Posts Tagged ‘Slater’s 50/50’

Ponder this for a moment: a farm-raised animal that exists solely for its meat with no other by-products. I mean, chickens can produce eggs, and cows can produce milk. However, farmers raise pigs only to later harvest the meat, with no additional products. Just like other terrestrial meats, pigs produce various cuts of meat, most of which the general non-specific-diet populace absolutely love to consume. From ham to bacon to shoulder (pulled pork) to chops, pork has a great reputation among gastronomes or just about anyone who cooks. People generally do have an unexplainable fascination with bacon, a small strip of meat with no real substance, meant for use as a topping rather than an entrée. Does bacon truly make everything taste better? Bacon ice cream and other bacon desserts exist, but some purists prefer bacon as part of an entrée, something that you can find a lot of at Slater’s 50/50.

When it comes down to who can boast the most roast, Slater’s 50/50 takes the crown. A local legacy, Slater’s 50/50 has gained quite a reputation in Southern California for their signature 50/50 burger, which utilizes a burger patty consisting of 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon. Following the raging success of this product, Slater’s 50/50 has since expanded to six locations (Lake Forest location has closed permanently) and vastly expanded their menu. While you can still order various styles of their 50/50 burger, including the popular build-your-own burger checklist, Slater’s 50/50 now offers a plethora of other entrées, such as their Porka~Cola Sandwich. As the name suggests, this sandwich contains pork and cola – Slater’ 50/50 braises pork shoulder in cola for a succulent texture and flavor, then places a heaping mound of it in a telera roll. BBQ-spiced bacon, coleslaw, dill pickles, and barbecue sauce accompany this juicy pork sandwich to yield an amazing version of the classic pulled pork sandwich.

Have you visited Slater’s 50/50 yet? Keep in mind that they do have a unique Burger-of-the-Month every month, and fittingly for July, they have the ‘Merica. To see what else Slater’s 50/50 has cooking up, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisements

People simply love bacon for unexplainable reasons, and will go to crazy distances just for that crispy salty crunchy satisfying feel of biting into bacon. You know bacon has something going for it when people wrap things in bacon to make it taste better, even things most people may not have heard of, such as water chestnuts or peppadews. When you cannot wrap something in bacon, what logically comes next other that chop up the bacon and throw it all onto food? In some instances, you can then directly add the bacon into whatever you make. Like bacon and waffles? Add bacon pieces to the batter prior to grilling. Like bacon and pasta? Roll your own bacon & cheese tortelloni. As one of the most versatile foods in the world, bacon adds that je ne sais quoi to anything one can eat or drink, and can replace most basic ingredients in foods. In place of certain ingredients, bacon makes for an ample substitute, something that Slater’s 50/50 does very well with their dishes.

Nothing says America more than bacon, an ingredient that Slater’s 50/50 worships. During their six years in business, Slater’s 50/50 has come up with the craziest, most original foods involving bacon. Their bacon revolution has stretched out to the corporate world, as fast food and chain restaurants have attempted to imitate the famous 50/50 burger but have all failed to properly duplicate it. In the meantime, Slater’s 50/50 has continually raised the bar in porky products, such as when they launched the 100% bacon burger a few years ago. This year, they stepped it up a notch with the new & improved The ‘Merica 2.0. The first iteration had all things bacon on it, including a patty completing made from ground bacon. This year, Slater’s got all fancy with it by topping it with Sriracha bacon, bacon jam, bacon cheese, fried mac & cheese, tomatoes, and greens, all sandwiched between a bacon pretzel bun. Now it no longer tastes like a salt overload – the bacon jam plus the few veggies helps to break down all the salty goodness going on here. You still get a heaping mouthful of bacon, so a refreshing pale ale will help to cut through the savoriness of this burger.

Do you love bacon? If so, you owe it to yourself to head on down to Slater’s 50/50 by the end of this month to pound The ‘Merica 2.0. This burger always returns as the July burger-of-the-month, so if you miss it this year, come back next year!

Slater’s 50/50 6th Anniversary
11:00 am – 12:00 am, June 3
Slater’s 50/50, Anaheim Hills
http://www.facebook.com/events/973682199311344/

Six years ago, Southern California discovered the infamous 50/50 burger. This Wednesday, celebrate six years of bacon goodness at the location that started it all: Slater’s 50/50 in Anaheim Hills. They will have food and drink specials all day, so stop on by whenever and congratulate Scott Slater on his continued success.

Taste of Downtown Long Beach
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 3-4
Pine & Broadway, Downtown Long Beach
http://downtownlongbeach.org/Latest-News-Detail/Taste-of-Downtown-Pine-Avenue-2015

Sample food from local restaurants in Downtown Long Beach at this two-night tasting, or enjoy some brews at the beer garden sponsored by Beachwood BBQ. Each sample costs varying amounts of tickets, which cost $1 each. Purchase tickets online to receive two free tickets for every $10 spent. Guests can park for free for up to two hours in the parking structure between 3rd, 4th, and Pine.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – First Wednesdays @ The Copper Door
9:30 pm – 12:00 am, June 3
The Copper Door, Downtown Santa Ana
http://www.facebook.com/events/497835437036092/

Get your fill of burlesque every first Wednesday of the month at The Copper Door in Downtown Santa Ana, for free! Guests can park on the street for free after 8pm. No one under 21 may enter.

Long Beach Coin, Stamp, & Sports Collectible Expo
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, June 4-6
Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach
http://www.longbeachexpo.com/

This show brings tens of thousands of collectors worldwide to share, buy, sell, and trade their collectibles. Complete with seminars, workshops, press conferences, vendor booths, auctions, and more, this all-ages expo will delight anyone interested in collecting valuable goods. Admission costs $8, with discounts available for seniors and children. Use promo code MEDIA to receive admission for free. Parking at the convention center costs $10.

Chinatown After Dark
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 7
Chinatown, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.chinatownla.com/calendar.php?eventId=454

Chinatown enters the Night Market field this Thursday night, as Chinatown transforms into an outdoor nighttime market filled with live entertainment, vendors, food, and more. Free for all ages, guests should park east of Spring St and/or north of College St.

King Harbor & Telegraph Brewing Tap Takeover
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, June 4
Far Bar, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/1392855427711775/

Both King Harbor Brewing and Telegraph Brewing will split the taps at Far Bar in Downtown LA’s Little Tokyo this Thursday night, which will include the two breweries’ collaboration brew.

Alkaline Trio: Four Nights at The Observatory
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 4-7
The Observatory, Santa Ana
http://www.alkalinetrio.com/

Alkaline Trio will perform all eight of their records over the duration of four shows this week at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Each of these all-ages shows cost $25 per ticket.

Fields Ablaze Bottle Release
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 5
Valiant Brewing, Orange
http://www.facebook.com/events/1402022283458888/

Valiant Brewing will release their summer seasonal, Fields Ablaze, in bottles starting this Friday evening at their tasting room in Orange.

10th Annual Lummis Day Festival
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, June 5
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 6
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, June 7
Heritage Square Museum, Northeast Los Angeles
http://www.lummisday.org/

Catch music, dance, poetry, art, and more at this free multicultural festival this Sunday afternoon in Northeast LA. Guests may park for free at the venue.

2nd Annual OC Night Market
4:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 5-6
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 7
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa
http://www.ocnightmarket.com/

The popular 626 Night Market comes to Orange County this weekend at the OC Fair in Costa Mesa. This weekend-long all-ages festival brings the nightlife of the east to the west, and shows the locals what goes on at night in populated Asian cities. Visitors will find lots of food, merchandise, live entertainment, music, games, and more. Admission costs $5 per person, while parking costs $7 per vehicle. These night market events always see wall-to-wall people, so expect a big crowd all weekend.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 5
Various locations
Long Beach: http://firstfridayslongbeach.com/
Venice: http://www.abbotkinney1stfridays.com/

This monthly artwalk occurs on the first Friday of every month. Each location offers different activities, but most will contain food & drink specials, art exhibits & displays, street performers, and more. Venice and Long Beach have the two largest gatherings of all First Fridays. Other locations include Westchester, Fullerton, and City of Industry. Most First Fridays locations cost nothing to attend, while the local businesses uphold their standard rules (e.g. bars 21+ only).

