World Cafe Live Bourbon & Burgers event

The Philadelphia Burger Club visits World Cafe Live’s: Bourbon & Burgers (and other fine spirits)

by Brett Lauter

181437.jpgYou don’t need to twist my arm to convince me that an event combining burgers and bourbon is going to be a good time. My girlfriend and I were more than excited to visit The World Cafe Live in Delaware to attend their Bourbon and Burgers (and other fine spirits) event, on behalf of The Philadelphia Burger Club.

Oddly enough, the night started off on a great foot when I got to park right outside for free. For me, that’s always a sign of good things to come. Walking into The World Cafe Live, we were inundated with the sound of live blues rock by Karmic Repair Company, the band chosen to accompany the event. We were quickly seated and presented with a cocktail to enjoy before the event began. The cocktail was delicious – combining a 10 year-old rye, plum bitters, and sweet vermouth. The night was off to a great start and I was ready to eat. My only complaint, however, was that the band was much too loud for an event such as this. It was clear that it was going to be slightly difficult to discuss the burgers and bourbon over the band.

Before we could finish our drinks, our host informed us that the event was about to begin. We were presented with a tasting glass, which amounted to about a shot, of Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon. The aroma of the bourbon had very strong pepper notes, as well as a slight scent of honey. The taste very closely resembled the aroma, with a lingering pepper flavor that hit the back of my throat and stayed there. I found the Basil Hayden Bourbon slightly harsh, the pepper flavor seemed to mask the other, more delicate flavors of honey.

As soon as I finished my first sip, I was presented with our first burger. It was a ground chuck burger stuffed with bleu cheese and topped with fresh prosciutto and applewood-smoked cheddar on a sourdough roll.

While I was eagerly awaiting for the event to start and browsing the menu, this burger in particular had me the most excited. I instantly loved this burger. The creamy and tangy bleu cheese combined with the salty crunch of the prosciutto was fantastic. In some situations, the flavor of a burger’s other ingredients can be masked by a strong topping like prosciutto. However, in this situation, the limited use of prosciutto complimented the burger with its crunch, contrasting the smooth texture of the bleu cheese. What was overpowering about the bourbon alone was now enjoyable when combined with the burger. The pepper of the bourbon mellowed by the tang of the bleu cheese and prosciutto. This combination was going to be difficult to beat.

Before I could finish my burger, I was already being presented with our next whiskey: Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey. The first thing I noticed about this whiskey was the extremely strong smell of dried fruit, specifically the scent of raisins. This quality was not only present in the whiskey’s aroma, but also in it’s taste. The Dad’s Hat, along with the initial and delicious taste of raisins, had that signature spice of rye whiskey, which I find very enjoyable. The second burger was then quickly brought out to our table.

This burger was described as a slow-braised lamb burger with tobacco onions, goat cheese, and scallion aoli on a black onion roll. The first thing I tasted was the onion soup flavor of the roll, which isn’t the first thing I usually notice when enjoying a burger, and I found it a bit overpowering. However, the onion roll did go nicely with the goat cheese and the tobacco onions. As for the burger its self, I thought it could have been hotter and I think it would have been much better on a different roll. I love lamb and having a roll with such a strong flavor made it difficult to taste the meat. Being that most of the flavor came from the burger’s roll and toppings, that was really the only thing I had to compare the whiskey to, and I thought it well with the dried fruit taste of the whiskey.

I was very excited to try the next whiskey, Booker’s Single Barrel Bourbon. This was a 125 proof single barrel Kentucky bourbon, which at this point, was an alcohol content I was alarmed with. For a bourbon, I found Booker’s to be extremely smooth, similar to a single malt scotch. This smoothness was something I had never before experienced in a bourbon. The taste of the Booker’s wasn’t nearly as unique as the previous whiskey, with subtle notes of vanilla, oak, and charcoal.

Up until this point, I couldn’t say I’d ever had a great chicken burger and frankly, I wasn’t sure such a thing existed. I love chicken, but it’s not the most flavorful meat and definitely not the type of burger I’d choose off of a menu. This third burger, however, converted me. The chicken was combined with rosemary, honey, and apples and was topped with arugula coated in a red wine vinaigrette on a sundried tomato roll. Upon tasting it, the burger had a strong taste of cinnamon and apples, a tried and true combination, and was incredibly juicy. It went excellently with the Booker’s Bourbon’s subtle vanilla flavors. The sweetness of the chicken and apples paired perfectly with the bourbon, making it the best combination of the night. It could have been the music of the Grateful Dead which was playing over the PA now that the band had finished for the night, but I’m going to give the credit to an excellent burger and an even better bourbon.

