Archive for 'Burgers'

Sincere Apologies to Apple Pan…


I was asked to be one of the judges in L.A. Weekly’s Burger Bracket and ended up drawing Apple Pan vs. Pie n Burger. Went to both  around July 4th weekend and while I know that Apple Pan has a ton of fans, I really think Pie N Burger makes a better burger. (And before you shit on me, go to each and try a plain cheeseburger with nothing else on it.)

Next up: Pie N Burger vs. Father’s Office.  Anyone care to chime in?  This could actually be a tougher one than it appears on paper…

5 Reasons L.A. Should Be Excited For Shake Shack

“If Shake Shack doesn’t announce this year that they’re opening in California, that is a huge slap in the face to Los Angeles.”

- My friend Garrett, 2 weeks ago

Well, crisis averted.  My friend can put away his satisfaction demanding white handkerchief, because this morning New York burger chain Shake Shack announced that it will be opening its first Southern California location in West Hollywood at some point in 2016.  Having lived in L.A. and New York for a practically equal amount of time I have much love for both In N Out Burger and Shake Shack.  I’ve even argued that comparing the two is a silly exercise.  In N Out Burger is half the price and a west coast staple whose awesomeness will never be diminished. But Shake Shack is objectively better. It’s also twice as expensive. You don’t have to like it more than In N Out (there’s no arguing with personal taste), but take the price and nostalgia out of it and Shake Shack is kind of better.

Don’t believe me?  Here are 5 reasons even the most hard core In N Out fan should be excited for Shake Shack…

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The New Oinkster Should Rename Their Signature Item; Burger Week Coming Soon


If you are one of those people who always felt like Eagle Rock was too far to drive for pastrami sandwiches, pulled pork and crazy burgers, you’ll be excited to discover that The Oinkster just opened a new Hollywood location on La Brea just north of Melrose.  The menu from the original has made it over mostly intact, complete with sandwiches, salads, fries and milkshakes. The rotisserie chicken is still Eagle Rock only, but to make up for it they’ve made some of the more popular specials from the the original location into permanent menu items at the new branch- like the Thanksgiving Burger (a turkey burger topped with celery sage relish and cranberry sauce) and the pork adobo burger (a burger topped with pork adobo.)

But is this is your very first visit to the Oinkster, you’ll probably end up going with their namesake sandwich.

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The Smashburger “Favorites” Menu is For Idiots


The popular Colorado burger chain Smashburger has invaded Los Angeles, generating the requisite amount of excitement from this burger obsessed city.  And while there are some who may have enjoyed a BBQ, bacon and cheddar burger on a trip to Denver, the chain is mostly foreign to these parts.  So when a new location popped up in my home neighborhood of Culver City (on Venice and Overland) I entered with a completely open mind, and a hungry stomach.


When your walk in, your eye is naturally drawn to the “Our Favorites” menu, which contains what one would assume are the most popular or recommended menu items.  But here’s the thing. The first two items on that menu (the “Classic Smashburger” and the “All American Bacon Cheeseburger”) are for total idiots. After two visits and some serious menu studying, I believe I have discovered some pretty large menu loopholes. Now, mind you, I’m not saying Smashburger is bad.  On the contrary, it’s actually pretty great. They get a great crust on the burgers by (you guessed it) smashing them on the griddle and their menu features the kind of toppings that have made Five Guys and Fatburger so popular.  But I’ve checked and double checked the numbers, run the stats through various ordering models and come to the conclusion that ordering one of those two burgers might be the dumbest move at Smashburger (despite being recommended as a “favorite” by the menu.)

Here’s why.

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Oleego by Park’s BBQ is the Early Standout in New Fig at 7th Food Court


There are few things in life better than a great food court, especially here in L.A. where co-workers’ taste can range from “fat IT guy who will eat anything” to “fat IT Guy who doesn’t eat meat or gluten”.  In other words, finding a place that is suitable to all of your friends is damn near impossible in this city, which makes food courts the best.  Everybody gets what they want, everybody is happy.  Plus, there is never a shortage of (my personal favorite) shitty Chinese food.  What I’m saying is, I love food courts. And chances are you love them too- unless, of course, you’re some kind of communist.

So when I heard that DTLA’s new food court inside Fig at 7th had opened I was pretty excited.  Food courts have been getting progressively better over the past few years, either by incubating interesting new gourmet concepts (like Century City) or bringing in delicious transplants from ethnic neighborhoods (like the Fox Hills Mall).  Fig + 7th seems to be doing a little bit of both.  But deciding what I wanted to eat proved a little bit easier than I expected.

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U-Mini is Less Burger For Less Money w/ Less Stomach Ache


If there was a scale created for restaurant inevitability, U-Mini would probably rank towards the top. It was clearly only a matter of time before Umami Burger would attempt to turn their hugely popular mini-chain of sit down burger restaurants into something a bit more fast-food’ish. The idea was as unavoidable as the post Umami Burger stomach ache- that pain in your about-to-explode gut that would normally be considered a deal breaker if the damn burger didn’t taste so good going down.

Something cheaper and quicker would be nice.  Something to compete with Five Guys, In N Out Burger, or (insert feigned surprise here) New York’s Shake Shack. And U-Mini, the fast food tech-heavy burger place that just opened in Westwood by the owners of Umami is pretty much just that.   It’s literally just a smaller, quicker, streamlined version of Umami Burger. In other words, if you’re not a fan of Umami Burger to begin with, don’t bother.  This place probably won’t change your mind.

But Umami fans will find a lot to like about U-Mini, especially those of us whose days are dictated by lunch.  Not only is it almost half the price of a lunch at a regular Umami Burger, the burger is a bit smaller by an ounce or two- meaning that patented Umami stomach ache is mercifully smaller as well.

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Short Order Finally Launches Lunch Specials


If you were one of those people (read: cheap bastards like me) who found the menu at Short Order, the Nancy Silverton backed burger concept in The Original Farmer’s Market, to be way too expensive for a casual lunch- a reprieve has finally arrived.  Short Order has announced the launch of lunch specials.  Now $14 will get you a grass fed cheeseburger with a side order of house fries or their signature spuds, plus a soda.  For $3 more you can get a beer instead, $7 more will get you a cocktail (the special is also offered during happy hour.)   It still doesn’t exactly feel cheap, but at that price it’s a lot easier to swallow than it was when the same lunch would cost you $18+.   And, I’m down with any deal that forces me to order those spuds.

Short Order, 6333 W 3rd St. 323-761-7970