Years ago a dear friend explained that burgers fall into one of two camps: “restaurant burgers” and “everything else“. This was a time when chefs weren’t tweaking burgers of convenience like what Andre Guerrero does at the Oinkster or when gastropubs miraculously brought beef back onto our dinner plates during the recession of 2008 with the advent of the $10 and up burger. The Park is very much a “restaurant burger” since it is served at a restaurant that also happens serves many other things like curried cauliflower and duck confit. It also slings these solid bovine sandwiches for $5 bucks on Wednesday nights. Needless to say Bang needed to check out the action . . .
In N Out maybe the single reason why I will always try a random burger shack: to disprove the hype that surrounds this iconic burger stand. Over time I would come to realize that the faults I had with In N Out was not with me, them or the stars but in relying on their standard menu.
This post was as much an exploration into the wonder that is the “Secret Menu” at In N Out as it was an acknowledgement that, even with doubling the beef and adding more mods that the 90s Civic that did extra work on the Original Fast and the Furious, In N Out has some damn serious Bang for your Burger Buck.
Armed with the almighty tastemade app, I journey to one of my fav spots for Bang: LA BUNS where they make bacon cheeseburgers affordable, loaded with flava and sling it smooth like the blue collar hood they represent: Downey CA in South LA.
The search for Bang for your Burger Buck can take you parts of town you might otherwise seldom tread. To places in your ‘hood that you never got around to trying or even a place you may not ever return to, unless the just the right circumstances place you there. Patras is such a place and it is a good thing. Good because it lies conveniently near dive bars like The Short Stop and Gold Room, makes a perfect stop on your way to or back from a Dodger game and most importantly can feed you for under $5.
Los Angeles is giant sprawling metropolis, choked with traffic, covered in smog and studded with neighborhood eateries you feel blessed to have in your hood. Marty’s on Pico is such a gem and this gem sits snuggly on busy Pico blvd in West Los Angeles. If you lived in Los Feliz, you could call Marty’s the Yuca’s of the westside. Or Al and Bea’s West if you hang your hat in Boyle Heights. Whatever your geographic position, know that Marty’s brings the A game in the category of $5 and under burgers and unlike Yuca’s and Al Bea’s, you can wash your burger down with a Vienna beef frank . . . yup hot dogs for dessert. Hello West Los Angeles . . .
The path we take to Bang for your Burger Buck can be strange one. My visit to Yuca’s focused on a burger type I never get, as I find chili on top of a cheeseburger wholly unwarranted, and yet here I was, eating a double chili cheeseburger, because, at a mere $5, it is a value one should not pass up. Further, when you think about how most burger stands simply can’t put in the time and effort to make their chili a real draw, a Mexican eatery actually might nail it. And as much as I can tell you that the double cheeseburger is so Bang for your Burger Buck, it’s the single burger for $2.75 that keeps me up at night . . .