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Category Archives: burgers

Beefing It Up At Burger Brawl


The Burger Brawl was started by a bunch of parents at a local elementary school to raise money for a new computer lab. Now, years later, it has spiraled out to become a huge event with 60 restaurants making thier best burger! Check out the slideshow for all the burger goodness!

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California Eatin’!


This place has been a little quiet lately due to some serious traveling on my part and then the holidays. I took 2 trips, one to Disneyworld, which will be an upcoming post, and then to Los Angeles, which is the subject of this post!

I’m just gonna come right out and say it: the food in LA is pretty great. From fast food to fancy food, they have it covered. So let’s get to it, shall we?

We (me and the gang (Aubrie Williams, Jess Ross, Kaitlin Thompson and Briana Kelly) from the sketch group ManiPedi) literally picked up the rental car and went directly to the shining star of fast food in LA (plus, it was a long 4 hour plane ride): In-N-Out Burger! For those of you hiding under a rock, In-N-Out Burger is THE west coast burger chain. It’s not franchised, they have serious control issues (they don’t freeze or reheat) and it makes every single outpost shine in deliciousness. If you had to compare the burgers to a national chain, the closest that comes is Wendy’s, but that’s like saying Florida is kind of close to Canada because they are both in North America. If I never was allowed to eat burgers again but could have 1 kind of burger, I would eat this. That’s how good it is.

a 3x4 and fries, both Animal Style, with Chocolate Shake

a 3×4 and fries, both Animal Style, with Chocolate Shake

They have your basics: burgers, fries and shakes. While I am not the biggest fan of thier fries (they do not double fry the fries like most burger places, just single fry, so that they tend to get a little…hard…if you don’t eat them right away), if you order them “well done” they are a lot better. You order the burgers by how many patties and how much cheese you’d like. I got a 3×4 (“3 by 4”) which was 3 patties and 4 slices of cheese and I got that (along with the fries) “Animal Style”. They have a not-so-secret secret menu, where you can order your burger Animal Style (If applied to a burger, the meat is grilled with mustard, with sauteed onions, pickles, and extra special spread added. If applied to fries, it comes with melted cheese, sauteed onions, and spread.) or Protein Style (wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun), along with a bunch of other stuff including a Grilled Cheese (two slices of melted American cheese, hand-leafed lettuce, tomato, spread with or without onions on a freshly baked bun). The shakes are chocolate, vanilla and strawberry and they are all 100% ice cream, not a powdered mix. The best shake I have ever had, hands down. It was an awesome kick off to a great trip!

IMG_5325

Avocado Benedict- 

Next up was brunch! We met up with JP Boudwin, a Philly comedy transplant, for brunch at the Sunset Junction Coffee Shop in Silver Lake. Silver Lake is like hipster central in LA so I knew there’d be some place with some great food, and JP didn’t let us down. SJCS is bright and airy, with high exposed beam ceilings and a big glass front. We all slid into the big booth in the front of the place and ordered up from the friendly waitress (did I mention the service was amazing? and we had 8 people with us, which is always a pain in the ass).

The menu had a few different kind of Eggs Benedict, which was cool, along with all kinds of pancakes, hashes, sandwiches and egg dishes. It was really hard to choose, everything looked so good. I knew I was going to be eating a lot of, shall we say, artery killer food soon so I went with something light: The Avocado Eggs Benedict. It included two poached eggs with sliced avocado and fresh tomatoes, on an English muffin topped with capers and Hollandaise sauce. I decided to not get breakfast meats and got tomatoes instead of that or hash browns. Then I got a little nervous. Would that be enough food? Could that get me to my next meal without me chewing my arm off? The answer was yes, yes it could. The poached eggs were a large size and done perfectly (I want runny yolk. GIVE ME RUNNY YOLK!), the tomatoes were deliciously juicy and they were not skimpy with the fresh, firm avocado. The best part was the Hollandaise. It wasn’t scooped out of a pot that’s been in a Bain Marie for 5 hours. No, they whipped it up and plated it, and you can tell how fresh it was. Could a simple brunch dish be delightful? Because, frankly, this was. I almost want to smack myself for typing that but yeah, it was great.

Disneyland Mac and Cheese Dog

Disneyland Mac and Cheese Dog

We took a side trip in our LA trip to go to Disneyland! How can you not visit the place where it all started? If you are used to Disneyworld and the overwhelming monstrosity that it is, Disneyland comes off as almost quaint. That’s ok tho, I like quaint. Also, if you are any sort of pop culture junkie like myself, it’s neat to see all the original stuff. At one point I found myself alone, waiting for my friends to get off Space Mountain, and I wandered over to The Refreshment Corner (which, if you are familiar with Casey’s Corner in Disneyworld, is right at the end of Main Street in the same spot), which is an old timey spot sponsored by Coca-Cola, with great stained glass Coke Lamps and whatnot.

Mickey Pretzel

Mickey Pretzel

They have a menu consisting of a mac and cheese dog, a chili dog (or you can get the chili in a sourdough bowl), some Mickey pretzels (stuffed with cream cheese or cheese and jalapeno!), and of course, Cokes. Since it’s sponsored by Coke, you know the mix for the soda is perfect! I got the Mac and Cheese dog, which comes with a big fist full of bacon bits and a bag of chips. I also got a Mickey pretzel because…why not?! The dog was really large and tasted great. They were not at all skimpy with the Mac and Cheese (yes, it tasted just like Stouffers Mac and Cheese and I am ok with that), to the point where I was sort of taken aback to how much was on there. Theme parks are not noted for their generosity with toppings, so this was a nice change. I actually ate it with the plastic knife and fork, it was so hefty. The pretzel was warm, chewy and hit the spot after walking a million miles around the park all day! That says a lot because I come from the Land of Soft Pretzels. Even the chips were quality kettle chips, not just a half filled bag of air with some potato dust, as happens sometimes. I could not have been happier with my choice, altho the Corn Dog cart is still in my “What if..?” file. Next time!

The Fairfax!

The Fairfax!

I went out to brunch with my friend Sean and his awesome fiancee Sarah at a place in the LA Grand Central Market called EggSlut. Yes, EggSlut. Sean suggested it and I was intrigued. It started as a food cart and now this is thier first brick and mortar place. It’s more of a stall in the giant market (which is like Reading Terminal Market or Grand Central Market in NYC). They specialize in, shockingly, eggs! I love good scrambled eggs but if there is a hint of brown on them, I can’t eat them. I like a loose scrambled egg made with milk not water. I ordered the Fairfax and it didn’t disappoint! It comes with scrambled eggs, chives, caramelized onions, Tillamook cheddar and sriracha mayo. It was warm with just a hint of spice from the sririacha and buttery carmelized goodness from the onions. It went quickly into my mouth and left only a smile. Just as the egg gods intended.

