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Hamburgers vs. Pizza

My wife has a burning passion for pizza; for her it is the ultimate food. She loves it because you can put anything on it and it works. There are no rules for pizza. She loves traditional Neopolitan style and new creations from California Pizza Kitchen alike.

For me it is hamburgers. I love all types from the White Castle burger to the ones grilled on my barbecue at home. I love them with any combination of the following: bacon, Cheddar, Swiss, lettuce, tomatoes, onions (grilled or fresh), bleu cheese, pickles, roasted peppers, pepperjack, ham, fried egg, mayonnaise, 1000 island, French's yellow mustard, dijon, ...you get the idea.

My question is this...Which camp do you fall into; and why? And what does your ultimate pizza or burger look like?

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  1. I am a minimalist............
    Born and bred in New Haven, I like mt Apizza extra thin with just sauce and a sprinkling of grated Romano Cheese. If the family insists on toppings, then some thin sliced onions and mushrooms are ok.
    Burgers I like big, thick, rare and juicy with salt an pepper on a poppy seeded toasted kaiser roll. No toppings or condiments. OR pot the burger on the plate with a side of iceberg lettuce, pickle or pickled red cabbage and eat with knife and fork.

    Apizza I eat at least once a week, hamburger about every 10 days. I guess that puts me in the Apizza camp. BUT no doughy thick crust, deep dish or pan pizza passes my lips. If I can't get New Haven style, I'll settle for NY.

    1. I have a friend who could eat pizza every day...and I am beginning to suspect that she does. But I have some problems digesting cooked tomatoes, so put me the hamburger camp. I used to think I had never met a burger I didn't like, but then once in the early 80s I ate one from 7-11 (heat & eat) and finally met the Worst Burger Evah. Blecch!

      I am always trying to recreate my Dream Cheeseburger, which was a staple of my youth in Stinson Beach, CA (Parkside snack stand). It's pretty simple: burger, melty yellow cheese, raw chopped red onions, dill pickles, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato. But I have to say, the cheeseburgers with Chipotle Mayo that my friend makes are pretty damn good :)

      1. Living in the NY/NJ area, I fall in the pizza camp. I REALLY could eat a good Neapolitan or Tomato pie on a daily basis.
        If I lived in Chicago or Calif, I'd opt for hamburgers.

        1. Why would anyone fall into one camp or the other?

          10 Replies
          1. re: tommy

            I agree. I love both verrrrrrrrrrry much! :)

            1. re: junglekitte

              I'm with tommy and junglekitte. I love both; I could never pick just one!

              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                Totally agree, I refuse to choose. :)

                I will say that while pretty much any type of good-quality pizza is delicious, griddled hamburgers beat out grilled burgers every time.

                1. re: Becca Porter

                  That makes me ask, how do you define "good-quality" pizza?

                  1. re: tommy

                    Umm... yea. Around here in Louisiana it is basically Johnny's (a local favorite, good but not great. Light years better than the national chains though.)

                    or Porter House, which is my house. :)

                    I have never had pizza that I just couldn't eat though.

            2. re: tommy

              Not me, I'm a carvivore

                  1. re: Veggo

                    I figured, given the embedded pun, that you'd say "Ouch!" each time someone bites down.

                    No comment from me on the isomer concept of "Veggo buggers".

                    1. re: FoodFuser

                      It's part of a learning / teaching process.

            3. definitely pizza...no definitely hamburger...no definitely pizza...no definitely hamburger . for me it varies day to day and sometimes less. Here in westchester we re actually getting too many good choices of each. great pizza must have rthe right crust ,sauce and topping and ratio of all 3.part of the appeal though is no 2 even from same locale are exactly the same. new local choices (some just new to me) include anthony's coal oven _does not try to be ny pizza but very good franks in port chester very good. burgers i prefer more of a fast food and toppings to cover meat sins (i like five guys with lots of toppings even if well done) inn n out is not around. schnippers in nyc ,shake shack would love to try burger garage also burger shakes and fries locally

              1 Reply
              1. re: rich51

                We just got a five guys in Salem, OR. It is far and away the best burger served in a paper sack.

