Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

As far as hamburgers go, few have reached such  fame as the “Jucy Lucy”.The creation comes from either Matt’s Bar or nearby 5-8 Club in Minneapolis MN. The misspelling of the name coins its mystery and renowned reputation. As the Wikipedia page explains “  Matt’s Bar boasts on posters that  if it’s spelled correctly, you’re at the wrong place”, while in contrast “Employees  at the 5-8 Club wear  shirts that boast  the legend ” If it’s spelled right, it’s done right.” Despite the combativeness, no one is denying the idea that stuffing a patty with a luscious type of cheese is a genius one. New York native, Craig Koenig and a few of his buddies recently opened Whitman’s Restaurant in the East Village, which opted for the correct spelling of his version as printed on the menu [Juicy Lucy]. A simple shop front marked “Slow Food*Beer*Wine*Cafe” opens into a small space with muddled decor. Accented with an Americana theme, Whitman’s is fitted with simple barnyard walled sidings and minimal country seating and white subway tiles with a wall-lined bench. Service is counter style where two styles of burgers are available-the Upstate Burger-an all grass fed creation with seared onions and ultra-secret special sauce and the famous “Juicy Lucy”. A Mama’s Boy free range chicken sandwich with Coffee BBQ sauce and Fennel-jalapeno slaw [$9] and a Succotash Maide-Rite [$9] made with cumin roasted carrots; corn, edamame and poblano cilantro with cilantro, round out the menu. Fried accoutrements consist of hand cut French fries and Crack Kale-a flash fried kale dusted with red pepper.
An avid burger follower and critic Koenig says, “We were inspired by all the food blogs and TV shows surrounding the Juicy Lucy, namely -Food Wars -as inspiration for starting the venture.” This is his first foray into the restaurant business after owning various bars and lounges around the city. Koenig transplanted California native chef Chris Edwards to head the helm where together they focus on classic ingredients with simple twists that are locally sourced. The pair worked on their version for the New York Juicy Lucy for several weeks as Koenig states “It’s all about the quality of the meat and a special Pimento cheese recipe that blend the form together.” The Counter at Whitman’s, is the casual spin-off of the upmarket version slated to open soon in the basement. The menu not complete but, will feature a “Black Label-esque” blend of burger which is being sculpted by a Brooklyn butcher, The Meat Hook-who Koenig says, “Doesn’t even deliver-we have to go pick it up.” 
As the Juicy Lucy arrived to my table the server warns me, “Watch out for your shirt- it can get messy.” Towered on a speckled sesame seed Blue Ribbon Bun with a vibrant green leaf of Bibb, caramelized onions, chunks of red tomato, spicy pickles and coated with mayo. The girth of the short rib blend was plump and glistening with color. A rush of pimento cheese flows into the mouth of the eater, bursting out of the patty with aggressive force, combined with a seasoned zest that represents Creole flavors. When asked what that was, Koenig stays tight lipped. The French fries were crispy, salty and plentiful, coupled with a wad of Crack Kale made for a wonderful gluttonous experience. Keeping in with Koenig’s idea of provided affordable fare to the neighborhood, he also features a small selection of quality Ales quench your beef soaked palate, Six point Rye and Blue point Summer Ale are available in frosted Mugs for $4-bottled beers for $7. With a the price tag of $8, the Juicy Lucy bursts in to the Gotham burger scene with succulence and originality.

Whitmans on Urbanspoon



Shake Shack ! Shake Shake ! Shake Shack !!
It seems like every time you’re talking or reading about burgers someone’s always writing or praising about Shake Shack ! I remember the summer of 2004, when Danny Meyer opened this modern, architecturally sleek designed burger shack in the middle of Madison Square Park, I had visions of easily rolling up on the Shack and sampling their tasty burgers on a daily basis, however I soon realized that, so did every other Tom, Dick and Harry in the gotham of New York City!! The lines it seemed were around the block at anytime of the day! Not being the most patient of people, I asked myself, “Is this real ?” “How could a burger be this good ?” I decided very adamantly, that Shake Shack was not for me, because my “need it now” type attitude was unnecessarily and frequently tested. Surprisingly as the years went on, I watched in amazement as the Shack lines of hungry bankers, fashionistas and the odd culinary savvy tourist, were not swayed from the non-subsiding lines.

