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Monthly Archives: July 2016

KFB (Korean Fried Burger)

Now that I’ve gotten back into the burger eating game, I’ve been trying to find new, interesting & off the beaten path burgers to check out around Philly. I remembered reading about Southgate‘s Bulgogi burger a while back so I figured I would add it into my rotation. Then, while checking out their menu online, I discovered that their brunch menu had a different burger – a deep fried Katsu burger! If you’ve been a long time reader, then you’ll know that a few years ago while I was in Seattle, I visited a place called Katsu Burger & it was amazing! So I rushed right out this weekend to check it out.

The Katsu Burger at Southgate is a panko breaded beef burger topped with gochujang aioli & shredded romaine, so a Korean take on the katsu style vs. the Japanese version I had in Seattle.

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It took a long time for my burger to come out and with good reason – the patty was HUGE! I figured this was done to ensure that the meat was cooked all the way through. Sure enough, upon first bite, the burger was cooked right between well to well done. There was still a little bit of juice dripping out so thankfully it wasn’t like eating a hockey puck. The breading seemed a little heavy and since the patty was so thick, it got this dark brown color from being in the fryer for so long making it look burnt.

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The burgers in Seattle were a much thinner patty and therefore cooked faster, ensuring that the coating didn’t burn. And because it fried for so long & was so big, it filled me up very quickly. I could barely eat any of the red pepper flecked fries. I really wanted to like it more. I thought the concept and flavors were good, but the execution could have been better. I’m looking forward to coming back for dinner sometime to check out the (non-deep fried) Bulgogi burger soon.

Burger rating: “C”

Konnichiwa, Burgers!

I’ve eaten a lot of burgers in the past few years. While most of them have been in Philadelphia, I’ve also taken my burger adventures to Seattle, Vegas, Portland, NYC, Nashville and Louisville. That’s some pretty good domestic coverage! Well, I figured it was time to take my skills (aka my burger loving palate) overseas on a vacation – to Japan!

Now I know when you think Japan, burgers aren’t the first thing to come to mind, but the Japanese have a pretty big obsession with burgers, too. Remember Burger King Japan‘s Windows 7 promotion of 7 burger patties on one bun?

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Or their all-black burger (which, once it made it stateside gave everyone green poop!)?

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A Tokyo boutique burger shop, J.S. Burgers Cafe, is even doing Ghostbusters themed burgers as a promotion for the upcoming film:

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I traveled all over Japan while I was there, so I’ll be showcasing three burgers from three different regions. The first burger is from Ishigaki, an island located in Okinawa Prefecture that is part of the Yaeyama island chain. The island is famous for it’s free range cows that provide excellent quality beef. Located near the downtown ferry terminal is Kitauchi Farm Hamburger Shop, a small, unassuming food stand in front of a large souvenir store. I ordered the Kiwami Burger (instead of going for the nearly $25 filet steak burger), topped with lettuce, red onion,”ratatouille” (which was really just pickle & onion relish), dauphinoise and possible some kind of mayo or cream sauce, on a brioche bun. The burger was very juicy (although cooked completely through for Japanese food safety reasons) and the meat was like nothing I’d ever had before. It didn’t leave me feeling heavy like certain ground chuck or beef blends can be in America.  It was cooked smashed-style and was very fresh and delicious. It paired nicely with a can of Orion, a local Okinawan beer!

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The next place I traveled to was Hakodate, located on the north most island of Japan known as Hokkaido. It is home to a local burger chain known as Lucky Pierrot, which has a very unfortunate & creepy clown mascot. Also: Their most popular burger isn’t even an actual hamburger! It’s a fried chicken sandwich known as the “Chinese Chicken Burger”, which comes topped with lettuce and Japanese mayo. They love it so much, there’s a giant replica of one inside of of the shops.

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It’s also the only “burger” you can order as a meal set, which includes an iced tea & a mug of french fries topped with a cheese sauce & has chili underneath them (which was a pleasant surprise when I was eating them). The chicken was juicy and had a crispy breading on the outside; the glaze on them was also not too sweet or sticky. Hakodate was very cold & rainy, so this was the perfect meal for that weather. It warmed me right up!

