Each week we taste a new burger. Do you?

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So what now? We came, we ate, we conquered. We will be taking an indefinite hiatus while we decide what the next step for Burger Club will be. Personally I’m hoping we will be back with a whole new list of exciting places to try. If you have any suggestions please let us know. 

Love you-

BMMB

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WEEK 53!! - Pepper Club
It has officially been one entire year of burger clubbing without once repeating a location! I can’t believe it. How time flies. To celebrate this fact, we went to Pepper Club to see if there high-middle-end-casual burgers held up.
Jake: Pepperclub is known for serving the vegetarian and vegan population. Ever since I was a child I remember my hippie, macrobiotic parents dragging me and my sisters here and trying hard to find something for me to eat (in my stubbornness). Well, I’ve sort of grown up and my palate has expanded tremendously (must be a result of all the burgers). I’ve been here a few times in the last couple years and never has the food been remarkable enough to remember. This burger, however, was different. Except, it was bad enough that I remember how bad it was. The individual components, on their own, may have been ok. Combined together, though, was a mistake. The bun was some homemade concoction of an english muffin - about as thin as flatbread and just as brittle. The beef was local and cooked right but, I’ve had much better. The toppings were usual. The real crutch of the burger was the bun. I’m going back to the bun because it really did not do the burger any favors. To top it off, (this may have only been my own observation), the roasted spuds were cooked in rancid oil. If you have ever smelled rancid oil, don’t forget it…and don’t cook with it!
Sarah Machine: Barely making over the average bar, Pepper Club sits at 5.8 in the world of the Machine.
Sean: Over in Sean world, the burger faired even less favorably, being garnished with a sub par 2.
Don: Why do I continue to fall for the same tricks?!! A place that is sort of fancy decides to make a burger that is equally “fancy” or exotic and mostly falls flat on it’s face. On top of that, I get pissed because I feel like I just dropped $15 to be made fun of. I fall for it for the same reason that gamblers can’t stop gambling, and people keep going back to that same crappy relationship: random positive reinforcement. Every once in a while, one of the high end burgers is just awesome (Grace, Sonny’s, Blue Spoon I’m looking at you), but you never know when you’re going to hit that jackpot, or get those surprise flowers at work.

WEEK 53!! - Pepper Club

It has officially been one entire year of burger clubbing without once repeating a location! I can’t believe it. How time flies. To celebrate this fact, we went to Pepper Club to see if there high-middle-end-casual burgers held up.

Jake: Pepperclub is known for serving the vegetarian and vegan population. Ever since I was a child I remember my hippie, macrobiotic parents dragging me and my sisters here and trying hard to find something for me to eat (in my stubbornness). Well, I’ve sort of grown up and my palate has expanded tremendously (must be a result of all the burgers). I’ve been here a few times in the last couple years and never has the food been remarkable enough to remember. This burger, however, was different. Except, it was bad enough that I remember how bad it was. The individual components, on their own, may have been ok. Combined together, though, was a mistake. The bun was some homemade concoction of an english muffin - about as thin as flatbread and just as brittle. The beef was local and cooked right but, I’ve had much better. The toppings were usual. The real crutch of the burger was the bun. I’m going back to the bun because it really did not do the burger any favors. To top it off, (this may have only been my own observation), the roasted spuds were cooked in rancid oil. If you have ever smelled rancid oil, don’t forget it…and don’t cook with it!

Sarah Machine: Barely making over the average bar, Pepper Club sits at 5.8 in the world of the Machine.

Sean: Over in Sean world, the burger faired even less favorably, being garnished with a sub par 2.

Don: Why do I continue to fall for the same tricks?!! A place that is sort of fancy decides to make a burger that is equally “fancy” or exotic and mostly falls flat on it’s face. On top of that, I get pissed because I feel like I just dropped $15 to be made fun of. I fall for it for the same reason that gamblers can’t stop gambling, and people keep going back to that same crappy relationship: random positive reinforcement. Every once in a while, one of the high end burgers is just awesome (Grace, Sonny’s, Blue Spoon I’m looking at you), but you never know when you’re going to hit that jackpot, or get those surprise flowers at work.

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Week 52 - The Loft

The best burger in town!? Bold words from this brash, young newcomer. Let’s see if they put their burger-fists where our mouths are for a knockout meat swing.

Jake: So the new kids on the block think they have the best burger in Portland, Maine? Well, think again. The package looked nice (bun, cheese, etc.). The meat sounded promising (Pat LaFrieda). However, it just didn’t all come together. I opted to order medium-rare - a test to the higher end burger joints. This was a fail. It’s difficult to say what might have gone wrong but the meat was soft/slimy in the middle raw part and chewy in the cooked parts, as if it was overworked or overmixed. It did not contain any pink in the middle but, the texture revealed that it was still somewhat raw. The fries were decent, at least.

