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Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Devil in Me

Since it’s Halloween time (and tonight just so happens to be Mischief night), I decided to stay on theme and check out two “devilish” burgers at two aptly named bars: Devil’s Alley and Devil’s Den.

First up: Devil’s Alley – Instead of opting for their namesake Devil Burger which is topped with onion rings AND french fries, I kept it a little more low key with the guacamole, bacon & cheddar burger (editor’s note: and by ‘low key” I mean really hungover). The guacamole however, looked like it’d been sitting out for a while and was kind of brown and unappealing on top of my burger. The cheese was practically non-existent & the bun was super shiny. However, the burger itself was cooked perfectly pink on the inside and nice and charred on the outside; signs of a great bar burger. It was also a huge patty and completely proportional to the bun. Not once did I fear running out of bun or meat first and it held up with each bite.

Was it mind-blowingly amazing? For someone with a hangover, definitely. But otherwise, it was pretty basic. I’m definitely interested in going back and trying the Devil Burger on a regular/sober day to see how it compares.

Burger Rating: “C+”

Next, Devil’s Den’s House Burger: A brisket & short rib blend topped with lettuce, tomato & caramelized onions on a shiny, brioche bun. I opted to add cheddar and avocado for $1 more each to make it similar to the Devil’s Alley burger that I tried.

When the burger came out, I could already see the bottom bun sogging under all the juice of the meat. There was a ton of lettuce underneath the patty, probably trying to act as a “burger diaper”, but failing (WAY too much lettuce – I had to pluck some of it off because it was all hanging out the back of the bun). The burger was super succulent and cooked perfectly medium, but was otherwise forgettable; the brisket & short rib blend was practically flavorless. The avocado was fresh though, unlike the oxidized guac at Devil’s Alley. And I really liked the caramelized onion/cheddar topping combo. The fries came with a chipotle fry dipping sauce. I spread a little bit of that on the top bun but it was pretty bland and mayo-y; I didn’t get a kick from it at all.

Overall, the Devils’ Den burger was pretty much on par with Devil’s Alley: a decent bar burger, but nothing spectacular.

Burger rating: “C+”

(Milk)Boy, what a burger.

Milkboy is a one-stop shop kind of place: coffee cafe, bar, music venue and restaurant (home to their signature, heart-clogging menu item: the bacon bowl). I’d been to a few shows here but I’d never actually sat down to eat, so I figured why not get my grub on while listening to some good tunes? Their cheeseburger comes on a toasted brioche bun and is topped with a house mayo, lettuce, tomato and provolone. You can also add bacon, chili and a fried egg for just a few bucks more, but I opted to keep it simple.

I was a little worried about the size of the burger compared to the bun: It looked like it was dwarfing the patty! But I was able to retain all meat inside the bun and without a lot of excess bun left over. The patty was nice and juicy. It wasn’t very thick so there wasn’t a lot of pink inside, but I was happy with the temperature and it had a great overall flavor. The bun was super shiny and extra buttery, which paired well with the seasoning of the meat. A single tomato slice was thick, fresh and proportional to the burger, but the random pieces of lettuce were a little awkward (I’m guessing they came from a prepacked salad mix). And the best part of all? It was under $10!! So grab a burger, grab a beer and check out some amazing local musical talent.

Burger rating: “B”

Tap That.

In the far reaches of Kensington lies the Memphis Taproom, a little bar with a big beer personality and an awesome outdoor garden space. Sounds familiar, you say? It should – they are owned by the same awesome crew who own Strangelove’s, Local 44 & Resurrection Ale House. So wherever you happen to find yourself in Philly, you can count on getting great beer and awesome food. Opting for their cheeseburger, the bartender threw me a curveball: “Do you want bacon?” I CAN HAZ BACON? That’s not listed on the menu! But obviously, I went and added some bacon to that jawn along with cheddar cheese.

My burger came out looking amazing. Thick strips of bacon. Lots of gooey cheese. A toasty, soft non-brioche bun. Bibb lettuce. and a thick slice of tomato. What more could a burger-loving gal ask for? The burger was big, thick and juicy – but just a touch over medium into medium well territory. I thought the hand cut fries were great, but the owner (who apparently has a very colorful sense of humor) proclaimed that they tasted “like they were made by a 14 year old” as he sampled some from a regular patron’s plate.

Unfortunately, Memphis Taproom is a little far out of the way for me to make regular trips to enjoy their amazing beer selection, but if you live in the area or they’re having one of their numerous, seasonal beer events, definitely stop in and check their burger out, too!

Burger Rating: “A-“

Gem of a Burger

It seems like everyone is putting food on pretzel buns these days: Wendy’s, Sonic, Dunkin Donuts. So when I heard Ruby Tuesday was launching a series of burgers on pretzel buns (and running a social media campaign entitled #FunBetweenTheBuns), I was skeptical. I haven’t exactly had the best experience with burgers on pretzel buns in the past, but they offered a $3 off coupon and I decided to give it a shot. I opted for the Bacon Cheddar Pretzel Burger, topped with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, and bacon mustard mayonnaise.

I was asked how I wanted my burger cooked, but already prepared myself for it to not come out medium (and honestly, I haven’t eaten at a ‘fast-casual’ chain in so long that I didn’t even remember if they ever asked for a temperature request before). The presentation was great. The bun was certainly more street vendor soft pretzel-like and less pretzel bun-y like the other chains are using. It was soft and didn’t have a flavor that overpowered the burger. The burger itself was topped with a lot of bacon, and while tasty, seemed kind of awkward to eat as it didn’t really snap in half when I bit into it, and so I wound up just sucking in giant strips of bacon with my mouthful. I was actually impressed with the quality of the meat in the burger itself and could actually taste it, rather than it  tasting like some dry, frozen patty they just slapped on a grill. (There was an ample amount of juice that dripped onto my plate when I first picked it up.) The bacon mustard mayonnaise didn’t really have a flavor. I may have picked up a dijon note once, but otherwise, it was just lubrication for the bun.

Verdict? It definitely exceeded my expectations for a chain restaurant burger. Honestly, I would probably eat again (if I were the type that frequented Ruby Tuesday, or if I was stuck in an airport on a layover and this was my only option). So if you happen to find yourself in a Ruby Tuesday as well, check this pretzel burger or one of the other 3 “fun” varieties out.

Don’t Avoid Lloyd!

There’s nothing more enjoyable then a solid burger and an excellent glass of whiskey. Luckily, at Lloyd Whiskey Bar, you can get both! There’s an extensive list of whiskeys broken down by variety from bourbon to scotch and everything in between. Not sure what you might like? Don’t be afraid to ask the bartenders! They’re extremely knowledgeable about each bottle behind the bar, from flavor profile to proof, and are more than willing to give you suggestions based on what your usual brown liquid of choice is. As for the burger, its patty is a home blend topped with cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and bread & butter pickles under a seeded brioche bun.

The burger came out perfectly pink in the middle and was nice and juicy. The bun was soft, reminding me slightly of the buns at The Industry: shiny and seeded on top, soft and thick on the bottom to absorb all the moisture. I did unfortunately find myself running out of bottom bun when I got down to the last few bites. Lettuce and tomato were nice and crisp, and the bread and butter pickles gave the burger a little touch of sweet and sour. The menu says that it was topped with muenster cheese, but it looked like possibly American or white cheddar; it definitely didn’t taste like muenster. Either way, it was a decent burger and pairing it with a glass of Bastille, a French whisky, made it a great combination.

Burger rating: “B”

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