We're a hamburger town in a hamburger country, and whether it's fast food or fine dining, most of the American-style restaurants in the city include a burger on the menu. Hell, some of the Asian and Mexican spots do too.
2415 San Diego Avenue, Old Town
4201 30th Street, North Park
So, apparently, one way to make your burgers stand out is to make them crazy. I'm sorry – I mean, make them crazee.
Crazee Burger's been at it a while, with locations in Old Town and North Park, and according to a ten-year-old banner at the North Park location, it was once "Voted Best Burger in Town." It's fair to be dubious.
I figured I'd give the Old Town location a go, since it's been awhile and their patio's a pretty pleasant place to chow down.
Now, if you've read other Crazee Burger reviews, you've probably read about their alternatives to ground beef patties: buffalo, antelope and even kangaroo. These unique takes on the burger are intriguing, but I had to wonder: how many reviews have been sullied by this sort of experimentation? I mean, how can a burger place truly be assessed if you're comparing the beef of one restaurant to the ostrich of another?
So I strode past Crazee Burger's kooky décor and up to the counter and ordered a traditional, ground beef, American-style burger.
Then, at the last minute, I second-guessed myself, and went for the one with peaches on it.
The Jamaican Burger, as it's called, features a "blackened" beef patty topped by sautéed peaches and pepperjack cheese. Faced with so many exotic meats and a dozen takes on the original, I buckled. I would eat beef, but the burger would still technically be crazee.
So I grabbed my spot on the patio, watching tourists explore the "haunted" cemetery across the street, and waited to assess.
First of all, they're canned peaches. I mean, of course they were. Peaches aren’t in season, and how likely is it the restaurant's going to keep any fresh fruit on hand for the odd occasion somebody bypasses the 25 more interesting and delicious sounding options to order the Jamaican?
Which got me thinking? Do they keep fresh ground kangaroo on hand? And if not, how long does it take for them to re-up on their kangaroo meat?
Anyway, the peaches did nothing for the burger other than clash dramatically with the pickles. The blackened seasoning gave it some flavor, which is a good thing because I can't be sure the beef did.
Which gets me thinking again: what's the best way for a burger joint to cover up its mediocrity? Add two-dozen crazee alternatives to the menu and hope nobody notices. After all, it didn't work out for me this time, but I will probably go back to try the El Jacobo chorizo burger, or the Santorini with ground lamb and tzatziki. Or maybe keep it simple and just go for the gator burger with "curry fruit tapenade." Odds are we'll get it right someday.