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Operation New Dawn

February 19, 2010 7 comments

 

Today Secretary of Defense Gates named the new phase of Iraq War II, “Operation New Dawn.”  Because Secretary Gates enjoyed the Prologue to my blog so much, he intentionally unveiled the new designation for the War to coincide with the “New Dawn” for Baltimore Burgers.  Symbolism at its best!   From here on out, burger makers are accountable for their actions. This “New Dawn” began today with my first sampling and review. For this, I drifted up the street to hoity-toity Roland Park and ventured into Alonso’s Tavern and Package Store (413 W. Coldspring Lane) for a surprisingly pleasant overall experience.

Are you in awe of Alonso's Famous One Pound Burger or my ghostly, white hand?

 I decided on Alonso’s because I was under the incorrect assumption that they had a parking lot. You see, the amount of snow smothering Charm City is insane.  Our beloved City has become a mountainous tundra of dirty snow; however, I haven’t seen a Prop Joe snow man yet.  The town looks like a mini-Whistler, and I’d like to see what our fine gold medalists, Mrs. Vonn and Mr. White, could do with these dirty mounds of frozen muck. Anyways, I was incorrect in  thinking that a parking lot existed. However, street parking was ample and the City did a wonderful job of plowing the spots.

Congrats, Lindsey!!

 Upon my entry, I was greeted by my friendly waiter and some reggae music. He told me to seat myself, so I settled into one of the many booths found in the bar. I would describe Alsonso’s as an upscale sports bar. The TV situation is adequate (I think they could upgrade to some bigger ones) but they do have a great array of signed Ravens and Orioles jerseys. I picked the booth under Cal’s signed number “8” jersey. I figured I’d need his strength and endurance to eat what awaited me.

Alonso’s is one of those “local institution” type establishments, having been around since 1931. I assume it achieved “local institution” status by serving up some of Charm City’s biggest burgers. I purveyed the menu and decided I’d order their classic. I ordered “Alonso’s Famous One Pound Burger.” My waiter asked me what I’d like to drink with my burger and since the clock just ticked passed the taboo noon hour, I decided I’d start my weekend off right with a Frat Soda. This bar offers an incredible selection of beers, both on tap and in bottle. They had a bunch of draught micro brews and imported favorites of mine (such as Carlsberg…always reminds me of European vacations). As far as bottles, the selection was even more eclectic. They even carried a Bama Belle family favorite, Old Speckled Hen. The waiter told me that “Limb & Life” pairs well with the burger and I took his advice.

In order to appease Hooligan, I’m going to digress from burger talk and venture into the world of beer. Limb and Life was a wonderful surprise. Limb & Life is a joint effort beer crafted by Dogfish Head Brewery (a fave of Bama Belle) and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. The beer was a full bodied delight! I told the waiter how much I enjoyed the beer and he brought some reviews of the beer provided by the brewery and a sampling of the accompaniment beer, Life & Limb. This beer was much heavier and brewed in 100% pure maple syrup. The heavier one was actually the parent beer to the one I ordered. My beer was further filtered and doctored to “lighten” it up. I recommend these to anyone who can find them.

 Okay, so back to the one pounder. The menu had a disclaimer at the bottom asking customers for patience in their wait for the burger. While researching this burger online, I learned that some customers were unhappy with the time it took to cook the burgers at Alonso’s. However, the menu explicitly requests the customer to wait extra to ensure that the burger is cooked properly. Sounds reasonable to me. To my surprise, the burger came out rather quickly. I was only halfway done with my beer.

The burger looked stunning. One pound of Roseda beef from Monkton, Maryland nestled between a large Kaiser bun. I ordered my burger cooked medium with American cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce. As you see in the picture, the tomato slices were a tad too much, so I took one off. The Belle would have probably requested I put it back on my burger because she loves talking about antioxidants almost as much as I love talking about burgers. After a brief photography session, I picked up the burger and took my first bite.

The initial bite sent my taste buds into a frenzy. The burger was awesome. Based on other reviews, I expected a large “novelty” burger that’s taste would suffer for the size. This was untrue. The burger was as delicious as it was big. The meat was of fantastic quality and seasoned perfectly. I like my burgers a tad salty, and this definitely hit that note. I liked the salt and pepper mixed in with the meat and I think I may have even tasted a hint of garlic. I could be totally off base with the ingredients but I’m directly on point with saying that it was fantastic.

