Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bye Philadelphia... you make good burgers (Ladder 15)

Ladder 15 flag

For some stupid reason, back when I was still in high school, Penn was my dream school. Hell if I can remember why. Sure everyone shits on Cornell and Brown for being the crappy Ivies, but at least people know they're part of the Ivy League. I mean... no one confuses any of them with Penn State ~sigh. Yes, I realize how much of a pretentious asshole I sound like right now, and yes, I have since learned that choosing schools based on prestige is dumb (you realize I'm Asian right?). The point is, I really wanted to come to Penn, and I really wanted to live in Philadelphia. In hindsight, 17 year old me was a dipshit, because, let's be honest... Philadelphia kind of sucks. Everything basically shuts down at 10 pm if you're not an alcoholic, everyone is a hipster, the subway system smells constantly like a blend of hand soap and urine, the homeless people here are meaner/scarier (than the ones in NYC), and you produced M. Night Shyamalan.* Damn son... Avatar was pure crap and everyone knows it. Way to suck.

Well I guess that's not fair. Philadelphia isn't entirely worthless. Home to some seriously dope-ass cheesesteaks (and sandwiches in general), Philadelphia is the place where they signed the declaration of independence, where the finest pitching rotation since the mid-90's Braves is assembled, where the mythical "gobbler" is available year round, and most importantly... where some of my favorite burgers can be found. Like the "Burger 15" at Ladder 15.

Just a heap of onions

I already wrote about this burger on AHT (it is my last post... gooooo read it), so I won't rehash the details... but here's the breakdown. The Burger 15 is $15 (how clever ಠ_ಠ) worth of brioche, a prime sirloin patty, caramelized onions, mushrooms, truffle sauce, shredded beef short rib, and... my oh my... fatty-ass bone marrow. It sounds expensive and it is expensive, but is it worth it? Yeah man. Just like I said on Serious Eats, "like eating the freshest cow available."

Cross-section

Look how overcooked that shit is. Not one fuck was given that day. As an aside, I'm pretty okay with not doing burger posts anymore. Not that it wasn't fun and all not having to pay for burgers, but cutting them in half was sapping a lot of the enjoyment out of my meals. But yeah, I'm usually pretty anal about medium-rare. I feel like cooking the meat properly should probably be of more importance than sourcing the finest produce available from domestic farmers (or crap like that in general). The Burger 15 apparently isn't like other girls on the block. I like it no matter how overdone it is. Despite the fact that it looks like it was prepared by a line cook at Chili's, the burger remains fantastically juicy (undoubtedly aided by a layer of marrow fat). Combined with the caramelized onions and the brioche, there exists an aftertaste of sweetness that makes this burger straddle the line between meal and dessert.

Hand-cut fries

Truffle fries... truffle aioli mayo. Absolute perfection. I'm not even going to add context to that statement, because apparently it's all the rage lately to make stupid ass statements without backing it up. If you don't agree with my opinion about these fries, well you're just wrong. That's what perfect means. All joking aside, these things are pretty much the tits when it comes to fries that I've had. Structurally they possess the combination of a crisp shell with a fluffy homogeneous center. Flavor-wise, they're properly salted and drizzled with a phenomenally even coating of truffle oil. The slight sweetness of the potato vs. the herbal goodness of seasoning makes for a terrific handful of fries. Oh and that mayo? Creamed myself in excitement.

Oh yeah, so back to the main point of this whole post. Goodbye Philadelphia. I'm pretty excited about leaving you (even though I've been here less than a year). For the most part I won't miss anything since the number of good friends I've made here I can probably count on one hand. I'll admit that I will miss your ability to construct magical sandwiches out of ground beef and bread. You might be pretty shitty at almost everything that doesn't involve beer, but my god are you good at making burgers.

*please don't take me seriously for hating on Philadelphia, it's just an opinion. As for M. Night Shyamalan movies sucking major ass? That part is fact.

