When the seasons change, many more things change than just the weather. Looking at the weather alone, Southern California currently experiences a massive heat wave that may make you believe that the seasons had not turned yet. The pharmaceutical industry has come under heavy scrutiny. Scientists have discovered flowing water on Mars. A drought threatens the inhabitation of California. As a society, we cannot accurately predict what radical event will change the world next, but we can brace ourselves for anything, as we always have in the past as an enduring society. We can also fall back on what we typically associate with this time of the year. Fall, as we know it, indicates pumpkins, red wine, NFL, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the fall harvest, especially the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, giving us a reason to gorge on Mooncakes. Looking at all these opportunities to feast on favorable foods, we should not overlook outdoor grilling, nor the foods prepared that way. Though the winds will chill the air more so than in the summer, many folks will still utilize the grill up through Thanksgiving. In homage of the veritable fall feast, take a look at these five burgers in the Greater Los Angeles Area that I highly recommend seeking out this season.
5. Pie ‘n Burger‘s Cheeseburger
Two major archetypes of people exist: the adventurous and the safe. By human nature, people prefer the familiar – after all, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This explains why corporate products can survive for so long because they continue to serve the exact same product that people grew up with. Because something has never changed over time, that must mean that people love it, right? For something traditional that the people always go back to, look no further than Pie ‘n Burger. This little diner in Pasadena has withstood the test of time with their simplistic approach to traditional diner foods in burgers, milkshakes, and pies. Pie ‘n Burger not only makes food that all customers recognize, but they make them delicious as well that rivals corporate equivalents. Pie ‘n Burger’s basic Cheeseburger may remind some people of other famous fast food burgers because of its cheddar, thousand island sauce, pickles, and lettuce. However, something about Pie ‘n Burger’s old-fashioned cheeseburger just makes it so much better than fast food. Pair this cheeseburger with a milkshake or a fresh slice of pie, and you have a terrific meal that may remind you of your childhood.
4. The Blind Pig‘s Bison Burger
Fancy hip gastropubs have surfaced greatly over the past handful of years. The new wave of millennials crave something new and unique, unlike the previous generations that prefer to stick with the familiar. The days of family restaurants have passed, and smaller intimate restaurants have grown in popularity with the customers getting closer to their servers and mixologists. The dining experience should encompass more than just the food – it should involve atmosphere, community, and interactivity, and you can experience all of that at The Blind Pig Kitchen & Bar. Nestled away in a shopping center in Rancho Santa Margarita, The Blind Pig’s smaller dining area seats groups of two to four and allows customers to feel closer to their servers and mixologists. While they boast an extensive offering of cocktails, The Blind Pig also serves some mighty fine cuisine, including their Bison Burger. This burger with a 100% ground bison patty comes with arugula, caramelized onions, cheddar, and spicy aioli, served with fries. Bison typically has less fat than beef and has a gamier taste, giving a different approach to the typical burger. You can savor this burger at The Blind Pig for $15.
3. True Food Kitchen‘s Bison Burger
With the widespread use of the internet came all the exposures of bad food industry practices. From the inhumane treatment of animals to all the fillers in food, people started to demand better food quality, and most food companies had to oblige or risk losing business. While the corporate businesses struggled to change their ways, local businesses started fresh and adopted a wholesome and healthy approach to their menus, something that True Food Kitchen accomplished right off the bat. Best known for their anti-inflammatory ingredients, True Food Kitchen truly delivers good good-for-you food. Their menu covers all types of diets, from vegan to gluten-free and more. For those without dietary restrictions, True Food Kitchen still has an expansive menu that includes savory dishes such as their Bison Burger. Using a 100% ground bison patty, this delicious yet healthy burger gets topped with mushrooms, onions, mayonnaise, watercress, and parmesan cheese on a flax seed bun. For your side, you can choose Sweet Potato Hash, Kale Salad, or half of each. I typically do not enjoy mushrooms, but I made the exception just so I could savor this burger’s true essence, and I have no regrets. Every ingredient plays an important role towards the full picture of this burger. Experience health and flavor all in one bite with the Bison Burger at True Food Kitchen for $16.
2. Village Idiot‘s Griddle Burger
With all these newfangled restaurants popping up everywhere, sometimes it helps to exhibit a little modesty. Young adults want to visit the trendiest, hippest restaurants and/or bars because of interaction and mingling with others of similar age and personality. With so many of these new places around, some restaurants or bars just want to resemble the go-to place away from all the hustle of noisy places. Enter the Village Idiot in West Hollywood as your go-to place to relax. The Village Idiot looks like your typical neighborhood restaurant with no frills or anything fancy inside. They have an old-fashioned bar with plenty of seating in the dining area, perfect for parties of all sizes. With a wide array of food and drink options, Village Idiot will have something for everyone. For something familiar yet scrumptious, go with their Griddle Burger. This simple yet effective $15 burger carries two patties along with dijon spread and a heaping serving of caramelized onions, with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and fries on the side. Accessorize your burger with cheese or a fried egg at an additional cost. Available throughout the day, this burger will help you get away from the bustle of daily life momentarily while you savor this local flavor.
1. Wagyu Chuck‘s BBQ Bacon Burger
A corporate fast food business recently released a commercial where they pushed the phrase “Go big or go home” constantly throughout the ad. The notion of “all or nothing” greatly applies to all aspects of life. Why half-ass something when you can go full-ass into something? If you do not go all-in, that shows lack of commitment. When you go out to eat, you can either eat healthy or you can eat something full of flavor that can ruin your health. State fairs have things like deep-fried twinkie bars because YOLO. But if you intend to think YOLO with your food, you might as well seek the best foods that fit that archetype, so trek on over to Wagyu Chuck for your fill. One of many food stands in Downtown Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market, Wagyu Chuck makes burgers and only burgers. They specialize in burgers, and will not offer you anything else… except maybe a side of fried potatoes. The standard menu contains a single, double, or triple burger, but occasionally they will have burger specials, such as the BBQ Bacon Burger. While the name itself sounds amazing, I hope that you do not have a diet plan if you intend to conquer this. Greasy, oily, and salty, the combination of bacon, fried onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce all on top of a wagyu beef patty leaves a profound effect on your tastebuds and your stomach. Savor this burger with small bites, as you will not ever want this burger to end. As a burger special, Wagyu Chuck may not carry this on their menu forever, so travel to Wagyu Chuck as soon as possible and see what a true burger should taste like.