Zim's in San Francisco Bay Area, been out of business for years but made theirs with ground sirloin
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I see by your two postings on your daily food intake. that it leaves me to think that you don't care to be around much longer on this planet so that you might enjoy your system just a little longer.But I see with your diet, that you should make sure that you live very close by the best heart speacialist on the planet.
I'm still crying about losing Jays (Santa Monica and Myra) and Meaty Meat Burgers (Pico and LaBrea), and the Fatburger on Western and Adams that burned (baby burn...) in the Rodney King riot.
Any of you Angelians remember Ara's Armenian Burgers? The cat was a composer of classical music who played his stuff while you ate one of the best burgers in town in his little shack. I don't remember where it was though. In the Valley I think.
Carney's on Sunset is still good;
The Original (not the satellites) Tommy's Burger on Beverly and Rampart. There's one in Vegas now (actually Henderson), so I'm hoping Phoenix is next!
Cassells on 6th near Vermont;
The Apple Pan out on Pico.
In Vegas, you've GOT to try the Original NY DB Burger at Daniel Boulud at the Wynn: 9oz of sirloin stuffed with braised short ribs, black truffle and foie gras. The best $32.00 burger on the planet! It does come with Pommes Frites :)
In Phoenix (my home for the last two decades), but also now in Pasadena and Santa Monica from what I've heard (you L.A. folks have GOT to check this place out), Le Grande Orange doesn't grind the meat 'til you order the burger! It's pretty freaking good, especially the green chili one. 12 bucks though... This place is primarily a wood-fired pizza joint; but got "Best of Phoenix" in the New Times for it's BURGER last year! The wings are unlike anything you've ever had, and are incredible in their own rite.
Also, we've got a Cheeburger Cheeburger (I know there's one in San Diego; but not sure about the L.A. market) that's pretty stellar;
Delux Burger on 32nd St and Camelback is great, AND open late for post-concert fare;
but my favorite is The Wineburger on 19th Ave and Bethany Home. Their grill is like fifty years old, and seasoned to absolute shed-a-tear perfection. Their meat is insane, their burgers come in sizes of which the largest would make Guy Fieri break out in a sweat and their buns are magnificent.
Los Angeles is to hamburgers what New York is to pizza. When I visit my mother, she is under strict orders not to cook anything; because I only have so many appetites in one weekend trip!
I'm not a fan of the new, high-end, high-priced designer burger fad. Kobe beef? Wagu? Give me a friggin' break. What's next culinary foams or suspensions? It's a burger for Chrissakes, not Haute cuisine
Honestly, if you can't get it right for under $10 in this economy, get out of the game. Good meat, hand formed patty, good bun, thick slice of tomato, sliced or grilled onions, some lettuce, etc. Nothing particularly tricky, but so many get it wrong.
Good burgers in LA:
Nickel Diner - 525 Main St. downtown
Fatburger - (go for the XXXXL, four 1/2 lb patties)
George Petrelli's Steak House (Culver City) - seriously old school steaks and burgers, stay away from everything else.
Rick's Tavern On Main - Santa Monica
Meaty Meat Burgers
Original Fatburger location
Bongofury, Nickel Diner is one of the great little secrets of downtown. Honestly, eating there made my night. You've got to try their homemade red velvet cake and Ding Dongs. Unfortunately, they were all out of donuts when we got there.
I have to go back and give Apple Pan another try. Back in the mid 90's, I was on a quest to find the best apple pie in Los Angeles. Of course, I had to try the Apple Pan. The pie was disappointing and the burger even more so. It was a greasy spoon, alright, but not in a good way. But, everyone keeps saying it's great, maybe I just caught a bad day?
BTW, the best apple pie I found, at that time, was Cafe Montana in Brentwood. Although, I think their deserts were actually made by Cafe Buglaoo. Anyway, it was their apple-boysenberry. 3" thick. Apples cooked, yet still firm. Not too much sugar. And a a great crumb/granola crust and top.
Larry's Famous Hamburgers in Heber Springs, Arkansas. Just a little hamburger shack on the highway. I have traveled far and wide for a great burger. This is tops in my book, especially while enjoying rides on our motorcycles through the mountains.
Whatta Burger, Russellville, Arkansas
CJ's Burger Boy, Russelville, Arkansas
"Apple Pan is great."
Like Musso & Frank's it's a time capsule. When I lived in La La land we would go there for the atmosphere. I don't think the food is anything special, and I've had most everything on their menu. I read somewhere that a couple of Apple Pan employees had been working there since the Nixon administration. My all time best burger was at the 21 Club in NYC circa 1980's, but that's an unfair comparison against diner/fast food varieties.
SoCal burgerholics should note PIE N' BURGER on East California, near Lake in Pasadena.Just a great,simple old fashioned burger with fab homemade Thousand Island dressing.The Place opened in 196,and is as close to a diner as you will find in the ever changing landscape of L.A.
R.I.P. Meatty Meat Burger,it was a killer hunk of cowflesh and a great scene. That was one big, butt ugly,tasty burger!
Back in the day, here in Cleveland, Oh, I would have said Fantastic Steakburger on W 25,.. great burgers, long since gone. Swenson's a local Drive In chain are pretty good and supposedly the choice of Jimmy Buffet when he's in town for his annual Blossom concert. In today's world I get some 80/20 Angus & grill em at home.
If you are doing the food tour of LA, I think my fav old school restaurant is Phillipes The Original. Lamb and beef dips are delish. My car can go there on autopilot.
Up North, I love Joe's Cable Car in SF, The Squeeze in Sacramento, and Lunchbox Lab in Seattle. Back Yard Burger in Little Rock also rocks my world.
02-22-10: ByegollyCertain ones still are. I just took the XXXXL(four 1/2 lb patties w/ cheese and full fixins) challenge at the Redondo Beach Fatburger a month ago, and besides being a serious undertaking, it was one of the best burgers I've had in a long time. It was juicy beyond all getout. What I like about FB is that they still seriously season their beef patties.
Hhh, thanks for the Buffalo Fire Dept tip in Old Torrance. I live about 15 minutes from there and will give it a try in the next week or so.
Fatburger and In N Out both have this dynamic where people who've heard about how great they are for years finally break down and go there for the first time, only to come back saying "I don't get the hype". You can't just go in and order a burger in joints like this. In the case of Fatburger, if you ask instead for a Double King with cheese, egg, bacon and chili with everything on it, you'll be impressed; and with In N Out, a Double Double with extra grilled onions is a tasty burger indeed. On your second visit, ask for it "Animal Style". BTW, the french fries served Animal Style are pretty fun also.
Good call on Phillipes for the old. Bay area is food n drink nirvana. I can think of several mom & pop joints in North Beach alone that trip the salivate meter. btw, I'm a Palo Alto, Cali native. Can't afford living in the town or the state anymore. Just scatter my ashes off the coast of Big Sur and they'll say he came home.