Shmaltz Brewing’s Hops In He’Brew Tasting
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 5
Total Wine & More, Tustin
http://www.facebook.com/events/373741182823333/

Shmaltz Brewing will sample beers from their variety pack for FREE this Friday night at Total Wine & More in Tustin.

Agent Orange – Live in Southern California
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 5, Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood http://www.whiskyagogo.com/site/event/agent-orange-2/
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 6, Brick By Brick, Linda Vista, San Diego http://brickbybrick.ticketfly.com/event/837083-agent-orange-special-guests-san-diego/

Legendary punk band Agent Orange will headline a couple of shows in Southern California this weekend. Each show has a different age limit and ticket price, so click on a link for more information.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 5
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/210463

Occurring on every month’s first Friday, this 60’s night at Alex’s Bar will play all vinyl music of motown, northern soul, boogaloo, 60’s pop, and more. Feel free to dress up too, as the bar staff will hold costume contests and dance contests.

21st Annual Studio Arts Festival
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 6
Irvine City Hall, Irvine
http://www.cityofirvine.org/cityhall/cs/finearts/specialevents/studio_arts_festival.asp

Dozens of Southern Californian artists will display their work for the public to view at this free and all-ages event this Saturday in Irvine. In addition to all the art, the event will feature live music, food, arts & crafts, vendors, live art, and more.

Pacific Islander Festival
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 6-7
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach
http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/pacific_islander_festival/

Explore the cultures of the Pacific Islands all weekend at the Aquarium of the Pacific. For just the price of the aquarium’s general admission, guests of all ages will experience music, dancing, arts & crafts, ethnic cuisines, educational programming, storytelling, artisans, and more. Parking at the adjacent parking structure ranges from $5 to $10. The local Passport bus operates for free, so guests may ride public transportation to save money.

1st Annual Los Angeles Bread Festival
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, June 6-7
Grand Central Market, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.grandcentralmarket.com/events/492/first-ever-los-angeles-bread-festival-at-grand-central-market

They really will make a festival for just about anything. This weekend, check out a free all-ages festival dedicated to everything about bread. Tastes different types of bread, learn how to make bread, and even take some specialty breads home.

CatConLA
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, June 6-7
The Reef, Los Angeles
http://catconla.com/

As the event’s name suggests, this two-day event features all things cats. See the latest in cat trends involving fashion, grooming, accessories, nutrition, and more. Also meet famous cats and famous people who work with cats, including artists and designers. Adult admission costs $25 for a day or $40 for the weekend, while child admission costs $15 for a day or $25 for the weekend. Guests may not actually bring their cats.

Rockabilly Weekend (& Rockabeauty Hair, Beard & Mustache Contests)
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 6-7
Orange County Market Place, Costa Mesa
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/rockabilly-weekend-rockabeauty-hair-beard-mustache-contests-sat-only-tickets-16851458165

Enjoy rockabilly music and assorted contests this weekend at the OC Market Place. Admission normally costs $2, but use the provided link to gain admission for free.

2015 Scuba Show
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 6-7
Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach
http://scubashow.com/

Come to this diving expo and check out hundreds of diving companies and resorts from around the world. Dozens of seminars will highlight equipment, destinations, training, photography, ecology, and more. Attendees will also find a seafood cooking demo, plus other goodies, such as door prizes. Admission varies based on the mode of attendance, with general admission starting at $12. Children under 13 get in free with a paid adult admission.

Orange County Ultimate Women’s Expo
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 6-7
Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim
http://ocwomensexpo.com/

This two-day expo in Anaheim celebrates women’s culture with shopping, fashion, food, entertainment, cosmetics, career development, travel, financial planning, and more. Other activities include spa treatments, massages, martini & wine tastings, retail therapy, celebrity keynote speakers, endless shopping, samples, and more. Admission to the expo costs only $10.

Ninja-Con Anime Convention
10:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 6
Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.ninja-conla.org/

Fans of anime, manga, video games, comics, cosplay, Asian culture, and anything else with ninjas in it will not want to miss Ninja-Con, happening this Saturday at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Discuss and share hobbies with other attendees during the convention, and introduce others to new things. Admission to this all-ages convention costs $25 presale or $30 at the door.

28th Annual Palos Verdes Street Fair
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, June 6-7
Peninsula Center, Palos Verdes
http://www.pvstreetfair.com/

Located all the way out in the hills of Palos Verdes, this annual street fair contains numerous vendors, merchandise, arts & crafts, rides, food, live entertainment, and more. Free for all ages, guests from out of town can enjoy the scenery as they drive up the hills to arrive in Palos Verdes. Guests can park for free in the high school parking lots across the street from the shopping center.

Historic Core Mural Tour
11:00 am – 1:00 pm, June 6
Grand Central Market, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/historic-core-mural-tour-tickets-17072541431

Embark on a tour through Downtown Los Angeles to view a plethora of beautiful art murals with cultural and historic significance. Participation in this tour costs $15.

Make Music Pasadena
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, June 6
Old Town Pasadena, Downtown Pasadena
http://www.makemusicpasadena.org/

This FREE and all-ages music festival completely covers the streets of Downtown Pasadena. All day long, guests can catch over 150 free concerts from dozens of local bands and other bands that have traveled from afar to play here. Local long-term parking may cost quite a bit, so opt to park further and take public transportation to cut down on costs.

Hangar 24 Local Fields: Essence Release
11:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 6
Hangar 24 Brewery, Redlands
http://www.facebook.com/events/860320794035104/

Hangar 24 releases the next brew of their seasonal series this Saturday. Come to the tasting room in Redlands to enjoy Essence, a double IPA brewed with navel oranges, blood oranges, and grapefruit, and also catch some local music as well as local food.

12th Annual Art Around Adams
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, June 6
Smitty’s Service, Normal Heights, San Diego
http://www.artaroundadams.org/

At this free and all-ages event, discover dozens of local artists and musicians along this stretch of two miles on Adams Avenue.

East End Block Party
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 6
Top Acid, Santa Ana
http://www.facebook.com/events/950084651691537/

Enjoy a variety of local music for free this Saturday in Downtown Santa Ana.

Pechanga’s 7th Annual Microbrew & Craft Beer Festival
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, June 6
Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula
http://bit.ly/BeerNChili

Enjoy unlimited beer (while supplies last) and chili samples at this beer tasting event at Pechanga in Temecula this Saturday afternoon. Admission costs $50, and comes with a 2oz souvenir glass, and all the beer and chili you can consume until they run out.

Zoo Brew
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, June 6
Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara
http://www.sbzoo.org/event/zoo-brew/

Enjoy beers from over 30 different breweries while gazing upon all the various exotic animals. General admission costs $55 and starts at 3pm, while VIP admission costs $90, starts at 2pm, and includes tray-passed appetizers.

3rd Annual TacoLAndia
3:00 pm – 8:00 pm, June 6
Olvera Street, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.laweekly.com/tacolandia

Drown yourself in taco heaven at this all-you-can-eat taco fest this Saturday in Downtown Los Angeles, featuring over 80 different chefs. Attendees will also find Mariachi bands and cash bars. Tickets sold out long ago, but some people may continue to sell their tickets up to the day of the event, so look around for people selling tickets.

Pinup Girl Clothing Yard Sale
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, June 7
Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena
http://www.facebook.com/events/370933699771639/

Find your perfect pinup outfit at this massive blowout sale with apparel, accessories, and so much more.

