I’ve been debating whether or not to post this because the burger in question is in fact a special, and as you all know there’s nothing worse than reading a review of something delicious only to discover that it’s no longer there. Cruel and unusual is what I call it. BUT can something really be a special if it’s been on the menu as a special for six months? If it was a house guest, you would have inquired about paying rent a long time ago or made them move into a hotel. So, I will write about it. Carpe diem, Mayans be damned we’re all still here, or if you prefer YOLO.
Forage is one of my favorite restaurants in LA for a number of reasons. It’s not just that they cook with ingredients that are locally sourced and support small farms, but they actually give you credit to their restaurant if you give them your excess fruit or vegetables from your home garden. They’ve got a whole program for it called Home Growers Circle, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside despite my own lack of green thumb. I’ve killed many a cactus in my day.
Of course none of this would mean anything if the food was awful. A home grown tomato means nothing if it’s been desecrated by some poorly thought out dressing. I’m happy to report that Forage makes some of the best side dishes in Los Angeles. As someone who will always choose mac n’ cheese over arugula, I often find myself at the Forage counter asking for the bulgar wheat with lentils over the potatoes au gratin, which feels very weird. They also have a brand new menu every day depending on what’s available which they post diligently online.
Anyhow, like I was saying, I didn’t want to review this burger because I was afraid it wasn’t going to be there for very much longer, but then I ate it, and it’s delicious, and you know all those reasons seemed silly. So without further ado, I present Forage’s special burger. On a grilled homemade bun they put a grass fed beef patty with sweet pickles, sweet onions, a slice of heirloom tomato, lettuce, some sort of mayo, and aged white Cheddar. The whole thing is a mere $12.50 which is pretty decent for a gourmet burger. The only catch is you will want to get yourself a side while waiting for it to be prepared. Otherwise there’s a fifteen minute wait while they cook the thing, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re sitting there hungry and everyone else in the place has their food, it feels like eternity. Also, it always feels very virtuous to eat your roasted beet and citrus salad before diving into a cheese burger.
Do not be fooled by its tiny circumference. When mine finally arrived, I was outraged at its size, but when I picked it up, I was surprised by its heft. Also don’t make any plans to touch anything once that baby has been picked up. It is a cheesy, oniony, sloppy mess. The burger itself is rather salty, which is countered by the sweetness of the onions and the crispness of the lettuce, but the real surprise is the genius of the cheese and pickle. The combination of sweet pickle and aged Cheddar is no rarity on the other side of the pond, but it’s a rarity in America. The tang of the pickle and the comforting warmth of the cheese turn this burger from average to extraordinary. I just hope Forage finally gives in and puts it on the menu for good.
PS. Save room for dessert. They make some beauties.