2256623_origWhile I’m sure many people enjoy the earthy and smoky flavors that come with certain whiskeys, I’ve always found that it overpowered and masked the other flavors. Both the aroma and taste of the High West Campfire Blended Whiskey was so smoky that I found it hard to discern other flavors. I did get a slightly sweet and honey flavor, but beyond that I found it difficult to sense anything else.

Before even tasting either the whiskey or its paired burger, it was obvious why the combination was chosen. The flavors of smoke and bison just seem to go perfectly together. The final burger featured ground bison, sweet onion jam, and swiss cheese on a 5 grain roll. Out of all the burgers, I thought this one in particular focused on the meat the most. The bison was excellently cooked and was not at all overpowered by the normally strong taste of swiss cheese and the sweetness of the onion jam. Usually when I’ve had a burger topped with any kind of jam, I find it enjoyable, but at the same time out of place. I wonder whether or not it could have been replaced with something a bit more subtle. With this particular burger though, I thought it went great, contrasting and cutting the smokiness of the whiskey.

At this point in the night, after five tastings of whiskey and four burgers that were much larger than I anticipated, I was essentially useless. Overall the event was excellent and although there were whiskeys and burgers that I found less enjoyable than others, I could certainly appreciate the thought behind their pairings and the effort that went into creating them. My only overall complaints with the event were the band being unnecessarily loud and the feeling that I was being slightly rushed through the tastings. Barring that, the staff was excellent, the burgers were delicious, and each whiskey was unique and new to me. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and I’d encourage anyone to attend an event like this at The World Cafe Live in Delaware, or in our Burger Club’s home of Philadelphia, if they have the opportunity.

September burger club meeting at Kraftwork

source: http://philly.thedrinknation.com

This month’s meeting was at Kraftwork (541 E Girard). This small Fishtown bar has been around since 2010 – which was just when the whole area began its renaissance (for reference, PYT opened in 2009). Sitting just within the enormous shadow cast by the ever so polished yuppie kingdom, the Piazza, Kraftwork is a bar that shouldn’t be overlooked. Exposed brick and scatterings of artistic metalwork frame this small restaurant. There’s a giant U-shaped bar that always seems full and plenty of staff members that never leave a water glass empty. With 25 beers on tap (and a backup on hand for each one) one of the most difficult decisions you may have to make is what to drink. Deciding what to eat won’t be hard, after you read on.

kw2Holy bananas – their burger was out of this world! Their menu is pretty bare-bones when it comes to burger. No fancy styles or themes, just one solid burger with many topping choices – I call this a “choose your own adventure” burger. You really can’t go wrong with the list -Cheddar, Maytag blue, Sharp provolone, Gruyere, Fried Egg, Caramelized onions, Bacon red onion marmalade, Fried long hot peppers and onions, Seasonal wild mushrooms, Bacon. I went for Fried egg (duh), bacon and cheddar. I somewhat regret my decision to not put the Bacon marmalade on it because everyone else who got it WOULDN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT IT – but I stand by my choice.

The burger itself, as I learned from the manager, is a priority blend that they acquire from a local source. The meat has a percentage of dry-aged beef and I’m here to say that it is amazing. The salty dry aged beef is just enough to not be overwhelming and is balanced out by the rest of the perfectly seasoned meat. The burger sits on a bun that’s substantial enough to hold together despite the abundance of juices from the burger, and in my case a very delicious runny egg yolk. The burger was accompanied by garlic-herb fries that were delicious as well.

kw1

I was pretty blown away by this burger. It was honestly one of the best I’ve had, certainly within my top 5 Philly burgers. If you missed this month’s meeting I urge you to make your way over to Kraftwork so you can experience this burger. Next month we’re heading over to the Urban Saloon, check out our facebook page for more info!

Second Annual Wilmington Burger Battle

image001On Aug 24, 2013 I had the extreme pleasure of attending the Wilmington Burger Battle. Nestled away in the suburbs of Wilmington is the Twin Lakes Brewery farm, finding the location only took one wrong turn and the spotting of a big burger banner and balloon to set us in the right direction. Just past the rolling hills and sleepy pond is a big barn/building that makes up the brewery. Directly behind the barn was where all the burger action was taking place. After being guided by many staff members (who seemed to be the teenage children of people involved with the event – a family that burgers together, stays together) we finally found a parking spot in a huge open field.

