jerry’s bar – brunch burger

Name: Brunch Burger
Location: Jerry’s Bar, 129 W Laurel St., Philadelphia, PA 19123
Protein: Beef
Bun: Brioche (Toasted)
Toppings: Bacon, sunny side up egg, choice of cheese (I went with Cabot cheddar)
Burger to Bun Ratio: Perfect
Accompaniments: House cut fries and a pickle
Price: $13.50

Notes, etc.: The burger was cooked over to well, when it was ordered medium rare, yet it was still juicy. The egg was not as runny as I prefer as it was cooked more hard at the center. The house cut fries were tasty. Large size was appropriate for curing a hangover and sending you back for your afternoon nap. I’m taking this visit as an off day, as it seemed as though the place was getting mobbed while we were there.

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burger, tap & shake

During my DC trip, I stayed in the Foggy Bottom area. Just a couple blocks away was Burger, Tap & Shake, a burger joint with a good tap list, milkshakes, and even a handful of breakfast burgers.

My family and I were so close that we decided to have brunch at Burger, Tap & Shake. By the time we arrived, I got myself hyped for their Five Buck Chuck breakfast burger consisting of a pork sausage patty, egg, and American cheese. Unfortunately, they were out of pork sausage so I had to go with Plan B, The Big Daddy. The Big Daddy consisted of an 8 oz., 3-day aged blend of Pineland Farms brisket & chuck topped with Benton’s bacon, buttermilk blue cheese, Lea & Perrins mushrooms, and AP sauce (a house sauce made up of mayo, ketchup, mustard, BBQ, and chipotle) on a housemade bun (all of the burgers are served on em).

I ordered the burger medium-rare and it was more medium-well. The ingredients all sounded awesome, but on the burger it just didn’t seem to be there. I was expecting a flavor bomb and got much less. Aside from the medium-well burger, it did have a nice slightly charred, grilled taste. Benton’s bacon is awesome. Bacon in general is awesome, as is pork belly. The problem I had with the bacon on the burger is that it was small, 1/4″ thick pieces of bacon. There is nothing wrong with this except when it is on a burger. The thickness of the bacon made it tough to bite through the burger. I ended up pulling pieces of the bacon completely out with each bite. It also could have benefited from more AP sauce. (I noticed there was more AP sauce available on my way out at the napkin/condiment station.)

The others ordered different breakfast burgers. I was able to try a little bit of each. There was the Skinny High Thigh (turkey sausage, egg whites, American cheese), El Camino (chorizo sausage, black beans, egg, pepper jack cheese, a spicy XXX sauce), and Mont Tremblant (Canadian bacon, egg, maple Fromage Blanc). I thought the breakfast burgers were better than the Big Daddy. The housemade buns tasted great, just a little too soft for my liking.

I really wanted to like this place. They have a great beer list, a custom aged blend of beef with several burger options, tasty house-cut fries, and delicious milkshakes.

Burger, Tap & Shake
2200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20037

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northern spy food co.

I brunched with a couple friends not too long ago at Northern Spy Food Co. This East Village restaurant’s menu focuses on local and seasonal ingredients. The space isn’t the largest, but it sure was nice and cozy on that Sunday afternoon.

Coffees, waters, and a blueberry mimosa were the drinks ordered by the table. To start the meal, we all split an order of their buttermilk biscuits. These were delicious. They came to the table still warm and were some of the best biscuits I’ve ever had.

slow-whisked scrambled eggs

A friend ordered the slow whisked scrambled eggs which came with Heritage bacon and pan bread. Another ordered the sausage, egg & cheese sandwich which used gruyere and a fennel-sage sausage. I went with the chicken & egg sandwich which had a crispy chicken thigh, a poached egg, and chimichurri sauce.

chicken & egg sandwich

Definitely enjoyed everything I had for brunch. After having the biscuits on their own, I’ve gotta order their biscuits and gravy next time!