So, fast forward several years, and hundreds of thousands of burgers served, I found myself standing in a line for one of these iconic little treats. The air was cold and the sky was gloomy, so I opted for a nice warm nest under one of the few heated lamps that were scattered around the alfresco dining area. To monitor and speed up my wait, I was given a fancy plastic alarm type device, like the ones you find in those ghastly tourist type restaurants such as Hard Rock and Planet Hollywood. Before I knew it, the flashy little lights flickered intermittently, telling me that my greasy beefy delight was ready to be consumed. My first opinion of the Shack burger was, how pretty it was ! They were right out of a Van-Gogh painting, bursting with color and vibrancy ! The lettuce was leafy and bright green, the bun is soft and vibrant yellow, and the tomatoes were juicy and rosy red. I grabbed my little take out Shack pack of goodies and proceeded back to the comfort of my outdoor heater. The burgers meat is from yet again, burger blending genius Pat La Frieda, whose carefully selected blend of brisket and sirloin is grinded for Shake Shack daily.

The Shake Shack burger stand, for those of you who have been living on another planet for the last 6 years, has become equaled with hamburgers and New York, and still swears by their proven method of smashed burger cooking. Basically they slap the patty on a fiery hot flat-top griddle and then smash the patty into the grill, flattening the burger so the little meaty edges tear and break. In those little meaty edges, collects all the grease and yumminess from the seasoned griddle, and caramelizes into a crispy round the edges, soft in the middle, gorgeous burger patty. After its popped on a slightly toasted potato-egg bun and safely wrapped and tucked away in a neat little box. The burger wreaked of flavor and goodness, all kinds of goodness ! The meat and cheese juices oozed down my face which I happily ignored continuing to gorge on this fine specimen of burger handiwork.

The size of the burgers are small, so I suggest grabbing a douce of these bad boys. Couple it with some crispy crinkled cut French Fries, and a creamy mud-like shake, and you’ll have a smile on your face for the rest of the day, even if the boss gives you grief about spending too much time at lunch. If time is of an essence, but you really want a Shack burger, check out the handy Shack-Cam to ensure a speedy lunch time experience. I guess all those years ago when I was so impatient and pig-headed about the rigmarole surrounding Shake Shack, I never realized what went into this iconic burger establishment. The people and the vibe here was very humble and extremely friendly. And not surprisingly owner Danny Meyer has invented and secured a place in the culinary history books as a burger virtuoso.

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

On Grammy Awards Sunday I thought it was appropriate to catch the final day of the Brooklyn Museum’s Rock and Roll Photo Exhibit, featuring the worlds rock stars in various collections by famous shutterbugs. I meandered through Park Slope looking for a pre-museum snack, settling on Bonnie’s Grill a modest little home-style diner located on 5th Ave in Park Slope. With a long counter and a handful of tables, I propped myself at the bar and thumbed through the menu, which included such hits as Buffalo wings, Veggie Chili, and various homestyle dishes.

The Black Angus spiced rubbed burger had my name all over it. I watched in amazement as the cook served up dishes for the entire restaurant single handedly grilling burgers, frying wings and sautéing crab cakes but with relative ease. As classic tunes of Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater and Rod Stewart blasted out of the speakers, I glanced around and notice rockabilly college types, downing microbrews and devouring wings while watching ESPN on a flat screen over the busy open kitchen. My server offered limited information about the history of Bonnie’s opting for the 5th amendment approach to answer my question, however ,I did manage to squeeze out of him that they had been slinging out spicy burgers and other tasty treats for over 10 years.

My Spicy Black Angus burger was presented in front of me, along with a very tasty looking Veggie burger (pictured above)… yes Veggie burger! can teach
you how to make these heart healthy entrees and others like them.I figured I’d try one for all you non-carnivores out there. My less than healthy ,but more deliciously divine burger ,was served on a plump fresh whole wheat bun, dill pickles, sautéed jalapeños and tangy chipotle mayonnaise. The patty was a Black Angus Sirloin dusted in a mysterious spice rub that gave it a serious kick; the overall taste was flavorful, powerful and insanely juicy in texture. I ravaged the burger bite after bite only pausing to taste the fantastic crisp French Fries that accompanied this delighted sandwich. The Veggie burger was great too, not a traditional favorite of mine, but surprised me with its robust flavor yet easy light texture. It was coupled with crunchy spicy coleslaw and topped with a gooey Swiss cheese and a lightly toasted poppy seed bun.

