alla spina – the burgamo

Alla Spina, Marc Vetri’s Italian gastropub, has been open since late February but didn’t have a burger until recently. That burger has been named The Burgamo, a double cheeseburger made with LaFrieda beef, cheddar, lettuce, onion, pickles, and special sauce. To make things more special, it’s served on a housemade sesame seeded potato bun alongside your choice of housemade salt & vinegar or BBQ chips.

It’s huge. You’re going to have to unhook your jaw as you take bites! The meat is thin enough that you don’t request a temperature. In my case, it was cooked just under well done. The housemade potato bun was really, really tasty. It had a lightness to the inside, with a crusty exterior which held up well during consumption. The downside of that crusty exterior, however, is that every bite that had to break through the crusty exterior resulted in a shifting of all the ingredients away from the bite area. I had to strategically start taking bites around to keep the ingredients centered on the bun. Since there were two patties, each separated by the intermediate slice of bun, I was hoping there would be melted cheddar on both. It was only placed on the upper burger.

Despite it not living up to my self created hype, The Burgamo is a tasty burger. I think it has a lot of potential and would definitely like to try it again sometime down the line.

Alla Spina
1410 Mt. Vernon St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130

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beer: narragansett summer ale

Ryan Hudak of In Search of Beer is back to review Narragansett’s summer ale.

This summer, I’ve been trying to do three things: run at least four times a week, try to avoid leaving air conditioning at all costs, and explore lighter, more refreshing summer beers. While I’ve been having mild success with the first two (they don’t really go hand-in-hand, after all), I’ve been able to make a lot of headway on the third item. Oddly enough, one of my discoveries came as I was blatantly ignoring #2 on my list and camping.

The Narragansett Summer Ale, from Rhode Island, is a light, crisp and clean blonde ale that doesn’t overwhelm in any sense. It’s 4.2% ABV allows you to “refresh” yourself multiple times throughout the day while the citra hops lend the flavor of grapefruit and citrus. These flavors blend perfectly with the pale malts to give you a laid back and refreshing beer that’s not only highly drinkable, but highly affordable ($26.99 for a case of 18-oz cans).

When the weather has been such that you break a sweat just opening the front door to get your mail, the last thing you want to be drinking is anything that reminds you of thick chocolate milk or bitter hop syrup. Keep it light and keep the alcohol low and you’ll have a much better time than if you were sitting in the sun drinking a 14% barleywine—trust me, I’ve already made that mistake this year.

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lucky’s last chance – my boy bleu

With the juice cleanse the following day, we decided to enjoy our “last supper” with none other than one of our favorite foods, burgers. There has been talk about going to Lucky’s Last Chance for a while but the trigger hasn’t been pulled because, well, it’s in Manayunk. I’m not the biggest fan of Manayunk and I don’t have much reason to go there. However, this past dinner is slowly changing my mind.

Lucky’s burgers are made up of hand made, quarter pound patties. Most of the burgers are available in both a junior (single patty) and standard (double patty). They don’t ask you how you want it cooked as they’re all made to the same temperature.

I went with My Boy Bleu, The quarter pound patties were topped with bleu cheese, homemade onion strings, and a tomato. It’s sandwiched between a buttered & toasted Liscio’s roll. The meat was cooked to medium well and had a slight toughness to it (not the appalling well done toughness though; it didn’t fall apart). Aside from the temperature, this was one tasty burger. The crispy onions added a nice texture. I believe this was a Liscio’s kaiser roll and it tasted great. If other restaurants that served burgers on a kaiser roll had rolls this fresh, perhaps I wouldn’t have such a negative impression of them.

My dining partner went with the Bacon Egg N Cheese burger. As the name implies, it comes topped with American cheese, bacon, and a fried egg. I wasn’t lucky enough to try a bite, but by the look on her face, I can imagine it was pretty damn good.

The burgers here don’t come with fries, but you have the option of adding them for a couple bucks. I added the fries with Cajun seasoning. The other option was adding the homemade onion strips (it’s about a dollar or two more than the fries). I’m not huge on crinkle cut fries but the ones here are pretty tasty. They certainly didn’t compare to the onion strings though, those are really good!

