Saturday, February 9, 2013

Original Tommy's California Classic

The L.A. born Original Tommy's is known for their heartier burgers that come ladled with signature smooth chili as standard (also available on the fries, hot dogs, or by itself in a cardboard boat). While my affection for the chain was based mostly on college day nostalgia, in the last few years it had grown more into a fascination after discovering their inspirational roots to my beloved MOS Burger. One thing I did confirm recently though is that a Tommy's does taste better in L.A. Home turf advantage of fresher chili and a constant stream of regulars help.

Sadly I don't think I've ever been beyond third person in line at our branch off Clairemont Mesa Blvd. I'm guessing most San Diegans didn't help the city become one of the top ranked fittest in America from a diet of Chili Cheeseburgers (or flavor-rich ramen for that matter).

Their lighter and healthier 'California Classic' came out a few months back with hardly any fanfare (and only available at selected locations). In fact it's not even mentioned on their website.
You can get it as a single or double. My two-patty single-cheese only set me back $3.40 and it's a bit weightier than your comparable at In-N-Out. Curious that my order receipt said "1000 Island Dbl Chsburger."

Ingredients wise it has all the California-style signatures as if going down a checklist. While the large slice of beefsteak tomato, pickles and onions (chopped) are appropriated from the original, I would've never believed to one day see iceberg lettuce and thousand island sauce on a Tommy's.

The buns on my second trial were better toasted than my first and had the all important crispy edges. Your standard thinner fast food patties, veggies adequately fresh and all in all a decent fill though it felt a little clumsy in assembly. I also found the texture of the bread that may be perfect for chili consumption somehow a little detracting.

The experience makes you realize and reappreciate how well executed an In-N-Out Double-Double is. When I'm in the mood for a classic California style I'll be patiently waiting in line at In-N-Out, and the days I am at Tommy's I'll be sticking to the Original with thick-cut fries.

Original Tommy's, 7415 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111

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