So far on this culinary walkabout we've been on together we've discussed many a sandwich, but we have yet to explore one of the sandwiches most associated with America: The Hamburger. Yes, these greasy meat morsels have been making saliva glands spasm since the year 1900. Really, that's no joke, hamburgers are 121 years old. And, much like every other food tirade we've explored, everyone has a very personal opinion on the subject. For me though, what equates to the best burger is merely what kind I happen to be craving at the moment and that usually changes on a weekly basis. With that in mind, today I'm answering the question of where's the beef once and for all.
Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger
This is probably the fast food burger I crave the most. It's a pretty straight-forward affair: Bun, meat, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a little mayo and ketchup, but, as Ron Swanson would attest, the best burgers aren't necessarily complicated. And bacon makes everything better. I also feel like Wendy's has the freshest meat and lettuce out of all the big chains.
In-N-Out's Double Double, Animal Style w/extra spread
I don't care if you think In-N-Out is overrated or not, to me this place is a special treat. For decades this California chain was only reserved for road trips up and down the 5 on the way to and from Los Angeles. It was never even questioned, it was just a given. Nowadays I can think of five of them within a 15 min drive from me, but I still tend to save it for special occasions. It gets a special bonus point for being the only burger I like with onions on it.
Five Guys with basically everything on it
I feel like Five Guys is the chain that gets brought up the most in the "my burger is the best" pissing contest against In-N-Out, but that's not their fault. And news flash: You can just eat wherever you want whenever you want and not have some misplaced loyalty to a brand. I love that they just have big crates of peanuts for you to snack on while you wait for your massive burger with all the fixins you love to arrive. If you're savvy, you might even put some of those peanuts on your burger. Five Guys also gets massive respect for being one of the few burger joints to have worcestershire sauce available for their fries.
Barney's Gastropub Burger
You know I had to get a few local spots in here. While there is a San Francisco location, I consider Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers an East Bay franchise. They used to have a burger with goat cheese that I loved, but since that's gone I now chow down on their Gastropub burger. According to their menu, the Gastropub features "provolone cheese, bacon, fried egg & housemade blackened chips, on a pretzel bun" and it is quite the fancy burger experience. I don't know if I'm ordering it ironically to make fun of hipsters or if I am the douchebag hipster. It's probably the second one.
Nation's Giant Hambuger's Bacon Cheeseburger
Look, I'm gonna tell you now that Nation's is one of the greatest hamburger spots to grace this green earth. These puppies are definitely giant and have never let me down in my entire lifetime. We're talking a classic diner-style burger with the freshest of ingredients. If you know what's up, you'll order sliced pickles (and grilled onions if you're into that sorta thing) on this bad boy. Their honey mustard sauce is the stuff of legends. If you find yourself anywhere in the SF Bay Area and you love burgers you're the dumbest idiot on the planet if you pass up the chance to eat a Nation's burger. Extra super mega bonus points for their heavenly selection of pies and the best breakfast plate ever the Triple-Egger.
Swenson's Galley Boy
This Ohio chain is world famous for their Galley Boy burgers and there's a damn good reason for that: They're just that damn good. This classic drive-up and order style restaurant is chock-full of custom options for just about anything on the menu, but you really can't go wrong with the main event, so to speak. The thing that really sets the GB apart from other burgers is the combination of two "secret" sauces they put on these puppies. They also come with a lovely garnish of a green olive on a toothpick. You may need to change your pants after eating a Galley Boy with one of their seasonal eggnog shakes and bustin'.
Those are just a few of the burgers that I love the most. I could really go on and on about the subject as I'm quite passionate about burgers in particular. I think this is a good place to call it a day though. Let me know what your fave spots are in the comments!