Walking up to the ring of tents and wafting burger smells made me feel a little anxious. Did I eat too big of a breakfast to thoroughly enjoy myself? Am I going to have to wait in huge queues? I’m going to spill all over myself, why did I wear a white shirt? All butterflies floated away with the first bite of the day. One of the first burgers I sampled was one of my favorites – Buckley’s.

eating

buckThe Buckley Tavern burger featured black angus beef, English cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, Boston bib lettuce, Jersey tomato and onion. It might sound a little too simple to be one of the best but you have NO IDEA how good it was! I strongly believe that when all sorts of toppings are added to a burger it’s only to mask the inadequacies of the meat. Buckley’s doesn’t have to dress up their burger too much, it’s good almost all on its own.

Another one of my favorites was from the Redfire grill. Their burger was made with ground chuck sirloin, aged white cheddar, maple pepper bacon and house-made 1000 island dressing. Again – simple. The white cheddar with the simple spice from the maple pepper bacon was just perfect. The sauce was awesome too. The burger was super juicy and well-seasoned. This is one of the samples I had to try twice!

Sometimes you feel like a basic burger, sometimes you don’t. For those that LOVE weird innovative burger things, the World Café Live burger was the one for you. Their sweet bun had bacon ON IT. Whaaaaaaaat? Yes Sir! The bun itself deserved a prize. Also I was a sucker for the kid wearing the t-shirt that said “Vote for my Daddy”. Did I mention that upon arrival each guest was given 3 tickets? We were to cast the tickets as votes towards the people’s choice award.

world cafe live 3

trophyThere were two prizes for the event: People’s Choice and Critic’s choice. There were three judges: Bill Montgomery, executive director of the Delaware Zoological Society, Chef Murray Schulman and Dana Herbert of Desserts by Dana. The people’s choice award went to Union City Grill (who were also the creators/innovators/sponsors of this entire event). The Critic’s Choice award went to Redfire Grill – looks like my vote was only one of many! Congrats to all winners and participants, this event was a total success. Proceeds from the event went to Emmanuel Dining Room, which helps alleviate the immediate needs of Delaware’s hungry by serving nutritious meals to anyone in need, at no cost and with no questions asked.

Can’t wait to be there for the battle next year! Read about last year’s Battle here!

Smashburger in Radnor PA

sbLast week I had the privilege of attending a special preview of the new Smashburger restaurant opening in Radnor, PA (550 E Lancaster Ave). It’s in a pretty easily accessible location right on Rt 30 (Lancaster Ave) not far from where the road intersects with 476. As a Bryn Mawr College graduate I wish that this place was open when I was in school! I think they’re going to do a pretty good business there! To give you an idea of what kind of establishment this is, let me recall a conversation with my mother.

Me: I went to this event at Smashburger, it’s a new burger place. It’s kinda like 5 guys – but better.
Mom: So it’s a fast food place?
Me: Yeah.
Mom: So it’s fast food, does it have a drive-thru like McDonalds?
Me: No, it’s like a 5 guys.
Mom: So would you say it’s like Wendy’s?
Me: No, it’s like 5 guys.
Mom: Do they have free peanuts?
Me: nooooooooooooo

My point is that it’s like a 5 guys – did you get that? Their interior has a trendy feeling – like a 5 guys. Their burgers are actually good – like a 5 guys. What makes it better than a 5 guys??? The toppings.. and sides. I don’t know of any fast food place that has fried pickles – other than Smashburger. The fried pickles alone would sway me to hit up a Smashburger over any other option. To be fair I think I would compare Smashburger more closely to Shake Shack in terms of trendy-goodness but Mom wouldn’t have understood that reference as she’s not from around here.

Now let’s talk burgers. They’re AWESOME! The meat they use is certified Angus beef. I’m not sure how most fast food places do it but at Smashburger the meat starts off raw (I always have the image in my mind that McDonalds meat starts off as fully-cooked patties). They take these loosely formed meatballs and “smash” them on a piping-hot griddle. The burgers are cooked in a very short time, searing in all the juices and fat. This makes for an amazingly tasty, juicy burger. You’d think that they would stop with that – a tasty, juicy burger (like 5 guys). Maybe add some bacon? Call it a day? Nope. Their burger is then dolled up with all sorts of toppings and themes.

smash menu

smash tmsMy favorite was by far the “Truffle Mushroom Swiss” burger. Pretty simply it had truffle mayo, mushrooms and swiss. The combination of the truffle mayo and the mushrooms was a decadently rich taste. This is one of those burgers that you’ll be craving a week later. This is what sets Smashburger apart from its rivals. You’re not going to find Truffle Mayo at a 5 guys, or a McDonalds or even a Shake Shack.

