And the Blowout continues.
In the past seven days, I have visited four more Burger Blowout restaurants, with four different important people. Here are the highlights:
First up was Smashburger, in Warwick. I had heard of this burger chain, but had never been to one. Located in the little plaza with Trader Joe’s, it’s one of the more fast-foodish choices in this year’s lineup. It’s as if Five Guys (my personal favorite fast food) got together with Shake Shack (not actual Shake Shack, don’t be ridiculous--something sort of LIKE Shake Shack). Burger choices include avocado, spinach and goat cheese, chipotle/mushroom/swiss...all on a choice of a multi-grain, egg, chipotle, gluten free, or LETTUCE bun.
I chose a burger smothered with mushrooms, on a lettuce bun (so--no bun). The Put an Egg on It! food trend has now more than jumped the shark, but I don’t care. I like an egg on top of so many things, and so I added an egg on this burger as well. Kid #1 surprised me with her choice of a regular cheeseburger (she’s normally all about the spinach and goat cheese, but not today).
We enjoyed our burgers, and for a quick weeknight before hitting Trader Joe’s and getting home again to make dinner for the other two, Smashburger hit the spot.
The next night, I had a date with Kid #2 to Trinity Rep to see their latest play (I could now go on about how good this play was, and how Kid #2 and I liked it, and how timely it was, and how I want to see it again, but this is neither the time nor the place, so just trust me--get tickets and go see Fuente Avejuna--you will not regret it). We needed to stay in the city and get to the theater on time, so we decided on JR’s.
In the Jewelry District, just around the corner from Nick-a-Nee’s and in the same building as The Village (another Blowout destination), JR’s is a narrow space with a couple of TVs and a good amount of seating. I had never heard of the place--and it appears that there is a whole lot going on at JR’s. They are aaalll about the online ordering, the delivery, the late night hours (open until 3:30am, and I have a feeling it’s rock & roll in there at about 1am) and the sliders. All burgers (and most other sandwiches) are pairs of sliders. Burger Blowout customers can choose from pretty much all of the beef burgers or a veggie burger.
When it comes to pineapple on pizza or burgers, I normally fall on the side of NO. But the pineapple on the Maui JR is grilled, and something about it appealed to me. The twin burgers are topped with pineapple, bacon, melted mozzarella and BBQ sauce. Kid #2 ordered the Original Beef JR (because of course he did).
These were good burgers. Very juicy, drippy, multi-napkin-needing, flavorful burgers. The BBQ sauce for the Maui burger came on the side, and a squirt bottle of some sort of JR’s special sauce was delivered to our table with the burgers. This pink sauce is referred to as “burger sauce” on the menu--it’s like spicy mayo, and it was so good that I didn’t bother with the BBQ sauce.
JR’s burgers were so good that quality conversation was had between me and teenaged Kid #2, who can be a man of few words. Sure, it was in the form of his discussing FIFA Soccer and quizzing me on every African flag, but I’ll take it and I'll like it. Kid #2 gives JR’s an enthusiastic thumbs up, and wants to go back.
The next stop on this weekday burger tour was Friday lunch with my friend, A, at Providence’s Clean Plate. A is a special person who will someday write a guest post about How to Give Your Children a Beautiful, Most Culturally Rich Childhood with Limited Resources. She may hesitate, but I will bring her a ricotta pie and then she will do it.
We sat in the upper level of the two-level restaurant. The place was quiet, and the lunch crowd picked up a bit while we were there. I’ve heard a lot about Clean Plate’s mixed drinks--but alas, there were kids to pick up from school, and so there would be no Day Drinking for us.
The several burgers available for Burger Blowout customers were pretty basic--but we both thought they were excellent. Paper-thin half-sour pickles topped the burgers, and the quality of the burgers was so good that they really didn’t need a lot of bells and whistles. I again decided to Put an Egg on It, and some mushrooms, and an invisible bun.
What kind of blogger, especially one sampling the best of RI’s burgers, doesn’t take a photo? The kind who is on their high horse of mindfulness and human connection, that’s what kind. Or maybe one so dazzled by their longtime friend A’s presence that they forget their photo responsibilities (not even kidding--my words don’t do her justice). Either way--my neglecting to photograph the burgers is my excuse to get back to Clean Plate as soon as possible. The other burgers, the rest of the menu, and the bar must be sampled more fully.
Later that evening, I had a burger dinner with P, at G Pub, and what started out as just a nice, ladylike dinner at the basement bar turned into an all-night odyssey that deserves its own post. Stay tuned.
Smashburger: In the plaza with Trader Joe’s, rt. 2, Warwick.
JR’s: In the building with The Village, around the corner from Nick-a-Nee’s. Richmond St.
Clean Plate: Water St., Providence, same parking lot as Mile and a Quarter (no, not in Fox Point--shame on you, Zagat’s)--but do not park in said parking lot, or you will get towed.