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Five Ways to Upgrade Your Hamburger Right Now

Katherine Guzman | September 18, 2013 | Story Restaurants

Meat and bread. Let's face it, at its most primal the hamburger is a pretty great thing to eat. But what happens when you jazz it up? Here are our favorite burger upgrades right now:

Ramen + Burger: When Nombe introduced their ramen burger, it had Ramen addicts and Burger aficionados rejoicing alike. With a 50/50 pork belly and Wagyu patty sitting between discs of ramen noodles and toppings that would out-umami Umami burger, we thought that was the peak until Hapa Ramen revealed this week on Twitter that they too have been playing with the burger. Cheeseburger Ramen that is. Yes, ma’am, we’re talking cheesy-jalapeño meatballs floating in a broth with charred ginger, tomatoes, bacon and veal bones.

Remixing: As far as toppings go, sometimes it’s hard to steer from the OG’s: cheese, bacon, onions, mayo… We’ve seen some trends that dance that line by paying homage with some unique interpretations like Kronner Burger’s cheese-mayo which embraces both condiment faves into one amazing sauce (an aioli de fromage will also appear on the burger at Franck LeClerc’s second Café Claude). Of course there is the bacon, whether in jam form, as seen in Corner Store’s burger, or ground up IN the patty like Rickybobby.

Crazy Toppings: Speaking of toppings, classic ones notwithstanding, many chefs are using this space as a playground. We’ve seen it all from beef tongue at Hopscotch to pickled zucchini at Spruce to kimchi relish at Namu and our personal favorite, sliced black truffles at Bix but few things can withstand the test of time, and trend, like the now almost standard bone marrow topping (optional at Kronner Burger and well, not, at Goose & Gander in St. Helena).

Other buns: Since the gourmet burger hit the scene, buns have been the first in line for customizing that “signature” burger. Whether it’s brioche (ala Nopa) or Mason Pacific’s pretzel bun, few things top the creativity ladder like the aforementioned ramen patties, the fondly remembered patty-buns of the shuttered Spork’s inside-out burger or the infamous fried chicken tender “buns” of KFC’s Double Down sandwich (not exactly a burger but c’mon, it was pretty ingenious).

Sweet Stuff: And while that food poisoning incident in Canada has that ubiquitous Cronut Burger trend delayed, you can satisfy your burger-sweet tooth in the meantime with a Nutella Burger from Burger Bar.

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