Friday, September 30, 2011

Poag Mahone's -- The Verdict

The Summertime $5 Burger Challenge ends not with a whimper, but with a bang. Further, the challenge ends in a way only a lawyer could love -- it's no longer summer, and the burger didn't cost $5. Technically, though, diners might be able to find it at $5 or less on alternate Tuesdays from 4:05 to 4:15, in months lacking an "R," or something like that, so perhaps it qualified. But, who cares? It was a great burger at any price. That was no surprise to one of our group, who was closing in on his centennial burger at Poag's. "Flavorful," "juicy," and "perfectly cooked." If you can find a better everyday lunch burger in the loop, you're a lucky man. "Pretzel bun, grass fed, perfect execution = #WINNING." And the fries! Both regular, and even the sweet potato fries got thumbs up. "The best sweet potato fries I've ever had, which I realize is like winning the hottest geek grandmother contest. But still." All in all, "an underrated gem." Low of 83; high of 88; average of 85.

Exhibit 24 -- Poag Mahone's

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Top Notch Beefburgers -- The Verdict

The Summertime $5 buyer challenge rolls on, rolling all the way to Beverly for a trip to Top Notch Beefburger. This place is old school. "Return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear" old school. Top Notch has a reputation and value proposition, offset somewhat by the commute should you be traveling from downtown. Regardless, much excitement from our visiting judge, who finds that the diner ambiance and signature burger takes her back to her childhood. While there was a bit of variation in the scoring, our panel of judges all loved the old school feel and the addictive shakes. The burger itself, reportedly finding its origins in the legs of our bovine suppliers, varied a bit. For our guest judge, it was the meaty equivalent of Proust's madaleines, defining the burger against which all others are measured. For others, it was "solid," "meaty -- in a good way," but a bit "basic." Certainly, it was not the juiciest of preparations. That said, the nostalgic burger, tasty (if, perhaps not, "unique" fries), and life-changing shake, all make Top Notch worth the trip. Low of 74; high of 87; average 79.

Exhibit 23 -- Top Notch Beefburgers

Friday, September 2, 2011