I am thrilled to announce that I am officially writing a burger cookbook with my friend Samuel Monsour (formerly of JM Curley) and it will be published by Union Park Press and is coming out in April 2015!!! We couldn’t be happier to start working on this project, testing out recipes and eating way more burgers than we ever thought possible. We have some unique ideas we are working on that I can’t wait to share with you guys, so stay tuned for many, many updates along the way. Thanks as always for all the ongoing support!
Articles filed under ‘Press’
Hey Burger Gang,
Just wanted to give a quick mention that I appeared on ‘Chronicle’ last week, for those not from the Boston area it is a nightly news show that focuses on pretty much anything and everything locally. I was lucky enough to chat about burgers for a few minutes, so check it out! Also just a reminder to give our podcast a listen, we’ve had some amazing people on lately: food writers, chefs, food truck owners, food photographers, etc and have plenty more fun episodes lined up in the coming weeks and months. I’m continuing to write my “Man Food” and “Night Owl” columns for Boston Magazine as well. Stay tuned for more exciting burger news coming up right here, happy burger eating!!
When I was contacted by the folks behind the Food Truck Throwdown to be a judge this year, it was pretty much a no-brainer. For the second year in a row, it’s a chance for the food trucks in Boston to compete against some of the best food trucks in New York. A Boston versus New York rivalry? Now where have I seen that before… Regardless, I’m looking forward to a fun day filled with great food, the event is free to the public so I hope to see you there. As an added bonus, I’ve been contacted by a few of the Boston trucks to share some of their signature dishes, all made with Maker’s Mark, enjoy!
Roxy’s Grilled Cheese Bourbon Peach Melt
with Brie, Maker’s Mark ™ Bourbon-Peach marmalade, crispy bacon
8 Peaches, Quartered
Quarter cup brown sugar
1 and a half cup Maker’s Mark ™ bourbon
Quarter of a diced red onion
One sprig chopped tarragon
Six slices of center cut bacon
Six slices of white bread, preferably sourdough
One pound of triple cream brie, sliced around a quarter inch thick
Quarter cup mayonnaise
Cook bacon on medium heat in frying pan until crispy. Cool, rough chop.
For the Maker’s Mark ™ Bourbon-Peach Marmalade:
Quarter and pit peaches. Saute onions til tender. Once tender, add peaches. Saute until soft. De-glaze with Maker’s Mark ™ bourbon. Add brown sugar, cook down on low for ten minutes. Remove from heat, add chopped tarragon, let cool.
For the Grilled Cheese:
Apply a thin layer of mayonnaise, not butter, to one side of each slice of bread. Over low medium heat in a frying pan, lay bread down with the mayo side down touching the griddle. Apply brie, marmalade, and chopped bacon. Once topped, close sandwich. Flip as needed until golden brown. continue reading »
My third article featured in the Dig. (online exclusive)
Previously, we’ve discussed the differences between the gourmet and the classic burger, as well as my sad confession as to why I love burgers so much. Yes, I’m a child (I’ve settled for being a man-child at this point) because I eat so many burgers, which aren’t exactly on the high-end list of cuisines available to me in this fine culinary city. But I’m hoping my ridiculous over-analyzing accounts for something. Even if I’m perceived as a complete burger snob and elitist, at least it’s something, right? I think it’s safe to say my blog and my quest is meant for those who share my love of food and take their food as seriously as I do. But am I eliminating an entire group of people who think McDonald’s is the ideal hamburger? I see the look on people’s faces every time I mention the Craigie burger and its hefty $18 price tag as being my favorite burger in the area. How could my favorite burger cost so much? Shouldn’t Bartley’s orR.F. O’Sullivan’s be the best at least based on the typical look of a burger joint? Maybe I’m more of a food snob than I thought, or dare I use the “f” word (that’s foodie to you and me).
Let’s get back to those McDonald’s apologists. Do they write off any gourmet burger as pretentious and inaccessible or are they simply unaware of what they are missing out on? I can’t say I blame them entirely; the burger isn’t supposed to be the food choice destined to be treated in such a high-brow manner, by definition, a burger is a no muss no fuss kind of good grub – a quick and satisfying bite topped with lettuce, tomato and a slice of American cheese. Obviously that’s where I beg to differ, but I think I’m creating a different caste, however, even I can acknowledge that there can be room for both. I don’t foresee a problem in trying to refine peoples’ tastes: we could all use a little palate fine-tuning. So allow me to be your burger guide. We don’t need to be defined as burger connoisseurs because we like the pure style of the cheap-o burger or appreciate the delicate touch of a higher end patty finished with truffle oil. I’ve become the burger guy, at least I hope, because I accept and enjoy both burger worlds, there is a time and place for both, I’m not George Costanza, and my worlds are not colliding.
