Saturday, December 8, 2018

Night at the Burger Museum

So here was a fun thing: "Night at the Burger Museum," organized and hosted by Burger Beast a/k/a Sef Gonzalez.

Most folks know Burger Beast as a passionate and voracious blogger of burgers and other comfort foods, or maybe as the organizer of record setting food truck events. Not as many may appreciate that he is also a true historian of the fast food universe, with an encyclopedic depth of knowledge about the genre and its origins. (He's got a book coming out, "All About the Burger," in a few months). Sef has also compiled quite the collection of artifacts and memorabilia, which was first kept in a warehouse in Westchester I visited a couple years ago. It now has a home at the Burger Museum in Magic City Casino, where you can find Bob’s Big Boy hobnobbing with Officer Big Mac.

Earlier this week, Sef launched something new there: Night at the Burger Museum, with the space converted into a dining room, and a menu inspired by some of the dishes that were once served at the places whose knick-knacks adorn the walls.

(You can see all my pictures in this Night at the Burger Museum flickr set).

The idea, and some of the original dish suggestions, came from Sef; the re-interpretation and execution were cooked up by Phil Bryant and Veronica Valdivia , who worked together at Norman’s 180, Yardbird and The Local before starting Heirloom Hospitality as a consulting business.

Here’s what was on the menu:

A root beer rum old fashioned, made with Havana Club Clasico rum, sassafras syrup and bitters, courtesy of the always ebullient Gio Gutierrez.

Inspired by the Burger King Yumbo Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich: ham croquetas with a cheese center, served with "special sauce." I'll confess, I was alive for the original Yumbo (which Burger King originally offered from 1968 to 1974, then brought back for a limited time in 2014), but I have no memory of it. This recreation was a feat of engineering, a crispy globe encasing a core of minced ham and molten cheese magma.

Inspired by the Wendy's Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich and Sizzler's Cheese Toast: a chicken cordon bleu soup topped with crispy, spice-flecked chicken nuggets, with a faithfully recreated tranche of cheese-dusted Texas toast riding sidecar. Here's an ad with Dave Thomas hawking the original version, I'm guessing from the early 1990's.

(continued ...)

Inspired by Kentucky Roast Beef's Roast Beef Sandwich: thin-sliced pit beef tucked inside a spongy bao bun, with a pool of spicy kecap manis barbecue sauce. A very loose interpretation of a pretty obscure bit of fast food history: the Colonel had a lot more success selling fried chicken than roast beef, and hardly anyone even remembers that particular attempt to expand the brand.

Inspired by Bob's Big Boy's Double-Deck Burger: a recreation of the original, with two patties, the signature divider bun, shredded iceberg lettuce, American cheese, a shmear of mayo, and another signature, Bob's red relish. Did you know that the Big Boy – not the Big Mac – was supposedly the first double-decker hamburger? I did not. I also did not know that red relish was so delicious. This was a great burger.

Inspired by McDonald's McDonaldland Cookies: cookies from Cindy Lou's Cookies. If you look closely you can see Ronald McDonald's head, in cookie form, poking out of the box there, along with an assortment of other goodies from Cindy Lou's (which were much better than those animal cracker type things you used to get with your Happy Meal).

This was a nice dose of nostalgia, combined with a genuine learning experience for me. Congrats to Sef on the first run of "Night at the Burger Museum" (and thanks for the invite), and thanks to Phil and Veronica for their inspired takes on these classic dishes.

Burger Museum
450 NW 37th Avenue, Miami, Florida

No comments:

Post a Comment