Recently, I was less than complimentary about EurekaBurger in Fresno. Perhaps I was even harsh. I have certain expectations when eating the American Classic and when burger joints get labeled with ‘the best’, no matter the city, The Cured Ham doesn’t take that label lightly. In San Diego at the Valencia Hotel, I had a hamburger that rivaled any that I’ve eaten in memory. It could be one of the best burgers I’ve had in the country.
The Whaling Bar at La Valencia Hotel in San Diego is a California classic and their house burger is no exception. This burger goes down as one of the greatest hamburgers of all time. Simply put, I like medium rare beef, a great bun, and a bit of mess but not destruction. Three quarters of a pound of Brandt beef cooked an even medium rare as requested, A beautiful keiser roll, grilled onions and mushrooms and surounded with a bordelaise sauce. Served with the burger, seasoned truffle fries that were crisp and not a hint greasy and served with a side of ketchup. The presentation and shear size of the plate will get one noticed at the bar. I had an audience watching me take my first bites just to see if I could get both hands and my mouth around this burger. Whoever selected the bread did a great job. Even with the sauce, the juice from the burger, and the grilled onions, the bread stayed together through the last bite. I’m all for a juicy, messy burger, but not the bun that cracks under pressure. Even if you don’t stay at this historic hotel, stop by the bar for the burger, you won’t be disappointed.