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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Zin-fully Delicious

While making a weekend trip to South Jersey – for Wegman’s, obviously – we decided to pop into Zinburger, which happened to be in the same shopping center as the Wegman’s in Cherry Hill. Zinburger is a casual wine & burger bar, specializing in novelty burgers made of 100% certified Angus beef and American Kobe beef, which they grind in house three times a day. I didn’t want to go too crazy, so I ordered the Samburger – topped with Nueske’s Applewood smoked bacon, American cheese and 1000 island dressing.

Then I checked out photos on Yelp and immediately changed my order to the Breakfast Burger: topped with a Fried egg, smoked bacon, American cheese, avocado & mayo (I know, I know. That burger should have been my first choice since those are all my favorite things). Just like at Bobby’s Burger Palace, when your server asks how you would like your burger cooked, they confirm back to you with the color & temperature of your order; in my case, Medium, warm pink center and warm throughout.

The burger came out and looked amazing. The house grind meat had a great flavor and the patty was perfectly proportional to the bun. I made sure to keep the giant toothpick thing in the bun to hold everything together for a while so that the toppings didn’t spill out everywhere. The burger was slightly more on the medium-well side – I would have liked to see more pink inside – but it was very juicy. Normally I would ask for ketchup, but I didn’t even need any! I also wish the fried egg had been slightly runny instead of being cooked all the way. I was surprised how delicious it was for a “suburban chain”, considering my last South Jersey burger experience wasn’t so great. I’m definitely glad that I changed my order at the last minute. I would totally have regretted not getting this! The one downside would probably be that the burger doesn’t come with fries, but they have an assortment of onion rings & various fries that are the perfect size to split with another person – if you’re into that kind of thing.

Let’s face it – no one likes food shopping on an empty stomach – so fuel up beforehand at Zinburger. They also have an all day Happy Hour on Sundays where you can get their simple burger for only five bucks!

Burger rating: “B+”

 

On The Lamb

Avance had some pretty big shoes to fill after taking over the former Le Bec Fin space last Fall. But despite a string of somewhat scathing reviews regarding their prix fixe main dining room, there’s been nothing but praise for the Border Springs Farm Lamb burger that’s become the crown jewel of their bar menu. In fact, the burger just won them Judge’s Choice at the 2014 Philadelphia Burger Brawl. The burger is topped with feta & rests on a red onion marmalade, and comes paired with a side of crispy panisse (that’s “chickpea fries” for you non-French speakers).

The burger came on a beautiful, seeded brioche bun. Lamb is definitely one of those delicate meats that you can’t afford to overcook, and this patty was cooked to a perfect medium-rare. The fresh, saltiness of the feta and the sweetness of the red onion marmalade worked amazingly well together, enhancing the flavor of the meat. It was succulent, juicy and finger-lickin’ good. If the burger wasn’t $18, I’d probably eat one of these a week (Oh wait, Border Springs has a stand at Reading Terminal Market, so I can!) It was hands down the best burger I’ve had in Philadelphia in a long time. Stop in just before happy hour ends at 5:30 to pair it with a $10 cocktail and they’ll be ready to fire one of these bad boys up for you when the kitchen opens for dinner service.

Burger Rating: “A+”

 

Celebrating The Shack

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Shake Shack, and while their original New York City location in Madison Square Park has been getting a different special “Celebrity Chef” collaboration burger every day this week, the Philly Shake Shack outposts certainly weren’t left out of the festivities. Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri created his own “Carbonara Burger“: Shake Shack’s signature Pat LaFrieda patties topped with pecorino cheese, black pepper, bacon & a fried egg. Putting a fried egg & bacon on top of a burger is pretty much the key to my heart, so who needs one of those crazy shrimp & butter topped creations going on in NYC when I can get one of these bad boys right near home?

On top of being a renowned chef, Marc Vetri also created the Vetri Foundation, which is committed to healthy eating & living, and ensuring that the children of Philadelphia have access to nutritious meals both in their schools and in their communities. One dollar from every Carbonara burger sold is going directly to the foundation, so you can do good while eating good (ok, so maybe a burger topped with a fried egg & bacon isn’t the best meal for you, but it certainly is delicious!)

You guys will have to act fast, though. The burger is only available until this Sunday, June 15th – at all three Philadelphia Shake Shack locations (Sansom Street, University City & King of Prussia) – or until I eat them all, whichever comes first!

When Life Gives You Lemons…

I had originally tried to go to Lemon Hill a few weeks ago, only to show up to locked doors and then sadly remembered it was Monday, a day when many restaurants in Philly are closed. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself I would come back after my vacation, as I had been dying to get in to try the burger there for over a year now (I know that seems ridiculous, but Fairmount is just one of those neighborhoods that I just never find myself in regularly)! After ordering a cup of Rival Bros Coffee – which the bartender said they just got in & she’d already had numerous cups of – I also ordered the burger and added avocado on top ($2 extra).

The burger comes topped with Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (one of my favorite cheeses!), bibb lettuce, red onion, and malt vinegar-shallot aioli on a toasted ciabatta roll. I was surprised and excited to find the onions were slightly caramelized since normally if an onion is listed as one of the toppings, it’s usually raw. This added a little extra sweetness to the burger that I really enjoyed since the flavor of the aioli was kind of lost (a small smear of it was coated on the top bun). The cheese was gooey and almost curd-like, which was great because I could take a bite, slap on a little bit of cheese and repeat. The burger itself was nice and juicy, although cooked a little more on the medium-well side. My bartender suggested eating the burger over the fries so that they would soak up all the fat and be extra delicious. I already had a lot of drippings on my plate, so I just pushed the fries into them; still a good suggestion! I love adding avocado to a burger – especially on a warm day – as it gives everything a little bit of freshness and adds to the summery vibe.

When Lemon Hill first opened a few years ago, there was a patty melt on the menu that I found rather disappointing, so I was really excited to come back and try an actual burger when they updated their menu. It was definitely worth the wait for a return visit and a well-rounded burger. [Editor’s Note: Sadly, Lemon Hill announced yesterday that they have closed their doors for good, but I’m glad I was able to get in a final visit.]

Burger Rating: “B+”

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