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Category Archives: pretzel

Pour Me Another

Just mere steps away from last week’s stop sits The Pour House in Collingswood, another great craft beer bar in South Jersey. They’ve got a plethora of burgers to choose from – 14 to be exact – including their winning burger from the 2013 Battle of the Burger, “The Second Coming“. I almost couldn’t decide which burger I wanted because they all sounded great, but I finally settled on the pretzel burger since I’m a sucker for pretzel buns. The burger comes topped with Vermont white cheddar, sherry onions, chipotle aioli, and bacon.

The burger came out cooked medium as requested, but was extremely juicy and had lots of runoff. Luckily that pretzel bun soaked up a lot of the juices without getting a soggy bottom bun. There was a perfect burger to bun ratio and the bacon was nice and crispy. I loved the flavor of the sherry onions since I’m also a sucker for any kind of caramelized onions on a burger. And of course, the Pièce de résistance: that buttery, salty, delicious pretzel bun. One burger down, 13 more to go!

Burger rating: “B”

Burger Throwdown: Battle of the ‘Villes

Fresh off my trip from Nashville & Louisville and ready to recap some of my burger eating action. My two competitors are Burger Up (Nashville) and Harvest (Louisville). Both restaurants focus on local farming, community and sustainability, but Burger Up’s primary focus is burgers (duh) while Harvest encompasses all aspects of farm goods & seasonal ingredients.

First up, Burger up: Since I was in the South, I opted for a burger topped with one of their classic staples, pimento cheese. The “Ramsey Pimento burger” comes topped with house made pimento cheese, pickles, red onion, and bibb lettuce. I ordered and wasn’t asked how I wanted my burger cooked; it came out on the medium-well side, slightly juicy but without any pink. I’d never had pimento cheese before because it looked gross, but it had a nice flavor. The bun was a plain hamburger bun and had a good ratio to the burger patty. There were a lot of pickles on the bottom of the burger and it came with a pickle spear. I love pickles so this was perfect! Burger Up also makes their own ketchup in house, so putting some of that on the burger gave it a good sweetness. Some house made ketchup winds up tasting too much like marinara sauce, but this was perfect.

 

Next, Harvest: Their burger was topped with chevre, hog jowl bacon jam, and lettuce and it was on a pretzel bun! I love pretzel buns, so I just had to have it. I ordered my burger medium; it came out somewhere between medium & medium-well (half of the burger was more pink than the other). The burger was juicy and delicious. The bun was nice and soft. The chevre paired really well, giving it a cool, fresh flavor. I’d never thought to put goat cheese on a burger before, but I really enjoyed it. The hog jowl bacon jam was tasty as well. One of our appetizers had beer cheese, so I also saved some of that and put it on the burger (because what goes better with pretzels than cheese?); it gave it a little extra cheesiness which I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

So, who was the winner? It was a tough call, but in the end neither of them won because I also ate a burger at Husk in Nashville which trumped them both and was quite possibly the best burger I’ve had all year! The burger is two thin patties of Double H Farms Beef, topped with gooey American cheese under a delicious house-made sesame bun. Despite the thinness of the patties, they were cooked perfectly medium. Between the cheese, the juiciness of the patties and the softness of the bun, this trumps any double stacked fast food burger you’ve ever had. It was so amazing, I seriously thought about ordering another.

If you find yourself in Nashville (or even at Husk’s sister restaurant in Charleston), make sure you stop in to Husk during lunch time, as this is the only time the burger is offered. It may quite possibly ruin any other burger you ever eat.

Burger ratings:

Burger Up: “C”

Harvest: “B-”

Husk: “A+”

The Fast and The Curious

A few months ago, I’d been tipped off to the fact that Wendy’s was testing a new cheeseburger on a pretzel bun. I love cheeseburgers and I love pretzel buns; it was a match made in heaven! So with fingers crossed and bated breath, I waited and it was finally revealed that the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger would be a getting a national roll out. And to a city like Philadelphia which prides itself on the pretzel, we hoped that it would not be a disaster like Burger King’s ill-fated “Philly Chicken Sandwich“.

The Un-Boxing:

The bun looked more squished than the fancy advertising shots. The tomato, clearly on the less ripe side. Cheese slice, not completely melted. One lone spinach leaf peaking out of a garnish. But hey, let’s be realistic! This is fast food, not the Four Seasons. You have to go into this with lowered expectations.

“Under the hood” shot

Cross-examination

The bun was buttery smooth and soft; not too salty or dry, which was probably the ideal consistency for this type of burger. The website touts the burger as being topped with melted cheese. Mine appeared to have not only a partially melted cheese slice, but some type of cheez-wiz concoction as well. Mixed greens to top the burger were very minimal, as you can see. There was also supposed to be a “sweet & smokey honey mustard sauce” topping the burger; I did not detect any of these notes. Applewood bacon slices neither added to nor took away from the overall burger flavor.

Verdict? Try it once just to say you ate it, but I wouldn’t recommend making it your fast food “go-to”.

National Food Day

Yesterday was National Food Day, and as part of promoting well, food, the Philly Mobile Food Association hosted a pop-up inside the courtyard of City Hall. Usually relegated to the space across the street in LOVE Park, this was the first time Food Trucks actually set up shop on City Hall’s property in what vendors hope will be a new spot where they can serve the public and hopefully bring attention to the growing popularity of food trucks in order to get Philly’s archaic mobile vending laws changed.

I decided to check out the Street Food Philly truck because they’re kind of elusive (They don’t even have a Twitter account, guys!). They post their location on Facebook and are usually set up around Drexel/U-City, which is hard for me to get to for lunch during the week. Their menu also changes daily so there’s always something new to try.

I decided to go with the Local Dry Aged Burger and the Sea Salt fries, obviously.

The burger took a while to cook, but that gave me time to check out what everyone else was getting. The brisket cheesesteak tacos didn’t really look so hot but they’re were flying out the window, along with the lentils & braised pork. Finally, my burger was done and I took a seat in the courtyard to enjoy my meal.

The burger came on a pretzel bun (because, Philadelphia) and was topped with white american cheese & a housemade mayo. I was really excited about the bun at first, but it kind of made everything too salty. Once I isolated the burger itself, it was actually pretty tasty. I tried putting some of the homemade ketchup on it but it was a fail. My big problem with some homemade ketchups is that they can either taste really good or taste like marinara sauce; this one was the latter. Since I’m not into putting Ragu on my burgers, I ate it sans my favorite condiment.

There was a lot of bun left in the end since it was so big, but I appreciated that the bun was kind of woven like a braided pretzel as opposed to some other pretzel buns that are just a roll and split. It fell apart in the right places and it’s thickness helped hold in all the juicy goodness from the meat.

The sea salt fries were ok but they were obviously frozen, cafeteria style fries. (I’m sure my cholesterol was through the roof with all the sodium I had that day!) And paired with the house ketchup, I could barely even finish eating them. I think my other problem with the ketchup was that it was cold. If it had been room temp and maybe a little sweeter, it might have been better. Either way, I think Street Food Philly is a solid addition to the Food Truck scene here and I hope to get the chance to try some more of their stuff in the future.

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