Bartender and Resident Globetrotter
I’ve always been interested in food. Eating it. Cooking it. Even a little baking. When I was a kid, instead of watching cartoons, I watched Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped, Iron Chef, or No Reservations. In fact, Anthony Bordain became a hero of mine.
I love Bordain’s advice that when you travel, you should eat where the locals eat and drink with them whenever you can. When I go somewhere, I always try to get off the beaten path and eat at places I can’t get at home. That’s why I found a tiny Mexican back-alley restaurant recommended by some rando in a bar, and a three-seat ramen shop in Kanazawa where I had the best ramen of my life! Sometimes you find what you’d never expect, like the sugar-glazed Asian-style wings at the Burr Trail Grill four hours from civilization on the side of a mountain outside Boulder, Utah.
The essence of Bordain’s advice (and the way he lived) was to be open to serendipity and to let food be a way to form connections. When I lived in Japan, I shared a lot of Japanese meals with people who became friends, but I also got to share a little American cuisine with them. Japanese people love American fast food! They would beg me to show them how to make “smashburgers.” Even though my Japanese wasn’t fluent yet and I had to rely on a lot of hand motions, it was always a great experience. And really, who doesn’t understand a juicy burger?
(makes 2 burgers with 2 patties in each)
- 1 lb 80/20 ground beef
- 2 slices Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 potato buns
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 1 heirloom tomato
- 1 bunch arugula
- goat cheese
- balsamic vinegar
- whole grain mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Form ¼ lb balls of ground beef and place into fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- Heat cast iron pan or griddle to 500°F.
- Place burgers directly into pan and press flat using back side of spatula to ensure crust. (Patties should be as thin as possible without breaking apart.)
- Season with salt and pepper. Cook for one minute or until the edges become crisp. Flip and cover with the Monterey Jack and goat cheese. Cook for an additional minute, then put burgers aside to rest.
- Toast potato buns in burger fat.
- Lay out bottom buns and dress with mayo. Assemble burger by stacking meat patty, arugula, lettuce, tomato, and second patty on top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
- Dress top bun with mayonnaise and whole grain mustard. Place it like a crown atop your American masterpiece. Enjoy your smashburgers!