Our first family trip to Palm Springs, retirement capital of California. A definite change in pace from our usual winter vacation to some mountain resort, but after the crazy last few months, the thought of sitting around and doing a whole lot of nothing (except eating of course!) was very appealing.
The owners of the house we were renting recommended a little burger joint called Tyler’s Burgers located in the downtown core of Palm Springs. They hyped it up to be the ‘best burger in town’, so I had understandably high expectations going in. But before we get to the food, a little bit of history. Like any good family-run restaurant, Tyler’s has a cute history behind it. Diana Diamico, the owner, opened Tyler’s in 1996 with the aim to recreate the classic burgers from her childhood memory. Her mother owned and operated a popular burger stand in Venice Beach, CA, so you could say serving up juicy burgers is in her genes. She writes on the restaurant website that her concept is to use only the freshest meat, ground daily, along with high quality ingredients and delicious side dishes.
And my, was she not lying about the side dishes. The waitress recommended the potato salad as the best side on the menu, so I ordered a serving that must have been one the tastiest piles of potato-ey goodness I’ve ever had (and I do love my potato/egg/pasta salads).
The potatoes chunks were just the right size for my liking, and not powdery or overcooked like some of the generic salads you get from the supermarket. It had nice tangible chunks of egg mixed in, giving it an almost egg-salad like flavor, which is an angle I liked as well. The small pieces of onion and celery provided the crunchy texture that all good potato salads should have. It was creamy without being overwhelmingly so, and left a fresh tase in my mouth. An appropriate balance of salt, with none of the sourness some potato salads have was just right for me (although those who like the more tangy variety may not agree). All-in-all, an amazing potato salad that my sister and I inhaled.
Side note: I noticed at least two customers do take-out orders of just the potato salad while we were eating. I must not be the only person who loves the stuff!
Next-up, my all-American bacon cheeseburger came within minutes of wolfing down the salad.
A disclaimer: there are two burgers I hold as my gold standards. One, I had at a hotel in LA years ago that was the perfect example of an “American burger”. Bacon, cheddar cheese, a huge, juicy patty seasoned just right, I still remember the simple perfection of it to this day. The second was a much more exotic variety I had (twice in 3 days) in London. It was a fancier burger joint that served up their thick patties along with untraditional ingredients. Mine had mango chutney as it’s highlight, along with other exotic spices, and it was a combination that worked amazingly well in it’s uniqueness.
This burger fit into the first category, and it stacked up quite well. Topped with thick cut bacon, American cheese, and a mixture of raw and grilled onions, what stood out to me was the quality and freshness of the ingredients. The beef, ground daily, was obviously quite lean and high quality, but still managed to be juicy without oozing oil. The size of the patty was large enough to stretch my mouth to slightly uncomfortable proportions, which may be a good or bad thing depending on who you ask (good in my books).
I liked how they used crispy slabs of iceberg lettuce instead of the limp lettuce shreds of some burgers, and the bun was toasted well with a nice buttery sheen. Overall, it wasn’t the juiciest burger I’ve ever had (the LA one still holds the title for that), but this still ranks high up there because of the clean, fresh, and satisfied feeling I was left with after wolfing it down. Not feeling oily and gross after eating a huge burger is definitely something of note.
Lastly, the milkshakes and malts were highly recommended so I ordered a strawberry one to wash everything down. Plus I wanted to see the old-school milkshake machine in action!
The milkshake, while not cheap, was well worth it. They only use real, fresh strawberries mixed in with vanilla ice cream, and the result is a thick and creamy shake that isn’t overly sweet or artificial tasting. Some restaurants use fresh strawberries, but then add in syrup to supplement the flavor; I prefer this all-natural method and the tasty result. My dad however likes a more ‘robust strawberry flavor’ in his words, and found this shake wasn’t as sweet as he would have liked. I also sipped my sister’s chocolate malt which was incredibly thick and tasty, as was my dad’s coffee shake was similarly good.
Complaints? Not much to complain about. Food and drinks are a little on the pricey side for a burger joint, but well worth it.
Overall impressions? Fast and friendly service, and I loved the sitting at the bar and watching the cooks working furiously putting together their delicious burgers. Everything I tried was fresh, tasty, and constructed with care. A true family owned and run joint that I would return to anytime. Especially for more of that heavenly potato salad.
H’s verdict – 4.5/5
Restaurant website: http://tylersburgers.com/