There’s no need for Digg’s Tacos to have a cheeseburger that causes the addiction center of your brain to light up, but it’s on the menu regardless. When you place an order for their Burguesa, a just-under-seven-buck cheeseburger that’s topped with two impossibly crunchy onion rings, it gets called out to the cooks at the griddle. The sandwich takes a solid 10 minutes or so to cook it because they’re hand-forming the fresh chuck patties and frying the onion rings to order.
I need to talk about the Burguesa because it’s habit-forming. I feel a draw to this sandwich, like I’m orbiting around it. Whenever the question of “Where should we eat lunch?” arises at work, my mind instantly drifts to the onion ring-topped burger at Digg’s. Why is it so addictive?
The answer arrives, once again, on the first bite. I’m at the counter at the Hillcrest location when my burger lands in a plastic basket (as some of the best ones do). Everything’s got crunch where it needs it: The thin ring around the bun crunches, the onion rings shatter but don’t unsheathe like a shitty sword, and the patty has a crusty sear.
Then, there’s the smart construction. Both onion rings are stacked neatly, not like Olympic rings, on top of the patty, and shredded lettuce and pickle discs are layered beneath the patty below. The shredded lettuce is dressed with mustard and mayo, and a smooth layer of ketchup, usually not welcome here, is thinly spread over the top bun. Somehow, it’s not overwhelming. Miraculously, the burger — onion rings and all — stays intact throughout the devouring stage. I’ve eaten designer burgers, with prices that skyrocket past 20 bucks, that would tremble in the shadow of Digg’s solid sandwich construction.
“One of the things that’s subtle, that most people don’t do right ... we grill the bun on both sides. It allows the sugar to come out, and you get that little bit extra texture out of the bread,” says Digg’s owner Jeff Payne. Eddie Almaraz, vice president of operations, sits with Payne as well and relays the subtleties of the why the burger is so damn good.
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“Our griddle is seasoned with all our taco flavors on there,” Almaraz says. “That’s the next level that it brings.”
The meat is seasoned with their house-made “taco seasoning” (that’s all Payne will say about it), and it’s an 80 percent chuck, 20 percent fat blend. They use a flat iron to gently press the patty into the hot griddle, which urges that crusty sear. Cheese, Jack or cheddar, melts under a dome, and they hand-batter the onion rings.
I finish the burger in a short burst of minutes, and I’ve already felt the urge to order it again. Fries aren't necessary. A cold beer is just right. It’s an unpretentious and inexpensive gem of a sandwich, hidden in plain sight at your local taco joint.
Digg’s Tacos, 7325 Gaston Ave. and 6309 Hillcrest Ave.