The Black and Blue Burger is A Total Knockout
Written By: Quintan Valles Cafe 54 Burger
Photographed By: Yasin Chaudhry Cafe 54 Burger
We know Coachella for its rockin’ music festivals and vast desert landscape, but this town also has some great places to chow down. We had a hankering for some tasty burgers and heard that Chef Carlos Granados and his crew were serving up a Black and Blue Burger that was like a music festival for your taste buds. So we stopped in Cafe 54 at the Augustine Casino, the place that Chef Carlos proudly calls his home, to see what this talented man is capable of burger-wise. Let’s just say, after tasting this burger you’ll leave the casino feeling like a winner.
Chef Granados is careful to ensure that his guests can order classic comfort foods while at the same time using ingredients and preparation methods that elevate the dishes to a gourmet status. This heavyweight burger is the perfect combination of comfort and elegance.
Nestled between two soft, grilled brioche buns is an eight-ounce juicy burger patty stacked will all kinds of tastiness. The house-made bleu cheese dressing is drizzled on top of the patty and topped with sautéed mushrooms, onion, tomato, lettuce and bacon.
When the order for a Black and Blue Burger comes through, Granados’ skilled and careful hands char broil the patty to your liking (well-done or still mooing), then carefully sautés the onions and mushrooms and places two locally baked brioche buns on the grill to develop a nice lightly toasted outer layer. Once the crispy yet soft buns are on the plate, Chef Granados places that thick patty on the bottom bun and tops it with fresh bleu cheese and drizzles that house-made bleu cheese dressing over it.
He then places two thick-cut savory strips of bacon on top and lays the sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions over the bacon and, of course, the fresh tomato and leafy lettuce next. Then the burger is topped with the brioche bun and a steak knife is inserted in the middle of the burger to hold everything together (it’s also useful for fending off your jealous friends from stealing off your plate!).
Now that first bite is an eventful flavor experience. You have the warm, soft brioche buns to slowly sink your teeth into before you hit the fresh crunch of the lettuce and tomato. Next you notice the thick-cut salty bacon that compliments the sweet grilled onions to make that oh-so-satisfying sweet and salty combination to guide you into the sharp spark of the bleu cheese. The flavor of the bleu cheese pleasantly lingers throughout the bite, and blends with the charbroiled taste of the burger patty.
Go ahead and savor that second bite as you did the first, there’s plenty more of that burger to enjoy, and we are very, very happy about that.
Q&A With Executive Chef Carlos Granados Cafe 54 Burger
Q: What sets the Black and Blue Burger apart from the other burgers on your menu?
Carlos Granados: This burger brings you a sweet tanginess and saltiness that people crave in a burger. The flavors blend really well, and it’s one of our more popular burgers. With this burger you don’t have to say, ‘Give me a burger and add bleu cheese’ or this or that, it’s already there for you.
Q: What ingredient would you say makes this burger pop?
CG: The bleu cheese. It’s the creaminess, the saltiness and the tang of the bleu cheese that makes the flavor pop, it really stands out. If you just had a bacon burger, it would be good but it wouldn’t pop. The cheese blends well with the bacon and if you took it out, it would still be a good burger, but it wouldn’t stand out.
Q: What would be your idea of the perfect meal for a first time visitor of Cafe 54 with the Black and Blue Burger as the main course?
CG: It would depend on where you come from and where you grew up. I have a Mexican heritage and I am used to those flavors, but I also lived in Santa Barbara where there was a lot of Asian culture and flavors. So it also depends on how adventurous you’re going to be. One of my favorites would be our Asian Chicken Salad. So if I were to order, I would start with our Asian Chicken Salad, then the burger with a side of onion rings and French fries and finish with our decadent chocolate cake for dessert.
Q: In your opinion, what makes a burger truly “gourmet”?
CG: It happens when you start thinking about what each item brings to the burger. If I were to make a bleu cheese burger and use just any bleu cheese or using other ingredients just because they are cheap, then you won’t have a quality product. I look for the right flavors to blend together; you have to pay attention to each ingredient in the burger. So you need time, thought and skill. You can’t just throw it in the microwave and be done, you have to put care and love into it; pay attention to the details.
Q: Would you pair this burger with beer or wine, and why?
CG: I would probably pair it with a red wine or a bolder beer to compliment the bleu cheese. But it really depends on the flavors you’re used to. If you’re not a red wine drinker then you might not want something strong, but you still want something to compliment how strong the bleu cheese is. I don’t want to name a specific beer or wine because it really depends on the person. But you do want something darker and bolder to stand out and not get lost in [the] flavor of the bleu cheese.
Pro Tip: Chef Granados says that some people like to jazz up this burger by adding a fried egg to it. So get adventurous and make it a breakfast black and bleu.
Sharing is Caring: Chef Granados recommends splitting your meal with a friend so you can try more items without getting too stuffed. After trying to eat this burger solo, we think this is sound advice.
Cafe 54 at Augustine Casino
84-001 Avenue 54
Coachella, CA 92236