April burger club meeting at Eulogy ..err.. I mean Bierstube!

Our group!

Our April burger club meeting was to be at Eulogy (136 Chestnut St) but due to an organizational misunderstanding we went to Eulogy’s sister restaurant – Bierstube (206 Market St). We went to Bierstube August of 2012 and had a fine time. This visit was a little different due to the Chef’s special addition of an Elk burger! I was able to try a bite of this burger and I’m HERE TO TELL YOU that it’s awesome. The flavor of the meat is unrivaled by any other burger in the city – in my opinion. The meat is just plain flavorful, I can’t think of another way to describe it. It’s not gamey or tough, just delicious! One burger club member (Megan) had this to say “I liked the meat in particular. It was very tender. I’m glad I tried the elk. Normally, I can’t hunt an elk myself so I am glad someone did it for me”. Truth. If you’re looking for something different (and a little daring) I would definitely tell you to hurry yourself over to Bierstube.

Also on their menu is the dragon burger (which is what I ordered) – drachen, a spicy meat blend stuffed with blue cheese, breathes fire from this burger on a kaiser roll. This burger packs a punch, the spicy sausage-blended meat patty is simply delicious. It’s not too spicy if you’re worried – just right. The blue cheese, which is actually stuffed INTO the burger, cools things out for a delightful overall taste. The bun holds things together well but isn’t much to write home about. I learned only after my meal that any burger can be requested on the pretzel roll (that the German burger comes on). In the future I would request to have that. I love pretzel rolls so much – I wish I could just buy a dozen of them and use them for every sandwich.

I was also lucky enough to have a bite of the aforementioned German burger. The German burger is topped w/fried knockwurst, sauerkraut and muenster cheese on a pretzel roll. For the love of all that is not sauerkraut-loving, put that stuff on the side! I think kraut is an acquired taste that I have not yet developed – maybe one day. Burger Club Member Megan said “I thought that the toppings were great with the exception of the sauerkraut on the German burger. Just because Gushers are American, doesn’t mean I put that on my fried chicken”. I wholeheartedly agree. This burger is pretty dang good and I would definitely bring an out-of-towner to sample it. Similar to the Elk burger, you’re just not going to find this anywhere else. It’s like two meals in one with a burger patty topped with a knockwurst. The muenster cheese is too subtle for this burger – it really gets lost in the shuffle. No matter though, the pretzel roll makes up for any slight problems with its salty delicious, egg washed hardiness. All burgers come with delicious thick-cut French fries that I just couldn’t get enough of.

The only major downside of our visit (despite the location mix-up) was the lack of staff in the restaurant. The one lone waitress was responsible for the entire restaurant (a packed house with our party). It took us maybe 45 minutes just to get our drinks! Despite being completely overwhelmed she really kept her composure and was a true professional. After the first taste of our liter mugs everything was just fine. Our burgers came out quickly after our drinks did and everything was cooked to perfection.

Overall we had a great time, despite some start-up problems. I haven’t had a bad meal from Bierstube yet and I don’t think I ever will. Definitely a rare spot in old city that isn’t filled with jerks. Would definitely recommend a trip here! If I haven’t been able to convince you to visit this establishment by now, you should probably go for the full liters of beer. Please see the picture below (with dollar for size reference) for a visual aid.

August Burger Club Meeting at Bierstube

Burger club meeting this August was off the hook! Bierstube (206 Market St) really has a good thing going, good drinks, great food and a really nice atmosphere. The group gathered around the bar while people were coming in and then we sat in pretty much one long table in the corner of the restaurant. Apparently Bierstube had another party going on downstairs. I haven’t seen what the downstairs looks like but it’s pretty cool that an old city restaurant has that kind of space! We all got comfy in our seats and enjoyed some German beer while we waited for our food to come. Since they have four burgers on their menu I wasn’t going to just settle for ONE taste. My friend Madhuri and I exchanged halves of the shortrib burger (LaFrieda short rib blend with caramelized onions, exotic mushrooms, gruyere cheese served with a LeBus country white bun and Belgian frietjes and dip) and the german burger (Topped with sauerkraut, fried knackwurst, muenster cheese, served on a pretzel roll with a small side of Belgian frietjes and sauce) with the kraut on the side.

The shortrib burger was good. It was a little dry but the onions and mushrooms were really nice. The patty was small but all the flavors were there. This burger is quite the name-dropper when it comes to the burger world. Between the LaFrieda meat and LeBus bun – it seems to be almost playing into what burger snobs want to eat instead of being original and sticking to the German theme of the restaurant. Obviously you can’t really go wrong with these “names” but I could have done without. When I visited last February they only had 2 burgers, the Dragon and the German. I thought both burgers were distinct yet played into the theme of the restaurant very well. Since I came last they added these two other burgers to their menu (Shortrib and Hamburg). Somehow I think it would have been better if they just did those two original burgers REALLY well instead of trying to overextend themselves.

