Grilled: 'Hamburglar' Hadley Tomicki

Ladies and gentlemen, last week we introduced you to AHT's Matty Jacobs. This week, it's time you got to know "Hamburglar" Hadley Tomicki a little better. Without further ado, let's get Grillin' —Ed.

Name: Hadley "Hamburglar" Tomicki
Location: Los Angeles
Occupation: Editor lataco.com, educator, and actor

How often do you eat burgers? Less and less it seems these days after opening up to the taco lifestyle, maybe once or twice a month.

Where did you eat your most recent one? Fatburger on a very classy date, unless you count the Runza I had in Nebraska the other week.

American, cheddar, other? I like Gruyère, cheddar, even blue cheese. Typically sharp cheeses for me on my burger.

Ketchup or mustard? Both. But if George W. Bush instituted a draconian one-condiment doctrine, I'd choose the ketchup.

Sesame-seed or plain? Sesame, please.

Grilled, griddled, or broiled? Grilled—with lots of char marks.

And how would you like that done, sir? Medium, possibly medium-rare, if you've got a good rep.

Would you do us the favor of describing your perfect burger? (Price and ingredients are no object.) It would be a big-ass loosely packed one on a sesame bun, onions, lettuce, tomaters, pickles. Maybe some of that weird pink Thousand Island sauce. The meat would be a little charred on the outside but pink and crumbly on the inside. I'm feeling a little psychopathic as I write this right now 'cause of Dia de los Muertos, so how about pineapple, an egg, avocado, Gruyère, actually put a few kinds of cheese on that, I want it really gooey, too, with the cheese, and served on a platinum platter that I can wear to the club then sell afterward for a bottle of Night Train and a few hours at that Motel on Cashio and LaCeinega to sleep it off. [Um, OK. —Ed.]

The hamburger is a food item with which most Americans have strong childhood associations. Do you remember your earliest encounter with this delicious dish? I was a hamburger freak when I was little, that and KFC meant food to me. The rest was just a diversion. I only really remember McDonald's, though, and my mom cooking burgers in Florida until we moved to California and she put a ban on red meat and took up the badge of the food police ... love you, Mama!

What's your favorite fast-food burger? In-N-Out, WHEN it's on. When it's off, it's really nothing special. I took a carload of hot Mormon girls there recently, and it was wack. I hate their inconsistency because they supposedly rep Cali, and when it's off, people think we have wack burgers. Fatburger's good and consistent, but not quite as off-the-chain. Gotta say Carl's Jr.'s Six Dollar Burger works for me too!

What topping or condiment, in your opinion, should never grace a burger? I'm tempted to say another burger 'cause I don't do double beef. My imam stresses that there should never be bacon on my burger, but I hate bouzhie burgers, so keep off the truffles and rib-eye cut by underground gnomes in the Urals.

20061106HadsFatburger.jpgWhat's the most unusual burger you've ever eaten? (Or most unusual burger experience you've had?) Ew ... I bit into a burger once at a big chain, and blood sprayed me. As for an unusual experience, I recently had a Runza, famous in Nebraska, which has burgeresque qualities. Sort of more like a sloppy joe, I thought.

What's New On Serious Eats

What's the most overrated burger you've tried? Most underrated? For me, Father's Office award-winning burger in Santa Monica. It just ain't a burger to me, though it is a tasty sandwich. This'll make a lot of you throw hissy fits, I'm sure: Corner Bistro is good but not quite up to the hype for me. Never hit the Shake Shack ... is it overrated? Underrated, I'd have to go back to that Six Dollar Burger at Carl's Jr. A lot of people hate it.

For some crazy reason, you're going vegetarian. Where do you go for your final burger? Ha ha. I was a vegetarian for eight years, and I thank burgers for bringing me back. In LA, I'd go to 25 Degrees at the Roosevelt Hotel, which has just about the juiciest burger I've ever tasted. And it's a make-your-own-burgers joint, to boot, which helps 'cause I'm a definite control freak. In New York, I'd probably hit Walker's or JG Melon's, those are my favorite burgers en la manzana grande.

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BURGER JOINTS REFERENCED
Fatburger: Various locations, mostly in California; fatburger.com
Runza: Various Midwest locations, mostly in Nebraska; runza.com
McDonald's: Various locations worldwide; mcdonalds.com
In-N-Out Burger: Various locations in California, New Mexico, and Arizona; in-n-out.com
Carl's Jr.: Various locations, West Coast; carlsjr.com
Father's Office: 1018 Santa Monica Ave., Santa Monica CA 90403; fathersoffice.com
Corner Bistro: 331 West 4th Street, New York City; cornerbistro.citysearch.com
Shake Shack: Madison Ave. and 23rd Street, New York NY 10010; shakeshacknyc.com
25 Degrees: 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028; 25degreesrestaurant.com
Walker's: 16 N Moore Street, New York NY 10013
J.G. Melon: 1291 Third Ave., New York NY 10021

FURTHER READING
Taco ["Hamburglar" Hadley Tomicki's other project]
All AHT entries by 'Hamburglar' Hadley [AHT Archives]
Other Grilled interviews [AHT Archives]