9th Annual Super Pet Adoption
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 7
Irvine Animal Care Center, Irvine
http://www.cityofirvine.org/cityhall/cs/animalcare/events/super_pet_adoption.asp

For just $1 admission, come see dozens of animals up for adoption, and potentially welcome a new member to your family.

18th Annual SoRo Community Festival
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 7
Robertson & Cattaraugus, Los Angeles
http://www.soronc.org/events/sorofest2015

This FREE and all-ages street fair takes place in West LA between Culver City and Beverly Hills. Attendees will find live music, a kids’ zone including rock-climbing, arts & crafts, food trucks, and more. Guests can park for free in the neighborhoods surrounding the fest.

Spring 2015 Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival – Long Beach
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 7
Marine Stadium, Long Beach
http://dearhandmadelife.com/patchwork-show/upcoming-shows/

This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fests at multiple locations. As with any typical arts & crafts fair, Patchwork will feature many traditional forms of art and merchandise, but also mixes in alternative art – thinking outside the box, or Rebel Art. Featuring clothing, accessories, home goods, jewelry, pet items, and more, this FREE fest caters to a wide & diverse crowd. Food trucks will serve guests during the fest. Always remember to carry cash, since most vendors only accept cash. The surrounding neighborhoods contain plenty of free street parking.

31st Annual Tustin Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 7
Old Town Tustin
http://www.tustinchilicookoff.com/

Once again taking over the streets of Old Town Tustin, this FREE street fair contains lots of activities to keep the entire family busy and full the entire day. Attendees will find arts & crafts, live entertainment, merchandise vendors, kids’ area, the multitude of chili teams, and much more. This event gets highly crowded each year, and while it requires no admission to enter, guests will end up parking on city streets a few blocks away. To sample chili, guests must purchase tickets for $2 each, and redeem these tickets at the chili teams for samples.

Chula Vista Festival of Colors
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, June 7
Salt Creek Community Park, Chula Vista
http://www.festivalofcolorsusa.com/festival-of-colors/festival-of-colors-in-chula-vista-ca/

The festivities surrounding Holi have embarked on a year-round tour to spread the joys of colors to everyone. As simply a celebration of color, guests will enjoy live music the entire time, all while mingling and showing off colors. Admission costs $5, and guests can purchase colors at the festival.

2nd Annual Belching Beaver Classic
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, June 7
Belching Beaver Brewery, Vista
http://www.facebook.com/events/1418541951800355/

Check out what Belching Beaver has going on this Sunday. For $20 admission, gain four 8oz beers and a raffle ticket, all while checking out all of the custom cars on display.

LA Bazaar Punk Flea Market
1:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 7
Space Forty-Two, Mid-City, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/1636901113212640/

Check out punk rock vendors and local punk rock music at this all-day swap meet in LA this Sunday. Enter for free if arriving before 3pm; otherwise, admission costs $5.

Mead & Cheese Pairing
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, June 7
The BrewHouse, San Juan Capistrano
http://www.facebook.com/events/798213306962411/

Head to The BrewHouse in San Juan Capistrano this Sunday afternoon for a special mead and cheese pairing.

Rob’s Birthday Show
2:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 7
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/442664179242418/

Check out lots of great local punk bands this Sunday at the Doll Hut in Anaheim. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

Supersuckers – Live in Long Beach
4:00 pm – 11:00 pm, June 7
Gaslamp, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/415807608600796/

Rock out to a bunch of great local punk rock bands this Sunday evening in Long Beach. The cover for this show costs $15. Guests arriving before 5pm can park for free; otherwise, parking costs $10. No one under 21 may remain in the venue after 10pm.

Traditionally, people follow a standard daily meal convention of breakfast in the morning, lunch in the afternoon, and dinner in the evening. Each of these meals typically have some word associations to go with it; for example, words associated with breakfast include eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, and coffee. Lunch and dinner also have their own associations, and have stayed that way for decades… until now. In recent years, society has seen such drastic changes in the way we see food that we no longer can associate food with any one theme. Fusion foods brought upon the collision of two different styles of cuisine, such as Asian and Latin cuisine combined to make things like pork belly tacos. In addition to fusing cuisines styles, we start to transcend time as well in food by mixing elements of breakfast, lunch, and dinner; thus we started to enjoy breakfast for lunch and dinner, something that Slater’s 50/50 has done for years already.

No stranger to devising new types of food continuously, Slater’s 50/50 has turned into quite an empire in the Southern California restaurant scene. When you think about the history of Slater’s 50/50, you would think that some college guys got a little experimental with their tailgate party. Regardless of how the idea of Slater’s 50/50 originated, no one can deny the raging success of the chain of Slater’s 50/50 restaurants across Southern California. They always seem to have something new on their menu every time I visit, not including their burgers of the month. Speaking of burger of the month, you ought to head to your nearest Slater’s 50/50 soon to try the Breakfast Burrito Burger, the May burger of the month. Like the namesake, this burger uses a meat patty composed of 50% Brandt beef and 50% chorizo, along with American cheese, an over-easy egg, hash browns, pico de gallo, guacamole, and chipotle sour cream on a brioche bun. The chorizo and pico de gallo give this burger a slight spice to it, but overall this burger will cause a greater mess on your hands than you will notice the spice. The pico, egg, and sour cream will surely ooze out, so I recommend keeping that knife in the burger to hold it in place until you reach the center, the center that holds the bulk of the flavor. If you cannot get your hands dirty, you may resort of a knife and fork, a tactic that I advise against because you want the full experience of eating this with your bare hands. For best results, pair this burger with an IPA to balance the flavors deriving from the burger.

Ever had a breakfast burrito in a burger? If not, you have until the end of this month to grab one! Head on over to a Slater’s 50/50 soon and pound one of these bad boys before it disappears.

Welcome to 2015, an odd year that some may consider a passing year rather than a destination year. Unlike 2014 and 2016 that have significant worldly events going on, no one truly expects anything extraordinary to occur in 2015 other than news as it occurs. With nothing public to look forward to, we must take control of our lives and make something happen for ourselves. Living a bland, boring lifestyle leads to an unproductive life, so get your adrenaline pumping by exploring new things out in the world. If you live in the greater Los Angeles area, check out these five burgers that will definitely add some zing to your life.

5. Slater’s 50/50‘s Faux Gras Burger

California had not seen foie gras sold in restaurants since June of 2012. Animal activists won a battle that made it illegal to sell foie gras in California. However, as of very recently, that law no longer upholds, so foie fans can rejoice! It will take a while until restaurants start to reintroduce foie gras into their menus. In the meantime, the folks over at Slater’s 50/50 have something to relieve our hunger for foie gras. Slater’s 50/50 truly has an international legacy, having graced the front page of Reddit recently, so an introduction has no place here. Moving on to the meat of the business, their January burger-of-the-month has come to us in the form of their aptly-named Faux Gras Burger. Although it does not contain actual foie gras, the flavor comes awfully close. This burger utilizes their Pepper Brandt beef patty instead of their signature 50/50 patty, and honestly, the 50/50 patty would probably muck up the rest of the flavors in the burger. To add to this, the burger comes with fattened chicken livers, Granny Smith apple & onion marmalade, white cheddar, fried onion strings, whole-grain mustard, and arugula on a brioche bun. Some people see liver and immediately turn the other way. I strongly urge you to give this a chance this month, especially since it only costs $12, a bargain compared to many of their past burgers of the month.

