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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Keeping It Local

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally made it out to West Philly to try the final link in the “chain” of amazing beer bar/restaurants from the people who brought you Strangelove’s, Resurrection Ale House and Memphis TaproomLocal 44. So far, all three have had pretty solid and delicious burgers. Would Local 44’s burger – topped with house-made American cheese, pickles, BBQ 1000 island, and lettuce – hold up to the others?

The pickles were more sour than I’d prefer, but the smokey tang of the BBQ thousand island helped mellow them out. Unfortunately, my burger was cooked past medium to medium-well. While lamenting my overcooked burger, a nearby table was seen sending their burger with a warm, pink center back to the kitchen. Alas, someone else had gotten my perfectly cooked burger and had the nerve to reject it! But despite the inaccurate temperature, the burger was still rather tasty. The only other downside was the burger to bun ratio was way off. The picture above is hiding the empty space of the bottom bun, but just know that I eventually gave up on the excess bun altogether. I tore the rest of the bread off and finished the burger without it, instead of trying to eat my way around to compensate for the lack of bun. It might not have been the “golden child” of the burger family, but it was still a treat.

And speaking of treats, don’t leave Local 44 without getting an order of their amazing hush puppies – Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Burger rating: “B”

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Feeling Hollow

This week’s “trek back from the ‘burbs” landed me in Mount Airy once again, this time at Goat Hollow (not to be confused with Goat’s Beard in nearby Manayunk). I’d heard good things about the burgers here so I figured it was worth checking out. They had four specialty burgers which you can get with your choice of beef, chicken or veggie – as well as a lamb burger that is listed under their sandwiches. I opted for the signature Goat Hollow burger, topped with pickled pork belly & provolone – because I love pork belly (even if I have had some hit or miss run-ins with it used as a burger topping in the past).

The burger came out and looked pretty promising. However, once I picked the burger up, the beef looked like it was a frozen, pre-formed patty, which was kind of a let down since I’d heard such good things. When I took it bite, it was definitely not medium as requested and quite overcooked, which confirmed to me that it was probably a frozen patty. The pork belly was overpowered by the pickled flavor and also very overcooked and chewy. The sharpness of the provolone clashed sharply with whatever was used to pickle the pork belly, giving it a harsh, bitter flavor. The bun, a boring brioche. With no other toppings aside from a smear of the same aioli they gave me for my fries, this burger definitely left me feeling hollow. I was disappointed because the atmosphere inside was cozy and they were playing tons of my favorite 80’s songs (The Smiths, A-ha, Men at Work and the Talking Heads twice? Yes please!). Oh well, at least the draft list was decent!

Burger rating: “C-“

Burger Not So Ugly

I’ve been living around the corner from The Ugly Moose in Manayunk for over four years now but just ventured in for the first time this week to check out their burger. I could have kicked myself for not coming in here sooner. Touting themselves a “Canadian-American pub” on their website, the place has a cozy, ski lodge vibe and an amazing craft draft and bottle list (before you ask, yes, they have poutine!). With a variety of burgers on the menu, I opted for the Ayr-Back Farms burger: topped with locally made, organic cheddar cheese, Applewood smoked bacon as well as lettuce, tomato, red onion.

While the burger itself was pretty standard, I was surprised at how fresh and delicious the cheese was. Some cheeses tend to loose their flavor when they melt, but not this one. It added a great flavor to the burger, which was cooked perfectly medium as requested. The Applewood bacon was crispy without being stringy and the smokiness wasn’t over-powering. Who knew this hidden gem (and I mean that quite literally, as the Ugly Moose is in a shared off-street space on Shurs Lane called “The Garage”, also home to Deke’s BBQ) was just a few blocks away?

Burger rating: “B+”

 

 

Hot Diggity!

Growing up in New York, hot dogs were pretty much a required part of my food pyramid along with cheesecake, bagels, knishes and pizza. Nothing beats that first bite into a Sabrett’s hot dog. So I was especially excited when I moved to Philadelphia and discovered Hot Diggity – a “haute” dog eatery on South Street that showcases the various awesome regional hot dogs the U.S. has to offer – uses Sabrett’s dogs! That excitement was maximized this summer when Hot Diggity decided to add burgers to their menu! And while I haven’t been enough of a glutton to put a hot dog on top of a burger yet, I did recently check out their Mexi-cali burger, which is kind of like the meat patty version of my fav Hot Diggity dog, the Fiesta Dog. It comes topped with chipotle mayo (also my fav dipping sauce for their Belgian-style fries), lettuce, tomato, onions, jalapeno (which I ordered without because I’m a wimp), guacamole, and tortilla strips on the same delicious Liscio’s rolls they serve their hot dogs on. It was messy and delicious. Now the hardest part of my trips here will be deciding whether I want a hot dog or a burger!

Oh, did I also forget to mention that this summer I entered Hot Diggity’s annual “Dog Days of Summer Amateur Cook-Off” in Headhouse Square? Check out the creation below that won me “Best Homage”: The South Street Schmitter!

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