Change the "u" to an "e" in this post's title and I might be talking about the latest indie film starring Ben Stiller. Instead, I'm going to talk about a gaping hole in my life.
That hole is better known as my stomach -- a stomach which has gotten used to reveling in carnivorous carne delights during my August stay in Buenos Aires. Instead of visiting Argentina this summer, I spent the last two weeks of the month in San Francisco, where Kombucha was celebrated on every street corner.
My tastebuds and stomach did not like.
So, when a friend of a friend started waxing poetically about the city's many fine burgers, my ears perked up considerably. Thankfully, one stop -- Black Sands Brewery -- was literally right smack dab around the corner from the apartment where I was staying in Lower Haight. Their hamburger had been described to me as "a classed up In-N-Out." That description wasn't praise enough, as this was a specimen of beefy beauty. Pictured above, I'm sure you can see where the In-N-Out comparison isn't totally off-base, but one bite into this juicy double-patty, special sauce-laden lovely and you know that the ingredients are what bring this baby together. It's got gooey melted American cheese and shredded iceberg, which I recognize as a middling ingredients at best, but the quality of the meat in the smashed patties really shines through and the oozing and tang of the processed cheese and crunch of the cool lettuce just plain worked. This burger was "stellar" to say the least.
Another nearby hamburger fix was had at a popular burger and barbeque joint called 4505 Burgers & BBQ. Meat they had aplenty. I almost succumbed to the day's special of whole smoked hog, but I was on a burger quest, so a cheeseburger was had. This was a one quarter pound grass fed beef patty with leaves of iceberg, thin slices of onion, Gruyere cheese, and a couple slices of bacon on a griddled bun. It was good. Very good in fact. It was potentially made better by the seating situation, dining on picnic benches near the kitchen while sipping an ice cold IPA. Still, I'm giving it a "very good."
The last burger on my tour of the city, led me to the chainstore cluttered streets of the Marina on a day that topped 100 degrees. Despite the record-setting temperature, talk of Causwells' Americana Burger -- accompanied by a mound of frizzled onions -- was like a siren's call. The fact that the restaurant didn't have A/C (unsurprising for a city that rarely breaks 68 in August) didn't deter. And biting into its two meaty patties, grease dribbling down my chin, I was glad I'd braved the sweltering heat. That said, I do think it is the addition of the thin, crisp, fried onions, which I piled on top, that put this burger into "mighty fine" territory. Without them, I'm not sure the burger would have seemed so special.
These three burgers didn't quite make up for the summer's lack of Argentinian beef slathered in Chimichurri, but they most certainly took the edge off. And, I'm sure they did my arteries some good too! (Cue Ben Stiller coming in to hand me a glass of Kombucha.)