This up-scale rockabilly inspired and decorated diner is definitely worth the visit and with the $10.95 price tag for the Black Angus burger and $8.95 for the Veggie burger was in the right neighborhood in the money department. Despite the less than warm staff, I enjoyed sitting at the bar surrounded by rock n roll pictures and classic melodies that made for a pleasant and scrumptious afternoon. In fewer and more appropriate words, it rocked!!

Bonnie's Grill

After a spiritual fix at my local Sunday service, it was time to get my other and more devilishly gluttonous fix for the day. I hopped the N train to 30th Ave in Queens, New York my destination was no other than controversially reviewed Petey’s Burgers. I exited the crowded train and crossed the street and entered the conveniently located In-Out Burger inspired burger spot, the menu was simple and affordable with tasty burger combo’s and creamy flavored shakes served counter style by a friendly knowledgeable staff. I ordered the Cheeseburger combo priced at $7.79 and an extra Cajun fire burger for a chaser, I glanced around at noticed happy locals gorging themselves while watching the previews of the NFL playoff games, no doubt hoping to line those stomachs for a heavy day of football related drinking and spectatorship. GO JETS!!

My burgers were friendly delivered to my table by one of the owners of Petey’s, Peter Karalekas. We sat and chatted about his history and un-relentless vision for his burger empire, he lamented about his days in California and was passionately drawn to create a neighborhood burger restaurant for his native New Yorkers. I sat amazed at the bountiful bed of crispy hand cut French fries before me, flanked by a paper wrapped cheeseburger that was oozing gorgeous American cheddar and Petey’s special sauce, and a spicy Cajun Fire burger creation, both of which were making my mouth water with desire and greed.

While on my quest for the best burger, in my opinion, there are several different types of burgers. There are your haute-couture type burgers, bistro burgers, alternative gourmet burgers, home-style diner burgers and your fast-food smashed burgers. If you go to Petey’s expecting anything else other than the latter, you’ll be disappointed. Petey’s is an excellent smashed style burger with a hellishly good taste and flavor that will have you wanting more. Despite the sometimes-controversial comparison to In and Out burger, I found Petey’s beef to be the superior quality that is grounded and supplied by La Frieda’s Butchery -a renowned favorite of Shake Shack and Spotted Pig burger architects.

For all you In and Out fans instead of going West, try going East over the river you won’t be disappointed!

Petey's Burger

It was Friday and after a long arduous week readjusting into real life after the holidays, I decided to see a movie after work. The film, which will remain nameless in order to save my rugged burger man image, was very close to “Good Burger”, a small burger chain originating from the creators of Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien. With promising reviews from publications like New York Times, Daily News and Zagat’s splashed all over the, “Good Burger” was intent on selling itself.

I ordered a cheeseburger from very friendly “Good Burger” manager Mario Ottey and waited nearby listening to the bellowing voice of a burger cook sounding peoples orders out all over the room. I was surrounded by a mix of young professionals, chic university types and construction guys feasting on a bountiful selection of America’s favorite sandwich. For $6.75 I wasn’t expecting much, but what I got was a very tasty burger complete with fixings such as lettuce, tomato, mayo and onion. I gobbled up the 100% Hereford beef burger quicker than New York minute and was very satisfied with my impromptu choice of a quick burger before a movie.

The French fries were crispy and delicious served in recycled sanitary material for all you “green” friendly people out there. All the food at “Good Burger” is made to order, which makes its freshness prevalent in the taste and flavor; the burgers are sizzled on an open grill and are fresh not pre-frozen.

I thought “Good Burger” was a great quick burger fix and with the prices charged you will leave those bedraggled burger snobs behind sobbing over their high priced Kobe beef foie gras stuffed burgers.

Good Burger on Urbanspoon