25 January 2013
Review: Pie ‘n Burger for Pasadena Cheeseburger Week
It’s good to be back here on the Mr. Pasadena Blog ~ as well as participating in my first Pasadena Cheeseburger Week! This year, I decided to hit up three participating eateries: Umami Burger, Vertical Wine Bistro, and the well established Pie ‘n Burger. For fifty years, Pie ‘n Burger has been dishing up American classics with their simple, one page menu and no frills approach to ingredients.
A cash-only, counter style “What’ll it be, hon?” kind of place, stepping into Pie ‘n Burger was like stepping into a time warp. They’re not trying to be retro; they are the real McCoy of every greasy spoon mom and pop joint across this nation.
My friend Annie accompanied me on my burger quest, and as soon as I we stepped into the time capsule that is Pie n’ Burger, I gave a squeak of delight to see he majority of seating was at a long counter with swivel wood chairs. Recalling a childhood spent at diners and Dunkin’ Donuts with my old man as we noshed on chocolate eclairs before he dropped me off at school, I insisted we sit at the counter, right in the section of a particularly acerbic waitress. I loved her dearly and was restraining myself from begging her to adopt me.
Roast Beef Sandwich
Annie decided to steer away from the Cheeseburger, opting instead for the roast beef sandwich with a side of potato salad. She noted that while it was good, it was very bland and could have used some seasoning.
I went for the Cheeseburger Week special – cheeseburger, choice of side (fries, no salt) and a soft drink for $10.25. As I don’t drink commercial sodas, I was able to order the lemonade and received refills.
lettuce – cheese – homemade thousand island dressing – pickles
Before heading to Pie ‘n Burger, I did a cursory search on what others have said about it before. There is a strong comparison with In & Out, and fans of either are fierce and adamant about their loyalties. My first go of In & Out was positive, but they have since fallen out of my favor and taste like every other factory fast food joint to me. Suffice to say, Pie n’ Burger is the genuine article of what I feel In & Out attempts to capture (and has done so successfully in the hearts of many others).
The patty had that fresh-off-the-grill taste, the sauce was tangy perfection and the toasted bun just the anchor to hold it all in with. It was truly the capital Classic cheeseburger.
Now, we can’t go to Pie n’ Burger without trying some pie!
Chocolate Meringue Pie
While I normally settle for fruit pies, the “meringue” part of this chocolate pie intrigued me and I had to follow my instinct telling me to order it. Wow. Just wow. I mean, I was sad I had to share it with Annie! The rick chocolate center was not unlike a pudding, but thick as custard, while the meringue was fluffy and sweet. Really, I don’t know how I’m ever going to be able to try another kind of pie.
Pie ‘n Burger brought in a handful of accolades from this year’s Cheeseburger Week, including the “Favorite Dessert After a Cheeseburger” top spot. Though they lost out to younger and fancier palates, out of the three burgers I ate during Cheeseburger Week in Pasadena, Pie ‘n Burger wins my top pick.
Pie ‘n Burger
913 E. California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91106