First, McDonalds don’t sell burgers, they sell shit.
Once this is made clear, we can discuss about the most quintessential and beloved American food: the hamburger sandwich. Come on, let’s be fair, a good, hearty and juicy burger sandwich and a beer is what you really need when you’re hungry and thirsty or when you’re team has just lost a match.
These are in my opinion the top three places in Los Angeles to eat a great burger:
#3 THE GOLDEN STATE is located in Fairfax Avenue, Mid City, in the heart of the city’s Jewish community. They define themselves as a “talent-show for the best makers of food and drink in California”. Their burger is great and features Harris Ranch beef, Fiscalini Farms cheddar, glazed applewood smoked bacon, arugula, aioli and ketchup. The bun is soft and sort of sweet. Only minus…it’s not really big. OK, I was hungry but it took me less then 6 minutes to finish it. They have great beers too coming from small Californian breweries. My favourite? No doubt, the Cismontane Citizen, a golden warm fermented lager with good hop aroma and 6°.
#2 RUSTIC CANYON in Wilshire Avenue, Santa Monica. Well, this is not properly a burger place but a great restaurant. I have already written about them in a previous post. Still, their burger is very good. The quality of the meat – produced by ranchers in Southern California that practice sustainable agriculture – is excellent. The magic touch is the onion fondue on top of it. On mondays, they have burger nights: the classic sandwich is revisited with different and unusual ingredients. I had one with peperoncino calabrese (chilli peppers from Calabria) which was just awesome. Only minus…they became very trendy, difficult to find a table and they are more on the wine side of the street…beer selection is just good.
#1 and Winner FATHER’S OFFICE. Their aficionado customers claim that this small and crowded Santa Monica beer pub serves the best burger in the whole country. Well, I can’t really take a stand, but definitely this is by far the best hamburger I have ever eaten (devoured) in my whole life. First of all, no ketchup. Second, the bread is not the typical bun but a more European kind of panino. Then dry-aged beef – you could eat it raw quality – dressed with onion jam, Gruyere and Maytag blue cheeses, smoky bacon, arugula and a tomato compote. And it is not only culinary masterpiece…it is also a big, long-lasting pleasure. In addition to that, over 20 different great beers on tap and they change them every month. My ultra-favourite? The IPA Sculpin from Ballast Point, San Diego. It has fruity flavors, a strong sting and 7°. In Montana Avenue, not far from the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre.