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Riding the Wave at California Burgers and Shakes

Order a double cheeseburger at California Burgers and Shakes off of Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale and it comes wrapped up in wax paper like a classic, 1950s burger shack. As a functional bonus, the paper keeps the burger in one piece as you eat it and keeps grease from dripping down your hands. (They also do this at Elevation Burger in Coral Springs, where the paper really comes in handy.)

The burger-shack vibe is completed with cooked-to-order, skin-on French

fries and hand-dipped milk shakes. I had a taste of all three on a

recent visit, and a vanilla shake was by far the best part -- creamy,

smooth, and rich.  The fries are hand-cut and soaking in a big bowl of

water to remove

the starch and help them crisp. When you place and order, the chef pops

them straight into the fryer. The fries had a fuller taste thanks to the potato skin, sort of like Five Guys'. The only problem was they seemed to be cooked at such a high temperature that they became deep brown on the outside before they could properly crisp.

All the burgers come with picks, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and caramelized onions. The burgers are smallish, so that even a person with a tiny appetite might want to consider a double (just $3.99). In direct contrast, a Big Kahuna burger costs almost $9 and comes with two, half-pound patties. You can add Cali-style toppings like bacon and avocado for a dollar extra. My double cheeseburger was rich and full of melty American cheese. Its biggest shortcoming, though, was probably the meat: It just didn't have the fresh-ground flavor that other local burger places provide.

Still, with cheap prices and great shakes by the beach, California Burgers & Shakes is worth a visit.

California Burgers & Shakes
1040 Bayview Drive, Fort Lauderdale

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John Linn

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