Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chow Time: Pie 'N Burger

No holiday recaps here, we're getting right back to monkey business as usual...

Pie 'n Burger is like an Instagram (find us at wacky_tacky) dream come true.  Time and thousands of satisfied customers have already imbued this burger paradise with soft edges and an amber haze; this Pasadena, CA landmark can instantly be hash-tagged "#nofilter."  Every corner of the small restaurant seems locked in a potential state of serving as a location for a very special episode of All in the Family - one where Archie becomes a "flaming liberal" after being brought for a life-changing burger by none other than Sammy Davis, Jr.

wacky tacky adventure team members
Cynthia, Nick and Mary
darkening the doorway of Pie 'N Burger -Pasadena, CA.

Opened in 1963, the name of the restaurant is no accident.  Pie 'n Burger is exactly what it says - delicious pies and burgers.  Indeed, some of my favorite wacky tacky eateries are the ones where there is no pretense whatsoever, just simple food prepared well in a welcoming environment.  The only reason Pie 'n Burger even qualifies as wacky tacky is because little has changed since 1963.  There are no dazzling mid-Century light fixtures.  There are no beautiful terrazzo floors.  There are no tufted barstools covered in naugahyde.  What they do offer is an incredible hamburger!   


I am a burger lover, but with addictive tendencies, I have to restrain myself from eating burgers for every meal of the day.  I once went on a weekend-long burger bender and after my concerned family members and friends held an intervention, I have seriously revised my burger intake.  Pie 'n Burger is a rare and special treat - always special, never ordered rare, however.

Luckily, it is ALWAYS burger time at Pie 'n Burger!!!

The only menus you'll find at P'nB are the menu boards on the wall.  If anyone has ever ordered a pot pie, a quiche, or strip steak, I have never been witness to it; everyone orders the burgers!  Yes, everyone orders the burgers, even vegetarians (having one in our midst, we learned that the veggie burger is quite delicious).  What they NEVER order at Pie 'n Burger is cheese enchiladas...

The hand-painted menu boards

Cynthia, now affectionately referred to as "Cynchiladas," had never been to Pie 'n Burger before.  Traditionally the service is efficient, if a little curt at times.  We decided that she needed to be initiated by telling her that regulars will order things that aren't on the menu and that Pie 'n Burger is famous for its cheese enchiladas.  Ever the trusting one, she ordered first and the first thing out of her mouth was "I'll have the cheese enchiladas."  The look on the waitress' face was priceless and after stifling it for the set-up, we couldn't stop from erupting into fits of laughter.  I honestly don't know if it was one of those "you had to be there" moments or not but as juvenile as it was, we found it completely hilarious.  Fortunately, the waitress was a good sport and indulged our inanity.  Shenanigans aside, we were there to eat and could hardly wait to be served.

Under an interior shed dormer, the chefs de cuisine at Pie 'n Burger earn every bit of their wacky tacky 5-Star Rating.

Fair enough, neither the people nor the food at P'nB may be extraordinarily photogenic, but believe you me, there are some seriously tasty things happening on those plates.

I think they were a little perturbed that I told them they had
to wait to eat until I took a picture.

Mmmmm.  Serious mmmmmmmm.
With all due respect, it's like what In-N-Out would be
 if it were as good as everyone thinks it is.

Ashamed of how much he enjoyed it,
Nick took a self-imposed time out
behind the cool decorative screen.

It wouldn't be Pie 'n Burger without the pie.
Okay, actually it would.  We were so stuffed, there was no pie ordered by
 anyone in our group.  I think Cynthia wanted some but after the enchilada
fiasco, she was a little gun shy about ordering anything

Truly, Nick liked it so much he bought a t-shirt!

If Mr. Tiny could have taken a souvenir, it would have been the lovingly-
rendered replica of Pie 'n Burger in birdhouse form.

I hate to make such a broad pronouncement in writing, but for my money, a Pie 'N Burger burger is one of the (if not the) best hamburgers in the greater Los Angeles area.  It is nothing out of the ordinary.  In actual fact, it is a little less than ordinary - it doesn't even have tomato!  There is something, however, in the unique assembly of the standard ingredients that elevates a P'nB burger to something very special.  If you're wandering around aimlessly after the Pasadena City College Swap Meet in need of a burger fix, then wander no more; go to Pie 'n Burger!  You'll thank me and curse me for your new addiction.

