National Burger Day at Rustic Canyon

The burger reportedly stared its long, wonderful journey at Louis’ Lunch in New Haven Connecticut. Louis’ has been selling ground beef patties between two pieces of toasted bread to busy office workers since 1900. Burger guru George Motz profiles them in his book Hamburger America, and they are also featured on the DVD that accompanies the book. George also visits LA’s venerable Apple Pan in the book, deemed one of his favorite burger joints in LA.

LA is hit and miss with it’s burgers. Or inexpensive, good burgers anyway. In my opinion, In-and-Out Burger reigns supreme for the best tasting, cheapest burger. There are some great King burgers in South Central LA if you dare to make the trip. There are a handful of gourmet burger joints around the city like Father’s Office, Lucky Devils, 25 Degrees, The Counter, and 8oz. And several restaurants that have their own version of the classic sandwich, The Hungry Cat, Marmont, Village Idiot, Morton’s and the like.

Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica is our burger destination for the night.

Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica is our burger destination for the night.

 

This time around, we hit up one of those great restaurant adaptions of the classic meat and buns. To celebrate the burger’s 109th birthday, and National Burger Day (May 28), we stopped in at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica. Chef Evan Funke, who can be seen nearly every week browsing the rows of fresh produce at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, is at the helm creating seasonal cooking at its best. The menu, constructed of fine small plates, a couple of pasta dishes, and main dishes like a Root Vegetable Shepherds Pie, California Rock Cod, Pan Roasted ‘Jidori’ Chicken, and of course the Niman Ranch Burger.

The wine list is extensive, and not terribly overpriced. There are some good values to be found here.

The wine list is extensive, and not terribly overpriced. There are some good values to be found here.

The Panza Petite Syrah is our choice for burger pairing.

The Panza Petite Syrah is our choice for burger pairing.

 

To start off with we order a bottle of the 2003 Panza Petite Syrah. It’s a dark ruby-red wine with flavors of currant, raspberry, blackberry, and plum. There are hints of clove and toasted hazelnuts, very big and bold with a long finish. The squash blossoms arrive, beautiful flowers, stuffed with goat cheese and herbs. Lightly breaded, then deep fried. Never would I think of eating flowers, but stuff them with goat cheese and deep fry them, and they are consumed in just a few seconds.

Squash blossoms stuffed with a delicious herbed goat cheese.

Squash blossoms stuffed with a delicious herbed goat cheese.

 

The burger arrives in all it’s glory. A beautiful presentation, the burger is stacked on a soft and chewy bun, with a slice of sharp Vermont cheddar, a single onion ring, house made pickles, wild arugula and the addition of a fried egg on top. The meat, a good 8oz Niman Ranch ground beef patty. Was slightly overdone for medium rare, and a little under seasoned for my liking. The egg was perfectly cooked, the pickles added a nice zing of flavor. Overall, the taste and quality of ingredients made this an exceptional burger to celebrate such a great “holiday”.

The Niman Ranch burger is a sight to behold.

The Niman Ranch burger is a sight to behold.

Vahlrona Chocolate Truffle Pudding with whipped creme

Vahlrona Chocolate Truffle Pudding with whipped creme

 

The Vahlrona Chocolate Truffle Pudding with whipped creme, delicious cold and creamy pudding, topped with a thick layer of truffle pudding and fresh whipped cream was good. But I think I missed out when we didn’t order the Hot Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts with local stone ground hot chocolate. It’s supposed to be one of Zoe Nathan’s exceptional dishes. Nathan, is the Pastry Chef at the equally raved about Huckleberry Bakery located just a few doors down (and owned by the same folks at Rustic.)

It goes on the list of one of the finer burgers in town, but at $16 (plus $2.50 for the egg!) It’s also one of the more expensive burgers. But on this special day, a little extra cash, for an extra special burger, is worth it. How often do you get to celebrate someone’s 109th birthday?

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Author:Matt Mitchell

A lover of everything LA has to offer, Matt created Dig Lounge to tell his friends about all the fun things to do in the city. Matt has worked in the dot com world since 1996, including some of the top online entertainment companies and digital marketing firms. He currently works as a Digital Producer.

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