Posts Tagged ‘Onions’

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.


Much of the United States has this fixation about their local fair, whether the city or the state fair. From a narrow perspective, nothing changes year after year at the fair – if you attended previously, you would receive the same experience again the next time. This largely remains true persistently, but the experience generally changes based on who you attend the fair with, not which fair you attend. If you visit various fairs within the same region, you would see most of the same things: fair food, carnival rides, animals, and tons of vendors. For example, the San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles fairs all have the same basic outline of the aforementioned features. Once you have gone to one fair, you have basically experienced it all. So what can you do to continue to enjoy fair life without wading through the hoards of people in the hot sun? If you enjoy fair food, you would have wanted to go to Beachwood BBQ last week for their rendition of fair foods with a twist.

Nestled in a small space in historic old-town Seal Beach, Beachwood BBQ has garnered an outstanding reputation not only among the locals, but across the nation for their influence on the craft beer industry. Sure they revolutionized the idea of rotating taps, but Beachwood BBQ churns out some stellar eats above and beyond standard bar food quality. For the most part, one can see Beachwood BBQ’s menu as mostly bar food, since most, if not all, of the menu pairs really well with whatever beer they have on tap. Folks in the area last Thursday evening could truly immerse themselves in the bar food experience when Beachwood BBQ hosted a dinner night aptly entitled Beachwood On A Stick. On this night, Beachwood BBQ took a good look at common fair foods, and re-envisioned a more gourmet version of each of their ideas. In addition, each food item received its own beer pairing to go with it. Some of the pairings matched well, while a few lost me in the mix. You can peek at the menu above, or scroll down to read the descriptions plus my review.

  • Lamb Kofta, $5: smoked lamb, mint BBQ sauce | Pairs w/ Duvel Single Belgian Pale Ale

I will call this my favorite out of all of the menu. This looks small, but the sheer meatiness of it plus the unique minty BBQ sauce makes for a divine bite.

  • Poutine, $4: mashed potato, mozzarella, sage gravy | Pairs w/ Avery Samael’s Oak Aged Ale, an English Barleywine
  • Chicken Gumbo, $4: diced chicken, onions, bell peppers, okra, sassafras cream, fried rice | Pairs w/ Brouwerij Malheur 12° Belgian Strong Dark Ale

The Poutine basically represents a mozzarella stick, but with mashed potatoes in it as well. The gravy made it soggy, so it crumbled right off the stick. This did not contain meat, which made me sad 😦 Also this beer pairing sorely did not work out for me. On its own, this barleywine would taste great as a sipper. However, due to its strength, it badly damaged my palate.
The Chicken Gumbo basically represents a shish kabob, with no fancy tricks other than the fried (literally) rice.

  • Funnel Cake Dog, $4: smoked andouille sausage, powdered sugar | Pairs w/ Firestone Walker Easy Jack IPA

Take a really spicy sausage, batter it with funnel cake batter, dust some powdered sugar on it, and you have this… Emphasis on really spicy. The beer pairing, for as much IBU’s as it contains, could not douse the fire raging in my mouth.

  • Liver & Onions, $4: grilled chicken livers, roasted pearl onions, red wine demi glace | Pairs w/ Tahoe Mountain Bright Moments Pale Ale

Once you get over the fact that you have liver on a plate in front of you, the flavor comes up remarkably well. The texture of the liver may make some people queasy, so turn off your mind when you eat liver.

  • Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana, $3: rolled in pork rinds | Pairs w/ Almanac Biere de Chocolat Porter

My favorite dessert, since it does not taste that sweet, and it also has pork rinds to give it a salty taste. Imagine a frozen chocolate banana with sea salt, and you have this amazing dessert seemingly easy to make at home.

  • Twinkie, $4: sorrel marshmallow filling, funnel cake fried | Pairs w/ New Belgium Wild² Dubbel

If they could tone down the sweetness, this would have turned out as the most demanded item. The funnel cake batter and the filling’s overbearing sweetness makes this large enough to split with another person.

