We are constantly looking for causes to celebrate. Oftentimes Flag Day, Half-Birthdays, or even the completion of a difficult crossword puzzle have become cause enough for an over-the-top dining extravaganzas. It should come as little surprise then that in moving from DC to LA this September, we found more than our share of causes for celebration and elaborate last-month/week/day-in-town blowout meals.
It all became rather exhausting actually. Nearly as much so as the packing and apartment hunting itself. All that eating, and shoveling and stuffing and gluttonizing...
By the time it rolled around to my last official night in DC, Angela was already on Pacific Standard Time (along with our camera, so forgive the grainy iPhone pictures below), unpacking our things into a new West Hollywood apartment, and I was left behind contemplating one last DC-centric meal. One final taste of the District to savor for the road. It wasn't a difficult choice. I landed on one of my go-to favorites - Ray's Hell Burger. Not only is the Ray's franchise responsible for the best hamburger I've had in the DC-area, they've also created a brand that's become quite synonymous with quality food in and around the District.
And how about those Hell Burgers I love so much? Ray's supplements their thick, juicy burgers with an impressive list of add-ons that take the notion of toppings to a whole new level. You won't just find guacamole, applewood smoked bacon or the house-made 'Heck Sauce', you can also optimize your burger with a $4 slice of cave-aged Amish cheddar or even a slathering of roasted bone marrow with persillade. But for my final trip to Ray's Hell Burger, I decided to bring the ridiculousness. Put your arteries on alert, because the "Fat Joe" crowns its aged 10 oz. burger with balsamic-glazed, seared foie gras, white truffle oil, crispy shallots and vine-ripened tomatoes.
That's right. A seared patty of delicious foie gras is added on top of the 10 oz. burger. (I considered adding the bacon too, but I'm already on PETA's watch-list as it is.) To make matters worse for my future cardiologist, I added smoked mozzarella, grilled onions and a side of Ray's sweet potato fries. Hey, it's not every day you say goodbye to a city you love.
The burger was ah-mazing, but after a couple bites, hands barely able to wrap themselves around the kitchen-sink-style burger creation, I realized I'd fallen victim to my own vices. The burger stood up to its name, and I was condemned to a damnation of my own making. Don't get me wrong, these burgers are fantastic, but every now and then I need saving from my own self. Ray's offers so many possibilities, the mad scientist inside of me wants to experiment, and I get over-zealous with the menu and concoct things that tend to overwhelm my palate rather than err on the side of simplicity.
In spite of the grease insurgency, the bun, flavored with sesame and poppy seeds, held up quite well to the sopping wet grease attack. It was a battle I nearly lost, but I finally managed to polish off every last savory bite. Were I to ever return to Ray's in the future, I'll trust the experts and cut back on the add-ons.
Either that, or bring a bigger mouth.