Up and at ‘em at 3:00 AM, still unwinding from my magnificent midweek dinner at the recently hatched Superba Snack Bar on Rose Avenue in Venice. I was only a couple hours away from starting my big day that would include a free concert and burgers… What else?
My shift began at 5:00 AM with a little more pep, knowing that eight hours later I would be darting across town to see a perennial favorite, Yo La Tengo, promote their latest record with a free show at Amoeba Music. The lines on Ivar Avenue grew around the block as the clock approached 6:00 PM. Once inside, roped off between the clearance records, we enjoyed an abbreviated set from the New Jersey trio.
I got my poster signed and gave a heartfelt thank you to the band. Another buddy met us at the show and it was off to Short Order at the Farmer’s Market on the corner of Third and Fairfax for dinner.
It was a nice change of pace to venture east to the Farmer’s Market at the Grove to grab a meal, and not just attend another tasting in the area. Seated immediately, we settled into the comfortable woodsy/modern environment, with heat lamps and fire pits ablaze.
The menu reflected a commitment to local and organic—those posh food and drink superlatives—without gouging. The hardest thing to swallow though was the pricing for wine, so I followed my party and went draft.
We each had a burger: one lamb, one dry-aged and one just grass-fed while sharing two sides—my choice followed our server’s recommendation for Ida’s Old School Burger cooked medium rare.
Ida’s burger landed tableside, folded neatly into the wrapper. Protruding was a cascading layer of aged cheddar atop the thick beef patty and a few vegetables not forgotten. The other burgers looked equally appealing.
No longer fooled by a pretty appearance, it would be the first bite that would tell me what I needed to know. Soft and tender, the entire first chew disintegrated in my mouth. I reexamined the burger—the cooking time was flawless—a bright pink core shown through. The bun also stood out, with a soft, pliable texture that was superbly constructed. All combined, Ida’s Old Fashioned Burger was solid, making use of a sweet and savory blend of house-made pickles and griddled onions on Short Order’s classic take. However it wasn’t without flaw. I could’ve gone for more seasoning (a pinch or two more salt to bring out the flavors), and the grass-fed beef didn’t leave me with that jus-dripping goodness that I prize in my favorite burgers.
Around the horn, I heard similar musings; we each liked our individual choices but they fell short of the wow factor. The prices were reasonable ($11-$14 without sides) and our server (Miss. M) was amazing. Excellent service isn’t normally factored in my reviews. Yet it’s an undervalued part of the dining experience and greatly appreciated when received.
By 10 PM it was time to retire; I was starting to feel the effects of my 3 AM wake-up call. I had reached my limit from the night before but not without seeing one of my favorite bands and spending time with friends over gourmet burgers. Not bad for a Thursday.