“All things must wither and die. Let root rot and bower blight, to feed the pestilence of abandoned hope.”— Aghalhor the Bringer of Poxes, Warhammer 40000
- Tortilla strips
- Fresh jalapeño
- Pepperjack cheese
- Roasted garlic mayo
- Crushed garlic
- Homemade hot sauce
- 10oz. beef patty
- Red onion
- Pretzel bun
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (unlikely) or not paying attention to my numerous posts of praise dedicated to the burger miracles of Kuma’s Corner menu (likely), you probably know that the place generates quite a lot of awesomeness with its Burgers of the Month. There are, however, other staples on the menu which are available all year long, like the burger dedicated to the death metal sound and industrial machinations of the Chicagoan band Plague Bringer!
True to its name, the Plague Bringer burger is like a artisan-made plague mean to wreak havoc on your palate with an astonishing collection of ingredients which only amps up the pungency and heat of the burger as you go down the list. What’s perhaps the most unusual ingredient, though, is the handful of fried tortilla strips at the top of the burger, topped only by the trio of red onions, tomato and lettuce. Not only are they some of the best tortilla chips I’ve ever had, but they also surprised me by not crumbling to a million pieces when I took my first bite. Rather, they stuck together prepped up by some light greasiness and werheld in place by the pepperjack cheese underneath. The flavor was really full of that corn you expect to taste from a corn tortilla, but without the absurd level of salt of normal tortilla strips. Big slices of fresh jalapeño hide under the chips, and yes, true to the fascination of one of my friends, they did leave the seeds in, and I’m so glad that the burger comes with fresh and not pickled peppers, because it really makes a difference. It’s like an extra vegetable! The extra crunch also plays well with the chips and the other three slices of burger garnish on top. And yes, that’s actually a ridiculous amount of creamy, melted Pepperjack cheese on top of that burger, sealing in all kinds of infernal concoctions while also adding to the burn of the Plague Bringer. The trio of roasted garlic mayo, crushed garlic and homemade hot sauce is super potent, and together is VERY reminiscent to the flavor of the award-winning Gators Wing Shack Garlic Buffalo Wings (Pretty much the only good thing about my “hometown” of Palatine…), with a very nice balance of cayenne, vinegar and garlic, and the occasional crunch of the crushed garlic only adds to the pungency and flavor. Add the red onion slice to the mix and it’s actually pretty amazing stuff, resulting in a very pub-crawl friendly burger just asking to be doused by some good beer. And, despite all of the garlic, all of the sauces and other shenanigans, the Plague Bringer is not the abomination that you might think it is. Sure, I’m still feeling the garlic a tiny bit 8 hours later, but at no point did I find myself thinking “Wow, this is REALLY hot!“, so if you’re afraid of ordering it, just split it with a friend.
Also, enjoy the extra jalapeño action in the ketchup accompanying the fries!
Try the Fried Japaleño Poppers appetizer, which delivers a half a dozen of Panko-breaded peppers stuffed with cream cheese AND chorizo, offered with a spicy jalapeño raspberry jam dip! Because you can never have enough of the little, green devils, plus it would be a nice stepping stone before the Plague Bringer itself.
Oh, man. I thought the Plague Bringer was going to be a tough one, what with the hot sauce, garlic and jalapeño and stuff, but I ended up with a pint of the goooood Dryhop Brewers Last City Zero Malt Liquor [8.0% ABV], whose sweet, smooth aftertaste of corn provided by the flaked maize mash in tandem with 6-row barley paired very, very well with the polenta of the Corrections House burger.
Here it brought out the subtle maize flavor of the tortilla chips and just blended so well the spicy, greasy nature of all the other ingredients, just like any other adjunct lager style beer should, but usually doesn’t. Last City Zero (still on tap at Kuma’s Corner!) just has that simple, unsophisticated vibe to it. Beers of its kind (read: pilsners and lagers) are usually shunned by the ever-increasing craft beer community, but I’m still convinced that this is a nice little exception to the rule that most adjuncts suck. Besides – 8.0% ABV! There’s just nothing not to like about the beer.
Just be careful with the booze of this one, or else they might need to pick you up with one of those wagon thingies. I hear there’s a plague going around…