Well, another year has passed and so has another Burger Month. It’s a little bittersweet for me because, whenever I do a Burger Month, I have to really look around and try to find a good mixture of burgers. I don’t like to just concentrate on well-known burgers or the fancy, high-class ones. I also do like to check out the more out-of-the-way, hole-in-a-wall locations people will overlook. This year’s last entry for Burger Month definitely fits the last category as you do have to go out of your way to find it. Why? Because it’s built directly into someone’s garage!
I’ve actually had my eye on Garahe (which is just the Philippines localized pronunciation of the word “garage”) for a good while now. It’s just that there’s always something that has prevented me from trying it out. While it’s technically walking distance from my home, it’s quite far as it’s a good 15 to 20 minute walk, which is something I don’t usually want to do during the summer. However, this year, the weather did cooperate as, while it was still hot outside, it was pretty cloudy, making my walk rather enjoyable.
I will say I had some trouble locating the place as, like I said, it’s a place you can easy overlook. Garahe, like its namesake, looks like your typical garage. Sure, it has tables and chairs inside. It’s also decorated with printed out movie posters to give it a more contemporary vibe. However, if you look at Garahe at any angle other that from the front, you may not even think it’s a place that serves food. There’s not even a prominent banner or sign indicating anything. All you’ll really see is someone left their garage gate open!
So, anyway, I was able to find Garahe and I will say their menu selection was strangely diverse yet feels practically safe. They have burgers, burritos, hot dog/wieners, chicken wings, rice bowls and pasta. It comes off as focused but nothing really screams unique at the same time. That’s not a bad thing as it does feel safe. However, I did spot something rare on Garahe’s selection of burgers and it’s something I haven’t seen in a while here in the Philippines. It was a Chili Con Burger, which is a burger topped with chili beef. For some odd reason, this kind of item can’t really be seen in other burger joints. So you know that was what I ordered. I also ordered a side of regular fries and a small soda; even on a cloudy day, it still was rather hot. You do have to select the “size” of the burger. And since I wasn’t all too familiar with the place, I decided to go with the one right in the middle, which was the “pro” size.
I’m not sure what I expected but I generally thought the “pro” size for Garahe’s Chili Con Burger was going to be a little more substantial than what I got. Granted, it’s not the smallest burger I’ve ever had but I just thought it was going to be bigger. I could be wrong but it wasn’t exactly a quarter pound of beef. I will say I did like they didn’t scrimp on the chili as that was actually something I was worried about. The fries did come in a cute cup, which did add a whole lot of charm.
I will also admit that, for something that could be equated to “street food,” I’m really glad Garahe doesn’t try to cheap out their customers and actually add a good number of trimmings to their Chili Con Burger. Besides the healthy amount of chili, it also has some lettuce and tomatoes in it. I have seen lesser burgers who think it’s okay to just slather their burger with ketchup and mayo and call it a day. Garahe thankfully did not. It’s always nice to get a little something extra… even if these are extra you should expect.
The extras won’t matter if the burger doesn’t taste good and I do have to say Garahe’s Chili Con Burger was satisfactory. The burger patty itself was tasty enough. You could taste the beef and I didn’t really feel they added any extenders to it. It was also seasoned well enough. The chili itself, well, it wasn’t exactly homemade and probably came from a can. Which I don’t mind, actually. Canned chili does taste really good and the chili does pair well with the beef. Also, they didn’t go overboard with the chili. It was just the right amount so that the burger could still come through while you still get that chili flavor. The lettuce and tomatoes were fresh enough to give some bite.
The biggest issue I have with the Garahe Chili Con Burger is the bun: it wasn’t toasted. Now, the bun itself was large enough to hold its integrity while I was eating it, mind you. However, I do wish a little more care was done with how the bun was prepared. When it’s all said and done, though, it wasn’t a dealbreaker and didn’t ruin the burger experience.
The fries I got as my side order, well, they weren’t exactly anything special. They were basically the kind of french fries you can make at home. This does mean they don’t have any distinct personality to them. They still taste okay and seasoned with salt at just the right amount so they just weren’t a salty pile of fried potato sticks. But still, these fries were not exactly something you would crave for specifically. While they’re not bad, they aren’t anything to write home about either.
All-in-all, I will say I did like the Chili Con Burger I got at Garahe, especially when you consider the price. The Chili Con Burger, the fries and the Coke came to just under P200 Philippine Pesos. If you convert that to US Dollars, that’s just around $4 for the entire meal. It may be a little hard to find but I will say that I am glad that I took the time to finally seek out the place. It was worth the trouble for me and a good way to close out this year’s Burger Month.
Have you tried eating any of Garahe’s Burgers? What’s your favorite non-franchise burger joint? Let me know in the comment section below!