Welcome to 2015, an odd year that some may consider a passing year rather than a destination year. Unlike 2014 and 2016 that have significant worldly events going on, no one truly expects anything extraordinary to occur in 2015 other than news as it occurs. With nothing public to look forward to, we must take control of our lives and make something happen for ourselves. Living a bland, boring lifestyle leads to an unproductive life, so get your adrenaline pumping by exploring new things out in the world. If you live in the greater Los Angeles area, check out these five burgers that will definitely add some zing to your life.

5. Slater’s 50/50‘s Faux Gras Burger

California had not seen foie gras sold in restaurants since June of 2012. Animal activists won a battle that made it illegal to sell foie gras in California. However, as of very recently, that law no longer upholds, so foie fans can rejoice! It will take a while until restaurants start to reintroduce foie gras into their menus. In the meantime, the folks over at Slater’s 50/50 have something to relieve our hunger for foie gras. Slater’s 50/50 truly has an international legacy, having graced the front page of Reddit recently, so an introduction has no place here. Moving on to the meat of the business, their January burger-of-the-month has come to us in the form of their aptly-named Faux Gras Burger. Although it does not contain actual foie gras, the flavor comes awfully close. This burger utilizes their Pepper Brandt beef patty instead of their signature 50/50 patty, and honestly, the 50/50 patty would probably muck up the rest of the flavors in the burger. To add to this, the burger comes with fattened chicken livers, Granny Smith apple & onion marmalade, white cheddar, fried onion strings, whole-grain mustard, and arugula on a brioche bun. Some people see liver and immediately turn the other way. I strongly urge you to give this a chance this month, especially since it only costs $12, a bargain compared to many of their past burgers of the month.

4. Restauration‘s The Other Burger

Long Beach may have its ghetto areas laden with crime and death, but outside of those areas, Long Beach has some highly hip and trendy areas. As long as you avoid the bad areas, you will discover some cool places such as the East Village Arts District, Belmont Shore, or Retro Row. Retro Row especially has some great hidden gems, and even beyond the official area of Retro Row, you may find some other great hidden gems, such as Restauration. Formerly 212 Patio Bistro, this quaint little gastropub makes visitors feel right at home with their humble front area and spacious patio seating in the back. The menu contains standard gastropub faire, which means food with a greater concentration of quality, as most apparent in The Other Burger. This grass-fed beef burger, cooked to order, comes with bacon, Fiscalini white cheddar, shredded lettuce, house pickles, caramelized onions, and garlic aioli on a butter-toasted bun. Each ingredient’s unique taste lends well to the support of this amazingly juicy burger, not to mention the crispiness of the toasted bun. You can nab this burger during business hours for just $12, and it comes with your choice of side.

3. 38 Degrees Ale House‘s The Thirty-Eight Burger

In the debate of opening a restaurant that serves craft beer, one must ask: what do I want the people to recognize us most for, the food or the beer? This balance would materialize itself like a seesaw, as focusing on one aspect often leads to neglect of the other. I mean, sometimes some places that swear by their food may have a different perception by the public. Finding the right balance takes practice, something that 38 Degrees Ale House has done. The folks at 38 Degrees know their craft beer, and they know their food. Their residence in Alhambra may not help them (a city known for its traditional Chinese population), but they use their industry knowledge to hit homers all year round. When I first tried The Thirty-Eight Burger, I knew immediately that they have the recipe for success in their hands. They use triple-grind angus chuck for their beef patty, and garnish it with garlic aioli, onion relish, Point Reyes blue cheese, and baby arugula on a Hawaiian sweet bun, served with shoestring fries (upgradable to sweet potato fries for $2). With the sweet potato fries upgrade, this meal basically eats like a dessert, since only the blue cheese has a non-sweet flavor. Although I rarely modify burgers, I may try this again with hot sauce or something spicy to add some more kick to this burger. Luckily, this burger only costs $13, so it will not break the bank or anything.

2. Mohawk Bend‘s Whitson Burger

Los Angeles has so many unique eateries that one often has a hard time keeping track of all of them. Add to the fact that Los Angeles had so many different named neighborhoods, and you’d have to spend days exploring every neighborhood in Los Angeles County. From Silverlake to Lincoln Heights to the Miracle Mile and more, named neighborhoods all have something that make them stand out. Echo Park, for example, has some great historic sights to see, as well as businesses to visit. If you find yourself in Echo Park, take a look around for a lovely place called Mohawk Bend. Not coincidentally located at the bend of Sunset Blvd at Mohawk St, this restaurant dares to transcend above that of the gastropub label, as they refer to themselves as simply “a restaurant and bar in Echo Park dedicated to bringing you California craft beer and fresh, locally-sourced fare.” I will not lie – the interior looks gorgeous, and stepping foot in here makes you feel like walking into a movie set. If you can get past the scenery, you will find their substantial menu, which contains yummy eats like the Whitson Burger. Only available during dinner hours, this mammoth burger has three types of meat: ground beef for the patty, bacon, and pulled short ribs. Along with this meaty threesome, it comes with cheddar cheese, sliced pickles, shredded lettuce, and sriracha aioli on a brioche bun. Just for the heck of it, Mohawk Bend had to label this burger as (NV) which I assume means “never vegan.” Blast those vegans though – this burger costs $15 and comes with a choice of side, while vegan food usually costs more since it requires more careful preparations.

1. Bachi Burger‘s Ronin Burger

Las Vegas draws thousands of visitors every weekend as they visit for vacationing. Most people come to Las Vegas for the partying, while others come for the gambling or shows. Do people go to Las Vegas for the food? Probably not – most visitors who travel to Las Vegas end up dining at their hotel’s buffet, a cesspool of leftovers with less quality than serviced restaurants. Las Vegas restaurants that thrive on the quality of their food should look to expanding elsewhere, such as the case with Bachi Burger. Originally based out of Las Vegas, this restaurant chain has landed in Southern California with two locations: West LA and Pasadena. So what makes Bachi Burger so good that they had to expand to California? One word: fusion. Bachi Burger brings Japanese and island flavors to the west by introducing them to a form that Americans easily recognize: burgers. Visitors can savor this fusion best in the Ronin Burger, the first burger listed on their menu. This angus beef burger patty gets topped with caramelized onions, Japanese cole slaw, miso goma (sesame) dressing, a fried egg, and katsu BBQ sauce, served with yuzu citrus aioli on the side. Anyone who loves Asian food will fall in love with this burger, as it basically represents Asian-style BBQ in a burger. The price of this burger depends on the location; for example, this costs $13 at the West LA location. Sadly, burgers do not come with any side, but once you sink your teeth into this burger, you will not require a side, as you will want to prolong this experience as long as you can.

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