Monday, April 26, 2010

Best Burger in Town

The hottest food item throughout the city over the past year has undoubtedly been the burger. New places have opened just to make them. There is a city-wide club to eat and judge them. At least two (FWTS, Adam Erace) have labeled Village Whiskey, owned by Iron Chef Jose Garces, the winner. Add Meat Mt Airy to that list.

Although the place has an astounding selection of (really great) cocktails and a handful of notable menu items (celebrated pickles, a butter-poached lobster roll), the burger is by far the star. It comes down to two aspects of perfection: start with unparalleled ingredients; add unparalleled technique.

The beef is sustainably farm-raised, and the additions are all of high quality. I added Haystack Mountain Chevre and avocado to the Village burger for added creaminess and tang, not that it needed it. Oh, and they also make their own sesame rolls in-house.

But the true star is the technique. The beef is also ground in house, wrapped up in a torchon, and sliced. This slicing allows for a uniformly thick patty, with high sides like a hockey puck. This is in contrast to most other formed patties which narrow at their ends, contributing to uneven cooking. It also helps that when you ask for medium-rare, they do not hesitate to give you a true medium-rare.

The result is hard to describe - somehow more meaty and more juicy than any other.

Leave Mt Airy. Head to the Village. Get the burger.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pheasant Valley

There I was, hunting pheasant. Who would have guessed? I had the privilege of attending one of the last hunts of the season at Pheasant Valley Farms in Robesonia, PA. And, I actually hit a few. Although there is a good-mannered controversy over who shot one of the birds, I claim credit for hitting two pheasant and two chukars.

Here would be an ideal place for a longer discussion on hunting in general. Yet, I hesitate to. I just want to eat what was shot.

I first made the barbecue sauce from Tyler Florence's rib recipe. Instead of peach preserves, however, I used orange marmalade. Why? That's what I had on hand - and it turned out delicious. I have the luxury of using a gas grill with an attached rotating spit, a gift from my step dad. I put two of the chukars back-to-back on the spit, as seen below, then tied the legs around the middle. Pushing together the legs in this fashion helps prevent the legs from drying out before the breast meat is done.

I also tossed some squash and mushrooms in a quick dijon vinegrette for the grill as well.

Here we go for a spin on the spit . . .

And after is all said and done . . 

The breast meat was nicely done after about 25 minutes on medium low heat. I turned the burners on high at the end, hoping to caramelize the sugars in the sauce and add a depth of flavor . . . but the gas ran out. Not ideal timing, but at least everything was cooked through! True to form, my first bite had a bit of shot in it.

Meat Chuk the chukar. And Meat Mt Airy.