Finding myself in Western Mass for a weekend, I knew a burger was obviously going to be in the cards. After a quick stop at the new outpost of White Hut, I found my way into High Horse, a brewery and pub in Amherst. Like any good pub, it devotes a large portion of the food menu to burgers, which the restaurant boasts as being ground in-house every morning. Pickles and buns, I’m also told, are made in-house as well. If you think making pickles isn’t a big deal (and I would agree with you) take a look at all the local Boston restaurants that use pickles (while still delicious) from another hometown company. Generally lots of components are made in-house, but the pickle is often outsourced and I never understand why. A refreshing but painfully small pour of a Saison joined my lunch as I sat outside on the patio. continue reading »
I sometimes wish I could set my own price after I eat a burger. Not to be cheap, but merely to see if what I think it should be valued at is the actual number on the menu. It can go either way; many burgers taste far more extravagant than their humble price tag while oftentimes pricier options just don’t add up for me. Put Ceia Kitchen and Bar somewhere in the middle; not quite a bargain but but not a major disappointment either. The $16 Kobe burger is topped with manchego cheese, serrano ham, tomato, smoked paprika aioli and served with duckfat fries. It certainly sounded like it was worthy of the slightly hefty price tag, and after waiting a good hour for the food to arrive, I could hardly wait to dive right in. continue reading »
For the past couple of years Boston Magazine has held the Battle of the Burger, a fun night where chefs and restaurants compete for burger supremacy. This year I’m back for the second time as a judge for the home griller competition, where home cooks create their best burger and the winner gets all sorts of prizes and bragging rights. I’m thrilled to be back participating again this year in what they are now calling The Cookout. New this year is the addition of The Cue, a competition to see who has the best BBQ in the area plus ten local bartenders will be slinging some cocktails in their own competition. It’s two nights that are sure to be incredible, and I’m lucky enough to be able to do a giveaway for two general admission tickets each to both The Cue (which includes the mixologist portion) on August 12th and the Battle of the Burger on August 13th. So which one do you want to go to? Just comment below (only once please) telling me which event you’d rather go to and why and choose wisely. I will choose one winner for The Cue and one winner for the Battle of the Burger. For an extra chance to win please visit my Facebook page and Twitter account (with the hashtag #BigCue or #burgerbattle) and tell me which event you prefer. I’ll announce two winners on Tuesday, August 4th at random. Good luck and I hope to see you in August!!
The folks behind White Horse Tavern in Allston (also of The Avenue, Harry’s Bar and Grill and Shanghai Social Club, to name a few) invited me in yesterday to chat burgers, of course. Lucky for me (and for all of you) it’s a pretty damn good time to be invested in the burger business, as places seem to be popping up left and right these days, but I for one always think there is room for more. I’m proud to be be the first to report that White Horse Tavern is going to be a lot more burger-centric on their menu in the coming days and weeks. I sampled a bunch and was incredibly impressed with the quality of beef (ground in-house from Pineland Farms), house-made pickles and freshly baked house buns. The 4 ounce chuck roll patties are cooked on a massive flat-top and some of the burgers include a brunch burger with hash browns, a fried egg and bacon, and a ballpark burger made with a sausage patty, peppers, onions and fresh mozzarella. The menu is a la carte but the basic burger starts at $4, with sides (Sea Salt Fries, Parmesan Truffle Fries) starting at $1.50. I also wanted to share that on Tuesday, August 5th beginning at 11:30am, White Horse Tavern will be giving away 1,000 burgers until they run out or at midnight, whichever comes first. You will receive a 4 ounce griddled fresh ground Pineland Farms beef burger, on a freshly baked house bun, homemade pickles, and choice of cheese. 1 per customer, no additional purchase needed. Additional toppings and fries are menu price. Over 21 after 7pm. Chef Josh Davis says he dares the Allston community to eat 1,000 free burgers on August 5th. I’m definitely not one to blow smoke, but I was very impressed with the burgers I tried, and have long been a proponent of the burgers at The Avenue for years. The new menu officially rolls out on July 29th, so do yourself a favor and check it out sometime soon.
Hey there, Alden and Harlow, no pressure or anything. Many folks (both local and national) have been anointing the Secret Burger one of the best burgers in the country, never mind locally. I’m always wary of such proclamations, for obvious reasons, and try to avoid the hype machine as best I can before heading into a place. How good could it really be? I’ve eaten my way through a great (and uncomfortable) amount of burgers over the last few years. Many have wowed me, some have disappointed, and most have been just fine and dandy. I dined at Alden and Harlow on a busy Thursday night, knowing full well that a burger would be in my future. They mention on the menu that there is only a limited number of burgers available on a nightly basis (rumor has it about three dozen, with a few withheld for late-night service) although I have yet to hear of many, if any people getting rejected because they had run out. To me it feels like a cooler Craigie on Main approach: the burger is there for the taking but clearly there are a bunch of other fine dishes the chef would rather have you enjoy; it’s not hidden even if it is limited. I certainly wouldn’t complain if Alden just turned into a full-blown burger joint, but something tells me chef Scelfo wants to flex his culinary muscles a little more than just serving up our most beloved sandwich. continue reading »
It’s just a burger, right? Right. I don’t totally “get” some places. I mean, I get it, you serve burgers in a fast casual kind of way, and not that you need to reinvent the wheel, but why go through the trouble if you aren’t going to try something new and interesting? I do suppose for some majority of people out there, the classics and the straight-forward are all they’d ever want or need in a burger joint. So despite my pretentious desires, there is always a market for the simple and the pure burger. A&B in Salem, relatively new, is housed in the old Salem jail, giving it a unique look and offering table service and awkward waiter interactions despite most checks coming in under $10 per person. Not that there’s anything wrong with the service, that part is just fine, and my lazy ass certainly appreciates it. continue reading »