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When burgers come up in conversation I will often mention that I am an enthusiast who pens a wine and burger blog with an endless amount of love and adoration for one of the simplest and tastiest meals I know. After I drop this advertisement, I am met by a few different reactions, the first being an anticipated question: What is my favorite burger? The second comes in a declaration… someone telling me his or her favorite burger that I have to try. And then there is indifference. Rarely does the last happen (well, when it does happen I tend to block it out), but the other two occur more frequently. The other day I was prompted to go check out a burgeoning gastro pub in Sherman Oaks and trust me… I was game. In hopes of changing my burger fortune, I was off with some co-workers to Sherman Oaks headed to the Local Peasant, after an early shift, with the very people who had urged me to go. They wanted to see where I fell on the spectrum since they were obviously more than smitten. We strolled in late, working up an appetite before assaying the bar.

One of the things that struck me most was that there was little advertising to the establishment as far as physical markers. No windows, or bright flashing signs to tell me I had arrived, instead, the place existed almost entirely on word of mouth—or at least it appeared that way—being ushered in by people in the know.

We elected to sit in the back, making ourselves cozy at the communal table on benches. I took in the surroundings; darker lighting, ample space and lots of people (beautiful ladies) made this choice look promising from the outset. We were handed menus and I studied mine beginning with the drinks since the burger was already decided.

I placed my order for the crispy pork belly and the house burger with my friends ordering some minor variations on their burgers, bacon, and other condiments. By the time the pork belly made the table I was ready to eat. I devoured the clever snack that played a salty-sweet theme. Savory and satisfying. After a few bites and about ten minutes elapsed I was ready for the main event and when it arrived it looked glorious. The side—onion rings—were a massive stack and the burger was no slouch. A sharp presentation that burdened the tray that carried it, a brioche bun framed the hefty patty that wore a fine coat of cheddar cheese, a perfect egg and a dab of sauce. I took my first bite and the yolk burst almost on cue, adding extra richness to the fat from the patty. The grind was tender and well seasoned but… I had my bones to pick. The brioche bun quickly wilted under the jus from both egg and patty. It became messy and I would have liked some arugula for depth or greens to provide a little more crunch in the texture.

I finished the meal, not leaving a scrap behind—it was definitely solid. I had to answer questions immediately after finishing and I gave a similar response. It was better than most and the over easy egg was by far by the best I have ever encountered on a burger. Still, the Peasant Burger left me wanting more and though my quest for the best burger is far from finished to this point, and I wasn’t quite a convert to the Local Peasant, I relished the opportunity to try another up-and-comer in the burger world and a friend’s favorite. And so I am content to be out there searching.

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