Hawkins House of Burgers

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Hawkins House of Burgers
11603 S Slater St
Los Angeles, CA 90059
(323) 563-1129
http://hawkinsburgers.com/

This song immediately came to mind after I devoured my whipper burger at work. One, the song is supposed to reflect on positive change in the hood after the 2008 recession (I wiki’d that). That’s roughly around the time food/restaurant blogging started to pick up steam as the new art and culture. While it hasn’t exactly been a Golden Age (see: Yelp “Elitism”), the sign of the times did help shine light on restaurants that have been criminally long-ignored, in areas that used to be deemed too “urban” for the standard foodie demographic. Nowadays, you see plenty of “adventurous” diners (like myself) patting ourselves on the back while posting photos of us waiting in line in Compton for some Bludso’s on Instagram/Twitter.

Another reason “Put On” came to mind after I finished eating my burger from Hawkins House of Burgers was because I thought of all the pounds I was putting on eating stuff like this. Similar to Mom’s Burgers in Compton, this is a hood burger at its finest. The large patty is hand-formed, well-seasoned, and well-finished on the griddle. The hand-formed patty was extremely loose, but that actually helped the melted cheese on top, as it basically melted into the crevasses of the patty, creating a ghetto Juicy Lucy of sorts.

The variation that I ordered, the whipper burger, was a fully-loaded ride, with plenty of pastrami and slices of hot link. In a neighborhood and culture where pimped-out rides are revered, this is obviously the signature item. And it was indeed glorious, although maybe a bit too much for its own good. All the heft in between the thin, grilled commercial bun kind of rendered it useless; I finished the burger with a knife and fork, an act that might have gotten me shot in the hood. Still, I am not deterred in reflecting positively about the burger. But I will have to order it sans pastrami and hot link next time, because I know that a real burger is about the meat and bun, not the tricked-out accessories (see: SinoSoul’s post on Grill ‘Em All).

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Cuisine City/Neighborhood Price Grade
American, Burgers South LA $ B+

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Jim Dandy Fried Chicken

Jim Dandy
Photo credit: SinoSoul

Those close to me know that one of my most guilty pleasures is fried chicken. I don’t eat much of it, but when I do, it’s ugly – I can probably eat a whole bucket by myself. So which restaurant has the best fried chicken in L.A.? For a while, I figured Farmshop in Brentwood, where the fried chicken is a modified version of the famed version served at Ad Hoc in Yountville, would claim such a title. And while my visit to the restaurant was a mostly enjoyable one (post forthcoming), it left me wanting more – more out of my fried chicken. LA Weekly recently ran a “10 Best Fried Chicken in Los Angeles” list, and Jim Dandy stood atop the ranking (it also won the publication’s “Best Of” award for fried chicken, however redundant).  Maybe Jim Dandy can rescue me from such a predicament (get it?)…

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I swung by Jim Dandy on a recent, freezing Sunday. The restaurant had the decor of a run-down laundromat, sassy employees that would make Tyler Perry proud, and enough bulletproof window to shame a local bank. I stepped up to the window and ordered a 4-piece meal, with corn fritters (basically hush puppies) and fries. To my surprise, I received my order within a couple of minutes (it was good timing – they just finished a batch). The fried chicken remained piping hot even after the ride back to my apartment. The fritters were decent, and the fries were subpar, but that’s not what I was there for – I was there for the fried chicken. I have to say, it was the best fried chicken I’ve had in recent memory, but it wasn’t head and shoulders above others (for one, Flossie’s was very comparable). But the skin was crispy and flavorful, the meat was juicy (even the white), and that’s all I could really ask for. For now, I am happily satisfied…until the day I find my one true love.

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Chris Hei grade: B+

Jim Dandy Fried Chicken
11328 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90044
(323) 779-5567

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