Thursday, December 29, 2016

Best Bites of 2016 (Burger Edition): Chuck P's Picks

by Chuck P

Well, here we are ladies and gents. The end of 2016 (thankfully) is upon us and with its end comes reflection on past events of this crazy year. Here at Bite and Booze HQ, we’re all charged with the task of looking back on the many delicious meals we’ve had this year and compiling a list of our favorite eats.

For obvious reasons, I was given the job of choosing which of the vast amounts of burgers would make my top 5 list. To me, this is almost like selecting who my favorite child is between my son and daughter (answer: they’re both my favorites). I was determined to go through each burger or at least try to, and find the ones that really stood out. So, without further ado, here are the top 5 burgers of 2016.

#5 Calla Burger

Restaurant Calla in Lake Charles, LA

During a 3 day media trip to Lake Charles, Jay hosted a Great Raft beer dinner at Restaurant Calla. Throughout the event we heard from almost every staff member there that we had to come back for lunch the next day and try their burger. It was pretty much everyone’s favorite choice on the menu. Upon returning the next day and having their signature burger I have to agree with the staff.

A soft, toasted buttery bun with two thick, juicy house made patties covered in gooey American cheese that literally melted in your mouth. I added some bacon and a fried egg as well which perfectly complimented the already delicious sandwich. Make sure to stop by here the next time you find yourself in Lake Charles and treat yourself to this tasty burger.

#4 The Burger

Overpass Merchant in Baton Rouge, LA

The Overpass Merchant is one of my favorite new places that has opened this year. This gastropub has a great selection of elevated bar food and a very nice rotating craft beer selection on tap. I love the fact that their burger is simply called The Burger. 

With Curbside Burger’s Nick Hufft behind the creation how can it NOT be good? The combo of ground chuck, brisket and short rib blended together gives this patty its unique taste. Adding choices of Aged Cheddar, Maytag Bleu Cheese, Applewood Bacon, Fried Egg or Onion Jam only enhances your burger experience. Hell, why not add them all?!? Pair this with one of their many IPA’s on tap and you’ve got yourself one heck of a meal.

#3 The “Irregular” Burger

Pimanyoli’s Smokehouse Cafe in Baton Rouge, LA

Okay everyone, let’s just take a second and look at the picture. I mean seriously. It’s like a damn work of art! Pimanyoli’s is tucked away on Airline Highway in between an Italian restaurant and a 24 hour gym. It’s one Baton Rouge’s best kept secrets. Their BBQ plates are to die for but let’s talk about this burger. 

On top of that delicious 8oz. ground chuck patty sits a mouth watering pile of their incredible smoked brisket. Add to that some awesome bacon, Monterey Jack, smoked mushrooms and grilled onions and it’s a burger lover’s paradise. Make your way out to Airline Highway and try this burger; your belly will thank you.

#2 The Breakfast Burger

Mason’s Grill in Baton Rouge, LA

If any of you know me, you know of my deep, undying love for the Breakfast Burger at Mason’s. House made patty, American cheese, fried egg, house made breakfast sausage patty, bacon, more American cheese, another fried egg. I mean...what else is there?! No more is needed to “add” to the flavor because it’s all there.

Honestly, you could share this with a buddy or your significant other but would you want to? I know I don’t. This burger is all mine and mine alone to enjoy and savor. As far as I’m concerned there are no other brunch options on the menu. This is it.

#1 The OG Burger

Alfie’s Pop-Up in Washington, D.C.

The BEST burger I had all year. For real. As beautiful as it looks in that photo, the picture still doesn’t do it justice. Chef Alex McCoy, who was a fellow contestant with Jay on Food Network Star, is the proud poppa to this beautiful bundle of joy.

The juiciness and flavor of that house made patty was mind blowing. Every component of the burger from the pickles and red onions to the baby arugula blended together perfectly. That sweet toasty bun was absolutely magical. I could eat this burger every day and never get tired of it. It’s that freakin’ good!

Honorable mentions:
The Venison Burger at Goûter in Baton Rouge, LA
The GC2 at Curbside Burgers in Baton Rouge, LA
The Old Fashioned Bacon Burger at Cotton’s Famous Hamburgers in Lake Charles, LA
The Chef’s Favorite at Spanishtown Market in Baton Rouge, LA

Check out Blair's Best Bites of 2016

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