Slater’s 50/50 rose to fame with its delectable half beef, half bacon patties, then spread across California and neighboring states with a tried and true mantra of burgers, bacon and beer…extra emphasis on the bacon. Now, in an effort to appeal to more of the masses, Slater’s is branching slowly and methodically out of its core menu offerings. New entrees and seasonal menus reach a broad spectrum of palates, with plenty of—dare we say—[more] healthful options.
While seasonal offerings have changed since the time of this writing, expect a lot more green and a lot fewer carbs than you’re used to on a traditionally heavy menu. Bun-less burger bowls have made their debut, and will likely continue in some form or another. The ‘impossible’ vegetarian patty is an option for any burger on the menu. Slater’s is also putting solid emphasis on ahi tuna in appetizers and salads.
Those still seeking decadence should fear not. Slater’s is still going full throttle with unreal burgers, some of the best milkshakes out there, and more bacon than you know what to do with. Hard to argue with the lone star smoke burger, complete with bbq sauce, garlic aioli and thick onion rings stacked high, or the sriracha burger, which uses enough of its namesake ingredient to make that happy birthday shake all the more necessary.
Not all of Slater’s menu additions are healthful, showing that the franchise is staying true to its core audience that favors all things bacon. Nothing showcases this more than the bacon chocolate lava cake, finished with a large strip of bacon drizzled in chocolate and caramel. Just pretend that ordering a burger bowl will cancel it out and you’ll leave guilt-free.
Slater’s 50/50 has locations across Southern California, Nevada, Texas and Hawaii. Hours vary. Average out-the-door price for burger, fries and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$42/person. For more information visit Slaters5050.com.
Master’s of Taste solidified its presence as one of LA’s elite food festivals this year, selling out for the first time and bringing in a record-setting crowd. More than 100 vendors, or ‘Masters’ as they’re called here, showcased an eclectic lineup of global cuisine, craft beer, wine, spirits and—an apparent crowd favorite—desserts for guests to enjoy. Taking place on the field of the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, this year’s Master’s of Taste couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather, and despite its infancy compared to other long-time food festivals, went off without a hitch.
Master’s of Taste saw the return of several past favorites, as well as some new players that took people’s breath away. Local eateries from across LA came out in full force, dishing out everything from American classics to worldly fusion to exotic dishes far-away places. Sticky Rice’s chicken khoo soi noodles, served in an absolutely addictive red curry, exemplified the latter statement. Mercado’s equally addictive tacos, Gus’s Bar-b-q’s brisket and cornbread, and LKSD’s dry-aged ribeye with smashed potatoes added to the day’s rich flavor.
Ascension Cellars, Kieu Hoang Winery and Navarro Vineyards were just a few of the event’s many wine providers. Local breweries included Indie Brewing Company, MacLeod Ale, Iron Triangle Brewery and Los Angeles Ale Works. The Raymond 1886, while serving an excellent porchetta, took the cake for killer cocktails with its ‘midnight pancakes,’ which bore no resemblance to its name but went down in spectacular fashion nevertheless. Making a strong presence as well were non-alcoholic beverage vendors, such as Humm Kombucha and East Imperial Superior Beverages.
The event’s ‘Sweet Masters,’ or dessert purveyors, proved yet again to be among the day’s highlights. Leading the way was Supercool Creamery, which put on a show by utilizing liquid nitrogen to make their ice cream on the spot. Fantasy Frostings had a new pastry on display every time you turned your head, with head-turning creations like salted caramel and confetti cupcakes, banana crème tarts and cranberry scones.
This year’s Masters of Taste was hosted by local Celebrity Chef Michael Hung of Faith and Flower, who could be seen conversing with guests while somehow simultaneously serving signature creations. Each year, Masters of Taste proceeds go to Union Station Homeless Services. For more information, visit MastersofTasteLA.com.
Bricks is the kind of restaurant you grow up with and the type of place every community needs. It’s where families celebrate little league victories, where friends gather after high school football games, and where the grownups go to get killer burgers and beer on a casual night out. The tiny standalone building along Lyons Ave. sits just out of reach from Newhall’s main drag of increasingly trendy hotspots, creating a bubble of family-owned and operated nostalgia and warm, homey comfort for all who walk in through its doors. But there’s much more to Bricks than its communal tables, quaint patios and fancifully decorated counter—there’s some serious comfort food to be had.
Burgers, fries and shakes are the name of the game at Bricks, and present one of the best values this side of LA. The bacon bleu burger, practically toppling over from a mountain of onion rings and its namesake ingredients stacked atop a thick patty, puts rivals to shame AND comes with fries…like a good burger should. Same goes for the signature Bricks burger, a savory compilation of bacon, caramelized onion, Swiss cheese, grilled jalapenos and arugula. Each is complemented with a house-made aioli.
Bricks takes it a step further with its add-ons, a plethora of haute customizations that are well-worth the paltry $1 – 3 upgrade. That 50/50 patty—half beef, half chorizo—is as progressive as what you’ll find in any pretentious burger bar, as are those skinny fries with parmesan and garlic [though they could be served a bit hotter]. Best to complete the experience with a milkshake, just as stellar in sweet, decadent richness. Sea salt caramel and cookie butter are just two from a long list of tantalizing options. You’ll also find wine and beer, where Bricks has partnered with a locally-acclaimed brewery to step up its draft game.
While Bricks can’t exactly be classified as a small-town diner [Santa Clarita is bigger than you think], it does share the distinct quality of cooking up just about everything under the sun. From gyros to fried chicken, you’ve got an array of salads, sandwiches, hot dogs and meal-sized starters and sides to choose from. The street dog is a souped-up version of LA’s classic curbside bacon-wrapped hot dog, finished with that house-made chipotle aioli. Then there’s the bacon waffle burger, which subs out a bun for a bacon and cheese-infused waffle.
Bricks is located at 23820 Lyons Ave, Santa Clarita, CA 91321. Open 11a – 9p Mon – Fri, 10a – 9p Sat, 10a – 8p Sun. Avg. out-the-door price for entrée and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$25/person. For more information, call (661) 286 – 1091 or visit BricksNewhall.com
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.