The trend for build-your-own meals has boomed in Southern California. Build-your-own pizza joints like Pieology, mix-and-match nitrogen ice cream parlors like A la Minute, and dare I say, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar? All across Los Angeles and Orange County, we see these kinds of establishments popping up and quickly becoming popular with locals. Bucket List Burgers is one such restaurant.

After a long morning of photographing a client, I decided to stop by and grab a well-deserved lunch. Located at the Canyon Crest Towne Centre next to Starbucks, it was a quick drive from Lot 30. The atmosphere was fun and casual, with lots of travel posters dotting the walls, quotes from adventurers printed on booths and lots of bucket-themed decor, as the interior designers really went all out with the bucket-list theme.

On a stand near the register, a small pile of menus and notepads lay for customers to use. While there are some burgers already on the menu for customers to choose from, the real fun of visiting is creating your own burger from the bun up. The notepads provide selections for every aspect of your burger, from the buns, patties, condiments, cheeses and add-ons. There are some really interesting options, like brioche buns, oat-topped wheat buns, garlic aioli, soft-ripened brie, goat cheese, sauerkraut and fried eggs. Many of the add-ons come with the order but additional toppings ($0.50) and cheese ($1 per type) will cost you extra. For those of you who are 21 and over, they also offer a selection of beers and wine to choose from — it’s not a terribly exhaustive selection and some of the wines come in prepackaged cups so I skipped over ordering one.

I opted for the brioche one-third pound beef burger with Swiss cheese, chipotle aioli, grilled onions and mushrooms with a side of sweet potato fries and a soda. The meal was pretty pricy and came out to just about under $15. While I’m a bit spoiled by the low prices of burger joints like McDonald’s, I had high hopes that this burger would be better than what I’m used to.

I decided to opt for the indoor dining area since the weather was a bit chilly. Continuing the bucket list trend, the walls were littered with photos of travel destinations around the world. Sitting in the room made me feel like I was transported to someone’s well-worn travel diary.

I was surprised when my order came out and the fries were actually placed in a tin bucket, although I shouldn’t have been too surprised since the bucket theme ran throughout the restaurant — I thought it was a nice touch.

My burger was wrapped tightly in paper with another sheet wrapped around the middle for me to hold on to. My first bite into the bun left me quite shocked. The bun itself was slightly sweet, soft and somewhat chewy. After breaking through the bun, I was hit with the aromatic flavors of the chipotle aioli, grilled onions and mushrooms. The chipotle aioli wasn’t as spicy as I had hoped it would be, but it had a really nice sweet, smoky flavor with just a slight hint of spice that graced my taste buds. The onions and mushrooms enhanced the savory flavor of the burger and were nicely cooked, and the patty itself was extremely flavorful and juicy. I ordered mine in the standard medium rare, but others can opt for more fully cooked options when they order their meals.

The sweet potato fries were next in my order. Hot out of the fryer, they were thick-cut, crispy and the perfect blend of sweet and savory. I am hard-pressed to find any restaurants around this area that offer sweet potato fries, so I was very happy to find them on the menu.

The burger was quite possibly one of the best burgers I have had around this area. The originality of the flavors gains extra points from me and makes me want to go back and try out the other options they have on the menu. The pesto aioli and goat cheese is calling out to me. I also really enjoyed the decor in the restaurant. It was a good time to look at all of the pictures and quotes that littered the room while I waited for my order. I had a very enjoyable lunch at Bucket List Burgers and would highly recommend those with some extra lunch money to try out this new joint at the Canyon Crest Towne Centre.