This TMS burger had a lot of competition to be my #1. In a close second-place was the Philly Burger. Every one of the Smashburger restaurants has a special burger that honors local flavors. The Philly burger didn’t disappoint – grilled onions, and whiz on a pretzel bun. You’ve won over my Philly heart. Oh my, I will have a hard time choosing between the two the next time I visit.

smash pretzel

At the end of the day I would totally recommend you visit a Smashburger. Their burgers and sides are the best of the best, bar none. If I haven’t won you over yet then let me tell you that their milk shakes are BALLER. A delicious way to end a fantastic meal! Cheers!

Gotham Sauce Co’s Secret Burger Sauce

This past week at the beach I thought I’d try out my brand new bottle of Gotham Burger Sauce with a good old fashioned family BBQ! We fired up the grill and made some burgers. Might I suggest you ALWAYS make your burger meat with a little bit of dry ranch dressing mix and egg – they were DELICIOUS! There wasn’t anything fancy about these burgers except for the fancy sauce.

IMG_20130809_133552From my perspective the sauce was pretty good! There was some particular flavor that was very prominent but I couldn’t really put my finger on it. Was it paprika? Who knows? As far as a “secret burger sauce” goes I was expecting a tangy Big Mac-type sauce and it didn’t disappoint – though there was something different about it. The only con, in my opinion, was that it was a lot runnier than I thought it was going to be. I checked out the ingredients and wasn’t surprised that it was basically a mayonnaise-based sauce, so I expected it to be thicker. To be honest I’m not sure that it was substantial enough to contend with the strong flavors of a burger. It’s not that it wasn’t good, but because the sauce is a little thin there just wasn’t enough of it on the burger.

There were many people who sampled the sauce, from young to the young-at-heart – so many opinions! Basically the consensus was that people liked it! The reports varied from “I LOVED IT” to “meh”. People either loved it or were indifferent – no one disliked it. Considering about 15 people tried it, the fact that no one disliked it is a big deal!

IMG_20130809_133411

The day following the big burger BBQ we threw some hot dogs on the grill for lunch. Someone pulled out the burger sauce along with the other condiments. To everyone’s surprise the BURGER sauce was EXCELLENT on hot dogs! Who would have thought? Most of the people who sampled the sauce the night before said they would more strongly consider putting this sauce on hot dog in the future. Many of those who said the sauce was only “meh” on a burger changed their opinion once they tried the sauce on a dog! I think the difference was that since a hot dog is much smaller the meat-to-sauce ratio is better.

At the end of the day I would definitely consider bringing this burger sauce to another BBQ. The novelty of the product in and of itself is something everyone can appreciate. When the options are ketchup, mustard and this fancy burger sauce – most people will reach for the burger sauce. This would probably also be an awesome gift for someone who really loves to grill or entertain.

buy it here
follow gotham sauce co here

Smashburger opening in Radnor, PA

sbSmashburger, the nation’s fastest growing “better burger” restaurant, is gearing up to bring its fresh and flavorful approach to its first location in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, August 7. The restaurant will be located at 550 East Lancaster Avenue, Radnor, PA 19087.

At Smashburger, the secret is in the smash. It starts with 100 percent fresh, never frozen, Certified Angus Beef that is smashed to perfection on a 400-degree flat grill with a patented smashing tool to sear in the juicy flavor. These “better burgers” are served with irresistible sides including the signature rosemary and garlic-seasoned Smashfries, veggie frites (flash-fried and seasoned carrot sticks and green beans) and hand-spun Häagen-Dazs® shakes.

Additionally, Smashburger will be offering area residents a regionally-inspired menu to fit the taste preferences of the local flavors and culture. The Radnor menu will include:

• The Philly Smashburger – 100% Angus beef burger topped with grilled onions, Cheez Whiz® and Gulden’s Mustard® on a pretzel bun.
• The Philly Dog – 100% Angus beef dog, grilled onions, Cheez Whiz® and Gulden’s Mustard®.

More than just burgers, customers can also enjoy a selection of tender marinated grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, grilled and split hot dogs and fresh tossed signature salads, along with a variety of notable sides, including fried pickles and haystack onions.

To learn more visit www.smashburger.com.

