Untrainedeats’s Reviews

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Even when your on a beautiful island like Maui sometimes you just want to sit at the bar with your wife, drink fruity drinks and eat well made burger. Yes I know I can get a burger anywhere and I should have all the seafood I can while I’m out here. Well I wanted a burger and I had one and it was good so sue me.

This is one of the hundreds of Pina Colada’s I had in a short period of time and its a good one.
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I don’t know when bar menus decided to add fried Brussels sprouts but god bless that addition.
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Now here is a good angus burger cooked to a perfect medium rare and seasoned simply with salt and pepper. That’s all I can ask for in life and truffle fries I can also ask for more often.
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Asura Asian Bistro & BarAsura Asian Bistro & Bar
Asian / Chinese / Asian Fusion / Bistro / Bars

In the pursuit of drinking and drinking cheaply in Midtown Manhattan I stumbled upon Asura Asian Bistro right on 35th st between 7th and 8th ave. Its located in the same building as the Wingate by Wyndham hotel. I walked in with one of my buddies and checked out the menu and they offer some 5 dollar mixed drinks and 4 dollar beers. I grabbed a Sapparo.

 

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Looked over the menu and grabbed some appetizers. First off is edamame topped with sea salt which is good.

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Next I saw that they had some wings. They were ok but I really wasn’t a fan of them.

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Lastly I grabbed some Shrimp Spring rolls and these are your normally small overpriced spring rolls. You get two big spring rolls and these surprising might be some of the best spring rolls I’ve had in the city. Those I will most definitely come back for!

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Next time I go back for some cheap booze I’ll try some of the rolls.

 

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Au Bon PainAu Bon Pain
Cafes / Breakfast & Brunch / Fast Food

Here at Untrained Eats we are equal opportunist and there’s a lot of things in New York that I have found that I like and there’s sometimes I’ve found in New York that I don’t like. This one most definitely goes into the don’t like list. I should of known better because I’m not a fan of large chains but I want to know how Au Bon Pain managed to mess up a grilled cheese or what it really is, a toasted cheese. I haven’t been feeling my best lately and finally my stomach allowed me to eat something more then dry bread and plain chicken so I thought I’d get a classic dish like Grilled Cheese with tomato soup. The “grilled” cheese had bacon and tomato and this maybe the first where bacon didn’t help a dish or save a dish(You know bacon makes everything better type thinking) and came with a Tomato Basil Bisque. This Bisque was bland and had the flavor profile of the finest straight out of the Campbell’s soup can.

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Looks at those Toast marks, that’s what I want to see when I order a grilled cheese. It was just overall bland and I just love over paying for bad food. I can’t win em all but I can sure try.

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posted 

I’ve been to Dinosaur BBQ many times and its one of my favorite BBQ places in the city. It’s in a weird place(under the overpass on 125th st.) but it kind of adds to the coolness of it. You walk into this space and its feels like a spot you could find down south with great bluesy type music. Now lets get down to the food. The wings, deviled eggs and shrimp remoulade are must when you go there. For the main course I ordered Ribs and chicken. It comes with cornbread and 2 sides and I choose mac and cheese and pork fried rice. Definitely not healthy but your at a BBQ spot so who really cares.

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Wash it down with some moonshine and fall into a food coma.

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Jacob's PicklesJacob's Pickles
American (New) / Southern / Bars / Comfort Food

Ahh the upper west side, my old stomping grounds(well for a few years) and I even worked at the Circuit City in that area(remember when Best Buy had competition) but I never really found food that blew me away in that area until now. I went to Jacobs Pickles a few days ago and I love good southern style food(It’s so easy to mess up but when its good its freaking good)and I love biscuits! This place has great craft beers and have a revolving beer menu which I appreciate. As I’ve gotten older I don’t want to drink bud light and coors light when I go out to drink, I want a nice IPA or a really strong stout that will get my tipsy after two of them but I’m getting off topic. Lets start off with the appetizer which is 4 biscuits with various sauces for it.

