I took a walk on the wild side last Friday night while road tripping from L.A. to The Bay. Instead of my usual In-N-Out order, a Double-Double with grilled onions, I crammed every “secret menu” add-on I could think of in between the two delicately toasted buns. After enduring rush hour on The 405 and odious feedlots along The 5, this gal demanded some serious entertainment of the edible variety.
Archive for the 'Burgers' Category
Joyce “Mom” McLaurin opened Mom’s Burgers over three decades ago to bring simple yet immensely satisfying fast-food style fare to the neighborhood. Stroll up to the window to place your order, and then wait for a gentle tap on the Plexiglas window to signal when it’s ready to be picked up.
Waits can be a bit long since everything is made to order, so call ahead for a curbside pickup or better yet, bump to the slow jams blasting from the speakers or partake in an impromptu game of chess. Both work up an appetite quite nicely. Once the goods are in hand, grab a seat at one of the stools along the counter or at the umbrella-shaded tables hidden beside the building.
In the span of less than five years, restaurateur Adam Fleischman has expanded his “fine-dining fast food” concept Umami Burger across Los Angeles and into San Francisco and New York City. Just last week, an outlet popped up in my Pasadena stomping grounds, taking over the space formerly occupied by Naga Naga Ramen. My cousin Phil and I swung by last Thursday evening to scope out the latest addition to our neighborhood.
The Pasadena location has a full alcohol license, which means plenty of beer, wine, sake, and liquor to keep burger-goers hydrated. Even though the cocktails sounded mighty enticing, especially the “Perfect Pear” with vodka, honey, lemon, and mint, I opted for a bottle of fancy pants cream soda instead. Phil went for a gin and tonic, his most favorite drink in all of the land.
Like my dear Astronomer, Phil isn’t much of a pickle guy, so I cleaned house on the “House Pickles” ($5) solo. From the selection of beets, shitake mushrooms, bread and butters, cauliflower, okra, tomatoes, kimchi, and spicy cucumbers, I was most impressed with the curried florets and properly funky kimchi.
One bite of the Double Cheeseburger at Hawkins House of Burgers and you’ll wonder why cooks bother with frou-frou touches like gorgonzola, brioche, arugula, and secret sauces. This straightforward setup of Angus beef, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and American cheese in between mayonnaise- and mustard-slathered commercial buns is an absolute slam-dunk.
I’m not the kind of gal that usually frequents a restaurant during its soft opening, but when I heard that there’d be fried-to-order doughnuts at UMAMIcatessen, I had to make an exception. Doughnuts are my rapture.
UMAMIcatessen is located on a stretch of Broadway that’s lined with fluorescent-lit stores selling jewelry and poofy quinceanera dresses. Some might find this part of town a bit iffy, but I’ve been stuck in the suburbs for so long that I couldn’t get enough of its grit.
I came in for an early dinner last Thursday night along with my friends Nastassia and Darin. The space was humming but not busy, so we were seated promptly at a table fit for four. By the time we left a few hours later, the entire room was packed with a line outside the door. News of fried-to-order doughnuts spreads quickly, I guess.
UMAMIcatessen, a genius creation of restauranteur Adam Fleischman (Umami Burger, Red Medicine, 800 Degrees), is widely referred to as a “food emporium.” Really though, its just a regular restaurant with a more-varied-than-most menu.
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