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650 Eats: Cheeseburgers, Panini & Masala

Gott's bacon blue ring burger. Photo courtesy of Sam Weng via Forkly

New restaurants are popping up in the 650 (area code), where it’s definitly looking more and more like autumn—cue up the pumpkins and gourds of all sizes, costume play and barrels of crazy good apples at the markets.

Palo Alto is having something of a dedicated sandwich moment, with two newcomers that expand the number of ways to get a delicious fill between two slices of bread; to toast or not toast may be the question of the day. On the topic of burgers, fried delectables soon follows since a pile of good fries are something of a must when it comes to a sandwich-focused meal. In Redwood City, the wait is over for a new Indian restaurant that is aptly incorporating fresh and seasonal with traditional touches for its debut menu on Broadway.

From St. Helena to the Ferry Building, now Gott’s Roadside has marked its burger (Angus, Niman Ranch), fries and (local) beer territory a stone’s throw away from the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto. Burger fans can indulge the blues with the Point Reyes crumbled cheeseburger served with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and now-legendary “secret sauce” on a toasted egg bun.

It’s a departure from a usual burger joint to serve a gourmet fishy item like ahi poke crispy tacos. Made in the Hawaiian tradition, the raw sushi grade ahi tuna is marinated and served with fresh avocado, green cabbage, fresh and herby cilantro, toasted sesame seeds and an addictively kicky mayo in a fried crispy taco shell. The debate over adding garlic or not to fries rages on in many circles, and Gott’s wisely adds a tempting option to the debate: sweet potato fries, which are just a skinny and crispy way to share over that pint of Anchor Steam. Nab a patio table for prime seating, and let the burger games begin. 855 El Camino Real #65, Palo Alto; (650) 326-1000

Corner Bakery Café is a fast casual chain with sandwiches, soups, pastries and cookies, housed in a spot that for years was a Boston Market. Ordering a combination special appears to be a good meal value: score panini (turkey bacon or roasted chicken are among the juicy options), otherwise known as sandwiches that are meant to be appropriately toasty and melty. Corner Bakery Café takes panini so seriously that they proclaim to be panini experts on the company website—do tell. Appealing combo ordering options include the seasonal sounding tomato basil soup, a creamy and savory blend. Among the many salads, the apple-centric Harvest salad has enough fill and intriguing flavors to suit the fall mood. Cookie fans may want to turn their attention to the signature Monster cookie, a big number studded with mini-M&Ms. 3375 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; (650) 843-0676.

Broadway Masala in downtown Redwood City has some innovative culinary twists that are non-traditional and still freshly exciting: picture warm herbed goat cheese naan sharing a plate with robust tomato and pimiento soup. Standbys like saag paneer, tandoori salmon, and chicken biryani round out the menu and lunch customers thus far appear to be taken with the restaurant’s calming ambiance and filling fare. 2397 Broadway Street, Redwood City.

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