Monday, August 20, 2018

As Katie Hits the Ground, I Hit up Ground House Burger

Ground House Burger
Trade Food Hall
2222 Michelson Dr.
Irvine, CA 92612

This will be one of the shortest reviews I have ever written. Part of the reason for this is that it was just me visiting Trade Food Hall, as I was in the area to pick up Katie at John Wayne from one of her recent business trips. I came here to specifically try one thing that I have seen plastered across my Instagram feed, which resides at Trade Food Hall in Irvine.

Trade Food Hall kind of gets overlooked as one of the premier food halls in OC. I have always enjoyed my times here, even though parking can be challenging to say the least. Even on this Thursday evening, I had just missed some great parking spaces as they got snatched up right before I got there.

Once you have safely parked at Trade my best bets here involve the chicken sandwich from Two Birds, the Stoner Papas from Dos Chinos, and the Mediterranian food from Gyro King. I'm a little sad that Pig Pen Delicacy and their Mac Daddy Burger is no longer available here, being replaced by Ground House Burger earlier this year. The good news is that they are both owned and operated by the same people. but the Mac Daddy is now only available at the SteelCraft Food Hall in Long Beach or the Corporation Food Hall in Downtown LA. Definitely worth a try if you are in either of those areas though.

Back to OC and Ground House Burger. They have a pretty basic menu of five burgers which are all priced at under ten dollars, but if you combo them with fries and a drink your meal will not exceed $13.49. They get a lot of love for their Pinoy Burger, which uses a 50/50 blend of ground beef and longaniza, which is Spanish sausage that closely resembles linguica. I have to admit I was intrigued by this burger, but I had another burger that captivated me ever since I saw it scrolling through my Instagram feed. I quickly ordered it at the register and hoped that I had enough time to finish it before Katie could get off her plane and be waiting for me curbside.

So here she is, one of the most photogenic burgers around, The Lone Star Burger ($13.49 with fries and drink). Two pieces of Texas toast with a ground beef patty, blue cheese crumbles, two slices of bacon, beer battered onion ring, jalapenos, caramelized onions, and a horseradish bbq aioli. This burger had a lot going on with it naturally. First, it was probably the juiciest burger I've had in a while. I liked it, but some of the components did not come through as much as I would have liked. I did not really get too much of the blue cheese coming through, and the very well made onion rings were better once they were removed from the burger for easier eating and dunked in what I believe to be the same horseradish barbecue aioli that was on the burger. I liked the sauce, which was oddly satisfying with its conflicting notes of horseradish and sweet from the barbecue coming through at different times. The Texas toast hung on as long as it could, but kind of dissolved into a sloppy mess at the end. A good burger, but I'd probably try the Pinoy or Santa Fe burger on my next visit. The fries were overly salted, and tasted like fast food fries, even though the menu board claims they are fresh cut here. I'd get the excellent onion rings over the fries next time.

Okay, maybe this review wasn't as short as I had planned. Sorry about that. All in all, I feel that Ground House is a good addition at the Trade Food Hall, which needed a burger place to replace the pork-centric Pig Pen Delicacy. This Lone Star Burger was good, but as with the case with burgers, sometimes simpler is better. This burger had a lot going on with it but the big flavors kind of canceled each other out. On my next visit, I'm going to go simpler. The guy taking my order was very nice and checked on me more than once. He was also very pleasant to the other customers that drifted towards their booth after me. I ended up finishing my last bite of the burger just as Katie gave me a call letting me know she was waiting for me curbside at the airport. Perfect timing.

Out of five cacti, (because the number one destination out of nearby John Wayne Airport is Phoenix, Arizona, where you will see tons of cactus), five being best to zero being worst, Ground House Burger gets 3 cacti.

Ground House Burger does not have a website, but you can find info about them on their Yelp page by clicking here:

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