No doubt about it, burgers are a Southern California classic and, these days, burgers can be a great culinary experience, too. Gourmands agree, if you want a truly stunning burger experience, seek out grass fed beef. Compared to common grain fed beef, it is tastier food in a more natural state.
Before it became standard practice to confine cattle to feed lots, they grazed in pastures on the grasses which naturally grew there. Today, ranchers are returning to this method, and the result is a leaner and more flavorful beef, from a cow which led a much happier life out in the pasture. Thanks to growing popularity, grass fed burgers are not as hard to find as you might think, and San Diego is packed with options to sink your teeth into.
Smack dab in the middle of Downtown San Diego’s East Village is Neighborhood. Known for its large selection of local craft beers, Neighborhood offers three distinctive grass fed burgers: the NH with blue gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, and pepper greens; the 777 with baby spinach, plum tomato confit, and bearnaise sauce; and the spicy Cajun with pickled radish, pepper-cucumber slaw, and chipotle mayo. Try one with their amazing sweet potato fries.
Perched on Bankers Hill just north of downtown is the aptly named Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant. The ambiance and stylish decor at this place can’t be beat, and neither can their BH Burger. This grass fed piece of heaven comes with aged white cheddar, heirloom plum tomatoes, and fresh cut fries (which can be upgraded to their amazing truffle fries). Not a cheddar fan? They also have a rotating selection of artisan cheeses to complement your burger.
On the other side of Balboa Park, you’ll find the Linkery. This North Park landmark specializes in farm-to-table cuisine paired with locally sourced craft beer and wine. As their menu says: “Our friends grow food for you, and we cook it.” Their grass fed burger is no exception, and comes with your choice of local, artisan cheeses, and even their house-cured bacon if you want it (you do). Their menu represents the best in San Diego agricultural products and is a must try for locavores.
Just around the corner in South Park is Alchemy, which also specializes in locally-sourced fare. This neighborhood spot features a grass fed burger with Mahon cheese, house-cured pickles and parmesan frites. Once again, if you want some pork in the mix, they have Berkshire bacon to top it with. Pair this with their stunning selection of snacks and small plates, and a craft beer or two, and you’ve got a meal to remember.
For those on the go, no matter where you find yourself in San Diego, chances are there’s a Burger Lounge near you. With locations from Coronado to La Jolla, this local chain serves up grass fed burgers in traditional American fashion. Their offering comes with your choice of cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and house-made 1000 Island Dressing. They also stack the deck with fantastic fries and onion rings, and even serve up cupcakes to top off the meal.
So do yourself a favor, support artisan ranchers and get yourself a grass fed burger. With options to suit every taste, you won’t be disappointed.