15 comments:

Sherm said...

What does Avatar sucking have to do with Philadelphia? James Cameron directed it, and he's from Canada...

Nicholas said...

Sherm - Avatar: The Last Airbender was directed by M. Night idiot. He is from Philadelphia.

Anonymous said...

Well...... he's really from the Philly suburbs (Penn Valley, on the Main Line). And, to be fair, that doesn't necessarily mean anything bad. Also from the Philly suburbs: Tina Fey, Todd Rundgren, Bradley Cooper, Bob Saget, Jedi Mind Tricks....

Anyway, I've loved reading your posts while you've been here! I hope you keep it up while at Google.

Sherm said...

Actually, dickhead, "Avatar: The Last Airbender" was an animated series that M. Night Shyamalan had nothing to do with. The film he directed is called "The Last Airbender" and the word "Avatar" does not appear anywhere in the title. I will, however, concede to you that it was horrible. I didn't have the misfortune of seeing it, but a friend of mine took her daughter and told me it was literally the worst movie she's ever seen. Also, you need to relax lol

Nicholas said...

Sherm - my lack of punctuation made things unclear. I was calling him "M. Night Idiot", not calling you an idiot *sigh*

Sherm said...

Lmao, all good Nicholas. And definitely all in good fun. Side note: I'll miss your posts over on that other site. Hopefully you'll still be posting over here? And is there any chance of you doing more posts for them once you relocate?

Rodzilla said...

And so ends my reading about the Philly food scene - I don't intend to eat go there/eat there, I just like your writing (bro-hug). Admittedly some of the shit looked mad tasty, but I'm more curious about NY.

Ms Fatty said...

So! Where will the new food adventure be?

Kevin said...

hahaha you have the same 'good riddance' attitude about Philly that I had. And did you buy one of those "Not Penn State" t-shirts? I kinda wish that I had, but then again, I have some friends that went to Penn State, so I'm not sure that woulda gone over too well.

Ben said...

I request, that when you do go to Google, to blog about the cafeteria food every once in a while. I heard it's top notch quality for something served to a mass of employees.

Nicholas said...

Sherm - I don't think I have a niche to blog for them anymore. The things that I want to do... others are already doing them (mainly Chinese food and junk). So no, it's relatively unlikely that my posts for SE will continue :(.

Rodzilla - I never intend on going back to Philadelphia (except for Philly Phlyer haha). Maybe to eat cheesesteaks, BUT THAT'S IT.

Ms Fatty - Google cafeteria 5x a week. Prepare to be bored out of your mind.

Kevin - I'm so burned out on this "little brother" mentality that Philadelphia has. It's just too quiet for my tastes (or maybe too alcoholic?). I wouldn't mind not going back for a looooong time. As for the shirt? Nah, I have friends at PSU and they probably wouldn't take kindly to that either. I don't actually own anything from Penn... except for maybe a few pens from the academic integrity lectures and a rape whistle. Thanks Penn.

Ben - I got you covered. I've been a few times, and honestly, I'd take it over the cookie cutter delis in NYC (Le Pain Quotidien and all those kinds of places). At worst I'll be the asshole taking pictures of every meal there so...

Ms Fatty said...

I have a homegirl who works at Google in Mountain View (Silicon Valley YAY!!) and she says the food is pretty fantastic, I keep meaning to pop over there and have lunch with her, I hear it's better than what Genentic and Facebook offer.

Good luck with the venture!

James said...

I expect a daily It's-It polaroid from the Goog. You're sitting on a gold mine, Trebek!

Buddha Boy said...

The Last Airbender...good conceptual story...bad execution in movie.

Nicholas said...

Ms Fatty - it's the only reason why I applied. Don't tell anyone.

James - give me a ring sometime. We'll lunch it, I'll bring some out.

Buddha Boy - I loved that cartoon. Then I saw the movie and was like... "wtf is this?"

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