Dinner/ Lunch/ Travel

The Best Burger of my Life: Fact

I’m sort of in love with the little coastal town of Valley Ford. It has that whole old movie ghost town feel to it—slightly creepy, but very cool.

And filled with great local restaurants that really present the true essence of Northern California dining establishments: casual, funky and delicious.

Oh, and I may or may not have eaten the best burger of my entire life there.

We went for lunch, not brunch, because I don’t do brunches.

I get way too excited about food first thing in the morning and am physically unable to wait for three hours to eat my first meal. Therefore, I don’t do brunch.

Lunches, on the other hand, I love. I love eating a really big fancy lunch and then having a simple, light dinner at home. It makes me feel French.

So yesterday, we ate lunch at Rocker Oysterfeller’s in Valley Ford. Right when we walked in, I knew it was a win.

The restaurant is styled as an old saloon, and the ambiance is warm and inviting, yet funky and chic. Plus, the menu looked amazing and I wanted to eat everything on it. Always a good sign.

We ordered two of the oyster rockefellers to start and they sorta changed my life as well as my whole perspective about oysters in general.

(I previously have been unimpressed and thought they resembled snot from the sea.)

Friends, these were not snot. Rather, the oh-so-delicate oysters were tossed in grainy cornmeal and served with arugula cream cheese, bacon and roasted garlic. Need I say more?

However, when it came time to order our entrees, I started feeling very overwhelmed by the abundance of delicious choices.

This sometimes happens to me when I go out to eat. It’s because I love food that much.

So with anticipation and sweaty palms, I opted for the safe classic… the burger.

Because….sometimes a girl just needs a burger and fries.

It was made with local beef and topped with white cheddar on a toasted ciabbata roll, and when I took the first bite I thought I had died and gone straight to burger heaven. It’s a bold statement, to be sure, but this was HANDS DOWN the BEST BURGER THAT I’VE EVER EATEN.

Previously, the best burger I had ever eaten was at a dive bar in Gainesville called The Copper Monkey back in 2007. That burger was good. This burger was great. I really can’t describe it to the power that I need to, but let me just tell you it was worth every single juicy meaty bite. And then some.

Gosh. I’m getting all worked up just thinking about it.

I really need to go take a cold shower now.

Is this what they mean when they talk about having “meat sweats”?

Wait, don’t answer that.

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  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
    October 4, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Haha ‘sweaty palms’…you crack me up. I get so overwhelmed browsing delicious menus too. Servers hate me because I always need a few more minutes.

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please
    October 4, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Wow, those are bold words to be putting out there that this is the best burger of your life! I’m still on a quest for mine… perhaps a trip to Valley Ford is in order!

  • shannon (the daily balance)
    October 4, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    love this post! It is certainly an experience when you have a “BEST _____ i ever ate” moment — and i truly think foodies are the only ones who can understand the pure euphoria πŸ˜‰

  • Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)
    October 4, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    That burger looks divine! I randomly had my best burger at a hotel in the Daintree rainforest in Australia–too bizarre to explain, but true! Who woulda thunk?

  • Marie
    October 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    hahaha oh god I thought my fiance was the only one who used the term “meat sweats”. It does look delicious though!

  • Deb
    October 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Jenna –

    If you are ever in DC, try the burger @ Palena in Cleveland Park — the best burger of my life. Imagine a delicious beef burger, on a homemade brioche bun, topped with a truffled cheese. Oops, just thinking about made me drool!

    • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
      October 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      YES I love Palena! Also, Ray’s Hell Burger makes some pretty sick, albeit enormous, burgers as well. They have about 10-15 different types of cheese you can choose from for your burger and the meat is dry aged and wonderful.

    • Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)
      October 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      I’m from DC and heard they have incredible burgers! I NEED to go there πŸ™‚

  • Charles
    October 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    It’s always fun finding the best so-and-so ever… Like the best roast beef sandwich I’ve ever had was in Osaka.

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    October 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    hahah “Meat Sweats” love it. I looooove oysters – so glad you converted!!

  • Laura
    October 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Ah, The Copper Monkey! What a flashback you gave me! That burger does look pretty amazing though. Best burger I ever had was also in Gainesville FL, at the Red Onion.

    That looks like a great little town.

    • Kristin
      October 5, 2010 at 7:12 am

      Wait, is that the place you see billboards on 75 of?

    • Jess-The Semi Abnormal Gal
      October 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

      Yay for all the Gville references! I’m REALLY picky about burgers, but one of my faves is the Turkey Burger at Yardhouse (Palm Beach Gardens….try it, or anything at Yardhouse!)

  • DB
    October 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    The Monkey is flattered that you remembered their burgers so favorably! I’m lucky to eat there semi-regularly, best lunch place in campus proximity. Those burgers (original beef and now: turkey!) are durn good, especially with their light-as-air sweet potato crinkle fries; it’ll be a date if you’re ever back to roll us over again!

