Friday, April 29, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.
There are two types of old-school lonchera: the kind that serves Mexican food, and the kind that serves burgers and Mexican food. (Let's take as read a fairly generous reading of "Mexican" food, okay?).
If you wander the grounds of one of OC's giant commissaries (Construction Circle, Lemon Street, Cerritos Avenue, etc.), you will see plenty of ground beef heading in and plenty of hamburger patties coming out.
At this past weekend's Habitat for Humanity clustertruck, my wife headed for the Burnt Truck while I headed for Flipped Out Burgers, a new luxe lonchera out of Irvine, and ordered a bacon cheeseburger.
Bacon cheeseburgers are hard things to get right. The bacon can't be too crispy, or it'll break at the faintest touch; it can't be too chewy, or you'll yank it out of your sandwich on the first bite. This one took the middle road--nice and thick, cooked just right. The burger was very good; juicy and hot, nicely dressed without any froufrou flavored aïolis or wood-roasted rabbit food or any of that. The bun was sturdy enough not to get soggy from the grease but was still a soft bun. The cost? About 4 bucks. That is a bargain from a luxe lonchera.
The fries were . . . fries. They weren't bad, but they weren't a revolution writ potato, either. Not limp, but not especially crispy, and woefully oversalted, so that I had to use the odd, off-brand, very-sweet ketchup to cut the salt. They'd have been better double-fried--thousands of Belgian frituriers can't all be wrong, can they? Why can't we have great burgers and great fries from the same truck? (I assume Frysmith isn't going into the burger business any time soon.)
Still, this is a truck that makes a damn good burger. And it makes a damn good burger without having to put creative spins on them? The hell you say!
This leads me to the biggest problem with this truck: It's good at burgers, and it's absolutely awful at social media. There's no website, and the Facebook page
contains no useful information--no contact information, no menu, no schedule, nothing. It's almost un-Googleable. The only reason I was able to find the Twitter account (@getflippedout
), which has exactly three tweets, was because I had Lasik a few years ago and could read it on the picture I took of the truck.
There are two ways to get a following: be an old-school lonchera and park in the same spot all the time, like Alebrije's and Chivas Tortas, or be a luxe lonchera and tweet your location. You can have the best product in the world, but if nobody can find you, you're not long for the lonchera scene. All 18 people who read this review are going to wonder where you are--and nobody knows.
So, the recommendation stands: If you happen serendipitously upon Flipped Out Burgers, go for it. It's better than pretty much all the burger stands that pepper the county.