Miss out on Beachwood On A Stick? Pay attention to their Facebook page, as they always announce events like this in advance there. Even if you cannot make it to a special dinner night, head on over to check out their ever-changing beer selection, plus their menu of great eats.

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. Comme Ça‘s Burger

France – home of some of the world’s finest cuisines. More than just a stereotype, the French value the quality of their food and drinks more than most other regions in the world. Due to how the French view the dining experience, many other countries, notably most of Europe, have followed the structure of quality over quantity. Where Americans simply strive to grow bigger and bigger, the French can teach us that moderation can still taste wonderful, as the folks at Comme Ça will show us. This quaint little restaurant in West Hollywood doles out fine French cuisine by keeping their dishes in manageable portions while still delivering on taste. Sure their menu does not contain as much as your favorite corporate restaurant, but by adapting a vertical progression model, they can focus on improving the quality of their existing dishes rather than spread their effort on excess dishes. Fortunately, they continue to improve upon fan favorites, such as their unnamed Burger available for brunch and dinner. The thick burger patty consists of dry-aged prime beef, which gets topped with Vermont cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, and aioli. Although the toppings appear simple, the spotlight falls on their beef. The sheer thickness of that patty maintains a great amount of the meat’s own juices as Comme Ça sears the patty to a perfect medium rare (or more, on request). With light seasoning, you get a full bite of this wonderful beef patty, and you cannot find consistency like this at any random place.

4. Crow Burger Kitchen‘s Green Label Burger

In a world of consumerism, everyone obsesses over more. Everyone always wants more of anything, because more typically equates with wealth. More often than not, people go way over the recommended amount in a never-ending quest for more. In reality, this creates a facade that masks the true core of the item, much like how makeup, cosmetics, and Photoshop hide a person’s true appearance. Keeping things simple can have its perks, and Crow Burger Kitchen has captured that notion perfectly. Down in Newport Beach, Crow Burger Kitchen resembles your local gastropub – quality food and quality beer. As the restaurant’s name suggests, they specialize in burgers, although they carry other types of entrées as well. Among the variety of burgers that they serve, none stand out more than the Green Label Burger, which ironically does not come with much in the first place. The focus lies in the beef patty, a patty made with 100% prime chuck that Crow Burger Kitchen grounds daily. Other burgers use a blend of different cuts of beef, so the Green Label stands out with its use of a single source – olive oil consumers understand the importance of a single source. To go along with this burger, Crow Burger Kitchen adds fried shoestring onions and bacon butter on a toasted brioche bun. Guests may add a cheese of their choice for $1 extra. Put together, the few added ingredients serve to highlight not only the texture of the beef, but the natural beef flavor. The bacon butter does not overwhelm the palate, but simply compliments the burger. You can obtain this burger for $13.95, and you can add a side of Duck Fat Fries for $3.95 as well. With free parking available, what have you got to lose by visiting Crow Burger Kitchen?

3. 38 Degrees‘ Boar Bánh Mì

History tells us that the hamburger originated in Germany. However, history does not specify the spread of hamburgers around the world. Based on the world’s perceptions, the hamburger moved westward, where Americans claim it as one of their national foods. Contrary to that claim, burgers now exist all around the world, in one form or another. By definition, burger refers to a nickname for ground meat. This explains why some people call macaroni & cheese a cheeseburger pasta (thanks Hamburger Helper). As such, any type of meat can go into a burger, not just beef. If you inspect the menu at 38 Degrees, you will find more burgers than just beef. Known for their penchant for craft beer events, 38 Degrees brings a new style of dining to a town unfamiliar with gastropubs. Their loaded menu contains all the staples one would expect at an American restaurant: appetizers, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, entrées, desserts, and drinks. If you ask any server at 38 Degrees, they will inform you about their specialty burgers, such as the Boar Bánh Mì. Taking on the style of traditional Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches, this burger first starts with a wild boar patty. Wild boar eats like a pork patty, but contains less fat than pork, lending to its firmer texture. As for the bánh mì ingredients, those all get thrown on top of the wild boar patty: braised pulled pork, daikon, carrots, pickled jalapeños, cilantro, and sriracha aioli. Basically, 38 Degrees deconstructed a bánh mì sandwich and rebuilt it over a wild boar burger. If you like the sandwiches from Lee’s Sandwiches, you owe it to yourself to grab a Boar Bánh Mì at 38 Degrees for $16.

