OK, so I have finally found the best burger in Los Angeles. Forget Father’s Office (which is great mind you) and check out Hole in the Wall Burger Joint on Santa Monica Boulevard and South Bentley Avenue for an awesome eating experience.

We joined a couple friends there the other night and it was special! First of all, the owners, Susan and Bill, are nice as can be and very into their burgers. They have a simple, casual space that is a little hard to find until you know where it is (isn’t everything worth finding?) — off Santa Monica, turn the corner onto South Bentley and it is the first place on the right as you are going south.

It’s very cute; a simple counter for indoor eating, a lovely patio for outdoor (which we chose) and a bustling to-go business that can be ordered online so all you have to do is stop by, pick up your bag and go!

We all ordered burgers (mine was turkey) fries and their famous homemade pickles and I love they way they serve it, in a paper bag that you rip open to create a table mat and voila! Your huge juicy burger is wrapped in a bit of paper and the fries are in their paper servers so all you have to do is dig in.

Before the luxury of eating they have you fill out your order to personalize the burger, what type of bun, sauce, cheese, extras, etc., and they have a choice of beef, turkey or veggie for the patty (all 8 ounces). We tried all three as Susan threw in a veggie burger on the house and it was amazing; juicy, flavorful and seasoned perfectly. The portions are manly and satisfying and the fries are homemade and addictive. I could have ordered another serving but didn’t want to appear … what can I say, piggy?

We had all the fixings such as cranberry mayo (on my turkey burger) avocado, apple smoked bacon and their special home-made ketchup. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking what is wrong with Heinz? I tell you this; until you have tried home-made ketchup you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s very simple and yummy without all that extra sugar, chemicals and guar gum. Need I say more? I suggested they sell the stuff as it is light years away from the packaged item we are all used to and it might be in the making as we speak.

We were lucky enough to be there on “cookie night” which means they hand out home-made chocolate chip cookies for each of us, which of course immediately disappeared.

Are you getting the main theme? Home-made is the word of the day here, everything, from their own veggie burgers to the delicious fries (they also offer sweet potato fries) to the ketchup — basically everything was done as I would have cooked it in my own kitchen or taught in my cooking classes.

That means (sorry folks!) I won’t be offering any of my recipes to help you create your own version for this article. I love this place and will be returning for many more scrumptious meals in the future!

Amanda Cushman is a culinary educator who has cooked professionally for 25 years. She teaches privately for groups of two to 20 students. She has developed hundreds of recipes for cookbooks as well as food magazines and Web sites. She can be reached amandascooking@gmail.com.

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