Strawberry Sweet Hand Pie from Valerie Confections

Strawberry Sweet Hand Pie from Valerie Confections

But I didn’t stop there! I also got a strawberry hand pie from Valerie’s Confections. it was just about the size of your hand (hence..the name…and stuff…) and this one was stuffed with strawberry. The dough was so flaky, but it didn’t crumble when you took a bite. No, it just showed you it’s inside goodness and invited you to go on and destroy it. Who am I to argue? I destroyed it like a a toddler domineering a bowl of spaghetti. This was easily one of the best things I had on the trip. If you live anywhere near Downtown LA, get ye to Valerie’s!

We wandered over to the La Brea Tar Pits (underwhelming) and saw a bunch of food trucks parked outside the LA Art Museum. One of which was the Bool BBQ Truck, a Korean Fusion BBQ truck. I could not resist, and got the Short Rib

Short Rib Burrito

Short Rib Burrito

Burrito (white rice, cabbage asian slaw, special sauce, hot sauce, pico de gallo and short rib meat). The burrito was excellent! It was just spicy enough, so that the tip of my tongue was a little lit up but I could still taste the sweetness and the delicious meat. The people working the truck were so nice and quick with the food, it stayed on my mind the whole ride home! I highly recommend them if you are over by the Art Museum or hit thier page on facebook and see where they are. Totally worth your time to look them up and more then worth the money!

Speaking of burritos, you can’t go to the west coast without eating some fantastic Mexican food. We happened to stumble upon a great place called Machos Tacos. It’s kind of a shack on the corner of Vermont Ave in Los Feliz, yet another hipster area, and it’s next to a car wash. Oddly enough, I got to look at thier kitchen. I know kitchens. I know dirty kitchens and clean kitchen and kitchens you should pretend don’t actually serve food. This one was cleaner then I’ve seen in awhile. It also serves some amazingly kick ass Mexican food!

Machos Tacos Chicken Mole and Chicken Tacos!

Machos Tacos Chicken Mole and Chicken Tacos!

First up they make thier own chips (and the salsa is hearty with a parade of flavor!) and aren’t skimpy about it (so don’t ask for extra for free, this isn’t the welfare tortilla chip line!). Secondly, they aren’t skimpy with ANYTHING! Here are 2 tacos: the Chicken Mole and the Regular Chicken. Yeah, no skimpiness! The Mole sauce was dark and hearty, it didn’t just pour right out of the tortilla. It had a job to do AND IT WAS GONNA DO IT! I appreciate hard work.

Machos Tacos Wet Machado Burrito

Machos Tacos Wet Machado Burrito

I also got the Machaca Beef Burrito,and I got it wet. Wet, for all you pervs out there, is

Inside the Burrito

Inside the Burrito

when the burrito is covered in sauce. First off, this thing was heavier then my first car. It was half covered in a green chile sauce and half covered in a red sauce but it was all covered in AWESOME! The meat was slow cooked and when it hit your tongue it blended with the rest of the sauce and did the Macarena the rest of the way down. There was very little talking while we ate at this place. There was a lot of dancing in seats tho. So very, very good!

Double Pier Burger

Double Pier Burger

As a tourist in the City of Angels, you have to take a trip to the Santa Monica Pier. It’s just one of those things. It’s a cute pier (that’s now 100 years old and they are really fixing it up) with rides and a fishing pier at the end. They also have a bunch of churro carts and other oddball food. Of course, I would find the burger place. Wouldn’t you know it? Pier Burger! They have burgers, fries, shakes, a fish sandwich that Jess and Kait really liked and other odds and ends. But I went for the burger. I was on a burger mission, and this burger did not disappoint! In fact, I found it to be a In-N-Out competitor! I know! Shut my mouth! But it’s the truth! It’s a burger that tastes really fresh and is seasoned just with some salt and pepper and grilled up on a flat top. It was flat out F-ing great! I got the Double Pier Burger and I am going to come out and say…I liked it better then the 3×4. I know I’ll burn for saying it but it was that good! All I need now is a Pier Burger shirt! (they only had mediums when I was there).

One of the things I did while out there was attend a taping of The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. I love him and his silly show, but I had gotten there so early, I had to eat before the almost 3 hours of being tied up in line and in the studio. So, on the corner of 3rd and Fairfax I found this big sandwich place called Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market. It’s an interesting place, where they give you a menu while you stand in line and order before you even get to the counter. Once you get to the counter, you also order sides. Perhaps you are not sure about the sides? You can try all of them! They encourage it! No one rolls an eye at you because you have trouble ordering! It’s pretty great. Oh, and grab a beer too. Not a shitty Miller Light, but one from a collection of accessible but delicious beers. Then you slide on down to the end of the counter and wait until your pager buzzes and BANG! Sandwich heaven!

Steak Bahn Mi

Steak Bahn Mi

I always have trouble ordering food. I can never make a decision and then when I do, I am always second guessing myself. It’s a horrible thing and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I couldn’t make a decision as to what to get so I asked the line order taker girl what she liked and she told me the Steak Bahn Mi. I flew blind and ordered it. Normally, I don’t like ciabatta bread because it’s so thick, I feel like it sucks up any kind of moisture in the ingredients. But they make the ciabatta fresh and it was still warm, so it absorbed some but it was soft, warm and chewy. All the Bahn Mi flavors (chili aioli, housemade sweet chili sauce, pickled daikon & carrots, cilantro, jalapenos and cucumbers). It was delightful and just enough to fill me up without making me feel like I just ate a lead weight. The girl who recommended the sandwich to me even came to find me as I was eating to make sure I liked her suggestion. I thought that was a nice touch.

Sushi in a boat

Sushi in a boat themed on Titanic.

Finally, one night we wanted to go to one place but it was full, so JP suggested we go to this sushi place that’s themed on the movie Titanic. It’s in the shape of a boat. Seriously. When I say they had a Japanese version of the Titanic theme playing, I’m not kidding. They even had sushi with cheesesteak in it. It was really good too!

This trip definitely was good times and I can’t wait to go out again and see what else is out there to eat and explore! Give my love to the Coffee Bean! I shall return! Here is a picture of all (well most of) the Philly Comedy people living in LA now with some of us who haven’t made it out yet. Keep an eye out!

Philly Comedy Goes West!

Philly Comedy Goes West!

Craptastic Broad Street Bullies Burger


When the Comcast/Ed Snider people decided to knock down the Spectrum, they decided to build a big entertainment complex with restaurants and arcades and all sorts of cool stuff. What they ended up building was a bunch of shitty pseudo-restaurants, one steak house and a giant tv with a communal area in the middle to get your bro on.

I avoided this place like the plague. The place has been there for quite awhile and I managed to not step foot in the bro-fest. However, after a fun afternoon watching college hockey with some friends at the Wells Fargo Center, we ended up there. The first tip off that something was amiss? They were pumping the place with fake smoke to make it spooky, which made it look like there was a low grade fire somewhere in the building. Just what I’m looking for when I want to eat and drink: asphyxiation. We waded our way thru the masses of people and the workers, who all looked like they had never seen customers before, which was odd. The place was packed with Penn State fans of all ages, because the hockey game was a special Penn State hockey game at the WFC. They were a pretty jolly bunch and were all ready to watch the Penn State-Ohio State football game. Except they only were going to show it in one small area of the building. Way to play to the crowd, Xfinity Live.

