Helpful ReplyA Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals

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wanderingjew
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2017/03/26 19:54:41 (permalink)

A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals

This isn't a trip report. Just a post trip conclusion to my previous thread here   Details and highlights of the trip will be featured in the end of the year report in about 9 months or so.

 
We did hit two burger joints
 
The first being the perennial favorite Hodad's.  My first experience there in 2009  wth my friend Cliff from Newport was lackluster. Great atmosphere, ultra amazing chocolate malt and a burger that we both agreed had no discernible flavor.  I returned with Sandra who always has a totally open mind and is never shy to admit if her opinion is different than mine. I ordered a double bacon cheeseburger with everything except onions (something I did differently this time) Sandra ordered a single bacon cheeseburger less a few  toppings. 
 

 
I must confess, the burger was much better than my last experience. I can actually taste the beef (or was it the bacon?) We both agreed this is a good burger. Is it the best we had? No but it's respectable. Surprisingly when we arrived it was close to 8PM on a Monday night and there was still a line out the door but I don't think we waited more than 10 or 15 minutes. Sandra really enjoyed the atmosphere but unlike ChiTownDiner, we didn't see the need to return for a second trip.
 
Our last burger pick was on in the OC on our way back up from San Diego back to our last hotel of the trip in Sunset Beach.
We visited the Burger Stop in Santa Ana. A basic old school burger joint that has high marks on yelp. This time we wanted to try the regional Southern California Avocado Bacon Cheeseburger. We already had dinner in San Diego at Ichiban PB (Sharing a bowl of Stamina Noodles and a requested basic version of a Baja Roll) so we decided to share this Double Bacon Avocado Cheeseburger
 

 
 
Our burger was virtually identical to the In and Out burger I had  8 years ago, dressed with bacon and avocado as an afterthought. This  was an OK burger (the perfect 5)  but we both agreed that Hodad's was better. 
 
 
I don't consider either of these two meals a wasted meal. Hodad's is worth a stop just for the atmosphere and chocolate malt alone and I'm glad that Sandra had the opportunity to experience it.  I'm also glad that I visited the Burger Stop to experience the Southern California Avocado Bacon Burger  However I have now drawn  the conclusion that traveling 3000 miles to southern California for a burger is the equivalent of going to Buffalo for Egg Rolls and Tacos. 
 
I will conclude with Sandra's  two favorite meals and my three new to me favorite meals 
 
 
 
 
 
#1
ScreamingChicken
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/26 20:43:17 (permalink)
Is it even possible to get a burger that's just meat, cheese, and bun in southern California?
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lleechef
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/26 21:04:29 (permalink)
ScreamingChicken
Is it even possible to get a burger that's just meat, cheese, and bun in southern California?


Only if you get mayo on it. 
BOTH burgers look delicious!!!
post edited by lleechef - 2017/03/26 21:06:24
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mlm
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/26 21:44:35 (permalink)
Boy, they sure stack 'em HIGH in Californey, DON'T they? Thanks for the follow up Dale.
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wanderingjew
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/27 08:00:02 (permalink)
ScreamingChicken
Is it even possible to get a burger that's just meat, cheese, and bun in southern California?




Probably more likely than getting a hot dog in Chicago that's just bun, mustard and sauerkraut.
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wanderingjew
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/27 19:10:54 (permalink)
Overall, we have a wide variety of regional roadfood during our week in Southern California... I found out a couple of very important things, Sandra does not like salsa...at all.. and she preferred grilled fish tacos (no salsa) to fried fish tacos.
 
There were two meals that were her favorite (one was a new to me favorite as well)
 
One of them was the Cobb Salad at Nickel Diner in downtown LA
 

 
This was a terrific Cobb. We ordered one each, both with a lemon vinagrette although it's served at the Nickel Diner with blue cheese dressing.  I wish they had salads like this here on the east coast. Unfortunately they don't exist. What would have brought this Cobb to a level of perfection would be the dressing I enjoyed on the Cobb at Grill on the Alley  11 years ago. 
 
Sandra's other favorite (which was 1 of 3 new to me favorites) was the Ensenada Lobster at The Lobster Trap on Catalina Island.
 

 
This baked stuffed  lobster was huge- over two lb (we both shared one) and incredibly flavorful. What differentiates the Ensenada lobster from the Maine Lobster are the huge tails and small claws.
 
