With El Nino in full effect, I'm hardly surprised when foreboding clouds roll into Los Angeles and unleash meteorological fury typically only seen from MidWest storms. So yesterday when the temperature dropped, lightning flashed, thunder boomed and huge raindrops pounded the pavement, Bryan and I decided we needed some serious comfort food for lunch.
We had just left Glendale and were traversing over Highland Boulevard, having our typical "Where do you want to eat?" exchange. We called Pizzeria Mozza, hopeful that the rain would keep the L.A. lunch crowds at bay. No such luck. "I'm sorry, were totally full with two parties waiting," said the hostess. Strike one.
We called Street, Susan Feniger's new-ish restaurant dedicated to sharing some of her favorite global street foods. The hostess informed us that the restaurant was closed for an employee party. When I offered my husband and I as employees in a last-ditch attempt to join the party, she informed us we'd have to meet them at the local roller rink. Shoot. Strike two.
Pizza and "Street" food out of the equation, Bryan had a stroke of genius and suggested we head back to Roosevelt's 25 Degree Burger Bar. The last time we had been at the Roosevelt Hotel it had been for an Adam Carolla live show, and neither Bryan nor I had eaten dinner. Bryan needed something to fill his belly before he went on stage and rocked the soundboards for four hours. I needed something in my stomach to ward off the onslaught of tequila-sponsored complimentary shots and margaritas. Hey, we work hard and party hard, what can I say?
I ran to 25 Degrees, the hotel's famed burger bar and got one of the best burger meals we've ever had. So good, in fact, that the moment Bryan suggested it yesterday I swerved the car towards the hotel.
In tried and true Bishop fashion, we sat at the bar; by far our favorite seats in almost any restaurant. We surveyed the menu, drooling over 25 Degree's incredible ""Build Your Own Burger" selections. It all starts innocently enough with your choice of sirloin, turkey or veggie burger. But that's where the innocence ends. You see, instead of offering the typical processed American, Cheddar and Swiss cheeses, 25 Degrees has partnered with a variety of local and nationwide cheese-makers to up the gourmet ante. They've got a few of our favorites: Point Reyes blue cheese (my choice), Midnight Moon goat cheese and Burrata (Bryan's choice).
Once you've selected your burger and cheese, you encounter the real problem. There are over 30 toppings and sauces to choose from, ranging from jalapeno bacon, green chili, fried egg, caramelized onions, garlic aioli, chipotle, etc. We got through the toppings, but just barely. I have to admit I stared at the menu for a good five minutes trying to build my best burger.
The verdict? Sirloin burger with Point Reyes blue, caramelized onions, arugula and chipotle sauce for me. Burrata cheese, roasted red pepper, proscuitto and garlic aioli for Bryan. With a side of Half & Half (fries & onion rings). Here's how it turned out:
Sirloin w/Point Reyes blue, caramelized onions, arugula & chipotle sauce
Sirloin w/ Burrata cheese, roasted red pepper, proscuitto & garlic aioli
Half & Half
Crispy yet tender herb fries & flaky, spiced onion rings
My burger may have looked boring on the outside, but you can see its inner beauty. It was fabulous; the meat was perfectly medium rare, streaming juice down my fingers. The blue cheese was rich but didn't overpower the rest of the burger, allowing the sweetness of the caramelized onions and the smokiness of the chipotle shine through. Bottom line: The burger was sumptuous, mouth-watering, finger-licking good. At one point I turned to Bryan and said, "I'm having just as much fun licking my fingers after each bite as I am eating the burger itself." I'm not sure if he understood me as I had a huge bite of food in my mouth, but he got the gist.
My burger's inner beauty!
Bryan's burger was out of control; oozing Burrata, crispy proscuitto & tangy aioli. When it first arrived the prosciutto was so substantial it looked like a tongue lazily lapping out of the bun. Bryan was struck at first by how huge it was, but didn't have a problem demolishing the entire burger. I took a few bites – of course we swapped tastes – and I've got to say it was better than my burger. The saltiness of the proscuitto, the creaminess of the warm Burrata and the bite of the garlic aioli worked perfectly against the pillowy brioche bun and medium rare sirloin. As he finished he simply said, "That was a damn good burger. Easily in my top 10."
Bryan's ooey, gooey, Burrata-oozing burger.
Shockingly, we were too full for a shake or malt but I had to post a photo of that portion of the menu. A Bananas Foster milkshake? A Guinness milkshake? Are you serious? Next time I'm forcing someone to get one just so I can try it.
So if you're in the Hollywood-Highland neighborhood and want an amazing burger, do yourself a favor and stop at 25 Degrees. In our opinion, it only compares to the Father's Office burger, but 25 Degrees gets points for having a wider variety of toppings. We'll definitely be back.