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. The Apple Pan‘s Steakburger
With all this newfangled technology and modernism going on these days, sometimes it helps to go back to the basics. We turn to the originals to inspired us to prepare for the future. For the originals, we head over to The Apple Pan in Century City. The name should speak for itself, but for those who have not heard of the name, The Apple Pan represents one of the oldest Los Angeles restaurants still in operation to this day. The Apple Pan even inspired the Johnny Rockets chain we see everywhere. The Apple Pan’s old-time charm holds dear to our hearts, but their classic food represents comfort food at its finest. The Apple Pan serves two signature burgers with different cuts of beef: a hickory burger, and the Steakburger. Where the hickory burger carries more smoke flavor, the Steakburger remains closer to a medium beef patty. Each one costs $7.65 and comes with The Apple Pan’s signature sauce (resembles salsa), mayonnaise, pickles, and lettuce. For a small upcharge, you can add Tillamook cheddar to the burger, which I highly recommend since they let the cheese melt onto the grill, providing some crispness to the cheese. At The Apple Pan, the classics never go out of style!
4. Beer Belly‘s The Duck! Cheeseburger
We move from the classics to the modern era, where crafty chefs like to get fancy and creative with their foods. We deviate away from the norm with the type of ingredients used in classic dishes, but deviate too far and you may end up putting off willing customers. Thankfully, Koreatown’s Beer Belly walks the line between classic and inventive with their modernized take on classic foods. Beer Belly’s menu contains classic foods as you may recognize, but they use slightly different ingredients than you may recall. Take, for example, The Duck! Cheeseburger. Sure it may cost $15.50 for just a burger, but looking at what they put in this burger may justify the cost. Beer Belly uses a patty of duck and bacon for this burger, which can already kill the savory senses for those not accustomed to this barrage of meaty goodness. In addition, they even put foie gras on this burger! The hits do not stop there – you also get provolone cheese, mustard, peach ketchup, arugula, and pickled red onions on this burger in an onion brioche bun. Just for kicks, you can add a fried egg to this burger for $1.50 more. If you want to blitz your taste buds, Beer Belly has the ticket for that.
3. Urbana‘s Urbana Burger
Now we move from the modern era to the fusion path, where we start to cross cuisines of different cultures. As its name may suggest, the hamburger originated in Germany, yet today it somehow has a lot more popularity in the United States than Germany. One thing led to another, and we have foods mixing and matching all over the world. Most prominently, Latin cuisine mixes very well with other cuisines, something that Urbana in Anaheim does very well. Urbana takes Mexican flavors and applies them to many types of dishes besides Mexican food. While Urbana has the classics such as tacos, Urbana puts a Latin spin on other foods not typically thought of as Mexican, just like in their Urbana Burger. While it eats like a burger, the grass-fed beef patty comes filled with Queso Oaxaca for a stuffed burger experience. This stuffed patty sits on a layer of chorizo and gets topped with arugula, caramelized onions, and cilantro aioli. For $18, this monstrous burger comes with fries to feed you for the night.
2. Pig Pen Delicacy‘s Maple Bacon Jam Burger
Americans have a strange fascination with bacon. Something about this small strip of pork drives people to spend obscene amounts of money to add it on to something. Fast food restaurants routinely charge a dollar more to add a piece of bacon, while some restaurants charge up to $4 more to add some bacon. I will never understand why people do this, but I do know that if I crave the flavor of bacon, it had better taste good, so I go to Pig Pen Delicacy in Santa Ana. As the name of this food stand suggests, Pig Pen Delicacy sells pork and pork
accessories products in whatever manner they can fashion. Look at their Maple Bacon Jam Burger to see how much they love pork here. An all-beef patty comes coated with maple bacon jam, havarti cheese, chive aioli, and friend onion strings. At just $8.50, you can have a mess on your hands and eat it too. Between all the bacon, pulled pork, and pork belly, if you want pork, you got it here at Pig Pen Delicacy.
1. Cafe Cola‘s Smoov Burger
We live in a time where every single human being desires absolute control over his or her life. As a universal human truth, people need to have complete control over their lives and do things only their way, even if it obstructs another person’s path to freedom. Sad as that might sound, history has shown exactly this. When you have control, you feel authoritative and confident. When you lack control, you may start to feel scared or angry. By allowing people to have control, they feel more comfortable with the current situation. They have ditched the old motto of “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” for a more direct approach that gives them control. Instead of getting mad, go somewhere that allows you to enjoy your control by allowing you the pleasure of customization, such as at Cafe Cola in Covina. Now officially reopened (albeit only on weekends), Cafe Cola has introduced a brand new model of allowing customers to build their own burger from the plate up for one flat price. Customers pay $9.95 for the Smoov Burger, and can choose as many toppings as they want to go on it. Personally, I think too many toppings kills the flavor, but with so much to choose from, you can afford to carefully select toppings. Despite this gimmick, the burger comes out amazing, as Cafe Cola does not muck around with the beef patty. Very few places can boast about unlimited toppings at one low price, and Cafe Cola has sealed the deal as the best customizable burger in the Greater Los Angeles area.