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Category Archives: cheese

Cross My Heart

I was starting to run out of places in South Philly to try burgers, but then Fourth & Cross opened in Pennsport a few weeks ago. My friends are constantly there every weekend for brunch, Instagramming all the amazing dishes this farm-to-table dinette has to offer, so I finally broke down and got over there for dinner. The burger is a 6oz patty of pasture-raised beef on a snowflake bun, topped with an herby mayo. You can also opt to add cheddar, goat cheese and Lancaster Bacon for a few bucks more a piece, so I got mine topped with my go-to cheddar.

My burger came out perfectly medium as requested (since I was the only person in the restaurant at the time and they’ve got an open kitchen layout at the dining counter, it would have been really awkward if it hadn’t). The bun was nice and soft, perfectly proportional to the patty which was cooked on a griddle top & simply seasoned with salt & pepper. The herb mayo was super creamy and flavorful – I just wanted more of it to dip my fries in! And the bread & butter pickles were crunchy with the perfect balance of sweet & sour. I even threw a few of them on my burger. As much as I love cheddar cheese, I probably would have skipped it if I’d known how tasty the burger would be with the mayo alone. I can’t wait to come back and check out more of the menu, which contains mostly locally sourced, sustainable ingredients.

Burger Rating: “A-“

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Summer Beer Garden Series: Independence Beer Garden

I never made it over to the Independence Beer Garden last season, but I did check out their mobile truck when it was parked over at Festival Pier and had a really solid burger. I was excited to get over to check out the IBG this year and hoping for the same result burger-wise. The burger here comes topped with cheddar, bacon, lettuce & tomato on a potato bun.

Even though this burger is $8 with no sides, the presentation was certainly nicer than the $9 burger I got last week. The patty was also much thicker! It was cooked perfectly to medium as requested and was flavorful & juicy. The bacon was crisp & the cheddar cheese thick & gooey. Plus, burgers just taste better on a potato bun! It was the perfect backyard burger & it pairs great with any one of the amazing Summer beers on tap (I went with a Shiner Ruby Redbird & the Yards IBG Wheat).

Burger rating: “A”

Summer Beer Garden Series: Drury Beer Garden

It was a long, harsh winter but summer is finally here! I’m excited to spend as much time outdoors soaking in the sun and warmth as I can, and along with that, spending time in all the great outdoor spaces that have started popping up around Philadelphia in the past few years.  We sure have plenty of places to drink outside and naturally, you’re going to want to eat, too. So for the entire month of July, I’ll be highlighting the burgers around town at various beer gardens. First up: Drury Beer Garden, located behind Opa. You can either access it by heading down that sketchy alley where McGillin’s Olde Ale House is (you know the one) or through the rear door of Opa’s dining room.

 

The DBG Double Down Burger is a two handed, double decker delight: two 5 oz patties topped with house cured bacon, sharp cheddar, beer sauce & a giant tomato slice. I wasn’t asked how I wanted the burger cooked and was worried that the size of the two patties would result in their being cooked to medium-well/well done, but they came out surprisingly pink (I think due in part to the hand-formed shape of the patties). The giant tomato slice made the already large burger a little awkward to eat, but I managed my way around it. The ciabatta-like bun was thick, which was good since there was a lot of grease/meat juice runoff; the bun helped to catch a good deal of it. While the presentation looked nice, it seemed a little cumbersome serving it on the board. The seasoned, hand-cut fries started sliding off and the meat juice/grease that had run off the burger started to pool in the center. I was worried that the busser/bartender would get splashed with it when they cleared my plate! There also wasn’t any place to put condiments (I wasn’t given any and I wish I’d had some kind of aioli or ketchup to enjoy the fries with). Weird plating aside, the burger was really tasty and, paired with a Dogfish Head Festina Peche, a great way to spend a sunny afternoon!

Burger rating: “B-“

Third Time’s A Charm

Since I went to Good Dog during my Meatless March adventure and had a really great veggie burger, I decided it was time to give their regular burger its final chance to impress me. My first trip in 2011 warranted a “D” rating and a revisit in 2013 upgraded that to a “D+”. Would a year & a half between visits finally give their burger rating the boost it deserved? I ordered the burger exactly the same way – topped with cheddar cheese, medium temperature – and kept my fingers crossed until it arrived. To recap, the burger is a 1/2 lb ground sirloin patty topped with lettuce & tomato on a brioche bun.

At first I was concerned because of all the empty space on the bun and the lettuce was a large, limp leaf sticking out from under the bun (which I tucked back in to take this picture). But I took one bite and a smile crept across my face: We had success! The burger was cooked perfectly to medium as requested and was nice and juicy. Once I began eating, the burger to bun ratio eventually evened itself out. It turned out to be a simple, flavorful, no frills bar burger. I was glad that I had enough confidence in it to return and try it for a third time & finally got the version of this burger that so many of my friends had bragged about as being the best in town. I’m proud to upgrade this burger’s rating from a “D+” to a “B”.

Burger rating: “B”

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”

A Real “Tree-t”

It seemed like I’d all but exhausted the burger options around my job, especially those that only serve burgers during lunch. That is, until a few weeks ago when The Treemont announced that they would start a lunch service and that they would be adding a burger to that menu! So I threw my soggy salad in the trash and headed over to check out the Treemont burger, topped with short rib, smoked onion jam & Comte cheese. The burger comes with your choice of a salad or potato skins; I felt guilty over my tossed packed lunch, so I chose the salad option.

I wasn’t asked how I wanted the burger cooked, but it came out almost well done. Luckily, it was salvaged by the delicious short rib on top, which was tender and juicy. The cheese was thick and gooey. The onion jam gave the burger a nice, savory flavor without being too sweet. My favorite part might have been the bun; it had the flavor & consistency of a pretzel bun, but without the salt on top. It was well proportioned to the patty, although I did find myself with one final bite where there was only bun remaining. It was thick and helped to soak up all the runoff from the short  rib, the jam, the cheese, and what appears to be some kind of aioli smeared on the bottom bun. If this bad boy had been cooked perfectly to medium temp, it might just have gotten an A!

Burger rating: “B”

Hip To Be Square

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – National Burger Month is here! I’m super excited to celebrate by eating some really great burgers this month and will be capping the whole thing off by eating my 100th unique burger here in Philly (meaning I’ll have eaten a burger at 100 different places around town; clearly I’ve eaten more than 100 burgers, guys!), so stay tuned for a special post highlighting that. Kicking things off this week is the burger at Square 1682, inside in the Hotel Palomar. Available only on their daily lunch menu, the 1682 burger comes topped with Amish cheddar, bread & butter pickles, lettuce & tomato.

I ordered the burger medium, but it came out more on the medium-well side; there was a burst of bloody juice on the first bite but very little pink on the inside. The meat was flavorful, but would have been better cooked at my requested temperature. The outside of the patty had a nice char to it and made it taste like a Burger King Whopper, which I liked. The Amish Cheddar had a great flavor – slightly sharp but also very creamy. And I loved the sweet & sour flavors of the bread & butter pickles. The burger to bun ratio was on point, with the bun being slightly toasted. I tried a little bit of the chipotle aioli on a few bites, but didn’t really care for it and stuck with my go-to condiment of choice, ketchup. The lunch menu also features the Rittenhouse burger, topped with avocado, arugula, sprouts, tomato jam and local goat cheese, and the weekend brunch menu has a breakfast burger topped with Lancaster aged cheddar, pork roll, fried egg, onion rings! There’s a little something for every burger lover, so stop by and try one – or all three!

Burger rating: “B-“

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