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Sweet baby jesus that maple butter that comes with an order of biscuits is good that it makes you want to abandon all other butter as an option. With my biscuits I decide to order a sandwich on a biscuit. Just really sticking with the theme I was going for which was glutton. The biscuit came with fried chicken, bacon, egg and cheese.

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It was ridiculous with the side of grits it came with. The food is so rich that you will catch the itis(You know that feeling when your overjoyed and falling into a food coma at the same time) and wish you had a pillow and blanket with you to sleep it off.

Also they have a ridiculous amount of pickles here. I’m not really a fan of pickles but my wife loves them so I’ll take her word for it. But we can all agree that those biscuits are ridiculous!

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Big BoyBig Boy
American (Traditional)

So I guess I’ll start with how I got here. So I was on a road trip from New York to Detroit with my buddies who were wrestling for a company called JCW(Juggalo Championship Wrestling, yeah I know its random but were wrestlers) and they are based out in Detroit. Big Boy is a restaurant that I’ve heard of for years and its was legit right next to the hotel we were staying at so it was destined to happen. So we get there on a Saturday morning after driving through 3 snowstorms through 4 different states. Sleep for a few hours and head out to the show. On the way back around 10 or 11pm it was time for some grub and we headed right for the restaurant. I ordered the Classic Big Boy Burger which is American cheese, lettuce, tomato, with two seasoned beef patties and a side of fries. I added a nice fried egg and crispy bacon on top you know just to round it out.

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I love places like this, it feels like a throw back and the burger tastes great, just beautifully greasy. Well worth the stop. Its funny I even bought a change bank that they sell there and I look at it every morning on my night stand and just remember how fun and random that trip was and how good the burger was.

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Up in New Paltz, NY sits an old school resort called the Mohonk Mountain House and this is the scene for todays brunch.

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Its a pretty massive resort with a lot of beautiful scenery and what feels like millions of walking trails to get lost on but lets start out with the food. The Sunday Brunch is served buffet style and yes I know normally you would groan at a buffet but at Mohonk they don’t serve everything under the sun but a good amount of well prepared dishes. You can get an omelette prepared right in front of you, some craved prime rib, chicken, pork, and some of freshest shrimp cocktail I’ve had in some time.

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At this buffet I like that they serve you instead you serving yourself, makes the experience a a little more enjoyable and a heck of a lot cleaner.

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The omelet here is delicious decided to add some makeshift chicken and waffles to go with it. At first I thought the waffles were only ok and then you have like three or four out of an animal craving that overtakes your body. Grab a drink and dig in. I decide to grab a beer because they have a decent beer menu.

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After a few plates of delicious food its time for some dessert. I grab a chocolate German cheesecake, tall house chocolate bar and cream puffs. All really fresh and really tasty.

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That cheesecake was really good, almost surprisingly good. Now just let the food coma overtake your body and stare out the window at the openness.

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After everything is said and done with your meal you should really take a walk around and burn off some of those calories because its a buffet and you know you went a little bit overboard but that’s ok. During the winter going into the spring they offer ice skating on their lake and during the summer they offer paddle boats.

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Its still pretty cold for this time of year. We also stumbled into the Barn museum they have and found this awesome looking old ford car that’s probably from the 20′s

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So up at the Mohonk Mountain House the service is excellent but very pricey. The Sunday Brunch by itself cost 75 dollars a person(That includes tax and tip) and that doesn’t include alcoholic beverages. Its a little steep but the food and service are great and you get access to their grounds so make a full day of it.

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posted 

Oh man I haven’t been to this place in over a year and when your driving by you would almost miss it. Fish Express in Kauai is a pretty non descript place that doesn’t look special but the fresh fish is amazing on this island. I started off by getting a 1/4 of a pound of Spicy Ahi Poke. I really love that you can just walk up here and buy some Poke by the pound.

To go with it I had to try some Spam Musubi which is basically a really big Spam sushi roll. Just rice, seaweed and Spam and the rice and seaweed really cut down on the overly processed taste of spam.

What to try something quick and surprisingly fresh them check out Fish Express. It’s a really great value for the low price and great quality.

