In 2011, I ate close to 50 burgers for the A Hamburger Today blog on Serious Eats, ranging from new fast food items to cheffy creations. Some were great, others not so much. Here are my top 5 picks.

1. Poutine Burger from The Pink Bicycle

After spending almost a year living in San Diego, I took a trip back to my homeland and discovered this burger of epic tastiness at The Pink Bicycle in Victoria B.C. The idea of gravy, cheese curds, french fries, and aioli on a burger sounds a little bit crazy, but it definitely works.

2. CAB Natural Burger from Sessions Public

Session Public’s Certified Angus Burger, topped with Gouda, a smear of garlic aioli, arugula, tomato confit, and sweet pickled onion, is a mind-blower. Even days later, I was daydreaming about this burger, but be warned: you are going to need some breath mints.

3. Big Beer Burger at Karl Strauss

What happens when you use four different types of beer to make a burger? Very good things. This moisture bomb of a burger topped with mushrooms, bacon, and cheese is one of the very best in San Diego.

4. Grass-Fed Burgers at Alchemy

Alchemy’s cheeseburger features best-in-class ingredients like grass-fed beef from Estancia Farms, red leaf lettuce, house-cured pickles, exceptionally fresh tomatoes, and a slice of savory Mahon cheese. If you’ve never tried grass-fed beef, this is the burger in San Diego to lose your virginity to.

5. Burger from Ave. 5

Ave. 5’s burger is an exercise in restraint. Little cheffy touches like a dab of dijon and a bun that’s slathered with aioli before being toasted up on the grill is all that’s needed to make this burger appeal to both gourmands and purists.

Honorable mention: BO-beau makes a solid pork belly-topped burger, but the romesco aioli that comes with the giant pile of frites is absolutely outstanding.

Looking for more burger suggestions? Check out my top 5 burgers of 2010.

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