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Suburban Burgers: Forest & Main

My job has “banished” me to the lovely suburbs of Montgomery County for a few weeks, so in addition to taking in the scenery of fall foliage and soccer mom-mobiles, I figured why not check out what kind of burgers the ‘burbs have to offer? First up in the series, Forest & Main Brewery in Ambler. Friends have had nothing but good things to say about the brewery, and I’ve tried a few beers that have popped up on tap around Philly, so I knew this had to be my first stop. Plus, on Tuesday nights during Happy Hour (5-7 PM), their F&M burger is only $10! Not long after I arrived, the guy sitting next to me had his burger brought out to him and I said, “YES! GIVE ME ONE OF THOSE RIGHT NOW!”

The burger is topped with PA Noble Aged Cheddar, bacon mayonnaise (!!!) and comes with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and a house-made pickle & chips housed under a shiny, brioche bun.

The burger was cooked perfectly medium and was nice & juicy. And the bacon mayo? OMG! How did I ever live life before without this? I know that the whole “bacon fad” is still kind of a lingering thing, but this was solid – tasty & amazing – really enhancing the flavor of the burger without overwhelming it with a bacon-y taste. All the ingredients were fresh and local. I was completely blown away by this burger, as well as all the beers Forest & Main had on tap. The suburban burger bar has been set so high straight out of the gate that I feel ready to embrace any future disappointment. Get yourselves on a train from Center City as soon as possible and come try this burger now!

Burger rating: “A”

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Waving The White Flag

I haven’t eaten many burgers on the University City/West Philly side of the city, mostly because the options are limited to fast-casual chains that I’ve already eaten at or bars where college kids hang out that also happen to serve food. However, White Dog Cafe seemed promising, as their farm-to-table, locally sourced menu seemed to cater to something other than the Bud Light & chicken wings crowd. Coming in for happy hour, I went with the double cheddar burger – a patty made of meat from Green Meadow Farm in Lancaster – which came topped with grilled red onion, tomato, lettuce and smoked bacon mayo.

The presentation was unique and the burger patty was perfectly proportional to the bun. It was requested medium and was perfectly pink upon first bite. However, it was all downhill from here. The bun had gotten incredibly soggy as a result of the run-off from the patty, despite putting the lettuce underneath it to act as a kind of ‘diaper’. I quickly started to run out of bottom bun as I tried to rectifying the soggy bottom situation. The cheese and the bacon mayo were completely tasteless. The burger had no flavor, wait, scratch that – the burger tasted almost watery and while pink in the middle grew increasingly colder and less edible with each bite. I eventually became so disgusted by the watery taste that I took the lettuce & tomato off in case they were contributing to the weird flavor. They weren’t. That, combined with the incredibly unwelcoming service I received from the staff (which I won’t get into here, as this isn’t Yelp), I didn’t even want to finish the burger. But I eventually did, grabbed the check as quickly as I could, and bolted. I’m just glad that I only paid $10 for this burger rather than the hefty $17 dinner menu price tag. It certainly doesn’t make me excited about eating on that side of the river anytime soon (that is, unless I’m getting Spotburger).

I just don’t seem to have much luck at places with “Dog” in the name, it seems – maybe it’s because I’m a cat person?

Burger rating: “D-“

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