$25. In the real world that can get you a lot of things. You know, like 25 items from the McDonald’s Dollar Menu or a tank of gas (Prius FTW). But at The Spotted Pig in New York’s West Village it will get you a single burger (with fries though!) And that is the sole reason I set off for The Spotted Pig. As a meat blogger and burger connoisseur, I had been eying the burger for years, waiting for the chance to strike.
In Santa Barbara there’s a spot called the Public Market. It’s kind of like an upscale food court, but most importantly there is a bar that attracts Michigan fans called The Garden. It’s not your typical sports bar, and is a sort of attempt to be a beer or wine garden. Whatever the case, I was eager for some beer and a burger.
As you might expect, there are a number of harbors in Southern California. Some are better than others, but the best are full of a series of shops and restaurants. Dana Point has one of those harbors and in fact it harbors a restaurant called Harbor Grill. Most people would expect to get seafood at such a place and that probably would have been a wise decision, but I am not most people.
Highlands Ranch is a crazy distant suburb of Denver, which typically means chain restaurants galore. And that’s pretty much what I found, but I also found a place called Crave Burger that was anything but “chainy.” It felt like the kind of burger place I would open if I were ballsy enough to open a restaurant. The menu was loaded with all sorts of crazy and inventive burgers including toppings like peanut butter, jalapeno poppers and fried white cheddar and eventually I found mine.
Vail, Colorado may be a beautiful place, but it is certainly not a place to go if you’re on a budget. Lift tickets are crazy expensive and the food isn’t much cheaper. But there are a couple more reasonable places in town and The Red Lion is one of them. As you might expect, The Red Lion is a British Pub and has your classic pub fare. When it came to my meal, I only really had eyes for the burgers.
Every city has its share of iconic places to eat. In Atlanta, one of those places goes by the name of The Varsity and has been around since 1928. They still do the paper hat thing and the people taking orders are famous for asking “What’ll Ya Have?” As far as the food goes, it’s basically what you would expect from 1928: hot dogs, burgers, fries and onion rings.
San Clemente is a quaint little town on the California coast that is definitely worth a visit. And if you make it down there, you could do a whole lot worse than a visit to H.H. Cotton’s, a gastropub right in the middle of town. We wound up there completely by accident, but then isn’t that the way many great stories begin?
While the little one was distracted by football, I went ahead and ordered The Longhorn, based on my waitress’s recommendation. The Longhorn, by the way, is a burger topped with bacon, chopped brisket, crispy shallots, cheddar and BBQ sauce. As for my side, I opted for fries.
The Malibu Cafe might be one of the coolest places to hang out in LA. The sprawling grounds are like an Anthropologie fan’s orgasm, with box lights, upside down umbrellas, giant chess pieces and pillows with words on them. Plus, it’s super family friendly. After winning me over at the Burger Battle in Santa Monica earlier this year, I was eager to find out what the restaurant itself would be like.
When you’re in New York, it’s probably not the best idea to decide where you are eating based on the proximity to your hotel. Yet, when I walked by Black Iron Burger, right around the corner from my hotel in Chelsea I was immediately drawn in. The place claimed to have been voted as one of the best burgers in New York, and I was in no position to disagree.
Once upon a time I was featured on a show called Eat Street to talk about a food truck in LA called Grill ‘Em All. Eventually, like many successful food trucks, Grill ‘Em All opened a real restaurant. For some reason they chose Alhambra, which is better known for its Chinese food than its burgers, but diversity is always a good thing and the restaurant has stood strong for a couple years now. I finally got the chance to try it recently to see how it turned out.