The Escondite – First Visit, First Post

1 Dec

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I didn’t know what to think about a place that has gained notoriety for putting mashed potatoes on a burger. I feel a bit ambivalent about this moment in LA food in which every restaurant has a “new” take on the burger. Sure, the first guy to put truffles or Doritos on a burger may have been a pioneer, but it’s become such an open field that the line become creativity and solipsism has become blurred. I was as happy as anyone when Father’s Office and Umami Burger elevated the burger to something like a destination. But is that moment over in LA?

Anyways, the Escondite is a new-ish entrant into this burger-as-sign-of-apocalypse moment. On the edge of Little Tokyo, near a row of head shops, the Escondite takes over from 410 Boyd. The vibe is suitably hipster – cabin-like decor: check; waiter with kitten t-shirt – check; craft beers – check. A nice touch is that they enclosed the patio to show a nice view of the Financial District’s glass towers. Makes you forget that you’re essentially sitting in a parking lot.

On to the burgers. Be forewarned that the burgers are big. Many people will be fine splitting a burger. Me, I split 2 burgers with two friends. That turned out to be great.

First was the Capt Kangaroo, basically breakfast on a burger: egg, hash brown, cheddar cheese, Canadian bacon, and Cholula hot sauce. Honestly, it would be hard for me to imagine me not liking anything with breakfast on top of it. So I was pretty happy eating my breakfast. Oh, and it was nice to have a burger too.

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That kind of sums up how I felt about the Escondite’s burgers: pretty good, and oh yeah there was a burger there too.

The other burger we tried was the Slim Pickins – Canadian bacon, cheddar, onion, BBQ sauce, and a secret crunch (spoiler alert – it’s Funyuns). I don’t know if I’m expecting too much, but I was disappointed because all I tasted was the sauce. I have always liked the Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger, which also uses BBQ sauce, so what’s my problem? Maybe I just don’t want to pay $10 for the taste of store-bought BBQ sauce. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood to be charmed by a secret ingredient. Whatever. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t order the Slim Pickins again.

Anyways, as for the positives: the burgers come with pretty good fries, there’s Cholula on the table, and the burgers are decently cooked. The beer selection is small, but sufficiently well-curated.

But overall, in a very competitive lunch area, I don’t feel like I need to go back.

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