The hot summer days lends perfectly to grilling weather. As an American tradition, citizens officially start the grilling season on Memorial Day weekend, as that signifies many things. First off, on that weekend, Americans celebrate an important federal holiday to celebrate and honor the lives of those lost while serving for the United States Armed Forces. The weather starts to significantly heat up by this weekend, following the inconsistent weather of April and much of May. As a result of the warmer weather, Americans take advantage of a holiday weekend off of work until the next federal holiday, Independence Day, to gather some friends & family for a party involving grilling. When thinking about grilling for a group of people, what food exactly comes to mind? I guarantee that hot dogs and hamburgers top the list. The notion to purchase these items in bulk contributes to the misconception that these foods do not taste good. The phrase “You get what you pay for” has never applied as much as it does now, as most who purchase in bulk tend to pay low per individual unit. If you seek quality, you will have to drop extra money for it. Hot dogs tend to bear questionable ingredients, but true hamburgers still exist in this world. If you happen to find yourself in Southern California this summer, check out these five places to grab some of the best burgers you will ever have. One bite into these will change the way you look at hamburgers forever.
5. Holsteins Shakes & Buns‘ The Rising Sun
When you think about Las Vegas, what comes to mind? Gambling? Partying? The entertainment capital of the world? Sure enough, everyone who visits Las Vegas must always visit a buffet. Las Vegas houses some of the world’s top chefs, and everyone who travels to Las Vegas can recommend the food there. The popularity extends beyond Las Vegas, as many of the restaurants eventually open outside locations, such as Holsteins Shakes & Buns. Holsteins originated in the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, and has since then opened in Costa Mesa, and will soon open a third location in Portland, OR. The name of this restaurant refers to their fun burgers and adult shakes. While I have not decided how to review their adult shakes, I can attest to their burgers, especially the one they call The Rising Sun. This Asian-inspired Kobe beef burger comes with teriyaki glaze, nori furikake, crisp yam strings, spicy mayo, and a tempura-fried avocado half. You can get all of the glory of an Asian dish in your hands with The Rising Sun, and you can tantalize your taste buds with this burger for $15.50.
4. Great Maple‘s Montreal Spiced Grass Fed Beef Burger
When you start throwing a bunch of things together, you eventually end up with so much clutter that it defeats the original purpose of the base object. When you have something great, it may help to keep things simple as to allow others to enjoy something for its natural traits. Sure you can throw a bunch of ingredients at a burger, but once you flood it with ingredients, you may find yourself asking about where to find the beef inside the pile. For a great burger with minimal ingredients that allow you to appreciate the true burger patty, head to Great Maple. With multiple locations such as Torrance and Newport Beach, Great Maple delivers fine dining with familiar foods wherever they go. Great Maple does not try to show off new foods or things that people may not have heard of. Great Maple cooks foods that people have heard of, and they do a great job at that. Take, for example, their Montreal Spiced Grass Fed Beef Burger. For $15.95, this burger simply comes on a fresh bakery bun with lettuce tomato, onions, pickles, and aioli. However, this minimalist approach allows you to truly savor the nature of the beef. You can add other items on such as avocado or cheese for an additional cost, but do not overwhelm this burger – you want to savor this meat for as long as you can.
3. Seoul Sausage Downtown‘s The Only Kalbi Burger
Today’s society truly loves the idea of fusions. The old days of traditional things that stick to one culture have long passed, and while some people prefer the purist route of keeping things the way they have always remained, many like to see change. While we can always enjoy a carne asada burrito, some may prefer to try a short rib burrito. Many may like a pepperoni pizza, while some may like a bánh mì pizza. Typically people want a ground beef burger, but the folks over at Seoul Sausage have done something different. Seoul Sausage boasts two locations, but this post will focus on their second location in Downtown LA. Each location has a slightly different menu, and the downtown location exclusively carries The Only Kalbi Burger. While this burger still uses a beef patty, they marinate the beef in Korean marinade to give it a sweet, juicy flavor. To accompany this marinated burger, it comes with garlic jalapeño aioli, pickled onions, and a fried egg. This burger comes a la carte for $12. If you have yet to try a fusion burger, make sure you make your way over to Seoul Sausage in Downtown LA to try this.
2. GD Bro Burger‘s Juan & Only
When opening a business, every entrepreneur has an eventual dream or goal. However, no one can immediately jump straight to the top without some stroke of amazing luck. It takes effort to climb up the ladder of success to arrive at the destination. For aspiring restaurateurs with a low starting budget, it makes sense to start with a food truck to gauge success. Those gourmet food trucks that gain great popularity can make the jump to a brick & mortar restaurant, something that many have already done such as GD Bro Burger. I never knew what this name stood for, so I always colloquially called them Goddamn Bro, because their burgers may make you exclaim that. They started out as a gourmet food truck churning out stuffed burgers, meaning something inside the burger patty, usually cheese or some sauce or spread. In their Juan & Only burger, GD Bro Burger stuffs a beef patty with jalapeño cream cheese, then tops it with pico de gallo, chipotlé mayo, and a sliced avocado. This comes on your choice of a regular hamburger bun or their special raspberry bun, the latter of which I highly recommend for a more unique experience. Spice up your day or night with this burger for just $8.95 at both their Santa Ana and Signal Hill locations.
1. West 4th & Jane‘s NY Burger
Some places have immense popularity due to famous people preferring that place. Media outlets such as the Food Network, Travel Channel, and Discovery Channel have all paved the way for local restaurants to gain notoriety with their television personalities visiting places and giving those places a huge exposure. However, while many of these places succeed well following the airing of the program, some may tank because they could not handle the pressure. Luckily with West 4th & Jane, we do not have the latter problem. Social media has made West 4th & Jane a legend, as many tech professionals love this place so much that checking in to this restaurant results in something unique compared to normally checking in at most other places. Aside from their top-shelf beverage selection, West 4th & Jane offers some food that you simply cannot find anywhere else. For example, while their NY Burger may resemble a typical restaurant burger, it certainly will not taste like any other burger. The NY Burger uses a half-pound meat patty consisting of a 50/50 blend of grass-fed bison and beef. This gets topped with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, shredded kale & romaine blend, sliced tomatoes, and smokey barbecue sauce. At just $14, you can get a taste of how they do things in New York. Pair this with one of West 4th & Jane’s signature beverages or a nice cold craft beer, and you will understand why West 4th & Jane has the reputation it has.