Despite the medium-well burgers, the meal was delicious and they have a bunch of other burgers I’d like to try, as well as a whole hot dog menu! Till we meet again, Lucky’s!

Lucky’s Last Chance
4421 Main St.
Philadelphia, PA 19127

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three day catalyst cleanse

For those of you who have been following my blog, you’re probably wondering why. Similar to when I go vegetarian for Lent, I confuse my readers by making some drastic change to my diet. “Why would you do this to yourself? Why would you go three days where all you’re allowed to consume is water, decaffeinated tea, and the juices? You’re crazy.”

Here are my reasons. I’ve had some friends who have done it and they said they’ve felt great afterwards. They have also mentioned how they’re a little more cautious of what they eat after the cleanse.

The primary reason though, is preparation for my trip. I shall be embarking on a 10 day trip to Seattle/Portland starting tomorrow with someone who, like me, will get excited and attempt to eat everything. On the itinerary is several burger joints, restaurants, bars, breweries, etc. There’s just too much to name. So yeah, we thought it’d be a good idea to “cleanse” ourselves before the 10-day feast, I mean trip. In hindsight, you’d think preparation for this trip would be eating obnoxiously, right?

The Catalyst Cleanse is a daily juice cleanse consisting of six juices which are consumed in a specific order each day. The duration of your cleanse can be as short as a single day or as long as a month! There are only five juices and the green juice is consumed as #1 and #5. The five juices are as follows (in order of consumption):

-Signature Green Juice (cucumber, celery, apple, parsley, spinach, lemon, lime, ginger)
-Spicy Lemonade (lemon, agave, cayenne)
-Carrot Ginger Juice (carrot, apple, celery, lemon, lime)
-Watermelon Lime Juice (watermelon, lime)
-Creamy Cashew Milk (cashew, agave, cinnamon, milk)

Day one was on a Thursday and was definitely the worst. As with everything new, I like to taste things when I eat/drink them. Taking small sips of the green juice was probably not for the best. At 6 in the morning, I took a long time to take down all 16 oz. of green juice.

Luckily, every other juice was much more pleasant than the green. Don’t get me wrong, the green was refreshing, though the taste was not quite my cup of tea.

My favorite was easily the cashew milk. After drinking the second green juice of the day, it was very enjoyable to drink the milk which tasted close to horchata!

Would I do this again? Doubtful. My life revolves too much around food that three days on a juice cleanse was torture. I surprisingly wasn’t hungry during the cleanse. It was more a want to taste something other than juice. Also, to spare you the details, you will go to the bathroom a lot. That’s not exactly pleasant…especially when you’re hanging off a bridge…

toasting to the end of the cleanse

There were some good points though. It made me realize how little fruit and vegetables I consume daily, something I’ve been wanting to change/plan on changing moving forward. I also was sleeping much earlier than I usually do. Like, more than an hour or two earlier and waking up without much of a problem.

Post cleanse, I realized that I’m getting full much easier from smaller meals. Not exactly a bad thing, though this stomach is going to have to increase it’s capacity for this trip!

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o’neals – o’neals burger

When it comes to Irish pub/sports bar food, my expectations are generally pretty low. The food I’ve had at these establishments have been great…when intoxicated. When sober on the other hand, just okay. Last week I figured, hey, I might just have surprisingly good food from an Irish pub.

O’Neals serves a burger called the O’Neals Burger. It’s made from Angus beef and comes topped with Cajun spice, cheddar, bacon, BBQ sauce, fried onions, mixed greens, and tomato. All that is placed on a kaiser roll.

After the first couple bites, I thought it wasn’t so bad. The meat was about medium and there was some flavor. The more and more I ate, however, the flaws became more apparent. I’m not crazy about the use of a kaiser roll. I’ve had a couple kaiser roll burgers in the past and I don’t remember enjoying any of them. The roll just seemed to be too dry and overwhelming. By the time I got to the middle of the burger, the meat had shifted to the edges of the bun. After a couple more bites, it was pretty much all on the plate. Lastly, the burger was kind of dry and tasted rather, meatball-ish. You know, that taste where it seems like maybe bread crumbs had made it in to the ground mix? Not saying that happened, but it tasted like it.

There was something good about it. You have the option of getting tater tots as your side!

611 S 3rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147

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