Oh my goodness, my dear friends, we’re here at last! The one hundredth Adventure in Food! (or running) I know it’s only a small milestone, but danged if I’m not pretty excited about it.
How excited am I? So excited that I’ve been fretting about what to write for this post for ages. Should a I do a retrospective of my favorite posts? Cook something amazing? Write something sappy and trite explaining how much it’s meant to me that some of you actually read this regularly?
If you know me at all, you know that last option is the least likely one for me to take – it’s not that I’m not reflective, but c’mon, it’s just a BLOG. And the first option seemed sort of silly, too – is it really the 100th post if it’s just a rehash of the first 99? And then it hit me – the perfect way to celebrate this momentous occasion.
I ate a hamburger.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Red, that sounds a little lame. How is a hamburger adventurous?” I answer thusly, “It was a very fancy hamburger.” To which you then reply (or at least, you do if you’re my dear sister) “How do you make a hamburger fancy?” Oh children, just you wait!
You see, in this fair city in which I reside, there are in fact several options for a fancy hamburger. Between Mr. Bartley’s and R.F. O’Sullivan’s alone there must be every topping you can think of, and maybe a few that you can’t! However, what I’m referring to goes beyond topping a hamburger with red peppers and ranch dressing, or guacamole and bacon. I am talking about luxury burgers, burgers which could look down on you for not having the right pedigree. Burgers served in the sorts of restaurants to which you might go for a first date or an anniversary or take a high-profile client to, rather the pub atmosphere of R.F. O’Sullivan’s, which is where you go when you’ve been dating for years and can’t be bothered to cook tonight. Burgers that, with tip, cost as much as a pretty decent meal at a mid-range restaurant. Fancy burgers.
In this category I can think of exactly three restaurants (though if any of you have any other suggestions I am all ears!): Craigie on Main, The Butcher Shop, and Radius. Of these, there are strong opinions amongst my friends as to which is the best, which is most deserving of its lofty price tag. Nandi prefers Craigie’s option, made of local grass-fed beef and currently being served with Shelburne Farm cheddar, house-made red wine pickle, celery root slaw, mace ketchup, house-made sesame seed bun, and crispy shoestring potatoes. I have shared this burger, and though it has been a while, as memory served it was delicious. I’d also had the Butcher Shop’s offering, prime beef with Grafton cheddar, bacon, onion rings, and remoulade. To be honest, I’d forgotten until I re-read the description that this is actually my favorite, but it is. I am the sort of lady who enjoys “a lot of flavor” as Mr. Menace would say, and thinks that while the purity of the beef is all well and good, hey, the more toppings, the better. However, my friend Dave is a big proponent of Radius’ offering, and that, I’d never tried! So, in the spirit of a fully informed decision, and in celebration of this, the 100th blog post, I gave Radius’ burger a try.
Let me start by saying that, of all of these upscale restaurants, Radius is the straight-up fanciest. We’re talking minimalist decor, carefully placed lighting, and servers who are probably wearing nicer clothes than you. While both COM and Butcher Shop are very nice, they are a bistro and wine bar, respectively. They are meant to be elegant without being overwhelming. Radius, in the heart of downtown Boston, borders on the overwhelming, the sort of restaurant where you feel like you have to know your forks. Good thing we were getting food you can eat with your hands!
That said, the meal did start with a rather lovely steak knife being set in front of me. This proved to be prudent because the burger, quite frankly, was massive.
Served on a pillowy bun with a copper pot of very thin, crisp fries on the side, the burger had to be about 5 inches tall.
Radius chooses to top its burger with Vermont cheddar, horseradish cream, and crispy onions. As you all know, I am a huge fan of horseradish, and while you may not know this, I am also a proponent of crispy onions. One of my most perfect foods is the onion ring.
My burger was perfectly cooked, as you can see, to the medium I requested. After using my fancy knife to cut it down to a more manageable size, I took a bite. It was juicy and appropriately meaty, and the horseradish, cheese, and onions made for a flavorful combo that certainly stood out. The meat itself was heavily salted, which I enjoy but imagine others could have a problem with. All in all, it was a very good burger! However, I’m not sure it’s the best burger I’ve ever had. Before deciding the match between Nandi and David, I’m going to have to re-visit the Craigie burger. But now that I’ve recalled it, I’m casting my vote for the Butcher Shop. What can I say, they had me at “remoulade.”
What’s your favorite burger? For that matter, what’s your favorite post so far? What would you like to see more of in the blog? Less? I’m looking forward to the next hundred posts, and hope you are, too!
Oh, and points if you can guess where the blog title comes from! (Besides the fact that it’s the 100th post, of course.)