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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Flush or F%@#ed: Pineapple Burgers at the High and Low End

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 2:15 PM

We know it sucks. In May, the U.S. Department of Labor reckoned the jobless rate in the S.F.-Oakland-Fremont area at 9.7 percent -- call it a leading indicator of all those steak-frites and dirty martinis not being consumed in local restaurants, either by those of us recently hustled out by security (with desk swag hastily tossed into a banker's box), or those of us scared spitless we'll be next. To help, we thought we'd offer a high-low guide to some of our favorite dishes in the city: a relatively pricey version for when you're flush, and a lower-cost option for when you're f%@#ed. We picked a budget simulacrum that, if you strolled into an EDD office munching one, wouldn't cause some petty bureaucrat to look over her glasses at you. Except maybe with envy. First up? A pineapple burger smackdown.

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Queensland Wagyu Burger with Pickled Pineapple and Cresenza [sic] Cheese ($15) South Food + Wine Bar, 330 Townsend (at Second St.), 974-5599

Tiny South serves up Aussie and New Zealand flavors designed by Sydney super chef Luke Mangan. His burger offers a big taste of Ozzie-size deliciousness, starting with high-grade beef from pedigree cows raised Down Under. It's a plush, loosely packed patty, topped with gooey Crescenza cheese, pineapple (pickled with white wine and vinegar, sugar, curry, chiles, and herbs), and a leafy mix of mâche and cilantro. Comes with salty, crisp-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside steak fries. Nice.

 Double Teriyaki Burger with Grilled Dole Pineapple ($7.75) Carl's Jr., One Hallidie Plaza (at Eddy), 391-5799

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Call us haters, but we suspect the teriyaki-glazed swag here is engineered in part, to squelch the slightly fusty taste of fast-food meat patties cooked stiff and grayish, and weirdly milky-tasting processed Swiss. Still, the Double Teriyaki ain't bad, thanks to canned pineapple glazed with some viscous soy-based goo that tastes vaguely Filipino (we're guessing it's the garlic powder). If we'd never tasted South's luxe exemplar, we'd probably dig this almost as much as Carl's Jr. pitchgirl Audrina Patridge appears to, though we don't look nearly as comfortable in a bikini. The Double Teriyaki -- and having plenty of time to surf for nudie pix of Patridge -- just might add up to sweet consolation for being unemployed

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