The humble cheeseburger is my most common craving. It has it all: Beef, carmellized meat, cheese, bread, pickle, sauce. Really, there is not more you can ask from a humble sandwich than this. It works for any mood. You can eat one and drink wine, a cocktail, or beer with it, even coffee! (when I was young, my family knew to get me a burger and a coffee if I was out-of-sorts). Even though I indulge in this craving probably far too often, I am most often disappointed. I am astounded at how often restaurant burgers commit serious atrocities like using brioche. Yes, it's trendy, but brioche is too soft, too sweet, too delicate, and importantly, way too buttery for a burger. Brioche adds nothing except to highlight the amount of fat you are eating while disintegrating in your hand.The biggest sins, to me, with a burger are the aforementioned brioche, any kind of whole-grain or wheat bread rolls (yuck), too much seasoning or onion/pepper in the patty (it's a burger, not a gross meatloaf sandwich), and, of course, overcooking. Yet so many places fall into these evil hellholes of culinary atrocity.
Yesterday, I decided that a quick burger would be the perfect lunch since I had all the needed accoutrements ready at hand, and I was astounded at how good it was, even though I was just going for the simple "fast food" style burger (one of the two styles I love -- the other being a more thoughtful gastropub style burger). It was a simple burger: thin 85% chuck patties, salted and peppered, grilled fast over coals on a Weber, seeded buns, mustard, ketchup, dill pickles, onion, perfection. My gf and family had Cal burgers, nixing the mustard and opting for tomato, lettuce and mayo. This dramatic shift in taste between us was traced to my young and shameful love of McDonald's cheap cheeseburgers (no Big Macs for me), and my family's preference for Whoppers, which are far more California in style. When I am looking for something more substantial, a bigger patty, heartier roll, bacon and bleu cheese (along with the prior condiments, of course) is just what I am looking for. I had some beer, a bog-standard Sierra Nevada IPA, though I prefer English Bitters (like Wells' Bombardier). For wine, I find that mellowed Zins and Cotes-du-Rhone are wonderful; if cocktails, the Boulevardier, Red Hook, or just JW Black on the rocks.
What is your burger, where do you get it, and what do you drink with it?