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Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Re-visit: 500 Degrees

The last time I ate at 500 degrees I hadn’t created this site yet, even though I did make my review of the place my very first post! Since I did a revisit with the burger at London Grill after having reviewed it without posting pictures, I figured I’d go ahead & give 500 Degrees a 2nd time around as well. So, just to catch you up – 500 Degrees is owned by Rob Wasserman, who also owns Rouge in Rittenhouse Square and organizes the annual Burger Brawl. Their menu has been revamped a little bit since my first trip two years ago. I opted for “The Classic” – your choice of cheese, lettuce & tomato – cooked medium, and a side of truffle tries.

My burger was a little more on the medium well side; I’m guessing because I took it to go & it was probably still cooking in the middle on my way back to work. They’ve moved on from the super shiny brioche buns I remember from my previous trips, and the bun was nice and soft, holding up well through each bite. Crisp, fresh plum tomato slices topped the patty. The meat itself has an excellent flavor; just the right ratio of fat to lean meat to produce some juice without being bland and dried out. And considering both my burger & fries ran about $11.50 including tax (adding extra for the truffle fries), I would definitely rather spend the dough on this burger then some place like Five Guys for the same price. It was a solid, delicious, sit-down restaurant quality burger in a fraction of the time! So beat the other fast casual crowds at lunch time and check out 500 Degrees instead.

Burger rating: Previously given a “B”, upgrading to a “B+”.

Missing the Point

Deep in the far reaches of Fishtown lies Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen. Since it’s a little bit out of the way of most things, I decided to make a day of it with a mini bar crawl through the Fishtown neighborhood, with my prize to be a burger at Cedar Point at the end. Unfortunately, all that buildup led to a burger disappointment.

The burger is a Grass-fed beef patty topped with pimiento aioli, Herdsman cheese, and caramelized onions, served on brioche bun flecked with poppy seeds.

While the presentation of the burger was great and the house-cut fries were spectacular, the burger – requested to be cooked medium – was overcooked at well done. And as I continued to eat, I quickly ran out of burger while I still had an ample amount of bun left. I really wanted to like this burger, especially after my Fishtown adventure. Maybe I will take another trip out there sometime to see if maybe it was just an off night or what; they also have a brunch burger with an egg on it that sounds tempting!

Burger rating: “C+”

On a Roll

Growing up along the Long Island Sound, lobster rolls were a quintessential part of summer, right along with backyard BBQs and getting an ice cream cone from Mister Softee. I mean, my parents even moved to the birthplace of the lobster roll when I graduated college. So when I moved south and inland to Philadelphia, I was hit with sticker shock at a variety of restaurants who were pricing my favorite summer treat at nearly $20 or over! And they weren’t even the delicious, Connecticut-style kind. They were gross, mayo-laced New England atrocities. (Seriously guys, mayo and seafood is a terrible combination!) How was a girl to get her fix of warm, buttered crustacean on a bun?

Well, luckily, Luke’s Lobster heard my pleas and opened up shop in Philadelphia just a few months ago. For a mere $15, you can get your taste of Maine’s greatest export. Plus add a bag of chips & a soda for only $2!

Just when I thought summer couldn’t get any better, my favorite food truck, Spotburgers, brought back their much anticipated lobster roll special from last summer (which sold out within minutes whenever it was on the menu). For only TEN AMERICAN DOLLARS you got a whopping 6 oz of lobster with a little tomato & corn garnish, plus a side a fries. That was an even slicker deal then Luke’s! (and much tastier!)

And then, Johnny Brenda’s threw a clambake bash and put a NINE DOLLAR lobster roll on their menu! $9. It was unheard of! Oh sure, it didn’t come with fries, but I could drink a beer while enjoying it and that was good enough for me. Throw in a side of coleslaw, some pickles & a little lemon mayo and it was the perfect summer treat.

Now the Spot lobster roll is a special, so you’ll want to watch their Twitter feed (linked above) to find out where and when it’s popping up next. But for the best bargain lobster roll in town, head over to Luke’s Lobster on 17th & Sansom any time. (Plus, they even deliver after 5 PM, so you don’t even have to leave the house to get it!)

Falling in Strangelove

Strangelove’s is a beer bar that opened this past spring on 11th and Walnut. You may remember this spot in one of its previous short-lived incarnations such as the Blue Bear Tavern, The Butcher & The Brewer, or the Boilermaker. But with the masterminds behind Memphis Taproom, Local 44 & Resurrection Ale House manning the helm, it seems set to fair a lot better than its predecessors. (It already jumped to the top of my favorites list when they hosted Toshiyuki Kiuchi of Hitachino Nest beer fame during a tap takeover back in May.) While sometimes throwing in some of the familiar cast of characters on their beer list, they tend to lean towards the eclectic: rare finds, one offs and collaborations – such as their own Duet, with Manayunk brewery and WD-70, with Yards.

Naturally, I stopped in to have a burger. Their namesake Strangelove’s burger features a fried green tomato, goat cheese and a bacon BBQ sauce. I wasn’t feeling quite that adventurous, so opted for the Joe burger: lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar, pickles, mayo – and added truffle bacon.

The burgers are paired with your choice of chips, salad or coleslaw. I went with coleslaw, because what better way to eat your vegetables then to have them slathered in mayo? Unlike last week’s dilemma where I found myself quickly running out of bun, there was the perfect bun to burger ratio. The bacon was thick and crispy, but the truffle flavor wasn’t really present; possibly overwhelmed by the rest of the toppings.

The burger itself was a little more on the medium well side, probably due to the thickness of the patty (you’re definitely going to need both hands for this bad boy!), but still fairly juicy. My only regret was getting the coleslaw because there was just way too much of it (at least a full 1-cup serving). I thought about putting some of the coleslaw on top, but I think it would just sog it down. I do have another suggestion, though: If you come in for the Strangelove’s Express lunch during the week (Mon-Fri, 11:30-3PM, 2 courses for $14), try ordering the fried green tomatoes as your appetizer and put some of them on top of the burger. Boom! Now you’ve got your own mash up of both the Joe & the Strangelove’s!

Burger Rating: “B+”

The Vulgar Chef

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