Henry Cram and Justin Cram work for KCET and love burgers. This is their story.
On the third day of The Oinkster's Burger Week we journeyed from our humble posts in Burbank to the far off land of Eagle Rock once again. Our quest: to attain the one true ring -- and consume it. Well, several rings actually. Last night's burger was a unique creation that only existed for a brief moment, then was gone, its essence encapsulated in the hearts and minds of those who made the trek. The burger, named "BURGERLORD of the Rings" was a five-ounce beef patty with arugula, a panko-crusted pineapple ring, grilled onions, bacon-chipotle ketchup, and a truffle-gorgonzola cream cheese, all on a bagel. Whuuh? Cool! We were excited.
Justin and I arrived just before happy hour ended so we got some beers to hold us over while the burgers cooked. Some guys sat down at the table next to us and were wearing The Oinkster's Second Burger Week Challenge t-shirts, a sign of successful completion of last year's challenge..
"Are you guys doing it again this year?"
One of them smiled and pulled his pant leg up to reveal the bracelets he had collected so far on his ankle.
"Third year in a row!" they said, unable to hide the excitement for the burgers that would at any moment arrive at their table. You see a certain people enough at The Oinkster over the course of Burger Week that their faces become familiar, but I actually recognized one of them as one of the many guest reviewers from KCET's Free Lunch series. His face was familiar because I had spent a week in the edit bay, almost two years ago, watching him eat as I edited the video. Ha! Our burgers had just arrived so now he was going to get to watch us eat.
The burger was beautiful. The bagel had a nice sheen to it and the dark green arugula was a very welcome sight, generously piled atop a crispy fried pineapple ring. Grilled onions separated the burger and bottom bun.
The sharp, aromatic cream cheese flavor was interrupted by the sweet acidic pineapple, and textures tumbled around between teeth and tongue. Each bite was different and exciting. The chipotle ketchup held bits of bacon to the top bun and its smoky, spicy, sweetness lingered like the sunset on these long summer evenings on the patio at The Oinkster.
The sun began to go down -- reminder that all good things come to an end. By the end of the night the last ever Burgerlord of the Rings would be consumed and gone forever, but its memory will live on. If anything this gave us a template for the next time we eat at The Counter, a burger chain that allows you to build your own burger from a checklist of ingredients. I'll be trying to recreate the experience for years to come.
For the moment, like the sun, like the ketchup, we lingered on the patio. Sharing instagrams, and vines, and tweets with the online community of #burgerlords. Our co-worker Matt and his girlfriend joined us at our table as they too embarked on an unexpected journey. It's hard not to appreciate the fellowship inspired by The Oinkster's Burger Week. Strangers become friends and friends become family.
Bonus: I spent a little time playing around with a 3D scanning program for the iPhone called 123D Catch by Autodesk. It's an amazing world we live in. A series of photos is converted into a 3D model which can be viewed, downloaded and even 3D printed through the program. It's a free download and I highly recommend it. I made a gif to share the experience with all of you! It's not perfect but it's pretty dang neat!
Words by Henry, photos by Justin.
2005 Colorado Blvd.
Eagle Rock, CA 90041