There's a reason Val's burgers are so juicy: They're cooked to the temperature you like. We're not naming names, but some places buy preground hamburger meat from large distributors. Man, you don't want those patties cooked anything less than well done, and well done equals dry and crumbly. But Val's uses the good beef, and grills it over the flames so that even the rarest of burgers -- and you do order your burger rare to medium, don't you? -- develop a charred, smoky crust while the insides stay pink and tender. This tiny diner, with its Happy Days
feel, has been drawing lines for a half-century for its burgers, family-sized portions of onion rings, and shakes rich enough to give a cheetah a heart attack. With Val's grilled hamburgers around, there's no way White Castle's grayish, steamed sliders could ever make it in the Bay Area.