San Diego: A Beauty of a Burger at Beaumont's
5662 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla CA (map); 858-459-0474; beaumontseatery.com
Cooking method: Grilled
Short Order: A tasty classic burger with a few unique tweaks
Want Fries With That? The burger comes with mixed greens or fries; go for the fries. They're simple but good
Price: Char Burger, $11.50; Beaumont's Burger, $12.50
If you needed a reason to visit Bird Rock (besides getting a latte at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and staring gape-mouthed in wonder at the beauty of this perfect little slice of the Pacific coast), the opportunity to have a burger at Beaumont's more than qualifies making the trip.
You've got two options: the Char Burger, an Angus patty with aioli and the traditional fixings, or the Beaumont's Burger, a three-meat patty mixed with sun dried tomatoes and topped with balsamic glazed onions, feta, and basil aioli. It's one of Jason McLeod's top picks in the city.
Actually, scratch that, there's also a third, best-of-both-worlds option that's not technically on the menu: a beef patty, Beaumont's-style (i.e., topped with feta, onions, and basil aioli). That's the route I took, because despite my curiosity about what sun dried tomatoes would bring to the party, for my own (emotional) reasons, I just couldn't pull the trigger on a patty made with beef, pork, and veal.
As it turns out, subbing the straight-up Angus patty for the three-meat blend worked just fine. The feta doesn't exactly melt, but the salty flecks of cheese make for a more savory flavor that contrasts nicely with the balsamic onions, which were so sweet and caramelized that I ate every last one of them (as opposed to those terrible rings of raw, white onions that I always want to fling, frisbee-style, onto a neighboring table).
True to its name, the half-pound patty had a full coat of char, but remained moist in the middle. It was cooked a bit past my requested temp (medium-rare), and while I could have gone for more juice, I wasn't missing any flavor. On the side, you get tomatoes, red leaf lettuce, and red onion, but I was so satisfied without them that I didn't even notice their presence until the second-last bite. The tomato would have completed the picture that the salty feta and sweet onions started with a little pop of acidity, but even without it, this was a tasty burger.
The light and somewhat spongy bun is flecked with sesame seeds, and provides an ideal bread-to-meat ratio, but I wished it had been a little bit more toasted to add some crunch and dimension.
On the side, you can get mixed greens or fries. You want the fries. They're light, crisp, and delicious—not life-changing, but they really do make the meal. If you want your spuds a bit more spiffy, try Guy's Fries, with blue cheese crumbles, garlic, and basil aioli, or the Truffle Fries, with grana padano cheese, lemon aioli, chives, and parsley.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax.