Burger of the Month at Kuma’s Too for April, 2014
- Fresh basil
- Bruschetta tomato mix
- Breaded deep fried pancetta
- Herbed cream cheese
- 10 oz. Beef patty
- Pretzel bun
Continuing the tradition of dedicating brutal burgers to obscure but awesome bands, April’s Burger of the Month over at Kuma’s Too was named after the Virginia-based doom metal band Valkyrie. At first, the 10oz. beef patty evil twin to the classical Italian bruschetta sandwich was a bit of a head-scratcher. Well.. it still is, at least to me. I still can’t figure out how a burger stuffed with typically Italian ingredients is connected to an American band from the South named after a being from Norse mythology. Not that it matters, though – I just get a kick out of figuring these things out, you know?
The Valkyrie came to me a bit charred as you’ve probably noticed from the picture and when compared to the rest of the beef patties on this blog you’ll also notice that it is definitely darker and smaller than the rest. I ordered a medium rare, but I’ll chalk this one to the fact that everyone around me was ordering it as well. Besides, I used to eat all of my meats well done, so I wasn’t offended by it. I was actually surprised to find a little pink in the middle, so it wasn’t so bad. I am not a big connoisseur of Italian antipasto dishes, but I’ll say that the bruschetta mix topped with the fresh basil was a definite winner in my book, adding a minty, sweet flavor to the garlic-infused tomatoes. The initial bite is aromatic, crunchy and refreshing, preparing the palate for the heavier, greasy cut of breaded deep fried pancetta, which kicks it up a notch with some pork belly saltiness. The portion of pancetta on the Valkyrie is significantly more generous than the Lair of the Minotaur burger, though it still manages to blend with the rest of the ingredients, allowing the patty to be, once again, primus inter pares. Or is it? In my opinion, the herbed cream cheese was the most stellar ingredient in the Valkyrie. It’s hard to put a finger on what herbs were in it, though I’d guess Italian parsley and chives. Oregano? It wasn’t too salty and the herbs definitely played well with the basil, while “absorbing” some of the greasiness of the pancetta AND it turns out that herbed cream cheese is a pretty good dipping sauce for the side of fries. Despite the minor “charred” setback, the Valkyrie was definitely a delicious burger, and a nice reminder that there’s more to Italian cuisine than pasta and what seems to pass as pizza in our Chicagoland. I’d be interested in seeing the Valkyrie as a sandwich (minus the beef patty, of course) with a nice spread of the herbed cheese, tons of the crazy pancetta and the mix, of course – all squished in between two grilled pretzel buns.. or maybe, just maybe – Italian bread? Could see it as an open-faced sandwich appetizer as well, though it won’t be able to compete with the other appetizer choices out there.
Once again, I decided to trust in Kuma’s Too’s recommended pairing and ended not-quite-slamming-back two Off Color Brewing Troublesome Gose/Wheat Beer [4.50% ABV]. Troublesome, as the name suggests, is a complex combination of two beers, combining a malty wheat beer with beer fermented with Lactobacillus. It is a hazy, straw-colored beer brewed with coriander and salt, with a creamy, full mouthfeel resembling a gulp of, hm.. Coors Brewing Company Blue Moon Belgian White [5.40% ABV] (minus the orange peel, plus hints of lemongrass) and (and this is going to sound weird) a sip of water from the Black Sea, which is significantly less saline than most. Just trust me on this one. Troublesome is definitely an oddball beer in that it manages to be salty, sour and citrusy at the same time, thus really achieving a taste of its own. Its salty characteristic is nice, because it lingers as you wash down the flavor of whatever it is you’re eating, so when you get back to eating your palate is prepared for the next bite. It’s refreshing without diluting the flavor, which is why it goes so well with the saltiness of Valkyrie’s breaded deep fried pancetta and herbed cream cheese, while the subtle coriander notes play extremely well with the basil and whatever is in the herbed cream cheese. Overall, Troublesome is just perfect for the cream cheese, which is also the most dominant and “special” ingredient. It compliments the herbs, the moderate saltiness and the mouthfeel.
Overall, Troublesome is a fantastic little beer that’s worth the trouble. Definitely give it a shot.