GoldenStateBurgerSPFriesFabulous Burgers and more great food

On Fairfax, by Melrose in Los Angeles

by Deborah Shadovitz If you love a great burger you’ll love discovering The Golden State. They serve perhaps one of the best burgers in California, the Golden State. There’s more than just a top quality burger on their menu, though. And you’ll notice that everything they serve is real food, sourced from healthful, sustainable, caring companies. GoldenState-logo  [column-group][column]Over a year ago, a friend and I took a good walk over to The Golden State: a small, friendly, unassuming restaurant that was highly recommended by her restaurant-savvy 2mn] GoldenStateOrderAreaBefore you head over to The Golden State and step up to the counter, you can check out their menu online or download the pdf. Or, you can pick up one of the laminated menus at the counter. Your order-taker is happy to answer questions for you or perhaps customize your order.

The menu isn’t fancy looking, but the dishes it suggests are certainly appealing. They all look great — but frankly, I can’t tell you about them from first-hand experience because I go there for the burger. [clearboth]

One of the best burgers ever

I honestly have to say Golden State’s hamburgers are one of the best burgers I have ever had. This luscious burger starts with beef from none other than Harris Ranch Beef, butchered by The Huntington Meats of the original Farmer’s Market. Golden State’s co-owner, Jason, explains that the meat is the beginning but the butchering is an important part of creating a great meat. As The Huntington Meat company is nearby, it’s easy for Jason to have fresh meat delivered every day. They actually have a second, afternoon delivery on busy days, which is at least 3 days a week. It’s topped with a flavorful but not overpowering Fiscalini Farmsteads white cheddar that’s actually cooked onto the burger, not just plopped on top as the burger is placed on the bun. Next, it’s adorned with glazed applewood smoked bacon. Open the bun and have a look. It’s beautiful bacon, just perfect looking. Completing it is arugula, their own aioli, and ketchup. It’s all served on a thick egg bun that somewhat reminds me of a great Challah. $10 gets you this perfect burger and one high-quality, tasty side — fresh French Fries, Golden State Potato Salad, or Jalapeno Cabbage Slaw. An extra dollar gets you the incredibly popular Sweet Potato Wedges that you see at the top of the page or Persian Cucumber Salad. As the two photos illustrate, my choice has always been fries. GoldenStateBurgerFries

Hot dogs, sandwiches, salads and other burgers

The rest of the regular menu offers turkey or veggie burgers, chicken; a BLTA sandwich (that’s their fantastic Glazed Applewood Smoked Bacon with lettuce, tomato — plus avacado and aioli); tuna sandwich or melt; a variety of hot dogs from Let’s be Frank (; and salads. How she resisted the burger on our last visit, I don’t know, but the friend I dined with had one of the three salads — theGolden State Salad. She loved it. “It’s not your traditional lettuce salad. The pairing of the arugula with sweet potatoes, roasted red peppers, etc. provided a great combination of flavors.” GoldenStateSalad


Details and location

The Golden State 426 North Fairfax Ave Los Angeles CA 90036 The Golden State is located on the east side of Fairfax, north of Beverly, south of Melrose — specifically between Oakwood and Rosewood. (Pretty much across from Cantor’s.) It’s also very close to the Banana Bungalow Hostel, making it very easy for those lucky backpackers to come enjoy a great burger or beer.


Tuesday – Sunday: Noon-10pm Closed on Monday [/column][column]


At dinnertime — 5pm — the menu expands adding the daily special to the menu. As I’ve only been a daytime customer, I haven’t had the opportunity to try these yet, but I long to each time I read this menu. Here’s the Daily Specials menu I shot on Friday, July 1, 2011. GoldenStateBlackboard-dinnerside [clearboth]

Great locally brewed beer and local wine as well

GoldenStateBurgerBeerTaps Beer and Burger pairings, anyone? If you’re a beer drinker, I expect you’ll love having a beer with your burger or entree — or coming in just for the beer. (Or perhaps you’re a beer float person?) [clearboth] The Golden State has 12 beer taps and rotate their selection of microbrewery-supplied craft beers. They offer 40 different beer brands and over 150-200 beers. Most of the beers are brewed locally, but there are a few exceptional craft brews from out of state that they also bring in for us. [clearboth] GoldenStateBlackboard-beerside GoldenState-CraftsmanBreweries-logoOne of the beers offered more regularly is by Craftsman Brewing Company of Pasadena. Craftsman’s award-winning hand-crafted beers are created under the watchful eyes of founder and owner Mark Jilg. [clearboth]
Here’s a beer tip: If you love a particular beer there, make a note of it because the selection changes so rapidly that next time you return, the staff won’t be able to tell you the name of that fantastic beer you had last Tuesday at 2.


