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Posted On: Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010 3:38 PM
Burgers are one of the most versatile and favored food forms around. From fast food to fine dining, burgers are on the menu everywhere. In Santa Barbara, there's even a bus dedicated to the burger. Notice I don't refer to them as "hamburgers." As a card carrying vegetarian, I don't eat hamburgers, but how I LOVE a good veggie burger. Or falafel burger. Or black bean burger. Or portabello mushroom burger. The beauty of the burger is how adaptable and customizable it is, from what makes up the patty (grass-fed beef, bison, turkey...) to the endless options of cheeses, sauces and other flavorful fixings.
When you're craving a burger in Santa Barbara, try these local favorites:
- The Habit: This local chain started here in the mid 1960's and is known for their signature "Charburgers." Think of it as high quality fast food. Of their 41 California locations, four are in Santa Barbara.
- The Hungry Cat: My foodie friends all swear by The Hungry Cat's Pug Burger with bacon, avocado and blue cheese.
- Paradise Café: You can smell the smoke of Paradise Café's fragrant oak wood grill from blocks away. That grill (and premium beef) is responsible for the popular Paradise Burgers the Café has been serving since 1983.
- The Burger Bus: The Burger Bus drove Santa Barbara into the street food movement (powered by biodiesel) when they came onto the scene in 2009. Their signature burger is a CB&J. Yes, that's a cheeseburger with jelly! The Bus parks at different set locations Tuesday-Friday and they also come out for special events around town like 1st Thursday.
- The Hitching Post II: Order the Hitching Post's Oak Grilled Burger, available at the restaurant's bar Mondays-Wednesdays only. The burgers are made with meat from their high grade steaks and are so memorable, celebrity chef Cat Cora chose to highlight them in an episode of The Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." Watch the video clip on The Hitching Post's Facebook page.
- Jalama Beach Grill: The Jalama Burger is truly legendary. Getting to the windswept Jalama Beach off Highway 1 requires a drive - albeit a gorgeous one - and the burgers (and views) are well worth the mileage. There's something magical about their secret sauce. You can also get a taste of the Jalama Burger at their sister Café in downtown Lompoc, which opened a few years ago.
- The Spot: A no-frills, beachy burger joint in Carpinteria, The Spot has been serving burgers since 1914. They do the classics like burgers, fries and shakes so well, but a full Mexican menu is also available.
- The Nugget: This little western-style saloon on Lillie Avenue in Summerland managed to land on President Clinton's radar, not to mention President Reagan's. It's a favorite of local celebs like Rob Lowe, who referenced it as one of his favorite places to eat in our Sip & Savor web video.
Another reason to love burgers? They call for a side of French fries. Ahh, the fried potato, a delight so dear to my heart it deserves its own dedicated blog post.