Can you tell that I'm trying to get all my bad food in before the end of the year?  I'm not one for resolutions, but the new year will find me back on the "stop eating so much junk" wagon.



Pie 'n Burger
913 E California Blvd
Pasadena, CA
(626)795-1123

www.pienburger.com


Cheers!

Mr. Tiny

22 comments:

  1. Oooh, I'm still ouching from all the holiday foods I ate, but now you've got me hankerin for burgers and pie! Happy New Year Mr. T!

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    1. Next time you guys are out this way, we will definitely Pie 'n Burger! By that time, I will definitely have given up on my new year's resolutions! HA!

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  2. Another reason I need to get to Pasadena!

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    1. If I wasn't so satisfied living where I do currently, Pasadena would be tops on my list - not just for the heavenly hamburgers!

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  3. oh that place looks great! we went to in and out on my one tiny trip to the west coast and i didn't get the big deal. i'm glad to hear someone else say it. people around here are obsessed with five guys and i think their burger is just ordinary too. i guess everyone can't be a burger expert like we are, ha!

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    1. Five Guys have started opening up around here in the last few years and after trying it once, I could not see what all the hubbub was about. I am definitely a burger expert (but not at all snobby about it). I tend to like old-timey places and leave the hip, happening burgers to the food critics.

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  4. I've been wondering about this place for a while--now I definitely need to go!

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    1. Yes, you need to try it. You'll be glad that you did!

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  5. When we came over to the states in April, we pretty much only ate burgers. There is no where here that makes 'em like you get 'em in 'merica...god bless your wonderful country with it's delicious (although at times, maybe a little unhealthy) food. I'm putting this one on the list for next time! :)
    x Molly

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    1. So funny that you say that; when we were down under about six years ago, I couldn't get over how delicious all the food was. Everything tasted better in Australia - except for the hamburgers!!! If we know how to do one thing right in this country, it is junk food!

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  6. Thanks you for the In N Out comment. So overrated!!!

    That place looks great. And the cheese enchilada thing is so something my friends and I would do to each other. I thought it was hilarious.

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    1. I'm glad somebody else thinks it is funny too. This happened at least a month ago and we are still calling her "Cynchiladas." I hope I never get too old for juvenile deliquency.

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  7. Omg I hate In n out! 5 guys as well, ugh. Give me a mom n pop burger joint any day! I will have to give this one a go next time I'm in the area.

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    1. It's all about the mom 'n pop!!! 9 times out of 10, the food, service, and atmosphere are better. I better stop thinking about it; I'm getting burger crazy!

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  8. I liked the burger, but the berry pie seemed to have a lot of "filler."
    So next time I'll try cream pie.
    I like Five Guys all right, but it's too loud inside. I like In-n-Out all right, but not enough to wait in a long line of cult members. (And the closest one to me, is old and small and close to the street, so carloads of cult members hang out from the drive-thru and tie up traffic.)

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    1. Yes, but have you tried the cheese enchiladas?

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    2. Cheese Enchiladas, "Animal Style"?

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  9. I don't think they've even scraped the grease build up on the tables, chairs or counters since 1963! We visit the Pie 'n Burger almost every time we visit Brian's brother since he lives down the street. We almost used them for our wedding...I love me a good burger too but BBQ won out on that one! Thank you for sharing this little gem with your readers...hope some check it out!

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    1. Absolutely true! Maybe that is the secret ingredient - 50-year-old grease!!! Their catering is delicious (we went to an event at The Petersen Automotive Museum and it was catered by P'nB) but from the looks of it, every detail at your wedding was perfect, including the BBQ!

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  10. This place sounds great....although I have to say, I LOVE In'n'Out!!!!! :)

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    1. It's not that In 'n Out is bad, it's that Pie 'n Burger is EXCELLENT!!! Next time you're in town, it's my treat!

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    2. Woohooo! Pie 'n' Burger in March it is, then! ;)

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