November meeting at Spiga

Photos by Kit Farman: http://www.kitfphoto.com

This month’s burger club event was hosted by Spiga (1305 Locust St)! Spiga is a newish place not too far from broad street located in center city. The first thing you’ll notice about this place is that you need to enter through a door that goes through a hallway on the side of the restaurant. I kept thinking how silly that whole thing was, who approved that design? It makes for a cool image from the street though, all you see is people eating inside, no hostess station or anything like that. The interior is very warm and welcoming with exposed brick and reclaimed wood all over the place. It has a very cabin-in-the-woods feel to it – excellent for a chilly fall night.

Shortly after everyone arrived (on time!!) we ordered. It didn’t take too long for the parade of burgers to reach our table. This isn’t one of those skyscraper burgers, it sits quite comfortably on a little rectangular plate accompanied by a handful of shoestring fries. Topped with bacon and goat cheese, this is not your average burger. It might take a few bites to get a good taste of the goat cheese but when you do you’ll be in heaven. The fries were really hot and good. I know this probably isn’t the best thing to say but the fries tasted like those from McDonalds (and that’s NOT a bad thing at all, IMO).

The burger can only be described as “sweet” which is a really unusual thing for a burger. The sweetness is mostly due to the Onion Mostarda. I didn’t even know what a “Mostarda” was until I got into a conversation about it with someone. Turns out it’s an “Italian condiment made of candied fruit and a mustard flavored syrup” (Wikipedia) it doesn’t really taste like mustard and I would go so far as to say you don’t even really taste it all that much. The Mostarda subtly adds a beautiful sweetness that pairs perfectly with the goat cheese and bacon. It’s pretty evident that someone took some good time in dreaming up this combo.

The staff was very friendly and the burgers were all delicious. I ordered mine medium rare and while I understand it’s VERY hard to deliver 20 burgers at the same time at exactly the right temperature, mine was a little overdone. I really like that red juiciness, it’s the only way to really evaluate the quality of the meat. Otherwise my complaints are minimal. The burger club members similarly loved their time here. The only thing many people wanted was MORE, more fries, more cheese, more “oomph” if you know what I mean! This is definitely not a burger to miss. I wish more restaurants would try to put goat cheese on burgers, I know it’s a pretty expensive cheese but people LOVE it!

Thanks to everyone who came, can’t wait for next month! Stay tuned on the facebook group to see where we’re going!! See you then!

Burger News 11/16/2012

Good burger day everyone!

Last week’s burger club meeting was amazing. We have a newly voted #1 burger – that which is from Hickory Lane (2025 Fairmount Ave)! This burger was some serious business and I implore you to go try it. The cheese.. the meat.. the bun. It was all too perfect. This is a serious burger and should be seriously considered. I feel like it has been under my radar for too long! I’m so happy that the club was able to enjoy it!

Did you hear that at the end of the month we’re having our burger club meeting at Spiga? “What’s Spiga?” you might say.. well it’s a newish Italian restaurant at the corner of 13th and Locust. This whole corner of Philly has undergone a DRASTIC change from yesteryear. You know what I’m talking about. The once seedy corner has done a 180 thanks to the folks from Green Eggs Café and Spiga. Now you may be asking yourself “a burger.. from an Italian restaurant?” it’s just an unexplainable phenomena that can only be resolved by trying the burger. Once this burger hits your lips and the goat cheese and applewood smoked bacon dance around you’ll somehow get it. I did.

Oh and before I forget.. have you heard of BURGERPALOOZA? It’s an all-you-can-eat burger event happening 11/21! Food trucks that will be there: Spot Burgers, Chewys, Street Food Philly and the Moo Truck. This is NOT AN EVENT TO MISS. Obviously these burger trucks know what’s up. You can get your tickets NOW for $29 at any of the participating food trucks (before 11/20). Tickets will be available at the door for $35. Spot burger says this about the event, “Each truck will be offering 3 different 1/4 lb gourmet burger creations, never offered to the public. That’s a dozen different hand-crafted gourmet burger creations. It’s a burger lovers utopia! Yards will be pouring the suds, w/ live music and MORE! Admission, only $35, includes all access pass to ALL U CAN EAT burgers, & 2 drink tickets. Event begins Wednesday November 21, 2012 at Yards Brewery 901 North Delaware Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19123 5-9pm”. Boom. Sounds like a great time. The burger club will be adequately represented. If you’re interested in going with the group, check in on the facebook page to coordinate things.