We wandered into The Broad Street Bullies Pub and it was a zoo. Bros were watching the Flyers and people were running around in costume, it was a mess. Is it a pub & restaurant, or is it a bro bar? They sat us down quickly and, after kicking squatters off the table, our waitress came over, slid menus at us and walked away. At this point there is nothing on the round table for the 4 of us: no utensils, condiments, coasters, drinks, nothing. The waitress came back in a minute to take our order and, of course, we weren’t ready. After awhile she returned, took our drink orders, then after a long time, our food orders and then we waaaited. I think I could have grown my own cow waiting. Me, Pat and JBS all ordered the Pub Burger: “Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, caramelized shallots, bacon and fried egg” for $13. Sounds good right? All thier burgers are actually “two quarter pound all beef Angus patties stacked and grilled to perfection”. That is, apparently, menu-speak for “2 dry, burned pieces of crap with a really overcooked egg on a stale roll for $13”.

Let’s get down to it, shall we?

Thirteen Dollars

Thirteen Dollars

This is what $13 dollars (well, $15 because to sub for fries, it’s 2 bucks more) gets you at The Broad Street Bullies Pub. I ate like 4 fries before I took this picture. The only reason there is ketchup on my plate is because Pat’s mom turned around and grabbed the condiment caddy from the station for us. It had napkins and ketchup and stuff on it. Otherwise we would have been shit out of luck. The 2 waitresses that brought our 4 plates of food (no kidding) dropped and ran. No condiments, no utensils, no phone, no light, no motorcar.

Pub Burger

Pub Burger

This is the closeup of the Pub Burger. You can already see the charred edges and the melted cheese that had firmed up. Swiss isn’t a good cheese to melt and keep melted anyway. Somewhere in there, there is, and I am not kidding, a postage stamp sized piece of bacon in there. Somewhere. *Cue Fievel singing “Somewhere Out There”.

Crappy Burger

Crappy Burger

This is what a burned burger looks like. Not “char grilled” but burned. I had two of them. You know what they reminded me of? Have you ever gone to a Barbeque at someone’s house and they made burgers with nothing in them, just meat? No salt, no pepper, no onion, no nothing, and then they bragged for like 3 hours about how amazing they are on the grill? And then they burn the ever living shit out of everything, so that you have to cover all the food in some kind of condiment in order to be polite and choke down the free food? This is EXACTLY that, EXCEPT I PAID 13 GODDAMN DOLLARS FOR IT.

Dry, Overcooked Crap

Dry, Overcooked Crap

This thing was cooked within an inch of it’s life. The reason why this burger was so dry and compact is most probably because they worked the meat too much (plus, ya know, not seasoning it or putting in anything else, like a fucking rookie burger maker). Did you know there is an egg on it too? That’s the brown floppy thing hanging off the side. I don’t like eggs this brown by themselves, nevertheless on a burger. The purpose of an egg on a burger is that the yolk breaks and mixes with the flavors of the meat and cheese. The only thing the yolk on this egg is breaking is my tooth.

Oh! And even more awesome? The bun was stale. As stale as what? I don’t know. But when you bite into, or pick up, a bun, it shouldn’t break into 8 pieces.

Yet more dry, overcooked crap

Yet more dry, overcooked crap

Here, let me show you a better angle of this crap. Yes, I get that there is no filler in this burger. There is also no flavor, no moisture, no taste. Nothing. NOTHING. I could have stayed home and chewed on my shoe and had a better time. (disclaimer: please don’t chew your shoe)

Nasty Burger

Nasty Burger

You should never be able to pick up a burger and threaten to put a dent in a table with it. Never. Ever.

Now, somewhere in the above verbiage, I mentioned that this place was super busy. I always have pity on a place when they are super slammed and can’t keep it together *if the place is new*. This place is directly across from the WFC, the Linc and Citizen’s Bank Park. It’s always super busy. Always. This should be a walk in the park if you work there. And the kitchen should be used to being slammed during games (the Flyers were on as well). There is no excuse for service and food this amazingly shitty.

This food was so bad, that I have 3 others things in the queue to write about, but I pushed this to the front of the line because I was that angry about it. Horrible, Shitty. Worst thing I have eaten this year. HORRENDOUS. Burgers are not hard to make.

Shame on the kitchen staff, the servers, Ed Snider, The Flyers and whoever made the choice to put Fred Shero on the front of the menu. What a way to disrespect that man.

I don’t even know how to end this post except to say “THAT SUCKED”.

Holy Burgers Batman!


Welcome to Sketch

Welcome to Sketch

For quite awhile people have been on my ass to get on over to Sketch, a burger joint on Girard Avenue here in Philly. I once even ventured out with my friend MellieFlo and we we were way off on location and drove by it like 9 times. I finally got on over there with my cousin Megan for a nice lunch!

Diagnosis?

Holy burger awesomeness, Batman!

Let’s rewind a minute. The place is decorated in bright happy colors, and is actually kind of small inside. Just a few old booths and some tables with lawnchairs. You walk in and walk to the back to order. Then, grab a drink and have a seat.

Welcome to Sketch

Welcome to Sketch

We split some fries. Let’s talk about the fries. Everyone seems to be into the Belgium/france way of serving fries: in a cone. Sketch is no different. They even have paper mimicing newspaper, which is cute, because in Europe, that’s what they wrap fries (and in the UK also fried fish) in.

These fries were tossed in a little old bay type seasoning, but just a little bit. Sometimes people get a little slap happy with the old bay and you can barely taste the potato and have to drink 9 gallons of water afterwards. These fries were perfect. Perfect diameter (thick but not treetrunks), perfectly cooked (fluffy and delicious on the inside, crispy on the outside but not oily or overcooked) perfectly seasoned and just right on perfectly delicious. If someone had told me that I couldn’t have my burger and I only had the fries, I would be almost ok with that. That’s how good they were. They came with a dipping sauce too (a smooth harissa aioli, which was equally as great, but frankly, I didn’t need it.). There was much stink eye being given between me and Megs as we got down to the bottom of the cone of fries. Oh yes.

Megan's burger with cheese and bacon

Megan’s burger with cheese and bacon

So let’s get down to brass tacks. The burgers. I ordered the Kobe burger with avocado, bacon and a fried egg. Megan got a burger with cheese and bacon. Let’s talk about her’s first. Let me just first say that Megan normally doesn’t take food home. She either finishes it or doesn’t and that’s it. She ate half and took the other half home. There was little chatting whilst chewing.

Kobe Burger Untouched

Kobe Burger Untouched

My burger was a monstrosity. It was a burger that my cardiologist has on his wall with a big circle and linethrough it. But people, I implore you, if you have never had a burger with an egg on it, DO IT! RIGHT NOW! You are seriously cheating yourself. This is America! Make the choice for fried egg on a burger! What did I love? That when I ordered an egg, I was given 5 different ways in which that would cook my egg! These people ARE NOT MESSING AROUND!