Mogwai (fresh from a 2 week nursing stint in the Dominican Republic): I’d say that this place is definitely worth a try, especially if you’re looking for a new twist on a burger.  They offer so many different kinds, that it’s hard to be really disappointed.   I had a spicy, smoky one with chipotle peppers.  It wasn’t the best in Portland, but it wasn’t the nasty, processed, frozen patty that some are trying to get away with.  Worth a shot if you’re looking for waffles, or donuts, on your burger!

How many hours would I work for this burger?  Well… update your bland walls and send out more pickles and I’ll work a couple of extra.

Sarah Machine: This one barely got above average to earn a 6. 

Sean: I think the portion size won an average, 2.5 rating, from our resident silent burger stalker.

Don: I’m a sucker for novelty. With 30 different types of burgers to choose from (including one that had a doughnut for a bun) I was pretty excited. The novelty of your toppings will only take you so far though. The patty itself was a sheer disappointment. Maybe it’s because they are new and still working out the kinks, maybe it was just an off night in the kitchen. To be honest, I don’t care what their excuse is. If The Loft is able to step it up on the patty end of things, they will really have a good thing going. I’m willing to give them another shot at burger champs, but they have some big buns to fill.

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Week 51 - Gilbert’s Chowder House

"What does a chowder house have to do with burgers?" you might ask. Don’t ask dumb questions.

Jake: 'll be honest, I was a bit skeptical about getting a burger at a place that primarily serves seafood. I imagine that they don't make many but, then again, there are always those stubborn kids that don't want to eat seafood and, considering the location, there is probably no loss of tourist families roaming around. In any case, we were still determined. After our burgers arrived came the usual “silence of burger eating”. This only happens when there is a very close bond between human and burger. Its like a meditational epiphany, only more intense. We were all focused in our own worlds for those precious minutes. When my consciousness returned to normal I collected my thoughts and opinions on this burger and this is what I determined: This burger really surprised me. It was actually one of the juiciest burgers I've eaten yet and the flavor was great. It was cooked medium, as ordered, the bun was soft and substantial, and the _____ cheese was nicely melted. The burger came with generic potato chips, which was the only downside, I thought. Great job overall though, Gilbert's, in smashing my pretenses.

Sarah Machine: I usually ask a lot of questions when Sarah rates things. This still has led me any closer to understanding her preferences. The GCH burger won a 6.6 from her.

Sean: Papa bear growls a satisfied 2.5 from deep within.

Don: I was pleasantly surprised by this one. This is a simple burger, but it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. The patty was cooked to order. It was juicy and flavorful. It came with standard toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion) and melted cheese food on top. All in all, it was very similar to getting a burger at a backyard BBQ from someone who actually knows how to cook a burger. I just couldn’t handle the mountain of chips it was sleeping on.

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Week 49 - Muddy Rudder

Happy 4th of July! To be honest we did not intend to end up at the Muddy Rudder at all, but our first plan (Harmon’s) was closed so we figured we visit another Maine Staple.

Mogwai: If you do anything for 48 weeks, you learn a few tricks.  The one we relearned today was the trick the cosmos like to play on hungry Burger Clubbers.  You see, if we get excited about a place and they are closed when we show up, we will travel long distances to another place that we are excited about.  That place will be closed, and then we will go someplace mediocre.  It has happened enough times that I plan my life around it.  So, yeah, attempt 3 brought us roughly 30 miles to the Muddy Rudder, which is actually about 15 miles away.  We thought that this Maine institution would be worth adding to the blog, even though it’s not in Portland.  I know that they’re not a burger restaurant, but I was pretty disappointed.  I went for the Rudder Burger, which includes tempura onion rings, bleu cheese, and a mysterious garlic demi.  I didn’t taste any of it.  The cheese was in slice form, which is weird, and it was bland.  Everything was bland.  The meat actually wasn’t as bad as it looked, but, well, it looked bad.

How many hours would I work for this burger?  I’m calling out sick.  I hope you don’t catch me buying ice cream later…

Sarah Machine: Sarah had sicky belly, so she declined to comment. Way to push through though! That’s commitment.

Sean: Sitting peacefully by the water, lost in a silent moment of reflection, perhaps relishing the burger taste still fresh on his lips, perhaps parting the clouds to view secrets of the cosmos, our always majestic Sean, imparts a 2.5 to us.

