A freelance writer on a lifelong mission to discover the world's greatest milkshake. Enjoying writing along the way.
Published October 26th 2015
Burger-induced mouth-gasms; dead ahead
You know when you set out to accomplish something, and although you're looking forward to the end result, you're mostly excited about the journey you'll take along the way? That sums up my self-imposed Burger Safari; I'm searching for my favourite burger in Los Angeles, but am more than happy to spend a long time on my quest.
Well, just recently, I may have actually found the most delicious burger I have ever had the joy of wrapping my laughing gear around. And I'm only three burgers in. If you haven't heard of Five Guys yet, then that means you definitely haven't had the joy of visiting them, and that makes me incredibly sad for you. Because I think Five Guys may just serve up the most delicious burger in all of Los Angeles – with no fuss, no muss, and a down-to-earth setting that will make anyone feel welcome.
First off – the looks: if you're expecting five-star dining, or a hipster burger bar, then Five Guys may disappoint you. The white and red tiled décor harkens back to the fifties, and feels at once friendly and clean. There are small raised tables with barstools if you're there for a quick bite with a friend; or larger tables for when you need the extra space.
The menu has options to keep you entertained on repeat visits: a few variations of cheeseburgers and hamburgers, as well as hot dogs, fries, grilled cheese, and milkshakes. While your meal won't be as cheap as you may expect for a chain restaurant (I paid about $15 for a burger, small fries, and soft drink), I promise you it's worth the treat yo-self moment. Once you order, you'll be given a number – then you play the waiting game. When I visited, there were about three or four people who had ordered before me, and I waited no more than 10 minutes for my meal. If you simply can't wait another moment after you've ordered, you can indulge in some free peanuts while your burger is being cooked to order – grab a cardboard tray and the scoop and go nuts.
It's nothing flash, but the burgers are spectacular.
I'm reliving the glorious moment when I was handed my bag full of hot food. Your fries will come in a small paper cup, which my server filled and placed in my bag, before pouring another cup's worth of chips into the bag for good measure. I ordered a standard Bacon Cheeseburger. What's great about Five Guys is your burger comes with what its name suggests – mine came with bacon, a beef patty, and cheese – and you choose however many complementary condiments that your heart desires. I went for ketchup and mustard, but the list includes lettuce, grilled onions or mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, hot sauce, relish, tomatoes, and pickles, among others.
The burger itself was large, flavourful, piping hot, and the perfect amount of greasy (not so much that you feel ill, but enough that it wasn't dry). The fries were lightly seasoned and - dare I say it – perfect. There was an option to order them "Cajun style", but I'm not good with anything too spicy, so opted for plain. If you've tried the Cajun option, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
My dinner companion treated himself to a milkshake with his meal, and gave it high marks. They're apparently a new item being trialled at selected Five Guys locations, so hopefully they'll be rolled out across all locations soon enough.
Look, if I'm being honest, I'm not the world's most discerning foodie. I tend to like tasty, fairly simple meals, and I rarely eat anything I get excited enough about to talk about it, even five minutes after the fact. But, two days later, I'm still raving about my Five Guys burger to anyone who will listen. Although I'm overwhelmed with excitement at the thought of returning to Five Guys for another helping of my own personal mouth-gasm, I'm just a little bit sad that everything from now on is most likely going to be less than the best. Then again, LA could surprise me yet. The safari continues.