Anyway, besides the egg, there was also avocado, and Sketch is not skimpy with it! Look at all the avocado-y goodness! The bacon was fantastic as well, thick cut, not that cheap ass thin stuff that disappears once you take a bite (*poof!*). This bacon is setting up camp in your living room and staying for awhile.

Since the burger was Kobe beef, I figured I would order it the same way I order everything: medium. In case you were wondering, medium is the way to go. Well done is dry and nasty. Rare is too chewy. Medium is juuust right. Unfortunately, the cook was a little zealous and my burger came out a little more done they I would have liked, but that was the worst thing that happened all day, so it was alright with me. No one’s perfect. The meat itself was slightly seasoned but they get it…let the meat speak for itself, don’t over season and cook it evenly.

Kobe Burger Bite

Kobe Burger Bite

The burgers come out in a rectangular paper boat (as in the above picture), which normally would have pissed me off, I hate eating out of boats. But there was something so right about it. They serve it up McDLT style, half and half, so you can observe the deliciousness and then put it together yourself. As you can see, it was a messy burger but ooozing with burger-osity. Yes, that’s right.

Even the bun was perfect, from LeBus, and just right. There are few things that make me more mad then a bun that doesn’t work: a kaiser bun, or a giant bun where you have a mouthful of bread and no burger, or the worst….a stale bun. This was so perfect, it almost brought a tear to the eye.

I apologize to the fine folks at Sketch for not coming in before. I applaud thier eye for detail, and I can’t wait to go back and eat my way thru the menu.

Finally, The walls of Sketch are wallpapered with crayon drawings by little (and im sure big) kids. This one was right next to our table and I laughed pretty hard. Do yourself a favor, get to Sketch, eat an amazing burger and laugh. It’s worth your time, your money and your tastebuds!

Everyone's a comedian

Everyone’s a comedian

Burgers and Hoagies and Scallops, Oh My!


Hey Everyone,

Many apologies for dropping off the grid for so long. I started a new day job and frankly, working in an office was kicking my ass way more then I ever thought it would!

Here is a little slideshow of some of the things I have been up to!

1. I visited the Gino’s Burger joint in Bensalem with very super nice & funny sketch comedians Brian Craig and Samantha Russell Craig from the hilariously smart and funny sketch group Secret Pants. We had gotten a Groupon and went to town. The burger wasn’t bad. The shake was ok, except that I had gotten a mint shake and when I took a sip (out of the rather wide diameter straw), I hit a pocket of flavoring and felt like I did a shot of Pepto Bismal. But after that, it was ok. I had gotten an order of chicken fingers to go and they were delicious. The type on the menu was teeny, no one could read it, which was odd. They did make sure you had tons of condiments tho. Any place with malt vinegar on the table is ok. Unfortunately, the location closed in February. While the food was ok, it felt like something was slightly off with that location and it turns out it was not corporate owned but franchised. Hopefully it’s just a bump in the road for Gino’s. The real question is why fast food places never seem to stay open on such a busy road such as Street Road in Bensalem. Weird.

2. I work across the street from Jimmy Johns, a national sandwich chain. While I detest national sandwich chains, I was intrigued and found myself in there one afternoon, super hungry and needing lunchmeat. The roll doesn’t really have much taste and the lunch meat is mushy. They have some kind of Jimmy John’s Special dressing, but I asked for extra mayo (the only way to fly) and they did not give me my extra mayo. Bastards. It was a decent sized sandwich for the money, they are super crazy fast in making your sandwich, and customer service was extremely efficient and friendly (even for me, a person who cannot order off a menu, ever) but it didn’t really do much for me. Wawa still kicks it’s butt. Note to the Wawa corp: Please put a Wawa around the area of 17th and Chestnut.

3. I attended the Philly Weekly’s big food event. The food from El Zarape blew my mind, but not as much as the White Bean Puree and Scallop from World Cafe. If they have that on thier regular menu, then get it. If not, then demand it. It blew my mind and then blew it again. Unreal.

National Cheeseburger Day: Five Guys!


Philadelphia, where I am from, live and love, is a town known for cheesesteaks (And soft pretzels and other stuff. But the media focuses on cheesesteaks. Whatever). So when you can look forward to something as awesome as a cheesesteak, nothing else really compares. Chicago has hotdogs (big deal) and New England has lobster rolls (a little pinchy) but none of that stuff has ever really taken hold here. So when burger places started popping up, I was intrigued. All we have ever really had was the run of the mill chain places, and frankly, I love a good burger. The good folks at PYT do an awesome job, Bobby’s Burger Palace is pretty great and even Shake Shack became a favorite for me. I even visited the Holy Grail of Hamburgers, In and Out Burger (nine thumbs up!).

When people started telling me I HAD to go to Five Guys, I was a little skeptical. It looked, from the outside, kinda cheesy. They had giant 50 pound bags of potatoes stacked up with a sign telling you what farm and state they were from. They had boxes of peanuts for the people to munch on. But besides that, it was just a red and white place that was a little sparse. I had heard that you either liked it or hated it. I heard lots of things. I never got over there. On the last day at my old job, I ventured out with Brian and Jen to the Five Guys in Moorestown and, um, almost hurt myself.

First of all, let me say that if you have a peanut allergy, or are planning on taking anyone to this place with a peanut allergy, dont. They have a giant box of peanuts (altho not in a bathtub, oh I miss you Ground Round) for you to eat while waiting. Jen and Brian ordered like humans, and I was assured that one order of fries would be

Brian unloads the food

Brian unloads the food

enough for all 3 of us. I, on the other hand, not knowing anything about the menu, ordered like an animal. 2 burgers: a cheeseburger and a bacon cheeseburger. We self served our beverages and had a seat.

I was informed that the one order of fries would be enough and I figured they would have alot of fries. I’m not a huge fry fan so I shrugged it off…. then I saw the size of the order of fries.

Brian said there was a lot of fries but yeah, I was not prepared. The amount of fries came to the second band of red checkers on that cup. Holy portion control, Batman. Seriously. Wow. And they do come right in the brown paper bag. Before you say “Ew!”, brown paper absorbs oil and grease so that your food stays hot but it doesn’t swim in the residual grease form the fryer and get soggy. In the South, when people make fried chicken, they pop the finished product on folded brown paper bags as well. It’s almost an unspoken industry secret.

The Fries

The Fries

The fries themselves weren’t bad. They fry everything in Peanut Oil (and I am sure make a tidy profit selling the oil to a secondary market), so the fries aren’t exactly crunchy, but a little oily and chewy. Some people like fries like that and some, well, don’t. I am on the fence.

I had a fistful of fries but I didn’t go back for too many. But kudos for Five Guys offering malt vinegar for the fries! That was a surprising touch and all three of us enjoyed it.

The burgers on the other hand. Yeah, wow. First of all, here is a tip: if it doesn’t say “little” in front of it, it’s a double burger. I, like I had said, ordered 2 burgers and didn’t realize I’d be eating 2 double burgers. You see what I do for you people? This is what I do for journalism! And for my cardiologist (who apparently will be buying a new boat soon! Called “The DidjaEat?!”)!

Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger

The burgers are wrapped in a simple aluminum foil wrap (with stickers to tell them apart). That saves them big overhead on custom printed wrap (So far they have saved on things to put fries in, recycling oil and now burger wrap. Pretty crafty.). Opening this thing up, you have to grin. It’s got handmade written all over it. When you order, there is a laundry list of toppings you can get (for free!). I got mayo, lettuce, tomato, and pickles.

The pickles were thick, the tomatoes were thick cut and fresh and the iceberg lettuce was nice and crunchy. But I am sure you don’t care that much about the toppings, you care about the MEAT!

Inside the Bacon Cheeseburger

Inside the Bacon Cheeseburger

First off, the bacon was not skimpy and it was not cheap, crappy bacon. It was delicious and you could taste that it hadn’t been cooked too far behind the burger. The burger itself Jen said was juicy and I agree wholeheartedly. It was juicy and delicious. There wasn’t a whole bunch of crap mixed in, no pink slime, no trimmings, no cow meat (just steer and heifer meat, so says the website). Even the cheese was perfect. Needless to say, there was very little conversation while we were chewing.

Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

The regular cheeseburger (the same as the bacon cheeseburger, but without the bacon and tomato) was pretty excellent as well. Jen and Brian gnawed on fries while I, again, complained about what I do for JOURNALISM! They nodded knowingly, with my Mom and Cardiologist on speed dial. They are good friends that way.

Also, a word about the bun. The bun is always the unsung hero of a good burger. Have a crappy one and halfway thru it’s in 9 pieces. Have a stale one and it falls apart. Too chewy and you end up ripping it when you take a bite. This bun was perfect. it stood up to the burger and kept the whole mess in place without ripping, falling apart or dissolving form the grease. Two thumbs up for the best bun I have had in awhile

If I would have had to reorder the food, I would not have had 2 double burgers, but frankly, that was my stupid fault for not checking it out before we got there. I did not have to eat for the rest of the day tho, so that’s something, right?

So, let’s talk about price. I wouldn’t exactly say the Five Guys was cheap. If you wanted to get the same thing at McDonald’s, it would have been about 10 bucks cheaper (in Meal form). But then again, the meat isn’t nearly as delicious. For 4 Double burgers (with as many free toppings as you can stuff on there), the giant vat of fries that they almost had to wheel out on a hand truck and 3 large (all you can drink) sodas, it cost about 40 bucks. I probably wouldn’t eat there everyday (because I’d like to live to 40), but I have to say it was worth the money. Jen and Brian, who had been there before, really liked it too.

I say, if you are looking for a quick lunch that is something a little different, hit them up! Fresh burgers, clean restaurant, and a small business instead of a giant conglomerate who puts god knows what in the burgers? If it’s not In and Out, the go Five Guys!

The Shake Shack Shimmy!


Being a life long resident of Philly, I have to say I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder when it comes to New York. Besides the ridiculous NYC attitude, it is seriously irritating the way they seem to assume that the whole world revolves around them (ps nyc: your town smells like pee). So when I heard that the burger place that is all the rage up there was coming to Philly, I shrugged. Yes, I shrugged. I shrugged when someone said “You gotta check out Shake Shack“.

First of all, expensive burger places are nothing new around here. In fact, Jose Garces’s Village Whiskey was going to be right across the street from the proposed eatery, and they have expensive burgers as well, along with about 900 kinds of whiskey (true story). Plus, there is PYT in the Piazza, Bobby’s Burger Palace, Good Dog and a million other places. One more overrated burger joint wasn’t going to get me excited.

Aaaaand then I went there…twice.

One night after doing the open mic at Helium Comedy Club, my friend Hot Mess Jess mentioned to me that we should stop at Shake Shack. It would be an easy stop because it happens to be on the corner of the block where Helium lives. I mulled it over for about 6 seconds and off we went. Usually there is a giant line outside the place, but we got lucky and it was almost empty since it was around 10pm. We did get a pager, ala The Olive Garden, but the wait was only maybe 8 minutes or so.

The place is pretty standard as far as burger joints go. The menu is giant and bolted to the wall, like the one at Bobby’s Burger Palace. There are a few booths and some tables and some high tops to sit at as well. They have a liquor license so you can get a beer with your burger if you choose (they have outdoor seating but as of the day I went the second time, you still couldn’t take the booze outside yet. I think they are waiting for the permit).

I got the Double ShackBurger for $7.10. It comes with lettuce, tomato, cheese and ShackSauce. Hot Mess Jess got ShackStack, a burger with a fried Portobello mushroom on it. We also split some fries.

Double ShakeShack Burger

Double ShakeShack Burger

First off, let’s talk about the Double ShackBurger. Let’s start with the condiments. The lettuce was fresh, the tomato was juicy, the cheese was…cheesy. I still don’t really know what Shack Sauce is, but it’s a nice mild addition to anything. The bun was spongy enough to hold the mess of a burger but not over chewy. More on that in a bit.

The meat. Oh, the meat. The menu says that they use “100% Angus Beef without any added hormones or antibiotics.”. But is it good? The answer is an unequivical HELL YES.

Inside The Double Shack burger

Inside The Double Shack burger

For years, chefs on tv have been telling people that all you need is a little salt and a little pepper to season a burger. There is a reason for this! Let the flavor of the meat shine! The people at the Shack understand this. Grind it, lightly season it, patty it, flat top it (no pressing or squeezing please) and serve it up. If you looked up “kick ass juicy burger” on dictionary.com, this burger would be pictured prominently. With a big blinking frame around it. And a little band playing a jig. And possibly some fireworks. Yeah. It’s that good. Oh, and they cook all burgers to medium unless otherwise specified. Do yourself a favor and just take it the way it’s meant to be: Welcome to flavor country!

Shack Stack!

Shack Stack!

Hot Mess Jess also had an interesting burger. One patty of meat and one patty of Portobello mushroom. She loved it and said it was delicious! You can also order it without the meat (as The ‘Shroom Burger) and have a very fine vegetarian burger! If the bun is vegan (and I am not sure if it is), you could even have an awesome vegan shroom burger with the L&T and they also offer pickle and onion. As you can see, they are not skimpy with the sauce!

The Hinge!!

The Hinge!!

One incredibly smart thing I noticed while stuffing my face full of delicious meat was The Hinge. I don’t know if they do this on purpose, or if it just happens with the buns they use but it is GENIUS! You see, the burger is really juicy, the melty cheese is messy and it could end up being quite a mess. And overall, it is a bit messy (neat eaters need not apply). However! With a regular bun, things start sliding around (and sometimes right out the back, which is why you need to eat burgers without The Hinge with The Claw, which is something I will write about some other time) and then you end up with a a disproportionate bun to meat ratio. That makes me angry, like, Hulk angry. MUST SMASH BURGER! HULK SMASH MESSY BURGER!!…ahem…anyway…This bun has a hinge on the back. It keeps the top and bottom from sliding around and it also catches a lot of that juice and cheese so that when you are done, it’s like a sponge of deliciousness. It is also a sponge of genius-ness!

