Holy Burgers Batman!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Be Still My Clogged Arteries!: Fat Sandwiches in New Brunswick
I have always been fascinated by ridiculous sandwiches. Even when I was a kid and would see Dagwood, in the Blondie comic strip, make those crazy sandwiches, I was fascinated. In New Brunswick, New Jersey, there lives Rutgers University. Whenever you have a college, especially one as large at Rutgers, you get food trucks. These trucks, known as “grease trucks”, are exactly what you think they are: sandwich trucks. But these sandwich trucks spawned something interesting: The Fat Sandwich.
The Fat Sandwich is a bad meal on a long roll. That’s the best way to put it. You feel like eating a cheesesteak with a side of fries? Well, why not just put the whole thing on the cheesesteak? Maybe you wanted Jalapeno Poppers as well? Put those bad boys on there too. And maybe some chicken fingers? Yup, everyone in the pool!
So when I went to visit my friend Pat, who seems to be becoming my new food-partner-in-crime at times, we put down our beers long enough to decide to order some sandwiches. He steered me towards a place called Giovanelli’s. This place has a laundry list of fat sandwiches, as does a bunch of others. He really likes this place tho, so we ordered!
First up is the Fat Phillipino. Not a very politically correct name, but the tastiness of the sandwich makes up for it. I felt a little better about eating it because it has a lot of lettuce and tomato on it. Maybe it’s a mini-salad? Yeah, let’s go with that.
But this puppy is loaded to the gills. It doesn’t look so bad when you take a top down view of it. It looks almost tame, right? Like it’s a small sandwich? (This is a half by the way. Pat and I decided to switch halves in order to try 2 kinds. No wonder he is a graduate school graduate. I can’t even say that 5 times fast…)
Now let’s take a look at this thing from the side and I will go over the things that are loaded in here. Are ya ready? (And please, click on the picture to get the full effect. Yowza!) It’s got cheese steak, chicken fingers, gyro meat, mozzarella sticks, french fries, white sauce, lettuce and tomato. The fries were a little bit limp by the time the food got to us, but I’m ok with that.
The sandwich is supposed to have white sauce on it, but it did taste a little dry. I imagine it’s because of the time of transportation and also because of the bread and the breaded ingredients within the sandwich. How did it taste overall? It was pretty darn delicious, I have to say.
The second sandwich was the the Fat Giovanelli. I actually heard my Mom yelling at me in my head for eating this thing. The things I do for journalism! This one looks really harmless from the top, doesn’t it?
That red you see is hot sauce. It’s actually not a very spicy sauce but it does give the sandwich a bit of a kick. It also made the sandwich a lot less dry then the other ones, but it could have used more moisture. But, like I said, I think transportation and bread’s moisture sucking qualities kind of did me in a little bit. Don’t despair, beer helped.
Now check out the side shot of this thing (then go take your cholesterol meds). This thing contains: cheesesteak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries, bacon, egg, hot sauce. I am a HUGE fan of eggs on cheeseburgers, so when I saw there was a sandwich with egg on it, I was all over it. This thing does not disappoint. The egg gives the whole thing some more moisture and some great texture when you are up against the cheesesteak meat and the breading of the chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks. And again, the hot sauce moistens up the fries a bit.
So, would I eat one of these monstrosities again? Sure. Do I think I can take on the challenge of eating 5 that one of the trucks does? No way. Will I be eating salads the rest of the week to make up for the damage I did? Probably. I’d like to try another kind of these at some point, so we’ll see what happens. But thanks to Pat Farley for being smart enough to not only graduate grad school but also to know where the good places to eat are!
My friend Matt recently got a sweet new computer. I went over to take a look at it (it is sweet and…shiny) and, after much deciding we decided to go get some lunch (Johanna’a idea, good call!). Off to Paesano’s we went.
Paesano’s is a sandwich shop owned by the guys who own Modo Mio, an Italian place that everyone I know who has been there loves. I had never been there before and Matt described it as a closet that sells awesome food. I was in!
Paesano’s is, indeed, an extremely small place. A small sandwich shop like you might remember from when you were a kid. Old guys smoking Lucky’s would hang out and talk about Roosevelt and you could come in and buy a water ice in the middle of the summertime heat. Well, there is no water ice and there are no Lucky’s, but there is a pretty good menu. At least, what we had anyway.
Wading thru the hipsters, we decided on a Daddy Wad for me and a Paesano for him. The guy behind the counter doesn’t particularly speak very good english and I am half deaf so it was fun ordering, and once I ecplained to him I wanted mayo on my sandwich, all was well (it does not come with mayo, but I wanted it. Must. Have. Mayo.). The wait was not too bad, about 15 minutes, then we got our sandwiches of gold and escaped to Matt’s air conditioned living room to stuff our faces with sandwiches, cokes and Patton Oswalt on the Roku Box.
I got the Daddy Wad, which is a classic Italian Hoagie with sharp provolone, hot and sweet peppers, arugula, lettuce, tomato and onion. When you order hoagies, the lunchmeat is usually very thick cut and laid on thick. These guys cut the meat pretty thin so that it’s not like biting into a loaf of bologna. The roll is fresh but not too chewy and even the arugula works nicely, giving it a fresh bite and separating it from the Wawa special (altho I love that too!).
Here is an inside shot:
They also use cheap mayo, of which I am a great big fan. Capicola, soppresata, mortadella and mayo. Yeah, I’m a fan.
What I didn’t mention was that Matt and I traded halves to I got to try the Paesano.
The Paesano is a hoagie with Beef Brisket, Cheese (sometimes provolone, sometimes ricotta, I guess it depends on the day), horseradish mayo (which I want to put on everything), a fried egg and a roasted tomato. I haven’t had meat that juicy on a sandwich in forever. Check it out!
This thing is a heart clogger, but you’ll go out smiling! Fried eggs on things is a new fad (“it’s the good morning burger!”) but I am all for it. The egg gives it that little extra bit so that you don’t feel so bad eating this fantastic bit of juicy goodness. As much as I liked the Daddy Wad, I think I liked the Paesano better.
What I liked about this place was the reasonable rate you pay for these sandwiches ($7), which might not look giant but will be with you the rest of the day, trust me. The place is very tiny (it was so small I couldn’t really take a pic, it was crowded) but they move along at a decent pace. I’d hate to be standing outside in the winter, but you can call in and then pick up, which is cool.
Will I go back? Surely! Will the parking get seriously crappy once the giant Pathmark next door opens? Oh yes. Will that stop me? Nah. Once a fat kid, always a fat kid. Eat up!