4. Restauration‘s The Other Burger

Long Beach may have its ghetto areas laden with crime and death, but outside of those areas, Long Beach has some highly hip and trendy areas. As long as you avoid the bad areas, you will discover some cool places such as the East Village Arts District, Belmont Shore, or Retro Row. Retro Row especially has some great hidden gems, and even beyond the official area of Retro Row, you may find some other great hidden gems, such as Restauration. Formerly 212 Patio Bistro, this quaint little gastropub makes visitors feel right at home with their humble front area and spacious patio seating in the back. The menu contains standard gastropub faire, which means food with a greater concentration of quality, as most apparent in The Other Burger. This grass-fed beef burger, cooked to order, comes with bacon, Fiscalini white cheddar, shredded lettuce, house pickles, caramelized onions, and garlic aioli on a butter-toasted bun. Each ingredient’s unique taste lends well to the support of this amazingly juicy burger, not to mention the crispiness of the toasted bun. You can nab this burger during business hours for just $12, and it comes with your choice of side.

3. 38 Degrees Ale House‘s The Thirty-Eight Burger

In the debate of opening a restaurant that serves craft beer, one must ask: what do I want the people to recognize us most for, the food or the beer? This balance would materialize itself like a seesaw, as focusing on one aspect often leads to neglect of the other. I mean, sometimes some places that swear by their food may have a different perception by the public. Finding the right balance takes practice, something that 38 Degrees Ale House has done. The folks at 38 Degrees know their craft beer, and they know their food. Their residence in Alhambra may not help them (a city known for its traditional Chinese population), but they use their industry knowledge to hit homers all year round. When I first tried The Thirty-Eight Burger, I knew immediately that they have the recipe for success in their hands. They use triple-grind angus chuck for their beef patty, and garnish it with garlic aioli, onion relish, Point Reyes blue cheese, and baby arugula on a Hawaiian sweet bun, served with shoestring fries (upgradable to sweet potato fries for $2). With the sweet potato fries upgrade, this meal basically eats like a dessert, since only the blue cheese has a non-sweet flavor. Although I rarely modify burgers, I may try this again with hot sauce or something spicy to add some more kick to this burger. Luckily, this burger only costs $13, so it will not break the bank or anything.

2. Mohawk Bend‘s Whitson Burger

Los Angeles has so many unique eateries that one often has a hard time keeping track of all of them. Add to the fact that Los Angeles had so many different named neighborhoods, and you’d have to spend days exploring every neighborhood in Los Angeles County. From Silverlake to Lincoln Heights to the Miracle Mile and more, named neighborhoods all have something that make them stand out. Echo Park, for example, has some great historic sights to see, as well as businesses to visit. If you find yourself in Echo Park, take a look around for a lovely place called Mohawk Bend. Not coincidentally located at the bend of Sunset Blvd at Mohawk St, this restaurant dares to transcend above that of the gastropub label, as they refer to themselves as simply “a restaurant and bar in Echo Park dedicated to bringing you California craft beer and fresh, locally-sourced fare.” I will not lie – the interior looks gorgeous, and stepping foot in here makes you feel like walking into a movie set. If you can get past the scenery, you will find their substantial menu, which contains yummy eats like the Whitson Burger. Only available during dinner hours, this mammoth burger has three types of meat: ground beef for the patty, bacon, and pulled short ribs. Along with this meaty threesome, it comes with cheddar cheese, sliced pickles, shredded lettuce, and sriracha aioli on a brioche bun. Just for the heck of it, Mohawk Bend had to label this burger as (NV) which I assume means “never vegan.” Blast those vegans though – this burger costs $15 and comes with a choice of side, while vegan food usually costs more since it requires more careful preparations.

1. Bachi Burger‘s Ronin Burger

Las Vegas draws thousands of visitors every weekend as they visit for vacationing. Most people come to Las Vegas for the partying, while others come for the gambling or shows. Do people go to Las Vegas for the food? Probably not – most visitors who travel to Las Vegas end up dining at their hotel’s buffet, a cesspool of leftovers with less quality than serviced restaurants. Las Vegas restaurants that thrive on the quality of their food should look to expanding elsewhere, such as the case with Bachi Burger. Originally based out of Las Vegas, this restaurant chain has landed in Southern California with two locations: West LA and Pasadena. So what makes Bachi Burger so good that they had to expand to California? One word: fusion. Bachi Burger brings Japanese and island flavors to the west by introducing them to a form that Americans easily recognize: burgers. Visitors can savor this fusion best in the Ronin Burger, the first burger listed on their menu. This angus beef burger patty gets topped with caramelized onions, Japanese cole slaw, miso goma (sesame) dressing, a fried egg, and katsu BBQ sauce, served with yuzu citrus aioli on the side. Anyone who loves Asian food will fall in love with this burger, as it basically represents Asian-style BBQ in a burger. The price of this burger depends on the location; for example, this costs $13 at the West LA location. Sadly, burgers do not come with any side, but once you sink your teeth into this burger, you will not require a side, as you will want to prolong this experience as long as you can.

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. A deadly virus threatens human civilization that broke out. 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. Belcampo Meat Company‘s Belcampo Cheeseburger

Have you ever visited collective gatherings of food businesses? I do not refer to strip malls or a food court or food truck spots. I refer to a full public market dedicated to providing real estate to local entrepreneurs seeking to enter the food & beverage industry. For example, the historic Pike Place Market in Seattle hosts countless independently-owned businesses, many of which serve unique foods found nowhere else. The Anaheim Packinghouse, which just opened earlier this year, houses a plethora of local food & beverage businesses all serving something unique such that no business competes with each other. Another highly-populated public market exists in Downtown Los Angeles known as Grand Central Market. This dense and compact market holds so many businesses and attracts so many people daily that you literally have to elbow your way through the crowd to get anywhere. If you do that, you may discover great hidden gems, such as the Belcampo Meat Company. This counter, along with its other four California locations, fully functions as both a butcher shop and a restaurant. Their offerings change based on the seasons and the market, but some menu items remain a constant, such as their Belcampo Cheeseburger. They grill a 5.5oz dry-aged & grass-fed beef patty to medium rare, then top it with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, butter lettuce, and what appears to taste like thousand island dressing that they call house sauce. This burger makes it to number five on this list because, although the beef tastes amazingly juicy, the rest of the burger looks rather dull. The lettuce especially gives it a “cheap” look, reducing the overall experience. Honestly, with beef this juicy and full of savory goodness, they can do away with the lettuce, and the burger would look so much better. The price of this burger varies based on the location, but the burger in Downtown LA costs $12.50.

4. Slater’s 50/50‘s Cubano

The empire continues to grow! Now sporting seven locations, the Slater’s 50/50 collective has since expanded outward from its original location in Orange County, with spots now in Rancho Cucamonga and San Marcos. Any Southern Californian local will have heard of Slater’s 50/50, while out-of-towners will want to visit any Slater’s 50/50 location for their namesake, the 50/50 burger – a burger patty consisting of 50% beef and 50% ground bacon. While they sell their trademark 50/50 patty the most, they still sport a large menu of other great items. Their menu claims that they have the “World’s Greater Turkey Burger,” a bold proclamation since typically turkey burgers never quite match up to that of beef or even pork burger patties. I advise you to keep an open mind for their October burger-of-the-month, The Cubano. Slater’s 50/50 builds this massive burger-sandwich hybrid starting with their 2/3 lbs turkey patty, which they top with Swiss cheese, carnitas-style pork, pickled red onions, banana rum mustard, and mint leaves, all on toasted sourdough bread with a side of sliced pickles. Basically, you will receive a panini-style Cuban sandwich with some twists. The mint leaves especially stand out, providing a distinct tease with each bite. For a craft beer pairing, stick with the middle ground, nothing strong or light, such as a pale ale, amber ale, or brown ale. The Cubano makes it to number four on this list because of a few issues. Glaringly, I cannot say that I approve of the bread choice. Sourdough itself bears a flavor that one must savor on its own, so in this sandwich, it would sometimes lose its sourdough flavor with center bites, or overpower the sandwich with edge bites. The choice to toast the bread also brings out two problems: the crunchiness may harm those with sensitive gums, and the bread gets soggy if the cooks do not layer the ingredients correctly, which will happen more often than not. For a burger list, I rarely feature a non-beef patty, as I simply prefer a beef patty unless the patty truly glorifies the burger, such as a chorizo patty. If you seek a Cuban sandwich on an actual burger…

