Ever since I started going to the South Pasadena Farmer’s Market I have been intrigued by a restaurant lurking behind the stalls, going by the name of Communal. It seemed to be the type of neighborhood spot with solid food that would keep locals coming back for more. Obviously, though, I didn’t want to judge book by it’s cover and had to find out for myself.
The Hyperion sounds like sci-fi movie from the nineties that spawned a moderately successful TV series. Well, that or a moderately successful mythology-based TV series that spawned a terrible movie. It turns out that it is neither, and instead a gastropub in Silverlake. Plus, its full name is Hyperion Public. In any case, it might actually be a book series. But I digress, this is about the Hyperion Public’s food.
$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.
The Original Tops is a classic countertop-style diner in Pasadena that would probably evoke nostalgic memories if you were from the area. As someone who is not from Pasadena, I at least get excited over the prospect of a new burger spot, especially a no-frills type of place that has stood the test of time like The Original Tops.
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.