A Counter burger.

In anticipation of our May trip to Los Angeles, the husband and I spent countless hours researching the food scene of that city. As it was a family trip, we knew we’d have a jam-packed schedule, and thus much time was spent by Señor O in mapping out eateries and reviewing menus and online comments. At last, our selections were meticulously organized into an Excel spreadsheet and off we went. Don’t laugh – this document was as precious to us as maps of the stars’ homes are to Hollywood tourists.

Among the places we chose to visit was The Counter, a burger joint that claims to offer 312,120+ different, DIY, burger combinations said to be “as unique as each customer.” I don’t know who crunched the numbers necessary to come up with that figure nor how exact it is, but I can confirm that the number of choices offered on their check-this-box-if-you-want-this-on-your-burger menu is dizzying:

OK, I think you get the gist of it. The only things really missing from this vast menu are whipped cream and maraschino cherries – I think those are reserved for their equally exorbitant shakes.

It took me a while to settle on a 1/3-pounder beef burger with Gruyère, grilled pineapple, bacon, and I forget what else. I really wanted a fried egg but thought that with the grilled pineapple and other etc.’s would be a bit much. Imagine then my surprise when I opened up Gourmet’s July issue to discover the Aussie Burger, a Down Under burger that could hardly be contained between two buns. The ingredients in this Oz-worthy sandwich: beef patty, fried eggs, grilled pineapple, pickled beets, grilled onions (optional), and chile mayo. One glance at this whopper’s gorgeous photo was all I needed to declare it Burger Night – plus, I’d baked rolls the day before and the leftovers would be put to very good use.

Behold, my Open-Wide-and-Say-Ahhh-Burgers: