Cali “O” Burgers- Hillcrest


The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Ok, we have a problem. More specifically, I have a problem. A burger conundrum! I love them too much. So what happens every single time we go get one is that I automatically say it is my new favorite. It is a burden! A curse! One I must carry every day. But alas, I diverge. Recently, I changed my favorite to the burger at Waypoint Public. However, this week we ate my previous favorite, and now… I am back on the O.G. favorite! What a whirlwind! When I first moved here, we accidentally stumbled upon Cali “O” Burgers in Hillcrest, and we were instantly hooked. Their burgers are sublime. Simple, yet delicious. Fresh ingredient that come together perfectly. They use organic, grass-fed beef to make the perfect patties. They even have burgers made out of turkey, elk, bison, and ostrich! We have yet to try those, but they have piqued our interest!

Let’s start with the burger patty. We already discussed the beef – juicy and tender with a perfect char on the outside. The liberal amount of seasoning they use before throwing it on the griddle makes them brown up beautifully.  They then add perfectly balanced toppings, depending on which variety of burger you decide to order. The menu is loaded with amazing choices. Ian likes the Oakland burger, which is topped with crunchy, fried onion petals, smoked Gouda, tangy BBQ sauce, and oh yeah- more grilled onions! The kisses get put on hold for a while after that. Personally, I usually get the Cali burger topped with the Gouda. The smoky, creaminess of that glorious cheese matches beautifully with the melt-in-your-mouth beef. The house Dijon aioli has the perfect velvety consistency plus a little heat and sharpness from the Dijon. The bun is also perfectly buttered and toasted. It is strong enough to support the weightiness of the burger. There is nothing that irritates me more than a burger with no structural integrity! A bun should be equal sizes to the patty, and be able to hold all the toppings without too much spillage! It’s important! Burger 101, baby!

Let’s talk sides. The choices are pretty varied, and I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them! The tots are crispy, salty, and fantastic. Splurge on calories and get a side of ranch. It’s smooth, cool, and zesty. The sweet potato fries are expertly fried and soft on the inside. If you are a classic fry kind of guy (or gal, but guy rhymes…) they have you covered with the sidewinders, which you can also upgrade to herb-parmesan.  Do yourself a favor, and split them between two of you. Learn from our mistakes, friends!


And let’s just say for the sake of argument, you are doing an aggressive diet fad such as low carb, keto, Atkins, or a very loose paleo.  (IAN EDIT:  I’ll try anything to stay in shape while having a food blog…) Yes, they lettuce wrap.  Yes, Ian has reported that it is absolutely delicious.  Especially with the San Jose burger, covered in various peppers, chipotle aioli, and bacon!

Cali “O” is where it is at. The burger has re-asserted itself at the top of the list. It’s battling many contenders to stay there! For now, it will stay king! The question is, how long until it is de-throned?

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