One of the hardest parts of being an amateur food blogger is that when people are struggling to decide what to eat, they look to you. Never mind the fact that you don’t eat healthy, don’t like to spend too much money and are happier with a cheeseburger than foie gras. So even though I was with family in San Diego, the only place I knew to go to was Hodad’s in Ocean Beach, a divey surfer burger stand.
But Hodad’s isn’t just any divey surfer burger stand. It is THE divey surfer burger stand, which is actually why I know about it. Frequently listed as one of the best burgers in the country, I’ve read about and had a strong urger to go to Hodad’s for at least a year. In fact, if we hadn’t already had a trip to San Diego planned, I probably would have made a special trip just to get dinner there.
What makes Hodad’s so special isn’t some fancy ground beef or brioche bun, but actually what they do with their bacon. Rather than simply cooking up some bacon on the griddle, they form their bacon into a miniature little bacon patty and put it on top of the burger. Thishas two amazing results. The first is that you get an even distribution of bacon on the burger, preventing unnecessary bacon-less bites. The second is that you don’t have to worry about biting into a piece of bacon and accidentally ripping out a whole piece of bacon when ripping out a bite. Genius!
So to test out this bacon patty to the fullest, I ordered myself the double bacon cheeseburger. As with all the burgers, it came with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, mayo, mustard and ketchup. So with all that involved, I got mine naked, except for ketchup. I made mine a basket so it came with fries and then on top of that we ordered a basket of onion rings for the table.
The onion rings came first and looked great. I ordinarily avoid onions, but some onion rings are so fried that any reminder that it ever was an onion is long gone. Fortunately, that’s what Hodad’s was like. These things were so covered in crazy thick batter and were so deeply fried that anything resembling an onion had been lost. And in place of that onion was delicious, crispy awesomeness.
But I was not here for rings, I was at Hodad’s for burger and when it arrived, it looked like a dream come true. Oozing with cheesy goodness and burgery brown-ness, the burger was ready to get in me. And it was amazing. Each bite unleashed a perfect blend of cheese, bacon, meat and bun. The ketchup was really only there for moisture and although it was unnecessary, it also added a touch of sweetness that made the burger even better. I looked around the table to see everyone else eating their veggie-laden burgers and knew I had hit the jackpot. The bacon patties were superb and by far the best burger bacon I had ever had. As for flavor, this was on par with Shake Shack in New York, with the additional bonus of being walking distance from the beach and having bacon patties.
On top of that, the fries were really tasty, thick-cut and had the perfect crisp texture on the outside and silky smoothness on the inside. Finally, there were the malts. I didn’t order one for myself because I figured I was already ordering enough cow products, but I did get the chance to try out someone else’s chocolate malt at the table. It was delicious and had I only ordered a single bacon cheeseburger, I may have needed one for myself.
As it were, my hands were full with the burger and I had made a great choice. It was definitely a burger worthy of being one of the best in the country and I now know that no trip to San Diego would be complete without it.