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Category Archives: no frills

N3rd Burger

Don’t be alarmed by the “leetspeak” title of this post. I haven’t been hacked; just paying tribute to this week’s burger from North Third (or N.3rd), tucked away in the Northern Liberties neighborhood on – where else? – North 3rd street. This is another one of those “been meaning to get here forever” places, but every time I’ve tried to go on the weekend, it’s always packed! A dreary, rainy night granted me some luck and I was able to snag a table in the bar area to check out their burger: a Black Angus patty accompanied by your requisite lettuce, tomato and onion on a brioche bun. I opted to add a slice of Vermont cheddar for $1.25.

The burger came out perfectly medium as requested; maybe even a little on the medium-rare side as the center was bright pink but not bloody. The burger to bun ratio was perfect and the burger itself tasted fresh and delicious. The cheddar cheese covered the patty completely and was nice and gooey. It was a great, simple, no-frills bar burger. And at only $11, you won’t break the bank piling on a plethora of cheeses and other toppings for a few bucks more each to customize it the way you want.

Burger rating: “B+”

Summer Beer Garden Series: Morgan’s Pier

Ok, so technically Morgan’s Pier isn’t a beer garden per se (and technically, I’ve already been there before), but it is outdoors and they do serve beer, so it totally counts! Not to mention, they’ve been changing up the chef lineup every year since it opened in 2012 (this year it’s being helmed by Nick Elmi of Top Chef fame), so it’s a whole new menu to try out. So how does it compare to my last visit? I started with their signature Watermelon Ricky – a 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon poured over lemon juice & watermelon puree. It’s the perfect refreshment for a hot day.

For eats, I went with the backyard burger – topped with lettuce, pickles, sharp American cheese and house sauce. You can add on coleslaw, fries or beans for an extra $3 so I said why not? The burger was only $7 (seems I’m on a bit of a downward sliding scale from my previous beer garden trips thus far).

I wasn’t asked how I wanted the burger cooked, but it came out perfectly medium; bright pink inside and perfectly juicy. It was a simple backyard burger on a potato bun – tasty and no frills. I’ll definitely have to come back with a bigger appetite to try the double stacked Pier burger that comes topped with local bacon made by 1732 meats. I would skip the fries, though. Compared to my last trip where I got a mountain of hand-cut seasoned fries for $3, these were clearly straight from a bag frozen fries (my gut totally said coleslaw, too, which proves that you should always go with your gut).

Morgan’s Pier is open 7 days a week and there’s plenty of room around the pier to hang out with your friends or fly solo and sit by the water watching the boats come in. Plus there’s Quizzo on Tuesdays, brunch on the weekends & live music pretty much every other night of the week. Even better: come on a night when the Camden Riversharks have post-game fireworks and you’ve got an amazing view!

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”

The Vulgar Chef

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