for May, 2012
I know that two York Boulevard posts in a row is excessive. However, after trying Fusion Burgers, I couldn’t contain myself. It’s that good, and it fills a once-glaring void in the Highland Park food scene: a full-service, gourmet burger and fries joint.
Fusion Burgers sits unassumingly in a strip mall right across the street from Maximiliano, in the space that most recently housed Tacos El Michuacano. When I first noticed it, there was just a small tarp announcing the name of the new restaurant and some white paint covering that of the previous one. Intrigued, I did some research and found out the owners are Miguel Munoz Sr. and Jr., a father-and-son team who once worked in the kitchen at Umami Burger’s Santa Monica location.
That make sense because the menu is pretty similar to Umami. Some have even claimed that it’s a rip off. It might be, but for what Fusion Burgers lacks in originality, it makes up for in flavor, complete lack of pretension, and location, location, location. I’ve never been a huge fan of Umami, but I’ll probably be a regular at Fusion Burgers.
The interior lacks hyper-fashionable decor of many of the new restaurants popping up on York. The walls of the small space are pretty bare and very orange, and the only real design flair is a parrot mural left by the previous owners. The focus, instead, seems to be on the actual menu, which consists of 13 different burgers, a few salads, Mexican sodas and even ice cream sandwiches.
The speed at which York Boulevard’s food scene is developing has hit break-neck status recently. There’s that new French place Ba, a little place called Fusion Burgers has quietly opened across the street from Maximiliano, and now there seems to be enough room for two cafes.
That’s right. Highland Cafe has opened a few doors down from mainstay Cafe de Leche. The new place, housed in what was the Guatemalan restaurant El Chapin just a few months ago, stakes its claim with a small, Mexican-tinged breakfast and lunch menu along with a full coffee bar fueled by Downtown’s Handsome Coffee Roasters.
The new restaurant/coffee house courts a college crowd, offering a 10 percent discount to Oxy students and plenty of room (plus a few easy chairs) to hash out the deets of a class project. Even so, the crowd is mixed enough that older-than-22 patrons won’t feel out of place and probably won’t mind paying full price for above average egg dishes, pastries, sandwiches and salads.
I was invited to attend Taste of the Eastside, which I sadly had to miss last year. The whole shebang took place last Sunday at Barnsdall Park in Los Feliz. I got there right on time, so I was able to try everything relatively unmolested. Here are some of the things I tried. Those up there? Pavlovas with blackberry and lemon meyer preserves from Atwater Village’s Proof Bakery.
Here’s the rest:
Conchinita pibil taco from Yuca’s in Los Feliz. Very tender.
Buffalo-style cauliflower with vegan blue cheese from Mohawk Bend in Echo Park. I hardly missed the chicken.
Cinnamon rolls and red velvet cupcakes from Auntie Em’s in Eagle Rock.They were nice enough to turn over two rolls for me.
A friend of mine became enchanted by Tacos Villa Corona’s breakfast burrito after seeing it on The Layover, the Anthony Bourdain television show. She said Bourdain really fawned over it, and since we wouldn’t have to travel far—it was just in Atwater Village—we figured we ought to try it.
I had the papas and chorizo version, which was substantial but not ridiculous. I finished the whole thing without much trouble and with no regrets. Did it live up to the hype? Well, I didn’t see any fireworks, but it certainly met my criteria for a good breakfast burrito.
Most importantly, all the components were nicely balanced. The chorizo-potato ratio was spot on, so, thankfully, it didn’t fall into the all too common over-potatoed breakfast burrito trap. The egg was nicely cooked and also knew its place, which is good because if there’s one thing I can’t tolerate, it’s a showboat egg that overshadows the rest of the fixings. Not a problem here. The lack of grease was also a big plus.
I hear the line can be pretty lengthy at Tacos Villa Corona during peak hours, and I’m not sure it’s worth a long wait. However, if it’s, say, three deep, I’d go for it.
Cash only. Burritos with meat are $5-6, vegetarian are $3-4.
Tacos Villa Corona
3185 Glendale Blvd,
Los Angeles CA 90039