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Category Archives: pickle

Beast of the Northeast

I know you guys like burgers, but do you LOVE burgers? Well, Zagat does and to show that love, last week they partnered with restaurants all over the U.S. to create special burgers in honor of #ZagatLovesBurgers week. Representing Philadelphia was two-time Burger Brawl Champion, The Blue Duck, with their “Beast of the Northeast (Philly)” burger: a wild boar and beef patty, topped with smoked Gouda, sweet tomato jam, duck bacon, and crispy Sriracha onions on a brioche bun.

Since the meat was a boar/beef blend, I didn’t expect to be asked how I wanted it cooked, but it came out on the medium-medium well side; the patty pocketed with pink spots where the beef blend was located. The tomato jam gave the burger a nice sweetness to counteract the smokey gouda. The bacon was nice and crispy. But they forgot the Sriracha onions! (Probably for the best – you guys know by now I’m a wimp for hot/spicy stuff.) Despite the ingredients & the “beastly” nickname, the burger itself was much lighter than I expected, meaning I didn’t feel heavy and grossly full afterward. Which meant that I had room for their signature Blue Duck Fries: hand-cut fries that are tossed in duck fat, then topped with smoked gouda cheese sauce & shredded duck confit. Seriously. Don’t leave without getting these fries or you’ll be sad like the guy sitting next to me was!

The Blue Duck is a bit off the beaten path from downtown Philadelphia, but definitely worth the trip. I can’t wait to come back and try their regular burger – and to crush some more duck fries!

Burger rating: “A”

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Burgers On Tap

From their kick ass $5 happy hour to their “Sunday School” specials, Tria is one of my favorite spots in Philly. And while I was devastated when their University City location closed (even though it made way for The Fat Ham), I was excited when they announced they would open Tria Taproom, featuring beer, wine and cider all on tap with upscale bar snacks. Add to that excitement the fact that they’ve just added a burger to their menu: a whopping half-pound patty topped with Chimay cheese, beer pickles and a beer-naise sauce on a soft, toasted potato roll.

While our waitress didn’t ask how we wanted our burgers cooked, she informed us that they had been cooking them to medium-rare, which was ok with me. My burger actually came out more medium than medium-rare, which was even more ok with me! The burger patty was HUGE, but still proportional to the bun. The meat had a nice flavor, pairing well with the Chimay cheese and the sourness of the beer pickles. Every bite was just more and more enjoyable. For having just added this to their menu, Tria sure knocked it out of the park on the first try.

Burger rating: “A-“

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I’ve been on a pretty bad burger streak lately. Even my trip to Vegas didn’t help! (well, ok, In ‘n’ Out burger helped a little) It left me wondering: would I ever be able to break through this burger funk? Or was I destined to let the Polar Vortex infringe on the juicy, delicious treats of months past? Thankfully, the weather thawed out this weekend, and so I ventured forth in search of a tasty burger to lift my winter blues. I decided to check out newly opened spot, The Gaslight, co-owned by Top Chef season 11 contestant and chef at Ela, Jason Cichonski. I’d had the burger at Ela before, but with a new venture comes a new possibility for burger greatness.

The burger at The Gaslight was actually the “polar” opposite of the burger at Ela: an 8oz beef patty topped with aged cheddar, creamy & spicy sauce, smoked pickles, and a seeded brioche bun. I ordered it medium – along with a cleverly named “Bieber” champagne cocktail – and waited. And waited… and waited! I started to sweat a little. The bartender noticed and brought me another drink (The “Miley” this time). A burger shouldn’t take this long, I thought to myself, but this was their opening weekend so I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. I still felt nervous; they couldn’t let me down, they just couldn’t. I needed this to be a great burger after all the previous burger bummers!

My burger arrived and the second I picked it up, juices poured out the back of it. I breathed a sigh of relief. I took a bite and saw just enough pink in the middle to satisfy me (It was more on the medium well side). The meat was tender and flavorful. We were having a burger breakthrough! The spicy cream sauce was delicious; I even dipped my fries in some of the run-off. The pickles were chopped and sprinkled on top of the patty instead of being sliced, which I liked as well. Their smokiness wasn’t overpowering and they gave the burger a nice, briny flavor. And the bun was completely proportional to the patty; I had no issues with sogginess or running out of bun too quickly. Finally, after a dry spell, I’d hit a burger home run.

I’m gearing up to do Meatless March next month (Keep me in your meat-eating prayers, guys), but The Gaslight also has a veggie burger people have been raving about, so I’ll be sure to come back and check it out.

Burger Rating: “B”

Flying South

When the weather gets cold, the birds migrate south to warmer weather. So on one of the chilliest days yet this Fall, I decided to head south to the cozy shelter of South Philly Tap Room for brunch. I’d been meaning to get down here for quite some time to check out their breakfast burger: a 100% grass fed beef burger topped with thick strips of bacon & a fried egg.

The burger is accompanied by a bowl of hollandaise sauce, homemade ketchup, and a small pickle salad (hidden behind the bun). I ordered the burger medium as usual, and found it to be slightly more on the medium-well side, but with a nicely charred exterior; the sign of a great grill-master. Between the char and the use of 100% grass fed beef, it gave the burger a great overall flavor. The homemade ketchup was delicious (despite my preference for high fructose corn syrup enriched Heinz). The hollandaise sauce left a little to be desired. It was starting to congeal slightly & I just thought, presentation wise, it was awkward to be in such a big bowl. It was pretty tasty though once I put it on the burger and I even dipped my fries in it. The ciabatta bun was soft and thick, perfect to soak up all the juices from the beef and the runny yolk of the egg without getting soggy. And the bacon was the best! Nice, crispy, thick slabs – not some whimpy Oscar Mayer bullshit! All in all, a fairly solid bar burger.

Burger rating: B

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