Back in March, the popular California hamburger stand, Taylor's Automatic Refresher, changed the name of its three locations (Napa, St. Helena, and San Francisco's Ferry Building). Its owners, brothers Joel and Duncan Gott, didn't own the rights to the name, and were unable to persuade its owners to let them trademark it. So after ten years, Taylor's took the family name: Gott's Roadside Tray Gourmet.
It may have been jarring at first, to see the name change — the large, neon-lit red G outside the shop, but what did not change was the fact that the roadside institution was still putting out great burgers. Among them, the Western Bacon Blue Ring Burger.
The patty gets grilled with a finished onion ring on top, its center filled with crumbled blue cheese softening with the heat. The burger is placed on a toasted egg bun and topped with thick, curled-over bacon strips, pickles, BBQ sauce, and for good measure, raw red onion slices. At Taylors, er... Gott's the final steps are to wrap the burger in paper, and press them lightly in a machine at the end of the line. Employees said this steams the bun, but the underside was still toasted-crunchy.
The effect is thick and juicy — best right in the center, where that crumbled blue is soft and stinky, accented with the occasional sour crunch of the ridged pickles. There's a hint of sweetness from the BBQ sauce and the egg bun, nothing cloying, just enough for a hint, and to take a bit of the cut off the cheese.