Venice Beach Birthday Burger Crawl: the discovery of a great burger

The Birthday Burger Crawl was a surprise for my husband Win on his birthday. It was a fun adventure, the search for a great burger in Venice Beach, with a caveat: we wanted to go to restaurants that neither of us had been to.

In preparation for the event I did a little investigation and came up with a list of three restaurants based on various online recommendations: 3 Square Bakery + Cafe, Hinano Cafe and 26 Beach Restaurant.

We started at the 3 Square Bakery + Cafe. The fairly large sized burger came on a homemade pretzel bun with Swiss cheese and grilled onions. The patty was cooked to perfection at medium rare even though the waiter had not asked how we wanted it. The only downside about the burger was that the bun and the meat had a bit too much char from the grill, off-setting all the delicious flavors.

Next, at Hinano Cafe, we were hoping that the crowded, dive bar would produce a mouth-watering burger. Instead we got an inferior burger to 3 Square's with a disappointingly thin, over-cooked patty. All things considered, it was a pretty decent burger for a dive bar, especially after a few drinks. We didn't let that get us down though. We were on a burger trek and were well aware that not every restaurant would have great burgers.

After sampling burgers from two very different places, we certainly were not hungry. Sure I could have stopped there, yet we pressed on, hoping that we'd find an outstanding burger.

26 Beach Restaurant's enclosed patio with pink table cloths and mix n'match chairs is a groovy place for a burger. The vast menu included about 20 unique burger combinations. We asked the server for advice. She told us that the customers and chef's favorite is the P B & J. OOH! I'd never heard of a peanut butter and jelly burger. I don't even like P B & J sandwiches (I preferred just jelly as a kid). We had to try it.

The big, messy burger came with a huge pile of fries on the plate. A juicy patty sat in between a fluffy, home made brioche bun. Inside was a generous portion of creamy Skippy peanut butter that was melted a little from the heat of the burger. The peanut butter and strawberry jam oozed out as I bit into it. The flavor tasted similar to beef satay with a subtle sweetness. There was no lettuce or tomato (ich, that would have been awful). Overall the odd combination of creamy peanut butter, strawberry jam, sweet brioche and the beef burger had a lovely balance of flavors: it really worked. We were glad to have discovered a scrumptious burger on the last stop of our Birthday Burger Crawl.

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26 Beach
3100 Washington Blvd
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 823-7526

Hinano Cafe
15 Washington Blvd
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 822-3902

3 Square Cafe + Bakery
1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 399-6504

26 Beach Cafe on Urbanspoon

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