 

http://untrainedeats.com/2014/04/04/ahi-poke-and-spam-why-not/

posted 

Steak, bread and cheese is such a simple thing and tastes so heavenly. When you have Filet Mignon from Pat Lafrieda topped with melted Monterey jack cheese, dripping in au jus with caramelized onions on a toasted baguette that right there my friend down right devilish. Price wish $16 bucks may seem like a lot but you are already in a place with pretty high prices (That being Citi Field in Queens… Go Mets!) but trust me its worth it. The fact that you can get a steak sandwich of this quality at a ball park is a little shocking but I always make sure to grab a little extra cash before I head out to the ball game.

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Take me out to the ball game, you can keep your peanuts and cracker jacks. Just leave me with a cold beer and a steak sandwich and it will be alright.

 

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posted 

I always love finding a good Chinese spot and when I can find one near work then that’s even better. Midtown is expensive and a lunch special from a Chinese spot can be life saving to your wallet. I’ve had the Chicken and Broccoli from Main Noodle house and its pretty damn tasty. On Monday I was feeling a little under the weather so whenever I’m sick I want soup and specifically the natural healing powers of wonton soup and the added grease of some egg rolls.

Nice warm broth and really good wontons, not to doughy and really good pork in them with some egg rolls and crispy noodles. It will cure the common cold and hopefully soon!

 

http://untrainedeats.com/2014/03/26/midtown-chinese-spot/

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Rusty MackerelRusty Mackerel
American (New) / Tapas/Small Plates

This may also be the world’s longest title for Chicken and waffles ever. I like brunch and I love eating Chicken and Waffles. This isn’t your ordinary chicken and waffles. They use a Jerked quail in a waffle cone placed atop a sweet potato and smoked maple puree. The quail is no joke, its nicely spiced and has that nice char that you want in your food when recovering from a hangover. The smoked maple is so weird but so good and works really well with the sweet potato puree. Break off pieces of the waffle cone and dip it into the puree. Add a side of steakhouse bacon and a drink (Blood Orange Pellegrino and Vodka always works for me) and your loving life.

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BaconeryBaconery
American (Traditional) / Desserts / Sandwiches

So let me get this straight, they made a restaurant and its main purpose is to sell bacon and bacon accessories. Well I’m sold, here just take my money. Ahh the Baconery which is located in the Upper west side is everything bacon and with some many options where do I start. I’ll start by walking in the front door.

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We walk in and look over the menu and feeling a rumbling I decide to get a savory sandwich and get the Pumba which is Sriracha, Bacon, Cucumber, Lettuce. The cucumber is an important ingredient because it helps sooth some of that sriracha burn. The sandwich is good but the bacon is great.

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Also decided to grab some bacon sweets to share later on so we grab a chocolate and bacon covered pretzel rod, a big old strip of chocolate covered bacon and chlorate covered bacon with nuts on top. It really satisfies your sweet tooth and bacon tooth(Its a thing, I think?!). Check it out and enjoy!

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Veg - A Vegetarian & Seafood EateryVeg - A Vegetarian & Seafood Eatery
Mexican / Asian other / Seafood / Vegetarian

Sarasota is such a quiet town and is always a great place to visit on my downtime. It’s a great place to get fresh fish so I try and grab some as much as possible down there. Hungry for lunch my wife and father in law took me to one of his favorite local eateries down there, The Veg. It’s a Vegetarian and Seafood restaurant where you can grab a nice salad or a great fish. I checked out the menu but the special of the day caught my eye. I ordered the Buffalo Basa Fish Wrap with Coleslaw.

I was a little bit hesitant because I’ve become very tired of any kind of Buffalo sauce because they normally taste very generic. This buffalo sauce on the other hand was surprisingly good and a perfect compliment to the flaky basa and spinach wrap

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Perfect size for a lunch that won’t leave you bloated and regretting your meal. I appreciate a restaurant that serves food that’s good for you and has an appropriate portion. Don’t get me wrong I can be a glutton but in moderation.

