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The Best Burger in SF? It's Personal

I’ve been thinking about burgers again. It’s been a while since we did our big Burger Bonanza, which focused on what Tablehopper once called “white-napkin burgers” (i.e. burgers from more upscale restaurants rather than burger joint burgers). I swore I'd never look an all-beef patty in the face again, but I'm back on the horse just in time for some key burger joint openings.

Two of the most recent are Roam Artisan Burgers and Super Duper Burgers. I ate at both recently. Roam is going for the more eclectic burger offerings, perhaps with something like LA’s popular Umami Burger in mind. At Roam, I had the "Tejano"—pepper jack, jalapeno relish, corn chips (yes, corn chips)—while my husband had the classic. I preferred the classic to my own, whose toppings seemed to get lost. I will say this: Roam has the most picture-perfect sesame seed bun I’ve ever seen but it’s a very bunny bun (the bun to burger ratio is very important) and our tomatoes were mealy (an easy fix). The coffee milk shake, however, was luscious and I would like to bottle their refreshing, not-too-sweet roasted-pineapple soda.

Eating at Roam I realized that when it comes to burgers, pleasing everyone is harder than it sounds. Like most cultish foods, everyone arrives at the table with a preconceived notion of what they're looking for. For instance, Jessica went to Super Duper when it opened and was underwhelmed. Meanwhile, I like a burger that, after a few bites, becomes one with itself, and Super Duper's is that burger—an unpretentious, three-paper-napkin mess. It was juicy to the point of greasy (in a good way), the bun eventually flattened to become one with the cheese, the lettuce, the raw red onions and the special sauce. It was simple and unheady and the fries that came with it were thin and crisp with a bit of skin left on.

And just as I was about to post this, a reader wrote in to suggest that this burger that the Mexican burger at Don Pistos be considered for the 2011 Big Eat. He found it by way of the very pretty burger blog written by two photographers from SF and LA called The Hamblogger. The blog has tempting photos and dramatic use of burger verbage: see “drool”,  “near sexual experience”, “rabid wombat”. I have to say, even without these tempting descriptions, the Don Pistos burger looks like a mighty fine specimen. I’m planning my visit.