Forget those alcohol-fueled pub crawls. Cheeseburger crawls are the new stomach-endurance test — at least they are for the rest of this week in Pasadena, anyway.
Sure, all that meat and cheese might sound a bit excessive, but how else are you going to take full advantage of Pasadena’s fourth annual Cheeseburger Week? Now through January 16, Pasadena is showing off its pride in being the birthplace of the cheeseburger (bless thee, Lionel Sternberger) with 40 restaurants offering specials on all kinds of cheese-augmented beef patties.
Gather some friends, put on your walking shoes and get ready to chow down for six straight hours, because here are our picks of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce's efficiently mapped-out cheeseburger crawls, all of which let you have your cheeseburgers and eat them too.
5. The Traditional Cheeseburger Crawl. If you’re into old-school burgers, start at Pie ‘n Burger at 913 East California Boulevard. A tradition since it opened in 1963, Pie n’Burger serves one of LA’s highest rated burgers and offers a special meal during Cheeseburger Week. $11.95 will get you a cheeseburger, fries and a soft drink. Then head a couple of blocks up to Dupars’ at 214 South Lake Avenue. Then it’s on to Jake's Pasadena at 38 West Colorado Boulevard. Don’t forget to save some room for the final stop further down the road at Clearman’s Galley (7215 Rosemead Boulevard). Plan on staying for a while as they have a full bar.
4. The Old Pasadena White Tablecloth Burger Crawl is walkable so take advantage of the signature cocktails offered on this sophisticated tour of Old Pasadena. Start at a|k|a An American Bistro at 41 Hugus Alley near the corner of DeLacey and Union Street. There you will enjoy their Certified Angus Burger with a cocktail. Take a few steps to the west and stop in for another burger at Salt Lounge at iPic Theaters (44 Miller Alley). Next, you’ll walk to 70 North Raymond Avenue and climb the stairs to enter Vertical Wine Bistro where you can pair a glass of wine with one of Chef Laurent Quenioux’s burgers. The crawl will end at POP Champagne and Dessert Bar, because in addition to the sliders you’ll just HAVE to try, every good white tablecloth meal ends with dessert.
3. The Beer and a Burger Crawl celebrates a classic pairing. After all, what goes better with burgers than beer? Nothing. Start at Meat District Company at 69 North Raymond in Old Pasadena. The local beers they have on tap will help prepare you for the beer-and-burger journey ahead. Pretty much right next door is the relatively new Slater’s 50/50 (61 North Raymond Avenue). Slater’s has over 100 beers on tap and will be offering a $10 deal for their 1/3 lb, ground bacon and beef blend “50/50” burger and a beer. Then head south on Raymond and left on Green for Dog Haus Biergarten (93 East Green Street). End your beer and burger filled night at Kings Row Gastropub at 20 East Colorado Boulevard where they’re offering a special classic double patty burger on a sesame brioche bun with house American cheese, pickles, 1000 island dressing, arugula, tomatoes, and crispy red onion.
2. The Lunchtime Veggie/Alternative Burger Crawl. If the idea of binging on cheeseburgers scares you for health reasons… well, you’re probably smart and generally make good like choices. But regardless, you don’t have to miss out on Cheeseburger Week. This route allows you to participate with less beef and just as much flavor. Start at Real Food Daily at 895 East Del Mar Boulevard. Then head to Old Pasadena and eat the lobster roll at Lobsters at Live Mixx (115 East Colorado Boulevard). After that head to a|k|a An American Bistro at 41 Hugus Alley for the Roasted Portobello and Brie on Focaccia. Finish up with the Earth Burger at Umami Burger at 49 East Colorado in Old Pasadena.
1. The Cheeseburger Week Burger Crawl is probably the most important of the crawls. The destinations on this list might not be entirely walkable, but they have each created special burgers in honor of Cheeseburger Week. Start at Green Street Restaurant (146 Shoppers Lane). There you can try their special Pimento Cheeseburger. Head east on Colorado for some Mexican flavor at El Portal in Arcade Lane at 595 East Green Street and Armando Ramirez’s uniquely tasty Zacatecas Cochinita Pibil Burger, a blend of Yucatan pork smothered with cheese on a grilled roll. Then try the cheeseburger pizza around the corner at California Pizza Kitchen (99 North Los Robles). Because even pizza restaurants don’t want to miss out on Cheeseburger Week. Finally, because you won’t already be loaded enough, end the night with the “Loaded” Cheeseburger at iPic Theaters and Salt Lounge at 44 Miller Alley in Old Pasadena. Their half-pound dry aged burger with black forest bacon, confit onions, Taleggio cheese, pineapple, mustard compote and baby wild arugula is served with sweet fries and pickles, for a special price of $12.00 during Cheeseburger week.
Heather Platt is a freelance writer and blogger. Follow her blog Three More Big Bites. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.