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Artisanal Fromagerie and BistroArtisanal Fromagerie and Bistro
Fondue / Bistro / Brasseries / Breakfast & Brunch

 

So thanks to my wife we got invited to an epic adventure in the city thanks to Secret starting with a Chocolate Making class at Tache Artisan Chocolate.

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Check out the display

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Our instructor for the evening

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Ready to go with my piping bag

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I won’t quit my day job, I’ll stick to savory over sweets.

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The wife filling up some Chocolate molds

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Check out some chocolate roses I made

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After making all that chocolate it was time for dinner at Artisanal 

Our menu for the night

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I never realized how good fondue was and I came to the right place for it. Bread, potatoes and veggies dipped into hot cheese. So good!

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Their lobster Risotto might be some of the best risotto I’ve had in New York legit.

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Check out that huge Cheese selection

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After all this chocolate making and dinner its time for dessert at Maison Kayser

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So many choices so little time. The place is a real tight fit but the desserts are good.

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Once again I want to thank Secret for an epic evening.

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Manchester PubManchester Pub
American (Traditional) / Pubs

You find the most random stuff on Facebook sometimes but this time it worked out in my favor. So I was perusing through Facebook and saw an ad for a Mardi Gras Beer Dinner at a place called the Manchester Pub. So I checked it out and emailed Lawrence which was one of the owners. When I arrived for the dinner I was greeted warmly by him by name which was actually quite nice and unexpected. Its actually added to the warm atmosphere of the Manchester. As I was speaking to one of the patrons I remarked that this is an interested place and didn’t know what to expect. The best way I can sum this up is its an English Pub, ran by Asian owners and running a Mardi Gras inspired beer dinner and oddly all works together. Welcome to New York! So lets start with the menu for the night

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We start off with a shared hor d’oeuvres plate with Fried Pickles, cheesecake and crab stuffed tomatoes. This was served with a Flaming Dr Pepper(Beer and a shot with Amaretto and topped with 151 then lit on fire) and it legit tastes like Dr Pepper. I liked the crab and pickles but wasn’t a fan of the cheesecake.

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Next course was the Barbequed shrimp served with Farro Grits(I personally think that farro grits are better then regular grits but good grits are good grits). The beer it was paired with was Abita Restoration Pale Ale. The interesting fact about this beer is that it was created months after hurricane Katrina and raised over 1/2 a million dollars. That’s pretty amazing and its a great beer.

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Next course was a muffaleta with a twist as it was served with homemade porchetta, sharp provolone and olives. I’m normally not a fan of muffaleta’s because I’m not a fan of olives but this rendition was delicious and tasted great with the Abita Grapefruit IPA(Tastes like Grapefruit and its kind of ridiculous)

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Next course was a Turducken(Chicken and duck stuffed in a turkey and deep fried) served on top of a hoecake(a delicious pancake) and topped with sriracha maple syrup. Its one of the most interesting versions of a chicken and waffles and I loved the New Orleans twist and served with the Abita Turbodog.

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Next course(I know I’m starting to feel full and a little drunk but chug on, its worth it) is Jambalaya which is southern style soupy rice served with Lobster, Andouille sausage and smoked chicken. So good and the smoked chicken is a nice touch to this dish. Its served with Abita Mardi Gras Bock.

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Alright woohoo we made it to the last course and its Beignets(You really can’t get anymore New Orleans then then Café Du monde holla)and Banana Pudding served with a Café Brulot(Basically a coffee with orange liqueur, also lemon peels, orange peels, cloves, sugar cubes and cinnamon sticks all cooked together) and the Abita Abbey Ale. Its a really great way to end out this great meal.

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I can’t wait for the next dinner and should hopefully be in the next 6 weeks. I hope to see you guys there. Its great food, great management and also great patrons. Everybody is so friendly and its different from what I’m used to in New York. Also Chef Matthew Garelick is awesome for setting up this menu.