3. Grill ‘Em All‘s Midnight A.K.A. The Konnan

Music truly does hold the title of the most universal language. Lyrics aside, once you have the instrumentals, you can capture an audience from any corner of the globe. From Kawaii metal to fart metal, music resonates well with any individual, even if the music physically assaults anyone listening to it. Much like with music, certain foods gain positive reception around the world. While we can find common foods like burgers and pizza in nearly every country, certain styles also carry over quite well. For example, the typical Cuban sandwich consists of ham, carnitas-style pork, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles. Modifications heavily exist to this, as proved by Grill ‘Em All. Consistently shattering culinary perceptions, Grill ‘Em All knows that keeping with traditions will only keep them in the past. For that reason, they think progressively by reinventing stereotypical foods into amalgams of frenzied burgers that look like they took a spin in a mosh pit or two. For the month of October, Grill ‘Em All reimagines the classic Cuban sandwich into their burger-of-the-month, The Midnight A.K.A. The Konnan. Named after a Cuban professional wrestler, The Midnight takes its name from Medianoche, Spanish for midnight, which also refers to the type of sandwich. Unlike standard Cuban sandwiches, The Midnight follows in the footsteps of the Medianoche by utilizing a Hawaiian bun as the sweet bread. Following that, we have a half-pound burger with black forest ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, dijon mustard, pickles, and whole-grain aioli. The resulting burger tastes like a traditional Medianoche sandwich, but with the added surge of the beef patty. This burger pairs very well with the Iron Maiden Trooper ale that they have on tap here! Do keep in mind that you can only obtain this burger this month only, which explains why this burger only makes it to number three on this list.

2. Dolce Bistro & Bakery‘s Not So Classic Burger

Who can resist a cute little sweet treat? Nobody can deny that dessert tends to come across the minds of everybody at least once a day, especially around mealtime. In recent years, bakeries have soared in popularity, whether they make baked goods, cupcakes, pastries, or whatever. When locally famous Porto’s Bakery announced plans to open in Orange County, the entire county clamored in excitement as a testament to the people’s love of sweets. Plenty other bakeries have had to up their game to make them stand out in the crowd, aside from harsh marketing. Up in Montclair, Dolce Bistro & Bakery upped their game by expanding their bakery into a café and restaurant. Tucked away past the Montclair Plaza shopping center, Dolce Bistro & Bakery essentially combines two of my favorite things into one place: a gastropub and a bakery. On one side, you have the bakery where they dole out cronuts, macarons, cupcakes, cookies, and more. On the other side, you have a full-service restaurant representative of today’s typical gastropubs. Aside from their rotating list of craft beers, Dolce Bistro & Bakery deploys a menu that both sounds and tastes delicious. A handful of the menu items gives off an Asian-fusion vibe, but when you look at their burgers, none stand out quite as much as the Not So Classic Burger. While you may expect a meal, the combination of roasted tomatoes, red onion marmalade, Fontina cheese, aioli, and bacon jam will trick your mind into treating this like dessert, what with this sweet lineup of ingredients. A bakery that also serves a sweet burger? Who could have seen that coming? For those bold enough to attempt to pair a craft beer with this, very few beers can stand up to the intensity of this burger. If they have it, go with a stout, Belgian (tripel), or barleywine, as you need that extra strength to stand toe-to-toe with this burger.

1. Stout Burgers & Beer‘s Stout Burger

When determining the desirability of a business, consumers will often research the longevity of a business. If a business has remained open for at least a handful of years, then you can tell that they have endured the hardships of the first couple of years in business, the period where the entrepreneurs hope to break even with their investment. For many years, I have searched for the best of foods that I can find, asking numerous colleagues and strangers everywhere I travel. During those years, a sole burger restaurant has remained at the top of my to-do list that I have never thought to visit. One day, I told myself: I would finally muster up the courage to make the trek up to Stout Burgers & Beers. Located smack dab in the middle of Hollywood, this gastropub does not beat around the bush, and they follow exactly what their name indicates: burgers and beers. They picked one thing to do, and they do it right – I cannot ask for anything more. Here at Stout, they ground the beef in-house daily, so you can expect a fresh burger every single time you visit. Though their menu contains a handful of choices, I encourage everyone to immediately look at their namesake, the Stout Burger. This burger features such a diverse cast of ingredients that all contribute to the greater picture, a picture of a thousand colors. With blue cheese crumbles, Gruyère cheese, rosemary bacon, caramelized onions, horseradish cream, and roasted tomatoes, each ingredient delivers something different to the palate. From the ingredients alone, you get a sour, nutty, salty, sweet, bitter, and tart, respectively. Oh, and this burger patty? It rivals that of Umami Burger. Yes, I said it. People know how much I swear by Umami Burger, but wow do the folks at Stout know how to prepare a burger. At least I can drive to Umami Burger in less than ten minutes from my place, as opposed to Stout where I have to drive about 45 minutes to get there, then pay for parking. I struggle to find free parking anywhere near Stout, which prevents me from visiting them more often whenever I find myself near Hollywood. Perhaps this represents a sign that I must not overindulge in Stout, and that I should consider it an occasional treat. But please, do not put off visiting Stout like I did for many years – you ought to go very soon to devour one of the best burgers you will ever lay your hands on!

Long Beach Restaurant Week
March 30 – April 5
Participating locations, Long Beach
http://www.eatlbc.com/

Long Beach finally gets their own restaurant week to celebrate the entire city, after decades of “Tastes” of just communities within Long Beach. Participating locations throughout Long Beach during this week will provide lunch and dinner specials, so refer to the website for a full list of locations and their specials.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – First Wednesdays @ The Copper Door
9:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 2
The Copper Door, Downtown Santa Ana
http://www.facebook.com/events/732408876798896/

Get your fill of burlesque every first Wednesday of the month at The Copper Door in Downtown Santa Ana, for free! Guests can park on the street for free after 8pm. No one under 21 may enter.

Taste of Leucadia: Food For Thought
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, April 3
Leucadia 101 Main Street, Encinitas
http://www.leucadia101.com/events/taste-leucadia/

Sample the local flavors of Leucadia this Thursday evening at the Taste of Leucadia. For $20 presale or $25 on the day of the event, visitors get treated to unlimited food samples from all the participating restaurants. For an additional $10, guests can receive ten beer/wine tastings from select locations. The organizers have provided a shuttle that runs to and from city hall to alleviate the parking situation.

MONKEY @ Dipiazzas
7:00 pm – 12:30 am, April 3
Dipiazzas, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/743017295728991/

Enjoy an all-ages ska show featuring local bands this Thursday night at Dipiazzas in Long Beach. Tickets to this show cost only $5. Guests can find plenty of free parking around the area.

Dead Anthem Records Hardcore Punk Night
7:30 pm – 1:30 am, April 3
The Airliner, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/532822710166703/

Hardcore punk takes over The Airliner northeast of Los Angeles this Thursday night. Get into this show for only $3. No one under 18 may enter. Guests should park in the neighborhood across the street from the venue.

2014 Formula Drift
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 4
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 5
Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach
http://formulad.com/schedule/pro-championship/long-beach.php

Taking place a week prior to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Formula Drift competition utilizes the sharpest turns of the track to put on a show that everyone can enjoy. Feel the excitement as drivers throw on their best drifting performance while narrowly dodging massive wipeouts. Guests may also visit a vendor village, receive autographs from drivers, see the pits up close and personal, and more. Tickets vary in price, but general admission to the Saturday main event costs $40 plus fees up to $10. Parking at the convention center costs $10, so plan to carpool, take public transportation, or park in the neighborhood to the east to alleviate that parking fee.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 4
Various locations
Long Beach: http://firstfridayslongbeach.com/
Venice: http://www.abbotkinney1stfridays.com/

This monthly artwalk occurs on the first Friday of every month. Each location offers different activities, but most will contain food & drink specials, art exhibits & displays, street performers, and more. Venice and Long Beach have the two largest gatherings of all First Fridays. Other locations include Westchester, Fullerton, and City of Industry. Most First Fridays locations cost nothing to attend, while the local businesses uphold their standard rules (e.g. bars 21+ only).

