Pittsburgh, PA - a city bursting at the seams with hulking skyscrapers and soaring steel girders of multitudinous bridges...and great burger joints.
Harmony, PA - a peaceful, bucolic village of farms and fields way up north (further than Zelionople!)...and a great burger joint! In fact, we found absolute burger brilliance in Harmony. Maybe that should be "Burgher" brilliance. The fine establishment of which I speak is Burgh'ers.
Now we didn't happen upon Burger'ers by accident, we'd been wanting to check this place out since last fall after sampling Burgh'ers delectable bites of food and inventive cocktails at Savor Pittsburgh. Somehow, despite the best of intentions, we never made it that far up north...until Friday. You can be assured we'll be making the trek regularly now!
Upon walking through the door, the place was packed. Wait for a table? Not when there were two prime spots at the end of the bar! It was the perfect perch to observe all the happenings between the kitchen and the front, the kitchen and the bar, the bar and the front...you get the idea, it was the happening place to be. And talk.
We were soon chatting with our barmates as if we'd always known one another. Al and PJ sat to our immediate left and we talked of rock music and Jergel's new spot in Warrendale, the old days and the loss of loves...and of Harleys while we waited for food and drink.
And we schmoozed with Dee Hutto, our very talented bartender. Dee was responsible for the back of the bar looking as much like a scene out of Harry Potter's Hogwarts schoolroom as anything else. Glass jars and bottles of all sizes and shapes and colors held infusions, elixirs and bitters with fruits such as figs, pineapple, mango, orange, blood orange, spices and herbs all waiting to be part of the magical, liquid combinations of spirits with which Dee built each cocktail.
It was the last weekend for Dee's winter cocktail menu and the Royal Fig was sounding just right for the cool, blustery weather outside. Crown Royal, Dee's housemade Pimms, Campari, lemon and her own orange fig bitters beckoned. Bold, tart, sweet and crisp, it was perfection.
Don't look for it on the bar menu as Spring cocktails have taken over...although if you're lucky, Dee may just have enough ingredients to mix you up one last Royal Fig. No promises, though. While I enjoyed my cocktail, Mark savored one of the very nice selections of craft beers on tap. We finalized our dinner selections.
Now what else would you order from a place called Burgh'ers, than a burger? Exactly. Mark ordered the Pitts Burger piled high with cheddar, coleslaw, pickle, basil onion and "special" sauce. The Animal was my choice. It's a cheeseburger...oh, not the typical cheeseburger you might envision, this was a cream cheese burger!
Fresh basil, crisp onion, raw, spicy jalapeno slices and sweet tomato stacked atop a burger of organic local beef and grilled to caramelized perfection on a screaming hot flat top. You might choose to have yours on a bun, but I chose a huge romaine leaf, of course. The contrast of hot meat and cool cream cheese accented with all those fresh veggies made my heart sing...and my tastebuds smile.
|The Animal - Burgh'ers far superior version!|
Although I didn't use the organic beef burger mix that Burgh'ers does and I don't have a white hot flat top to sear the patties almost instantly, I made my own - nowhere near as good as Burgh'ers - version of the Animal burger at home. It was good! If you can't get out to Harmony to experience the REAL Burgh'ers burgers, give this one a whirl.
One more thing...Burgh'ers will be selling their their burgers and other items outside of Good Taste Pittsburgh in Cranberry on Saturday, April 20th at the Marriott on Rt. 228. There will be deliciousness both outside and inside!
The Animal Burger
Makes 1 burger
- 1/3 - 1/2 lb GOOD quality ground beef, made into a thin patty
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 slices cream cheese from the foil-wrapped package
- several thin slices raw jalapeno pepper - or use pickled ones from the jar
- thinly sliced onion - red onion would be pretty!
- red, ripe tomato slices
- finely julienned fresh basil
- Romaine lettuce
- Jane's Crazy salt or another good seasoning salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- a good toasty bun (gluten-free to make this GF) or a whole Romaine lettuce leaf
Place the burger on a waiting toasted bun or a large Romaine leaf. Top with the cream cheese slices and the veggies. Dust with Jane's Crazy salt and enjoy.
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