In a search for a great hamburger, you might discover that the best joints are found in the unlikeliest places. Among the otherwise sketchy establishments where one might find curiously delicious slabs of ground beef are bowling alleys, strip-mall bars and the occasional food truck.
Fans of meat won't be put off by La Jolla's Burger Lounge (1101 Wall St.), where the décor is slick and modern, the Tallgrass beef comes from an environmentally friendly ranch, the patrons are more well-to-do and the staff presumably wash their hands on a regular basis. And they have salads, too. But being somewhat of a trash-food connoisseur, I couldn't bring myself to care about salad, or how the Lounge's meat is made from low-stress, healthy cows. I just wanted to chow on some animal flesh.
Judging from my vanilla milkshake alone, the half-hour I spent waiting for my food might have been worthwhile. The shake set me back about four bucks, and it was worth every penny. It was as if God came down and blended it himself—not too thin and milky, but still able to be sucked through a straw; it was absolute heaven. In the words of Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction, “That's a pretty fucking good milkshake.”
The rest of the meal—while not disappointing—wasn't quite spectacular enough to justify the wait. The fresh-cut fries and onion rings were tasty, but they were a little cold by the time they arrived. And even though my cheeseburger weighed at least a pound with all the accoutrements (fresh-baked bun, American cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion and 1000 Island dressing), it was basically just a larger version of what they serve at In-N-Out. All burgers, which also come in turkey and quinoa versions, cost $6.95.
The massive portions at Burger Lounge ensure that you get your money's worth. But, while I do love a good burger, I don't love having to wait so long to enjoy it, no matter what upscale spin they apply to my meat.
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