primanti bros. – pitts-burger cheese steak

If you’re not aware, Primanti Bros. has been making sandwiches with fries and slaw for a while now. Whether you hate my decision or not, I made sure to make it to Primanti Bros. on my second trip out to Pittsburgh. Sure, I’ve heard a lot of talk comparing their sandwiches to the cheesesteaks made at Pat’s or Geno’s (overhyped tourist trap-wise, not sandwich), but not all overhyped tourist trappy places are bad. For example, I really enjoyed Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC.

Anyway, after checking out the National Aviary, me and my dining partner made our way over to the original Primanti Bros. in the Strip District. There were a large amount of sandwiches to choose from and my eyes led me to the Pitts-Burger Cheese Steak. Now, I know a lot of my Philly readers are going to give me lip about how this isn’t a cheesesteak. Duh. Of course it isn’t, nor was I expecting anything like what we get over here. I mean, c’mon now, it has the word burger in it, so it’s gotta be different!

The Pitts-burger Cheese Steak is made up of a burger topped with provolone, tangy slaw, fries, and a tomato which is then placed between thickly cut white bread. The meat had a texture similar to a Salisbury steak or meatball. The provolone was provolone. Same reason why I never get provolone on any sandwiches, there’s just not enough flavor from it. Not a lot of flavors stuck out and some bites were dry. I ended up adding ketchup and hot sauce to a lot of bites. Also, the fries were crisp, but needed to be seasoned more. The sandwiches reminded me of the Fat Sandwiches at Rutgers University, lots of stuff going onto a roll but needed something else to bind them together.

It was nothing stellar but I’m glad I finally tried it!

Primanti Bros.
46 18th St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 263.32142

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brewer’s plate 2013

A few Sundays ago was Fair Food‘s 9th annual Brewer’s Plate! Brewer’s Plate was held for the second time at the National Constitution Center. This celebration of all things local was a great time. Several restaurants and farms were paired up with breweries to offer food and drink pairings. Here are some photos from the event (Tria’s Dunbarton Bleu Cheese and Consider Bardwell Rupert cheeses shown above):

Table for Fair Food Farmstand, located in Reading Terminal Market.

Table for Fair Food Farmstand, located in Reading Terminal Market.

VIPs were able to experience a guided tasting with Talula's Table's Aimee Olexy.

VIPs were able to experience a guided tasting with Talula’s Table’s Aimee Olexy.

Southwark's Pork Pate was paired w/ Nodding Head's BPA (not pictured).

Southwark’s Pork Pate was paired w/ Nodding Head’s BPA (not pictured).

The crew from Alla Spina, Steve Wildy & Chef Mike DeGanis, having some fun.

The crew from Alla Spina, Steve Wildy & Chef Mike DeGanis, having some fun.

Local brewers Forest & Main had some brews for tasting.

Local brewers Forest & Main had some brews for tasting.

Marcos Espinoza (Side Project Jerky) and Hahri Shin.

Marcos Espinoza (Side Project Jerky) and Hahri Shin.

London Grill's Duck Confit Banh Mi which was paired w/ Desaito Hard Cider

London Grill’s Duck Confit Banh Mi which was paired w/ Desaito Hard Cider

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lloyd – lloyd burger

Not even 6 months old and just down the street is Lloyd, a whiskey bar along Girard Avenue in Fishtown. I’ve only been once or twice for drinks, but have been meaning to come in ever since I found out they have a burger. Having said that, even though they’re known as Lloyd Whiskey Bar, they have a couple taps, a cocktail list, and a moderately sized menu.

The Lloyd Burger is made up of a custom beef blend from nearby Kissin Fresh Meats topped with Muenster cheese, pickled red onion, lettuce, tomato, and bread & butter pickles. All of that is placed between a toasted Metropolitan Bakery brioche bun. You have the option of accompanying fries or greens and the addition of bacon for an extra buck.

It was cooked perfectly to medium-rare. The pickled red onion added a pleasant tangy and sweet taste. The toasted brioche was fresh and held up to the juicy, flavorful burger. The burger was fairly simple, with the pickled red onion being the “fanciest” ingredient, however, it was done well. The only non-positive thing I can say is that the burger is just a bit small for the bun. There were one, maybe two small bites of bun without burger at the end. Really, it was so small that it’s not something to pick at. I enjoyed it quite a bit. The generous portion of accompanying fries were also seasoned well and tasted great.

My friend and I also tried the bacon chicken liver mousse appetizer which also tasted great. Will definitely be coming back to eat here.

529 E Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19125

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opa – bifteki burger

Opa’s Bifteki Burger has been on my list for at least a year. Working so close to Opa and having forgotten a lunch on numerous occasions, there is really no reason why I didn’t get a chance to try it until last week.

The Bifteki Burger is Opa’s Greek spin on a burger. Bifteki, if you’re not familiar with Greek cuisine, is like Greek meatballs/burgers. I say meatballs/burgers because breadcrumbs are added to the mix, thus giving it more of a meatball texture and instead of being cooked in the oven like meatballs, these are often cooked on grills. Bifteki is also served on its own, without a bun.

At Opa, the Bifteki Burger is made up of a Green Meadow Farm beef & feta crumble mixture which is topped with a cucumber, tomato & dill relish. It’s sandwiched between a LeBus brioche bun and served with a generous portion of house cut oregano fries and a side of ketchup.

The burger was cooked medium and wasn’t dripping with juices. It was, however, very flavorful and tasty. The small pieces of feta added an almost creamy texture with some tangy flavors. The accompanying fries were also tasty. Not a traditional burger at all but this Greek version of one is done well! Also, the burger comes at a $10 price tag which I found to be very fair. How many good burgers have you had that have been $10 or below? More than a handful of burgers I’ve had in the past couple have been over $10, and not all of them were worth breaking the $10 mark.

1311 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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drake tavern – bacon, ranch & cheddar burger

Last weekend was another brunch day in the burbs. Being close to Jenkintown, I tried one of Drake Tavern’s seven burgers.

The Black Angus burger comes topped with (obviously) bacon, ranch, and cheddar. In addition to those, it sits on top of lettuce and a bed of fried onion strings. It’s sandwiched between a LeBus bun and served with pickle chips and Brew City fries. I later learned that Brew City fries was the name given to their beer battered fries as they have regular fries, too.

The burger was cooked right to medium-rare. It wasn’t particularly dry, but it wasn’t super juicy either. It was, however, pretty large and a good size for the fresh baked, flaky LeBus bun. The burger was alright and filled a craving but could have been better. My favorite part was the fried onion strings. Those things were good! I would have preferred a juicier burger, meltier cheese, and a smidge more ranch (the burger needed more moisture of some sort). The fries needed a little bit more, too.

They have a couple other burgers on the menu that sounded good. Perhaps I’ll try one of those next time!

Drake Tavern
304 Old York Rd.
Jenkintown, PA 19046

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