local 44 – the 44 cheeseburger

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I’ve only been to Local 44 a few times and have always told myself I need to go more. Being a Fishtown resident, I rarely get myself to venture out to West Philly for a lot of things. Fortunately, prior to a show at the Mann Center, Local 44 was the perfect location for pre-show brews and bites.

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The 44 Cheeseburger is made up of ground sirloin and topped with housemade American cheese, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. It’s sandwiched between a fresh baked, toasted Metropolitan Bakery bun. It was just cooked right to medium-rare and the simple ingredients/toppings tasted great together. The bun, although perfectly sized and tough enough to hold up to the juices of the burger, was not my favorite. The crusty outside was a little too tough for me. That aside, it didn’t take much away from the already well made and tasty burger. Accompanying the burger was a good portion of awesome housecut fries. For only $10, this is a great burger for a lower than Philly-average price.

Local 44
4333 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215.222.2337

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triumph brewing company: princeton – triumph burger

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Truth. I’ve never been to Triumph Brewing Company in Old City, Philadelphia. I love beer and I honestly have no answer why I’ve never gone. My new job has put me up in Princeton, where Triumph’s original brewpub is located. Last week, I finally made it out for some brews and dinner.

Their burger, named the Triumph Burger, sounded good. It’s made up of a Pineland Farms grass-fed beef patty topped with romaine lettuce, tomato, and red onion. I paid $0.75 for the addition of cheddar.

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It was cooked medium rare and was the perfect size for the fresh bun, which held together through consumption. There were no bites without a good balance of burger and bread. The burger wasn’t super juicy, but it had a great charcoal grilled taste. Accompanying the burger are fries (not house-cut), pickles, a side of ketchup, and a side of a special sauce/aioli. My friend ordered the pastrami sandwich and his didn’t come with the aioli, so I assumed it may be used to accompany the burger. I put some on the burger and definitely took the flavor up a notch.

Triumph Princeton has a pretty relaxed atmosphere in downtown Princeton. The burger was good as well as the beers. I’ll definitely be returning here after work sometime.

Triumph Brewing Company: Princeton
138 Nassau St.
Princeton, NJ 08542
609.924.7855

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2013 philadelphia vendy awards

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This year’s Philly Vendy Awards was held at Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown. Compared to the previous two years, West Philly and The Piazza, I think this was the perfect venue. The weather was perfect and Penn Treaty Park offered lots of space to lay on the grass, a more spread out truck setup, and beautiful views of the Delaware River and Ben Franklin Bridge.

Defending Vendy Cup champion Blake Feldman of The Smoke Truck.

Defending Vendy Cup champion Blake Feldman of The Smoke Truck.


Trucks this year were competing for four different awards: The Vendy Cup, People’s Choice, Best Dessert, and Tide sponsored Messy Yet Tasty. The judging panel consisted of Chef Andrew Gerson (Brooklyn Brewery), Emilio Mignucci (DiBruno Bros.), Chef Paul Kimport (Johnny Brenda’s/Standard Tap), and Lauren Purcell (Every Day with Rachael Ray) and the emcee was Beth Beverly (Diamond Tooth Taxidermy). There were a bunch of repeat Vendy attendees from years past, though there were a good amount of newcomers as well. Poi Dog, Christis’s Falafel Truck, KAMI, and The Cow and the Curd were just some of the newcomers.

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All the trucks served great food though Poi Dog and Sugar Philly offered some of my favorites. They were serving three items: Pork Belly Adobo Taco, Spam Musubi, and Tofu Poke. I am finding myself craving spam musubi on a daily basis now. Sugar Philly offered special macarons which were inspired by cocktails found at 4 Philly establishments: Moriarty’s, Distrito, Zahav, and Lemon Hill.

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The winner of Tide’s Messy Yet Tasty Award went to The Cow and the Curd. For the second year in a row, Lil’ Pop Shop won Best Dessert. The Cow and the Curd also ran home with the People’s Choice award! Last but not least, the King of Falafel took home the Vendy Cup.

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I think this year’s Philly Vendy Awards have been the best yet! Can’t wait till next year.

Check out a few other photos from the event:

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the penrose – penrose burger

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While in NYC a few weekends ago, I went to catch up with some friends in the Upper East Side. They suggested to grab food & drinks at this place around the corner and they specifically said they had an awesome burger. I, of course, was more than alright with this plan.

The Penrose’s burger is simply named, the Penrose Burger. It is made up of a specially made Pat LaFrieda blend, topped with lettuce, tomato, onions, and McClure’s Pickles before getting sandwiched between a toasted, fresh country white bun. A few additional add-on’s are available for $1 each (gruyere, Irish cheddar, muenster, American, applewood bacon, caramelized onions). I added the Irish cheddar.

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The first thing I want to point out is that I ordered it medium-rare and it was perfectly done. The meat was juicy and seasoned just right, I probably didn’t even need the addition of cheese. The Irish cheddar, however, was tasty, too. The burger was quite simple, and the quality really shined, as it didn’t need the addition of any crazy ingredients or sauces (not saying that burgers with additions are subpar by any means). The bun, despite the bottom half being saturated with the burger juices, managed to hold together and was the perfect size for the burger.

I’m pretty confident to say this was the best burger I’ve had so far this year. It was a little noisy of an atmosphere to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in over a year but for this burger, I may have to bite the bullet to have it again!

The Penrose
1590 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10028
212.203.2751

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burger brawl 2013

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Burger Brawl has been going on for the past two years and it killed me to realize that it was on the same day as the Broad Street Run in both 2011 and 2012. My decision to not run this year has allowed me to make it out to the third annual Burger Brawl!

If you’re not aware, Burger Brawl is an annual charity competition where several chefs in the city compete for the Judges’ and People’s Choice awards. It’s held at the Fleisher Art Memorial and proceeds go to Philly area public schools. In 2011, Jen Carroll of 10 Arts and Michael McNally of London Grill took home the gold. Last year, David Wiederholt of The Capital Grille and Bobby Flay of Bobby’s Burger Palace won.

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It was a beautiful day for this year’s burger brawl. The sun was out and the weather was perfect. Tables and grills lined the perimeter of the Fleisher Art Memorial’s parking lot and the smell of grilled beef filled the air.

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There were a lot of signature restaurant burgers, such as The Industry’s Industry Burger, London Grill’s London Burger, and Alla Spina’s Burgamo. In addition, some restaurants served other creations. South Philly Tap Room served the Ham-Hamburger, a burger topped with a ham salad, and Chef George Sabatino gave us a taste of what he’s serving over at Morgan’s Pier, sous-vide burgers finished on the grill topped with homemade American cheese (which will actually be finished in the deep fryer at Morgan’s Pier).

The Judges’ Choice went to Fat Jack’s BBQ, who made their Ultimate Memphis Mauler Burger which was made up of angus chuck brisket & ribeye, topped with homemade BBQ sauce, cheddar jack cheese, brisket, pulled pork, sauteed onions, slaw, and a dill pickle.

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The People’s Choice went to Lucky’s Last Chance, who served up their PB & Bacon Burger. That, as simply stated by the name, was made up of peanut butter, bacon, and homemade jelly.

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Burger Brawl was a lot of fun. Aside from the fact that I ate myself into an almost painful burger coma, this event was the perfect celebration of one of my favorite foods. So many delicious burgers were made and there were also a lot of familiar faces hanging out, whether to cook or eat. Can’t wait until next year!

For a full list of the brawl’s burgers, check out Michael Klein’s roundup on Philly.com.

Here are a few other shots from the event:

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