Somehow this classic burger joint in the Bay Area slipped through research for the first edition of my book. I'm sure there are many places like Val's Burgers that I missed but man, what a miss! The place serves excellent diner fare to a sea of happy locals in booths and sports one of the longest counters I've ever seen.
The burgers at Val's come in 3 sizes - the 1/3 lb Baby Burger, the 1/2 Mama Burger, and the 1 lb, Papa Burger. I of course opted for the, urp, Papa but it was way too big. I tried to compress the burger to fit it into my face and still couldn't ram it in. Next time, it's the Mama Burger for me. And it was so good, cooked over a flame grill on a toasted bun. I asked for sauteed onions and received a side dish with an entire onion's worth.
I was also coaxed into an amazing shake referred to by regulars as the 'Rootanana' - a root beer and vanilla shake with an entire banana blended in.
Research continues and the next big trip is just around the corner.