RSS Feed

Category Archives: brioche

Go Fly A Kite!

There are lots of places on my burger to-do list. Some of them are places that are new to me, but a lot of them are places that I’ve been before but haven’t had a chance to try the burger. Case in point: Kite & Key, frequented many times during stops on the Craft Beer Express, yet never ordered from the food menu – until now! I stopped in for lunch to check out their signature Kite & Key burger, a ½ pound ground Angus beer patty topped with cheddar cheese, bacon and fried shoestring onions on a toasted brioche bun.

The burger was ordered medium but came out slightly more on the medium-well to well done side, with a nice char on the outside of the patty. The bacon was nice and crispy and the onion strings gave everything a nice little crunch. The burger to bun ratio was perfect. While the burger itself may not have been as juicy as I would have liked, I still really enjoyed it. If you’re heading out for Philly Beer Week events this weekend, definitely swing by Kite & Key’s annual Throwdown in Franklintown event and fuel up with one of their burgers!

Burger rating: “C”

Advertisements

Story of a Burger

Despite Pennsylvania’s archaic liquor laws (which up until recently required you to buy an entire case of beer from a distributor or buy individual bottles and 6 packs at a significant markup from a completely different store or a bar), there are breweries abound all over of the state – many of them right here within the Philadelphia area. The demand for great beer is so high here that we even have our own annual event celebrating it – Philly Beer Week – which kicks off one month from now. And what goes better with beer than a great burger? This week I stopped into 2nd Story Brewing in Old City (which recently opened in the old Triumph Brewing space) to check out their namesake burger, which comes topped with arugula, cheddar and tomato jam on a Le Bus bun.

The burger was cooked perfectly to medium as requested and was nice and juicy, but not so much so that it would sog up the bottom bun. The bitterness of the arugula was countered by the sweetness of the tomato jam, which was smeared on the bottom bun. It kind of snuck up on me at the end – in a good way! A nice treat for the last few bites. As for their beers,  I tried the Five Mile Ale, a dark, English mild-style beer that had notes of chocolate and toffee, but was light enough to not leave me feeling full the way a porter or stout might. They’ve also got another burger on the menu topped with battered/fried onion & jalapeno, Fritzie’s fondue, and a Tilted Barn farm-fresh egg. I can’t wait to get back to check it out along with a few more brews!

Burger rating: “B”

Back to the Burger

I’m an 80’s baby: the movies, the music and yes, even the fashions – I love it all. Which is why I was excited when I learned that Kevin Sbraga would be making his 3rd Philly restaurant, Juniper Commons, an 80s-themed affair.

However, some people seemed skeptical about the cuisine, and in all fairness, who really wants to relive the dark times of salad bars with sneeze guards and wine coolers when we live in a world now with foraged greens and Foie Gras? Lucky for me, the cheeseburger is a menu mainstay, no matter what the decade. The burger here comes with your standard LTO (lettuce, tomato, onion), special sauce and your choice of cheese (I went with my go-to, cheddar), all on a house-baked, seeded brioche bun.

The burger patty was massive and juicy and cooked perfectly medium as requested. The meat was flavorful and delicious. The only problem was the burger-to-bun ratio: The juiciness of the burger caused bottom bun sogging, which immediately caused me to overcompensate with each bite I took, and I quickly found myself running out of bottom bun. Otherwise, everything else about it was just right. Simple & no frills, the way a good burger should be – and that’s why it’s such a timeless treat. But if you wanna get really 80’s with it, also order up a side of fried smelts (aka fries with eyes!)

Burger rating: “B”

A Burger Education

Full disclosure: I’ve eaten the burger at The Institute before but I didn’t write about it. Why? Because when I did, it was a sad, overcooked, double-pattied mess that I struggled through and barely finished (which disappointed the hangover I was trying to feed).

Looks great, right? Appearances can be deceiving!

But hey, everyone has their bad days! Which is why I decided to give them a second chance nearly two years later. Checking back in this week, the burger is down to a solo 6 oz patty and comes topped with your choice of cheese. I went with cheddar, as per usual. Lettuce, tomato, onion & pickles on the side and of course, The Institute’s signature side of tots.

The burger was cooked perfectly medium; bright pink in the middle and full of juicy deliciousness. The bun was a soft brioche. Everything was perfect and no-frills, just the way a good bar burger should be. I’m glad I decided to give them a second chance. It was an extreme improvement over my first visit & might just be my new favorite burger! And if you’re checking out the Craft Beer Express this year (Saturday, March 14th), you’ll need fuel for all that drinking, so order up one of these bad boys when the bus makes it’s stop here – you won’t be disappointed.