June Burger Club Meeting at Shake Shack

In June we had our Burger Club meeting at Shake Shack (2000 Sansom St). Shake Shack is kinda like the In-N-out burger of the east coast; they have fast food burgers that actually have a very good quality meat. I have mentioned before that Pat LaFrieda is a pretty big deal in Philly – those that love burgers love the name. Pat supplies the meat to many of Philly’s famous burger spots (Pub & Kitchen, Sketch, Supper, Butcher & Singer and Frankford Hall) including the Shake Shack! Suffice it to say that Shake Shack was a pretty big deal when they expanded to our city from New York a year ago – can’t believe it almost took a whole year for the Club to have a meeting there!

We were greeted with the usual long but speedy line that seems to be a constant at the Shake Shack. Their wall-sized menu is a nice way for everyone to figure out what they want before they get to the register – which I’m sure is why the queue goes so fast.

The last time I was at SS I got the “ShackBurger” which is their traditional burger with LT and their “ShackSauce”. To be honest I wasn’t so impressed by it last time and I think that’s why it has kept me away for a whole year. It was just nothing special. THIS TIME though, I ordered a double Hamburger with cheese. Funny how the simple things are the best. I loved it! The cheese was super melty delicious and hot! The double patty really allowed me to appreciate the meat – I vow to never order a single again at the SS. As compared to places like Five Guys and Bobby’s Burger Palace I would say the Shake Shack burger definitely stacks up. I would put it at the top of the “fast food” list for sure – especially if you’re looking for a cool tasty milkshake, that’s what they’re named for after-all.

I would like to make a special point of saying that the manager Lauren was AWESOME. Sometimes restaurants have a hard time when the Club comes to their spot (even with MONTHS of notice). Lauren greeted our crowd with some reserved tables and a lot of hospitality. Coming around to our tables after we finished to see how we enjoyed ourselves was truly a nice touch. I always appreciate it when a place makes us feel welcomed because every once in a while we go to a restaurant that makes it clear that we’re not wanted. So THANKS! We had an awesome time and can’t wait to come again!

PSA: How to NOT ruin your holiday BBQ

At the burger club we’re mostly about trying other people’s burgers – though we’re no stranger to firing up the grill ourselves. It’s that time of year where I like to make a post about DIY burgers. Last year I focused on burger toppings, this year I’d like to take a moment to talk about proper grilling techniques.

Our friends over at JES Restaurant Equipment passed along this handy infographic about how to be a grilling HERO at your next backyard BBQ. Follow these tips the next time you’re grilling for a crowd!

There you have it! Be sure to pass along your grilling experiences to us and we’ll write about it on the blog!

Event notice: 2nd Annual Wilmington Burger Battle

Check out our post about the Wilmington Burger Battle last year!!

WHAT: 2nd Annual Wilmington Burger Battle, presented by the Kenny Family Foundation
WHEN: Saturday, August 24, 2013, 12-4pm
WHERE: Twin Lakes Brewing Co., 4210 Kennett Pike, Greenville, Delaware 19807
TICKETS: http://wilmingtonburgerbattle.brownpapertickets.com/
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.wilmingtonburgerbattle.com or ucgcharities@gmail.com

Wilmington Burger Battle Returns for Round Two
Second Annual August Food Tasting Event Benefits Ministry of Caring’s Emmanuel Dining Room

The Second Annual Wilmington Burger Battle, presented by the Kenny Family Foundation, will take place on Saturday, August 24, 2013, 12–4pm at Twin Lakes Brewing Company, 4210 Kennett Pike, Greenville, Delaware. Restaurants in the greater Wilmington area—to date that list includes 2 FatGuys, BBC Tavern and Grill, Catherine Rooney’s (Newark), Ernest & Scott Taproom, Home Grown Café, Restaurant 55, Redfire Grill Steakhouse and last year’s People’s Choice Burger winner, Union City Grille—will throw down again at this outdoor, rain-or-shine charity event. Event proceeds will support the Ministry of Caring’s Emmanuel Dining Room. Admission prices include food, beer tastings, soft drinks, and music; tickets to this limited-capacity tasting event are now available at http://wilmingtonburgerbattle.brownpapertickets.com/.

Heather Hook, Executive Director of the Kenny Family Foundation said, ‘We are really proud and excited to be part of the Wilmington Burger Battle supporting the Ministry of Caring. The Ministry of Caring has done so much for the people of Wilmington and we continue to support all of their efforts any way we can.” The Kenny Family Foundation is the Wilmington Burger Battle’s first-ever naming sponsor.

