Posts Tagged ‘pork’

On a beautiful day: I travelled to Long Island City, Hunters Point to be exact, to Chef Ian Kapitan’s new spot Alobar. I was reluctant that such grande cuisine would exist in Long Island City-I was wrong!
Alobar, a beautiful restaurant, with large open seating windows, stressed wood ceilings, a long marble bar that evokes a bright airy dining room space. Alobar was started by Jeff Blath (Jane) and Lisa Kalick (a physcian). In the kitchen, Chef Ian Kapitan’s menu boasts the gammit of all elevated comfort meat and seafood dishes, especially PORK! You’ll find a decadent charcuterie plate with piles of sweet norcino salami, Virginia prosciutto, boar & hazelnut patè, theres a Duck Confit “sloppy joe” with smoked ricotta, truffle, red wine onions, topped with sunny side up duck egg and mixed greens.You may want to try the Mac & Cheese “Carbonara” with four cheese blend, pancetta, truffle braised egg? All these items are reason to go to Alobar-but my quest here was the burger!
Coined the Hunters Point Burger, Chef Ian concocts a behemoth like stack-of typical burger toppings- except done exceptionally! there’s a moist patty, blanketed with warm creamy melted cheddar, smoked balsamic onions, spicy pickles and beer battered bacon-Yes! beer battered bacon. It that wasn’t enough to satisfy your flavor addiction, it comes with a heaping bowl of-skin on- truffle fries. The burger arrived and already I was excited over the crispy slabs of beer battered fried bacon that my mouth wasn’t going to wait long to dig in.
The crunch of that beer battered porky goodness resting upon a juicy plump patty was need I say-the sexiest thing I’ve tasted in a long while. The robust sweetness of the onions and the creamy silkiness of a high quality cheddar was welcoming and extremely good.
Alobar is a snout to tail, meaty poolooza of a restaurant with a comfort sensibility to the palate . Everything here is good, it’s so good-it’s almost bad! You’ll enjoy every guilt ridden bite into flavor town. Well done Alobar!



The famous Spotted Pig was the scene for my most recent burger gorge, the otherwise known Gastropub with famed pork servant April Bloomfield at the helm was a long-awaited treasure. I finally worked up the courage and patience to face the long sometimes 2 hour waits that were promised, only to be pleasantly surprised and whisked upstairs by a more than capable “piglet” for a spot at the bar. I look around at the room and was in bewilderment by the amount of people devouring the juicy signature burger! “Could it be that good”? “Could it be that popular”? The answer to that will be revealed, for now I was taking in the sights of the trend setting fashionista’s and urban pop foodies dining and chatting in a decor that resembles someone’s Grandmothers house rather than a critically acclaimed eatery. With old-fashioned trinkets, pig ornaments and flea market type memorabilia, it made for a visually entertaining rest while I waited for my famous beef party on a bun. The Michelin star winning “Pig”-as Ms. Bloomfield calls it-came about in 2004 after partnering with other culinary giants Ken Friedman and Mario Batali-whom she is also in cohorts together with many other restaurants, such as John Dory and newly famed Breslin.

 The much written about burger that I was about to sample, was everywhere on diners plates, seemingly calling me from every angle of the room with its perfectly grilled bun creamy Roquefort and tangles of rosemary strip fries. I grew impatient as I smelt the aroma’s of rosemary and beautifully pungent cheese waft through the air as yet another burger was served to a nearby customer. ” When was it my turn”? I thought to myself. After some witty jovial conversation with the bartender, my wait was over….this glorious beast of a burger was placed down on the bar in front of me, it’s pure beauty captivated me for a second as I decided which way I was going to bite into it, with condiment or without ? I opted for it as is, and my taste buds were swamped with an overwhelming flavor combination of superior beef quality and excellence in creamy Roquefort. My knowledgeable cheese source (MB) informed me that the much sought after Roquefort cheese featured on the Spotted Pig burger was in very near danger of being ousted by the triple increased tariff placed on luxury goods. Thankfully the Gods saved us all from such a travesty and future happy burger eaters can continue to savor this delightful creation as nature and Ms. Bloomfield intended.


I enjoyed every last morsel of my burger as I occasionally paused not wanting it to end, the strands of rosemary fried potatoes were insanely good and crispy. I found myself shoveling these fries into my mouth as onlookers watched in amazement. I could have eaten everyone else’s plate in the place!  I was like some hunger crazed animal let loose in a cage of harmless and defenseless prey, gorging till there was no tomorrow. But sadly after a few minutes, my Spotted Pig experience was but a memory. In case you haven’t realized by this story, this portion of my quest at the Spotted Pig was pretty much perfect! The staff was pleasant and professional, the atmosphere was fun and lively and most of all the burger was in a word “AMAZING”. At $17 it’s on the high-priced side for a burger, but personally I thought it was worth every penny.

Spotted Pig on Urbanspoon

Ever since I started writing about burgers, people have harped on me to try Danny Meyer’s contribution to the burger world. I doggedly avoided patronizing the obvious invention of Shake Shack, opting not to anguish in long lines and potentially overrated smash burgers. Today I decided to sample his other beef emporium, Blue Smoke.This mouthwatering St.Louis natives BBQ joint features signature “cue” favorites such as ribs,beef,fowl, southern vegetable sides,mac and cheese and home-style desserts and pies. Their Blue Smoke burgers are on the list as a must try on many restaurant critics lips and today was my privilege to give Chef Kenny Callaghan and the genius restaurateur Danny Meyer’s creation a shot to see what the boys have learnt.


As I followed the manager to my table, I admired the factory/abattoir chic decor, surrounded by red-hot oversized booths, steel and concrete fixings and large close-up photos of pickles, potato, and various other historic nostalgia. The bar was a giant man perch, perfect for sampling the many home brews, while watching sports and gnawing on pork and beef treats. My table was in the back of a lively dining room in which the sound of jazz, jovial conversation and rib bones clanking in galvanized tins provided as makeshift BBQ spittoons filled the room. I ordered my Blue Smoke burger medium with good old American cheddar cheese and maple-cured bacon. The patty was a ground sirloin and arrived on a freshly toasted homemade brioche bun. After fixing an annoying wobbly table with a stack of coasters, my waiter proceeded to execute the story of the creation of my anticipated beef pleasure. He explained that my burger would be seasoned and char grilled with a secret mix of herbs neatly packaged and labeled “Magic Dust”. Although the name scarily reminded me of the other less legal kind of dust, I was confident that I was safe and secure with his description! After a short while my burger arrived with a mountainous portion of crispy French Fries and fresh lettuce and tomato. The taste of the burger was flavorful but, unfortunately was overcooked and left a dry aftertaste following a few bites. The bun was an excellent complement to the burger with its firmness and texture.


Despite all the state of the art high-tech barbeque grills,smokers and other pit masters essentials that are present in kitchen, the Blue Smoke burger was sadly disappointing. Hopefully Mr. Meyer and Chef Callaghan have targeted their talent here more toward their BBQ, because their burger skills were lacking this day. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the extensive menu and live jazz music which makes Blue Smoke a fun and entertaining pig-out spot. Try the ribs, brisket and home-style desserts and maybe leave the burgers for some of Mr. Meyers other restaurants!

Blue Smoke on Urbanspoon