Don: It had such promise. On paper it all looked great, but like so many things not fated for this world, so was this burger. Meat cooked alright, but it didn’t make up for the complete flavor wasteland I was presented with. This is the purgatory of burgers.

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Sorry it’a been a while. Have a ton of posts coming soon. Just been really lazy lately… er busy.

Sorry it’a been a while. Have a ton of posts coming soon. Just been really lazy lately… er busy.

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Week 48- 51 Wharf

I didn’t even know this place served food. I’m really only used to it being the backdrop for drunk debauchery, stiletto heels and broken ankles. Let’s give it a try!

Mogwai: Apparently, people read this blog, so I’ll have to choose my words here very carefully.  No, I didn’t know that they served food either.  They made an attempt, for sure, by adding blueberry BBQ sauce to their burger.  It’s a nod to the tourists traveling this area by day, and I’m sure it gets them excited about buying other blueberry flavored treats before they return home.  I’m in favor of that.  I am not in favor of processed, pressed meat patties… can we give up and stop serving that type of thing in Portland.

How many hours would I work for this burger?  None.  I’m not even going to show up and play angry birds while pretending to work.

Sarah Machine: A slightly below average 4.5 bestowed by our own Machine.

Sean: Frowning a bit through his beard, I can make out a 2 shape.

Don: Don’t bother. Eating this thing was work, not pleasure.

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Week 47 - Flask 

The Flask boasts one of the most interesting dynamics in the Portland bar scene. One night it’s a dance club, the next night you can hear some of the loudest doom metal you could ask for, then they’ll play sports bar, but can they cook too?

Mogwai: Though I’ve seen some great shows at Flask recently (check out Volcano Rabbit and Left & Right), I never actually thought about ordering food from their kitchen.  I felt guilty on the night that we went because it was about a thousand degrees outside, and there was no sign of AC inside.  Asking them to fire up the grill seemed like torture.  Seeing no other option, we did our best to increase their drink sales and then ran to their outdoor seating.  For an unassuming kitchen, the women at Flask offer a creative and delicious burger.  It was half a pound of fresh, local beef, which is always a good start.  Fries are included, as are lettuce, tomato, onion, and garlic aioli.  The burger was cooked to specifications, and juicy without being greasy.  The garlic aioli was awesome, and the drinks were reasonably priced.

How many hours would I work for this burger?  Flask far exceeded my expectations.  I’ll definitely pick up an extra shift for this burger.  Burger establishments everywhere, consider adding some garlic aioli to make things more exciting.

Sarah Machine: A solid 6.8 comes with a thumbs up.

Sean: I learned a long time ago not to try and understand the man behind Sean’s curtain. Today Flask gets a slightly below average 2. I didn’t ask any questions.

Don: Way to go Flask. I’ve always liked you for no reason I can put my finger on. Now I like you for your burger. Very worth the price and a testament to how simple ingredients can be used well to give you something greater than the sum of their parts. The caramelized onion brought slightly sweet to the table, and it made out nicely with the salty patty. I’ll be back.

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Sorry for the huge break in posts. We may be good at eating a burger every week, but not all of us are good at writing every week. 

Love you,

Burger Meister Meister Blogger

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Week 46 - LFK

How can a place with typewriter parts everywhere not make an awesome burger? Let’s find out if good taste in beer foams over to good taste in burgers.

Mogwai: If you’re reading Portland food blogs at all, I’m sure you’ve seen good things about LFK already.  Well, let me jump on the bandwagon.  I like the décor, I like the dark walls and the big bar, and I like the bartenders, and I like the drink choices, and I love the paint job in the bathroom.  I like the menu, and I’d like to return to try more than just the burger.  But, yes, I like the burger.  They offered a cheese I’d never heard of (exciting!), the most amazingly delicious buttery bun, and a good-sized, well-cooked burger.  Instead of fries, they went with a smallish portion of really good potato salad.  It was definitely enough food, but I wouldn’t mind a side-salad next time.  Something about this burger makes me want a full course here.

How many hours would I work for this burger?  I’ll totally cover that shift, even if it’s 12 hours, on the weekend, and overnight.  If you’re not careful, I might even move in.

Sarah Machine: A very respectable 9.3 from The Machine.

Sean: His muzzle gleaming with butter and excitement, Sean lifts 3.75 mighty paws. Also, very good from our silent arbiter. 

Don: This thing was awesome! The bun was practically a giant soft pretzel. Wonderful! Meat was cooked to a great medium and it was apparent effort was taken to do a good job. Don’t let all the literary references intimidate you, this burger is gonna make everything all right.

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