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The Burger: nature’s food with built-in handles!

June 7, 2018

Truth be told, I don't think I know anybody (or, better yet, anybody I'd desire to know) who doesn't like something savory tucked securely inside a good roll. Note the word, "good" – I've been read the riot act by several local restaurateurs when I criticized their burger rolls! I consider it a compliment. And eventually, both (begrudgingly) changed their suppliers.

Add bacon (it'll make your pelt shiny), a slice of cheese (dairy is healthy), some lettuce & tomato (it's a salad!) and there's nothing better. Rehoboth Beach is loaded with restaurateurs who love to push the burger envelope. Take the Blackwall Mozzarella Burger at Blackwall Hitch: Not traditional by any means, but delicious nonetheless with melted smoked mozzarella, crispy pork belly, balsamic onions, arugula & tomato with roasted garlic mayonnaise on an onion-poppy seed bun. Then there's the salmon burger at Summer House. It's only available on Monday half-price burger night – and they often run out before the evening has ended. It comes with a polite dollop of lemon basil mayo and is truly delicious.

Tom Kramer at Lefty's Alley & Eats whomps up one of the best turkey burgers I've ever had. Most cooks haphazardly overspice their turkey burgers in a vain attempt to give the notoriously mild bird some taste. Tom's is perfectly balanced. They have changed up that burger since I last tried it; the current version is put together in the style of the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich: Kramer's Turkey Burger "Bon" Mi (he's the chef - he can spell it any way he likes) is nestled in brioche roll and decorated with pickled vegetables, pepper jack, napa cabbage and a teriyaki pineapple glaze.

The new owners at Shorebreak Lodge wisely kept the LaFrieda Burger on the menu. And toque Shane Kellaher protects Bronx butcher Pat LaFrieda's magical taste with a restrained dollop of bacon onion jam and a bit of gorgonzola. Another spot where you might not expect a blockbuster burger is Conch Island Key West Bar & Grill. The Blue Heaven Burger is everything the name suggests, with impossibly crispy bacon and an egg. Trust me on this one!

Out on the highway, three burgers that never disappoint are the longtime Nage Burger at Fork + Flask at Nage (they can skip the truffle fries, but the burger's as good as ever). Another is the Down South Brisket Burger at Bethany Blues, sporting a smoked brisket and short rib patty. It's slathered with a bit of pimiento cheese and crowned with onion frizzles. Pair it with a New Belgium Fat Tire draft. And we cannot forget the Monday night burger creations at Pickled Pig Pub. Whichever one you pick will be delicious. Get 'em with a side of P3's signature fried pickles.

I would be remiss if I did not pay homage to Five Guys' fresh, never-frozen, made-to-order burgers. Their extra-hot grills sear the beef so it stands up to whatever toppings you desire. The finished product is wrapped in foil and buried in a golden-brown avalanche of peanut oil-fried fries. Take a vanilla milkshake to go.

Step away from your email! I know there are others, but I've run out of my allotted real estate. So this should keep you busy 'til the next Beach Paper. Pass the mustard, please.

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