              2. I'm with you, jpc. As a west coast native, burgers are one of my favorite comfort foods, and I like them in just about all forms and combinations (except veggie). My wife is a New Jersey native, and it's pizza for her.

                Don't get me wrond, I do like pizza, but I'm the first to admit that it's tough (although possible) to find truly great pizza in Southern California. Perhaps it's a question of geography? I've had pizza on the East Coast, and could very well be in the pizza camp had I been raised back there.

                1 Reply
                1. re: OCSteve

                  I am the same way. I love a good pizza. There is a place is Salem, OR that does a pretty traditional Italian pie that is fantastic. But if I had my way I would get Five Guys.

                2. there used to be a sports bar in our area (canyon lake, ca) that had an "in 'n out pizza". it actually tasted like an in 'n out burger. they would add the tomato and lettuce after it was cooked.

                  1. I may lose my Texan membership card, but I'm a pizza guy. Very thin crust, slightly charred, lots of tangy sauce, a small amount of cheese, and salami and fresh garlic as toppings. I'll wash it down with a bottle of cheap red.

                    But I do love a tasty burger. As I mentioned in a previous thread, my personal fav is a patty enveoloping a disc of thyme butter, seasoned with a BBQ rub, and served on a sesame seed bun with homemade pimento cheese as the only topping. Failing this, I like a double-meat bacon cheese burger (thin patties), with lots of mustard, shredded iceberg and dill pickle chips from a roadside Texas burger stand. Failing that, a New Mexican green chile cheeseburger will work just fine, thank you very much.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                      New Jersey thin crust pizza? New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail? I'll take both, thnk you and a NJ Italian Hot Dog for dessert.

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        I love a good hot dog but can not stand a bad one.

                        1. re: jpc8015

                          Just as long as I never have to eat another hot dog w/ beans out of an olive drab can again.

                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            How long has it been since you've had to eat one?

                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                          If the OP had factored hot dawgs into the mix I would have been in a major quandary. Dawgs and pizza pies are just about a toss-up pour moi.

                      2. This is sort of like asking which of your two children you love the most, or more.

                        I'm going to punt on that question -- which one do you like more -- but I will say this, I would much prefer a bad burger than a bad pizza any day of the year.

                        You give me a bad burger, and I can dress it up with enough ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, cheese, etc. to make it palatable. I've pulled enough late nights work and have eaten enough pre-packaged burgers from the vending machine that I can attest to this, personally and with too many examples.

                        But give me a bad pizza? It's almost a lose-lose situation. Let's take bad frozen pizza as an example. Everything tastes sort of plastic-y, the cheese never melts right and if it does it fees like rubber in your mouth and the crust, if it's not soggy, it makes cardboard tastes like something out of a wood-burning oven nurtured by Mario Batali. And if I try to dress it up, it ends up only amplifying its faults. Fresh veggies? Makes the other toppings even more soggy and tasteless. Fresh cheese? Better saved eaten on its own than wasted on frozen pie. You get the idea.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          I'm exactly the opposite as you, Ipse. I can't take a bad burger. If a burger is dry, no amount of condiments save it for me. I'll take "tomato" sauce, cheese food on a breadlike product in any form it is served to me. Go figure.

                        2. If i had to choose either pizza or a burger as the only thing to eat the rest of my life... I'd pick pizza. You can change it up more and get more variety. That said and I tend to get pizza cravings. While I enjoy a good burger, I rarely if ever just really CRAVE a burger.

                          1. Pizza for me, with a thin crust and tomatoes, mozarella and basil on top. I think American burgers are boring.

                            1. Definately pizza! We have a small pizza place here in CT that we can't get enough of. Could eat it every day! I like that I could change it up. Straight up cheese mostly, but occasionaly toppings to make it interesting. Like you said "no rules"!