The German burger – now that’s something to write home about. The best part of the German burger is definitely that it’s on a pretzel roll. I could eat anything on a pretzel roll – try me. The dense texture topped with oil and salt is just the perfect combination of flavors. The burger itself has a lot of flavor and the fried knackwurst adds a fantastic spicy kick and richness. I did decide to get the burger without sauerkraut because I just don’t like it, but if I did it would probably be the perfect topping.

All-in-all I think everyone had a really good time at Bierstube. It’s not your average old city place – which is a really good thing. I generally try to stay away from old city since there are so many tourists and college kids but Bierstube is somewhat immune to that, they cater to a more refined crowd (like the burger club). Thanks to the Bierstube staff for being so welcoming and accommodating and for the sweet discount! We really appreciate the hospitality! Can’t wait for next month’s burger club meeting! Stay tuned to find out where it’s going to be!

burger news 8/24/2012

Good burger day, friends! In less than a week we’re going to be enjoying an amazing burger at our monthly meeting. You’re going to say “Stephanie, queen of all that is burgery, thank you for bringing me to Bierstube for such an amazing burger! I had no idea the burgers at this place were so good. I will follow you anywhere”. I’ll nod my head in that way that acknowledges your comment but dismisses your praise because I’m too humble to accept it. The stars will align and you’ll experience a moment of clarity in which you realize that despite all the troubles in the world, you’re happy.

This week I was tremendously excited to try the burger/calzone/amazingness at Barra (239 Chestnut St). I gathered up some of my gal pals and went over for dinner on Wednesday. I was soooooo displeased to hear that they only serve the burger during lunch! GAH! You’re a tricky one, Barra. I’ll try that burger if it’s the last thing I do.

Quynh posted this article about the Montreal burger week. It’s pretty brilliant. They developed this super interactive site where people go out into the city and try rate all the burgers participating in the event. The votes will help determine the top 5 burgers, “Burger Week has enlisted 5 celebrity judges to help determine Montreal’s best burger. The judges need your help to narrow down the top 5 burgers, from which they will choose and crown as Burger Week winner for 2012. The judges event will be live streamed through YouTube on September 8th. Oh! We forgot to mention the party! The winning restaurant will have a party thrown in their honor, and you’re all invited! Stay tuned for details!”

Oh man, wouldn’t that just be the coolest thing to do in philly? Maybe one day. We would really have to pool our resources and talent to pull something like that off. Think about it, people.

This weekend there is an awesome burger event, The Wilmington Burger Battle on Saturday 8/25 (TOMORROW!). You may be wondering if there will be tickets at the door, reps from the event say “only if we don’t sell out in advance”. They are directing people to the Facebook page for last minute news. Burgers will be presented by the following restaurants: BBC Tavern and Grill, Chelsea Tavern, Eppy’s Bar-b-que, Ernest & Scott Taproom, Harry’s Savoy Grill, James Street Tavern, Kid Shelleen’s, Kildare’s Irish Pub, Matilda’s / Mad Macs, Orillas Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Piccolina Toscana, Pizza by Elizabeths, Redfire Grill Steakhouse, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Ulysses American Gastropub, Union City Grille. This is not an event to miss, folks. We’ll have people from the club there who will be reporting on the goings-on. You’re really going to be kicking yourself if you don’t go and then read their report, trust me.

There’s a lot to look forward to here, people. I hope you attend one of the aforementioned events, including our burger club meeting! Hit me up if you need details! See ya!

burger news 8/17/2012

Hope everyone had an awesome week of burgers! This week we announced that our August burger club meeting will be at Bierstube (206 Market St). If you haven’t been to this place yet you’re in for quite the treat. When I visited back in February I believe they only had two burgers on their menu (the German and the Dragon) but since then they’ve added two more (Hamburg and Shortrib Burger Platter). I tried both the Dragon and the German burgers and they were so good! The toppings were truly original and fit the German theme quite well. In addition to their awesome burger menu, Bierstube has an exceptional beer menu. They have this beer called kasteel rouge, have you heard of it? It might not be your cup of brew as it’s made with cherry juice and tastes like framboise but I love love love it – can’t wait for mine.

Next weekend (Aug 25) is the Wilmington Burger Battle! We’re pretty excited to hear that some burger club members will be in attendance! You should go too! It’s going to be amazing, 20 chefs flippin their best burgers with the hope that they will be crowned king in one of three categories: Best Burger, Best Alternative Burger, and People’s Choice Burger. Event proceeds will support the Emmanuel Dining Room, which helps alleviate the immediate needs of Delaware’s hungry. This is an awesome event for a great cause. Get a ticket, tell ‘em burger club sent ya.