  • Amanda
    October 4, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Love the “Bless You” written on the check. What a nice touch!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    October 4, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    The burger looks great… but I want the oysters.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    October 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    oh my gosh, that really does look like the best burger in the world! and what an awesome town…i’m in love πŸ™‚

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    October 4, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Nothing is better than a good burger! Yum! Now I’m hungry!

  • elyssa
    October 4, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    choosing off the menu is always a dramatic life moment πŸ™‚ im curious if youre going to respond with a rebuttal to the marie claire article?

    • jenna
      October 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      I’m actually choosing not to post a response/rebuttal to the article. I think (and hope!) my blog speaks for itself in regards to the matter.

      • Dani
        October 4, 2010 at 2:10 pm

        Your blog does speak for itself! It is clearly an expression of love for food and that’s why I love reading it πŸ™‚ I wrote an email to the editor to let them know how disgusted I was with them and the article!

        That looks like a beyond amazing burger!!! The best burger I ever had was in a hole in the wall pub in England πŸ™‚

      • elyssa
        October 4, 2010 at 6:01 pm

        agreed! i think that’s the wisest course. thank you for everything you do.

  • Lisa
    October 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I love the spooky photo of the church. It looks like something out of a horror movie! And that burger looks amazing.

    I don’t think I’ve had the Best Burger of My Life yet. I’m still looking. πŸ™‚

  • Brandy
    October 4, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Every time you post a dinner out, I have to research flights to SFO. SO YUM!

  • The Wife of a Dairyman
    October 4, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Now , I think I’ve been to this place, years ago…. do they have a bar? I was on a Harley Davidson ride years ago and we stopped at five or so out of the way places and I think this was one of them. I Will have to try it out. I am very picky about my meat {probably because we raise our own natural beef and always have an abundance of it in the freezer} but I must try out this restaurant. Love it!

    • jenna
      October 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      yes! The bar looked really neat.

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write
    October 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Jenna – I think your blog does speak for itself. Banana pudding, cheeseburger, and french fries. Where’s the eating disorder? You’re just a girl that loves food, traveling, and hanging out with your cute boyfriend. That’s why we follow you! People are dumb.

  • Erin
    October 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    The best burger I EVER ate was really close to you, Jenna….in Napa! You must go to Bistro Don Giovanni and get the burger. That is burger heaven. I think they only serve it at lunch – but trust me, it’s not to be missed.

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing!
    October 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I LOVE that place! My boyfriend and I went there for our 3-year anniversary last year and it was out of this world. I remember eating the most perfect scallop there. I’m so glad you enjoyed your burger! The hotel there is also awesome and a great place to stay. Hooray for Valley Ford…and the perfect burger!

  • Amy
    October 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    you must try the burger at Farmstead in St. Helena. OMG! It has homeade mayo, mustard, and ketchup, pickled cauliflower, homemade potato bun, sharp white cheddar, and arugula tossed in a delicious vinegarette. I didnt even mention the meat, did I? AMAZING. i have dreamt about it. go now.

  • Gillian
    October 4, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    My word …. I am going to San Francisco in two weeks for vacation and I seriously am going to have to rent a car for a couple the days and drive up the coast to some of these crazy delicious restaurants you go to! Hope they are easy to find because I am traveling solo and getting lost is sans fun … eek!!

  • Tricia
    October 4, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Jenna, this is wayyy better than a rebuttal to that article, nice work!

  • Katelynn
    October 4, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    There is really nothing better than an amazing burger and fries!

  • Tina
    October 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    What a nice looking restaurant and a hearty looking burger! Delicious!

  • Robin
    October 4, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Reading that post officially marks the first time I have ever “craved” oysters. The burger does not look too shabby either!

  • Exercise and Eat
    October 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Ahhh the meat sweats! They really do exist!

  • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete
    October 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    It is so crazy how we remember our “best” food experiences! Your burger looks absolutely amazing as well. I can only imagine how it tasted. The best burger that I ever had was at this restaurant called Wild Sage that caters to the gluten free community. Absolutely amazing (moist, flavorful), and it was free range!

  • leslie
    October 4, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    sometimes i get overwhelmed when i read restaurant menus as well. that’s why it took my family and i 50 minutes to order at dinner on saturday night. no shame in it.

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    October 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Burger of my dreams!

  • Heather
    October 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I’m always on the hunt for the world’s greatest burger, so I’m jealous that I don’t live close enough to go try that bad buy. Looks amazing though!

  • Jessica@tastyandtrim
    October 4, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    That burger looks heavenly. I love the fact that it is on ciabbata bread- YUM!

