Burgers may as well be dropping from heaven in Los Angeles. While as a city we may be cresting over the hump of our beef-and-bun obsession, the ride is far from over. Chefs continue to find inventive ways to integrate burgers onto their focused concept menus, often with interesting results.
Take the Toron from downtown's Bäco Mercat, a formed oxtail hash patty laced with cheese, slapped with a latke-like disk of fried potato and laid inside the famously quizzical bäco bread. Is it a burger? Not exactly. But it is delicious. Others, like Vagabond Grillyard, are deconstructing what it means to simply make a cheeseburger. There's no storefront, no reservation system — they don't even have a truck. Instead, Vagabond has been running around the Eastside with nothing more than a propane flat-top griddle, some brioche buns and a cooler.
Even with such a simple operation, there's a fancy feel to the finished product. Fluffy, buttery brioche wraps around a thick, hand-formed patty of dry-aged beef, with garlic aioli and sweet onion marmalade exploding off the bun. Vagabond's signature burger is laid with a slice of sharp cheddar, while the bacon bleu option gets the funky bleu cheese treatment to go along with thick slices of smoked bacon.
Not to be outdone, Vagabond's minuscule operation manages to push out pulled pork sandwiches with Sriracha coleslaw and grilled hangar steak sandwiches, in addition to a more subtle grilled cheese. Basically, if it's in the cooler and the griddle is warm, Vagabond Grillyard will find a way to get it into your mouth.
So far, the tiny team has been hopping around the Glendale-Eagle Rock-Glassell Park area, spending time in the parking lots of drink-heavy destinations like the Famous bar, Eagle Rock Brewery and Verdugo Bar. The standing Tuesday/Wednesday night gig at the Famous in Glendale has perhaps been the most successful so far, but with a continued interest in great burgers, quality drinks and anything DIY, it's not hard to imagine Vagabond expanding its range in the near future.
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