Wolfen Down Burgers with the FETS! / by MEAT ME

These burgers fell under the category of “bigger doesn’t always mean better”.  A lot of places start out great and get so comfortable with a constant flow of customers that they forget to do a quality check. The day you open you explain to the head cook exactly what Wolf Burgers is all about. After a few years and a few chefs later, you walk in to only see the numbers and get lost in the everyday operations. Forgetting that there is a customer behind those numbers.

I do these write ups for fun. They are my hobby and what I love to do. For my real job I retouch and composite digital images, serve as a digital tech and on the occasion… Production assist for car photographers. This week is the LA Auto Show. Working here from Detroit is my good buddy and professional photographer Jim Fets. Jim has shot for numerous car companies and created endless amounts of beautiful imagery. This man has a vision and he only brings you the best.

Jim may not consider himself a foodie… But I know deep down in his bear of a heart, he is. I meet Jim in 2005 we did some retouching together for some magazines but hadn’t really met in person. On one job Jim flew out from his hometown Detroit, MI and we met up for dinner. That is when he told me he made it a point to hit up an In-N-Out every time he was out here. It almost seemed religious as he spoke with so much passion. This man might even change a flight just to make sure he doesn’t miss that burger. From this point on I knew he was the type of person I always wanted to work with. This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship (that involved amazing food).

Yesterday Jim and I had some shots to take in Pasadena, CA. The home of Art Center College of Design the college we are both alumni at. It was only a matter of time before we started reminiscing about the good ole’ days. He remembered all these amazing places that he ate at. I only remember beer, more beer, and Top Roman Noodle Soup. I spent so much time at the campus I never really experienced any of the food Pasadena had to offer. I let Jim take the lead on this one… Actually he was paying so he takes the lead most of them.

After tossing a few ideas around it came down to Wolfe Burgers. Jim had remembered it from back in the day and the place had opened right around the time he started college. We walked in to a huge menu and a place buzzing with excitement. That was until I saw how big it was. Most of the time at a new place I ask what they are known for but this time the place said “burger” on the outside and that’s exactly what I was going to have.

The crowd was your usual business lunch. Jim ordered the double burger with jack cheese, grilled onions and a side of onion rings. I got the double chili cheese burger, french fries, with mustard, chili, and cheese only of course.

We waited about 10 minutes max and the food was ready for pick up. The presentation was not all that great for a burger joint what was I to expect. My chili came on the side. Normally I like to control the amount of chili in each bite but I was tired enough to just pour it all on top.

At this point I was ready for the food to start pleasing me. I dove right into the fries, scooped up some ketchup and they turned out to be very nice. They were a great introduction to the burger. Nice and soft… Almost like snowflakes, not too hard with just enough crispiness to hit the spot. This initiated the consumption sequence. I took a big bite of the burger and it was like the entire patio got quiet and the audience in my head said, “ohhhhhhh!”

Not the fire works show I was hoping for. The chili really lacked any luster. It had the same look and consistency as Tommy’s but no zest. Just kind of a Blah. The burger definitely had that charbroiled taste to it, just was over cooked. You can tell when the meat wants to stick to itself. If you grab a burger by both ends and tear it apart it should come apart slowly. If it stretches and then snaps… It has been cooked to long. Spongy… Very rubbery.

I was bummed that I wasn’t amazed. Jim on the other hand was totally content. Not to much, not to little… Just right. Then I start thinking I ordered the wrong thing. May be I set myself up for another disappointment. On the ever-determined quest for burger perfection… I have failed once again.

It is the next day and at this point I was planning on posting this review. I didn’t think the write up was complete, but I had to leave. So I left it for when I got back. I needed to head down to the LA Auto show to meet up with Jim for Press Day. Because of parking the client had me driven down to the convention center in one of their cars. On the way down I explained my dilemma to the driver. I was still stuck on my theory that the restaurant overtime, had let itself go. The menu was exciting and offered so many cool options for a burger. Not to mention the layout was huge like they were expecting a lot of people. Some of the counters and doors were worn down and in some area’s it was down right disgusting.

As it turns the driver George turned out to be a retired policeman that worked in Pasadena. He worked there from the time Wolfe had opened till a few years ago. The restaurant opened during the 80’s by a Mexican woman named Josephine. 10 years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and had to sell the restaurant. Unfortunately since then the restaurant had gone down hill. George explained to me that she was a very kind and sweet women who cared so much about the quality of the food and the services she was offering.

Unfortunately things change because this place was happening back in the day. Oh well MEAT happens!

To check out awesome Jim Fets photography go to:

Here a really cool video about Jim Fets

You can check out Wolfe Burgers at:

Stay hungry,
Sean Rice aka MEAT ME