Earlier today, I managed to disappear shortly from Day 2 of my daughter Kourtney’s dance convention. Dance conventions are the purest form of parent torture; as a mom, I’m expected to sit in a congested ballroom watching choreographers cycle through a new dance routine every hour, each using a song you can’t shake out of your head even if you jump up and down like there was water in your ear; and what’s worse, I don’t even get to join in (it’s hard to keep myself seated during the hip hop rotation). When you exit the ballroom, you’re faced with vendors hustling dance apparel and bows and turning boards (literally a 3-by-3 board used for dancers to practice turns) that you’ll be peer pressured into buying if you don’t make a firm commitment to hold on tight to your dollars. On Day 1, I was a good girl, getting work done on my laptop despite the music, going for a 6-mile run around the hotel’s adjacent neighborhood, limiting myself to just one item purchased at the stands, being gracious in offering one floor sitter an empty chair next to me that I’d been using to hold my purse, and only eating the healthy food packed in my lunch bag.
Today’s experience was quite the opposite. I chatted when I should have been writing, talked myself out of my run (my knee ached from the frigid room), glared at the woman who kept sitting in the chair next to me despite half of my sweater settling on its edge (a clear indication not to sit there), bought yet another item for daughter – one she didn’t even asked for, and rebuffed my healthy lunch of apples and peanut butter, fresh raspberries, and trail mix, deciding instead to find a nearby burger to make up for the awful and dry burger I’d had the night before at a nicer chain restaurant where my husband wanted to go for his birthday dinner.
So my craving warranted a Burger Quest type of burger, and I was happy to find Burger Lounge via a quick search for locations within walking distance from the hotel (if I was going to spend money and skip my run, the least I could do was burn a few calories with a mile-long walk). And so the decision was made: once I made sure Kourtney was fed at the lunch break, shoed-up, and ready for her next round, I’d set out, asking a couple of the other parents to keep an eye on her (because I had very important work to do).
My walk took me through a tiny stretch of Beverly Hills, where I hoped to bump into a celebrity or two (I did see a limousine pull over in wait of a passenger at a fancy house but nothing more exciting than that). My hunger was fierce so I kept my feet moving briskly, removing a piece of clothing after each long block to keep cool (I’d layered, as the ballrooms were cold – and if you’re concerned about my public stripping, I stopped once I got down to my running tank). It took less than 20 minutes to arrive, and thankfully the line was short.
I’m sure there are times when their line is out the door. Burger Lounge sits on a corner along Beverly Blvd. with passersby ranging from realtors yapping loudly on Bluetooth to ladies bold and brazen enough to leave the house in head-to-toe leopard to hungry cops to hipsters walking their dogs. With burgers of free-range turkey or lamb or grass-fed beef; of quinoa veggies or longline caught albacore, it’s easy to believe this place would garner big business for variety’s sake alone. I chose turkey, of course, and was pleased that, for once, it wasn’t packaged for some super conscious health nut; you know, with avocado and sprouts and without cheese (while I can be a health nut, when I eat a burger, I go big with it). This turkey came Lounge Style – with grilled onions and cheese (American or white cheddar) and 1000 Island dressing. I ordered the ¼ pound version, not realizing how tiny a ¼-pound would be. But it proved the right choice, a burger that when paired with fries filled me up quite nicely. If I’d gone with the bigger burger, I would have kept eating but been forced to stroll back to the hotel bloated and slow and with a bellyache.
Yes it was small but gratifying. The turkey was succulent and dense, the sauce and cheese melding nicely for that perfect balance of sweet and savory. It was amazing. It was wonderful.
And then there were the fries. The wait staff who’d brought my burger asked if I’d like a side of their house-made Ranch dressing to go with my meal. Certainly, sir. So glad he asked, because THOSE fries with THAT Ranch was potato madness. And when I say potato madness, I mean potato GOODNESS. The fries were excellent, at once limp and crisp while being just the right kind of greasy and robustly russety (made-up word).
Feeling guilty for trying out a new place without my partner in burger crimes, I returned to Burger Lounge with Kourtney after her convention ended. She’s a pretty harsh judge of burger joints, but she gave this one a thumbs up, equivalent on her scale to a primetime Emmy or a platinum record (do they still do that?). The second visit meant more cash exiting my wallet, but at least I was able to steal a few of her fries and slurp down more than my fair share of her rich chocolate shake.
Next time, I’ll get my own shake (and I’m not even a shake person, but this one was worth carrying on about) and, after peeping a batch on someone else’s plate, will add onion rings to my fry order. It’s a given that I will be Lounging again very very soon.
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. Burger Lounge’s Free Range Turkey Burger, served Lounge Style with organic white cheddar, grilled onion, lettuce,
tomato, and house-made 1000 Island
5. Father’s Office Burger with arugula, caramelized onions, Gruyere, applewood bacon, and maytag blue cheese
6. Island’s California Flyer turkey burger (BBQ sauce, “Island Reds” – fried onion straws, pepper jack cheese, lettuce,
tomato & mayo)
7.Golden State turkey burger with provolone, lettuce,
tomato, red onion, aioli, and ketchup, (added grilled onions)
8. Oh My Burger BYOMB (Build Your Oh My Burger) turkey with OMB sauce, ketchup, pepper jack, and onion rings
9. Holstein’s California Turkey Burger with sprouts,
tomato, avocado, cucumber claw, pepperjack cheese, and Russian dressing
10. Yeah! Burger (Make It Your Own – turkey patty, whole wheat bun, pepper jack cheese, sriracha mayo, ketchup, grilled onions, honey mustard)
11. The Habit (Veggie burger made like a Charburger, with mayo,
pickle, tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, cucumber, and sprouts)
12. The Counter (Build Your Own – turkey patty, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli, ketchup)
13. Burger City Grill (The BCG, turkey patty,
pickles, grilled onions)
14. The Dallas at Bobby’s Burger Palace – spice crusted ground turkey patty with coleslaw, jack cheese, BBQ sauce, and
1. Island’s fries with ranch dressing
2. Golden State fried sweet potato wedges with garlic aioli (and a few with curry ketchup)
3. Burger Lounge’s fries with house-made Ranch
4. Holstein’s sweet potato fries
5. 25 Degrees Half & Half (sweet potato and regular fries)
6. Father’s Office sweet potato fries with blue cheese aioli
7. The Counter 50-50 fries (half regular, half sweet Ps)
8. Oh My Burger sweet potato fries
9. The Habit french fries
10. Plan Check sweet potato waffle fries and regular fries
11. Bobby’s Burger Palace sweet potato fries
12. Burger City Grill fries
13. Yeah! Burger sweet potato fries
14. Hawkins House of Burgers fries
281 S. Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills and other locations