The Battle of the Burgers
Like many people, I've reduced my red meat intake for health reasons. And am also making some effort to source conscientiously any meat item (poultry and fish included) at the market when I do. Am by no means hard core (i.e. not vegan/vegetarian) and can't afford to always buy stuff at Whole Paycheck (i.e. Whole Foods). Having said all that, I confess I still go for the occasional burger. With the reduced intake of meat products, my system really can't handle a big steak any more. But a nice burger is still a treat.
I confess I am a fan of In-and-Out Burgers. When on a road trip, I'll often make a note of where they are along the route and if it makes sense to take a lunch or dinner break at one of their outlets, I'll almost certainly stop there. So in my rating system, In-and-Out gets the A rating.
But what about other burgers out there?
Here is my highly subjective views on burgers at other places.
Denny's (B-). Sorry, I have tried the burger there and realized I should stick to having the breakfast items at the venerable chain diner.
Marie Callender's (B-). Meh, just didn't seem that appetizing.
Five Guys (B+). I have to say I'm surprised at the solid fan base. Definitely, they do have a lot of options in terms of fixings to the burgers so hats off for that. But the burger itself? Not sure how come it has gained such a cult following. Don't get me wrong, I think it is a decent burger and deserves a solid B+ rating. A+ though on the fried potatoes!
Carl's Junior (A-). I think their all natural burger is their best. The others ones are okay but slip into the B/B+ range.
Apple Pan (A+). Going to the Apple Pan is like stepping into a time machine. Wonder how long that kind of store can survive and how many other places like that still exist in the 21st Century!
McDonalds (B-). Haven't had many in recent years. Now, if I stop here at all, I just get the breakfast items at the famous old chain that started the mega-chains. In foreign countries, I may visit one when I need to see something familiar!
Jack-in-the Box (B-). Haven't had many in recent years. I just get the breakfast items if I ever enter their stores or swing by the drive through. In fact, their top seller are tacos!
Fatburger (A). Great burger. Give the edge on the fries to competitors In-and-Out and Five Guys. But the burger is competitive. A Los Angeles institution founded by Lovie Yancey. Eventually, the chain was sold but the formula remains the same in terms of how the burgers are made. The current investor group has opened stores in unusual locations world wide.
Mooyah (A). Great Turkey Burger! Hope to eventually try one of their beef burgers. Also, loved their fries.
Burger Lounge (A+). Conscientious turkey (free-range) and beef (grass-fed) burgers. Enjoyed it very much! Loved their fries too. Does this qualify as a "snooty" burger place?
There are plenty of "snooty" burgers these days in addition to chain ones. I'll be updating this page now and then as I visit some more places.
Umami Burger (A). It's hip and the burger I had there was pretty good.
Blue Cow Kitchen (A). Trendy DTLA (downtown LA) location. We ordered from the Happy Hour menu and split the House Burger, Al Pastor Shrimp Tacos, and Crispy Glazed Brussels Sprouts.