Santa Monica, CA
Today, seven of my best coworkers and I jaywalked across the street to The Counter to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day like proper Americans. The Counter employees were unaware of the religious holiday, but we brought them up to speed. We painstakingly poured over our menu options, debating toppings and sauces, then we began to eat our way through two plates of The Counter's "fifty-fifty" sweet potato and regular fries. Now, lets get down to business:
The HillBilly opted for a Burger Bowl with feta, hard boiled egg, black olives, roasted corn and black bean salsa with balsamic dressing. This healthy Greek and Mexican mix was well received, although a fried egg might have improved the combo. The HillBilly had this to say about his burger, "My burger got up and danced before we partied. It was that good." Comment open to interpretation.
L-Swizzle chose a Burger Bowl as well, but kicked up the heat a few degrees. She went with onion, roasted corn salsa, sprouts, tomatoes, avocado and jalapeño jack with habanero salsa. The habanero salsa on this mexicali bowl was delish, and really brought the ingredients together to work as a flavor team. Yes, 'flavor team' is a new phrase. I am also working on spreading the slang term for avocados: 'cado, if you'd like to be a trendsetter in your group of friends...
Ace-Dawg went gourmet with her Burger Bowl and then surprised us all and brought the funk at the very end: a turkey patty, with spinach, sprouts, avocado and fried egg plus: Hot. Wing. Sauce. Ace-Dawg is one of our pickier eaters, so this was a really unexpected combination in my book, but she said its definitely the way to go.
Bran-the-Man did it up right on a burg bun with pepperoncinis, tomatoes, spinach, bacon and sautéed onions topped off with sweet BBQ sauce. However, he said the pepperoncinis were sliced thin and got lost under the meat. Bran-the-Man also encountered a common burg consumption problem: disappearing bottom bun. Not surprisingly, the disappearance of bun is a problem that affects 1 in 4 burger eaters. Because everyone's mouth is shaped differently (and because a lot of us did not wear our retainers like the orthodontist wanted) we bite our burgs with a slight underbite or overbite, causing unbalanced bun-loss in the process. I have personally found that the best way to combat this travesty is to flip the burger and take every 3rd bite with the top bun facing the plate. (This technique also works for Subway sandwiches and Sausage Egg McMuffins.)
The Missus rallied and got her burg on a wheat bun. She built the most beautiful burger at the table: gruyere, fried onion strings, mixed greens, and tomato with a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. While the vinaigrette was ordered to cut the salty-ness of the gruyere and onion strings, it didn't make it to her burg due to the mess factor. In fact, she had to remove a few onion strings just to pick up the burger, but the flavor combination was tasty. In the future, she might sacrifice texture for eatability, which are really two much bigger debates about 1) the crunch factor and 2) whether or not its morally wrong to eat your burg with a fork and knife.
Trandall-the-Vandal made a Burger Bowl that packed a punch, with horseradish cheddar, jalapeños, hard-boiled egg, black olives, sautéed onions & mushrooms, and chipotle aioli. Shockingly, this combo wasn't too hot for the Vandal (I would have died!) AND he wins Best Photo of the lunch.
Seth-Sizzle opted for a burger bowl with swiss cheese, roasted peppers, cucumber and dijon balsamic. This mediterranean flavor profile was both pleasing to the eye and the stomach; a light, clean, satisfying combination.
AND you know I got my burger on the bun. I wanted something rich and luxurious, so I opted for blue cheese, avocado, bacon and garlic aioli. I added pickles at the last minute just so I'd have a little acidity. The combination was fantastic. The crunch of the bacon with the creaminess of the blue cheese and avocado was perfect for me. The burger itself was a little overcooked; the flavor of the meat wasn't totally able to come through. In hindsight, it was almost a Cobb salad burger, something I'll have to consider for the future...