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 4
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/166505

Occurring on every month’s first Friday, this 60’s night at Alex’s Bar will play all vinyl music of motown, northern soul, boogaloo, 60’s pop, and more. Feel free to dress up too, as the bar staff will hold costume contests and dance contests.

The Co-Dependents @ The Juke Joint
9:00 pm – 1:30 am, April 4
The Juke Joint, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/639456126123528/

Catch Orange County legends The Co-Dependents as they headline a FREE show this Friday night at The Juke Joint in Anaheim. No one under 21 may enter.

Hangar 24 Palmero Release Celebration
11:00 am – 12:00 am, April 5
Hangar 24 Brewery, Redlands
http://www.facebook.com/events/732303080147883/

Hangar 24 Brewery will release Palmero, the next of their yearly seasonal brews, this weekend. To celebrate, the tasting room will have Palmero available for pints, flights, and growler fills starting this Saturday. In addition, guests can enjoy live local music all day, and munch on some tacos later on.

2nd Annual Slater’s 50/50 Backyard Brew Fest
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, April 5
Slater’s 50/50, Lake Forest
http://slaters5050.com/backyard-brewfest/

Enjoy an afternoon of unlimited beer pours from over 25 local breweries and free samples of Slater’s 50/50’s epic eats. Tickets to this 21 & up only event cost $30, while designated driver tickets (food only) cost $10. Admission includes free parking, and typically little to no traffic thanks to this area’s geography.

2014 World Pillow Fight Day
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, April 5
Worldwide
http://2014.pillowfightday.com/

Ever participate in a flash mob? No, not the kind of flash mob where everyone breaks out in dance. I speak of the infamous pillow fight flash mob. On April 6th, communities around the world will gather to unleash a fray feather-fueled frenzy on unsuspecting combatants. Due to the unorganized nature of a flash mob, no one can control what occurs, so anyone can join in, yet anything goes. Note that most locations take place in dense areas, so prepare to pay for parking. At the time, nobody has announced any Southern Californian events. Check the website for confirmed locations throughout the world.

2nd Annual VinDiego – San Diego Wine & Food Festival
12:00 pm – 7:30 pm, April 4
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm, April 5
NTC Liberty Station, San Diego
http://www.vindiego.com/

VinDiego returns this year, bigger and better! On Friday, select small tastings and seminars will take place to allow guests to taste and learn about different wines. On Saturday afternoon at Liberty Station, enjoy tastings of over 75 different wines from California’s top wineries, and delicious eats from many of San Diego’s top restaurants and chefs. General admission presale costs $95 and allows entry at 4pm, while VIP admission costs $115 and allows entry at 3pm.

Uncasked: A Neighborhood Craft Beer Fest
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, April 5
Westfield UTC, San Diego
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/uncasked-a-neighborhood-craft-beer-fest-tickets-10827737053

Sample local brews and taste delightful bites from local restaurants at this small beer fest this Saturday evening at the Westfield shopping center. For $20 presale or $25 at the door, guests will receive a souvenir glass, gift bag, beer guide, Westfield coupon book, and ten beer tickets. Attendees also may receive unlimited food samples from the resident restaurants within the festival.

Craft Beer + Bites @ SILO
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, April 5
SILO in Makers Quarter, San Diego
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/584206

This mini beer fest takes place close to Downtown San Diego this Saturday evening. For $30 presale or $35 at the door, attendees get treated to ten pairings of tapas and craft beer. In addition, attendees will find outdoor games (bocce ball, beanbag toss, glorified Jenga, and more) and local designers/makers. Attendees may even bring their pets as well! No one under 21 may attend.

Rodents of Unusual Size 10-Year Anniversary Show
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 5
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/226545214199258/

Get your weekly fill of punk rock at the Doll Hut this Saturday night with some fun local bands. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

Psychobilly Night @ O’Hearn’s in Lomita
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, April 5
O’Hearn’s Pub, Lomita
http://www.facebook.com/events/592948677467676/

Catch some local psychobilly bands this Saturday night in the South Bay. The cover for this show costs $8. No one under 21 may enter.

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine @ Characters Sports Bar
9:00 pm – 1:30 am, April 5
Characters Sports Bar, Pomona
http://gonzopresents.com/event/164104

Punk rock icon Jello Biafra will headline a show with his band this Saturday night at Characters Sports Bar in Pomona. Tickets to this show cost $15. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking in the area, and can avoid paying for parking.

8th Annual Cambodian New Year Parade
9:00 am – 12:00 pm, April 6
Anaheim St, Long Beach
http://www.cam-cc.org/

Catch a free public parade this Sunday morning in Cambodia Town in Long Beach that celebrates the Cambodian New Year. Arrive early to find adequate parking.

CicLAvia – Iconic Wilshire Boulevard
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 6
Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
http://www.ciclavia.org/

Wilshire Blvd from Downtown LA to Miracle Mile will close to bikers this Sunday. Cars may not enter the designated areas during this time – only bikers and pedestrians may roam the streets.

Mustard Plug, Left Alone, and More @ Dipiazzas
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 6
Dipiazzas, Long Beach
http://www.dipiazzas.com/index.php?option=com_events&task=view_detail&agid=2062&year=2014&month=4&day=6&Itemid=26

Ska-punk icons Mustard Plug and Left Alone will headline this packed show this Sunday night at Dipiazzas in Long Beach. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $8 presale and $10 at the door.

More than ever, the 21st century marks the age of a true melting pot of worldwide cultures. During the previous century, cultures and regions across the world remained fairly to themselves with regards to maintaining tradition and their own culture as opposed to integration of other external societies. Due to regions and communities remaining somewhat isolated, people around the world rarely saw any sort of fusion or mixed things, such as food or music. Now in the 21st century, we start to see many aspects of society start to integrate other cultures. For example, the band Dengue Fever mixes western style psychedelic rock with a vocalist who sings almost entirely in Khmer (Cambodian). In the culinary world, we now see fusion foods like sushi burritos, bánh mì tacos, or other dishes that combine two unrelated ingredients or preparations. Nowadays, one can find restaurants everywhere serving up worldly cuisine, or otherwise serving up some sort of fusion food to lesser degrees. If you seek a restaurant doling out fusion food to excessive degrees, turn on your GPS and transit down to the nearest Slater’s 50/50.

Pushing the limits as if trying to break into another dimension, Slater’s 50/50 continuously impresses all of its fans with their monthly creations of epic proportions. As one of Southern California’s most recognizable brands, Slater’s 50/50 always looks forward to new and bigger things. They continue to expand into new areas, such as with the latest opening of their Rancho Cucamonga location, and they continue to pump out new dishes to add to their menu or feature as the special(s) of the month. Slater’s 50/50 recently started a new marketing campaign entitled Excesstasy, which they define as the overwhelming excitement felt when indulging in the Slater’s 50/50 experience. By actively engaging their fans, Slater’s 50/50 pleases not only taste buds, but the full extrasensory scope. This allows fans to look forward to their visit to Slater’s 50/50, where they may indulge in something like the March burger-of-the-month, the Asian BBQ Pork Belly Burger. More of a sandwich than a burger because it does not involve any ground meat, this mammoth meal consists of a half pound slab of pork belly topped with a fried egg and Asian BBQ sauce, sitting on a bed of fried wontons and vegetable chop suey, all within a brioche bun. I mean, sure it does not fit in with the theme of March typically, but it sure does tie in with the Excesstacy line. Strangers to Asian cuisine will love the meatiness of the pork belly, plus all the pork fat that traditional pork belly carries. The fried egg adds heartiness to the burger, while the Asian BBQ sauce resembles teriyaki sauce with its sweet flavor with a hint of spice. Aim to savor the pork belly, as pork belly alone carries so much savory flavor that adding much more would muddle the meat.

