DAY FOUR: PUTTIN' ON THE SCHNITZ
I'm forced to skip my lunch burger due to that inconvenience called "work". Ughhhhhhhhhh. I order something with kale for lunch and feel like an imposter. My body is confused – why are we introducing vegetables into the system? This is a red-meat-and-carbs-only zone. My insides will likely stage a rebellion until meat returns.
This much time without ground beef makes seconds feel like minutes, and minutes feel like hours. I've been on a strict regimen of one burger every 2-4 hours. It's now been 8 hours since I had my last burger, and I will get withdrawals if I am not careful. Desperate to feed my burger dependence, I call up Amy, my burger enabler.
She agrees to join me at Zoiglhaus, a name that I still can't spell or pronounce.
We arrive and the wait is an hour. An elderly couple ahead of us exclaims, “WE’RE NOT DOING THIS!” Good. MORE BURGERS FOR ME! I'm not sure how much longer I can go without a burger in my system but I've made it this far, so I oblige to an hour wait. Patience is the essence of Burger Week. Restaurants are doing the best they can so we can enjoy these precious treasures!
After what felt like days (but was only 45 minutes in reality), a man approaches with our burgers. He says "Happy Burger Week!" as he delivers them. This phrase triggers a daydream of the servers coming together for a celebration where they clap and sing a catchy remix of "Happy Birthday" like they do at Red Robin, only the word “birthday” is substituted with “burger”. The growl of my stomach pulls me out of my vision and back into the task at hand.
Zoiglhaus’s Schnitzel burger is exactly what it sounds like: a pan-fried beef patty schnitzel with lettuce, tomato, onion, gouda, and beer-mustard aioli between a pub bun. The gouda is a great touch, adding a new dimension of smoky flavor. My favorite part is the crispiness of it. It needs a little bit more sauce, but they provide ketchup on the table, which will suffice. I appreciate the creativity and authentically aligning a German twist to fit their restaurant theme. Overall, I rate it a 7.5.
Nearby is Bar Maven, our next destination. It's crowded with a line out the door, but after the last burger, we are not daunted by a wait. Similar to our last spot, it will be another hour until our burgers are ready. Once we place our order, it becomes a game of “find a table” – a game that seems impossible to win. We squeeze (literally, I squeezed my burger belly in so I could fit) into a small table with airplane-like uncomfortable closeness with our neighbors.
The Bar Maven burger is a kimchi Korean burger with (you guessed it) kimchi, pickled jicama, spicy mayo, pepper jack, green onions, and bacon bits. Every Burger Week it seems that at least one restaurant presents a kimchi burger. Unfortunately, it seems this will be another year that no one nails it.
This was a burger that received a lot of high ratings from credible burger enthusiasts. However, I am not a big fan. The burger itself is really good, but the kimchi is a big distraction for me. The bites are hard to manage because the kimchi is soggy and not crunchy, which creates an overall rubbery texture that requires me to chew more than I should. Judging by all of the high reviews from everyone else, I wonder if I got an anomaly due to the long wait time. But based on my own burger experience, I have to give it a 5. For me, Bar Maven needed some savin'.
As we get ready to leave, the people next to us ask about the burger. Unlike us, they were not prepared for the long wait, and as a result skipped the burger for a liquid meal instead. I tell them my review and shamelessly plug the burger blog. They show surprise and concern when I tell them I have already eaten 13 burgers this week. Clearly, these are burger neophytes, but I humor them when they ask for Burger Week advice. We all start somewhere, right? We're all just trying to find the best burgers, one bite at a time. At the end of the day, it’s not about how many burgers you’ve eaten, but how many lives you can change through your burger story.