You know, for all that I love the ethnic and the weird, from Chinese chitlins to pit-roasted goat cheeks, I am an American man. Sometimes, all that will do is a burger, a beer and football (real American football, not that prissy figure skating on grass the rest of the world calls football).
Fortunately, all three of those things can be fulfilled, and fulfilled well, at Tustin Brewing Company.
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I'd never even heard of TBC until my friend Josh suggested it for our Happy Hours issue earlier this year. It's got a good selection of its own very serviceable craft beers, and a happy conglomeration of "guest" beers, heavy on the IPAs, and including the exquisite Blind Pig from Russian River Brewing.
I'd never, however, had the burger; I'd always gone for the sausage platter (yes, yes, go ahead and make all the jokes you like, we'll wait). When I ordered the hickory burger ($10.95), I got a great, juicy patty on the best burger bun in Orange County with very good, peppery bacon and... a huge onion ring.
I forgot to mention that TBC has the best onion rings I've had in a very long time. They're light, almost a tempura batter, and somehow they manage to cook them so you can actually take a bite out of one without pulling the entire onion out of the fried casing. When you put that on a burger, well, special things happen. I get that look on my face, conversation hits a lull, and suddenly--damn!--the burger's gone.
Sometimes, all that's required is a good burger, helped down with good beer.