  • Erin
    October 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    *drool* the best burger I have ever eaten was from here:http://www.kumascorner.com/
    We waited 2 hours for a table and STILL rolled our eyes in burger ecstacy after bite numbers 1-15. if you’re ever in Chicago, you must visit, but be prepared to wait

  • Christin
    October 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Snot from the sea – lol! I don’t like oysters, but maybe I just need to try theirs!

  • Stephanie
    October 4, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I am SO glad to hear that someone else feels the same way I do about brunch. I think it is a horrible invention and dread the weekends that we have been invited to a brunch! Why have one meal when two is such a better option?!

  • emily hall
    October 4, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    i love a good burger and fry as well! In fact, I had that last night for dinner at Chilis!
    Soooo delicious!

  • Laura Ann
    October 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    i love how you are taking the high road on the MC thang. let ’em think what they want. you’re awesome.

  • ashton keefe
    October 4, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Love this! Wish I could try it, reminds me of one of fav burgers in NYC (where I live) at Ruby’s! http://www.diaryofasweettooth.com/ruby-tuesdays/

  • eatmovelove
    October 4, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Thank you helping making a little bit of my stress melt away. Not because of the burger – but just the light-hearted humor that SHOWS THAT LIFE IS TOO SHORT TOO TAKE EVERYTHING SO DARNED SERIOUSLY!

    And I don’t mean food (jeez people – seriously! – get over the whole magazine debacle! It’s just another opinion that will blow over) – I just mean – LIFE in general.

    That’s all. Thanks.

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    October 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Ok, that burger looks great. And also, those french fries look awesome.

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa
    October 4, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    mmm that burger looks amazing. You must try Father’s Office in LA if you ever come down here. Best burger of my entire life!

  • Paige @Running Around Normal
    October 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Meat sweats?! LOL
    Very cute picture of the receipt w/ “Bless you” on it πŸ™‚

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
    October 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who dislikes brunch. There is NO way I can wait a few hours after waking up to consume my first meal. My hunger calls the second I roll out of bed. πŸ˜›

  • Laura (Starloz)
    October 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    i really need to find quirky places like this

  • Michie
    October 4, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I. Totally. Agree. It is the best burger I have ever had too. Their fried chicken? Also amazing. This is the place where my husband proposed to me. I love this place. The owners. The ambiance. The food.

    (the previous holder to the “best burger” was the Underwood in Graton. But they have a hard time getting it cooked right sometimes. But the rest of the menu there is awesome too.)

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    October 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    OMG! I LOVE that place soooooo much. Although, I never eat the bun. Am really weird. But, that’s how know am really French. Eat all food with a fork, never the hands & rarely a bun. Although….if you eat parts of it a little later with your fork..it doesn’t really count! lma0. Heehee. Thanks for that terrific post. I want to go–right now!!

  • Amber K
    October 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    This post was hilarious! I don’t like meat, but I’m salivating over those fries!

  • Jil
    October 4, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    haha Aww – I love the “Bless you” on the receipt.

  • Cara Craves...
    October 4, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    You can’t go wrong with a good burger…even if it result in “meat sweats”

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    October 4, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    amazing looking burger

  • Anna
    October 4, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    That looks like the perfect church to get married in!
    Yuppp I am that kind of girl! πŸ™‚

  • Hope
    October 4, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    lol I had to laugh at your oyster comment, I always thought they were like snot from the sea too! But, when you describe what they have done to them, well they sound so good!
    ‘meat sweats’ ?? that is awesome!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    October 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    AHAHAH meat sweats – Love it! That ciabbata roll must have done it!

  • Alyssa
    October 4, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I love brunch– but I almost ALWAYS eat breakfast before going. And just consider brunch as lunch.

    PS I grew up in Gainesville but have never been to Copper Monkey– are their burgers really that good??

    • jenna
      October 4, 2010 at 6:17 pm

      Maybe the one I had was just unusually delicious because it was consumed at midnight. Who’s to know?!

  • Nora@LifeLifeEatRight
    October 4, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    This town looks absolutely CHARMING! I kind of want to visit…and play dress-up to match the era. I feel the same way about brunch. It always baffles me that people don’t care to eat breakfast or “save themselves” for a big meal. I think it’s because they have never experienced the beauty of a warm bowl of peanut butter banana oats. But that’s just my personal theory. I haven’t had a good burger in far too long…I have yet to discover that magical, life-changing creation. The quest is on.

  • Deanna
    October 4, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    OMG I love that you busted out the phrase “meat sweats.” bahaha. I am drooling all over myself now

  • J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)
    October 4, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    The bun on that burger looks AMAZING!

  • Manon
    October 4, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I’m a little worried about how much “meat sweats” has me slobbering at the idea of a burger…..I’m going to go shower.

  • anon
    October 4, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Jenna, why did you skip the HLS this year? I’ve been wondering !

    • jenna
      October 4, 2010 at 7:12 pm

      Because I just decided to do my own thing and go my separate way…there were no hard feelings at all and I think what those girls do is amazing and inspiring every day.

