In the fast food era, the idea of a hamburger artisan - a person who personally grills and constructs every burger - is nearly unimaginable. Bill Elwell is a 91-year-old burger legend has made this unlikely dynamic work at Bill’s Burgers. He’s stood over the same well-seasoned flat-top griddle since 1965 making ideal L.A. style burgers amidst auto body shops. At last check, Elwell estimated that he’s made about 4.5 million burgers since he started, and they’re consistently excellent. Thin, beautifully seared patties join sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, pickles, and mayo on soft buns. Melted American cheese and crispy bacon only help matters. So does making each burger a double.
14742 Oxnard St., Van Nuys 91411
The Asapahu family’s seven-sauce line-up has been the backbone of Ayara Thai Cuisine, a beloved restaurant on a Westchester side street that debuted in 2004. As Vanda Asapahu states, “As our restaurant grew, visitors came to love not only the food we prepared, but also the sauces served with them, whether they were used as dressings, dips or marinades.” Top sellers include When Tigers Cry steak sauce, a nuanced dip or marinade that’s geared toward grilled meat. This sauce balances roasted chiles with tangy tamarind, umami-rich fish flakes and fish sauce, garlic, red onions, and cane sugar. Thai Chili-Lime "seafood dipping sauce" delivers bite to cooked crab and salmon or raw oysters. This bottle blends Thai chiles, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, and cane sugar. Thai Peanut Sauce balances sweetness with umami-rich hoisin, garlic, onion, and cane sugar and works as a grilled meat dip, dressing, or sandwich spread. 8-ounce bottles of all sauces cost $9.75.
6245 W. 87th St., Los Angeles 90045