5:30 a.m., Feb. 22
Santee Anny’s: The burger at the end of the line
Do South Koreans make the best burgers in California?
“We would kill for winters like this,” says Rick. He’s from New York City. “You call this cold?”
The truth? Hell, yes.
Specially up here in the high sierra of Santee, at nine o’clock at night.
The killer-chill breeze bites through your bones. Seeeing we're here outside Anny's, you might call them the Santee Anny's, heh heh.
The place's official name is Anny's Fine Burger (9862 Mission Gorge Road, Santee, in the Santee Plaza Shopping Center, 619-562-2644). It's a little slice between big box outlets like Target, next to the Green Line trolley terminal.
Anny's is about the last place open. And thank goodness. Need a big something to stave off the old hunger pangs before I jump on the trolley for the hour-plus-long ride downtown.
Saw the sign outside.
“New! Gorgonzola burger.”
“To go?” Rick says, when I get inside. “Because we’re closing in ten minutes.”
“Not a prob,” I say. "Long as you can make me one.”
Rick talks through the kitchen server gap to Omar. Omar talks to Marta his assistant.
“Yes,” says Rick, and the buns start flying.
It’s a nice little place, for a burger joint...
...Olive green and rusty red walls. One side’s taken up with a huge illustrated menu...
They have everything from tilapia burgers (with 7-inch-long slabs of breaded tilapia and tartar sauce) to BBQ cheese steak (with Korean BBQ ribeye). Prices go from $4.99 to $8.99 (for Anny's Double Burger).
Most are $6.99.
So Anny: Corporate brand name or real person?
"Oh she's real. And a real hard worker. She's the owner. This was her idea. She only came over from South Korea six years ago,” Rick says. “She started off with a sushi place. Then came and opened this. Now she has another Anny’s in Kearny Mesa. We’re really busy. You should have seen us three hours ago. It’s all top quality Angus beef. Grass fed.”
“Grass fed? Just like Burger Lounge?”
“Just like Burger Lounge. But look at our variety. Thirty different burgers! And we’ve just thought up half a dozen new ones too. Your gorgonzola’s two weeks new.”
I mean, in the picture the Gorg looks ginormous. Comes with grilled onions and sautéed ’shrooms. And plenty of crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Can’t wait.
Now Omar and Marta are here with my burger.
"The last burger," Omar says, holding it high like it's the last burger in the world. End of the line.
Oh yeah. Green Line! Only every 30 minutes at this time. In two minutes I’m on the platform with a few shivering bodies hunched against the night breeze, waiting for that danged trolley.
But me? Happy camper. This thing is hot, jaw-drop big, and juicy.
In an incredible act of will, I save most till I get home. Quick reheat and...
...good as fresh off the grill. Still looks huge. I never asked, but this has to be a half-pounder patty. It reeks with that beautiful blue-streaked gorgonzola cheese.
Talking of blue...One thing I’m missing: a glass of the Blue Moon brewski they had on sale in Anny's.
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