is trying to lure Adam Richman, host of the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food, to their eateries. You remember me talking about Adam. He’s is the guy that tries to eat a four-foot diameter pizza loaded with sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, ham, pineapple, and so on.
Well, even JJ's Homemade Burgers in San Juan Bautista, CA, has its own Burger Challenge “for those who love a good chal-lenge!!!... Four patties layered with grilled onions, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes & special sauce, served with fries & a milk shake. The challenge is you have to eat the WHOLE burger and ALL the fixings/sides within 20 minutes. If you are successful, you will be stuffed.., but your meal is FREE, and your picture will be hung on our wall of fame” (from the restaurant’s web site).
JJ’s was described by one yelp.com reviewer as “a place where hot rods and choppers meet up for a bite to eat.” Well, we saw neither hot rods or choppers – or many other customers for that matter – when we arrived at about 2:30 p.m. one day for a late lunch. Inside, JJ’s has three small tables and counter seating in the “main” dining room. Off to the side were two long counters with stools, and I suspect at one time this was outdoor dining. In addition, there is a good-sized front patio with umbrella tables, and that is where we parked ourselves to enjoy the fine weather.
From our seats, we could see The Casa Juan de Anza Adobe, constructed in 1834 as a single-family residence. The building also served as a cantina (1870) and became the first antique store along Third Street (1933).
Next door to the Anza Adobe is the residence originally constructed for Francisco Bravo. A 1908 map identified it as a saloon, later it was described only as a "Chinese business," and by 1926, the building was a pool hall. But back to lunch.
While we reviewed the menu, the radio playing over the sound system was airing one of the Bud Lite “Men of Genius” commercials. (My favorite of which was always: Mr. Giant Foam Finger Maker …Without you, our teams would be in six or seventh place and feel as if they were in sixth or seventh place…You craft uncanny representations of actual human hands…so that we may wave them annoyingly in the faces of our rivals…They're enormous, yes, yet one size fits all. Brilliant… So crack open an ice cold Bud Light Mr. Foam Finger Maker, and know we speak for sports fans everywhere when we say, "No, you're Number One".)
But I digress. Back to lunch. We didn’t even think of attempting the challenge. A normal sized burger would be plenty, and JJ’s serves up a large variety of burgers along with sandwiches, hotdogs, wraps, and salads. With all the burgers you get your choice of fries, garlic fries, onion rings, or chili fries.
Chuck quickly chose the double cheese-burger (two one-third pound patties) with a side of fries.
I, on the other hand, debated between the Guacamole Burger (pepper jack cheese and guacamole), the Jalapeno Burger (jack cheese, grilled onions, and jalapenos), the Mushroom Burger (grilled mushrooms and onions and Swiss cheese), and the El Jefe Burger (bacon, avocado, pineapple [hold the pineapple, please], jack cheese, grilled onions, and jalapenos).
Finally, I selected the Ortega Burger with an Ortega chilies, grilled onions, and jack cheese. Both burgers came on seeded toasted “buttered” buns and both of our burgers had nicely charred grill marks. My chilies were only mildly hot. Maybe I should have ordered the Jalapeno Burger after all.
The sides were good. The fries were definitely twice-cooked, but whether they came frozen from a bag or were cut in the kitchen is a mystery. But they were hot, crisp outside and soft and steamy inside, and absent grease. The onion rings were larger/thicker that we like, but were nicely coated with panko crumbs and crisp. And you could bite into one without the entire piece of onion coming out with the first bite.
I am sure that JJ’s Burger Challenge is way too wimpy for Adam Richman, so I wouldn’t advise hanging out on the patio to get his autograph. There was nothing wrong with either of our burgers. Nor was there anything exciting. In fact, Chuck stated--in words I never thought I’d hear--“I am getting tired of hamburgers. There’s a lot of more interesting food out there.” (Hallelujah!!!)
So JJ’s gets a 3.5 Addie rating, and we venture forth to find more interesting food.
And, wouldn’t you know it. I sang the lyrics to “Mr. Giant Foam Finger Maker” all the way home.