It's fun to be a tourist in your own town, and that's what it felt like when we ventured into Hollywood to dine at the Hard Rock Cafe. The place was packed for a Monday lunch at 2:15! There was a group of women behind us from Kentucky, a family across from us celebrating a family birthday, and a group of seven in the adjacent booth that may have just flown in from across the world...they looked exhausted and in desperate need of some comfort food. Our reason to visit? We were on a mission to sample the famous chain's original mason jar cocktails, and their new tropical bacon burger and Goose Island IPA pairing. Filling in for Jocelyn who couldn't make the trek was our good friend and fellow foodie, cocktail enthusiast, and Instagramer, Julie (@EatDrinkbSocial).
Despite a packed restaurant, we were seated right away by the cheeriest of hosts and joined for a moment by the man in charge, Chef Lance. We talked about bourbon, cocktail and food trends, and the perks of being longtime SoCal residents. He also gave us the low down on what was ahead: drinks and burgers!
This August, Hard Rock Cafe is serving up five original beverages created by in-house mixologist Cindy Busi: Back Porch Tea, Summer Fizz, Summer Splash Daiquiri, and Hard Rock Mai Tai. The fifth drink, Summertime Blues, is alcohol free.
Each drink is light and refreshing and comes in a mason jar that you get to take home with you as a souvenir. There's enough of the base spirit to taste but not enough to worry about when you're drinking from a 16-ounce glass. The drinks hit the spot on a warm summer day (which it was) and compliment basically every item on the menu, especially the savory and spicy foods since the recipes lean to the sweet side.
The tropical bacon burger is insanely good and pairs beautifully with the Goose Island IPA. The beer has a naturally bitter element at first sip that's followed immediately by notes of citrus, apple, and strawberry. All this matches wonderfully well with the grilled pineapple, mango salsa, and crispy bacon that's served right on the burger. Sooooo good.
If you're visiting LA this summer, or live here and want to play tourist, stop by Hard Rock Cafe for a great burger and a delicious drink. And if you're nowhere close to tinsel town, visit the Hard Rock Cafe's website. There's a restaurant on almost every continent. Cheers!