Burger Bash

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Kobe Beef Havarti Cheeseburger at Sapphire Laguna | photo courtesy of Sapphire Laguna

Inaugural OC Burger Week tempts with deals including special sides and sips through July 20.

By Sharon Stello


There’s nothing quite as satisfying as biting into a big, juicy burger. Whether it’s a simple, cheeseburger that can be held in one hand or a towering temptation that’s piled high with toppings and needs to be eaten with a knife and fork, there’s something comforting about this classic fare.

Often found sizzling on barbecues throughout summer, this season is a celebration of the ever-popular patty between two buns, especially as OC Burger Week continues through Saturday, July 20. The inaugural week started Sunday with special deals at dozens of restaurants around Orange County including several in Laguna Beach. Prices range from $10 to $25 and include a burger—beef, bison, turkey, chicken, mushroom and veggie patties are being served—as well as a variety of sides and beverages from which to choose.

Among the creative combinations are a beef burger topped with barbecue pork belly at 17th Street Grill in Tustin; a burger smothered in spicy mac ’n’ cheese at Bosscat Kitchen & Libations in Newport Beach; a lamb burger with goat cheese aioli at Juliette Kitchen & Bar in Newport; crabcake burgers at Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails in Irvine; a Gorgonzola-stuffed burger at Salt Creek Grille in Dana Point; and burgers topped with pulled carnitas or jalapeno and serrano peppers at Avila’s El Ranchito in Santa Ana.

Several restaurants are showcasing over-the-top burgers—think pork belly, pate, grilled octopus and more—crafted by their chefs in partnership with Neil Saavedra, host of “The Fork Report” radio show.

In Laguna, participating eateries include Ocean at Main, Mozambique, Sapphire Laguna, Skyloft and Tortilla Republic. Ocean at Main keeps it straight forward, but decadent with its $20 offering of the Gourmet OAM Burger topped with clothbound cheddar, caramelized onions, crispy shallots, lettuce and wagyu beef aioli, and served with truffle fries. Add a special Burger Week cocktail, the Plein Air, with bourbon, sage syrup, apricot and lemon, for an additional charge.

Mozambique offers three $15 options: the OC Prego Steak Sandwich, a beef filet covered with grilled onions, mushrooms, melty provolone cheese and peri peri sauce on a ciabatta bun; the Grilled Herb Chicken Sandwich, a chicken breast marinated with citrus and Maputo herbs, topped with applewood smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado on a ciabatta bun; and the Mozambique Steak Burger, which features freshly chopped filet, cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion on a brioche bun. Then choose a side including Mazavaroo Fries, which are classic french fries with a kick; sweet potato fries served with Monte Carlo sauce; or spinach salad tossed in Champagne vinaigrette. Add a bourbon-based Roasted Lemon Sour cocktail for an additional charge.

Sapphire Laguna also presents three $15 choices: The popular American Kobe Beef Havarti Cheeseburger with dijonnaise, caramelized onion, wild arugula and tomato; the Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger complete with apple-honey coleslaw and a bread-and-butter pickle; and a mushroom-and-lentil burger topped with cucumber, avocado, tomato and lemon-tahini yogurt, for those seeking a vegetarian option. Sides include garlic, sweet potato or salt and pepper fries, or a garden salad. The featured cocktail, for an extra charge, is the Buddha Margarita, with tequila, Buddha’s Hand citron confit, Cointreau and lime.

Skyloft kicks it up a notch with three $20 options: the Smoked Pulled Pork Burger, a beef patty smothered with smoked barbecue pulled pork and topped with beer cheese, bacon, a beer-battered onion ring and pickles on a brioche bun; the Mushroom Demi Burger, which includes two beef patties, a fried egg, mushroom demi-glace, black peppercorn aioli, American cheese, bacon, tomato and crispy fried shallots on a brioche bun and topped with a fried jalapeno; and the Beyond Sky Burger, made with a Beyond Meat plant-based patty, roasted garlic aioli, Swiss cheese, grilled portabello mushroom and onions, tomato and mixed greens, on a brioche bun. For sides, choose from french fries or sweet potato fries, Cajun Tater Tots or charred Brussels sprouts. Add a Bourbon Mudslide for an additional charge.

Tortilla Republic gives diners a $20 option: the Kobe Beef Burger with guacamole, pico del gallo, habanero aioli dressing, lettuce and grilled green onion on a brioche bun, served with french fries, and a $15 option: the Chipotle-Honey Chicken Burger, featuring crispy Mary’s organic chicken, chipotle-honey dressing, Manchego cheese, lettuce and tomato on a ciabatta bun, served with sweet potato fries.

With so many burgers and less than a week left, we’re hoping they bring back OC Burger Week next year because there’s no way to try them all. For more information, visit burgerweek.com.

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