There has been a lot written about American food and how much it leaves to be desired in terms of general healthiness. However, don’t overlook the fact that although some of it genuinely does count as junk food, there is much that is absolutely fantastic, and provided you don’t monumentally overindulge, it isn’t going to have to great an impact on your waistline or your arteries.
Let’s start down south in Los Angeles, the home of Tommy’s. Tommy’s first started serving burgers in 1946 from a small lot on the corner of Beverly and Rampart Boulevards, and the original sight is still there and still serving today. There are no tables and chairs, no waiters or waitresses, just ledges around the walls where you can put your food while you eat it.
The location isn’t fancy, but the burgers are pretty much unsurpassable – huge chunks of beef, double-thick slices of cheese, all topped off with Tommy’s deservedly famous chili. Eat it slowly, its a mountain of good food. Many of the 29 branches of Tommy’s dotted around California are open 24 hours, so it’s the perfect place to go for a late night snack, or to set you up before a long journey.
Another great burger joint is In-N-Out, famous both for the freshness of their burgers, which never use frozen meat and are always cooked to order, and their not-so-secret secret menus. The basic menus are very simple, there are only three burgers, the ordinary hamburger, the cheeseburger, and the “double double”, which is basically a huge double cheeseburger.
The “secret” menus allow you to take advantage of the fact that all of the burgers are freshly made to order by adapting them to your own taste. For example, you can ask for a 3×3 or a 4×4, with, you guessed it, 3 or 4 meat patties respectively, wedged into an enormous bun. Just try not to dislocate your jaw when you are getting one of those bad boys into your mouth. Another favourite is Animal Style, with a mustard cooked beef patty as well as assorted other treats. For those of you on a low carb diet ( although I can’t imagine what you would be doing in a place like this if you are) you can also order a burger Protein Style, wrapped in lettuce leaves instead of in a bun.
3. Jack in the Box
Started in San Diego, but now to be found all over the states, Jack in the Box is another good value for money burger chain. They have a whole range of different foods with an often changing array of specials, but the absolute best is the Sourdough Jack, as the name suggests, made with mouthwatering sourdough bread.
4. Denny’s Diner
The absolute apex for serious eaters though is Denny’s Diner. This is a huge chain, with over 2500 branches throughout North America, and equally huge servings of food for pretty tiny prices. Especially worthy of note are the breakfasts. A good example is the Grand Slam Slugger which consists of sweet creamy buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, two slices of bacon, two sausages, plus hash browns or grits or toast, accompanied by a glass of juice and unlimited refills of coffee. This, my friends, is how to begin a day. Get one of these inside you and you will be ready for anything.
Photo originally posted by Christian Razukas