                              1. Pizza here. Even frozen pizza is better than a bad burger.

                                1. Not choosing, but he will state that the pizza topings you include convert it from pizza to flatbread. And yes there are rules for pizza.

                                  A good burger needs few toppings, a little cheese bacn and caramelized onions, plus a good roll or grilled bread.

                                  A lot of "new" burger chains hide the fact that their burgers are crap by giving you lousy toppings as wel.. Likewise you put enough crap on dough, throw it in a hot oven and bake and you have a pizza, nope, not there.

                                  1. I love a great burger but I'd pick pizza ten of ten times. Perfect bread (what pizza is) is heavenly.

                                    My ultimate pizza is Neapolitan with arugula, parmigianno and prosciutto (closely followed by a NY cheese slice). My ultimate burger is a Shake Shack Shackburger.

                                    1. AhBeets! ( apizza) Honestly, I could eat it almost every day - though we really have it once a week.

                                      Burgers (and I ate at Louie's Lunch almost every day for a year or two after high school before I had enough $ to start college), we now have probably once a month or so .

                                      Like the Bagelmeister, I grew up in the elm City.

                                      1. Another for both, and both somewhat plain. Pizza, thin crust sauce and cheese mostly, but sometimes I'll add roasted red peppers or proscuitto

                                        Burger, swiss, onion, mustard, and when offered, peppers and mushrooms, but always well done, sorry can't help it. So many may count me out there. Don't mind tomato, but only when in season and never been in the fridge!

                                        Could eat either when done the way I like any day.

                                        1. Pizza for me. There are more days when I can't stand a burger than there are days when I can't tolerate pizza. Pizza, umm, thin bubbly crust with a good chew and char. Fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil, a tiny little bit of olive oil and possibly one more ( maybe 2 more if they are destined to go perfectly together ) high quality topping. I want a burger with some char, a lot of juice but not greasy, that blends perfectly with a slice of tomato, raw onion plus something leafy and crisp and mustard. Or skip the mustard, put a perfect slice of matsutake with a supporting sauce that I have to figure out another day.

                                          1. Easily, pizza. And I love burgers.

                                            But bread is the staple food, and good pizza reveals that the crust is the star, and the toppings are condiments. I want a great thin crust that has a well-developed yeasty flavor and blistered with coal-or wood-fired oven-level heat, a non-sweet tomato sauce that's not overly seasoned, some good cheese (but not too much), some herbal flavor that are suggestive rather than dominating, and maybe a simple topping like good mushrooms, thin slices of eggplant that's charred a bit, or thin slices of well-flavored meatballs.

                                            For a burger, count me in the thin-patty camp.

                                            Also: burgers are awful reheated. Pizza can at least rise to pleasing mediocrity when reheated properly, even occasionally goodness (never excellence, though).

                                            Finally, pizza is more social than burgers, and that means it's more civilized by nature.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Karl S

                                              And unlike burgers, pizza is delish cold.

                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                  me too, the slimy bread near the sauce, the liveless crumbly crust, crusty cheese, the dry as bone toppings. I can never understand delicious left over cold pizza for breakfast that people keep refering to. I'd prefer drinking jarred pasta sauce or eating leftover cold chinese takeout fried rice (ok, maybe I have gone too far here, I don't even know what that would taste like). It is that bad.

                                                2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                  For some, I find burgers delicious cold.

                                              1. If you had asked me this any other day of my entire existance, I would not have hesitated.
                                                Easily. I've driven from LA to Phoenix just to try Pizza Bianca. I've stood for three hours starving and waiting for my pie in Di Fara's, neglecting friends who wanted me to join them in a bar as I was only in NY for one day. I've spent my first day in Rome ignoring the "sites" and doing nothing other than trying a slice of pizza at each and every stand I came across.
                                                I love pizza.

                                                And then, for no reason I can understand, as of a week ago, I had a sudden and confusing feeling. A complete lack of appetite for pizza. It actually even seems revolting to me. I have no idea why, but it is freaking me out. Can you overdose on pizza?? Fingers crossed that you can't. sigh.

