Friday, August 6, 2010

#4 Burger -- Tyler's

(picture courtesy of the HamBlogger)

Before I even talk about Tyler’s, I guess I must present a decent argument as to whether or not Palm Springs can be considered part of LA, and whether or not I should be including Tyler’s in this section, as opposed to the section about the Out-of-Towners. But Tyler’s makes such an incredible burger that I’d be more than willing to sign any petition that annexes P.S. into the Los Angeles city limits.

Is Tyler’s really that good? Well, it is the burger that made me realize that the Kobe steak burgers were not automatically head-and-shoulders above the rest of the burger crowd. And the last time I bit into one, I had an almost orgasmic reaction right in front of my kids. I can’t remember that last time I reacted so strongly to a burger.

So is Tyler’s the absolute best? That’s tougher to answer. The last time I went to Tyler’s was only a week or two after tasting my first Kobe steak burger at the Burger Bar in Las Vegas. Like I’ve said, I honestly thought that all the rules about burgers would change after that. Tyler’s brought me back to earth, reminding me that there was more to making a great burger than simply massaging a cow and feeding it edamame. But something tells me that a visit to The Apple Pan or Cassell’s would have brought me to the same conclusion.

There is one problem with Tyler’s, however…it’s in Palm Springs. It’s not that I don’t like Palm Springs, because I do. Well, I do from October to April, anyway. Outside of that, I’m really not in love with eating a burger, any burger, on an outside patio when it is one hundred and twenty degrees in the shade, especially when that particular eatery is known for its long waits. And that’s the other problem with Tyler’s, that it’s very popular and very tiny. And sometimes the service reflects that. You’d think you were trying to get into Spago’s, not a burger joint way out in Riverside County.

But if you plan right, you’re in for a real treat. Since the place is only open for a few hours every day, basically just for lunch, it’s wise to get there when they open at eleven. The first time I went there I strolled in about two in the afternoon, and not only did I have to wait for over an hour in the heat, I was told that they had ran out of sliders, so my kids had to split one of their larger burgers. For those of you who don’t know, a slider is a small burger meant to be gulped down in just a bite or two. Think of White Castle. Think of the mini-cheeseburgers at Denny’s. There you go.

The second time I went, I got there right when they opened and was immediately seated. The overall experience was much, much better.

Tyler’s originally based their reputation on their sliders, which are actually much larger than their Midwestern counterparts. They’re also more expensive, more than a couple of bucks apiece. In fact, I think they’re closer to the size of most fast food 99 cent burgers. But they’re a lot better. Just get there early, because like I said, they tend to run out by about two in the afternoon. That’s right, they run out of sliders. I heard that the first time I went, and I thought well…make some more! Chop chop! It doesn’t make much sense to me to be a burger joint and to run out of one type of burger and not another. It was a bit of a turnoff for me, considering it was my first time. The heat that day didn’t help.

Personally, I don’t even get the sliders. I go for their regular burgers, which are half-pounders that are similar in execution to Russell’s, with vivid colors and flavors all resulting from the incredible freshness.

I am glad I decided to go back. Since that rather annoying first visit, I’ve grown to love the burgers at Tyler’s, and I place them right up there with The Apple Pan and Cassell’s and the other stalwarts. I don’t even mind driving the hundred miles of so from the San Fernando Valley. I make a pilgrimage there every October when I make my annual trip to the nearby apple orchards in Oak Glen with my kids. It’s worth the trip.

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