• 26Jan

    Until recently, I was not a burger person. At least not beef burgers. Turkey and lamb, sure, But that all changed when I had Bourbon Steak’s burger. Thick, juicy, and delicious, this burger is like nothing I’ve had before.

    Tucked into the Four Seasons in Georgetown, Bourbon Steak is better known for expense account dining. But their “Business At Bourbon Steak Over Burgers” special (weekdays, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., at the bar) provides a taste of their fantastic offerings. It’s not cheap, but for $22, you get a burger, fries, a non-alcoholic beverage, and a cookie. Not a bad deal at one of the city’s swankest eateries.

    You can choose from steak, lamb, turkey, veggie, and salmon burgers. I like to stick with the oak-fired prime steak, medium, with cheddar, lettuce, and tomato, and a side of fries. This burger is huge and super filling. The meat is of excellent quality. The truffle-Parmesan duck fat fries are crisp and I usually can’t finish them. Being that this is Bourbon Steak, upgrades are available, such as a foie gras add-on. I’ve not done that, but I did order the mac and cheese recently. It was good, but a bit too creamy for my taste. And way too filling. The cookies are always fresh, and it you go in the summer, it’s actually an ice cream sandwich, which I prefer. If you’re looking to stay within budget, you can get a dealers choice beer for $5. I’ve never been disappointed in that beer.

    Service is impeccable and friendly. The bar can get busy, especially on Fridays, but some days it’s quiet, and you can relax with your burger and beer. It’s not an every day lunch, but when you can, try it out and you’ll be happy you did.

    -LEM (Lia)

     

  • 20Apr

    Normally, I would take a heavy editing hand to such prose, but my dear fellow native Washingtonian AJ is not only not wrong in her assessments, I think her admittedly ridiculous over-style is somehow appropriate for the inflated self-worth of ‘fancy’ fast food joints.

    -MAW

    —–
    AJ Says:

    I’m an admitted burger fiend. I grew up eating the things by the truckload at home and out (visits to the old Hamburger Hamlet were ever a demand foisted upon my parents’ weekends). But mostly, we ate them at home. Our burger consumption transcended all the various food and diet fads of the 80’s and 90’s – my mother, and later I, tried every one – through low fat to mid-fat to inexplicably 99% fat free beef, through turkey, through lamb, through veal and through chicken, our patties endured white buns and wheat buns, no buns and potato rolls, were eaten plain and smothered in ketchup, mustard, organic ketchup, mayo, Tabasco, Cholula and Marie Sharp’s, dipped in Kraft BBQ and home-made barbeque sauces, and mixed with onion soup mix, blue cheese, and whatever else – one thing, however, remained constant: each patty was grilled over open fire, just shy of medium-rare, with a nice charred crust all around. We ate a lot of burgers, and I’ll even cop to loving McDonalds’ through about age 14, when I discovered that my anti-corporatist streak could be more reasonably supported by liking a proper hamburger containing neither carrageenan, soy byproduct, nor griddle grease. My love of meat did (thank heaven!) stop me short of any teenage-girl notions about dieting or vegetarianism.

    This brings me to the relatively recent revival of burger joints in DC and elsewhere, and how much they piss me off. Five Guys was the first I noticed – bland, grey patties cooked on soggy white buns, served aside admittedly delicious fries and momentarily entertaining peanut shells to throw at people. The Shake Shack craze I understand even less. Blah on both counts, and I never understood why people get so excited about them, but at least they admit it’s fast food. But now we come to Black & Orange, formerly Rogue States. Intrigued by the concept (and gleefully in support of just about any attempt to push DC into a better late-night town), I decided to stop in the other day on my way home from work.

    To be as fair as possible, I eschewed the fancily dressed-up versions – as you may guess, I do love me some toppings – and went for the “Square One,” dressed simply with sea salt and black pepper, and topped with the ever-traditional lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickle. I excitedly dug in. And there, my excitement came to an abrupt and unsightly death.

    Which isn’t to say the burger wasn’t pretty: it was really picturesque as a whole, with the right proportions, for me, of mean, topping, and bun. But, upon taking a bite, I found the bun was sweet but otherwise insipid, and the patty itself bland and mushy in texture. It was, at least, properly pink inside, and the toppings were fresh (and the lettuce not iceburg!), giving it a leg up on the above-mentioned fast-fad burgers.

    I understand the limitations of indoor kitchens and the need for grill pans instead of grills, but seriously people: this is not a “gourmet” burger. This is a better-than-average fast-food burger. While again I do love the idea that the place is open till 5 AM, and I’ll probably stop in for some sweet potato fries and maybe even another burger after later shows at the Black Cat, by that point I’ll have had eleventeen vodka-cranberries and won’t care about much beyond “Foooooooood…nowwwwww.” For random I-need-dinner-on-the-way-home nights, however, I’ll stick to Fast Gourmet sandwiches, and just do burgers myself.

    – A guest post by AJ

    Black & Orange
    1931 14th St. NW,
    Washington, DC 20009
    202-450-5365

    [ad]

  • 03Aug

    From Chef Michael Kiss of the Whole Foods in Arlington. This is from Tonight’s (7pm) free class.

    Healthy lifestyle isn’t always fun and granola, sometimes we get little hankerings for something familiar and kinda bad. Don’t we love hamburgers? We also like the feeling of empowerment when we stay true to what our bodies want and go for the veggie burger, even though what is inside the box isn’t very appealing. Mystery veg isn’t any better than mystery meat, that’s all I am saying.

