Editor's note: A short time ago, AHT reader "Junior Mintz" (aka "Frieswitdatshake") contacted me about contributing some San Diego–area burger intel to A Hamburger Today. "Sure thing!" I said. Here's the result. Enjoy! —Adam

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Red Rooster: Givin' the people somethin' to crow about.

I've found some good spots for chewing the cow down here in the San Diego area. One of these is the Red Rooster in Oceanside, California. It's a little roadside dive bar in an area of older strip malls near a California Highway Patrol station, just off the wrong side of the 5 freeway.

I work down the street and heard they had a damn fine burger. Smallish grill in the corner behind the bar with a deep fryer next to it. I dunno if they're half- or third-pound patties, but they're big. They flame grill 'em and grill Ortega chiles right there too. Ortegas don't have any heat to them at all, they just add a terrific flavor to balance the cheese, onions, and all that meaty goodness.

The onions—I'm pretty sure the first time I went—that they briefly deep-fried them, maybe in a skillet on the grill. A minute or so before the burgers are done, they put the ortega chiles on top of the patty, the onions on that, and then top it all with a slice of American cheese. Inside a grilled sesame seed bun, it's a slice of gooey, melted-cheese heaven.

Add a price of $4.50 for a standard burger—five bucks with "everything" (aforementioned cheese, onions, and Ortega chiles)—and you can't beat it. They make fries, too—good-size steak fries with a house seasoning sprinkled liberally over them. I suspect a bit of this stuff goes on the burgers, too.

Sit at the bar and watch your burger sizzle and occasionally catch fire. The bartender races around minding the grill and the regulars. You get your burger, and it's got this great finish with a bit of char on the outside then medium-rare all the way through—they don't even ask how you want it cooked. Just east of the 5 on Oceanside Boulevard. Big red rooster painted on the side—"Home of the Rooster Burger." You can't miss it.

Red Rooster

Address: 1985 Oceanside Boulevard, Oceanside CA 92054 [map]
Phone: 760-754-8383

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