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. 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 mustard 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.

4. Brew Kitchen Ale House‘s Smokin’ Bacon Burger

When attributing food to a particular location, each region has its own designation on how people should perceive it. For example, we often hear about western, eastern, northern, and southern food. While in the United States this applies mainly to the contingent 48 states, the rest of the world sees things differently. The world does not have northern (New England) or southern (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, etc) cuisine. Instead, the world primarily splits up regions by either its exact name (Japanese, Italian, etc) or simply east versus west. We know that eastern tends to refer to Asian cuisine, while western refers to American barbecue. Why barbecue specifically, I do not have the precise answer, but I do know that Brew Kitchen Ale House has a killer western-influenced menu. Tucked away in a strip mall in Los Alamitos, Brew Kitchen Ale House aims to bring a craft beer presence to Los Alamitos, historically a conservative city. They employ a rotating tap system much like other prominent craft beer restaurants, which greatly accompanies their food menu. Brew Kitchen Ale House contains many gastropub staples, such as their Smokin’ Bacon Burger. This meaty burger comes with sharp cheddar cheese, cherry wood bacon, beer barrel onion strings, and Uncle Joe’s Memphis Brew-B-Que sauce, served with a side of bar fries. Why people associate this particular combination of ingredients with “western” I will never know. However, I do know that you can pound this burger for just $11 at Brew Kitchen Ale House in Los Alamitos.

3. Dory Deli‘s Dory Burger

How does a business generate buzz and hype? Marketing comes in many forms, and each method of marketing reaches out to a different audience. Does a business use word-of-mouth? Does a business use friends & family referrals? Does a business pay for ad space? Does a business rely on internet and social media? No matter how a business chooses to market, they still need to get their name out there, but how they get from point A to point B can differ based on the business owner’s preference. But what if you have products so good that the product markets itself? Enter Dory Deli, a local treat whose name speaks for itself. Located just a stone’s throw away from the sands of Newport Beach, Dory Deli opened their doors last year to the delight of many locals for their use of locally sourced ingredients prepared with fresh, unique flavors. Although they have “Deli” in their name, Dory Deli functions as more than just a deli – they represent a full-service restaurant, along with fresh coffee and juices. Along the menu, you can find hot items such as their Dory Burger. This thick burger patty gets paired with pastrami, horseradish-beet sauce, sliced pickles, caramelized onions, and Swiss cheese on a brioche bun. This burger comes a la carte for $11. Parking nearby requires coins for meters, so if you want to park for free, expect to have to park further and walk quite a bit.

2. 25 Degrees Huntington Beach‘s Number 4

Cheese: you either love it or you hate it. Cheese has existed long before anyone even thought to record the discovery of it. Since the beginning, cheese has made its way all over the culinary world, and has seen countless variations. The texture, flavor, shape, aroma, and other factors all vary based on where it started, how it started, and who made it. Certain cheeses fit certain foods better; for example, mozzarella goes well with pizza, while cheddar goes well with hamburgers. In more recent times, creative chefs have mixed up cheese types to attempt to draw out new flavor combinations. Some have worked, others have not. But when a combination does work, the chef will hastily add it to the menu, just like at 25 Degrees. While 25 Degrees has multiple locations including one in Los Angeles, each one has its own menu, so this will focus on its Huntington Beach location. 25 Degrees represents your typical gastropub and whisky bar, with a lineup full of different beverages and a menu full of goodies. At night, most people go here for the drinks. Throughout the rest of the day, people go here for both the food and drinks, where they might order something such as the Number 4. Unique to the Huntington Beach location, the fourth burger on their menu has bacon, barbecue sauce, mezzo secco cheese, jack cheese, chipotlé aioli, and a fried onion ring. After a few bites, you may just want a side of the cheese by itself due to its savory nature that does not overwhelm the taste senses. To experience this cheesy bliss, check out 25 Degrees in Downtown Huntington Beach order the Number 4 for $11.

1. Rockfire Grill‘s Carnitas Burger

If something on the menu has the word (ham)burger in it, you can bet it will have ground beef in it. Traditional hamburgers have the ground beef patty inside a hamburger bun. However, the definition has expanded to allow more than just the bun to define the dish. For example, hamburger pasta means pasta that has ground beef in it, even if it contains just ground beef pieces instead of a solid patty. Because of this expansion of the definition of a hamburger, creative minds have come up with other ways to build upon the traditional dish. Aside from different toppings or different ways to build the patty, one can take a look at the bun. Everyone has surely seen lettuce-wrapped burgers know as “protein-style” burgers, but you can use more than just an ordinary bun to hold a burger, something that Rockfire Grill has grasped the concept of. Rockfire Grill’s primary draw revolves around their use of a wood-fire oven to bake and cook most of their ingredients. From pizzas to flatbreads to fresh focaccia bread, Rockfire Grill has a unique approach to fresh foods. They use this oven to cook not only their meats, but the breads they use for their menu items, including their burgers and sandwiches. Rockfire Grill wraps their burgers inside their fresh-baked focaccia bread, creating something similar to a pita wrap. Their Carnitas Burger contains two different meats stuffed inside a focaccia bread. After splitting open a fresh-baked focaccia bread, Rockfire Grill fills it with an angus beef patty, salsa verde, pulled pork, tender greens, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and their house spread. You can taste this fresh-baked difference for $8.95 at the original Rockfire Grill in Mission Viejo, or check out their newer locations in Santa Ana and Newport Beach.

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