Los Angeles: Food Truck Mediocrity from Twist Burgers
All over the Los Angeles area; check Twitter for current location; 310-749-2672; thetwistburgers.com
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: Another entrant in the endless Los Angeles food truck scene makes mediocre burgers
Want Fries with That? Yes; twice-fried spuds are full of flavor though lack crisp
Prices: Burger (w/fries and a drink), $9.50
I haven't made it a secret that I'm not a major supporter of my city's "food truck revolution." It's always been a matter of taste for me. I'm predisposed to finding fault in a food truck, but I'm not going to be smitten by a meal just because it happened to be served from a mobile kitchen. The advent of foodie food truckery certainly has its upsides, most importantly lowering the barrier to entry for those inspired to bring their culinary talents to the table. But that last part—the talent part—seems to be in short order on many of the trucks I've sampled.
Still, I'm going to give all comers a fair shake; especially when that shake comes with a burger. Recently, I sampled the offerings of the Twist Burger truck while it made a pit stop in Hollywood. The owner, Jorge Rincon, has some impressive culinary bona fides with an education from Ecole Hoteliere de Toulouse and multiple internships in high-end French kitchens.
When it comes to burgers, though, a simple course in the basics is the most important education. Rincon touts his Twist Burgers as a revolution, but a revolution that comes slathered in goat cheese and blueberries isn't a cause I can get behind.
Before I dig into the goat cheese and blueberry of it all, let me start by saying that Twist Burger does offer a classic presentation. In fact, they call it "The Classic Double Twist." It's a pair of four-ounce Angus patties that get the full lettuce, tomato, and secret sauce treatment. I opted for some American cheese on mine.
The patties are heavily seasoned with Rincon's "secret" mixture, which, as most secret seasonings tend to do, gives the beef a meatloaf flavor. Not my preference, but at least it's some sort of seasoning. Also to this burger's credit, they served it a proper medium rare—a fact that was surprising considering Rincon told me the standard temperature of his burgers is well done. The patty had a decent crust and displayed formidable juiciness, but it had that refrigerator burn taste of lower grade beef. Unfortunately, the veggies were low quality and the cheese didn't blend well with the special seasoning. The bun was a high point with its commercial sponginess, but it couldn't save this burger from being more than mediocre.
Now, onto the goat cheese and blueberry. Rincon calls it "The People's Choice" and assured me it's his most popular burger. I'm not sure who these people are, but I certainly don't want them designing my burgers. All the components of this burger were the same as the classic (including the American cheese, oddly) with the addition of goat cheese and blueberry.
How can I say this politely? Don't put goat cheese and blueberries on my burger ever again, please. Goat cheese, while creamy, is an overpowering flavor for the beef and the blueberries were cloying. I imagine there was some notion that it makes for some balance of salt and sweet, but it was lost on me. To add insult to this injurious burger, they overcooked it.
A bright spot for Twist Burgers is their handling of the french fries. The spuds are twice fried for an added layer of flavor. They call them Belgian, which speaks to the flavor, but they've yet to master the crispness that you'll find in a great Belgian fry.
Ultimately Twist Burgers does little to argue one way or the other for the food truck movement. They seem to have some proper passion and motives in their cooking, but they come up short on execution.
About the author: Damon is one of our roving burger reporters and food writers. When he's not eating more than is warranted or healthful (and then writing about it) he can be found writing and producing for television and film. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.