cantina dos segundos – mexican beast burger

With Huevos Dos Segundos on my mind, I went to Cantina Dos Segundos for brunch last weekend. After seeing the Mexican Beast Burger special on the chalkboard, I had to reconsider my brunch decision.

Of course I went with the burger. There isn’t a burger normally on Dos Segundos’s menu, so that influenced my decision. Well, that and the fact that I almost always want a burger…

The Mexican Beast Burger was massive. The burger comes on what seems to be a large Portuguese roll. The bottom half of the roll is topped with a thinly spread layer of refried beans. Above the beans sits the burger followed by jack cheese, caramelized chipotle onions, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

When it came out, I started to make judgments as I saw that the bread seemed significantly larger than the burger. I quickly put the observation in the back of my head as this burger could still be delicious. All the flavors went together nicely and I don’t think any of them were unnecessary. I’ve never had refried beans on a burger, but it worked. Sure, the refried beans are a heavy ingredient, but you don’t order burgers to eat lightly, do you? Despite the large size of the roll, it was actually really good. The roll was light and airy with a flaky exterior. Even some of the burgerless bites were tasty.

The Mexican Beast Burger was a special when I went. Not entirely sure how long it’s gunna be up there for, so if you see it and you’re in the mood for a burger, don’t let the opportunity slide!

Cantina Dos Segundos
931 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123

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jägerabend speisekarte

Jägerabend speisekarte, when translated from German to English, is hunter’s evening menu (Google translation). Simply put, it’s a hunter’s dinner.

A five course hunter’s dinner was held at Brauhaus Schmitz last Thursday, featuring local Philly chefs, including Brauhaus’s own, Jeremy and Jessica Nolen. In addition to the Nolens, the chefs cooking were Jen Carroll (Concrete Blonde), Jeff Michaud (Osteria), and Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette). In addition to the dinner, diners were given the option of a wine or beer pairing. I went with the latter.

To start the dinner, an amuse bouche was served from each of the chefs. It is pictured above. Clockwise from the bottom left is: rabbit mortadella with rye beer bread (Michaud); duck confit rillette, orange, crouton (Woolsey); smoked Guinea hen, warm duck fat potato-radish salad (Carroll); venison tartare, spruce oil, toasted barley-hazelnut salad (Nolen). The amuse bouche was served with a Kulmbacher Mönchshof Kellerbier.

The rest of the dinner in pictures:

Carroll's first course: Rohan duck hearts, sea urchin, fennel, cardamom-cherry jus; beer - Schönramer Gold Lager

Woolsey's second course: spiced red wine braised wild boar, crozets in vinegar beurre blanc, Brussels sprouts, blood orange; beer - Weißenoher Bonator

Michaud's third course: wild hare lasagnette, porcini pasta; beer - Ayinger Celebrator

Jeremy Nolen's fourth course: venison medallion, chanterelle strudel, black garlic streusel, juniper beer sauce; beer - Spezial Rauchbier

Jessica Nolen's fifth course: caramel custard, gingerbread crumbs, lingonberry preserve; beer - Schneider Aventinus Eisbock

The food was great and the dinner was a perfect time to try lots of game meats I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to have. I hope they do this again next year!

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say cheese!

Luckily for me, I was working close to Temple University and was able to grab lunch at the Say Cheese! food truck earlier this week.

Say Cheese! is a food truck offering different kinds of grilled cheese. Their menu is split into three sections, The Standard Issue, Gourmet Sammies, and The Recruit. The Standard Issue is a create your own sandwich section where you choose your bread, cheese, veggies, and sauce. Gourmet Sammies are creations put together by the Say Cheese! crew like El Duke, a Mexican inspired grilled cheese, and Mary D, a meatball grilled cheese. Lastly, The Recruit is similar to The Standard Issue, just less ingredients and also a buck cheaper.

The special earlier this week was The Frenchy, a French onion grilled cheese! I was tempted to order it but went with the Wild Bill off the sammies menu instead. The Will Bill is grilled marinated chicken breast, cheddar, buffalo sauce, and blue cheese dressing on ciabatta. When I returned to the truck to eat, I was surprised at how large the sandwich was. This wasn’t terrible, as I was feeling pretty hungry. Although messy, the sandwich tasted great. The chicken was cooked perfectly and was flavorful. The ciabatta was also fresh, with a soft, airy interior.

I have a hard time calling the Wild Bill a grilled cheese. I’ll tell you what I can call it though, a damn good buffalo chicken sandwich! Definitely looking forward to trying more of their sandwiches in the future.

Say Cheese!
Near the corner of 12th & Norris St. (Temple University) most of the time
LOVE Park on Fridays
Philadelphia, PA

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standard tap – standard burger

I’ve been to Standard Tap several times for beer. Not just because it’s in my hood, but also because they always have a great selection of brews on tap. They also have food, and last weekend, I finally got around to trying their burger, the Standard Burger.

The Standard Burger consists of jack cheese, sauteed mushrooms, grilled onion, and lettuce. It sits between a standard bun and comes with a side of ketchup, fries, and pickle slices.

Let’s talk about the good. The burger itself was cooked to medium rare, tasted great, and was juicy. The fries were so tasty that I had a flashback to when I used to down McDonald’s fries like deep fried crack in my adolescence.

Now the let-downs. The burger to bun ratio was quite far from 1:1. Towards the end of the burger, me AND my other dining companions all had large pieces of burgerless bun at the end. Besides the ratio, the bun was way too bready and lacked a slight airiness/lightness that the bun should have. Another underwhelming factor was the toppings. I personally don’t think jack cheese is a good burger cheese and it also wasn’t quite melted enough. The ring of onions used was just a cross section that was grilled as is. This led to several onionless bites and some bites with too much onion. Lastly, there wasn’t much adding more moisture to the burger. The aforementioned juicy burger wasn’t enough to add to the lack of moisture in the toppings.

I’ll definitely be back at Standard Tap for it’s chill vibe, great beer selection, and awesome fries…not so much for their burger.

Standard Tap
901 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123

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beer: wagner valley sled dog doppelbock

Today’s guest post is by my good friend and homebrewer, Erin Mulrooney.

While wine touring last fall in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, one of the stops brought me to Wagner Vineyards, which also has its own brewing company. I first tried Sled Dog in their tasting room, and enjoyed it so much that I bought a few six packs to bring home with me.

Sled Dog pours a medium caramel color, and is extremely effervescent with fairly large bubbles and a small head that dissipates quickly. The aroma from this beer contains rich notes of caramel, and almost no bitterness.

Doppelbocks are known for being extremely malty and having a fairly high ABV, and Sled Dog does not disappoint. Weighing in at 8.5%, I was surprised at how smoothly this beer drinks, with very little alcohol taste. When I initially tried this beer, I was with my grandfather (who is not a big beer drinker), and even he commented on the smoothness. In addition to the ever-present caramel, you also get a pretty big dose of molasses in the flavor. With more sips, I started to notice the sticky quality that such a malty beer like this has – it actually stayed on my palate after finishing the beer. Despite the initial effervescence, it is almost nonexistent throughout the drinking of this beer.

Sled Dog is an enjoyable beer, especially if Doppelbock is a new style for you. It isn’t the kind of beer that you’d want to have a few of in one evening, mostly due to the stickiness, but it does make for a good pint on a cold night. If you ever find yourself in the Finger Lakes, I’d recommend a stop at Wagner to sample the other beers they produce in addition to Sled Dog.

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