And made the gap no longer closed anymore
’cause my signs are burning, burning the veil.
Killing our idols, scaring ourselves as well,
We’re all gonna see, we weren’t prepared.
Enslaved – Veilburner
One Day Only Special Burger at Kuma’s Corner on February 7th, 2014
- Seasoned frizzled onions
- Maple rosemary skirt steak braised in Left Hand Milk Stout
- Maple bacon aioli
- 10 oz. Beef patty
- Pretzel bun
Harkening back to the age of pillaging and looting vikings, Kuma’s Corner‘s Veilburner was an exclusive, One Day Only burger named after a song by the Norwegian viking black metal band Enslaved, who were in town to perform with Amon Amarth and Skeletonwitch (which would be a great name for a sandwitch) on February 7th, 2014. Intimidating at first, Veilburner reminds of those decadent feasts in the mead halls, where thanes devoured their weight in meat and drink. While the thought of vikings sustaining themselves only on hunks of venison and booze is as cliche as their horned helmets, you should probably know that while Old English was standard, “meat” was the word for all kinds of nourishment… which did not stop Kuma’s executive chef from turning the “Veilburner” into every meatlover’s wet dream.
Fitted inside the fantastic pretzel bun was, of course, Kuma’s staple 10oz. beef patty, which by itself is a meal and a half that should satisfy most people’s appetite, but as we all know – metal is about extremes and this burger is no exception. A heaping pile of tender, seasoned frizzled onions sat at the very top of this creation like a dragon’s hoard of gold or a pile of loot waiting to be distributed after a raid, proving to be a very interesting alternative to the usual onion toppings (red, caramelized or ring) with a very nice blend of crispy and chewy. I know I said that this was an all meat encounter, but come on, once you “frizzle” a veggie it becomes a food category of its own. Beneath the frizzled onions was more than a handful of maple rosemary skirt steak braised in the Left Hand Brewing Company Left Hand Milk Stout ..errr.. Milk Stout [6.00% ABV] which engaged the jaws with its stringy texture, really allowing me to appreciate the taste of the entire burger from the subtle flavor of the rosemary, to the sweetness of the maple. Finally, to finish it off – maple bacon aioli, with aioli really becoming a penchant for Kuma’s BOTM releases, adding a series of new flavors without having to stack the burger with ingredients all the way to Valhalla. The aioli very gently enhanced the flavor of the skirt steak and brought in the awesomeness of bacon to the equation as it slowly dripped down the porous steak and the beef patty, until it soaked in the bottom pretzel bun.
Eating such a delicious burger will inevitably shroud you in the “Veil” – a trance-like laconic state of concentration triggered by equal parts of respect, appreciation and the desire to bring an axe to the face of your hunger. Symptoms include the inability to speak unless to praise the meal (usually expressed with primal grunts), the audible smacking of lips and the occasional “deeewdatssssooogoood”. The Veil flows through what little openings it can find in your cholesterol calcified veins with every slow beat of your heart, resonating in the depths of your mind with a soft drone, like the trompette of a hurdy gurdy’s buzzing bridge during a face-melting andro. It separates you from the outside world and in that most solemn of moments the food becomes a part of you like a wielded weapon, and the act of eating – into an autonomous function of your body, and thus you eat all deaf and mute, ‘till it’s no more and the Veil burns, turning into a flurry of ash.
There’s just something phenomenal about the combination of burger meat and what seems to be any kind of braised meat. The Veilburner is my second most favorite burger from Kuma’s Corner to day, second only to the braised goat shoulder meat and burger combination of the Ghost Burger. Like I said before, the pairing of different textures and meat, the flavors of the braising and the aioli are an amazing way to experiment with all sorts of ingredients and their flavors. I think that there should be a burger sub-category or special regional name for a burger with braised meat on top of it, especially if its stringy. But that’s just me..
My friend and I actually saw the band Enslaved eating at Kuma’s Corner when we went there all bright and early to devour the Veilburner burger. I wasn’t aware of their music or what they looked like, but when we saw a group of metal looking dudes and ladies sitting on three adjacent (but not connected) tables, I said jokingly “What if that’s Enslaved?!”. A quick Google search followed and whaddaya know, it WAS them. One of the members even smiled at me and wished me a nice meal as they headed out once they were done with their burgers. With three tables free we were seated almost immediately and got to enjoy Veilburner with Enslaved chain-smoking outside, less than 6 feet from us… Beat that.
Veilburner was devoured with DryHop Brewers Reverse Thunder Imperial Red Ale [8.0% ABV] was created in collaboration with Dryhop Brewers brewery and kitchen and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild as the first wave of a three month long celebration called Metal Beers & Burgers, where burgers and beers are released monthly as a carefully crafted pairing. Reverse Thunder, named after a song from Red Fang’s opus eponymous album was a 8.3% ABV monstrosity dry-hopped with the sole purpose to seek and destroy your palate with enough citrus overtones to beat the piney aroma of the hops into submission. I wrote more about it here. All in all, it went just fine with the burger and was deceptively weak at first but ultimately it ended up packing a delayed alcohol-enhanced punch to the brain. As previously stated – a great palate cleanser: delicious enough to keep you pining for more, piney enough to keep you eating once the bitterness overwhelms you.
Solemn Oath Brewery Kidnapped by Vikings American IPA [6.10% ABV] would also make for a nice pairing, if just for the sake of staying in theme, plus since it’s supposed to be paired with Carolina-style BBQ it should play along with the maple aioli and Kuma’s very own spicy and vinegary ketchup.