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Category Archives: salad

Keeping it Pin-teresting.

Don’t get confused by this post’s title: it doesn’t have anything to do with Pinterest; it’s meant to be a nod to Varga Bar‘s playful pin-up girl decor. This week we stopped by during a very, very, very, very busy Sunday brunch (the three extra very’s are for the three other restaurants that I tried to stop at before I was able to finally snag one of the last bar seats here) to check out their veggie burger. The menu touts the burger as being topped with heirloom tomato, English cucumber, cheddar and truffle aioli on a country white roll.

The burger came out and it was positively massive! I mean, just look at that thing! I was also excited to find another veggie burger topped with cheese, especially given how delicious the one I had last week was. The patty had lots of fresh veggies in it – I tasted red peppers and there were even some visible corn kernels & chickpeas! I love to see that a restaurant is making their own veggie burgers instead of just throwing some frozen fake meat patty on a grill and then putting toppings on it. The tomato and cucumber topping was crisp and fresh, helping balance out some of the softness of the veggie patty and giving it a better mouth feel. The truffle aioli was present, but used sparingly so as to not overpower the taste of the veggies. I really enjoyed the side salad that it came with, dressed in olive oil & white balsamic vinegar. But then the couple next to me order fries and I had so many regrets! It was a very large salad portion though, so it filled me up quickly especially after how big the burger was. I wound up not even finishing it and still felt really healthy. I can’t wait to come back and try their regular burger (but make no mistake, I’ll definitely be getting it with fries)!

Meatless March: The Sequel!

Since last year’s Meatless March experiment was such a success (or maybe I’m just trying to torture myself), I’ve decided to embark upon the adventure once again. It was a lot of fun trying different meatless burgers around town. They totally made me rethink the stereotype of a veggie burger being a boring, bland, dry-looking circle of fake meat. There were veggie-infused patties in all sizes, shapes and colors. Kicking things off this month is the “Bonzo Burger” at Taproom on 19th – a veggie patty consisting of Garbanzo beans, black quinoa, feta & cumin topped with cilantro yogurt on a Conshohocken Bakery roll.

The patty came with a char on the outside, reminiscent of your favorite backyard burger minus that burnt meat smell. The overall flavor of the burger was great but I felt that the texture of the patty itself was a little too soft, especially paired with the super soft bun. I added some of my salad to the top of the burger to give it a better mouth feel & add a little bit of crunch. It’s definitely worth checking out – especially on Monday nights when all burgers are 1/2 price!

NB: Just like last year, I won’t be doing individual ratings for the veggie burgers. At the end of the month I’ll do a recap of all the burgers I tried and let you know which one was my favorite! So be sure to tell all your veggie/herbivore or Lent following friends to check this series out!

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”

A Twofer at Tria

So I went to Tria for the first time last weekend…. and I also went there for the second time last weekend as well. Yes, I loved it so much that I went to 2 different locations two days apart; Tria Wine Room in University City on Friday and then Tria Cafe on 12th & Spruce on Sunday.

Friday night’s adventure was dinner with a friend. From 4-6 PM they have $5 wines during happy hour. (I tried a white wine which I completely forget what it was and am by no means a wine connoisseur so you’ll have to excuse me. ) And for an appetizer, my friend and I both got their truffled egg toast with fontina fontal.

I had been smelling truffle the entire time I was waiting for my friend and knew that I just had to get it (especially after my last truffle encounter). And as soon as I put fork to mouth – OMG – immediate mouthgasm. Every bite was a little bit of ecstasy. Everything about this dish was just perfect; from the way the cheese perfectly fit the bread to the truffle oil mixing with the egg yolk. I wanted to order like, five more of these.

And then I got an amazing fig, gorgonola & pine nut salad with this rich balsamic vinaigrette and I was so hungry I ate it all before taking a pic.

But that’s ok! Because then I went to Tria again for their weekly “Sunday School”, which features a beer, a wine and a cheese at a discounted price (the caveat being that you can only order one of each item). This week’s menu was Toro “Tinto Robles”, a robust red wine, butterscotchy Ascutey Mountain cheese and Ommegang Scythe and Sickle, a celebratory Harvest Ale.

I started out with the Ommegang, which according to the menu was a refreshing alternative to all the other “pumpkin” and “Oktoberfest” ales that are out this time of year. I was worried it would be too hoppy, but it had a nice flavor and a bright amber color; very smooth, balanced and very tasty. I really enjoyed it.

Then I paired the cheese and the Tinto. The cheese was very soft and creamy, and came with a side of local honey which I drizzled on and was very complimentary. The wine was also really good; smooth without an aftertaste that you can get from some red wines (And my entire mouth wasn’t totally purple afterwards!).

The best part about my visit? All this amazing-ness cost less than $15 (before tax)! I definitely encourage any and everyone to check out Sunday School if you haven’t already. It’s definitely the best deal for a classy “Sunday Funday”.

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