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L.A. Burger ~ Mid-City

11:00 AM PST on January 17, 2007


6005 W. Pico Blvd. (@ Crescent Heights) ~ Los Angeles, CA 90035 (TACO Guide)

There's something sleazily sexy about this joint, which earns its local title through embodying our municipality and a trace of its modern culture through a dope neon sign, a tiny little pink facade, and cheap, satisfying fare for the lost angels of Pico-Fairfax. Like a glittering strip-club in an industrial stretch of town or a bare bones strip-mall sushi counter in Gardena, L.A. Burger's promise of tawdry excess, tempting exposure shrouded in outer beauty, plus homebred talent leaks from the So-Cal soul of this structure featured frequently in films and supermodel photo shoots. Still, like so many mirages under the Hollywood sign, when I go there, I usually get a dude with a cool mustache or some hard-working homie on his lunch break sitting next to me, not Leticia Casta, lucky for her ass.


Things work pretty quickly and easily at L.A. Burger, but does this burger live up to the "Best Burger in L.A." boast found on its banner, and can L.A. Burger's burger really rep for our sprawling city, earning said moniker rightly on the basis of buns and beef? Upon my first two tries of L.A. Burger's burger, I was not overly impressed with how it backs up its big mouth. Though yards tastier than the slightly below average burger over at Santa Monica's Hamburger Haven, which busts similar braggadocio of better burgers, it can't compete with In N' Out or 25 Degrees, among other burger brothers 'pon the scene. Onion rings and fries were even less interesting and the coffee blows too.


After a couple tries of this spot's namesake entree, I narrowed my first problem towards the increasing trend of burgers coming with their toppings on the bottom, a backward trend found at many citywide burger spots these days. They are called 'toppings' for a very specific reason, and it just doesn't feel right, like the time my ex-girl had me try submission for a change. My second beef is with the beef; it was overcooked, but not hard just a tad crisp, not juicy enough, no love or care put in there. Though it was still more scrut than fast-food, it was not even balanced out by anything stellar in its prep, with an execution nearly as fucked-up as Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti's (rimshot please!). But the burger overall with enough jazz on it, was good tasting, nicely over medium-sized and satisfying, plus convenient and cheap enough for a repeat try or two, just not a significant contribution to the annals of Angeleno burgers as of yet.


In time I started hitting this mutherfucker up for breakfast to satisfy my uncontrollable hunger for chicken ovum. With neighborhood hang Nick's massive omelets across the street and Petit Sara's more boughie, expensive, and precious preparations next door, L.A. Burger's large, buttery masses of harder egg pies, lined above with avocado, flecked with tomato, onion and cheese, and lightly crusted on top, with a little pile of 'taters, and a side of buttered wheat toast, make the best stick-to-my-ribs-all-day alternative for a fella constantly waiting for checks that are supposedly "in the mail."


Then one day, in great need and furious hunger, my eye was caught by something previously unnoticed on the drive past L.A. Burger's saucy lil' pink box of a storefront..."The Tropical Burger." How could this not be good? It contains every outer-space ingredient we've ever craved on hot food, just like the very pregnant ladies we happen to be at times. No doubt, the Tropical Burger does not fuck around boy, with avocado, egg, cheese, pineapple, and bacon on top of a big beef patty with toppings and fries for $5.95. YAW!


The Tropical Burger will be worth the early, lonely, painful death that it will eventually cause me through a massive cardiac arrest at age 44. Besides the patty coming plump and juicy this time 'round, the thing is just a total, delicious mess. The egg becomes creamy, wrapping the cripsy bacon into a hardcore mash of oily no-good-for-youness that makes the avocado a sinfully silky companion, and the pineapple acts as a tangy lubricant to get it all down your throat. Though the burger sits on top of the traditional 'toppings,' it barely matters as the whole thing starts coming apart, with a familiar and savory special sauce helping drown out any stability in its structure, plus the beef wedged between all those crazy add-ons. Each juicy bit of beef intermingles with something else, salty fried pork cracklins and melted cheese over here, then sweet onion, sweeter avocado, and sweetest pina over here. "And 'ey, what's this, there's a little guy in 'ere?" The burger is alive with flavors both interesting, fun, and complimentary. It is a near orgiastic experience, as well as a good dose of junk.


So L.A. Burger, guys...maybe not the best burger in Los Angeles by our standards, but it still stands as a beacon to classic burgerdom in our fair city. Its architecture and period singage is tre-cool, its tropical burger creation and big, cheap breakfast deals at $4 satisfy the arteries for a year like whale-lard on Eskimo, it all comes fast, cheap, and easy, plus the early-rising man behind the curtain is a total bro. Also, who knows...every once in a while you might get your freezing winter buns warmed by the recently-departed karmic energy of Naomi Campbell's buh-dunk-a-dunk after the next shoot.


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