"Drugstore Style Hamburger" by Jeff Jackson Today's New York Times article about burgers struck me as odd. Not because there was an article about burgers. Burger stories is what food publications do for the Fourth of July, which might as well be called: National Burger and Hot Dog Day because four out of five Americans probably couldn't tell you: Independence from what? But I digress... There's only so much you can say about burgers and the author pretty much covered the bases. She even tried to go national on the story. But here in Los Angeles, she chose to cover, of all places, the French bistro, Comme Ca. Huh? Okay, so evidently they serve one, but... does anyone in this town talk about the Comme Ca burger or wonder about the secrets behind it? In L.A., when it comes to burgers, people talk about the Pug Burger at the Hungry Cat, Nancy Silverton's burgers, based on her signature fatty burger grind sold at Huntington Meats, and the have-it-their-way burger at Father's Offi ...

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I try to  live my life without regrets, but when I read a story like the one in the Sunday Times Magazine, on buttermilk, it's hard not to have at least one. Years ago, while staying at Blackberry Farm, the fabulously luxurious Relais & Chateau Inn nestled in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, the then-chef of the inn's acclaimed restaurant, John Fleer, told me about two of the sources behind his biscuits-and-gravy breakfast: One was the buttermilk-producing family featured in the Times article, the other was Allan Benton, one of the lone surviving producers left of the nearly extinct population of Southern, mostly Appalachian makers of country ham. The two were in opposite directions. I was driving from coast-to-coast and had a general rule, in order to eventually make it to California, of trying at the very least to drive in one general direction. I asked him which I should visit, and he told me Benton. I mean, if I had to choose. Benton is indeed special--both he and his hams, w ...

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