2. The Crow Bar & Kitchen‘s Black Label Burger

As Reel Big Fish says, “It’s not so bad being trendy.” Trendy areas tend to have a more eccentric vibe among the local businesses, scenery, and general atmosphere. The type of people who frequent trendy areas depends largely on the geographical location. Downtown in one city may look more dive than the next city, and the people in those cities often reflect the geography. Not to bash on any particular city, but certain areas with lack of aesthetics would draw in crowds that care less about quality. Compare that with areas that look visually impressive, and those areas attract the smart good-looking people. I cannot even imagine the look on my face when I stumbled into The Crow Bar one random night. Located down in Corona Del Mar past Fashion Island, this trendy upscale gastropub can make anyone look good the moment they walk in. Walking in to the Crow Bar feels like walking onto the set of a daytime drama, where everyone looks like a model. Aesthetics aside, the Crow Bar’s offerings match the setting. From the carefully selected drinks to the sustainable dishes, one cannot feel guilt when ordering anything here. If you truly want to indulge, immediately lock your eyes upon the Black Label Burger. The Crow Bar utilizes 21-day dry-aged prime ribeye for this burger patty, giving the burger a strangely fluffy texture upon biting into it. With meat this good, you need nothing else to accompany it; however, Crow Bar still added ingredients anyways with caramelized onions for sweetness, and the signature bone marrow butter. However they produced this bone marrow butter, it gives the burger a crispy texture, as if biting into potato chips. At first, you may not notice the butter at all. Once you start to feel something crispy in your bites, you have discovered the bone marrow butter. Aside from the daily specials, the Black Label Burger sits on the menu as the most expensive dish at $19 for just the burger. Price aside, can you put a price on something that you cannot find anywhere else? Sure some places literally add potato chips in the burger. You will not find anyone else utilizing this unique ingredient in such a way to transform the burger completely.

1. Arc – Food & Libations‘ Burger

If I could name one thing that annoys me about corporate food businesses, I would say any place that has a so-called secret menu. Why would a business want to hide anything from the customer? Why would customers order a custom order so many times that it merits a secret menu? Does the place not make something they like? A business should treat all customers fair and the same, and not allow certain people to order off a secret menu and keep others in the dark. Whenever I discover a place with a secret menu, I ensure that I stick with the public menu for an accurate review of what everyone else can expect. When I visited Arc – Food & Libations for the first time, I honestly expected some sort of hidden menu; however, a glance at the menu revealed that they finally revealed a great amount on their recent menu. Arc takes on a different approach than your favorite local restaurant. Not only do they butcher their own meat, but they cook everything in a brick oven. Industrial kitchen equipment? Arc has no need for those. Arc believes that people should eat food as nature intended, so they prepare food simply with fire. Their old menu would contain the staples of an upscale American restaurant, leaving out certain dishes that repeat customers would know about. On a recent expedition to Arc, their menu now contains many of the originally secret dishes, such as their monstrous Burger. This burger patty will make you feel like dining in a fancy wine garden in France. Normal restaurant burger patties use ribeye beef for the patty. Arc steps it up a level by combining ribeye with short rib. Then they asked, “Why stop there?” Because people love bacon, Arc tossed in bacon lardons into the patty. Again, they ask, “Why stop there?” So then the patty gets smothered in duck fat, and seared in that brick oven behind the counter. From that oven pops out a face-slapping mound of meat contained within a seared crisp coating of charred duck fat.