It is important that a burger have a more than adequate drip. I think a good burger should drip at a proportional rate to the oil leak on my car. You know this is achieved when you feel the tingle of hot grease roll down your wrist and absorb into the cuff of your shirt. I actually just sniffed my tee shirt and caught a faint hint of my beefy fallen comrade. At the end of my burger there was quite a puddle. Due to the burger’s size, it was a bit unruly. However, what do you expect from a burger that weighs about as much as one of my LL Bean snow boots? The Kaiser bun did a great job of taming the beast. The bottom piece absorbed the juice without succumbing to it. I only had to discard one tiny corner flap because it was too wet.

I should try and turn burger drip into a new form of energy.

I usually have the culinary self-restraint of someone too fat to fly on Southwest Airlines (http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20344142,00.html), but I did a good job. The Belle is trying to re-teach me how to eat. You see, the past few nights, I’ve finished my meals by the time Bama Belle is putting the fork to her face for her second bite. She’s teaching me through shock therapy to eat slower and chew more. She would have been proud. I consumed about ¾ of the beast and brought the rest home in a “Coachy Box.” Being the manly man that I am, I truly believe I could have finished the burger and all of the fresh cut fries (which were above average), but I didn’t. Like all worthwhile experiences, this adventure is a marathon, not a sprint. A cliché laden marathon to boot!

My one problem comes from the bill. I understand that a one pound burger of superior grade meat should cost $12.00; however, a beer that costs $7.00 should come with a disclaimer and liability waiver. Your beer should never cost more than half of a premo burger.  Luckily, on my way home I cashed in $7.00 in lottery winnings.   However, since I pointed out this negative, I will refute all the negative postings I read on the internet about this place. The burger was not merely a novelty item, the wait staff was incredibly attentive and friendly, and I did not have to wait long for my food. Burger-at-law wholeheartedly supports this burger establishment!!

In conclusion, “Operation New Dawn” is fully operational and I’m totally stuffed and satisfied. Now all you locals go out and try this burger. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Prelogue

February 17, 2010 7 comments

Here goes nothing….this is my first attempt at blogging so bear with me.  My intention is to divulge some insight into one of my favorite foods, burgers, into the blogosphere.  To me, burgers are more than just extra padding for my belly.  Burgers represent all that is good in this world: meat and bread.  My goal is to travel around the Baltimore area and sample some of Charm City’s proudest native sons.  Why would I want to write about one of the most simplistic and over consumed items in America?  Because burgers are to me what turtles are to this guy:

            While I’m no Hamburglar or J. Wellington Wimpy from Popeye, I do eat a lot of them which makes me somewhat of an authority. Sprinkled in amongst my burger reviews you’ll find some random food musings and maybe some current event related commentary.  Also, if you can think of a clever name for my burger reviews, please let me know. 

 

            Explaining who I am will help you understand why I am undertaking such a meaty journey.  I got the name for this blog from my profession.  I am an attorney by trade so I figured I could lend my analytical skills to ripping apart and reconstructing the various elements of Baltimore’s burgers.  As you read, you’ll see that I refer to myself as Burger-at-Law and my trusty wife/sidekick as Bama Belle.  The names have been changed to protect the full bellied. 

            Along with burgers, I enjoy the company of my beautiful Bama Belle, my slug eating Schnauzer named Coach, and basking in the post championship glory of my beloved and mighty Crimson Tide.  Beyond that, I like to eat and talk about what I eat.  I also like to travel because traveling exposes me to food outside of my zip code.  The next logical step is to write about what I eat…oh wait…that’s what I’m doing now.  Check that off the list!

            Since my objective is to sample and review the burgers around the area, I’m going qualify what I mean by burger.  I’m not a snob when it comes to burgers, mainly because I hate snobbery.  Of course I only hate snobbery when it is something that I do not feel snobby about.  I’ll break this rule of snobbery at some point and feel free to call me out on it.  By burger, I mean any kind of meatish substance between two pieces of bread.  By “meatish” I mean any kind of meat or meat substitute.  Since I’m not a burger snob, I’ll also review veggie burgers with Bama Belle.  Bama Belle only eats veggie burgers or fish burgers, so when my cholesterol spikes, I can deviate away from ground beef and sirloin and opt for a low calorie black bean burger or ahi tuna treat. 

            My sampling will take me from diners, chain restaurants, pubs, haunts, classic restaurants, and establishments of high society.  Therefore, I will review McDonalds and Morton’s Steakhouse.  One thing you probably won’t see me do anytime soon is review a burger I made for myself.  That stems from the fact that I do not have a grill.  I live in an apartment complex run by fascists.  These fascists see to it that I’ll pay with life and limb if I try and exhibit my personality through grilling.  One day we will have a people’s revolt and overthrow this regime, but until then, I’ll just pay for my burgers or have Bama Belle treat me. 

            That’s enough of an intro.  I’ll begin with my first burger this Friday….so check back this weekend!

Categories: Uncategorized