Monday, February 28, 2011


Los Angeles, CA

The Canuck and I were starving come lunchtime Saturday, and I suggested a westside place, I'd been looking to try for a while- Hole in the Wall Burger Joint. It's tucked away off Santa Monica Blvd in a strip mall (sort of) behind the Winchell's Donuts. It looks like a junkyard dive from a cult classic movie. The front is painted to look like rusty metal sheeting and there's a neon sign that says 'BURGERS' over the door. Inside, it felt like a tiny taco shop, or a small midwestern mom & pop diner. Much like The Counter, you fill out you own menu, picking meat, bun, toppings, extras and sides. The menu looked good and the buns on the counter by the register looked tasty. I ordered a beef patty, with an original bun, onion mayo, tomato cheddar and bacon. The Canuck went for the beef patty and original bun as well, but switched it up with chipotle mayo, pepperjack cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato. We both ordered the kennebec fries (we could have easily shared one order.)

At first, we were excited. Food came out in brown paper bags, the burgs were huge, wrapped in white wax paper and the fries were in their own little sleeves. We took our first bites and kept going up to maybe five bites and then we looked at each other.  "I'm not so into this." We were so hungry initially that we weren't really assessing, but as our hunger pains abated, our more discerning pallets took charge. The burg's were hearty and homestyle, but the plain ingredients lacked flavor and the large buns were overpowering. It felt like a ground beef sandwich, not a cheeseburger.  

The pepperjack on the Canuck's burger was overpowering the bacon. I think the meat and bun were just so big and plain that you couldn't taste the condiments. On top of that, the meat was juicy/greasy and dripping out of our hands. The one quality I did appreciate however, is that the cheese was on the bottom of the burg, between meat and bottom bun. It served as a protective layer to keep that excessive juice from creating a soggy mess.  

Note the cheese barrier!
Now for a redemptive paragraph: The fries were amazing. Just absolutely delicious. Crisp, salty, excellent flavor. And they offer three dipping sauces. The first is their homemade ketchup with crushed tomatos and garlic. The second is regular boring ketchup. The third, and my favorite, is a ranch dip made with sour cream, mayo, onion, dill, parsley, lemon juice, dijon and salt and pepper. I could not stop dipping the fries in it. The Canuck has more willpower than I do and was able to stop when he got full, but I kept going.  I wanted to bottle the ranch and hoard it, and then put it on everything I eat year round.

Magical Ranch Dip
They serve soda in cans which added to its dive feel. The inside was a little claustrophobic to me so we sat out front in the sun and fought off some pigeons. For the two of us, the total was nearly $30 and after tasting the burgs its definitely overpriced and not worth the cost. Oh, and by the way, its CASH ONLY. If you are craving a proper french fry, or you have a naked salad that needs dressing, this is the place to be.  

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