Apples & Burgers Don’t Mix But BBQ, Bacon & Onions Sure Do [BOTM Review]

We’re champions of creativity here at Burger Days– it’s one of the reasons we highlight the area’s special monthly burgers with our BOTM posts. Not content with just reading about them, we also make it our mission to seek out and throw each of these creations into our faces. And now, we’re hitting you with the reviews while THESE BURGERS ARE STILL AROUND, so you can actually find out which of the BOTMs you should eat…or avoid. Our review of August's BOTMs: bgrapplebrie

Bacon Apple Brie Burger - BGR The Burger Joint

I adore cheese. Hot. Cold. Hard. Soft. Cow. Goat. Mild. Stinky. Whatever shape, size or type it is, I straight up LOVE it. I'm so obsessed with the stuff that for a while I belonged to a Cheese of the Month club and I'd get several pounds of it delivered every 30 days to my door. That's right, a friggin' monthly mystery box of mail order cheese. It was awesome. (I've since cancelled my membership to the club, in part because five pounds of cheese is an insane amount to eat in a month but also because I thought it best to poop more than twice a year.) Despite the myriad of cheeses out there, however, when it comes to burgers, it's usually limited to a select few varieties. American and cheddar are the most popular but others like Swiss, blue and pepper jack aren't hard to find either. Brie, the highlight of BGR's August BOTM, is available as a burger topping at a handful of joints around D.C. but it's still a rarity in the beef-and-bun world. Along with the brie, BGR threw in a slice of a Granny Smith apple, some bacon, a spring mix of lettuce, sauteed onions and a balsamic glaze on the appropriately named Bacon Apple Brie Burger. A salad turned burger, it's a well-thought-out creation I was very much looking forward to tossing back but, in this case, the whole thing was just off. Before I tear it down, let me say this first: I don't eat apples. Yeah, that's fucking weird, I know. It's not that I don't like the flavor – I like apple pie and other stuff with apples in it just fine – I just don't eat the fruit. I have absolutely no interest in it. But I never special order a signature burger because I trust the place that put it together knows their shit. So, I ordered the BOTM, apple and all, and went to town. Since I'm an apple idiot, I had no clue what a sharp and tart flavor a Granny Smith has. It was quite a shock and I sat there practically wincing at the acidity with every bite. Toppings are supposed to compliment each other, but in this case, one just ended up tainting the whole burger. I admit, the apple and brie worked, but the beef was the odd man out and I all but forgot about the bacon. And the advertised "balsamic drizzle" and "sauteed onions," rather coming as two separate ingredients, were instead mixed together forming an overpowering hybrid, pseudo onion jam. It was all just too, too much. When ditching the toppings produces a better burger, something's not right. Also, apples and meat don't mix. - Jody (@burgerdays) BOTM Rating (out of 10): Taste: 4; Creativity: 7.5; Overall: 4.5 Verdict: putitinthewaste 11 locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia |   cheyenneburger

Cheyenne Burger - Bobby's Burger Palace

Another month, another repeat BOTM. Bobby Flay’s Cheyenne Burger is a regular in the Burger Palace rotation, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As I’ve written several times, the BBQ-cheddar-bacon combo is smack dab in the middle of my burger hot zone so I’m a little biased when it comes to this particular flavor mash up. Creative, outside of the box thinking? Absolutely not. This guy is simply an upscale version of the Hardee’s classic we all know and love. I still have my usual critique where it comes to Chef Flay’s lack of "zest" in his sauces - perplexing given his reputation as the king of southwest grilling. In this case however, the mild mannered BBQ sauce actually allowed some of the other members of this posse to shine through. The burger patty was seasoned very nicely (not always the case at the Burger Palace) and the crispy onion straws held up nicely despite the very juicy beef and provided a consistently sweet and peppery crunch with every bite. Mind blowing? No…not by any means. But it will scratch that bacon-BBQ-cheddar itch quite nicely. - Matt (@yaysaps)
BOTM Rating (out of 10):
Taste: 8; Creativity: 1; Overall: 6 Verdict: putitintheface 5 locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia |   dogwoodpickleback

Pickleback - Dogwood Tavern

I'm often grumpy for many, many reasons at one time. Rarely can I focus that grump on a single person or thing as I can in this instance on the Pickleback burger, Dogwood Tavern's burger of the month for August. Dogwood's burgers are usually at least decent, but this one raised my hopes so expertly I thought maybe, just maybe they could pull this off. Nope. Hopes dashed on the rocks like so much cheap whiskey. As usual, the burger is fine, grilled, properly seasoned, blah blah blah. But the glaze is way, way too sweet and contains no real whiskey notes. Likewise, the pickles and pickled jalapenos are just pointless, especially fried. They don't have enough taste to start with- frying just mutes their flavor further and makes them salty to boot. The sweet but boozy whiskey glaze would've balanced just fine had the pickles been super briny and the jalapenos actually spicy. At least they were well-fried, and the bacon was good without overpowering the burger itself. I prefer lardons of bacon instead of whole strips as strips end up removed with a single careless bite, but it was the least of my concerns when it came to this painfully underwhelming burger. Great idea, frustrating execution. - Jeb (@jebgavin) BOTM Rating (out of 10): Taste: 4; Creativity: 9; Overall: 2 (because of the letdown) Verdict: putitinthewaste 132 West Broad Street | Falls Church |   btschilango

Chilango - Burger Tap & Shake

Burger Tap & Shake's Chilango BOTM may seem familiar and for good reason– it's essentially their Apache Sweat Lodge minus green chilies and smoked onions with guacamole swapped in. But it is a variation on a great spicy burger which just so happens to be a past BOTY winner. Switching in guacamole for a monthly special is a solid idea, as it's not a regular menu offering, but when you mess with a good thing, you better do it right. I was impressed by the size of the burger itself, but a peek under the bun revealed very little of the color green. The guac was hidden underneath the strong XXX sauce and was relegated to a secondary role. You would think as the big addition to the burger, the guac would be highlighted rather than simply compliment the sauce and pepper jack. Perhaps they did some test runs and a load of guac messed things up but this is one case where I don't think you can have too much of a good thing. More guacamole, please. - Adam (@addc) BOTM Rating (out of 10): Taste: 8; Creativity: 3; Overall: 6 Verdict: putitintheface  2200 Pennsylvania Ave NW | DC | AUGUSTBOTMrankings   2014YTDBOTMrankingsaug    

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