There's a BURGER in town.
I should probably preface this with one thing....I couldn't care less about burgers. My burger feelings are far from unconditional: I don't love a burger just because it is a burger....it somehow has (had) to prove itself worthy. I can look a burger square in the bun and say, "I wish you were garbanzos."
Why do I tell you this? To prove that what I am about to say is a big deal. Kafe Botanika invited Maite and I, presumably for our contributions to the good of humanity via the Vermut Society, to decorate a Halloween pumpkin. While there, we decided to try the hamburger, which I had heard some whisper of but, again, couldn't care less.
I took a bite, distracted by the table conversation and side-eyeing the guacamole and...*****!!!!! Simple, amazing, amazing meat. Not too pink in an attempt to be cool or dressed in mushrooms, bacon and egg to hide something. With just cheese, onions, pickles and mayo. I already had a mental note to ask for ketchup, but the desire dissipated. THIS WAS THE BEST BURGER I HAD EVER HAD. A confusing feeling, which I conveyed to Billy, one of the owners, who told me a nearby table (of Americans, i.e., burger experts) had just said the same thing.
If you're wondering why, exactly, this American-style café in San Sebastián has such an outstanding burger, you have to look at Rodrigo Jaramillo. This Chicago-raised cook has been in San Sebastián for four years, and he is uniquely obsessed with burgers. As in, that's all I've heard him talk about since I met him in 2013. Rodrigo has worked with Brendan Sodikoff, whom he credits a lot of his chef chops to, and in San Sebastián he spent time in La Madame, another great spot for eating *different* food.
He wouldn't divulge any details on the burger, but....who cares! I write this here so that you all go to try. A note: it's not on the menu, costs €12.50 and doesn't come with any accoutrements. Still worth it.
Kafe Botanika is here and here.