Monday, January 11, 2010

When a burger isn't just a burger.

I dearly adore all my vegetarian friends, but personally, I'm just not sure I could ever really give up the all mighty burger. A good burger is like a vacation in your mouth. It should be juicy and moist and make you want to forgo all napkins and facial upkeep until you head for the bath once the last delicious bite is taken. A really GREAT burger has meat so wonderful that it stands alone. A burger should not have to rely on fixings to provide great taste but rather build on the foundation of meat so delicious in and of itself that if it were delivered as a solo patty on a plate, your guests would still stand in applause.

Alas, this kind of burger is a rare beast. There are plenty of decent burgers out there that I am more than happy to oblige in eating. And while I’m certainly a fan of quite a few (many of which include things like gooey cheese, crisp bacon and sweet sautéed onions), I have only come across a couple of burgers thus far that I think would rate as GREAT on the burger perfection scale. So while my never ending BurgerQuest charges forward, here are a few morsels found thus far of delectable burger goodness, noteworthy in the ranks of the great burgers of our time.

A Brooklyn Beauty
About 5 years ago, while living in Brooklyn, I came across one such burger at Stone Park Café in Park Slope. While sitting at the bar one day fully immersed in burger madness, I took a moment to look up in awe at one of Stone Park’s co-owners to ask what on earth they season their burger meat with. He looked me right in the eye and said, “Nothing.” I didn’t believe him of course. It just tasted SO good and the meat was so damn flavorful! Low and behold I came to find it was true! This burger institution (and p.s. everything else they make is spectacular as well) uses such high quality meat that they don’t even need to season it making this burger one of the true greats.

San Francisco's French Pull Out All The Stops
Across the country in another park side eatery I found another really great burger today at San Francisco's South Park Café. This cute little French place on a quiet green spot in the south of market district serves up a distinctly amazing burger. The burger is straight forward and delicious. Served on superb focaccia that is soft and buttery without being overly pillowy or drowning out the burger. Garnished with thin pickled red onions, a good char from the grill flame, just the right amount of cheese and a wee dab of aioli it is excellent. And a major steal to boot at $8 served with side salad and fries!

I can't cover the SF burger scene without two key notes. First, Hubert Keller's epic Burger Bar recently opened in Union Square. Since I have not yet had the pleasure of this sure to be burger dining delight, I thought I should put in a place holder for the BurgerQuest's next edition in which I will tell you all the salty, savory, dripping with deliciousness details that will likely be my trip to this fine eatery. And while I am at it, a note to Hubert: you better come through for me buddy.

Second, hubs and I have a Valentine's Day burger tradition. We never have to make reservations and we are never disappointed with our meal. Since moving to SF we've been heading to Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers in Noe Valley. Not only does Barney's put out a truly delicious, comma inducing burger event that really should come with a warning label that you will need a bath immediately after to combat what can only be described as post-burger gooey face and hands syndrome, but they also serve some pretty damn fabulous milkshakes and curly fries. Not that a burger isn’t challenging enough on your heart without the milkshake and fries, but let's be honest, no true burger meal is really complete without them.

So stay tuned for the next installment of A Girl and Her Kitchen BurgerQuest and all of it's delightfully gooey details.

1 comment:

  1. There is a place in Santa Monica called Father's Office. I might need to take you there.