Rounds Burger

Goals, guilt, hamburgers, and people watching. These are a few of my favorite things. Everyone should have goals. Not the kind represented by a red dot on a power point slide delivered in a board room by a terrible tie and equally terrible coffee breath, but the kind that you pick for yourself, as a reference to what you want your life to be like. Goals are often quantifiable, but even when they aren’t it’s easy to tell if they are being reached, because of guilt; the ever-so-very handy little mental mechanism built right into you as a natural reminder that you can do better.  In my personal experience, guilt is an extremely consistent indicator of behavior that is in direct opposition to my goals. Hamburgers simply rule (though have the potential to inspire guilt in the proper context) and people watching is just the bees knees. People are awesome. Believe it.

One of my goals (albeit a very lazily pursued one) is to be in good shape. That whole eat-right-and-exercise-regularly thing. I have read too many books on both topics to claim ignorance on the subjects I’m afraid, so from time to time I just have to feel guilty about it. To be a boastful hamburger chugger is to accept to some degree that visible abs are out of the question, but I do still suffer the fleeting wonder of what they might be like. Where am I going with all of this you ask? To West Hollywood.

Rounds Premium Burgers is located right by the corner of Santa Monica and San Vicente, in what feels like the dead center of WeHo, though that claim may not be geographically accurate. I’d have probably never found myself here on my own but I blindly bought a groupon (I buy them without reading a word if the photo is a cheeseburger, seriously), and remembered it while both hungry, and randomly nearby. Suffering from the tunnel vision that extreme hunger can cause, my dining companion and I parked, made a B-line for the door of this place, and thoughtfully ordered in the most precise of fashions. Not an extra word was muttered. Moments after I began to internally celebrate the burger that would soon be mine, and before we even found our seats, the fog began to lift and I took a hard look around, starting with the guy who just took my order a.k.a. Tyrese with incredibly long eyelashes. Maybe 2% bodyfat on this guy. Maybe. Not the kind of physical specimen you expect to be the one to hand you an 1800 calorie meal. A fluke perhaps.

We took our seats outside at a table on the broad sidewalk. Facing the street, our position was positively perfect for people-watching, which commenced promptly. I now took note of the steady thump of house music pounding away next door, as a couple eccentric looking old folks scuddled past. Sundays are for drinking in this neighborhood, and Rounds just so happens to be on the same block as a couple of the most overcrowded and action packed gay bars on the entire planet.

The same gent who took our order (the celebrity personal trainer moonlighting as restaurant cashier) also delivered our food. Near as I could tell he was the only guy working there, but still our service was fast and delightfully personable. I ordered the Executive, one of several of Rounds’ specialty burgers, all of which have no more than 3 toppings. Simplicity is beautiful. This particular burger is a 1/3rd lb fresh ground chuck patty, and nearly as much bacon, blue cheese and caramelized onions by weight. This thing is a monster, served up on a bun just like the Park’s- all prettied up to look like a brioche but inside it’s just white bread. The beef was cooked nearer to medium well than the medium rare I asked for, but aside from that the burger was everything I wanted it to be- juicy, flavorful, and just messy enough to be fun. The massive mound of hand cut fries that accompanied the Executive were equally enjoyable, in no small part due to the sauce selection (I’m a huge sucker for an aioli flight). Virtually everything about this meal was perfect… except the guilt.

For those of you who are not familiar with the neighborhood in which Rounds Premium Burgers is located, the population has an insanely high concentration of beautiful, beautiful men, and unbeknownst to me until last Sunday, a lot of them don’t bother to wear shirts. Even my dining partner on this particular day was a model, who has developed a flawless ability to look at a 3lb pile of gorgeous French fries and not touch them. She picked at her veggie burger like a hungry bird, but a bird nonetheless, while I’m busy making only moderate effort to keep blue cheese out of my hair. My point is, if you’re like me and actually benefit from a little diner’s guilt as it pertains to your waistline this is totally your place. Not only do they have excellent food, but stuffing it into your face while dude after dude with armpit muscles prances past you is likely to inspire you to take a little survey on your own goals. After your meal, head next door for a $32 mega margarita at Fiesta Cantina into which you can cry about being chubby. I’m starting a week long juice cleanse on Monday, and am officially now a black-belt in constructive self loathing.

-Geoff Sawyer

p.s. The veggie burger at Rounds is fantastic. I stole a couple bites. The patty is mostly bean and corn with strong Southwest flavor (cumin and ancho) so dress it accordingly.