Fries!

Fries!

We also got some fries on the side. They were good…basically for crinkle fries that I am sure some kid in the back had to either cut or defrost. They don’t salt them, which I find odd and a little irritating because they come out right away (for the most part), and fresh out of the fryer fries are the best to hit with just a little bit of salt. But, at $2.65, they weren’t bad.

A few weeks later, I revisited Helium with my friend Jackie O to see some friends in a showcase show, and she suggested that we stop at Shake Shack as well after the show. Who am I to say no to my friends? Plus, Jackie is the best! We both got some burgers, but we also got something else they do at Shake Shack. Yeah, this place is not a one trick pony.

They offer something called a Concrete: dense frozen custard blended at high speed with things mixed in. You can make your own but they also have set ones they have that you can order. Jackie O and I both ordered The Center City Pretzel (Vanilla Custard, Philly Style Soft Pretzel, Caramel Sauce, Marshmallow Sauce and Banana).

This thing was pretty kick ass. The Caramel and Marshmallow Sauces kind of blend together, and the banana mingles around the middle, but it all somehow comes together and is dotted inside and out with pieces of pretzel. Be warned however, it is more of a Super Pretzel then a real Philly Soft Pretzel. There is a big difference, but in this case it does work. It would be cool if Shake Shack worked with a local vendor, like PYT does to make their pretzel rolls for the cheesesteak burger, but that’s up to them I suppose.

Anyway, the frozen custard is blended smoothly and each bite feels like you are mingling with all the ingredients. While doing a blend isn’t anything new (Dairy Queen’s been doing blizzards foreeeverrrr), they are doing it well. At $4.25 for a half and $6.50 for a regular, it might be a little high but worth every penny.

So, while I wouldn’t eat at Shake Shack every day (mostly because I’d be dead by the end of the month), it is on my list of places to visit if I am in the area. It might not be as internationally known like Capogiro or the Jose Garces’ place Village Whiskey across the street but it does what it does well! Try and hit it on an off hour and there won’t be much of a wait (I spontaneously combust if I wait in lines for too long for stupid things). I also found that the prices were in line with what they were offering, perhaps on the high side, but the flavors make it worth the trip and the lightening of your wallet.

AC Food and Wine Fest: Blues, Brews and BBQ


There were many events at the AC Food and Wine Fest this year. The Blues, Brews and BBQ event was hands down the best one! Even tho it was, no lie, 900 degrees out and this thing was held in the parking lot across from the Showboat Casino, even tho the guys using smokers and grills made it 200 times hotter and even tho the big tents were no help from the heat, it still was a blast!

Yes, there was a band and yes, there was a lot of beer. But hey, I went for the BBQ!!

First up was Devil’s Alley. They are a, surprise, bar and grille in downtown Philly at 19th and Chestnut Sts. Chef Brian Fidiam come with a something offbeat, but still awesome! Spicy Dry Rub Wings. Now when I say these things were moist, tender and delicious, believe me. I ate, well, I coulda put their kids thru college. Let’s just leave it at that!

Devil's Alley Spicy Dry Rub Wings

Devil’s Alley Spicy Dry Rub Wings

Next up was Smokin’ Betty’s, a place down at 11th and Sansom sts, in downtown Philly.  They brought their signature Riblets. Now, some of you might remember places like Applebee’s who would have all you could eat riblets. these are not that! Not that! Not even close! The sweet sauce mingles with the porky goodness and the fat disintegrates right as it touches your tongue. Again, I think I ate a whole table’s worth.

Smokin' Betty's BBQ Riblets

Smokin’ Betty’s BBQ Riblets

Also, I cannot go much further without a shoutout to some neighbors of mine I ran into and went to a few events with! Maureen is a huge fan of the blog and her kids (All grown up now. I am so old!) love going to food events. Also, a shoutout to Brigid’s boyfriend Joe who bought a 5 gallon oak barrel in which to brew beer inside! I want to see how that turns out! They also kindly showed me some of the more awesome things I’m writing about today! So, hats off to Joe and the Ramseys!

Joe, Brigid, Maureen & Rob

Joe, Brigid, Maureen & Rob

Paula Deen was big and loud at the event and she cracked everyone up. As you can see in the picture, she’s lost a bunch of weight, as has Michael. She was really loving talking to the crowd, got onto the topic of her Diabetes and having to eat better and lose weight. Her son Bobby has been helping them eat better (and she plugged his show “Not My Mama’s Meals”, in which he remakes some of her recipes in a way that won’t kill you…as fast), which has helped with the weight loss, but she didn’t put a big shine on the whole thing. She basically pined what we all feel, that weight loss is hard and sometimes you just want that donut, but you gotta stick to it. Sometimes tho, have that donut! Am I saying Paula Deen, Queen of Butter, was being realistic? Yes, I am! Good god, anything is possible I think.

Paula Deen & her man Michael

Paula Deen & her man Michael

Paula also brought along her Braised Beef Brisket. I have never actually tasted anything she has made (or, as it was probably at this event, supervised the making of), and this brisket was pretty fantastic. It had a great crust on it and the sauce had a kick but with a smokey backend. It was right on!

Paula Deen Braised Beef Brisket

Paula Deen Braised Beef Brisket

This little puppy melted the socks right off my feet. Local Smoke BBQ brought their world-famous Smoked Jalapeno Poppers. When I saw the sign, I was intrigued. However, I have a problem with Jalapenos these days. You see, I’m getting kind of old and certain things just, well, tie me up into knots. They turn my body into a festival of terror. I actually start twitching when I see seeds sometimes. Once I was assured there were no seeds, I dug in and wowza! A hollow Jalapeno stuffed with a cream cheese and pulled pork filling, wrapped in dry-rubbed bacon and slow-smoked to perfection & served with BBQ ranch dipping sauce. Pop that sucker right in your mouth and your eyes immediately roll to the back of your head. You need to sit down. The layers of flavor melt all over your mouth. These things are a National Treasure. These things should be on every tv show in the land. These things are amazing.

Local Smoke BBQ Slow Smoked Jalapeno Poppers

Local Smoke BBQ Slow Smoked Jalapeno Poppers

Tyler Florence was in attendance at the fest as well. He brought up Paula and then later came out and mingled amongst the sweaty unwashed. When I say this guy was the nicest fellow I have come across, believe it. I approached him, told him my blog name and said maybe he should check it out and he repeated it back, and said he would. I got the feeling from him, well, he just might. He then asked if I wanted a picture and I snapped one of just him and then he insisted we take one together (of which I will spare you of because we both look like we just climbed out of a pool). I felt bad for him, he was wearing that chef coat and he was soaked all the way thru. But he stayed and took more pics, talked to people, signed autographs and all. I know they all get paid to be at these things but the guy is a trooper (and just as cute in person as he is on tv).

Tyler Florence

Tyler Florence

Zac Pelaccio is a world travelin’ dude. He’s written a book called “Eat With Your Hands” and pushes that exact idea: to get into with your food. He also owns 2 restaurants: Fatty Crab and Fatty Cue. This guy knows what’s what.

