The Trenchermen

We eat other people’s food.

Posts Tagged ‘Burgers

NYMag Sandwich List #38: Pork ‘Burger,’ Xi’an Famous Foods

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I’ve abandoned my plan to systematically eat and describe all of the sandwiches on the NYMag 101 sandwiches list, but I continue to use the list as a wellspring of culinary discovery.  (Someone was kind enough to create a Google Map of the 101 sandwich locations.)  With that in mind, eager to break from my PBJ lunch routine, my office-mate and I wandered into the heart of Manhattan’s Chinatown — East Broadway, under the Manhattan Bridge — for a taste of Shanxi cuisine at Xi’an Famous Foods.  To connect the dots for our readers, it’s a chain of small restaurants that started in Flushing, in the Golden Mall (yes, we’ve eaten there before and blogged and vlogged about it), and has now expanded to Chinatown and the East Village.  The highlight of the restaurant’s offering is the “Liang Pi” Cold Noodles.  The sandwich featured in the NYTimes is the Lamb “Burger,” which I found to be loaded with far too much cumin.  But NYMag loves the Pork “Burger,” so I gave it a shot.

NYMag says this sandwich, which is made of pulled pork stuffed into a bing-like bun, could “rival any Carolina barbecue.”  I disagree.  Although the smoky, vinegar sauce is nice and less sweet than most Chinese barbecue sauces I’ve tasted and the bun is warm with a nice crunch, the sandwich is altogether unremarkable and familiar.  It is incredibly greasy and the pork is stewed into a textureless mush.  At least the cumin-loaded Lamb “Burger” offers an unfamiliar and exciting flavor combination.

As for the Carolina comparison: forget it.  The best barbecue I ever encountered was in Holly Hill, South Carolina, at a place called Sweatman’s, and it is an act of exceptional generosity even to mention Xi’an Famous Food’s Pork “Burger” in the same paragraph.  To say this “Burger” is a “rival” of a place like Sweatman’s is a cruel joke.

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Written by trencherman

October 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Restaurants

Tagged with , , , ,

Steak ‘n Shake (Springfield, MO)

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In the recent surge of food enthusiasm, much attention has been focused on the hamburger, America’s favorite food.  There are those who praise the fat patty, composed of carefully-calibrated mixes of meat, sometimes filled with flavor-adding ingredients.  There are others who prefer a smashed, buttery burger.  In New York, Shake Shack is the genre-defining purveyor in the latter category.  In California (and elsewhere,  now), In-n-Out Burger generally wins.  On our recent trip to Missouri, we tried the Midwest’s leading contender, Steak ‘n Shake.  In my opinion, it’s better than the rest.  (My contacts from Saint Louis agree.)

We visited what I am told is the first Springfield location:  a classic diner format with the word “Takhomasak” (take home a sack?) displayed on an awning out front.  I ordered the Original Double ‘n Cheese, which comes with two patties, American cheese, and a selection of toppings.  The patties are smashed, cooked through, and somewhat flaky.  And very greasy.  But the meat is delicious; it tastes more fresh and buttery than the  grayed-through patties you get in most other fast-food chains.  The toppings included the standard fare — ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, etc. — and some exquisite others, most notably mustard relish.

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Written by trencherman

September 23, 2010 at 11:58 am