California wine as well

There’s also always one red wine and one white wine on hand for the wine drinker. The selection changes just like the beer, but all from California. (The beer tip above might apply to the wine too, so if you love a wine, make a note.)

Unique gelato flavors

If you love Gelato you might give the unique flavors of Scoops Gelato by Tai Kim® a try. So far, I’ve had (and enjoyed) the chocolate-banana and a maple-something. I’ll just have to try the rest to report back to you.[/column][/column-group] [column-group][column] [hr]

About Harris Ranch

If you’ve made the drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco, you likely know Harris Ranch. It’s the large cattle ranch that you smell first, then glimpse, midway between our two cities. It’s immediately off the 5, in a tiny town called Coalinga, which was once a railroad fueling stop called Coaling Station A.) Family owned and operated by the Harris family for all of its 40+ years, Harris Ranch cattle are sourced, fed and humanely processed to create beef that is “as pure and great tasting as nature intended.” Harris Ranch has a strict standard and testing process to ensure it does not contain antibiotic or pesticide residues. It is also minimally processed and contains no preservatives or artificial ingredients. If you haven’t stopped at Harris Ranch en route between Los Angeles and San Francisco, I highly recommend you do. You’re likely to make it a regular rest stop. [/column][column] [hr]

About Fiscalini Farmstead Cheddar

Fiscalini Farmstead makes old-fashioned raw-milk cheeses. As their website explains, “Our aged cheeses are made by hand from the finest milk in California – produced from our very own contented cows, and aged in our special aging rooms, then watched over by our master cheesemaker Mariano Gonzalez. Mariano’s passion is to make clothbound cheddar in the rich tradition of the United Kingdom.” Based in Modesto, California, the Fiscalini farm is:
  • Animal welfare certified
  • Environmentally certified
  • Powered by renewable energy produced on-site



La Finestra in Tarzana by Scott Immerman LaFinestra   Finding good Italian food in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley isn’t as easy as one would think.  Thankfully, I found La Finestra on Ventura in Tarzana and it immediately became my favorite. [clearboth] [column-group][column] Asked to recommend and write about one of my favorite restaurants, it was easy for me to want to recommend La Finestra. From my first visit in early 2009, both the staff and decor made me feel very comfortable. It’s a perfect atmosphere for a relaxing evening or a business lunch.  On an autumn evening in 2009, I brought a few friends in for dinner. After starting with their Pizza Margherita ($13.50) as an appetizer, our entire table agreed we were in for a treat. We then tried the Caprese ($7.95) and were equally impressed. As a regular there, I knew they would be. You can tell a lot about a restaurant by their simpler dishes, which most take for granted. Their specialties include a Fresh Atlantic Salmon ($18.95) — oven roasted and topped with chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil (just enough for additional flavor, without distracting from the salmon). If you are looking for something unique and well worth trying, I suggest the Battuta di Manzo Arrabbiata ($19.50) — a New York steak pounded thin and sautéed with garlic and crushed red pepper to create a truly special dish. LaFinestraFood5   For those who enjoy pasta, La Finestra has a wide selection with a couple of standouts. One of my favorites is Ravioli di Ricotta Aurora ($15.50) — handmade ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and spinach in a pink sauce. Then there’s the Fettuccine Alfredo con Piselli e Prosciutto ($15.95). LaFinestraFood3 After your meal, sit back with a Cappuccino and desert, relax, and forget that the 101 Freeway even exists.[/column] [column] La Finestra is exactly the kind of restaurant we need more of in the Valley. Rustic food with a wonderful taste, prepared authentically and at a reasonable price, served in a comfortable and casual setting. Open for both Lunch and Dinner, entrees range from $5.50 to $15.50 for lunch and $6 to $22 for dinner. There is plenty of parking in back and street parking in front. After you have enjoyed your meal, and I expect you will, add yourself to their email list and you’ll be notified of specials and new menu items. You will be treated to some great discounts via this list. Oh… be sure to ask about the Latin saying on the wall for a great story. LaFinestraFood2LaFinestraFood1_salad [hr] La Finestra 19647 Ventura Blvd Tarzana, CA 91356 (818) 342-2824 Menus at VISA, MasterCard, AmEx, and DiscoverCard cards accepted. [hr] Scott Immerman is an LA-born Certified Apple Consultant. Visiting clients since before there was even a Mac, he has dined at many, many restaurants all over the Los Angeles area! Photo credit: These photos are taken from the restaurant’s website. [/column][/column-group] [clearboth] View Larger Map]]>