Zak Pelaccio

Zak Pelaccio

Zak was working with Amstel Light and made a Pork Burger with Twig Farm Goat Cheese, Citrus Mayo, and Onion Jam served on a soft rye burger bun.

Pelaccio Pork Burger

Pelaccio Pork Burger

It was juicy and very well seasoned. However, I am not a fan of goat cheese. I keep trying and trying but no go. The Ramsey’s really liked it tho, it seemed. I really wanna visit one of Zak’s places tho, they sound amazing. You can order a half pound of deep fried bacon!!

Pelaccio Pork Burger Side Cut

Pelaccio Pork Burger Side Cut

The biggest, brightest part of the day was from Dinosaur BBQ! I didn’t think it was the same one in Harlem, from which I have heard many fantastically awesome things from people I know. They didn’t mention that on the menu, they just mentioned Newark. Turns out, it was! And oh my dear mother of all that is good and holy on this planet and the next, this thing was transcendent.

Dinosaur BBQ Beef Brisket Mini

Dinosaur BBQ Beef Brisket Mini

Look close at the meat, you’ll see the smoke ring. Look closer and you’ll see how juicy that meat was. Look again and see the amazing sauce they laid on there. I walked away looking like a toddler who fought a plate of spaghetti and I did not care. Not one stinkin’ bit. It was that good. I was sweaty, tired, and covered in bbq sauce and it was some of the best BBQ meat I have ever had. Unreal. UNREAL.

Whew! So that was the Blues, Brews and BBQ event! I left there seeing BBQ everywhere I went. I should say that two of my favorite beer companies were there as well, Anderson Valley and Pyramid Brewing! Check them out when you get a chance, you will not be disappointed!

Thanks to the AC Food & Wine Fest crew for having me and thanks to Joe & The Ramseys for hanging out! It was a blast and I can’t wait for next year!

Eating The Sights At Bobby’s Burger Palace


A while back, my friend Hot Mess Jess and I decided to take the plunge and check out celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s new burger chain called, surprisingly enough, “Bobby’s Burger Palace“. If you have been living under a rock, Bobby Flay is a very big celebrity chef, and if you aren’t into food, he is also married to Stephanie March, who played ADA Alex Cabot in L&O: SVU. Either way, you’ve seen him on tv somewhere. The name is a funny throwback to places in the 50’s and the place itself is pretty retro but still very modern. There is a lot of green and orange colors, and the place in and of itself looks very happy and inviting.

The counter and the cool lighting

The counter and the cool lighting

You can sit at the counter and watch the cooks do their thing in the kitchen or you can sit at the long family style type tables. At first, they reminded me of lunchroom tables and I didn’t think I’d like sitting there, but it was actually kind of fun!

Maybe it might be because we were there kinda of late but I have to remark about the cleanliness of the place. That’s always a sticking point with me: I like my bars dirty and my restaurants clean. It’s not much to ask for and it hit the mark. The tables could have been sticky or gross and they just weren’t. Two thumbs up for the staff!

Condiment Caddy

Condiment Caddy

The tables are littered with popup napkin dispensers (can I sing a song of love for popup napkin dispensers? I am a sloppy eater, especially with something like a burger, where I look like a toddler versus a bowl of spaghetti!). I also love that they had a bunch of caddies with different sauces for the burgers. I like choices and only one was kinda gross (one bbq sauce was a little too…smokey for me.).That’s pretty awesome. What can I say, I’m easily impressed (Also impressive? The spotless bathrooms. Oh yeah.). Even the chairs that are attached to the tables are fun. I don’t know how fun it would be if it were completely packed in there, but it was half packed and it was still fun.

Seating Area

Seating Area (Hot Mess Jess is not included at BBP!)

Whatever. BBP doesn’t lose sight of the most important thing: the burgers!

The burgers themselves are a decent size: not giant and not teeny. I’d say they are about 7 ounces. The burger meat is flavored simply, with no crazy ridiculousness: just a little salt and pepper. Absolutely delicious. Another thing I have to love about these burgers: for the sort of place this is (a hyped up burger place owned by a celebrity), the prices aren’t bad. Sure, you can get a burger that is bigger at Burger King or McDonald’s, but most people are there for the name and something different.

So what did we have? Oh! Where to start?!

ORDER!

Menu!

Menu!

The order counter

The order counter

Ok, let’s start at the beginning! After checking out the giant menu on the wall, you order at the counter, they give you a big number and you go sit until someone brings you your food. Oh, yeah, go get your own soda (I will always love that!).

What did we order? The question is more “what DIDN’T we order?”. What we do for you people! *buuurp*!

LA Burger

LA Burger

First up! The LA Burger! It’s a burger with Avocado Relish, Watercress, Cheddar Cheese & Tomato. Not skimpy on the avocado, and the whole top is covered with cheese. Not a whole lot to complain about: it’s a burger with taste without too much messiness (some people, like my friend Steve, do not like messy food. This would be a good burger for you if you are like Steve, even if you don’t have a strap beard!). The seeded bun gives it a nice pop as well!

Inside the LA Burger

Inside the LA Burger

As you can see in the inside of this burger, there isn’t a lot of filler and they cooked it just the way I like it (medium well). Like I said above, the burger isn’t huge but you get a nice sized patty. A nice side note is the pickle that comes with the burger. It could have been a simple thing to just throw on some neon green pickles and call it a day, but the pickle is kickass: crisp and zesty!

Dallas Burger

Dallas Burger

Next up? The Dallas Burger. I hate the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones with a mad passion, but this burger is kinda neat. It’s a spice crusted patty with Coleslaw, Monterey Jack, BBQ Sauce and Pickles. I’m not exactly sure how this related to Dallas, but I’d have it again. The coleslaw is a little sweet but plays right against the BBQ Sauce. I guess the burger is supposed to be a play on Texas BBQ, but when I think of BBQ, I don’t really think of Dallas, I think of Austin or other cities. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but either way, not bad!

Something I really dig, and that you might have noticed is the cheese wrap on these burgers. Cheese lovers, rejoice!

Inside the Dallas Burger

Inside the Dallas Burger

I was worried for a little bit that the coleslaw might not be enough to work with (or taste) but it’s just enough. And you can tell they are cutting that cabbage there, not defrosting it or just using a mix. I gotta say, Flay and his team put a lot of thought into these burgers. And yet again, they hit the heat point correctly for me, this was another winner!

A little tip if you go to BBP: go with a friend and get a few burgers and split them, they are the perfect size for sharing!

Inside the Miami Burger

Inside the Miami Burger

Whew! We aren’t done yet! Next up? The Miami Burger! Let’s face it, the best thing about Miami is the Cuban Sandwich. They are always so delicious, and they brought it to the one pressed burger on the menu. This thing has Ham (and they are NOT skimpy on the Ham! Yay, Ham!!), Swiss Cheese, Pickles, Mustard and Mayo, and then they press it to melt the whole thing together. Hungry yet?

And the burger train marches on….

Crunchburger!

Crunchburger!

