Sunday, July 19, 2015

The incredible, edible egg


I grew up eating and working in diners.  My dad owned one and I was a schlepper there for years.  I’ve had eggs a million different ways, from soft-boiled to hard, to sunny-side up to scrambled and omelets.  My preference is over-easy on top of corned beef hash, if anyone cares (and I know you all do).

However, all the rage these days seems to be an entirely new way of eating eggs…as a condiment on a burger.  Formerly found only at little crap-holes seen on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” with that clown Guy Fieri, the egg has gone big-time and can be seen on menus everywhere, including “The Local” in Wayland, and “Ted’s Montana Grill" in Westborough .

Honestly, I questioned the logic behind this movement.  Why is this necessary?  It just looks so odd (to me).  An item that has been a breakfast protein staple for years is suddenly a topping on a burger, in the same spectrum as cheese, onions and mushrooms?  Who decided this would be a good idea?  What kind of demented mind comes up with this sort of thing???

I put off jumping on the egg cart for a long time.  Last winter, a friend started enjoying these sorts of burgers, with an egg on the top, but it didn’t resonate with me at all.  I just couldn’t embrace the egg in that way.  From delightfully fluffy scrambled eggs, to crepes, I’ll jump in the yolky pool, but sitting on top of a perfectly grilled burger?  Are you kidding me?

Well, I caved.  Despite all of my pre-conceived notions and biases, I decided to go for broke, and while eating at the Farmhouse Grill and Tap in Burlington, Vermont (where every menu items seems to be identified by the farm from which it came), I ordered the burger with cheese and a sunny-side up egg.  And how was it?  How was my first ovo-bovine experience?  Decidedly…interesting.  
LaPlatte River Angus Farm Beef
from a cow named "Morty"

arugula, cheddar, pickled red onions and egg

The Farmhouse burger did have a textural difference as a result of the egg on it, but boy, oh boy, was it messy!  However, the egg was not cooked completely, even as a sunny side up egg, so I wasn’t exactly thrilled.  But, since this IS a thing, I knew I had to go for another round…so, just to be fair, I tried a second burger, this time a bison burger, with cheese, sautéed mushrooms, sautéed onions and a fried egg, over easy, at Ted’s Montana Grill in Westborough.  This one, well, it was better, but girl, oh girl…it was MESSY!  But messy is a good way. 

American cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms topped 
with a fried egg

It’s a very interesting combination.  I liked the yolk running down along the side of the meat (and my hands and arms), and when you get to the combination of the meat and the yolk, it was really unctuously delicious.  I’m not sure the white of the egg really is important to the whole affair, but I can taste the specialness of having a warm, runny yolk oozing down the entire burger, ultimately soaking into the bun.  After doing this twice though, I’m not sure I want to attack this on a frequent basis (or my heart will “attack” me).  It is a mess, and I’m not sure if I wanted to celebrate this, or be disgusted with myself (like my sister and mother probably are just by reading this).  But it was delicious, in a strange, twisted way.  Given the popularity of this these days, done well, it is a burger worth eating.  If at a place that offers the fried egg topping, give this new condiment a try. 

And remember, brown eggs are local eggs, and local eggs are fresher.

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