A Six-Stop Los Angeles Burger Tour for National Burger Day
Haven't gotten enough vitamin Burger in your life lately? Well, considering that yesterday was Memorial Day, if you still have a hankering for burgers, it's either an indication that yesterday's party plans fell through, or you're the type of tough S.O.B. who just can't get enough burger in your life.
With you hardcore beefeaters in mind, we've compiled a little mini-roadtrip of some of the best burgers around. Maybe you can't make the drive today, but save this post for some upcoming Saturday when you've got fire in your belly and a full tank of gas.
Flickr/dopey The Market Grill Burger
Stop 1: The Market Grill, Monrovia
We're beginning in the east and heading west, to follow the sunset as we unfold burger after burger on the road ahead of us. The first stop, then, is The Market Grill in Monrovia, just east of Arcadia. Begin your tour promptly at 11 a.m., for several reasons, the most important of which is the fact that The Market Grill doesn't open until then. But you'll also want to be first in line because of the buns they serve here, freshly baked and cooling on some racks near the window. Not too spongy, not too dense and bready, these white buns are a soft and pliable delight. They wrap and compress around your fingertips with ease, while the buttered and grilled interior stands up nicely and offers a little crunch. The beef, is no slouch either, having been ground fresh that morning and given a prodigious and salty sear. With a thick slice of melted cheddar, this is simple, homemade burger purity -- a great way to start the road trip. 525 S. Shamrock Ave., Monrovia; 626-303-4314; Closed Sundays.
Elina Shatkin Pie 'N Burger
Stop 2: Pie 'N Burger, Pasadena
For a lesson in Southern California burger classicism, there is no higher learning location than Pasadena's Pie'n Burger. This is the sort of long, formica-countered destination that opens at 6 a.m. and seems to pay a cadre of old men with coffee mugs to just sit around the place, looking awesome. There's an undeniable vibe of "this is how things are done" that permeates everything from the waitresses to the burgers. A heat-crunched commercial white bun, thin slip of beef and a slab of perfectly square American cheese. Expect a lofty tuft of iceberg lettuce, a tomato slice hidden in there somewhere, a couple of pickles and a healthy smear of Thousand Islands dressing. This is the essence of true cheeseburgerdom that Southern California relies on, and has for generations. Keep in mind they're cash only, so bring a few bucks with you on your journey.913 E. California Blvd., Pasadena; 626-795-1123.
Flickr/calamity_hane The Oinkster Royale Burger
Stop 3: The Oinkster, Eagle Rock
Things are starting to heat up on this burgerventure, especially if you've planned your Oinkster stop around Burger Week. With a full seven days of unique burger exploration at the hands of Andre Guerrero, you can expect long lines and great conversation with other meat-heads. Any other week and you should opt for the $10 Royale, a gleaming beacon to what outsized burgers we humans are capable of. Teetering above that slightly smoky 1/3 Angus cheeseburger are a few runs of wavy bacon and a heap of steaming pastrami, freshly cut and oozing juice. Of course, there's going to be chili too (lots of it), so expect to stuff your pockets with napkins before sitting down to dig in. Not that it's recommended on a burger crawl like this, but if you've got the gumption consider getting a milkshake; they're top notch. 2005 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock; 323-255-6465.
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525 Shamrock Ave., Monrovia, CA