Perception never falls into the simple categorization of black versus white. Perception falls anywhere within a boundless spectrum of antipodes. The problem lies with people’s ability to conceive perceptions beyond their scope. You can ask a person what type of music they love the most, while the next person may loathe that type of music. Most people claim to not like country music, yet the truth reveals that they simply have no preference for it; however, few people actually get adamant about the music. Going beyond preferences commonly exists in food and beverages. Where one person may call something “the best,” another will claim something else as better. For example, my father swears by the $2 wine from Trader Joe’s, unable to accept that pricier fine wines taste better. Some people say that no other burger can top a common burger from corporate fast food or corporate restaurants. People truly get attached to their fast food burgers and refuse to believe that better burgers exist out there. Whether or not you claim to know about the best burger in the world, I encourage you to seek out these five burgers in the greater Los Angeles area this season and give them a try. Who knows – maybe you will alter your opinions after one bite!

5. Grill ‘Em All‘s Dimmu-Burger A.K.A. Necrobutcher

I simply could not have constructed this list without mentioning Grill ‘Em All. These guys work wonders up in their restaurant in Alhambra, and continuously churn out new ridiculous burgers every month. Take their burger of the month for April 2015, the Dimmu-Burger A.K.A. Necrobutcher. With an intended pun to resemble black metal band Dimmu Borgir (Necrobutcher could either refer to the black metal bassist or the wrestler; great work with the double meaning), this messy burger’s highlight comes in the form of a Spam patty coated in corn dog batter and deep fried. This all comes with a supporting cast of white truffle cheese wiz, mustard, and pickles. The fried spam appears to get lost with all the yellow stuff around – the cheese and the mustard will likely overpower anything else going on in this burger. The $12 Dimmu-Burger clocks in at number five on this list because you can only obtain it through the end of April 2015. Once April ends, you may not see this burger again!

4. Peter’s Gourmade Grill‘s Bubba Burger

Some hole-in-the-wall places can hide worthy gems. Without the help of local word, one may never discover something awesome right under our noses. For as long as I can remember, I have always zoomed past Peter’s Gourmade Grill in Tustin without giving a second thought to what this corner store can hold. When informed about the unbelievable food waiting behind its counters, one day I finally decided to make the stop here, a decision I have no regrets over. While the food looks simple from the outside, as momma always said, the inside counts. Customers love everything on the menu, but when one recommended the Bubba Burger, I knew I had to commit to it. The Bubba Burger comes with applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar, fried onion strings, BBQ sauce, and lettuce, all with an Angus beef patty on a toasted potato bun. This classic yet filling burger comes to your hands for just $7.25 at Peter’s Gourmade Grill. Check out the rest of their menu too – they have a handful of other great gems, some of which I will cover in the future.

3. Bosscat Kitchen & Libations‘s Bosscat Burger

Thanks to a few of last decade‘s television shows, the stereotype of South Orange County’s denizens typically involves rich white people. As someone who used to work in South Orange County, I can attest that, like all stereotypes, exceptions to the rule exist. Nevertheless, South Orange County has its fair share of fancy upscale places, something that I as a punk usually feel out-of-place in. A former coworker told me about how he frequented Bosscat Kitchen & Libations in Newport Beach, and raved about the food and drinks there. I know where to find the drinks I like, especially in Orange County, so I opted instead to test out Bosscat Kitchen’s food menu. Among all of the pricey menu items, the Bosscat Burger stood out as the true winner in my book. This $15 burger comes with a sizable Midwest beef patty, bacon, cheese, black garlic sauce, and LTO. Customization options include adding a second patty for $8 and/or adding avocado for $2, of which I recommend adding both for a monstrous meal. With add-ons, you have a $25 plate in front of you, but the upgrade to add more beef and avocado more than earns its price.

2. The Salted Pig‘s The Pig 2.2

I wanted to insert a profound introduction, but this audio clip does it perfectly for me. The Inland Empire has grown substantially from a residential region to a bustling metropolitan area that has recently shattered much of the old stereotypes about the counties out there. On a completely unrelated note, the Inland Empire has a lot of drought-tolerant trees and plants, and not a lot of grass, meaning that folks who live out there have a leg up on the new California water conservation laws. But anyways, I digress, back to talking about delicious burgers! While out at shows in Riverside, I recently stumbled upon The Salted Pig, a swanky gastropub in Downtown Riverside. This place has quite a legacy among locals, and attracts tons of out-of-town visitors as well. From the succulent food to the drink selection, The Salted Pig has it going on. Their menu changes seasonally, and many items tend to go under a revision to adapt to changing times, such as The Pig 2.2. I have no idea how many versions lived before this one, but version 2.2 of this meaty burger carries double-smoked bacon marmalade, popcorn shoots (the greens, not literally popcorn), and citrus for zing. The minimal ingredients does the burger justice for bringing out the true savoriness of the beef patty. The $14 price tag truly represents the quality of the ingredients in this burger.

1. The Standing Room‘s The Napoleon

Of course I would include perhaps the most bizarre entry as number one in this list. One day, you go to the beach, then happen upon the liquor store on the corner just across the street from said beach. But you did not just stumble into any old liquor store – you entered a liquor store with a gourmet food counter attached to it. Yes I said food counter, because The Standing Room in Redondo Beach does not technically fall under the category of restaurants. On the opposite side of Catalina Liquor Store’s cashier stands a counter where guests can order restaurant-quality burgers and sides. The liquor store itself has no seating, hence the name The Standing Room; however, they graciously placed about six tables in the corner of the parking lot for customers to dine on the premises. Customers walk into the liquor store, walk towards the counter across from the liquor store cashier, and find the shiniest of hidden gems ever. If you did not know about this place, you would easily drive by it. Once you order, you pick up your food from the window OUTSIDE the liquor store (you will see it before you enter the liquor store). Sure they pack it to-go, but once you unravel your treasure, you may opt to have a seat nearby and chow down. First-timers may feel daunted by The Napoleon‘s $17.50 price tag, but the sheer size of it merits every penny. This colossal burger uses a half-pound beef patty, which comes with all of bacon, smoked gouda, cheddar, caramelized onions, greens, braised short rib, a fried egg, and truffle Parmesan fries. All of this comes INSIDE the burger. At first glance, you may not spot the bottom bun, but believe me, once you dig through this pile of gold, you will discover it, only to realize that you may not have room left in your stomach to hold that last bun. The Standing Room includes a plastic fork & knife with this order, which you will likely need to carve your way through this. I suggest bringing along a friend to attempt to conquer this beast, and try to get every ingredient in each bite to savor what a little food counter inside a liquor store can deliver to your lips.

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