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Hinano Cafe – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By May 15, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: double cheeseburger with house toppings(lettuce, tomato, red onion)
the bucks: $8.50
the coordinates: Venice Beach, CA(12 miles west of Los Angeles)

It has been said that etiquette may well be a thing of the past. And perhaps images of young men holding open doors for the elderly or school children rising when a teacher enters a classroom are indeed as frozen in time as those crude etchings of Wooly Mammoths found in the caves of Southern France. Contrary to this notion, I do believe that, in certain instances of modern context, etiquette still does occur, though in ways that may seem more subtle or unexpected to our forbears. Take for instance the dive bar. That hallowed home away from home where the working man or woman spends some quality time and dollars, in libation and revelry, with fellow working men and women. A place where convenience, affordability and joy intersect. The dive bar is more than just a bar, it is a pseudo private club for the blue collared. They are places that are claimed, that are deserved of our loyalty. It would be poor etiquette to covet another man’s dive bar. Therefore I cannot honestly claim Hinano as my own because it aint in my hood. I am no beach dweller, and it may well be at least a lifetime or two till the day when I can afford to hang my hat walking distance to the beach. But I can visit. I can pay to park so I can essentially pay to put my feet in the sand. And since I have an hour or two left on my meter, I might as well go crush a burger.

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Super Burger – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By April 30, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: 7.5oz bacon cheeseburger with house toppings(lettuce, tomato, thousand island dressing)
the bucks: $6
the coordinates: Pasadena, CA(14 miles northeast of Los Angeles)

Eating alone is a fascinating thing to observe. In the modern era, thanks to smartphones and social media, I suppose we never are really alone. All the Twitter followers and Facebook friends in the world can’t mask that lone diner. The lone diner is certainly more common in certain venues as the likelihood of spotting one dropping $300 on a tasting menu at Alinea seems far less likely than catching one at a roadside stand for a $1 taco. Regardless of a venue’s pomp and price, or a menu crafted from foie gras or frankfurter, watching a diner eat alone is captivating. Captivating because of our own imaginations and the questions that pop in our heads. Who is she? What does he does he do? Does he live alone? One would assume certain professions would embrace eating alone. Spies, Vigilantes, certain Super Heroes. Travis Bickle definitely ate some meals solo. Paul Kersey too. While a mohawked Robert DeNiro would be tough to picture at Super Burger in Pasadena, I could buy a Charles Bronson circa 1974, sitting alone, getting a day’s worth of calories in one sitting, before looking for trouble on a subway platform. After all being a Vigilante means you work ’round the clock and best to get a full belly in one sitting whenever possible. Which brings us to a bacon cheeseburger with the most bacon I have seen on a cheeseburger, or a lumberjack breakfast special for that matter.

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Grill ‘Em All – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By April 16, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: “FTW” Burger. Bun. Cheese(American). 
the bucks: $6
the coordinates: Alhambra, CA(10 miles east of Los Angeles)

We are in the age of pretentious foodie bullshit. If talk is cheap, foodie talk is going for Costco/WalMart wholesale prices. Blame it on Twitter. Blame it on Food Television. Hell, blame it on marketing, that’s where it all stems from really. But cry not, honest and humble lover of all things edible, there is an oasis in the sea of gluten free, farm to table, non GMO, double organic with a dash of free range, foodie discourse. One is most certainly the site you are reading. The other is the post you are about to sink into, or more accurately, this burger you are about to sink your teeth into:

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Whiz – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By March 19, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: “the P Dub” 6oz Hormone free Angus Beef topped with American and Tillamook sharp cheddar, in house sriracha dressing, fried shallots and micro cilantro
the bucks: $7.95
the coordinates: Los Angeles, CA

Musicians know a thing or two about dining on a dime. So after finding out that Executive Chef Wes Lieberher played in bands for years before putting both feet into the world of professional cooking, a clichéd chin rub and and “aha” soon followed suit. Whiz is Chef Leiberher’s second effort after the founding of Beer Belly, his much celebrated Gastropub in Koreatown. If I had to simplify my passionate and periphrastic exploration of Bang for your Burger Buck into two camps, one would be called “cheap ass burger stands” and the other would be “yup, another gastropub“. Bawdy camp titles and elitist words like “periphrastic” aside, a sincere point is to be made here: skilled chefs who choose to serve up their skills at a reasonable rate, have been a blessing in our current Culinary Era. Gastropubs, in my opinion, should be partially subsidized by the Federal government as the increased availability of good food to the masses can only improve our overall health, making us more productive citizens, thereby elevating society at large. The occasional duck fat fry is far better than the binging of super sized frites while navigating a drive thru. If you love food and live within a budget, than the the phrase “gastropub” should evoke not a sarcastic eye roll but a slow rolling tear drop that signifies the rise of America as an enlightened Super Power of 21st Century.

Ok, enough of all that. Let’s talk about burgers.

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Bill’s Hamburgers – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By February 26, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger:   double cheeseburger with bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and mayonnaise
the bucks: $6.30
the coordinates: Los Angeles, CA

Recently a friend told me that if you do one thing for six years, you will become an expert at doing that thing. Bill Elwell has been making burgers for 50 years. That would make him an expert at cooking burgers eight times over. Do enough digging on the internet about Bill’s Hamburgers and you will find that the legend of his burgers are in fact superseded by the legend of the man himself. His salty demeanor, his five marriages, really his age alone allows the Bill’s Hamburgers experience to live up to the hype before you even take your first bite. Oh, and wait you will for that first bite. And we, the loyalists and devotees to Bill’s Hamburgers, are happy to do so. We gladly wait for one of seven stools to open up so we can wait some more to catch the attention of the person taking orders, so we can really settle in and wait and wait, till Bill Elwell makes us a perfect burger. The burgers are always perfect because of that wait. It’s a pace that has been 50 years in the making and it is exactly what makes Bill’s Hamburgers a temple for Bang for your Burger Buck.

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Pete’s Blue Chip – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By February 12, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger:  
the blue chip” – a double cheeseburger served up club style with three bun slices, american cheese, house made special sauce, mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, sliced onion and tomato 
the other burger: 4 oz chargrilled patty with avocado, bacon, shredded lettuce, pickle and house made thousand island
the bucks: $3.92, $6.54 respectively
the coordinates: Los Angeles, CA

Maybe you have heard of Blue Chip Stocks. If you haven’t, allow me to give you a quick wiki economics 101: Blue Chip stocks represent the companies that are considered to be the most dependable and steadily profitable, they are the ones that keep the ship steady in good times and not so good times. They become the indicators of how the market itself is performing. If they go down, then the whole system is in serious trouble. These companies are often followed as a group, which is called the Dow Jones Industrial Average. If ever there was a burger joint that deserved to be on the Dow Jones Index, well how appropriate that the burger joint should happened to be named “Pete’s Blue Chip.”

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