Does your appetite request you to pound one of these burgers? You can score your own Asian BBQ Pork Belly Burger for just $12.95 at all Slater’s 50/50 locations for the month of March. Feeling even more daring? Ask about their March dessert of the month. If you order and can successfully devour both in one sitting, I guarantee you will feel the full effects of Excesstacy.

As we delve deeper into 2014, we look back on the previous year to learn and make progress for the rest of this year. Day by day, people live their lives, some by a set routine, others by thriving on new discoveries and expansions. The human race always seeks to progress culture by devising and adapting new approaches to existing methods. While not all humans share the same interests, all humans at least bear knowledge about food, as everyone has eaten food their entire lives. From the early days of basic meats, vegetables, and grains, food has evolved into a vast range of ingredients, tastes, cooking methods, and presentation. Innovative foods often make headlines as a new discovery, so as a result, many modern chefs tend to experiment more rather than stick to basics. Over time, many food trends surface, giving way to entrepreneurs to capitalize on those growing trends, such as cupcakes, frozen yogurt, and the recent gourmet food trucks trend. However, many food trends remain relatively undisturbed, known only to the true food fans. Last year saw a few food trends touched on, yet they still have not flourished. Read on to find out five food trends to pay attention to this year.

5. Frozen S’mores

From the creative minds behind the world famous Cronut comes new, never-before-seen desserts. Last year, the release of the Cronut went viral, and soon the entire world would go hysterical to try one. Plenty of knockoffs now exist around the world, but none compare to the original in New York. Now that same purveyor has introduced another luscious creation – the Frozen S’mores. Just like the Cronut, Frozen S’mores combines two completely different foods: ice cream and s’mores. This inside-out hybrid starts with an ice cream center, wrapped in a chocolate cookie/wafer, then stuffed inside a marshmallow. This gets frozen to maintain its shape, and whenever a lucky customer orders one, the customer receives it flash-torched to quickly crisp the outside while maintaining the frozen center. The past few years have always seen some type of new pastry or dessert that becomes a hot food trend for that year. Perhaps in 2014, the Frozen S’mores will expand beyond its home in New York and find new stomachs to nestle in around the world.

4. Ice Cream inside unexpected foods

Following up from the previous entry, we can all agree that everyone loves ice cream. Even vegan and gluten-free people love ice cream, or at least their versions of it (sorbet, etc). Traditionally served in a cone or straight up in a cup or bowl, multiple generations have enjoyed this cold treat throughout their lives. In the past few decades, we slightly see more and more ice cream inside unexpected foods. Sure an ice cream cake made sense, and only a matter of time separated the first ice cream cake from the first ice cream cupcake. Then people started inserting ice cream into any sort of dessert, such as ice cream cannolis, ice cream tacos, and deep-fried ice cream. But then where does one go from there? Once all the dessert ideas run out, start looking into meals. Would you boldly try a burger with ice cream in it? (Slater’s 50/50, first photo above) As strange as that sounds, it did not taste bad, but the rest of the burger masked the ice cream in it. The latest craze to hit the airwaves comes to us from Orange County, where ravenous millennials can wrap their hands around ice cream-filled doughnuts. (Afters Ice Cream, second photo above) This time, I feel that they just want to capitalize on a fad, as this tastes exactly how you picture it in your mind – a doughnut (glazed or non-glazed) with ice cream. But with the advent of this, who honestly knows where the culinary world will go from here?

3. Japanese meets Western

Last year, the revelation of the Ramen Burger (Go Squared, first photo above) turned into the most talked-about subject during its 15 minutes of fame. No one had seen anything like it before, and when an opportunity to try one locally cropped up, the entire region flocked to the destination, generating lines lasting over three hours just to try this new food. Once the fad settled, knockoffs appeared everywhere in an attempt to capitalize on the public’s desire to keep up with trends. We now see many different ways where Japanese cuisine meets Western preparations in addition to a Ramen Burger. Somewhere out there, a Ramen Pizza exists. Elsewhere, creative home cooks have discovered how to make things like Ramen omelets, Ramen burritos, Ramen chili, Ramen casserole, and many more things with Ramen in it. But why stop at Ramen? Japanese cuisine consists of far more different foods than just that 10-cent college meal every adult recognizes. Have you heard of Okonomiyaki? Some genius decided to attempt an Okonomiyaki Burger (Mitsuwa Marketplace, second photo above) one day. How about everyone’s favorite Japanese food, sushi? Hybrid sushi has already existed for some time, such as a Cheeseburger Sushi or Teriyaki Pork Sushi (Yatta Truck, third photo above). What other creative things can you think of to do with Japanese cuisine?

2. Hot Sauces

If you have not heard the news about Sriracha sauce, the city of Irwindale, which houses the primary facility that produces Sriracha sauce, aims to shut down the factory due to foul odors emanating from the facility. Thanks to this scare that Sriracha sauce in the United States may cease to exist, chefs, home cooks, and food fans across the country scrambled to search for suitable hot sauces to replace their beloved rooster sauce. Plenty of different types of hot sauces exist, and Americans already have fallen in love with both Tabasco and Tapatío sauces. However, nothing can truly replace Sriracha sauce – its combination of ingredients yield an intense spice full of harmonic flavors that help to open up one’s palate to fully absorb the food that the sauce dresses. In fact, Los Angeles even hosted a festival dedicated to Sriracha recently. Heat seekers swear by Sriracha, and will have to look high and low for new hot sauces to satisfy their need for heat.

1. Cauliflower

Every year, some obscure vegetable that nobody ever paid much attention to enters the spotlight and suddenly becomes a thing that everyone wants. In 2012, Brussels sprouts came out of nowhere and took the world by storm, leaving everyone craving more Brussels sprouts. In 2013, everyone suddenly wanted to eat more kale. Now in 2014, we see the inevitable rise in the popularity of cauliflower. Traditionally seen in salads, creative chefs have come up with new ways to deliver cauliflower such that casual customers would crave more, such as Roasted Cauliflower (Tavern On 2, pictured above) with ingredients like capers, bacon, and more. Sooner than later, much like with Brussels sprouts and kale in the previous years, people originally adverse to cauliflower may turn a new leaf this year and give it a try. With high nutritional density, people can view cauliflower as similar to broccoli in terms of serving. More importantly, nutritionists have linked the consumption of cauliflower to reduced risk of prostate cancer. Gentlemen… eat more cauliflower!

When the seasons change, many more things change than just the weather. Looking at the weather alone, Southern California has experienced a massive heat wave late in Summer, then suddenly dropped to the type of weather where you wear a jacket or sweater in the morning and a tank top in the afternoon. Just recently, America’s federal government shut down all nonessential functions. Towards the end of summer, Miley Cyrus shocked the world with her attention-grabbing MTV performance. 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. Burger Lounge‘s Lounge Burger

Today’s food trends revolve around ingredient details and the source/origins of said ingredients. These days, everyone conscious about their food (and everyone should feel conscious about what they put in their bodies) desires to know where the ingredients used in their food come from. Growing up, whenever I heard the word organic, I immediately thought it cost more but tasted the same. I now realize that organic products mean more to our health than how the general public perceives it. Increasing my intake of organic foods has introduced me to sustainable food and its nutritional value to the human body. When I heard about Burger Lounge and their pledge to serve local, sustainable foods, I had to locate one to sink my teeth into one of their burgers. As humans, we deserve to eat better foods than, as Burger Lounge puts it, the “processed, artificial, chemical patties from cows feeding on who knows what” that fast food joints batch up. Can you honestly say that a mass-produced item will not contain any fillers, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients? You will not find any of that nonsense at Burger Lounge, where you can order their namesake Lounge Burger. Utilizing a 100% fresh, single-sourced American grass-fed beef patty, Burger Lounge serves this trademark burger with your choice of organic cheese (American or White Cheddar; I recommend the latter), fresh or grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and house-made 1000 island sauce. For just $7.95, you can savor and appreciate this sustainable burger at any of Burger Lounge’s locations in Los Angeles or San Diego County.

