The more burgers I eat, the more strongly my burger love is confirmed. If anything, I’ve grown fonder of the burger (if that were possible) and its ever-present companion, the fry. While I’m keeping the quest going, the subtle lines that rank one above the other are blurring, growing fuzzier.
This past weekend, I dragged my kids along with me for burgers, fries, and shakes at 25 Degrees. It wasn’t the grub that they complained about (since they’re bananas for burgers like their mommy) but the lengthy walk, as we competed with the many beach-goers out for sun on a sublimely sunny California Sunday. While free, the space I found was nearly a mile from our destination. I took the walk as a chance to burn calories since my plan was to eat like Michael Phelps during an Olympic year.
Reviews about this place touted the Number One, so I went for it, subbing turkey for beef and leaving off the bacon. As ambitious as my belly was, I had to quit half way through.
I didn’t want to be a quitter. This burger oozed umami; an indulgent and intense flavor made so by the caramelized onions, the Gorgonzola cheese, and a soft Italian cow’s milk cheese called crescenza. These flavors and textures were percolated by the sweetness of 1000 Island and the punch of arugula. It was amazing indeed. The unfinished half of my burger didn’t even get a chance to get cozy in its to-go box as I sucked it down only half an hour after I returned home, my tummy sufficiently rested from part one.
The fries were awesome too – three of us shared a half and half (regulars and sweet ps), all crispy, well-seasoned, and not over-fried. My only beef was with the waitress. She was fine, and I’d planned to give her a nice tip. But she took forever bringing back my change (perhaps she only did so because she noticed us still sitting long after she’d collected our payment); and when she did return, she gave back a ten, which would have been about 21%. Perhaps I would have left that amount had she not been so presumptive – I have no problem tipping well for great service. But I didn’t appreciate her trying to force that tip amount by not breaking the bill. And it irked me even more that she never returned to my area, avoided my table completely, so I finally went to the bar to ask for change. It was only a matter of a couple dollars, but it was the principle. Anyway, ’nuff said. The burger is the thing.
And it was the thing – one of the tastiest I’ve ever had. So I will put this burger up one-to-one with my list, starting with #1, asking which one I’d prefer to eat right now if I had the choice. With that criteria, 25 Degrees fared well against the hefty competition on the Dianderthal Burger Quest list.
Official Dianderthal Burger Quest Burger List:
1. Hawkins House of Burgers turkey burger with
everything (mayo, mustard, pickles, tomato, red onion, lettuce), cheese added
2. PCB (Plan Check Burger) at Plan Check with americanized dashi cheese, ketchup leather, schmaltz onions,
mixed pickles, crunch bun
3. 25 Degrees Number One Burger (turkey subbed for beef) with caramelized onions, crescenza, prelibato gorgonzola,
bacon, arugula, thousand island
4. Island’s California Flyer turkey burger (BBQ sauce, “Island Reds” – fried onion straws, pepper jack cheese, lettuce,
tomato & mayo)
5.Golden State turkey burger with provolone, lettuce,
tomato, red onion, aioli, and ketchup, (added grilled onions)
6. Yeah! Burger (Make It Your Own – turkey patty, whole wheat bun, pepper jack cheese, sriracha mayo, ketchup, grilled onions, honey mustard)
7. The Habit (Veggie burger made like a Charburger, with mayo,
pickle, tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, cucumber, and sprouts)
8. The Counter (Build Your Own – turkey patty, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli, ketchup)
9. Burger City Grill (The BCG, turkey patty,
pickles, grilled onions)
1. Island’s fries with ranch dressing
2. Golden State fried sweet potato wedges with garlic aioli (and a few with curry ketchup)
3. 25 Degrees Half & Half (sweet potato and regular fries)
4. The Counter 50-50 fries (half regular, half sweet Ps)
5. The Habit french fries
6. Plan Check sweet potato waffle fries and regular fries
7. Burger City Grill fries
7. Yeah! Burger sweet potato fries
9. Hawkins House of Burgers fries
412 Walnut Avenue in Huntington Beach
and a location in Hollywood