The Path of the Pono
“You have arrived”. Those were the last words I remembered hearing before spending 30 minutes in search of a parking spot on Sunset Blvd., until finally giving up to pay $10.00 to park in the lot 3 blocks down and across the street from my destination: Pono Burger.
On my stroll towards the restaurant, I recalled having looked up “Pono” earlier as I had no idea what “Pono” was. Could you eat it? If you Google “What does pono mean?”, your first result will be a featured snippet that reads as follows:
“If you ask a ‘local’ person what ‘pono’ means, you will usually get the response ‘righteous’.”
I very much liked the idea of eating a “righteous” burger. I then Googled Pono Burger’s website and found their own definition of the word . “Pono” in hawaiian means “to do things the right way” which translates to “Never frozen organic beef from pasture raised, grass-fed cows; organic ingredients from local farmer’s markets; and fresh cut organic French fries that are not only good for you, but are good for the planet.”
These were the words that had got me through my 45 minute traffic-jammed commute. I was ready for my burger (and French fries). This was fully realized after being crowned with the glorious burger hat, making me feel like Aretha Franklin at the Inauguration of Barack Obama.
I went with the Piku “Fig” Burger. The Piku includes an organic beef patty, housemade drunken caramelized fig jam, Fermier brie cheese, Niman Ranch bacon, toasted hazelnuts, organic arugula, all drizzled with house made balsamic vinaigrette.
There is truly nothing like the jammy, sweet flavor of a fig. Paired with brie, and a juicy patty? I like all of those things and was ready to embrace all of them in sync. Upon my first bite I immediately realized I was wrong and I had made a terrible mistake. The taste of fig was overwhelming and interrupted my enjoyment of the patty, bacon, and brie. My second bite was an anxious one, as I now was harboring the fear that my BEU friends would discover I had ordered a terrible burger (a BEU blogger’s worst nightmare). I asked my neighbor how his Quinoa burger was.
“Shoulda ordered beef”. I felt better and also wondered what he was doing at Beef Eaters…
I was not going to let jam ruin my BEU burger, whether it be traffic jam or fig jam. For my next bite, I took my knife and shoved what jam I could off my burger and on to my plate. Hallelujah! Undistilled joy followed in each bite after. When My “Ala Kahiki” (mezcal, pineapple, organic lime, agave curaçao, and serrano chile) arrived shortly after, I was one happy Beefeater.
BEU blog readers, I leave you with this. To quote Pulp Fiction’s burger loving Jules Winnfield, quoting/misquoting(?) Ezekiel 25:17, “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of the evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and goodwill, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!”
Out of 36 people in attendance, here’s how Pono Burger fared:
“Drunk Uncle” beat out “you” AND “your grandparent’s political opinions around the Thanksgiving dinner table” in the “Who would win in a fight?” category.
Katy Mac: Yay for the company, you guys are my fave
Ali D.: Ambiance should be a rating category. XOX
Ryan Ealum: The onion rings were the fire of my loins
Vitaly Shenderovksy: Not unhappy
Paul Rocha: Tons of flavor!
Lavelle: The candy burger was eclipsed only by the impeccable service
Dan Koplowitz: Let’s talk about opening up a San Francisco BEU chapter!
Anonymous: I liked this burger more than the rest of the table. C’est la vie.
Peter Wade: Appetizers were good but didn’t blow my face off. Burger was good but didn’t blow my face off…that’s all.
Binks: I think all of these “fancy” burgers with all of their “fancy” toppings are better in theory than execution. Can we just go to in-n-out? -signed, your grandpa
Jackie Shuman: Underseasoned and overly spicy…such a bummer.
Kristin Genovese: Extra points for fireplace vibes.
Manny Montiel: Everyone knows I love a good piece of meat in my mouth. This is that.
Cory Shackelford: Is that bread coming out of your zipper or are you just happy to see me? Is there a hookah lounge next door?
Brayden: Spicy and light! Weird but okay!
Jon Hafter: Onion rings stayed crunchy on burger; plain burger was meaty good; bun was so what; I still don’t want too much sweet on my sandwich; I’m not sure what music was but it was fkng annoying indie rock
Russell Nygaard: Dry bun. Didn’t even notice there was meat w/all the crazy toppings. More of a toppings typa burger. Arugula sux, Brayden didn’t finish his burg
Koichi: Cool bar boo.
Brian Naguit: Solid!
Mason Reese: Talk to my PR girl
Patrick Clancy: Aww widdle baby bergurs!
Geoff Siegel: Tasty.
Madison McCabe: Lightest burger in WeHo.
Ian Ross: This rocks!