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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Hou-la-la!

I’ve been in a New Orleans state of mind lately since it’s the setting for both Top Chef & American Horror Story this season. All those cajun flavors and accents (and these frigid Northeast temperatures!) had me longing for a little bit of the south right now. Naturally, Catahoula seemed like it would be the perfect place to satisfy these cravings. In addition to catfish po-boys and Jambalaya, they’ve also got a great lineup of Abita beers and some awesome South-ified burgers. I decided to go with the Houla burger: an Angus beef patty topped with pulled pork, cheddar & fried pickles (It’s also topped with lettuce and a huge slice of beefsteak tomato, which is hidden under the lettuce in the pic below). Their fries are seasoned with Creole spice for a little bit of a Cajun kick.

I ordered the burger medium. For being such a large patty, it had a fair amount of pink inside, bordering on medium-well while still being juicy. The outside had a great backyard BBQ grill char to it. I just love the flavor that a good char gives to a burger; it always tastes a little bit like summer. The pulled pork was sweet and succulent. I would definitely love to come back and try the pulled pork alone! The fried pickles had a great snap to them; the breading was light enough so they weren’t gross, fried soggy messes (and didn’t burn your tongue with leftover oil when you bit into them). The bun was thick and very proportional to the burger – I mean, with all those toppings, it had to be! It did a great job of holding everything together once I took out that little stick placeholder. Unfortunately, the bottom bun did start to disappear after a couple of bites since the burger was very topping heavy. I eventually flipped the burger upside down so that I could try and get rid of the top bun and get to the pulled pork & pickles faster. I managed to make it to the last few bites before the bun totally broke off, so not too shabby.

It was a beast of a burger! I was actually afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish it, but I made it and it was totally worth the food coma I experienced an hour later. Paired with an Abita Purple Haze, it almost made Front Street feel like Bourbon Street – well, until anyone opened the door, that is.

Burger rating: “B+”

Bargain Burger

My mother is the Coupon Queen of Connecticut, so growing up she taught me to always be on the lookout for a great deal. And with it being the holiday season and all, it’s important to save money where you can (this way “Santa” can get you that 42″ plasma screen you’ve had your eye on). Enter South Street staple Bridget Foy’s, who boast an amazing Thursday night bar special: One of four select burgers on their dinner menu plus a draft beer for a whopping $10! Since there were some specialty burgers included in the deal, I decided to forgo their Standard burger & try the New Mexico burger, topped with roasted green chiles, pepperjack cheese and a house made chipotle mayo.

The patty itself was a pretty decent size, but cooked far past medium – almost bordering on well done – therefore the meat itself didn’t really have a lot of flavor. The bun was a soft, seeded hamburger roll and held the burger together really well. Some of the chiles fell out while I was eating, but this turned out to not really be a problem since there were a few too many chiles for my liking on top. The pepperjack cheese gave the burger a spicy little bite. But – OH BOY – if you’re congested, this is the burger you wanna be eating. I’ve had some pretty weak chipotle sauces and mayos before, but this bad boy cleared my sinuses right up! The beer I paired with the burger was the Philadelphia Brewing Company Joe Coffee Porter; it had a little bit of spice to it, so it really worked well with the Southwest flavors of the burger.

So maybe if you’re doing a little shopping on Fabric Row tomorrow night (December 12th) and feeling hungry, pop on over to Bridget Foy’s & give those purse strings a rest!

Burger rating: “C+”

Business Lunch

Working in Center City leaves you all kinds of options for lunch: fast food, fast casual, food carts, your office vending machine. But sometimes you just need a nice, relaxing sit down spot that isn’t the cafeteria or your desk. Matyson is certainly a place that fits the bill: small, upscale, and there’s no bar (It’s a BYOB) so you don’t have to explain to your boss why you’ve come back to the office smelling like a brewery. I chose Matyson for several reasons: 1) proximity to my office (a whole two blocks away!), 2) owned and operated by the same awesome team behind Cheu Noodle Bar and 3) They had a $10 burger on their lunch menu. The Matyson Burger comes topped with lettuce and tomato, but you can accessorize however you please for a few shekels more (I added cheddar to my burger for a buck), and it is paired with fries or a salad (or Parmesan truffle fries for only $2 more). When I walked inside, I was instantly hit with that sweet truffle oil smell, so clearly, I had to go with the truffle fries.

The burger came out fairly quickly, a must for us business types with limited lunch hours. The bun was a buttery brioche style, housing a fairly large patty underneath. Temperature wise, the burger was cooked medium as requested, although I prefer a little bit more of a pink center (The meat used seemed very similar to the mix that comprised Cheu’s Ramen Burger over the summer). Crisp lettuce, a nice sized tomato slice (hidden beneath the bun in the above pic) and a little sprinkle of salt & pepper gave it a very fresh taste; it was very similar to the way I cook my own burgers at home. Definitely a solid burger choice if you’re lunching downtown, and a great place to bring co-workers and business associates if it’s a “working lunch”; just make sure you tip well on the company tab!

Burger rating: “B+”

The Vulgar Chef

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