Chatting Cheese and Cheeseburgers with Food Enthusiasts Across America
Name: Elina Shatkin
Location: Los Angeles
Occupation: Writer, LA Weekly, http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink
I’m partial to Sharp Wisconsin Cheddar, the sharper the better. I like the zing, the bite. I do like a good Wisconsin Blue cheese too.
Ketchup, mustard, mayo, other(s)?
I am anything but a purist – in almost all aspects of food and life – but in truth, a great cheeseburger doesn’t need a lot of adornment. It’s all about the meat and cheese.
Grilled, griddled or broiled?
Any or all of the above. From what I understand, many of the high-end gastropubs sous-vide their burgers (to achieve a perfect medium-rare every time) then throw them on the grill.
Classic white bread (with or without sesame seeds) or a brioche, preferably toasted on the cut side. This helps to maintain bun integrity throughout the entire burger’s consumption. An English muffin is also an acceptable alternative.
Tomatoes. If they’re in season and ripe. Iceberg lettuce. It has no nutritional value but the crunch is exceptional. I’m not particularly in favor of or opposed to any specific topping. It’s all about the balance of flavors and textures: savory, salty, sweet, crisp, soft. That being said, bacon is always nice.
And how would you like that done?
What is your favorite cheeseburger in Los Angeles?
I have had so many great cheeseburgers, I couldn’t possibly pick just one. It would be like asking a parent which of their kids they love most. Also, what if I run for mayor of Cheeseburgerville? I have to think of my potential political career.
What’s the craziest cheeseburger you’ve had?
Probably the Cardiac Burger at The Bucket in Eagle Rock. It’s more of a stunt burger. Something you do once. Like climbing Mt. Everest. Just to say you’ve done it. It’s a heap of greasy onions and mushrooms piled atop bacon, grilled ham and two massive half-pound beef patties coated in Cheddar cheese. The burger is served open-faced with tomatoes and lettuce resting demurely on an adjacent bun.