4. Burger Parlor‘s The Lasorda

Sometimes, you just need a little push to get some momentum building to start rolling down the road. Sometimes, you can get momentum without an external push if you push yourself enough to accomplish your goal. Once you have that momentum, you must continue to roll forward, as gravity and friction will eventually slow you down to a stop. Luckily, Burger Parlor‘s momentum never came to a stop, and after a a year in business, they have snowballed into a massive wrecking ball in Downtown Fullerton. Having just celebrated their first anniversary this past weekend, Burger Parlor thanked their customers with special craft beers on tap, free raffle prizes, and t-shirt giveaways. This weekend-long celebration did not distract their staff from operating like they normally do, and they continue to roll out freshly-prepared meals using ingredients from local farms and beers from local micro breweries. Customers can see their commitment to excellence in the aptly-named The Lasorda, and like Tommy Lasorda himself, one cannot accurately duplicate this unique concoction. This “burger” consists of a pork sausage patty topped with a fried mozzarella block, all sitting on top of oregano and roasted bell peppers. The combination of the pork patty and the fried mozzarella yields a texture unlike no other out there, as the cheese gives a crispy crunchy feel upon biting, while cheese oozes out after the first bite. To complete this meal, add an order of their beer-battered onion rings. They say that if a food business can stay alive for two years, they have a shot at lasting a long time in the industry. Having just reached their second year in business, I foresee Burger Parlor sticking around for a long time.

3. Slater’s 50/50‘s 50/50 Breakfast Sandwich

Every major metropolitan area has at least one local chain of restaurants or food business that the locals rave about. While in Seattle a few weeks ago, I discovered that Elysian Brewing and Bluebird Microcreamery & Brewery had more than one location. In Southern California, multiple Burger Lounge locations exist in Los Angeles and San Diego County, as mentioned above. Eureka Burger and Haven Gastropub exists as multiples as well. If you ask any Southern California local about great places to grab a bite & a drink, hang out with friends, and make new friends, the locals will unanimously agree on Slater’s 50/50. This monumental institution has set the bar extremely high for restaurants of its kind, from the eclectic food to the vast drink selection to the atmosphere that caters to adults yet can easily care for families. Their trademark 50/50 burger consists of a burger patty composed of 50% Sterling Silver beef and 50% ground bacon. This groundbreaking food creation has made food headline news worldwide, and sits at the same level as the Cronut, Ramen Burger, or Frozen S’mores as trending foods of the world. Every month, Slater’s 50/50 pushes the limits with their Burger-of-the-Month creations, from a Kangaroo burger to a Chimichanga burger to a burger composed entirely of bacon to a burger so spicy that it requires gloves and a signed liability waiver. Every year, Slater’s 50/50 releases their breakfast menu during NFL season, which they serve only on weekends during football season. Last year, they dabbled with Doughnut Burgers, which once again made national headlines. This year, they retained the Doughnut Burger, but have added the 50/50 Breakfast Sandwich, a messy build comprised of a patty of 50% chorizo and 50% ground bacon, cheddar cheese, two sunny-side up eggs, bacon, and two deep-fried waffles, all smothered with an overflow of maple syrup. For a true Slater’s experience, pick this up with your bare hands and dive right into it. You may have to improvise on napkins, as you will go through many napkins and glasses of water during the course of devouring this. Feeling bold? Pair this burger with a sour beer, or their famous Bacon Bloody Mary. Come see why locals love Slater’s 50/50, and what makes them a legendary Southern California staple (until they expand further!).

2. Hopscotch Tavern‘s Bradley Burger

As a sign of the changing seasons, the many different ingredients will change during this time as well. Due to the change in available ingredients, some restaurants employ seasonal menus based on what the local markets offer. By configuring seasonal menus, this exhibits a particular restaurant’s use of fresh and local ingredients, as certain ingredients cannot last at certain times of the year. If I see a restaurant using an ingredient out of season, I would immediately question its source. People tend to want to stick with familiar things. At the same time, we must all realize that all good things must come to an end. When a restaurant converts to a new season’s menu, we must learn to adapt to those changes as well, and explore what the season has to offer. Specifically, Fall has treated Hopscotch Tavern fairly well with this year’s ingredients. With a new Fall menu not yet reflected on their website, Hopscotch aims to turn up the heat in a season expected to cool down significantly than previous years. Their menu changes quite often thanks for Chef Cody Shorts’ whimsical nature, so if you see something on their menu one day, it could disappear as early as the next day. That said, head over to Hopscotch soon and scout out their Bradley Burger. Served medium by default (can request medium rare), the Pork Belly Bacon makes this burger truly stand out from the crowd, as it provides a thicker, juicier, fatter bite than regular bacon could ever provide. Hopscotch accompanies these two co-starring meats with house sweet pickles, dried tomatoes, crispy onion strings, fried cheddar, garlic aioli, and house ketchup. This burger comes with a side of house fries with house ketchup, a milder, fruitier version of the normal high fructose corn syrup ketchup. For the perfect pairing, drink an IPA with this burger, as the bitterness will balance the savoriness of this burger. As Burger Parlor recently celebrated their first anniversary, Hopscotch will celebrate their first anniversary very soon, so pay close attention to their activity, as they may have something special in the works.

1. Pono Burger‘s Sassy Wahine

Although the Southern Californian food industry speaks of local and sustainable often, we must not forget its prevalence around the world. Across the nation, countless chefs pledge to utilize organic and farm-fresh ingredients in their cooking for a tasty and guilt-free meal. The same goes on in other countries as well, as they use local ingredients that reflect their location/region in their cooking. These organic and sustainable ingredients will never contain hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics, so we do not have to worry about putting foreign substances in our bodies. Sure you could attempt to search for restaurants that use local, organic, sustainable ingredients, but even if they claim that, they still have to prove the sources. I can honestly tell you that the proof lies in the pudding at Pono Burger in Santa Monica. Founded on integrity, this small burger shack serves burgers using certified organic grass-fed never-frozen beef patties, free of hormones and antibiotics. The renovated military silo-turned dining room reminds us that, for a new business, the organic/sustainable movement has existed for a long time, but has recently gained notoriety thanks to all the exposures of the corrupt practices of the major fast food corporations around the world. Pono Burger stands by their creations, especially their Sassy Wahine, a cheese-less burger served medium rare by default, topped with house-made wasabi mayo, pickled ginger, organic avocado, house-made Okinawan sweet potato chips, organic pea shoots, and a house-made sesame ponzu dressing. A burger unlike any other, Japanese meets Pacific Islander in this fusion of a burger. Cooked to a perfect medium rare, the beef patty holds so much juice and flavor that you would not need so many toppings to accompany it. Thankfully, all the ingredients that contribute to the Sassy Wahine all serve to accept the beef patty. Each ingredient adds a spicy, tart, creamy, crispy, or sweet taste, covering all of the four main taste buds, plus the savory taste bud – the fifth taste, also known as umami. How fitting that we can accurately use the word umami to describe this burger, because rarely does one find a burger that can hit every single taste bud on the human palate. If you find yourself in Santa Monica, you owe it to yourself to track down Pono Burger, and experience umami for yourself. Visitors traveling by car can park for free in the underground parking garage, so what have you got to lose?