Son of Burger Mountain

January 26, 2013

I love my new home in South Florida. The weather is awesome, the lifestyle is fantastic and even the food is good. But I do really miss my friends.

Being 1,300 miles apart from all my friends in Jersey has been rough, particularly being away from those who I have shared my best foodie memories with.

One of those folks who has been in my thoughts a lot lately is my friend Christine Nunn, who recently had to close her restaurant, Picnic, as another casualty of the usual economic malaise hitting everyone nowadays. Christine has instead chosen to focus on her catering business, which is still doing well.

While Picnic got incredible reviews, and the food was utterly phenomenal the financials of the place did not work out. Sometimes this happens when restaurants get too ambitious, and indeed this was without question one of the most ambitious restaurants I had ever seen in New Jersey.

Picnic was a wonderful place while it lasted, and I considered it the best restaurant in all of Bergen County. I was extremely privileged to be able to document the start-up of the restaurant and to come in for periodic visits, and get access to the kitchen where I  probably shot the best food photos I’ve ever taken in my entire life.

Today while I was out shopping, I thought about Christine, her restaurant and all the good times we had.

While I was in the midst of my thought processes, I got the whiff of grilled beef, probably wafting out of a fast food restaurant near the supermarket. Hamburgers. Oh God, I wanted a hamburger, right then, right now.

The smell of burgers kicked off a taste memory in my synapses.

And then I remembered the Hamburger that was meant to end all hamburgers, the Burger Mountain. I’ve had posts about all sorts of hamburgers on Off the Broiler over the years, but none got anywhere near as much attention as that thing that Christine created.

People were emailing me (and Christine) from all over the world where they could get one, and where it was served.

The thing is, we only did that burger once, as a total goof. At her restaurant, a less complicated version was served once or twice, but it was a crazy expensive and labor intensive.

I could never attempt to make anything as sophisticated as Burger Mountain. I don’t have the culinary training like she does. But I could make a really freaking big hamburger that would taste good. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NYC Dining: Taste of Prime Tavern (LGA)

September 30, 2012

Taste of Prime Tavern
LaGuardia Airport Terminal D

Web Site:

Since early summer, a lot of you may have been wondering “What the hell happened to Perlow’s posts?”

Well, the Jersey part of Off The Broiler has been run like clockwork by Melody Kettle, who has been updating you on all things delicious in the Garden State.

My wife and I moved to South Florida at the end of June, where I’ve gone into research mode in terms of the local restaurant scene. I’ve also been trying to keep my technology blogging on ZDNet up to regular levels, which has been a challenge in and of itself.

But many of you know I primarily work in technology consulting and I do a lot of travel. Since early August I’ve been commuting back and forth to Brooklyn on a weekly basis.

And that involves spending a lot of time in airports.

Specifically, New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, Terminal D. Which I depart from on Thursday nights to return home to the Fort Lauderdale area.

Terminals C & D are run by Delta, which is my carrier of choice.  I always start at D even if I have flights out of C, because there is a free shuttle bus between the two terminals and the only open SkyClub is currently at D.

So if I have a 2 or more hour wait before my flight, I grab something to eat and then hit the club for drinks.

There are a number of good places to eat in Terminal D, all of which are run by a company called On The Go Management, which owns high-end and creative restaurant concepts in a number of different airports.

One of the things that this company has pioneered is placing seating areas in the terminal gates which have specially-secured iPads where you can browse their menus and have food delivered directly to your seat.

I haven’t tried any of those offerings yet because I prefer a traditional sit-down dining experience away from the gates themselves, but if you’re in a hurry and want something better than pre-wrapped sandwiches from a kiosk, it looks like a good way to go.

The most prominent of the restaurants in Terminal D is A Taste of Prime Tavern, which opened in August of 2010, and  has a menu that was originally formulated by Michael Lomonaco, of Porter House New York in the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.

I’m saying that it’s the most prominent because it is directly behind the main security checkpoint, has the most seating of the other restaurants, the biggest bar area, and has a dramatic window view of the departing aircraft.

In terms of the prices, I think they are pretty reasonable given the overhead that this place has to deal with in being in an airport terminal. If you are expecting it to be a bargain, it isn’t, but I can guarantee you cannot go wrong with practically anything you order here, particularly if you want a place to have a civilized meal for an hour or more.

For the quality of the food you get, the value is definitely there.

The menu items change seasonally depending on what the restaurant can source and what is selling, but here’s a sample menu.

Bar Area/Main Dining Room.

Main dining room, window area

Airport food doesn’t have to suck. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NJ Dining: The Death Seat Burger

May 9, 2012

Hot From The Kettle contributor, John Lee, recently encountered the Death Seat Burger at Nutley’s Old Canal Inn.

Lee writes, “I first heard of the “Death Seat” at the Old Canal Inn when I found a copy of Weird New Jersey at the Barnes & Noble in Mission Valley in San Diego.  Who would have thought that several years later I would not only have the opportunity to see the actual death seat, but eat the burger after which it is named!”

So what is the Death Seat Burger? Why such a morbid moniker? Read all about it on Hot From The Kettle.

NJ Dining: Ingredients Matter at Elevation Burger

May 7, 2012

Photo Credit: John Lee

 Hot From The Kettle contributor, John Lee, recently visited Elevation Burger on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair.

According to John,  “[s]everal things set Elevation Burger apart from all of the other burger joints in the region.  At least two of those reasons are going leave you wondering why you haven’t visited in a while.”

Find out what those reasons are on Hot From The Kettle.