white rose system – small burgers

Name: Small burgers
Location: White Rose System, 201 E 1st Ave, Roselle, NJ 07203
Protein: Beef (looked freshly formed with rough edges)
Bun: Regular white
Toppings: Chopped, grilled onion, American cheese
Burger to Bun Ratio: A little more bread than meat.
Accompaniments: Crinkle cut fries, pickles
Price: $6.64 (for the combo, 2 small burgers + fries + 12 oz. shake)

Notes, etc.: These had a steamed quality to it, just like a White Castle slider, though these were a bit larger. I would have liked more beef for the amount of bun, but it was still tasty. $6.64 for steamed, griddled burgers with fries and a shake is an awesome deal.

They also had regular sized burgers which, I believe, were served on kaiser rolls. Anyone know if these are steamed as well?

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triumph brewing company: princeton – triumph burger

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.

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

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grand lux cafe: cherry hill – garlic-blue burger

I was invited last week to check out the new Grand Lux Cafe that’s opening in Cherry Hill, NJ. If you’re not aware, Grand Lux Cafe is basically a small chain under the Cheesecake Factory. There’s only a handful across the country and this is their latest. The sample menus we were given had burgers on it! I was slightly overwhelmed as there were lots of burgers to choose from. I eventually settled for the Garlic-Blue Burger.

The Garlic-Blue Burger consists of a 10 oz. Angus burger topped with Applewood smoked bacon, garlic-blue cheese aioli, grilled onions, tomato, and arugula. I wish I had good things to say. I ordered it medium-rare and it certainly came out well done. It was still juicy but lacked flavor. The aioli needed more, too. I know aioli is derived from mayo, but there wasn’t enough to make this different than mayo. It just tasted like mayo. The bun was also overly buttery and broke down from it’s softness. For a $13 price tag, you may want to go with something else…like the Vietnamese Chicken Summer Rolls. Those were awesome.

Don’t miss the Pineapple Smash cocktail. It’s made with muddled caramelized pineapple and whiskey on the rocks. Pretty damn tasty.

Grand Lux Cafe
Cherry Hill Mall
2000 Route 38
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

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2011 top chef tour – red bank, nj

Last Thursday, the 2011 Top Chef tour came to Red Bank, NJ’s Marine Park featuring Chef Jen Carroll of 10 Arts by Eric Ripert and Chef Kevin Sbraga, winner of Top Chef Season 7. The event featured activitites such as Buitoni pasta sampling, Castello cheese sampling, an interactive smell/aroma test, and a meet and greet with both chefs.

jen’s brined chicken breast

The main draw of course was the quickfire competitions. There were four total and I was lucky enough to be able to judge the first two. The main ingredient for the quickfire challenges was chicken, voted by Red Bank locals on the Top Chef tour Facebook page. The chefs could use any part of the chicken they wanted and were allowed to bring one secret ingredient. Kevin decided to go through the competitions without a secret ingredient while Jen brought a homemade vinegar. Jen made a brined chicken breast while Kevin made a curried chicken thigh. Both chefs made delicious dishes and it was tough to choose a winner. Guests were also able to try both dishes thanks to students from French Culinary working in the back!

kevin’s curried chicken thigh

The set up of the competition was pretty awesome. Two cooking stations were placed on a platform in the center, with the judges’ table in the middle and rows of seats placed on both sides of the platform. Joining me at the judges table for the first quickfire competition was Chef Ariane Duarte, the “cougar in the kitchen” from Top Chef Season 5 and the chef/owner of CulinAriane in Montclair, NJ. For the second quickfire, Chef Nicholas Harary of Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, NJ, joined me at the judges’ table. The first quickfire went to Kevin and the second went to Jen.

introducing the cougar in the kitchen

Huge thanks to Fred Haug of BravoTV and Amy Cao of Foodspotting for the awesome opportunity to judge the first two competitions!

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2011 top chef tour

Image from Bravo

The fourth annual Top Chef tour started last month. This tour stops at several cities and features rotating cheftestants from previous seasons. Each stop will have two chefs compete in three Quickfire style competitions. Foodspotting has also teamed up with Bravo this year. For each city on the tour, there is a respective guide. Be sure to follow and spot some food to earn the Top Chef Tour badge!

I tried to make it last year to the Philly stop but just couldn’t free my schedule. This year, I’m lucky to be one of the judges for the Red Bank, NJ stop on the tour! The Red Bank event will be held this upcoming Thursday, the 26th at the Marine Park and will feature Chef Kevin Sbraga, NJ native and Top Chef Season 7 winner, and Chef Jen Carroll, Top Chef Season 6 cheftestant and Chef de Cuisine of 10 Arts in Philadelphia. Tickets are completely free but are first come, first serve on the day of and limited release for pre-registration online. If you’re looking to score some pre-registration tickets, keep checking the site during the days leading up to the event. The times for the competitions on Thursday are 10.30 am, 12.00 pm, and 1.30 pm.

Hope to see you there!

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