Jan. 27, 2010

27 Jan

9 am

1 bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds

1 pm

Cassell’s Hamburgers

1/3 lb. cheeseburger

side of potato salad

scoop of cottage cheese

1 large lemonade

Before Father’s Office’s Pub Burgers and the proliferation of Umami Burgers, Cassell’s Hamburgers, which opened in Koreatown before such an enclave existed, was considered the best burger in Los Angeles. For a 40-year period since it’s opening in the 1940’s, Mr. Cassell would grind USDA prime beef daily and broil it under a massive double broiler that’s still the only one of it’s kind. To walk into Cassell’s now is to see a burger joint that has literally fossilized since it’s most recent halcyon days in the 1980’s. The white formica interior still has that cheap 50’s feel as does the wooden tables that’s straight from the Brady’s household and a cafeteria that feels like the low-income Communist varieties during the Cold War. There are numerous newspaper clippings on the wall, all recognizing Cassell’s as the best burger in LA. But outside of one LA Times review from 1992, the clippings are all 20-30 years old. A blow-up review from Oui Magazine, Playboy’s defunct French version from the 1970’s, dominates one wall. There are celebrity photos too, of Angie Dickinson and Michael Landon, and most of the Cassell’s patrons probably grew up watching him on Bonanza. The only tip-off that you’re not in the 1970’s is the radio, which is always on KDAY and more likely to play Beyonce than Keely Smith.

Cassell’s now has a Korean proprieter, Helen Kim, who bought the business in the 90’s and has been fastidious about leaving everything as is, bare-bones ambiance and all. The beef is still prime and ground daily, and the massive salamander broiler is still used to broil them. The fixings might’ve seemed novel in the days when fresh produce was harder to procure, but the quality is severely lacking now. The only condiments worth writing about are the eggy house-made mayonnaise and the thousand island sauce made with it. There’s also the complimentary horseradish potato salad that’s actually a cold and dense mashed potatoes, cottage cheese and canned peaches. Fries and onion rings cost $2 more, but they’re terrible. In fact, pretty much everything on Cassell’s menu now tastes outdated. The only thing that still translates are the burgers themselves and those 1/3 or 2/3 pound patties can still hold their own with most burgers in LA. It’s odd to reconcile the high-quality of the beef to the relative cheapness of everything else on the burger. It’s like watching 16 mm films in a 3-D world.

7 pm

1 bowl of instant udon noodles

1 glass of water

There’s nothing like spending a Wednesday night eating instant noodles and watching four hours of State of the Union coverage on TV. Im going to keep this site non-partisan and not comment on that. There are many, many places where you can go to hear the blabbering analysis about Obama’s speech.

9 pm

1 bowl of Reese’s Puffs cereal

10 pm

1 fuji apple

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