Northern Spy Food Co.
511 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10009

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cuba libre – brunch without borders

Cuba Libre in Old City has a new menu for their 10th anniversary which has been inspired by Chef Guillermo Pernot’s recent trip to Cuba. One of the menu changes is their Brunch without Borders. Brunch without Borders is a $25, all-you-can-eat meal featuring several piqueos (small plates). Last Saturday, a friend and I certainly indulged until our stomachs reached their borders!

cafe cuba libre w/ shot of spiced rum

There were so many drinks to start the day off from coffees, tropical cocktails, and juices. I think I chose the best one though. My drink of choice was the Cafe Cuba Libre with an added shot of spiced rum. It’s Cuban coffee with steamed coconut milk and Cuba Libre spiced rum. This stuff was so ridiculously good. Could I have these everyday?

torta de cangrejo benedict

We certainly tried a ton of items, but the ones shown here were definitely our favorites. The Torta de Cangrejo Benedict was an interesting take on eggs benedict. It consisted of a jumbo lump crabmeat & potato cake topped with a poached egg and tomato Hollandaise served over an avocado mash.

cobbano salad

Another piqueo we ordered twice was the Cobbano Salad. Essentially a Cobb salad with Cuban flair, it had pulled pork, plaintains, hearts of palm, grape tomatoes, avocado, bacon, Cabrales cheese, hard boiled egg, scallions, watercress, and baby spinach tossed in a light mustard vinaigrette.

sopa levanta muerto

We may have also ordered the Sopa Levanta Muerto twice as well. Despite being fairly hot on Sunday, this was too good not to order twice. The translation means Raise the Dead Soup, which is named due to it’s consumption by those hungover to “raise spirits and body”…perfect for the Friday nights we both had. This soup had a delicious broth made up of some coconut milk and had crab meat, scallops, shrimp, and mussels.

To end our meal, we ordered the torreja (pictured above). It was a hazelnut and almond encrusted brioche French toast topped with strawberries, Frangelico-Mascarpone cheese, honey, and powdered sugar.

You can also order all these items a la carte should you not want to Brunch without Borders. Here is the rest of the brunch menu.

Cuba Libre
10 S. 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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bouchon – las vegas

I was on a fairly tight budget in Vegas last weekend and this is definitely a big restraint, especially when you love food because there are a bunch of great restaurants with tasting menus all over the strip. A friend, however, did mention Bouchon to me. Initially I figured it was out of my budget, it is a Thomas Keller restaurant after all. But, I browsed the website and their brunch menu was totally affordable! So, that’s where I was on Saturday morning.

It took us a while to find the restaurant, which is located on the 10th floor of the Venezia Tower in The Venetian Hotel & Casino. Once we got there though, it was beautiful. The atmosphere was relaxing and the large windows let the morning/afternoon sun shine in as jazz played throughout the restaurant. The staff was friendly and service was great from the maitre d’ to the waiter. We were supposed to dine out on the porch outside in the courtyard, but there was a miscommunication amongst the staff and a party after us got seated before us. No biggie though..

We all started off with some coffee and they brought out a freshly baked baguette with butter and jam (pictured above). Honestly, the meal could have ended here and I would have had a smile on my face for the rest of the day. There’s just something so amazing about a simple, fresh baguette and butter. It was SO good. Also, on a random note, it was totally not in traditional baguette shape…

There was a pastry section on the menu, as well as a couple pastry specials on a chalkboard. We decided it was a must to order a pastry basket (choice of four different pastries). The pastries we ordered were (photo above, clockwise from left) concord grape beignets, pecan sticky bun, chocolate almond croissant, and cheese danish.

My words and photos really can’t describe this basket. Everything was amazing. Easily the best pastries I’ve ever had. Light, flaky, delicately sweet. I wish I could choose a favorite out of the bunch, but that’s too difficult.

Here are the dishes ordered around the table:

corned beef hash

croque madame

sourdough waffle

steak frites

My dish was the croque madame, ham & cheese sandwiched between toasted brioche, topped with an egg and mornay sauce, and served with pomme frites. My first French croque…loved it. The pomme frites were also delish, but there was no chance of me finishing all of them.

I also got to try the corned beef hash and the sourdough waffles. The corned beef hash was the most delicious and elegant corned beef hash I’ve ever had. The scrambled egg was cooked to perfection too. Where do I begin with the sourdough waffles… I had one bite and fell in love. It was “just right”. They were light and airy, accompanied perfectly with maple syrup, strawberries, and Tahitian vanilla infused butter. Oh em gee.

Everyone was full after this meal..and very, very content. If you’re ever in Vegas or in California, make sure you check this place out. I promise you won’t regret it.

Also, there’s Bouchon Bakery on the basement floor of The Venetian. I didn’t get a chance to check it out, but I would assume you could buy the pastries there.

The Venetian Hotel & Casino
Venezia Tower, 10th Floor
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109

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