Thanks to Mar52 this Ramen Dish at Ramenya in West LA was probably the best single item I had on the entire trip
 

 
The Asianya- Hot is a  spicy, sesame-ginger broth loaded with ground beef, spinach and for a little extra- eggplant. Truly addictive I kept comparing this sinus cleansing bowl of ecstacy to crack (ask Mar and Sandra) 
 
The other "new to me" favorite was a dish I found very "run of the mill" when I encountered it last on my visit to LA back in 2009. I found the Chinese Chicken Salad at the California Chicken Cafe ordinary at best and put it in the "Been there done that" category.  All that changed on this trip after a visit Take A Bao in Studio City
 

 
I must have bowed several times while enjoying my salad. Something else I wish we had here back east.
 
That's it for now. I'm sure there will be many more aspects of our trip on the end of the year report.
 
 
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mar52
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/27 19:28:59 (permalink)
Dale, I had a bowl of Asiana Tan Tan Mein since seeing you but thanks to you I added eggplant to mine this time... and will from now on.  It was a fun afternoon with the two of you. 
 
Now... have you considered opening up a salad restaurant on the East Coast?
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Twinwillow
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/27 19:43:58 (permalink)
Keep the burgers. I want that lobster!!!!!!!!!
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lleechef
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/27 19:58:34 (permalink)
Keep the lobster.........I want that dish from Ramenya!!!!
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/27 20:32:18 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby wanderingjew 2017/03/27 22:04:32
What really differentiates the Ensenada lobster from the Maine lobster is the fact that it is actually a spiny lobster and doesn't have claws. The version of spiny lobster called Ensenada lobster is also known as California lobster, Panulirus interruptus. It is virtually the same as the Florida lobster, and the other clawless spiny lobsters found in warm water as opposed to Homarus americanus, or Maine lobster.
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wanderingjew
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/27 22:15:04 (permalink)
Speaking of Mar52  I can't conclude this thread without saying that I enjoyed seeing Mar after an 8 year absence and Sandra enjoyed meeting her for the first time.  I also have to especially thank Mar for the departing treats she gave us. Mar knew that we lost a day on our trip due to the weather back east. Therefore we had to "double up" as much as possible on the LA portion of our trip but include some sightseeing as well.
 
Not only did Mar bring over two tacos and a bean burrito from Tito's Tacos
 
 

 
But also gave us a departing gift of two incredible slices of banana cream pie from The Apple Pan
 
 

 
Which Sandra and I enjoyed at Marina Beach in Marina Del Rey 
post edited by wanderingjew - 2017/03/28 18:18:59
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ScreamingChicken
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/27 23:29:47 (permalink)
wanderingjew
Not only did Mar bring over two tacos and a bean burrito from Tito's Tacos

Don't flatter yourself, man.
 
If she liked you she would've brought the Henry's.
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mar52
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/27 23:41:02 (permalink)
ScreamingChicken
wanderingjew
Not only did Mar bring over two tacos and a bean burrito from Tito's Tacos

Don't flatter yourself, man.
 
If she liked you she would've brought the Henry's.


 

Brad:   hahahahaaaaa Choke
 
Dale:  It was my pleasure.  Just remember... the tacos and burrito would have been better eaten when purchased!
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wanderingjew
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/28 08:50:59 (permalink)
mar52
ScreamingChicken
wanderingjew
Not only did Mar bring over two tacos and a bean burrito from Tito's Tacos

Don't flatter yourself, man.
 
If she liked you she would've brought the Henry's.


 

Brad:   hahahahaaaaa Choke
 
Dale:  It was my pleasure.  Just remember... the tacos and burrito would have been better eaten when purchased!




That's what I suspected! They were still pretty decent. Reminded me of a what Jack in the Box should be but honestly I haven't been to Jack in the Box in over 20 years (since I left Seattle)
 
There is one conclusion both Sandra and  I came to. I know everyone is quick to shout out the Mexican influence in LA but let's be honest New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Utah and Nevada can claim the same thing. I have never seen such a significant Japanese-American fusion influence in any other part of the country I've lived in or visited (and yes, that even includes Seattle) LA clearly owns not only the volume, but diversity of Japanese and Japanese American fusion restaurants
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MilwFoodlovers
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/28 14:34:26 (permalink)
wanderingjew

 

 



Dale, my first thought when I saw those 2 pictures is that someone got the brilliant idea of putting a thick slice of grilled bologna with some hamburger patties. Dammit!
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wanderingjew
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Re: A Tale of Two Burgers and other Southern California Surmisals 2017/03/28 17:49:18 (permalink)
MilwFoodlovers
wanderingjew
 
 
 
 



Dale, my first thought when I saw those 2 pictures is that someone got the brilliant idea of putting a thick slice of grilled bologna with some hamburger patties. Dammit!




 
Mike, I'll let you take all the credit for that one
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