Photo by Drink Philly (drinkphilly.com)

In other news, Alyssa H. posted this article on the burger club facebook page about Barra’s (239 Chestnut St) burgers. Apparently they take a burger and wrap it in pizza dough for a pizza/calzone/burger awesomeness. If it’s anything like the cheeseburger pizza from their sister restaurant Birra (1700 East Passyunk), then it’s going to be good stuff. I have been known to order the cheeseburger pizza bowl from Birra once or twice and I’m HERE TO SAY that it’s amazing. You think you can finish it on your own, but you can’t. Try, go ahead. Soooo good. I honestly can’t wait to try the Barra burger – maybe a burger club meeting in the future? Who could know?

Last week I had the privilege of experiencing the switchback burger from the Appalachian brewing company (50 West 3rd Avenue Collegeville, PA). Let’s start by talking about what goes on at the ABC – they’re a brewery so you’re pretty much obligated to get a flight. I deem it un-American to go to a small brewery and NOT get the flight, you really have to see what they’ve got. So you may have gotten a sampler at another brewery. 4 4-oz tastings? Ok, maybe you get 5 3-oz tastings. At the ABC you get a whopping 8 servings of 4-oz glasses. For $10 that’s alllll you need. I almost wasn’t able to finish the whole thing – and I think that’s really saying something. After you sip sip sip on some of the beers if you ordered a burger you’re in for quite an experience. Oh man. The switchback burger (apparently the winner of the PA preferred best burger grill off) was amazing. The ham had a surprisingly strong presence and the rest of the toppings paired nicely with it. I must say that the burger was cooked extremely well. All-in-all the ABC experience is worth the 45 minute ride out of the city. I would 100% recommend it, if you ever want to go please make sure you give me a call.

Sameer tried the burger at The Dandelion (124 South 18th Street) recently and sent in this review, “I had a burger at the Stephen Starr restaurant The Dandelion. Like any Starr restaurant, it was really fun and super expensive. The interior is modeled after a British pub (apparently) and my friends and I had a great window-side seat on the 2nd floor at night. It felt very intimate and I loved that. I had a burger and two beers and totaled about 30 dollars, which I should’ve expected. But, the burger was really good. It’s their only burger on the dinner menu, and had a smallish patty (maybe 6 ounces? but it was incredible and super tender without being too soft) with crunchy pickles, Vermont aged cheddar and apple smoked bacon. Their fries (called chips) were awesome too, thick-cut and really well prepared. It’s worth trying if you’re willing to throw down a hefty sum.”

In addition to his burger at the Dandilion, Sameer wanted to add to his previous review of Local 44 (4333 Spruce St.), “Also, since I last reviewed the Local 44 bean burger, I’ve gone back and had that and the regular burger multiple times. I enjoyed them all immensely, so I definitely had a better experience than the first time. Only thing is that I think their burgers are a bit tough to eat since the patty seems to always fall off the bun – strange dichotomy between the toughness of the bun and the soft delectable But, it was awesome. Also, they never seem to have a ketchup bottle where you don’t need a knife to get the damn stuff out, but that’s not really their fault.”

Well, we’ve reached the end of this week’s post. I hope you are all going to go out and try a burger this week! If you do, be sure to send your review in to burgerclubphl@gmail.com. Also, be sure to get your tickets for the Wilmington burger battle, it’s going to be awesome!

Burger News week of 2/10

Hello Friends!

Not too much has happened in the past week. We’re all getting excited about our event on February 29 at 6:30pm at the Royal Tavern! I’ve been trying to get us some press. If any of you have any information about how to get our name out there please send me an email (burgerclubphl@gmail.com). We are fortunate to have a small spot on Penn Appetit’s blog, see here http://pennappetit.blogspot.com/2012/02/food-events-penn.html

I tried a new burger this week from Standard Tap. It was good, you should give it a try. The bun was very substantial, and it held the burger together well. The meat was tender and had good flavor. I didn’t get any toppings (mostly because I’m not sure there were any options) their menu is on a blackboard and changes daily – maybe I should have asked.

Oh I also tried the burgers (with Madhuri, Megan and Jo) from the new place in old city, Bierstube (http://mybierstube.com/). They have 2 burgers, the german and dragon. The german burger (pretzel roll, burger, slice of fried Knockwurst) was good but had too much sauerkraut on it for my taste but I plan on going back and ordering one without the sauerkraut soon. The dragon burger is truly unique. It has a beef & spicy sausage blend – wow was that a great taste! I would 100% recommend getting yourself down to bierstube to try out their burgers & amazing beer selection. Do yourself a favor and try the Kasteel Rouge beer – what a delight!

I think that’s all the burger news I have for you all this week. Talk to you soon!

~Steph