  • Ann
    October 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Jenna, I’ve posted comments every now and then but I just wanted to let you know that you were the first blog I ever read and I’m glad I did! It’s brought me into this blogging community that’s provided me more support and happiness than I realized until today when I read that ridiculous article. Thanks for doing what you do πŸ™‚

  • anon
    October 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Thanks for answering. I have really enjoyed watching you branch out and carve a new path this year. I am older than most readers (in my 40s!) and I feel like I can see you growing into your adult self more and more as you blog.

  • Emma Ruth
    October 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    i want a hamburger. right. now.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    October 4, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Sometimes a girl really just DOES need a burger.. and that one looks to die!

  • Daisy
    October 4, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    that was seriously your first oysters rockefeller?!

    a place named appropriately so (loving the twist on the name) sounds like a great place for an oyster to capture your heart.

  • Toronto Girl West
    October 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I’m getting married in about a month so I’ve been trying to be a saint in the food department. But tomorrow I’m going to have a burger! ?

    The best burger I ever had was in Copenhagen, Denmark – near Nyhavn. In a country that was crazy expensive I found a steal of a deal. Honestly it was almost the size of my plate and had absolutely everything on it.

    It’s been five years since I ate that burger and I still think about it.

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    October 4, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Not a burger girl but so glad you found the one your BFF’s with πŸ™‚

    So sorry for all the DRAMA that’s going on. I am very twitter-retarded and can hardly send out my own tweets, but managed to notice you said you’re grateful for the blogging community. I am grateful for it too and we’re grateful for you.

    Chin up girl, you’re awesome! πŸ™‚ We are all here to support each other, even if not every single day, when the sh*t hits the fan, we rally πŸ™‚

  • dragonfly180
    October 5, 2010 at 3:48 am

    i LOVE that church! so beautiful.

  • Andrea
    October 5, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Yum, a burger on ciabatta bread…never thought of that. I get a hankering for a nice juicy burger every so often…yet another reason I couldn’t be a vegetarian!

  • jenna
    October 5, 2010 at 5:25 am

    everyday i read your blog i get one step closer to packing everything up and moving to CA!!! that burger looks amazing!

  • Karen
    October 5, 2010 at 5:48 am

    Yummy! Sometimes a girl does need a burger and fries!

  • Camille
    October 5, 2010 at 6:24 am

    I’m a vegetarian and I will still say that burger looks pretty good πŸ™‚

  • Jo
    October 5, 2010 at 6:46 am

    I like that you have NOT commented on the Marie Claire article.

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie
    October 5, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Yummy yummy!! That looks so tasty.

    I hate oysters on a half shell but surprisingly those look much different than ones I’ve had and don’t look bad at all.

  • Melinda
    October 5, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I have been a reader of your blog for years and I admit that previously I stopped reading becouse the Spinach shakes and Uber Healthy eating got annoying and boring. I’ve browsed other blogs and they were the same. But since you’ve moved to Cali you seem much more relaxed and enjoying a variety of food in a healthy way. You have shared so many AWESOME recipies lately and I really enjoy reading again! The Marie Claire article was rude and misleading and your loyal readers know the truth.Props to you Jenna for keeping your head up and doing your own thing!

  • Jenny
    October 5, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Amazing! That burger looks so tasty:)

  • Samma
    October 5, 2010 at 7:46 am

    There is nothing like a good burger! My favorite is homemade (by someone else- like my mom or husband) with a touch of Dale’s, a good grilled bun, a smidgen of Dukes and mustard, and fresh maters.

    Now I am dying for a burger. Too bad Valley Ford is across the country πŸ™

  • Rachel @ The Avid Appetite
    October 5, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Making my tummy rumble as I read this! I’m such a sucker for a great burger. Luckily here in NYC there are many great burger joints!

  • Sara
    October 5, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Snot from the sea.

    Meat Sweats.


  • Sonia
    October 5, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    I love your blog, esp. post the makeover. It is so much more fun to read than bland shots of every meal. Way to go.
    Have a baking question: I am baking a cake with a walnuts/pecans topping for a friend. If I add the nuts to the batter, they all sink down and if I layer on top, they will probably burn by the time the cake’s done. How do I get an even layer of nuts on top of a cake? Please help!
    PS: I tried posting on the contact section earlier but I guess that comment is lost.

  • The Time I Fell In Love With Oysters β€” Eat, Live, Run
    October 8, 2010 at 11:16 am

    […] We went back to Rocker Oysterfeller’s in Valley Ford because all week long, I haven’t been able to stop talking about “the best burger of my entire life”. […]

  • Kat
    July 21, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    My husband left Copper Monkey in 2006 to open…. The Red Onion Neighborhood Grill! Makes sense why you link the two with great Burgers!