious mix of textures and (salted, zesty, tangy) flavors.
I needed a customization menu to build my burger. My stomach was set on Slater's "Peanut Butter and Jellousy" (Sterling Silver (brand) ground beef topped with thick cut bacon, creamy peanut butter and strawberry jelly). Previously, I was pleasantly surprised by the PB&J "Dee Snider" burger from the Grill 'Em All food truck, so I went all in on this one.
Size: 2/3 lb.
Bread: white brioche
(Over the) Toppings: peanut butter & jelly, jalapeño relish, thick-cut bacon.
I attacked this by cutting it in half, watching in awe as the ground bacon/ground beef juices pooled onto my plate. The salty, cured components of the thick cut bacon paired perfectly with the roasted sweetness from the peanut butter and the more prominent sugars from the strawberry jelly.
My burger came topped with pepper jack cheese -- which I didn't order -- but, it worked phenomenally well. It provided the subtlest of spice on the finish of each bite and an ooey-gooey factor that balanced out the thick meats.
The MVP of my creation was, of all things, the jalapeño relish -- a savory union of sweet n' heat that complimented every other ingredient between my bun. One of my former co-workers makes a similar jalapeño jelly every Christmas and she graciously sets aside a jar or two for me. It would appear that festive holiday jalapeño jelly hamburgers will be on the Cameron family's Christmas menu this year.
My five-point food review scale is a reflection of my critical credibility. So, out of five, my "peanut butter and jellousy, thick-cut bacon and jalapeño relish-y" burger gets...
Grade: 5,000 (out of 5)
Epilogue: I tapped out after finishing my monstrosity, but Smitty and Thai opted for dessert milkshakes. Smitty and his wife split a chocolate-maple bacon(!) milkshake and Thai went with the more conservative Heath Bar. Mrs. Smitty took a few tastes before recoiling in horror with one of those "my God, what have I done?!" grimaces.
From there, I don't know what was more entertaining: watching Smitty enthusiastically uncover the big bacon pieces blended within the milk and ice cream or the sight of him trying to fit his face into the metal milkshake canister in search of that elusive last drop.