shake shack: philadelphia

I’ve been to the original Shake Shack at Madison Square Park in New York City a few times. Confession: It has been about two years since I last went. Luckily for me, a Philadelphia location opened recently and I’ve been twice now. I remember enjoying Shake Shack, but it’s been so long that I don’t remember if it was worthy of all the hype.

On one visit, I ordered a double SmokeShack, a new menu item consisting of the LaFrieda Angus beef, Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, chopped cherry peppers, and ShackSauce. The burgers were cooked well, with spots of medium. Holy crap, did it taste good. It was super juicy and cheesy. The cherry peppers added a pleasant contrasting tartness to each bite. It’s one of the messier burgers I’ve had recently, but it’s all worth it when you taste it.

Every day they offer a special custard flavor of the day. The Saturday that I went’s feature flavor was “Coffee & Donuts”, featuring Philly’s own Federal Donuts. I was able to try this too, which tasted great.

On my most recent visit, I tried the Shack Stack, a combination of the Cheeseburger and ‘Shroom Burger in one. It was made up of LaFrieda Angus beef, ShackSauce, a muenster & cheddar stuffed, fried portobello mushroom, lettuce, and tomato. This was delicious. It had the texture and taste of having a mozzarella stick on a burger. I don’t think I’d get this over a SmokeShack in the future though, that one is just too damn good.

The Philly location also has some unique Philly inspired concretes. They have the Center City Pretzel which features pieces of a Philly soft pretzel and the Rittenhouse squared, which features LaColombe cofee beans, and the Liberty Shell, which features Termini Bros. cannoli shell. These are currently on my to eat list.

Beer-wise, you could get a pint of Brooklyn Brewery’s specially brewed ShackMeister Ale!

I think Shake Shack is worthy of some hype. They definitely don’t have the best fries in the city in my opinion, but they certainly have some of the tastiest burgers in the city!

Shake Shack
2000 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Tagged: , , ,

ben’s chili bowl

A few weeks ago, I took a short overnight trip with my family to Washington, DC. As always, I was putting together a food itinerary. This was family permitting, of course, as there’s no way everyone would have agreed to all the places I wanted to eat at. One of the places that ended up on the itinerary was Ben’s Chili Bowl. My worry was that it would be a tourist trap that would fall short of it’s hype, like Pat’s & Geno’s for cheesesteaks here in Philly. I could name a lot of other places in Philly that serve a better steak, but that’s a discussion for another time.

The menu wasn’t very large, as it had several hot dogs and burgers topped with their famous chili; they even had vegetarian options. I went for the Chili Half-Smoke, which was said to be Bill Cosby’s favorite menu option. The chili half-smoke, which is served on a steamed bun, consisted of a grilled pork & beef dog topped with mustard, onions, and spicy chili. My father and brother both got the chili burger which consisted of a 1/4 lb. beef patty and topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayo, and chili.

I was able to try a bit of everything. The chili half-smoke was really good. I’ve never been a fan of mixed meat dogs so I was a little skeptical when I first ordered. This was easily the best mixed meat dog I’ve had. It was grilled to the point that it had a pleasant, slightly charred outside and just tasted so damn good.

Tourist trap? Sure, I can see that. The chili half-smoke cost me $5.70, but it was delicious though so I can justify making the trip out to Ben’s during a visit to DC. It did not fall short of it’s hype.

Ben’s Chili Bowl
1213 U St. NW
Washington, DC 20009

Tagged: , , ,

the dog house

The indulging did not stop at Dogfish Head. On our way back to Philly, we grabbed a bite at The Dog House in New Castle.

This stop was not a spur of the moment thing either. We noticed it on our drive down and said, “We are stopping there on the way back!” That is exactly what we did. When a place looks like that on the outside, how could you not stop by?

I went with a Chili Cheese Dog as recommended by the guy at the counter. The dogs are split, grilled, topped with cheese and chili, and served on a Liscio’s roll. It was damn good. Reminded me of some of the hot dogs I’ve had at similar places up in North Jersey. Fantastic.

The Dog House
1200 Dupont Highway
New Castle, DE

Tagged: , ,

hot diggity

I’ve been to Hot Diggity a couple of times now. It is fantastic. The hot dogs they serve are creative, delicious, and served on fresh Liscio’s rolls.

the big kahuna

Some of the hot dogs I’ve tried are The Big Kahuna (habanero aioli, pineapple salsa, grilled red onion, guava mustard), The Cincinnati Skyline (chili, white onion, nacho cheese, scallions), and The Saigon Fusion (Thai chili vinaigrette, sriracha, carrots, pickled cucumber, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno). The one dog that’s my favorite though is the Buffalo Buffalo Dog. This one has a specially made Buffalo Dog from D’Angelo Bros., buttermilk chive dressing, hot and honey wing sauce, celery, Maytag blue cheese, scallions, and chicken cracklins. It’s so ridiculously good.

By the time you read this, the Buffalo Buffalo Dog (pictured above) will only be available for a week (or less). Better go get it before you can and if Keith is there, make sure you tell him to keep it on the menu!

In addition to the hot dogs, the fries are fantastic. They’re cooked properly and taste great alone or with one of their several dipping sauces. I haven’t tried em all (yet) but I’m a fan of the curry mustard!

Hot Diggity
630 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147