                                                1. jpc,

                                                  Can you and DW find marital bliss in a California Pizza Kitchen Cheeseburger Pizza?

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: kmcarr

                                                    Two wrongs do not make a right and that is neither a pizza nor a burger.

                                                    1. re: kmcarr

                                                      Ouch. That's an experiment with no future, some weird food chimera.

                                                      1. re: kmcarr

                                                        There is no lack of marital bliss. I gladly eat the fantastic pizza that DW yearns for and she happily noshes on a good burger off of our backyard grill.

                                                        I have often thought about trying to make a pizza burger or a burger pizza. I have had both concepts and they are good. But a truly great burger does not try to be something it is not. Likewise for a great pizza.

                                                        1. re: kmcarr

                                                          I just clicked on the link and that carne asada pizza actually looks really good. In fact...I wouldn't mad if any one of those was sitting in front of me right now.

                                                        2. Can't really choose, but I do like my burgers with melted American cheese and weiner sauce, a little plain yellow mustard and a sprinkling of raw chopped onion. Pizza is thin cruse Mozzarella cheese and maybe some pepperoni. Oh boy am I getting hungry.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: mair

                                                            what is "weiner sauce?"
                                                            or is that a question best not asked in mixed company?

                                                          2. I love both, though I limit my red meat eating. So we are much more likely to make pizza at home on a regular basis and "treat" ourselves to a good burger out now and then. If I go a couple months without a cheeseburger, I really start to crave one. And there's nothing that will satisfy that craving but a thick, cheesy burger!

                                                            1. I must have a split personnality then because I fall into both camps, what I can`t abide by though is an inferior product from either camp....A good pizza or burger is a thing of beauty while a bad one is an insult to humanity

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: jiminy

                                                                Agreed. Depending on the mood of the day, I love both. But if I get a bad pizza or burger . . .day ruined.

                                                              2. Pizza, of course.

                                                                You mentioned all kinds of burger toppings, but you didn't mention different kinds of meat. I do get a hankering for burgers every once in a while, but ground beef is fairly boring.

                                                                My guess is that this 'debate' is limited to the US. People from other countries don't go for burgers much outside a fast food situation. I'm not even sure they let you cook a burger less than well done in Canada.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                  I had a great hamburger in Amsterdam. It was a pretty standard burger with Swiss cheese and a your typical toppings. The patty was cooked through to probably mid-well but it was still juicy and well flavored.

                                                                  But...I had probably the worst hamburger ever in Dubai. I've learned to just not expect much from restaurants in Dubai serving Western style food. When in Dubai, eat like you are in Dubai.

                                                                2. There is nothing better than a great bacon cheeseburger other than a great slice of pizza. The difference though is that I can eat one of those great burgers (and NO chain makes a great burger, NONE, ZERO) about once a month while I can eat a great slice of pizza (and NO chains, NONE, ZERO make a great slice) every day.

                                                                  1. If anything, I'm a pizza person - eating one perhaps every few weeks (whereas I might eat a burger only once or twice a year).

                                                                    Perfect pizza is thin and crispy, topped with mushrooms and olives. On top of that is a small handful of rocket, just wilted by the heat. In fact, that's not just a perfect pizza but pretty much a perfect lunch.

                                                                    1. Again, I think this is a regional question. When I live in the northeast, pizza is an art form and most burgers are rather plebeian. One son and I used to go out Friday nights, looking for great hand formed burgers and hand cut fries i Maine. We were amazed at how difficult the task was. We knew where to find great pizza, however. The same could be said near my mom's in NJ.
                                                                      In New Mexico, on the other hand, the Green chile cheeseburger has become an art form. I'm even surprised at the ready availability of hand cut fries. Pizza, as one might expect, is less the meh. When visiting California, it's burgers all the way. Left coast ersatz pizza has no appeal to me.
                                                                      I would assume that areas w/ low Italian-American populations would have better burgers.


                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                        If you're ever in Rui, try the pie at Cafe Rio. It is a revelation. And the atmo will doubtless appeal to you as well.