This line break serves to allow you some time to take that all in. Yes, this patty contains all that: a short rib and ribeye blend with bacon lardons, coated with duck fat and seared to a crisp, sealing all of the meat’s natural juices and flavor inside the crisp coating. Here, have another line break.

Okay, so what else comes on this tower of a burger? Garlic aioli covers the bottom bun in hopes of preventing the patty’s juices from mucking up the bottom bun, but by the end, the bottom bun will get lost on the plate. On top of the patty, you get to choose your cheese: blue cheese or aged cheddar. Next, Arc throws on yellow heirloom tomatoes, caramelized red onions, Fresno chiles, red lettuce tossed in garlic vinaigrette, and herbs, all on a brioche bun dusted with cornmeal. No, Arc did not throw everything but the kitchen sink onto this burger. One bite into this complex burger, and you may start to see stars just trying to grasp all of the ingredients in this astronomical blob. Just to get the important detail out of the way, this monstrosity costs $20. Second, you may want to tackle this on a cheat day. Third, bring a camera. Fourth, bring a friend. Finally, buy a CrossFit membership – you will need it after this burger.

Whenever you sit down to eat something, do you ever consider the ingredients in your food? You may ponder the types of ingredients, as well as all those other strange additives that most people cannot pronounce. Typically, fewer ingredients listed on the label equates a more natural product. This may not always hold true, as even some products with a few ingredients may still harbor an evil additive, such as the dreaded high fructose corn syrup. Once you find a product with truly all-natural ingredients, what next? Do you accept the food right away, or can you ask some more questions? For example, where did the ingredients in the food originate from? Did the maker outsource all the ingredients? Did the ingredients come from multiple corners of the world? Despite people wanting authentic goods, sometimes you can find the best ingredients locally instead of having to travel the globe to do so. Here in America, you can find most of what you desire without requiring a passport. Sure it may lack authenticity, but the quality remains, and you still support locally grown goods, which stimulates America’s economy. If you find yourself craving local faire in the San Diego area, head to the Hillcrest neighborhood to find Local Habit.

With an experienced hand in craft beer and organic food, Local Habit reinvents the gastropub with their fancy take on a menu. Using produce and meats only from local farms, Local Habit handcrafts Nepolitana pizzas and other small plates with a notion for exceptional quality. Because they use all-natural organic ingredients, Local Habit can make most of the menu vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, proudly showing their versatility. Like all other gastropubs, Local Habit pours craft beers from local microbreweries. Unlike a standard gastropub that focuses on burgers or meat courses, Local Habit focuses on authentic Nepolitana pizzas with an emphasis on toppings and less so on sauce (which also tastes amazing). They even run food & drink specials that change daily. Take, for example, one of their recent specials, the Braised Pork & Pickled Onion Pizza. This spinoff of their Pork Loin Pizza features in-house braised pork sausage, shaved pickled onions, Spring Hill jack cheese, chives, and a garlic & shallots sauce. Simple as it sounds, this combination yields immense flavor profiles, as each ingredient contributes a different taste sensation. I have no idea what they braise their pork in, but I can only guess holy water, because of its light sweetness coupled with the salty meatiness common of pork. The pickled onions win an award for best supporting role, as the pork taste comes out stronger when biting with some of the sweet and tart pickled onions. Their sauce surprised me the most, since I expected a tomato-based sauce, but instead I end up biting into a sweet yet aromatic sauce. The best part? As a Nepolitana pizza, a thin pizza equals lower carbs! If I could nitpick, true Italian pizzas never get sliced by the kitchen – the guest must slice it themselves. This preserves the natural juices from the toppings, cheese, and sauce, which would seep through the slice cuts and begin to not only drip juice on the plate below, but also soak the bottom of the crust. Remember this tip the next time you visit Local Habit!

