Elvis Burger, Apple Fritter, San Mateo, CA
There’s nothing like a quirky burger. The burger is the quintessential American food. It is also our culinary canvas for adventurous ingredients that the average eater might have never encountered elsewhere. How many of our countrymen first encountered blue cheese or foie gras on a burger? Where else but the burger could the baconization of American cuisine have begun—when was the bacon burger not a thing?
These sociological reflections were far from my mind when I sat down for an Elvis Burger at Apple Fritter. (Actually, I ate the burger and a side of cajun fries from a brown to-go bag while gunning it up the 101 back to San Francisco, where I was late meeting a friend.) I just wanted a burger, as one does, and found to my delight a wealth of weird choices, including an eggy Brunch Burger and the doughnut-bunned Luther.
The menu captures the spirit of the Elvis, in my crappy photo above, with the tag #WTFISTHIS. Indeed: devilled egg bread, bacon bits, shredded cheddar, peanut butter, strawberry jelly, chips, jalapenos. What, first of all, is devilled egg bread, even? And is this madness?
Flavor: 4.5 / 5. Maybe it’s the peanut butter and jelly-loving kid in me, or the texture addition of the chips, or the always amazing combination of sweet preserves with spicy chili (if you’ve don’t know what I mean do yourself a favor and find yourself some habanero strawberry jam next time you are in a more-artisan-than-thou type store). But this was an amazingly tasty and balanced burger combination, all the more so for its grandly American flavor palette and ingredient list. It lives up to its name.
Fun: 4 / 5. It’s a burger. Burgers are fun by their very nature—round, fat, meat-filled things that you handle with your hands and often have to stretch your jaws open to consume properly. They are primally fun—that’s why we love them.
Multiple factors conspire to make this a particularly fun burger. The ingredients, of course: the cheerful crimson of strawberry jam, the peanut butter, the very existence of something called ‘devilled egg bread’. Bacon bits—say no more. Texturally, the crunch of the chips contrasts perfectly with the densely soft bread and the mush of the meat itself.
And then, this place is just fun. It’s a prolific eatery—their burger menu is one of at least four menus, including all-day breakfast, lunch, cafe drinks and milkshakes, and its own Weird Dish-worthy array of doughnuts. The burger menu is divided into ‘Traditional’, ‘Interesting’, and ‘Bizarre’. My kind of place.
Funkiness: 2.5 / 5. It’s a burger. Ultimately, you can’t get too weird with a burger. But for a burger the Elvis gets you your weird. A well-executed mashup of a PB&J and a jalapeno bacon burger with the chips-on-the-side thrown in—and, again, that mysterious devilled egg bread. I will learn your secret, devilled egg bread.