Friday, December 17, 2004

Holiday Big Bites

LA's totemic street food. Posted by Hello

Chicago might have the best hot dogs, Philadelphia the best cheese steaks and hoagies, New York the best hero sandwiches, but Los Angeles, for a long time, has been and remains a "burger town." The ubiquitous taco trucks are becoming more familiar, but The Food Section has a recent tour of the best burger joints around town, including the famous In-N-Out Double-Double (mentioned prominently in The Big Lebowski).

Several years ago Public Television aired the memorable documentary Burger Town, which firmly placed Los Angeles and this uniquely American food together in the annals of food history:

The hamburger is hands down our all-time favorite food. The average American consumes nearly thirty pounds of hamburger a year - three burgers per person per week.

Burger Town not only unearths the origins of the hamburger and traces its ascent into popular cultural icon, it shows why Los Angeles can lay claim to taking its burgers more seriously than any other city in America. From the Pacific Coast Highway to the sprawling east L.A. desert towns, Los Angeles is home to some of the greatest hamburger palaces and coffee shops in America.

The peace-time prosperity that followed World War II was a glorious time for drive-ins. Los Angeles was the town where McDonald's Hamburgers would shape the future of the burger. The McDonald brothers' first drive in was built in San Bernardino in 1948. When it changed from car hops to self-service, it began a revolution in 15 cent burgers that would sweep the nation and transform the suburban landscape of America. Living legend Richard McDonald, founder of this most successful fast-food chain in history, is interviewed along with America's foremost burger historians.

Burger Town also chronicles the rise of other national hamburger chains and tours the best burger joints in Los Angeles. Packed with clips of vintage burger commercials, nostalgic clips of early burger joints. and interviews with America's foremost burger historians, Burger Town is a mouth-watering look at America's love affair with the hamburger.

Look for it late at night on your favorite public television station, preferably when you have the munchies.

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