As a rotating special, Local Habit may no longer feature this particular pizza. They may have the ingredients available – call them to inquire about it. If not, fret not, as this pizza derives from their existing Pork Loin Pizza. Pizzas range from $11 to $14, but bear in mind that Local Habit also serves salads, sandwiches, entrées, desserts, and more, most of which you can order vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. Stop on by Local Habit and grab a bite to eat and a cold brew to drink, all while supporting local farms and local breweries.

Pondering upon the staples in American cuisine, the hamburger remains one of the most widely known foods that virtually everyone has eaten at one point in life. Even vegans and vegetarians have tried a form of the hamburger, usually using imitation or soy patties, or in some cases, a patty constructed with oats & barley. Chefs and home cooks alike love to cook and create hamburgers because of its blank canvas nature, rivaled only by the sandwich in terms of versatility. My love of hamburgers derives from this ability of versatility and creativity in formulating the perfect bite. Over time, I have searched around for the best hamburgers ever, and though my search never produced a clear best, I have had the privilege of sampling some of the greater hamburgers in the area. Earlier in the summer, I listed 5 hamburgers to try during the summer months. If you have not gone to try those burgers, then you really need to seek those burgers down, because some of those may not remain on their respective menus for long. For now, I have five more hamburgers that you must try in the Los Angeles area this season.

5. Eureka! Burger‘s Fig Marmalade Burger

Travelers can learn much from the locals. Locals tend to know exactly where to find anything travelers need. However, all travelers should know to always ask the locals about the best places to dine at. Leave it to a local to inform me about Eureka! Burger (henceforth just Eureka), a burger bar that specializes in gourmet burgers and craft beer. Eureka’s menu represents your typical American bistro fare – appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and of course, burgers. If it has “Burger” in the name, then their burgers have to taste amazing, right? So the first time I arrived at Eureka, I immediately asked my server to bring me their most popular burger without telling me which burger I had ordered. In no time later, my server brings to me the Fig Marmalade Burger. This burger, cooked to order, comes topped with homemade fig marmalade, melted goat cheese, crispy bacon, minced tomato, onions, and arugula with a spicy porter sauce. Talk about blending a world of flavors together into a melting pot! Fig and goat cheese merge together as a classic combination to create a sweet and creamy blend, while the bacon adds its salty kick, cutting through the fig and goat cheese. Surprisingly, you can clearly taste the porter in the sauce too, although which porter they use remains a mystery to me. Oh, and all burgers come with fries cut in-house. Pair this burger with a nice pale ale or amber ale, and you will have a divine dinner. With seven locations currently open and more on the way, you need to head down to your local Eureka! Burger and try this delicious plate.

4. 1321 Downtown Taproom Bistro‘s MOD Burger

You have to give a lot of credit to themed restaurants. Most restaurants have their servers dress in normal restaurant-black, and they act like normal people. But once you step into a themed restaurant, not only do the servers dress the part, but you may also hear an accent, legit or funny! Finding the right balance of playing the theme and working seriously can bolster business, and 1321 Downtown Taproom Bistro in Torrance has found that balance. Running with an early 1900’s theme, 1321 almost feels like an olde saloon, as the servers dress up in vintage vests and other garments. The restaurant even airs silent black & white movies in the dining area. Straying away from the theme, the menu does not follow the old theme, but instead caters to modern palates. Most of their menu carries modern culinary influence, such as the MOD Burger. This giant beef patty gets topped with white cheddar, stout-braised onions, slab bacon, greens, and smoked tomato remoulade. Now this topping list sounds normal, but instead of trying to create something new, 1321 reinvents the burger with high quality ingredients. When cooked rare to medium rare, the massive patty contains all the juices of the beef, releasing upon the first big bite. The onions come out very strong, and using slab bacon allows for thicker cuts and enhanced taste. Overall, 1321 makes this burger RIGHT. The burger comes with Pub Fries too, but honestly, do you order a burger just so you can eat fries? Order this burger with an Imperial IPA for the optimal pairing.

