Is it a deal-breaker if I say I can live without ever eating a Tommyburger again?

Edward: Well, first of all your statement is nonsensical — it is not actually possible to live without eating Tommyburgers!

Hannah: Maybe if I ever get to go to the OG and taste the 50 year old chili, then maybe I’ll get it. But I’m always happy to support your interests — which is why every time we go to CA we have to stop in Barstow and get one.

The Laguna Burger

The Laguna Burger

Edward: It’s funny that our trip to Los Angeles was bookended by hamburgers — we got Laguna burgers before leaving town, and stopped at “Original” Tommy’s in Barstow on the way in!

Wait, no one will know what you’re talking about by “the OG” or the “50 year old chili.” Those things all demand explication. Which I shall provide.

Hannah: I expect people will do the research. I believe in the people. But you go ahead?

Edward: I don’t even expect people to finish reading our blog posts, much less do independent research based on them!

Hannah: Awwww

Please, tell us about Tommy’s.

Edward: Tommy’s is a famous regional burger chain based in Los Angeles. It’s been around since the 1940s.

When I visited L.A. as a little kid, my Uncle Steve took me to Tommy’s and I had a chili burger there, which is what they’re famous for. I fell in love with them!

I don’t know if they’re still around, but there used to be a whole bunch of weird off-brand Tommy’s knockoff joints in L.A., all called things like “Tom’s” and my favorite for sheer laziness, “Tomy’s”

Hannah: What is it that you love, though? What about the burger?

Chili Burger from Tommy's

Chili Burger from Tommy’s

Edward: By the way, here’s a funny list of imitation Tommy’s joints in L.A.

I think the chili has a lot to do with it. It’s not fancy — in fact, it tastes kind of wrong on some level — but it’s still insanely delicious. And there’s a lot of it, so it’s a gloriously sloppy burger.

My theory about people’s favorite burgers is that you love what you grew up eating, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with my unseemly love for Tommy’s chili burgers.

And of course a lot of our favorite foods are our favorites because of the time and place that we first encountered them.

My first encounter with Tommy’s was at the original “OG” location, at the corner of Beverly and Rampart in L.A. (“OG” L.A.)
It was and is incredibly sketchy, which as we know automatically makes any burger 50% tastier.

Hannah: Also you were with a beloved person.

Edward: True!

No seats, takeout only, just a shack with a bunch of surly ex-convict-looking dudes making burgers behind an open-air counter. You get in line, get your soda from a cooler, order your burger, then you get your burger and spoon some extremely unhygenic looking jalapeño peppers from a little metal prep box that was half-filled with dead fruit flies.

Then you take your burger and go across the street to the parking lot, where they just have these little shelves lining the lot that you lean against and eat your burger, usually next to people wearing a lot of leather and/or neck tattoos.

Hannah: Well, ok, I’m pro-going to Tommy’s but I’m anti eating it for MYSELF. I have to do complicated calculations to determine if what I’m about to eat is worth the stomachache it’s going to cause. Unfortunately, for me, Tommy’s doesn’t pass.

Edward: I think it’s the heightened sense of danger that adds deliciousness to your meal.

Hannah: LOL

What delicious thing did we eat next? Herring in cream at Canter’s?

Edward: No way dude, you’re forgetting our first L.A. adventure!

We drove into town and for reasons of PURE WHIMSY decided to bypass our hotel and head straight for the beach!

We got onto the Pacific Coast Highway and drove up to Malibu.

We got to Malibu and then wanted to turn around, but could not, because Malibu is for some reason a very turn-around-unfriendly town, with streets that go right up to the buildings and not many parking lots. The only thing we could do is turn off onto what looked like a nice sedate small side road.

However, the road was too narrow to turn around on, so I kept driving down the road to see if there was a spot with some room to make a U-turn. But it just kept going!

And then there were cars behind and ahead of us, which was freaking me out because where did this road go, anyway? There was no sign that it was anything but a sleepy residential road!

Hannah: LOL Oh no, this was potentially such a fight scene. Tensions were running high in the car as I am not relaxed in such situations, and you are definitely not relaxed in such situations.

Edward: Yeah because you were like, turn around! And I was like, I can’t!

Then we reached some kind of mysterious gate with a bunch of cars, and I was like, “I DON’T KNOW OKAY WHATEVER!” and drove through the gate.

Hannah: Oh man, everything about this was awful! We didn’t know what was up, and we knew we were going to have to pay for parking. Which you HATE!

Edward: Oh yeah, there was some kind of ridiculous parking fee, like $10!

Hannah: And, I believe, it was CHRISTMAS DAY.


The whole thing kept getting weirder. I wasn’t sure what this place was — it looked like some kind of meeting hall or something from outside, and all these well-dressed people were filing into it. I was like, is this some private event? Everyone looks like they know each other! Let’s get out of here!

Hannah: LOL

Edward: But then at some point we were like, SCREW IT LET’S GO IN

Hannah: After much angst!

Edward: I was like Hannah on “Girls,” I figured at worst it would make for good blogging material.

“Humiliated in Malibu”

“Awkward Silence as Security Guards Approached”

“Ejected from Posh Club AND Made to Pay for Parking”

Hannah: LOL

The Paradise Cove Cafe, Malibu, CA

The Paradise Cove Cafe, Malibu, CA

Edward: However, it turned out to just be a seafood restaurant, the Paradise Cove Cafe. #anticlimax

Hannah: But it was lovely to be eating seafood on the beach in Malibu with you on Christmas day. What an adventure!!

Edward: Everything turned out much better than expected!

We got something that I’m going to call the Seafood Tornado.

"Seafood Tornado" at the Paradise Cove Cafe, Malibu, CA

“Seafood Tornado” at the Paradise Cove Cafe, Malibu, CA

Hannah: And fried clams! And bloody marys!

Edward: Delicious!

Hannah: Really, what can be said about fried clams. These were excellently clammy.

Fried Clams at the Paradise Cove Cafe

Fried Clams at the Paradise Cove Cafe, Malibu, CA

Edward: I had to look at the online menu to see what was on the Seafood Tornado — it’s ridiculous!

Yo dawg, I heard you like shrimp, so we put a giant prawn on top of a pile of jumbo shrimp!

Ahi sashimi, smoked salmon, bay scallop ceviche, marinated calamari, mussels….

That was a lovely afternoon. After our meal we went out onto the beach and I jumped in the air.

Hannah: Yes, things could have gone so wrong, but they went pretty right

Edward: Definitely the best restaurant experience I’ve had where I didn’t know anything about the restaurant, didn’t know I was going there, and in fact didn’t even intend to go to a restaurant in the first place!

Hannah: Oh andthebloodymarywasgoodandthewaiterwasgood

Edward on the Beach

To be continued…