Alright folks, have a happy holiday! Tell me all about the turkey burgers you make!

October (November?) Meeting: Hickory Lane

Another month, another Burger Club meeting report from Two Eat Philly.  This meeting was supposed to take place at the tail end of October, but- maybe you heard?- we were hit by a hurricane.  However, burger eaters prevailed (in the first few days of November), and we gathered at Hickory Lane, a small restaurant in Fairmount with great views of Eastern State Penitentiary, and just a few blocks from recently-visited Lemon Hill (shameless self promotion here).

We were greeted by personalized menus made just for us- Hickory Lane created a deal that combined a burger and a drink for $18.  The burger alone ran us $15- definitely on the expensive side for this city!  In comparison to many of the other places Burger Club has congregated, Hickory Lane offers a single signature burger- aptly named the “Hickory Burger.” Executive Chef Matt Zagorski spent many years at Rouge, so he certainly has some solid burger-making experience.

The fact that there was only one option made ordering easy.  Our waiter informed us that the patties were being cooked to a medium rare-medium based on chef preference. Fine by us!  It took a little while before plates started coming out of the kitchen, but we understand the art of burger making is a serious one.

the self-described “bad boy”

The thick meat patty is sandwiched between a challah roll, creating some significant height to this sandwich.  Closer inspection revealed a few light char marks on the outside.  A large pile of pommes frites (why does an “American bistro” insist on using the pretentious French name for fries?) came alongside the burger- I had to clear a few from my plate to make room for burger-tackling.  Super fresh and crispy with plenty of peppery skin- the garlic aioli was a fantastic dipping sauce, if not a little on the greasy side.

,

Another thing we noticed right away was the thickness of the cheese.  Melted over the burger, an extra-sharp aged white cheddar added a significant amount of flavor and texture.  I know I’m talking about the cheese before I even talk about the meat, but that’s just how good it was.  It was definitely what everyone was exclaiming about the most- the fact that such a high-quality, flavorful cheese is used here, and so much of it!- really created a unique burger experience.

However, I certainly do need to acknowledge the meat.  A “proprietary” blend of three different cuts of beef are exclusively ground by Philadelphia Meat Purveyor Exceptional Foods just for this burger.  I’d say LaFrieda should be watching their backs- they’ve got some serious competition!  The patty was cooked perfectly to create a nice, thin crust surrounding some seriously pink ground beef.  The grind is still recognizable- these guys are getting treated pretty gently on the grill, providing a nice crumble with each bite.  The meat was underseasoned, allowing the slightly sweet and seriously fluffy challah and salty, aged cheese to play recognizable supporting roles.

Overall, this was definitely a five-star burger.  I’d even go so far to put it amongst the ranks of the Supper burger.  With the ratings coming in, it’s currently scored at a 4.68- good enough for first place on the Leaderboard!

Steph has also announced our meeting place for next (this? Sandy has made this all so confusing) month– but we’ll let her tell you all about it!

Hurricane Sandy can’t wash away our love of Burgers

As you may have heard – there was a hurricane! Sandy slammed the eastern coast and there are many people who are still going through some tough times. The storm forced us to change the date of our burger club meeting from 10/29 to 11/5. We’re still so excited to go to Hickory lane, Sandy can’t wash away our love of Burgers.

All kidding aside, let’s take a moment and give thanks for what we have and how lucky we are. We’re safe, have food, water, power and none of our homes were damaged. There are many Americans who live only a short distance away that aren’t so lucky right now. There are many things you can do to help – The Red Cross is accepting monetary donations and blood donations. Also there are many, many, many other organizations that will put your money to good use. I implore you to do what you can to help.

Till next week, stay safe friends. Much burger love to you all.