Fun On a Bun

My friend, Amazing Amy, is so nice that she actually picked me up in front of the Los Angeles Superior Court in Van Nuys on Wednesday. I was picked to be Juror #6 on an expedited trial. What that means is that in a civil jury trial only 3/4 of the eight jurors (6) must agree on the verdict. There is no right to appeal and each side has 3 hours to present their case. We got a lunch break from 12-1:30 each day (I'm kind of liking this). So Amy and I decided go to have a burger at Billy's Grill . The owner is super nice and has quite the exotic burger menu for a tiny place Van Nuys Boulevard. Prices are very reasonable and it's old school service all the way. For lunch we ordered Billy's Deluxe Burger ($4.25) with lettuce, tomato, onions, 1000 island dressing, and mayo on a white sesame bun. Pickles and other condiments are up in the front. Onion rings ($3.75) were very light and crisp and French Fries ($2.25) were perfectly cooked. Billy's Exotic Burgers blew me away- a good choice for you adventurous eaters. Try an Ostrich burger ($7.35), Venison burger ($8.25), Ahi Tuna burger ($8.95), Buffalo burger ($7.50), or a Lamb burger ($7.50) for something very different!  As I said, sitting on a jury shouldn't be a total loss! Billy's Grill 5162 Van Nuys Blvd. Sherman Oaks. (818) 783-6317. Hours: M-F 11:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday 11:00 a.m.-7p.m. Closed Sunday.

Recommended: Burgers and fries, onion rings.


Though a review really isn't necessary, I can't leave out one of my fond childhood memories. At 68 years old, the Apple Pan on Pico is still going strong. As a young girl I used to eat there with my Nana and Papa. When I was in high school my friends and I hung out there. In college, both at USC and UCLA burger runs to "The Pan" were common place. Now my own children love to eat there whenever they get the chance. The best part (beside the food) is the servers. I'd swear that some of them have been there as long as the place has been open, but that's not possible! Whenever you get there there will be a wait, so be prepared. There are only about twenty seats at the counter. If you're lucky Hector will take your order and efficiently bring your hot, crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside French fries ($2.60) with a side plate of ketchup. I love the Steakburger ($7.60) with mayo, pickles, lettuce, Tillamock cheese, and AP's special relish. The hickory Burger with cheese ($7.60) is another winner served with AP's secret hickory sauce. Other yummy sandwich choices include Baked Ham ($8), Tuna Salad ($8.10), Swiss Cheese ($5.50), Egg Salad ($6.25) and a Tuna Melt (off the menu). Save room for dessert. The apple pie ($6) is warm and filled with fruit but the Banana Cream Pie ($6.25) is my absolute favorite. Have some Danish vanilla ice cream ($2.75) on top, and this will be a meal you'll never forget. Don't miss the coffee ($2) served with pure cream or a soda served in a paper cone and metal holder ($1.75). The Apple Pan 10801 West Pico Blvd. Los Angeles (310) 475-3585. Hours: Tuesday-Thurs 11:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m. Fri-Sat 11:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. Sun 11:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m.


Recommended:Steakburger, fries, Tuna, Egg Salad, banana Cream Pie, Ice Cream, coffee.

I don't know why I do this to myself over and over again. Somehow I think that the food at Barney's is going to get better. But like choosing the wrong kind of man over and over again; it just doesn't change. Bad metaphor maybe, but like a good man, a good burger is not easy to find. So when you do find a good one treasure it, respect it, and...hey wait a minute (are we talking burgers here or men?) Back to the burger. I'm not feeling that Barney's deserves a whole lot of respect. The Specialty Burgers ($9.75) are nothing to write home about. The French (Bacon, Blue Cheese on a baguette) is just that. The burger is so plain and dry that one can hardly treasure it. So let's move on to the steak cut skinny fries with fresh roasted garlic ($5.25) Thin fries are tossed parsley, sea salt, and fresh roasted garlic. Let's just say the garlic was the only good part! With all of the burger places in this fine city, I think I'm breaking up with you Braney's. Barney's Gourmet Burgers 225 26th Street Santa Monica (310) 899-0133.

Want to keep things fresh, simple, and delicious? So does Hache LA, LA's new age burger stand in Silver Lake by Chef Mick Schepers. (Mick's Karma Bar/Irvine) Steak Haches and Hache Burgers are not your run-of-the-mill burgers friends. Nosiree. These burgers are made from ground-in store (as needed) two cuts of 100% Angus Sirloin: center-cut and a properly marbelized and perfectly fatty (in a good way) cut. Add some triple cooked potatoes served in a paper cone and some strawberry basil lemonade, and you're good to go.  We went crazy for the Karma Burger with American cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce, and special "karma" sauce ($5.75) and added fries for just $3.50. Strawberry basil lemonade ($3.25) was light and refreshing. The Habanero Burger ($6.25) with habenero chilie peppers, queso fresco, and garlic mayo has a nice kick. The Swiss Onion ($6.75) with gruyere, caramelized onions, mustard and mayo and The Roaring 40's ($6.75) with steak, blue cheese, portabello mushrooms, and horseradish are both close contenders. Don't miss the garlic mayo! This is great for dipping the fries! Three craft beers were also available along with red and white wine. We enjoyed the lovely patio. Service is super friendly and the staff really does care if you like the food. I say go and try it while you can still get a seat! Hache LA 3319W. Sunset Blvd. Silverlake (323) 928-2963 Hours: Sun-Wed 12:00-p.m.-10:00 p.m., Th-Sat 12:00 p.m.- 12:00 a.m.


Recommended Dishes: Try the entire menu!

My objective this summer is to gain 50 pounds. Just kidding, but if I don't start working out soon, I think I'm going to have a problem on my hands, or my hips, I should say. But anyway, today's lunch was from the Dog Haus on Topanga Canyon. Named by CNN as one of the Top 5 Places to Eat a Hot Dog in USA, I defied the dog and ordered a burger. While everyone around me ordered dogs (I don't eat them) I enjoyed one of the best burgers I've had in some time. The franchises are going nationwide and will be for sale in 37 states. For now, enjoy Dog Haus in Canoga Park. The Motley Bleu Burger ($6.99) was fantastic! The super soft bun encased 100% natural black angus beef, arugula, blue cheese, sweet pickled onions, and garlic aioli. This was definitely a winner. I added some crispy, golden brown tater tots ($1.99). No condiments are needed. You can build your own dogs too. For $3.99 get a jumbo skinless dog or a turkey dog. For $4.99 try a veggie or bacon wrapped jumbo dog. Sausages include Bratwurst, Garlic Herb Kielbasa, Hot Italian, Pastrami, Thai Red Currywurst, Oberkase (pork/cheddar/chilies) and Chicken. Top your dogs with freebies like onions and dill pickle slices, (level 1) to crispy fried onions or salty peanuts ($.49-level 2), to avocado, shredded cheddar (level 3 $.79) and finally a fried egg (level 4 $ .99) or pastrami ($2.49). There's tons of toppings so go crazy. Dog Hause also wins extra points because they have my favorite Boxed Water and Yoo Hoo! I love this place! It's also great for kids, so bring 'em along! Dog Haus 6501 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Canoga Park (818) 340-4287 Open Daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.


Recommended: Burgers, Hot Dogs, Sausages, Tater Tots.

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