Has America ever invented anything? Of course we have, but I mean food-wise, have we seriously ever invented anything? Okay, barbecue yes. But I think it's hard when you're such a 'new' country as we are to not find some familiar traces in every dish back to some ancient civilization, or to some European culture in or around the 18th century.
Case in point: the hamburger. As I sat down to write this, I thought to myself there can't be anything more American than that. Throw in some french fries... crap there I go. Let's just call them 'fries' for the sake of discussion. Now, a burger and fries is by far America's favorite meal, and within reason. We may not have invented it, but we have definitely pioneered it to where it is today; and not only can you get your value menu cheeseburger anywhere at anytime, but now there's a bigger, better burger that has taken the stage and probably won't be giving it up for some time.
I think it's mainly due to the fact that a) you can grind anything; and b) people will actually let you. It used to be just the ordinary ground beef that could stoop so low as to be served in patty form. But nowadays, everything from prime to buffalo to Kobe is found in burgers, and likewise the toppings and flavor combinations are all the more endless. So has it that I officially begin my Quest for the Better Burger.
For my first installment, I decided to follow the buzz. And that led a couple of us to LoHi Steak bar on the corner of 32nd and Tejon on a Friday night. Quite a popular place, considering that after a couple of drinks, appetizers and an hour and a half wait, we finally got a chance to sit down. Let's just say, that burger didn't stand a chance. Boasting the highest price point of the burger options at a reasonable 12 bucks, my friend Chris and I both opted for "The Highlander". In this instance, a half pound patty is cooked to your liking, topped with swiss cheese, portobello mushrooms, and covered in a perfectly executed bearnaise sauce. The flavors meld together nicely from the earthiness of the mushrooms and beef, to the buttery tanginess of the bearnaise. Throw in a a healthy portion of fresh-cut shoestrings and you've got your self a meal. My only mistake was putting onion, lettuce, pickles and tomato on top. I think this burger speaks for itself without the usual accompaniments.
Secondary element, sauce, and cheese; most of the time this is the format that is followed by your burger afficionados. I plan to find another shining example of this equation each month to share with you all. My advice for now: definitely head up or down to LoHi Steakbar, avoid the Friday night rush and mow down on The Highlander.
I would love to hear your ideas on where your better burger is found. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add it to the list!
Dish it up Denver.