Burger rating: “B+”

Have a Heart

I headed back home recently to celebrate my birthday with my parents. And celebrate I did by eating a burger in the heart of New York City: Times Square. We decided to check out Heartland Brewery’s HB Burger which touts itself as “the only full-service burger-oriented restaurant in the Times Square area”. I opted for their standard HB burger which uses fresh ground Pat LaFreida patties and tops them with aged NY cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, an onion ring (!) and garlic aioli all on a brioche bun.

The burger came out medium as requested (and I should hope so if burgers are your business!). In typical LaFrieda fashion, the meat was juicy and delicious. Bacon was smoky and crisp, pairing nicely with the aged cheddar. My only complaint would be the bun. It’s no secret that brioche buns aren’t my first choice, but when done well they can be excellent. This bun was overly dry which totally threw off the great taste of all the other burger components. Oh sure, it came in handy sopping up all the meat juices, but having to take extra sips of my beer in between bites became tiresome. My mom order the crab cake burger and had the same complaint, eventually giving up on the bun entirely. Some of the other burgers are served on a potato bun, which I would have preferred but obviously wouldn’t have been able to contain all the toppings. In any case, this was still a solid burger that you can enjoy right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of NYC (without any creepy costumed characters trying to steal your fries).

Burger rating: “B”

 

Need A Lift?

Over the holiday break, I finally got to try Cafe Lift for the first time, hitting it up mid-week to avoid the weekend brunch crowds. While I had my heart set on a delicious frittata that day, a burger special on their board caught my eye and I knew that I’d immediately have to come back to try it (especially since I really enjoyed the burger at their neighbor/sibling restaurant across the street, Prohibition Taproom). So I did! Their burger consists of two smashed & stacked Kensington Quarters grass-fed beef burgers topped with a fried egg, caramelized onions, provolone and a whole grain mustard aioli.

The burger came paired with a healthy, mixed green salad (I know you guys love your fries, but this is a mostly breakfast place, after all). The fried egg covered almost the entire burger, so I only managed to get this peek-a-boo picture. The runny egg yolk tasted delicious and created a beautiful mess all over my plate – and myself. The shiny, buttery brioche helped soak up all the yellow runoff. The caramelized onions & provolone pairing were great. The provolone wasn’t too sharp or overpowering, and the mustard aioli gave it a little extra kick. The burger patties themselves were cooked to well (and continued to cook while I was eating so that they were slightly too dry when I reached the last few bites) but you could taste the freshness in the grass-fed beef. I get the whole “smash” style, but they could have come off the grill a little sooner and been a little bit juicier – and then this burger would have been amazing!

If you’re going to come in and check it out (ain’t no shame in eating a burger at 10 AM), don’t forget your piggy banks – Cafe Lift is CASH ONLY! (and BYOB, so bring your flask, too).

Burger rating: “B”

Suburban Burgers: Brittingham’s

It’s a new year and prime time for more burger eating! Throw those diet resolutions out the window and keep on chowing down on your favorite treats. I sure am! This week we’re back in the ‘burbs (Lafayette Hill, to be exact) at Brittingham’s, on a recommendation from Josh of Spotburger fame to check out their Reuben Burger. Spotburger did their own version of a Reuben burger this past fall (which I sadly missed out on), so I was excited to check out this variation on one of my favorite sandwiches. Brittingham’s version is a corned pork patty topped with house kraut, gruyère cheese and their “famous house condiment”, all on a brioche bun. I was also in luck because Mondays are half-priced burger nights. DEALS!

I wasn’t asked how I wanted my burger cooked for obvious pork related reasons. I was however disappointed that the burger was completely overpowered by the “house condiment”, a kind of spicy mustard that had almost a cumin-curry spice flavor to it. It seemed to be all I could taste with every bite. No notes of corned pork. No salty Gruyère. Not even a hint of cabbage. That off-putting spice really ruined what could have been a great homage to a great sandwich; I would have preferred a traditional, simple 1000 island to top it off. Maybe on my next trip, I’ll just tell them to put the sauce on the side.

Burger rating: “C-“

Food, Sweat, and Beers

That's what this girl's made of...

The Burgervore

- relishing life one burger at a time -

In Search of Beer

Finding all the best beer events in Philadelphia.

22nd & Philly

One Hungry Woman

bridges, burgers & beer

a gastronomical and culinary adventure in the life of a bridge engineer