Culinary Escapdes: One Girl’s Adventures in Food

Though the new year is well under way and we’ve all (hopefully) welcomed 2016 with open arms, let us not forget 2015 was a fantastic year: for politics, for pop culture, and my personal favorite, food.

Since moving to Chicago, my top priority (aside from one day mastering public trans) was to immerse myself in as much of the amazing food this city has to offer as possible, which is precisely why I was ecstatic when I realized the only thing standing in my way between me and the best burger in America was a fifteen minute bus ride.

In 2015, Food Network deemed Chicago’s upscale diner Au Cheval as the place to be in order to experience the best burger in America.

And uh, they weren’t kidding around.

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Photo courtesy of Au Cheval’s website

I’ve always consider myself to be somewhat of a burger connoisseur, which meant I had to experience it for myself.

Last week, my boyfriend and I ventured to Au Cheval, empty stomachs in tow, for a much anticipated dinner date during peek dinner hours. Feeling brave, we agreed to wait the full two hours.

As we waited (and hoped this burger was worth the feeling of our stomachs internally break dancing) I took in my surroundings. The atmosphere was spectacular. Amongst the cozy low-lighting, and rich, ebony and ash color scheme, I felt extremely relaxed. This upscale diner gave a new, sleek sophistication to traditional American dining.

We were seated at the high-top counter, front and center, privy to all of the culinary action. The restaurant’s open schemed kitchen allows guests to watch the chefs at work, a concept I’ve always personally enjoyed. After placing our orders, I watched one chef place over fifty patties on the flattop grill, sprinkling salt and pepper about, while another chef working directly in front of me meticulously chopped and crafted an intricate salad. The guest seated to my right exclaimed to the nearby chef, “You’re an artist!” The chef was very friendly and humble, explaining that he’s merely been “doing this for years.”

Our burgers were served in a timely manner and I was taken aback by the beauty (yes, beauty). Surprisingly, our double cheeseburgers were actually served with three patties each. We chalked it up to be a happy accident, but make no mistake, it was absolutely intentional.

Au Cheval’s famous “double” cheeseburger is served with three thin patties in order to achieve what Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian claims to be the “perfect burger-to-cheese ratio.” The burgers were topped with cheddar cheese, maple-glazed bacon, and Au Cheval’s own “Dijonaise” sauce, and can be topped with a fried egg if desired “Au Cheval style.”

The flavors were incredible. Their utilized ingredients may seem simplistic, but created rich, developed flavors, reinvigorating one of America’s favorite foods.

 

 

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