Thursday, June 24, 2010

L.A. Burgers

Now that the stresses of preparing for a conference paper are behind me, it's time to return to the writing that really posts.  If my advisor is reading this, just kidding about that last comment.  Anyway, my good friends took me out for a bite to celebrate the achievement of my first ever conference paper.  We could have gone anywhere for any kind of food imaginable; it was L.A. after all.  However, when my friend suggested a hamburger place they have been meaning to try, I was on board and didn't give any other food another thought.

I think a lot of people would be surprised to know that L.A. is definitely a burger town.  Sure, it gets a lot of press for its frozen yogurt and diet food fads, but burgers are a deeply ingrained part of food culture.  Why?  That's a great question, and I have no idea.  I always considered it part of the L.A. food paradox.  On the one hand you have the health obsessed, the organic food markets, the Pinkberry, and the raw food.  On the other, you've got hot dogs, chile rellenos, Korean barbecue, and some of the best hamburgers and fries I've ever had.  It's all part of this crazy city with a million and one identities, and really, I cannot tell you how I have missed the occasional good burger.

We went crazy, cool, (slightly) hipster for the evening.  I lived on the west side of the city when I lived here, and I was pretty loyal to Hamburger Habit.  This time, though, we spiced it up by heading into the heart of Hollywood and eating at Umami Burger, think fairly minimalist decor with a fairly minimalist menu.  C'mon, when you've got a good burger, you don't need to have an extensive menu.  I would like to say that it is probably one of the best burgers I have ever had in my entire life (and believe me, I have had a lot of hamburgers).  If you want to experience a wonderful balance of flavors and textures packed into the tiny package of a bun with ground beef, this would be the place to do it.  Yes, I realize that sounds kind of corny to talk about a burger that way, but seriously, it was good. You can enjoy the burger, fries, and beer while you watch the "cool" parent with his trucker hat at the next table feed his daughter specially sauteed mushrooms or while glancing at the barely legal blonde in her too short baby-doll dress in the corner.  It was fun, it was L.A., and wow, it was delicious.

So glad to be back in the States for a while, soaking up some sun while I reacquaint myself with some California culture.

Sorry there are no pics.  I forgot to bring a camera.  I took some pictures with my friend's phone, and I'll post them when I get them.


  1. I wonder if FatBurger still exists in L.A. I love the name and would make a special trip if I ever get to L.A. (right after Pinks Hot Dogs, of course).

  2. Fatburger does still exist, and I never gave it a chance until I was in Las Vegas, starving and running late for a bachelorette party. It was delicious and probably the cheapest meal in a one mile radius of the hotel, so I was doubly happy with it.