Chasing the Dragon (I mean the burger)

Going on the hunt for the “best-of” meals can be a lot like an addict after a fix.  I remember years ago seeing someone I knew in Ruth’s Chris Steak House.   I watched him from afar as he ordered his steak.   He was well into his fifties at this point, and you just knew his doctor wouldn’t approve.  When it arrived, his eyes were as big as saucers and he even rubbed his hands together before picking up fork & knife.  He dove into it like it was his last meal on Earth.  It was really something to behold, and I have never forgotten it.

I hope I never come off as a “know it all” about food but I feel I do know where to get the best burger in L.A., and for me, sorry folks, but it ain’t the Apple Pan.  It is (or maybe right now I can say was) at the Beverly Hills Hotel coffee shop.

My addiction in life is food, strictly.  There are no crossover addictions.  Facebook for an ex-addict friend of mine became dangerous.  She couldn’t casually walk back to her bedroom without the computer calling to her to “check”.  Then she would get lost in the Facebook world of other people’s comments and photos and all that Facebook has to offer.  Hours later, she would finally drag herself away from her computer and catch a bit of sleep.  She unhooked herself quickly.  I miss her presence on Facebook, but she’s a “real” friend, so I actually see her and talk to her whenever I want.

Yesterday, I was doing my five-minute stroll onto my homepage when I noticed that my childhood friend Joy had said something about the best burger ever.  Well, you can only imagine how that caught me eye.   Joy’s posts often get my attention, but none like yesterday.  Where was this amazing burger? I wanted to know.  Her reply: “Fred Segal in Santa Monica,” not usually known for its gourmet cuisine.

The following morning I had one goal in mind.  But first, I had to find which Santa Monica Fred Segal was serving these rumored Best Burgers in Town.  For anyone venturing out, it’s the original or East side Fred Segal.  The place is called Umami and it’s where that little coffee house once was near the parking lot.  And it’s packed.  Clearly the world had heard about this place before me.  I took my son Barnaby, who, several months ago had sworn off burgers after hearing horrific details about them in the documentary “Food, Inc.”

I found a table and scanned the room for the reactions of people eating, and   I’m not exaggerating too much when I use the word orgasmic.   Were smoking allowed, some would have lit up afterwards.  I got very excited, but needed to order just the right burger to make me happy, and so I did.  A cheeseburger–leave the sundried tomatoes and carmelized onion on the side—but keep that special sauce.

Barnaby couldn’t resist and broke his burger-boycott by ordering exactly what I did.  And we shared onion rings.  Orgasmic – can you use that word when you’re dining with your son?   What the hell.

And, just when I thought lunch and life couldn’t get any better, we ran into one of my best friends’ ex-husbands (just one of many exes of many friends).  So, a big shout-out to Tom who picked up the check!

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8 Responses to “Chasing the Dragon (I mean the burger)”

  1. Kim says:

    Nice, Fred! I must go have an orgasm, I mean burger there!

  2. robin says:

    been wanting to try umami burger for a long time.
    will not put off any longer. dinner. tomorrow.
    thx, fred xo

  3. Kim says:

    By the way, I don’t believe my ex husband would be so nice as to treat you for lunch. I’m just saying!

  4. robin says:

    mine would.
    but he isn’t ex.

  5. OK – As a hamburger Lover- when I can afford the calories, our next outing must be Orgasmic Unami!!! Then – the Coffee Shop at the Beverly Hills Hotel. BUT – if I can ever get you girls to visit me in dreaded OC, we must go to 25 Degrees – a new restaurant dontown with the best gourmet burger in our HOOD! The restauarant is owned by the people who started ARCHES – a unique and well known Newport Beach spot.

    So – I’m going with you – as always – will you go with me? Also the fries and onion rings at 25 Degrees are to die for….

    Thanks for all of your great tips and I am glad Barnaby is back in the BURGER fold!!! Also – Apple Pan has always been over rated, although a fn place to go…. xxoox

  6. Augie Duke says:

    I spent Motheres day with my mom yesterday, and we ordered the burgers. I ate the whole burger. Best burger i have ever tasted. Thanks Mom….

  7. pauli moss says:

    Well, I am glad that so many people are enjoying those burgers. But the real challenge is in really DESCRIBING what Umame tastes like because I have never had it. Is it soy’ish’?
    Did you get it rare, medium, what? What was the sauce like and what kind of cheese? Was the bun tasty? As good as you thought it would be? Was it 4 oz? 6 oz? more? My favorite burger is actually at Cheesecake Factory in Brentwood or Beverly Hills. Just the classic burger. Tastes like…rare, slightly charred but juice ground sirloin/chuck with a garlic smeared bun.

  8. Julie Tolman says:

    BH Hotel Coffee Shop, is my favorite, I met my mom and dad there everyday for lunch after she got cancer.

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