    Well, today is the day we say NO to the frostbitten hockey puck of bland flavorless pseudo-food patty and say YES to a big beautiful healthy burger that we made with all natural whole foods. It will be a day that when we sit down next to those omnivores, they will look at our buns in envy.

    Anatomy of a basic veggie burger
    The truth is there isn’t a lot to a veggie burger as far as the basic binding medium. The art of the whole thing is to fill up the binder with lots interesting flavors and textures so the burger has highlights and appeal. Without the veggie fillers the binder alone would be like a dense pasty savory cookie. So go crazy with the veg folks, and remember that is where you can really fine tune your nutrition too.

    Basic veggie burger
    Makes 10 to 12 burger patties
    1 Can black beans drained
    1 Can diced tomatoes
    1 C. chopped carrot
    1 clove garlic
    ½ C. chopped onion
    1 ½ C. chopped fresh vegetables or frozen is fine too
    2 C. Instant oatmeal
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Pre heat oven to 400 f.
    In a food processor puree the beans, tomatoes, and carrots garlic and onions with a few pulses. Next mix in by hand the oats and vegetables, season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes then form into patties and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool and freeze in zip lock bags for later

    So this is the basic burger, and this alone is way better than morning-boca-gaden-crud, but basic isn’t how we roll foodies, hamburger roll…

    Let’s get funky and have something crazy good for dinner.

    How do you think of variations and themes?
    Sometimes I have an idea and just wait for the right ingredient to fall in place, sometimes I find an exciting ingredient and try to work it into a recipe. And once in a while, when the mood is right and the stars are aligned and all is well in the world I make up a funny name and make the food reflect the name…tonight is one of those nights.

    So for tonight’s variation:
    The Rhinestone Ninja
    I added shitake mushrooms and edamame for the vegetable and seasoned with gomasio, ginger and soy sauce
    I changed the onions to scallions (see flexibility-an onion is an onion)

    That’s just the burger, but what about the toppings?
    To fill out the Rhinestone Ninja, let’s have fun with the toppings. Foodies the topping enhance the burger but also it is an opportunity to expand the nutrition of the meal by getting in some extra vegetables in creative ways. Way better than lumping out the mustard and ketchup.

    Gitano slaw
    For 4 burgers
    1 C. shredded carrot
    1 C. shredded daikon radish
    1 tsp poppy seeds
    2 Tbs. seasoned rice wine vinegar
    ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
    ½ tsp honey
    Mix all ingredients together and let stand for a few minutes

    Cowboy karate chop sauce
    For 4 burgers
    3 Tbs. veganaise
    1 tsp or more to taste siracha hot sauce
    ½ tsp lime juice

    Whole sprigs of cilantro to finish the burgers

    Foodies, I want you to make some amazing veggie burgers this week, Have fun get the family and friends involved. Having a healthy lifestyle is a journey, enjoying a meal with people we love is a destination.

    Eat well!

  • 18Mar

    This article is from our new Blogger Cara, who sat 2 seats to my left at the GMU lecture on food safety.  I wonder if she noticed that the guy in-between us who was eating peperoni pizza while watching Food, Inc., was turning green.  Actually, it’s appropriate that I met Cara at that lecture and she grinds her own meat.  🙂

    -JAY

    ————

    Forgot to take pictures during the process, but it looked a whole lot like the above photo.

    Today, after almost 4 months of ownership of the food grinder attachment for my stand mixer, I finally busted it out of hiding and gave it a whirl.  I had been grocery shopping with my friend Michael at Whole Foods, when we came across a sale on beef shoulder.  Michael is a chef *slash* kitchen experimenter extraordinaire, so he is always grinding things up just to put them right back together…among other things.  To illustrate, the other day he made “soup dumplings.”  To make these, you create a stock from scratch, freeze the stock into cubes, then cover them in dumpling dough and steam them until the stock heats up.  Like soupy water-bed pillows.  This is all just in his spare time.

    So, back to the meat counter.  Michael decides to pick up a pound of the beef shoulder and encourages me to do the same, knowing full well that I still have not used my brand new grinder.  After letting the idea marinate for a bit, I picked up a pound as well. I’m a bit competitive and just couldn’t let him be the only one grinding his own meat this week!  Let the adventure begin.

    This was some beautiful meat.  Well marbled, a perfect deep dark (non-dyed) red, and smelling sweetly of flesh.  Time to grind!  I pulled out the grinder, neglected to read the instructions, and slapped it right on the mixer.  Mistake.  There were two grinding attachments on there for storage, and one needed to be removed. After a bit of fumbling, I was ready to grind.  I cubed the steak and carefully dropped a few cubes into the tube.  Nothing.  (Guess you really do need that little plunger that shoves the meat into the grinder.)  Shove, shove, shove, and poof!  Ground meat flowing freely out through the end of the attachment, dropping gently into the bowl below.  I got a little giddy with a feeling of awesome accomplishment.
    I briefly considered whether or not I should have seasoned the meat first, but then remembered this extremely scientific experiment, and decided I’d be better off waiting.  When the grinding was complete, I seasoned the beef with salt, pepper, dried mustard, and a mesquite seasoning I had tucked away in the spice cabinet, worked it all together, and made four gorgeous patties.  I couldn’t wait to try one so I fried one up in a pan with a touch of butter and…well…let’s just say I think it rivals Michael Landrum’s at Ray’s Hell Burger. Obviously it wasn’t grilled, but it did not lack in flavor or texture.

    Let’s just say I don’t know if I can go back to pre-ground beef.  And why should I?  The grinder has now been christened and I get the feeling it’s ready for work.

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