Thursday, March 29, 2012

Station Eats

Station Eats | Menu
Stamford, CT

Somewhere between McDonald’s and Mackenzie’s; between Burger King and Burger Bar, exists a space. Let’s call it the High End Burger Shack. (HEBS). The HEBS business model has been exploding in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why.

Say you want a nice, juicy burger. (In other words, say you’re me, at any given time). You don’t want to do the whole sit-down dinner thing with a wait staff, and a hostess, and tipping – I mean, it’s just a damn burger. But at the same time, you don’t want one of the synthetic sodium grenades you’d get at a fast food place. 

So, what’s the solution? Five Guys. Shake Shack. In-N-Out Burger (I will have it someday, dammit!). The solution is the HEBS. The wonderful little grey area between eat-in and take-out. The perfect beefquilibrium.

I love the HEBS. It’s my kind of place. So when I found out that Station Eats had opened in downtown Stamford, and had already received ringing endorsements from our comrades at OmNomCT, I just had to check it out.

High-end FoodPlusBeer photography strikes again.

The interior looks, well, like a HEBS. It’s stylishly designed, with the menu written on the wall in huge letters, so you can read it clearly, regardless of how drunk you are. The order process works more like Subway or Chipotle than Five Guys – you tell ‘em how much meat & cheese you want up front, and then walk your cooked burger through the topping station. It’s a perfect opportunity for impulsivity (OOH! I want jalapeños, too!)

I ordered a double cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, oni…wait, you don’t care what I got on my burger, do you? It’s okay, I wouldn’t care what you got on yours either. The point is, they’re made to order and you can get whatever you want. Same with the fries – you can get them with cheese, chili, Station Eats signature sauce, whatever your clogged little heart desires.

Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast.

I also ordered the U-Turn, one of Station Eats’ “Hi-Octane” shakes for grown-ups. Chocolate ice cream, Oreo chunks, and bourbon - it’s like breakfast at Charlie Sheen’s house.

The burger was everything I could have expected – juicy, fresh, and tender…due in no small part to the fact that their meat is organic, and grass-fed, and locally sourced, and all that good stuff. The fries were perfectly hot, crispy and potato-ey. The shake had just the right amount of bourbon where its presence was felt, but it didn’t overpower the chocolate.

It was a perfect HEBS experience. Oh, yeah - did I mention that we were sitting on one of the picnic tables on their ROOFTOP DECK? Burgers and fresh air – what a combo. Just imagine what this place is going to look like on Alive at Five nights this summer.
It’s a good time to be a burger junkie. Long live Station Eats. Long live the HEBS.


Station Eats on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coalhouse Victory Bacon Beer Dinner

At FPB, we love bacon. We love beer. We love dinner. So it’s no surprise that we would love a bacon beer dinner.

That’s exactly what we were treated to Monday night at Coalhouse Pizza (our review) - five delicious courses featuring everyone’s favorite cut of piggy. Five hoppy delights from the excellent Victory Brewing Company out of Downington, PA. The pairings, meticulously crafted by our blogger buddies over at OmNomCT, were a wonderful work of bacony, beery art.

In a normal review, this would be the part where I’d go through each of the recipes and each of the beers. However, on a night where we ate like Timothy McVeigh minutes before his execution, I think I’ll spare you the details. Instead, I’ll run through some quick highlights.

-The bacon blues salad gave new life to the phrase “beauty in simplicity.” It was also paired with Victory Headwaters Pale Ale, which kicks all kinds of ass.

-The Hawaiian Pizza with thick-cut bacon and habañero (Did I have to google “Spanish ‘N’ and copy and paste it just now? You bet) peppers was surprisingly delicious and balanced, and would probably be added to the menu permanently if Gerard could think of a Hawaiian blues song. (Dick Dale – Misirlou?).

-The Victory Storm King Stout Butterbeer was a really inventive, different, and delicious way to incorporate the beer into the dinner. Kudos to OmNom (and Harry Potter) for thinking outside the box on this one.

-Kyle spilled water all over Kristien from OmNom. I feel it’s my duty as a ball-buster to mention this in the post.

All in all, it was a fabulous night and one my arteries will never forget.


P.S. - For nostalgia's sake, check out our writeup of the Oskar Blues beer dinner, which took place nearly a year ago to the day.

Oskar Blues Beer Dinner

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Louis Lunch - The First Hamburger Sandwich

I have been to the Empire State Building. I have seen Independence Hall. I have stood on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial and climbed the Statue of Liberty.

And now, I have eaten at Louis Lunch.

For as long as I can remember, cheeseburgers have been my favorite food. I love them. I cherish them. “Super Size Me” made me hungry. So walking into Louis Lunch, the self-proclaimed birthplace of the cheeseburger, was a sort of religious experience for me. As an agnostic fat kid, Louis Lunch is my Bethlehem. Or something like that.

You walk in the front door of Louis’, and…that’s it. You’re at the counter. The interior has been carved up by generations of carnivorous drunks and college students. The tables and booths are bizarrely small, lending some support to the notion that we as Americans have ballooned up over the past 100 years. The grills are upright gas cookers that have been in use by the restaurant since 1898. You’ve never seen anything like them and you probably won’t ever again.

When it comes to ordering, the only thing you can order is a burger. The only toppings are tomatoes, onions, and some sort of cheese spread. The burger is served on white toast. Ask for ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce or anything else and you are excommunicated.

As for the taste – the burgers are super juicy and tender, and you can tell the meat is high quality as they grind their own beef in-house. The toast lends a satisfying crunch and the tomato and onion add cool, crisp texture and a little bit of extra zing.

Is it the best burger I’ve ever had? No – although it’s a damn good, freshly made, satisfying sandwich. But the real charm is in the atmosphere. The history. You’re sitting in a tiny little shack, right next to the grandson of the man who invented the cheeseburger. He’s using the weirdest grill you’ve ever seen. He refuses to use condiments or expand the menu. And yet the line is still out the door. Stubbornness in the restaurant business is refreshing to see sometimes - Louis Lunch believes in doing things a certain way, and that’s just how it’s gonna be.

More power to ‘em.


Louis' Lunch on Urbanspoon