First up, Bareburger. In August, I went to the location near NYU as part of a going away party for my former colleague and FOCOT, Professor Mike L. Bareburger's deal is its organic focus and grass-fed meats, but folks who know me know that I don't really care about that stuff. On the other hand, I got excited because I saw elk on the menu. On a recent visit to Seattle, I had hoped to get an elk burger at Uneeda Burger, as it had been favorably reviewed by my college classmate Chris, but I didn't get a chance and was wondering where I'd get my hands on elk back on the east coast. Problem solved.
Elk was the recommended meat (among the other fleshy options: turkey, beef, ostrich, lamb, and bison; veggie options also available) for the Jalapeno Express burger, which I ordered for what sounded like a blast of spiciness: pepperjack, red onion, jalapeno relish, horseradish mayo, and chipotle ketchup. The burger as a whole was very tasty, although the spiciness didn't really materialize. I deeply enjoyed the medium rare elk meat, which was rich, juicy, and tasty without any gaminess. I'm not sure if others would agree, but it tasted somewhat bacony-y, as if someone had ground up and added a couple of strips of bacon into mix. That alone should make you want to get some. I will have to try another elk burger soon, one that's very simple, so that I can get a better fix on the meat's flavor. Oh, the hardships of research.
In June, I had an unexpectedly terrific burger in Edinburgh at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen on George Street. I had just finished seeing a head-spinning, and upon reflection really cool, production of Knives in Hens at the Traverse Theater and had gotten myself lost heading back to the hotel.
I'd attempted earlier to blog about the burger but overcomplicated things by trying to link something about the play to the burger. Never mind that now, just look at the picture of the Wellington burger, with mushrooms, rocket (arugula), and horseradish sauce. Terrific stuff - the horseradish zinged straight up my nose and in spiciness outdid Bareburger's Jalapeno Express by a factor of 10. If I remember right, I couldn't get the beef done medium rare, but it tasted good anyway, and the serving size was just right, particularly when paired with the substantial, albeit unimpressive, chips. I wish I could get this burger here, along with the super refreshing and tongue tingling ginger and lemongrass fizz with fresh mint and lime.
The biggest problem I had with this burger was figuring out how to eat it. I may have been the only person in the dining room when this came out, yet I felt an anticipatory embarrassment about how I was going to handle the height of this impressive, almost Dagwood scaled sandwich. Knife and fork? Disassembly? The answer was pretty obvious and ultimately simple - I squashed the thing down. Yum.