3. Grill ’em All‘s Behemoth

If you win a Food Network show, then you have a secret weapon that you used to secure the win. To win a competition at such a high level requires either the finest training in the world, or something so outrageous that no one else has ever thought about it. The boys over at Grill ’em All has thrown away all conventions to deliver to starving customers their renditions of Heavy Metal Hamburgers. Grill ’em All does not dolly around with vegetables – all their burgers (except for one) aim to smash your face with other ingredients that seek to obliterate your taste buds. Their monster creation, The Behemoth, has gained widespread popularity thanks in part to their usage of it during their stint on Food Network. First of all, this burger uses TWO grilled cheese sandwiches as buns. A typical person can only down one of these at a time. Grill ’em All would like you to smash TWO sandwiches AND the rest of the burger, which comes with cheddar, bacon, beer-soaked onions, pickles, and BBQ Sauce. Good lord, what has science created? No one will tell you the calorie count for this monstrosity, because no man should ever walk away from this challenge knowing the schematics behind it. Dare you face The Behemoth in one sitting? I shall inform you that this does not taste good when reheated, so you best devour this all in one sitting, lest you deprive yourself the opportunity to conquer this towering beast. You can hunt down Grill ’em All as they roam Los Angeles on wheels, or wait patiently until their store opening in San Gabriel Valley coming soon.

2. Slater’s 50/50‘s Donut Burger

Excerpt from my post about it:

Slater’s 50/50 continually outdoes themselves in manly culinary creations. They serve their latest iteration, the 50/50 Donut Burger, on weekends from 9am to 12pm. This messy mouthful holds their signature 50/50 patty topped with American cheese and a sunny-side up egg, served between TWO glazed donuts with a side of strawberry jam. Unlike other donut burgers we have seen before which consist of one donut cut in half to serve as the buns, Slater’s 50/50 decided to give you TWO donuts as individual buns burger holders. The ingredient list appears minimal, but honestly all you need in a wake-up slap lies right here, because everything works well together. The subtle combo of the egg and cheese plus the sweetness from the donut truly bring out the meatiness of the 50/50 patty. I have eaten 50/50 burgers before, but usually the toppings overwhelm the patty, and the burger becomes an afterthought. With this Donut Burger, nothing overpowers the patty, allowing you to savor the true experience of devouring a 50/50 burger. For those feeling extra bold, request some peanut butter and lather it and the jam on the burger.

1. Haven Gastropub‘s Haven Burger

When a chef leads a petition to overturn a significant food law, you know that everyone trusts that chef to cook the most amazing dishes. The people would go crazy if someone had more talent than the leader. Luckily, the right man led the petition earlier this year to overturn the foie gras ban. Unfortunately, the law never got overturned, hence why we sit here without delicious foie gras in our bellies. That still does not take away the fact that Chef Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub cooks among the elites of the industry. Living a legacy of its own, Haven Gastropub crafts some of the finest food anyone has ever tried while pouring some of the best craft brews available. When something tastes that good, the chef usually grants the dish a proper name, which you can find in the Haven Burger. Pickled red onions, roasted red bell peppers, wild arugula, and St. Agur cheese accompany this burger, with pommes frites on the side. Paired with an IPA, this meal fits in any time of the day. The burger patty bears so much natural juices that you do not need sauce with this burger – Chef Daniels places all you need on the burger, without the need for anything else. For the love of food, do not modify this burger. In fact, one should never modify anything unless it pertains to certain food allergies. Chefs craft the ingredients for a reason, and each ingredient serves a purpose that contributes to the flavor output. Modifying changes what the chef had in mind for you to try, thus you cannot taste the chef’s true talent. On that note, nothing insults a chef more than customers adding salt and/or pepper to their food. Your dish already has all the flavors it should have, so just adding basic flavors ruins the vision. But anyways, I digress – no other burger comes close to tasting similar to the Haven Burger. When you want to treat your taste buds to paradise, head over to Haven Gastropub in Orange or Pasadena and order the Haven Burger. Savor it for its true form, and your soul shall reward you back.