BURGERS BY DESIGN
Who doesn't love a good burger? It's pretty much the most American of foods, although you would think that championship belt would belong to Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Don't even get me started on Thanksgiving as it is my favorite meal of the year. But back to burgers, they're hearty and filling and just about as red, white and blue as a meal can get. So imagine how stoked I was when I made my way to Pasadena for a burger bonanza at Slater’s 50/50—a Mecca for all things hamburger.
With locations throughout Southern California, you can pretty much get your gourmet, overload burger fix satiated at will. Recently we visited the Old Town Pasadena location for a giant-sized burger challenge and then some. It was a Sunday night and the place was packed with ravenous eaters lined up outside waiting to get their burger groove on.
Since this really isn't the kind of meal that your trainer or doctor would wholly endorse, at least not on a consistent basis, and not without some pretty strenuous cardio in between, we started with the Bacon Poutine—just because. Made with Slater's fries, bacon brown gravy, cheese curd, and bacon, this is pretty standard poutine, which I'm not complaining about. If you're tired of experimental poutine and want the tried and true classic, this is a crowd pleaser.
Another tempting starter item was the Fried Bacon Mac N' Cheese Balls served with Tapatio ranch. Honestly, this was somewhat overkill considering what was in store for us, but as far as fried food fun goes, how can you go wrong with fried bacon mac n' cheese?
Looking for a cocktail, I couldn't pass up the Bacon Old Fashioned prepared with house-made bacon-infused Basil Hayden's Bourbon with maple syrup, orange zest and bitters. While I realized some time ago that not everything is better with bacon (I learned that the hard with a really disappointing bacon dessert), this drink reminded me of that. I've had worse drinks but this seemed more gimmick than solid cocktail. A second and third round of drinks came with a tasty Dark N' Stormy made with Gosling's Black Seal Rum with a squeeze of lime, and the Refined Irishman with Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey with muddled mint leaves. These are takes on the Moscow Mule and are refreshing and satisfying but you're really not going to Slater's 50/50 for handcrafted drinks. I wish I had tried the Bacon Mary with house-made bacon-infused Three Olives Vodka but that will have to wait until next time. Their beer program is very popular but since I'm not really a big beer guy, I stuck to a simple beer flight which actually paired well with the burgers.
And speaking of burgers, it all starts with The Classic 50/50, a half ground bacon and half ground beef patty served with pepper jack, a sunny side up egg, avocado mash, and chipotle adobo mayo on a brioche bun. This is seriously one of the better burgers you'll find. Sure, we all love In-N-Out Burger for its simplicity and delicious taste, and I'm a big Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger guy on the rare occasion that I want fast food, but as far as a sit down, gourmet burger experience goes, this one is tops. The patty itself is delicious and the fixin's make it that much better.
I was skeptical and hesitant to order the Peanut Butter & Jellousy burger because, honestly, it sounded awful. I feared it would be all gimmick and taste bad. Boy was I wrong! This bad boy burger with Brandt beef, peanut butter, strawberry jelly, and bacon on a honey wheat bun was delicious. And get this—they suggested ordering it ala mode. I was thinking there was no way in hell that was going to work but it did and then some. The ice cream actually helped keep the burger moist and extra tasty. A PB&J ice cream burger…I never heard of such a thing but it is one helluva hamburger. I honestly can't recommend this one enough.
By the time the B'B'B' Bacon 50/50 with bacon American cheese, sunny side up egg, bacon, bacon island dressing on a bacon pretzel bun arrived, I was ready to surrender and throw in the towel. This is the burger that any bacon lover craves, but it leads me to ask….can you have too much bacon? Normally I would say no, but I think I was just too full, and since this came after the amazing PB&J burger, this one came up a little short. But I really think that was the full quitter in my talking.
Slater's 50/50 has been serving oversized, gourmet burgers since 2009. With a passion for burgers, bacon and craft beer and a disdain for the boring, the belief here is that bacon is "meat candy." And if you attack their decadent and dazzling burger menu with moderation, meaning, don't go every day, then let the good times roll.
Slater’s 50/50 Pasadena is located at 61 N. Raymond Ave. Other locations include Anaheim Hills, Huntington Beach, Lake Forest, Rancho Cucamonga, San Diego and San Marcos.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy of: Slater’s 50/50 Pasadena