Event co-founder Matthew Curtis, Chef/Owner of Union City Grille, who took home a trophy in 2012, said, “I am counting the days until I can gather with many of my restaurant industry colleagues for some good-natured competition. It’s a great way to end the summer…a family-friendly outdoor event that reminds all those returning from summer travel of the culinary gems they have here at home.”

Over 400 people attended the 2012 event to place their votes for People’s Choice Burger, and the event raised over $4000 to fight hunger. Three Delaware sports legends gave their palates a workout, serving as “Delebrity” judges to taste 18 burgers! They ultimately declared Kildare’s Irish Pub’s burger their favorite.

The Twin Lakes farm in Greenville has again agreed to serve as the venue and event proceeds will continue to support the Ministry of Caring’s Emmanuel Dining Room, which helps alleviate the immediate needs of Delaware’s hungry with over 180,000 nutritious meals served at no cost and with no questions asked.

Battle co-founder JulieAnne Cross noted, “It’s hard to top a success like last year, but we are going to try. We have at least one restaurant coming from over an hour away to join the Battle!” She adds, “We would be thrilled to double our 2012 donation to the Ministry of Caring, so that the Emmanuel Dining Room’s impact on Delaware’s hungry can be even larger.”

In addition to the Kenny Family Foundation, the Wilmington Burger Battle is also sponsored by Out & About Magazine, and free + abel.
Restaurants are encouraged to contact ucgcharities@gmail.com for more information. For information about the event, visit www.wilmingtonburgerbattle.com.

Two year anniversary meeting at 10 Arts Bistro

Last month’s burger club meeting at 10 Arts Bistro (10 S. Broad St.) was very special because it was our two year anniversary meeting! We decided to go back to where we had our very first meeting. So much has happened in the past two years. We had an amazing article written about us in the Daily News. Jim and I did a live burger tasting on WXPN with Dan Reed. The club joined forces with the ladies of Two Eat Philly and often have them on our blog as contributors. We made tshirts, buttons and even a calendar! If you asked me two years ago what would become of this club I would have never been able to imagine any of these things in a million years.

The most important aspect of the club that has developed over the years are all the people who come to the meetings. Some only come every once in a while, others come every month. No matter the number of meetings attended – you, the members, are what make this club possible. It’s always fun to see who’s going to show up every month. I love seeing both new and old faces! So long as you keep coming, I’ll keep setting up the meetings – deal?

Now on to the details of our meeting last month. If you’ve never been – the inside of 10 Arts is just plain stunning. Their main foyer area is HUGE with a nice bar, it’s really quite a grand place. They set up a large portion of their dining room for us, with lit candles and custom-made menus.  I always love it when a restaurant makes us a custom menu with our logo on it. I think Smokin Betty’s was the first to do it . We gathered at the bar and around 7pm decided to make our way to the tables. We were quickly greeted by our server who took our drink orders. The service was pretty great throughout the entire meal, we didn’t wait long for anything.

The burgers paraded to our tables shortly after we ordered. This burger wasn’t much different from the one we sampled two years ago. The only thing that was different from the burger of yesteryear was the “house made” ketchup. Members at both tables debated throughout the entire meal if the ketchup was actually made in house or Heinz. I’m no ketchup expert so I’ll leave that debate on the table. Since the burgers we’re no different than before, the reactions weren’t very different either.

My burger, said to be cooked medium was an even brown throughout. It was a pretty salty, dry patty that was sat upon a giant dry bun. The burger was topped with only a little cheese and a giant lettuce concoction with pickle slices. It’s one of those burgers that I always call a “skyscraper” burger that is too tall to fit into your mouth for a good clean bite – so you get one bite of bun and lettuce then another with burger and a little bun – not a cohesive sandwich. The whole thing just wasn’t anything to write home about. My guess is that burgers really aren’t their specialty. This is the Ritz after all – you don’t pay a boat-load for a room at this place to order a burger off their menu. I’m sure their steak or some other fancy meal would be much better. Not to say that we didn’t have a good time though! The atmosphere is unbeatable, the service is fantastic, the drinks are unique and delicious. Even the French fries were seasoned to perfection (a little spicy – delicious!).

Our friends from Matthew Vlahos Public Relations were excellent to set up the whole event. They even were able to get us some sweet gifts to raffle off! I think the coolest thing we were able to give away was a signed copy of Rachael Ray’s burger cook book – HOW COOL! All in all we had a great time. I would like to thank everyone who made this meeting, and all meetings fun and enjoyable. See you next month!