Next up! The Crunchburger. Oh, Bobby Flay, you love the simple things. You really do. Growing up as a kid in Philly, putting chips or Doritos on your sandwich was something you just always did if you could. I still do it sometimes. It’s all about texture and what they call “mouth feel”. Mouth Feel is exactly how it sounds: it’s the way food feels in your mouth. Ever smell some food and it smells good but you chew it and it just feels weird? Gross, right? Or you eat a chocolate covered pretzel and the silkiness of the chocolate and the crunchy of the pretzel kind of dance around your mouth? Yeah, there ya go. So, putting chips on a burger mixes

Inside the Crunchburger

Inside the Crunchburger

a juicy burger and then the salty, crispy chip to create a superpower of awesome in your mouth. The way it’s presented would make a kid of any age clap their hands. Did I? Only Jess knows (and there isn’t enough Captain out there for her to squeal! I think…). The chips are very Original Herr’s like, and when you smash them down to take a bite, they crunch and crumble just right. It’s a silly thing, but it’s a lot of fun to eat! Honestly, half the fun is smashing it down!

Sweet Potato Fries with Honey Mustard Horseradish Sauce

Sweet Potato Fries with Honey Mustard Horseradish Sauce

A side we got was Sweet Potato Fries with Honey Mustard Horseradish Sauce. I normally don’t particularly care for Sweet Potato Fries but these fries were, and I am not even kidding, amazing. They were salted but only a little bit to balance the sweetness of the sweet potato and they were cut so that you got a good bite and they didn’t get soggy. For 3 bucks they give you a giant vat of them with a nice side of sauce. Did we stab each other over the last few pieces? Use your imagination.

Now, let’s say the gang wants to go out and get some burgers, but you don’t eat meat? No sweat, BBP offered a Griddled cheese (American & Swiss Cheese) and a Griddled Cheese Deluxe (Brie, Goat, Cheeses/Tomato/Bacon).

Going without carbs? Get the Topless Burger (Any burger on baby greens with balsamic). They even have a kickass sounding salad for those of you out there who like to…eat…salads…in burger joints? Got kids? Get a kids meal (basically just a smaller burger, smaller fries and a smaller soda for about a buck and a half less). I hear the milkshakes are awesome, but after our burgerfest, who had room? We sat on the bench outside for awhile before we rolled ourselves back out to the car to drive home. I was cursing myself for not remembering to wear my stretchy pants.

So what was the final decision? Pretty great burgers for a decent price. I have to say, I have seen smaller burgers offered for more, so hey, check it out! The BBP we went to was in the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey, but there is also one in West Philly and they are also all over the country. If you go, try to go at an off time so you can enjoy yourself (they tend to get pretty crowded). Oh, and apparently you can get any burger “crunchified”, so if you wanna go for it…go for it! Me? I’m gonna go take a nap…

The nighttime outside of the BBP

The nighttime outside of the BBP

Wendy’s: The W & Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club


With people either eating no fast food at all or eating it like it’s their job, fast food companies are left trying to do the same stuff for thier usual customers who are accustomed to the same things and also chasing customers who long for something fast but different. Wendy’s is no different.

I have not really been a fan of breaded chicken sandwiches. It seemed like a lot of bread to me and not much anything else, so I stayed away. While I don’t each much fast food, I did kind of lean towards burgers and Wendy’s burgers were always on the top of my list. The franchise by me is pretty on it: clean, fast (for the most part, as opposed to the McDonald’s by me. You could kill a cow, cut it up, cook the meat, digest it and eat another meal as slow as their drive thru is, at any time of the day) and good at getting the food out hot. Lately, Wendy’s had been advertising their new burger, “The W” and it looked interesting. They also had been advertising the “Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club” Sandwich that, well, it had bacon and guac. I was sold.

The W and The Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club

The W and The Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club

When I took the 2 sandwiches out of the bag, I noticed that the weren’t wrapped in Wendy’s usual foil lined paper, but in a parchment and then in a small box holder. I really like the small box holders and the only other place I have seen them is at Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. They keep the burgers in one spot so they don’t slide apart and keeps them from unraveling. Thumbs up for that! It shows that the Wendy’s people are paying attention.

First up is the “W”. The “W” is Wendy’s attempt at a killer burger with a special sauce that isn’t 5 bucks. It’s $2.99!

The W!

The W!

Any person who has half a brain is not expecting their fast food to look like it does in the ads. If you don’t know why this is, go and google “food styling”. This burger didn’t look like it did in the ads but it still looked ok, and most importantly, the burgers were still nice and warm by the time I got it home.

Condiments!

Condiments!

I’m not too into using the word “premium”, but this burger is supposed to have “premium” toppings. I guess this means they are cut bigger, and yeah, this burger has it. The pickles were thicker and crinkle cut (I imagine they did that so the sauce could get all up in the ridges), the red onion was thick cut, and the tomato, well, it was kinda thin. I don’t have too much of a problem with that, but if you were looking for a giant piece of tomato, well, you might be missing out. Altho, it could have been just a weirdly cut batch of tomatoes, who knows.

Sideshot of The W!

Sideshot of The W!

The shining star of this burger is new secret sauce. It really is delicious. It’s sort of a thousand island but with red pepper in it too, to give it some texture, along with little bits of pickle. Combined with the burger patties and the rest of the stuff it really comes together. The food scientist guys over at Wendy’s really hit it on this.

The Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club

The Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club

Next up is the Spicy Guacamole Chicken Sandwich. Like I said above, I am not usually into breaded chicken sandwiches. It’s too much bread and it ends up being a dry mess of a meal. So, when I pulled up into the drivethru and saw this thing on the menu, I had to try it.

The Bacon!

The Bacon!

Let’s take a look inside the sandwich. First off, this thing comes with bacon. Yay! Sometimes when a burger comes with bacon, it’s barely there, or unrecognizable. Also, sometimes it’s just dripping with that liquid smoke flavor that makes it taste like crap. This bacon was actually recognizable and delicious. They give you just enough to make a difference in the burger but not too much that it is overpowering.

The chicken patty had a little bit of a kick of spice to it, kind of peppery, and it’s topped with a nice pepper jack cheese. They could have stopped right there and call it a spicy chicken sandwich. Even the buttered buns, which by the way, both the sandwiches have, were a nice touch.

The Guac!

The Guac!

And then they took a big step forward by adding the guacamole! The guac, of which they are not skimpy with, gives the sandwich another texture besides bread, chicken and bacon, and it also has some red pepper in there to give it even more depth of flavor.

Again, I say, I am not really into chicken sandwiches but man, this thing is pretty kickass. I will definitely be ordering this again when I get back to Wendy’s.

I really have to hand it to Wendy’s. The fast food landscape has become littered with all sorts of goofy new products with places trying to sell new things in order to rope in the public. Wendy’s seems to be doing the opposite, they are looking within to see what they are good at: burgers, chicken sandwiches and salads. They are taking these items and beefing them up, giving them new spins and overall boosting up their menu items without gouging you in the pocketbook. In the day and age where the economy stinks, Wendy’s gets it. My hat is off to them.

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