Bauer, who is the Executive Food and Wine Editor for the SF Chronicle and a blogger, weighs in on his five favorite burgers in the Bay. The list is below (and here), but I thought I'd point out the most impressive stat of his post. When he did his original best burger article 10 years ago he made 60 stops and tried 16 burgers in one day. Michael Bauer, you're my hero.
Zuni Cafe. It still tops my list because the chuck is first salted overnight and ground the next day, so the seasonings permeate the beef. Contrary to popular opinion about salt leaching out moisture, it's just the opposite; these burgers are juicy throughout. The thick patty is served on focaccia, with house-pickled onions on the side.
Here are the others that round out my top five:
In-n-Out: if you're going to eat fast food, this is the place for a great burger. Too bad the fries aren't better. It helps if you ask for them extra crispy, but when there are dozens in line behind you, it becomes a little difficult.
Bistro Don Giovanni: This is a close second. It comes with a selection cheese but I like it "Donna or Scott's Way," which means the bun is slathered with aioli and mounded with grilled onions.
Nopa: The juicy, fat burgers are grilled over almond wood, which imparts a subtle smokiness.
Bix: The burger is enhanced with truffles and Picerino and served on toasted rye.
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