 

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posted 

I enjoy finding really good food in really unexpected places. Nothing is worse then an over-hyped, pretentious place that is atrocious. Well you don’t have to worry about that at Pono Market. It’s located in Kapaa in the east side of the island. It looks almost like a typical NY Deli with stainless steel drink coolers and stainless steel counter with plexiglass holding area for food. The only difference is here you can get Ahi Poke and not disgusting dry sesame chicken you get in a NY Deli.

It’s around lunch time so there is a little bit of a line but your in Hawaii. What do you really have to do today. So I grab a Passion fruit and Pineapple juice from the fridge and I order the fried chicken over white rice (I can feel you people judging me already) and 1/4 of a pound of spicy Ahi Poke. I wish you could order delicious raw prepared fish by the pound more often.

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The fried chicken was great. It had a good breading on it and was surprisingly a little bit sweet which added to the flavor. The Spicy ahi poke was delicious. I just wish it wasn’t 17 bucks a pound but 1/4 of a pound of that stuff and your good to go.

I wish I could have that exact meal for lunch right now. Best 8 or 9 bucks I’ve spent in awhile.

 

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posted 
Ono Ono Shave IceOno Ono Shave Ice
American (Traditional)

Any time I think of shaved ice I can only think of one place and that’s Ono Ono Shave Ice Kauai. I went here last year on my Honeymoon and the Wife and I wanted to try shaved ice in Hawaii for the first time. So many flavors, so little time. We got one huge shaved ice (can’t remember the flavors but I remember it was delicious) with Macadamia nut ice cream at the bottom. That ice cream was so good and so creamy that it was a little bit ridiculous. I need to plan another trip ASAP!

He’s the wife enjoying her first Hawaiian shaved ice.
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So in April of last year around the time I was getting married I was looking for a place that would be good for a rehearsal dinner. So with a recommendation from my friend Mara we decided to pick Harpers on Main up in Dobbs Ferry which was just a few minutes away from the wedding venue in Tarrytown. I have to say this was a great choice of eateries.

After all the toasts were given it was time to eat. You know after dieting for a few months it was time to pig out a little bit and get a nice juicy burger. I chose the Harpers burger which is actually one of the best burgers in Westchester. It was a burger cooked to a perfect mid rare placed inside a brioche bun topped with white cheddar, gruyere, bacon, onions and a fried egg. Absolutely delicious!

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After the burger and some drinks it was time for dessert. I choose to have the Beer Battered Apple Fritters topped with caramel and cinnamon ice cream.

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Harpers has a great staff that are very attentive and the food will leave you in a guaranteed food coma which lets be honest is all you really want at the end of the day.

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posted 

Warm weather brings baseball, peanuts and cracker jacks. I refuse to spend 6 bucks for peanuts or cracker jacks but I’m willing to try ribs at any cost. Normally when you think ballpark you think hot dogs and burgers so having the option of brisket and ribs I thought why not. Also having an hour and a half rain delay during the subway series at Citi Field (Go Mets!) gives you a lot of time to drink, eat, be a little wet but still be merry.

Not to far from are baseline seats was Blue Smoke. Checked out the menu and decided that I’m getting the ribs. As much as I like a pulled pork sandwich I was still in a Memorial Day kind of feeling and wanted to keep the rib train going.

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You get about 4 ribs for 10 bucks (Insert I’m a get you sucka joke: How much for one rib?!). I picked up the rib and it feel off the bone and my jaw dropped. Really fall off the bone ribs at a ball park. Get me another order right now!

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posted 
SmashburgerSmashburger
American (Traditional)

So many burger places, so little time but I’m here to try them all. So I take a trip with my dad into Pelham and stumbled upon Smashburger. Seems interesting enough but I cringed a little bit at the thought of smashing a burger and thinking of all the juices oozing away and being left with a dry burger. Well I was wrong because I guess whoever they go about it creates a meat crust that retains juices and leaves you with a well seasoned and pretty juicy patty. If I’m in the area I’d try out something else besides the classic I had. Also I like there fries but I prefer thin cut crispy fries over large steak fries any day of the week and any time I get an option to add rosemary, olive oil and garlic to my fries I will do so.

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