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    You are in: Home / Recipes / Nepenthe's Famous Ambrosia Burger Recipe
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    Nepenthe's Famous Ambrosia Burger

    Nepenthe's Famous Ambrosia Burger. Photo by Boomette

    1/5 Photos of Nepenthe's Famous Ambrosia Burger

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    Total Time:

    Prep Time:

    Cook Time:

    20 mins

    10 mins

    10 mins

    Sharon123's Note:

    I lived in Big Sur during the 70' and 80's. I went to Nepenthe practically everyday! My friends lived and worked there. This is one of the favorite dishes served there made by Chef Willie Nelson. And now some history: In 1947, Lolly and Bill Fassett moved with their five children into the Log House in Big Sur. Once a get away for the Trail Club of Jolon, the cabin is perched on a hillside overlooking the south coast of Monterey County. Big Sur, with yellow genesta popping in August heat; purple lupine tangling with sage on mountains shrouded in fog, was a wild sanctuary. Bill and Lolly imagined an open-air pavilion with good food and wine and dancing under the stars. It would be a place where people from up and down the coast would come and forget their cares. Working with Rowan Maiden, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, they sketched out their vision. Legendary Big Sur builders, Frank and Walter Trotter built the structure using native materials; redwood, hewn from the canyons and adobe bricks, which Lolly made with her own hands. And people came, not just from the ridge-tops and canyons, but from all over the world: vagabonds, poets, artist, lovers. Later, the Phoenix Shop would grow out of the traveling merchants who spread their colorful wares on Lolly's living room floor. When there were fewer people on the coast, when nights were longer and days lonelier, Nepenthe was a place to gather. Famous even before it opened for it's unique architecture and incandescent views, Nepenthe is known today for its family hospitality, legendary guests, and irresistible "Ambrosiaburger." In Greek, Nepenthe means "isle of no care," a place to find surcease from sorrow. So it continues to be for travelers today. A place to stop, to dream, to lift a cup to kindness... It's important to use the best quality beef you can find! Serve with a tossed green salad and shoestring fries.

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    Units: US | Metric

    Ambrosia Sauce


    1. 1
      Form the meat into four six-ounce balls, and roll in your hand to form together. Lay the balls on a clean flat surface and press flat. The edges of the patties should be cracked and broken, not perfectly smooth. This really enhances flavor.
    2. 2
      The patties must be cooked on a hot open brazier, either over medium hot coals or open gas flame. Turn the burger only once, immediately when you see blood rise to the top. When you see clear juice rise on the cooked side, you've got a perfect medium rare.
    3. 3
      At the last possible minute add cheese, as this slows down cooking time.
    4. 4
      Mix the ingredients fresh for your Ambrosia Sauce. It is very simple, but what a great flavor it adds to your burger.
    5. 5
      Butter the buns before you toast them. When you turn your burgers, toast the buns over the open flame next to your burgers.
    6. 6
      Have fresh lettuce, sliced tomato, onion and thin slices cheddar cheese near by on a plate. Serve and enjoy!

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    Ratings & Reviews:

    • on April 19, 2011


      This burger is great. The sauce is the best. It was one of the best burger I ate. I topped mine with tomato and lettuce. Thanks Sharon :) Made for I Recommend tag game

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    • on May 24, 2010


      I was so pleased to find this wonderful story about Lolly and Bill Fassett's Nepenthe genesis. I've been a (Canadian) visitor since the 70's, and remember sipping wine on the open air patio, in front of the fire, watching a full, pale moon rise above the hills. My husband and I had just enjoyed Lolly's famous chicken, while our children had the Ambrosia Burger. We had each sneaked a taste of the others' choices. It was hard to decide which was more mouth-watering, so we came back the following day and switched. Nepenthe's wonderful chef shares a few of his choice recipes on their website. Check it out at (By the way, meals served on their famous outdoor patio were served in oval baskets, always accompanied by their great coleslaw, with hamburger/sandwich condiments in wicker holders.) BUT - their Ambrosia burger, made from local Carmel beef, is second to none. And this recipe is the one.

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    • on January 30, 2010


      This is very simple to make...I agree with the ragged edges....that allows the smoke to seep into the burger. I did add some "Southern Seasoning", because it is wonderful. I made this for Best of 2009 Cookbook Tag, and I agree..this is one of the best!

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    Read All Reviews (7)


    Nutritional Facts for Nepenthe's Famous Ambrosia Burger

    Serving Size: 1 (324 g)

    Servings Per Recipe: 4

    Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value
    Calories 820.8
    Calories from Fat 480
    Total Fat 53.4 g
    Saturated Fat 16.8 g
    Cholesterol 146.2 mg
    Sodium 1068.1 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 45.9 g
    Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
    Sugars 5.9 g
    Protein 38.3 g

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