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Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Bearded Burger

I got a tip from a friend that I should check out a burger in my neighborhood this week at The Goat’s Beard, which just opened up on Main Street in Manayunk a few months. It was already on my “to eat” list, but since it was given such a good recommendation, I decided to bump it up to priority status. The “Goat Burger”, as it was billed on my tab, does not contain any actual goat but is an 8 oz beef patty topped with pepper jack, caramelized onions, and bacon on a brioche bun.

I ordered the burger medium, as per usual, and it came out perfectly pink inside. Unfortunately, after the first few bites, things started to go downhill.

I found myself quickly running out of bottom bun. Then, the cheese & bacon started sliding out of the rear. Finally, and this was the saddest part of all, the meat just completely started splitting apart from the formed patty shape; I wound up tearing the remaining bun into 2 parts and eating each burger piece individually. I really wanted to like this burger, but there’s just no excuse for a patty that isn’t formed solidly enough and just starts falling apart mid-bite.

Burger rating: “B-” (would probably have gotten a solid “B” had it stayed in one piece.)

The Fast and The Curious

A few months ago, I’d been tipped off to the fact that Wendy’s was testing a new cheeseburger on a pretzel bun. I love cheeseburgers and I love pretzel buns; it was a match made in heaven! So with fingers crossed and bated breath, I waited and it was finally revealed that the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger would be a getting a national roll out. And to a city like Philadelphia which prides itself on the pretzel, we hoped that it would not be a disaster like Burger King’s ill-fated “Philly Chicken Sandwich“.

The Un-Boxing:

The bun looked more squished than the fancy advertising shots. The tomato, clearly on the less ripe side. Cheese slice, not completely melted. One lone spinach leaf peaking out of a garnish. But hey, let’s be realistic! This is fast food, not the Four Seasons. You have to go into this with lowered expectations.

“Under the hood” shot


The bun was buttery smooth and soft; not too salty or dry, which was probably the ideal consistency for this type of burger. The website touts the burger as being topped with melted cheese. Mine appeared to have not only a partially melted cheese slice, but some type of cheez-wiz concoction as well. Mixed greens to top the burger were very minimal, as you can see. There was also supposed to be a “sweet & smokey honey mustard sauce” topping the burger; I did not detect any of these notes. Applewood bacon slices neither added to nor took away from the overall burger flavor.

Verdict? Try it once just to say you ate it, but I wouldn’t recommend making it your fast food “go-to”.

Do a Barrel Roll

I’d already been to Bainbridge Street Barrel House to try their french toast burger, so it was high time I got back around to trying one of the other awesome burgers on their menu. This time I opted for the Sally Smothers: a delicious 8 oz Pat LaFrieda blend patty topped with fried shallot, provolone, mayo, pancetta and a fried egg. It sounded like perfection on a bun! (Put a fried egg and any type of pork product on a burger and I’m yours forever.)

The burger came out cooked perfectly to medium, as requested. The yolk was nice and runny, mixing deliciously with the beef, adding a little extra juice to that already tasty LaFrieda meat. The shallots were nice and crispy as well. But be forewarned: this burger was MASSIVE! I almost didn’t finish the whole thing. But it was too amazing for me to not eat it all; I couldn’t let it defeat me! And despite being another brioche bun, I liked that it was seeded and less shiny than the buns used at other places. (It reminded me of the buns that they used to use at Pub & Kitchen.)

Look at that big bun! It definitely held up nicely with the combination of meat juices & egg yolk, and was perfectly proportional to that colossal patty.

Burger Rating: “B+”

Picnic on the Pier

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know by now that Morgan’s Pier is the ultimate summer hot spot in Philly. There’s a huge selection of draft & bottled beers, cocktails, frozen drinks, games, the Little Baby’s Ice Cream‘s cart, DJs & bands on the weekends, an AMAZING view of the Ben Franklin Bridge (Oh, and the Delaware River too, I guess) – and most importantly – FOOD!

The kitchen this year is helmed by none other than Philadelphia Magazine’s Best Chef 2012 winner, George Sabatino. But he’s not serving up your run-of-the-mill bar food; he’s putting his own twist on some classic favorites. Case in point: the burger. Oh, sure. From the outside, it looks like your typical BBQ charred patty on a potato roll. But the patty goes through a fun, scientific adventure before it makes its way to your mouth. First, it’s vacuum-sealed and put into a hot water bath. Then, it’s flash frozen in liquid nitrogen. And finally, the burger is deep-fried (you heard that right) to either medium or well done, topped with a scoop of American cheese, some veggies & their housemade thousand island dressing, and sent to your waiting belly. (It comes paired with a little pickled veggie salad.)

But, if you want fries you can have em. A small order will only set you back $3 and you better bring some friends, because there are a LOT of fries!

The corn on the cob is grilled and slathered with lobster butter, with a lime on the side. At $6, it’s a little pricey for corn, but still pretty tasty.

Wash it all down with a Watermelon Ricky: A Hell or High Watermelon beer poured over watermelon simple syrup & lemon juice:

Morgan’s Pier is a great spot for any type of group, young or old. It’s got one of the most eclectic crowds in the whole city and it has something for everybody. (Seriously, if you bring someone here and they aren’t enjoying themselves, you should probably stop being their friend.) Plus, it’s a great place to watch fireworks on the Riverfront while enjoying a cold beverage or two. So swing by sometime this summer and check it out!

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

A year ago, the building on the corner of Laurel & New Market st was a run-down shell of a former bar, but since then, it’s undergone a major renovation to be reborn as Jerry’s Bar: the perfect edition to the Northern Liberties neighborhood. With exposed brick walls, a marbled bar top, two floors of bar and dining space, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill, hipster PBR joint. They’ve got a highbrow bar menu, a solid cocktail list of the classics, and a bunch of off the beaten path beers both in bottles & on draft.

After a series of misses in the burger department, I was worried about trying the deluxe burger: topped with bibb lettuce, tomato, red onion, your choice of cheese (I got cheddar), sandwiched on a brioche bun.

My burger came out quickly, and was slightly more on the medium well side than medium, but still nice and juicy. The lettuce was crisp and fresh, as was the tomato. And the bun was soft, slightly buttered and toasted, which gave it a delicious “melt in your mouth” flavor. I could also detect that the meat was seasoned with a little bit of salt and pepper, which is how I tend to make my own burgers at home, so it was nice to enjoy a burger with that home-cooked feeling. There’s also the “Jerry’s Burger”, which has caramelized onions & cheddar, but I wanted something a little bit lighter on a hot, summer day. (I know I was just saying how I wished I could find more burgers with caramelized onions as a topping, so I’ll have to come back to check it out.) Pair it with the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier like I did; I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Burger rating: “A”

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