The trick of course, is fusing those two styles together, which of course is why In-N-Out is so damn successful. It’s cheap and greasy like a burger should be, but delicious and beefy enough to please any tough critic. This is why 5 Guys fails from my perspective. We’ve become so enamored with the familiar fast food style that anything that tries to mimic that is hip and innovative. But 5 Guys’ beef tastes like rubber, the fries are okay, but overall it’s a grease bomb and not in a good way. Oh, by the way, it costs around $11 for a combo meal. In-N-Out costs about half that for a far superior product, too bad they’re only on the West Cast. If you’re looking for a thinner, griddled burger that is familiar in that fast food kid of way go toFlat Patties and taste the difference. You’ll thank me later. But I don’t want to turn this into a 5 Guys rant, I just want my opinions to be respected. Moreover I’m here to dispel rumors and steer my fellow burger lovers towards what I think are the better places around town.
I don’t even know if I have that kind of an influence, but hopefully by now I have established some sort of a reputation. For better or for worse, if I rate a burger on the lower end of the scale, people will go to see how bad it is. If I love it, then best case scenario will be that everyone else will love it too. Or, like most cases, people think I’m a total buffoon either way and think I’m taking myself way too seriously. They’re probably right, but now we’re in this together, joining burger fans throughout Boston, appreciating all styles of our favorite sandwich, till burger do us part.
My second article featured in the Dig. (online exclusive) Working on a new article this week on fries. Tell me, what is your favorite spot for fries in Boston?
I don’t know why the obsession with burgers started; I can’t pinpoint it to one memorable experience, one specific juicy burger, or one perfect burger hot off the grill in the summer. What I do know is that, like many Americans, it was my go-to dish every time I went out to eat as a kid. It was acceptable as a kid, but I’m not convinced it’s socially normal to eat burgers as frequently as I do now. I was always that dumb kid who ordered a burger every chance I got, which is fine when you’re dining at the Ground Round with your parents as an eleven year old. It’s less fine when you’re eating a burger at a restaurant when there’s probably a much more sophisticated option. I still feel like I’m ordering off of the kids’ menu more often than not, and some places are more embarrassing than others. It’s not my fault there’s a burger on practically every menu in Boston, and I have to have to them all. Neptune Oyster is 99% seafood, and 1% burger. I don’t think you have to guess what I ordered there.
The journey, at least in my “adult” days, began on a road trip to Louis’ Lunch in New Haven Connecticut, the supposed inventor of the modern hamburger sandwich. While the burger itself was average, the history and the experience were memorable. This inspired me to launch a website devoted to reviewing all the burgers in Boston, good or bad, over or under cooked, and to do it as candidly as possible. I think I bit off more than I could chew (pun intended) because as noted, burgers are everywhere and there are a dizzying number of opinions as to what makes a burger good. Food is such a personal thing, especially the burger which represents so many food memories to so many people. But why is the burger so beloved by the masses? For me, it’s not about childhood nostalgia or the ghosts of burgers past; it’s about the anticipation of the next great burger. The best burgers I’ve had in this city stay with me always because they never fail to disappoint. A bad burger leaves my memory before I even finish the last bite, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t love the process.
Let’s talk about the process, the nitpicking and dissecting of the burgers I’ve become known for. Not all burgers are created equally, and there is so much to consider. I never tire of burgers because they are all so different. I’ve never finished eating one and had nothing to say about it. Worst case scenario it’s redundant, a been-there-done-that kind of moment, but that’s the story right there, the tale of the clichéd burger. For my own self-indulgence, encountering a below-average burger can be amusing, and it provides for much more material versus say, the C+ burger that is charred, under-seasoned and pedestrian. But when it’s bad – as dry as my sense of humor and has fried dough as a bun, that’s when the fun begins. The opposite end of the spectrum is true too. While I can’t bitch about the exceptional burgers (The Bristol Lounge, Eastern Standard, Lineage, to name a few) sometimes it’s nice to write something positive and not play the role of “most annoying food blog,” as one reader kindly pointed out to me. Burgers are the quintessential American food for a reason, and although you’ll never catch me claiming to be super-Patriotic, a burger is and will always be my food of choice.
At its best a burger is juicy, mouthwatering, beefy and exactly what I’m craving at any given moment. I’m well on my way to eating my way through this city of burgers. Some topped with aioli, others with bacon and barbecue sauce, all unique in their own way and I’ll gladly play the role of burger critic, the eleven year-old in me couldn’t be happier.
Figured I might as well post my articles for the Dig here. This is the first of four articles I’ve written so far, look for new burger musings each and every week at the Dig online. Feel free to send along burger topics for me to cover.
Burgers are the ultimate blank canvas food; the possibilities and condiments are pretty endless. But at what point does it become too weird, too over-the-top, or too “gourmet”? We are so accustomed to grilled, back-yard burgers during the summer, that anything elevated beyond that becomes categorized in the aforementioned gourmet category. Locally, the likes of R.F.O’Sullivan & Son, Washington Square Tavern and Post 390 are what I consider to be the full-on, summer burger your dad probably made for you as a kid, and they all do it with varying degrees of success. I think food memories certainly play a large part in any local loyalties, especially in the world of flip flops, sprinklers, a few beers, and the glorious smell of charcoal and smoke. The $16 burger just can’t compete with that. continue reading »