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Finally at the end of my trip, I arrived in Tokyo where I dined at Blacows. All the burgers here are made with 100% Japanese black wagyu beef. I opted for the Avocado Cheeseburger, which was roughly $15; kind of on the high end price-wise for burgers in America, yet considering what this type of beef would cost in the U.S., it was practically a steal!

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The burger came topped with tartar sauce, marinated onion, Colby Jack cheese & slices of fresh avocado on a seeded, shiny brioche bun. There were also a few potato wedges & cornichons on the side. It took a long time for the burger to come out since they cook them all the way through, but it was still surprisingly juicy and delicious. Wagyu beef is so moist and tender; it truly is better than every other beef patty I’ve ever had. I’ll be sad to have to return to 80/20 blends and ground chuck or shortrib, but don’t worry, Japan – I’ll be back to eat more of your delicious burgers again soon!

Last one out of Flavortown

This week we celebrated July 4th, which means we are smack dab in the middle of summer. And what are two things that are synonymous with summer? Burgers and outdoor concerts. A few years ago, I showcased burgers at some local venues here in Philly. And while BB&T Pavillion (AKA Susquehanna Bank Center AKA Tweeter Center, depending on how old you are) may seem like it’s part of the Philly music scene, it is technically in Camden. More than just the name has changed in the past few years – the food and beverage offerings have changed as well; a sure reflection on the thriving food & beer scene in Philly and South Jersey. There are now a myriad of craft beer stands (such as local NJ breweries River Horse & Flying Fish) and stationery food trucks set up throughout both outdoor areas, as well as inside the arena itself. There’s even a stand where you can get Chickie & Pete’s Crab Fries – everyone’s favorite ballpark staple.

And then, as I was heading to my seats. I saw this:

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“Is this real life?!”, I thought to myself. I mean, there is only one FlavorTown, headed by one fiery haired celebrity chef, right?? Sure enough, I rounded the corner and found the stand for Guy’s Burger Joint, with Guy’s smiling face and questionable facial hair staring right back at me.

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I evaluated the burger options – all fairly basic and in the $13-$16 range (which is about as much as you would expect overpriced venue food to cost). Well, it’s now or never, I thought to myself. I have to do this, right? I mean, it’s my duty as a burger blogger to eat this burger topped with whatever “Donkey Sauce” is so that other people don’t have to. So I saddled up to the counter, ordered a “Real Cheesy” – which is an 80/20 ground chuck blend patty topped with L.T.O.P (lettuce, tomato, onion & pickle; not to be confused with Kanye’s TLOP) S.M.C (super melty cheese) and a liberal slathering of the aforementioned Donkey Sauce (what I learned was a “jacked up” secret mayo sauce) on a buttered & toasted roll.

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Being that this was a QSR at a very large music venue, my burger was not cooked to order & was presented to me from a warmer mere seconds after ordering. The presentation of the burger itself wasn’t entirely terrible, save for the 2 inches of shredded lettuce topping it and hiding the sad burger patty. I did have to double check that they actually put a tomato on there (you can just make out its very pale red sliver). Once I got both my hands on it, the burger was much thicker than I had anticipated. Sure it was probably a frozen patty, but honestly, it tasted much better than some of the frozen patties I’ve ever had. The “Donkey Sauce” was bland and flavorless, there was entirely way too much lettuce & the only saving grace was the butter-griddled bun. The pickles were reminiscent of a cheeseburger at McDonald’s and all I could think was, “Oh my god I just spent $14 on an overpriced McDonald’s cheeseburger”.

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Compared to the sad looking slices of (probably $9) pizza I saw people carrying around, this is probably one of the best food options at the BB&T Pavilion (which really isn’t saying too much, I guess). So if you haven’t eaten before the show, or if you just get really drunk on $16 premium drafts and need to feed the beast, get yourself a ticket to Flavortown and check out Guy’s burgers.

Burger Rating: “Triple D”

 

 

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