Adventures in Eating & Cooking
With year 3 of medical school, comes getting shipped off to various hospitals… a lot of them with housing stipend but no food stipend. Well, I guess that’s okay with me since it gives me an excuse to devour whatever city/town I’m at. My first weekend at Pittsburgh, I went to Burgatory with my new buddy Gulnarnarnar. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much since Shake Shack is the standard I go by, but my was I impressed. Burgatory matched up to Shake Shack in almost every aspect, even the 2-hour wait!
One neat thing about Pittsburgh was the nearly universal “No Wait” app at popular restaurants. You just put your name and phone # down, and they will text you when a table opens up – super-convenient! And since Burgatory is at the Waterfront (an outdoors shopping center), 2 hours passed like nothing.
Another cool thing was that you could build your own burger, something that more burger joints need to start catching on in this new era of personalized food!
As a result, I made my own Munchimonster Burger – brioche bun, farmhouse cheddar cheese, truffled shallot aioli sauce, Cajun rub, and four free toppings (crisp romaine, organic field greens, tomato, and jalapeno). I also added a $1 extra topping of sauteed mushrooms because I love the truffle-shroomy-fungi flavorings atop a burger. I got jalapeno cornbread on the side.
I was initially hesitant to order my burger well-done because from my past experiences, these tend to err on the charred and dry side. However, I’m glad that I asked them to do medium-well on the well-done side. The meat was still quite moist and juicy, with a fully charbroiled flavor, yum! My hunch about the mushrooms and truffle aioli sauce was right, as I was pleased that they enhanced each others shroominess. The mixed greens w/ romaine salad added a crisp freshness that balanced the rich umami flavor of meat. The jalapenos added spicy kick! The burger rub was supposed to be Cajun, though I was a bit disappointed that the flavor didn’t carry through… In general though, the meat was excellent (almost Shake Shack-level) and the personalization process was fun (makes Shake Shack look outdated). I’d say the customized burgatory is an experience one shouldn’t miss in Pitt!
Gulnarnarnar’s burger. She put an egg in hers. ISN’T THAT AWESOME?! Another example of why customizing stuff is fun and awesome. I say adding an egg to any dish just brings it to a whole new level of eggs-ellence. (Come on guys, humor me.)
MILKSHAKES!!! Damn right, those milkshakes will bring fat kids like me to the yard. But those burgers are what will make us stay! Still, these milkshakes really do hold their own. Gulnarnarnarnar and I agreed that Burgatory is worth a trip for the shakes alone. She ordered the Halloween special, which had a cookies n’ cream base (left). I got the Salted Pretzel Caramel with pretzel bits churned in. I absolutely loved the balance of sweet creamy caramel and salty pretzel crunch; I could not stop sipping on this throughout our conversation, pretty much finishing it by the time my burger arrived. My only complaint was the exorbitant amount of whipped cream, which I’m sure would have been preferable to others. I’m just not a big fan of anything too creamy, so whipped cream out of the can is not really for me.
No wonder why there is no Shake Shack opening up in Pittsburgh. You don’t really need one when you have Burgatory, since it pretty much offers everything Shake Shack has to offer and more! In a head-to-head comparison, Shake Shack’s brioche bun and meat is tastier, with more burger juice and umami. But the variety of quality toppings that Burgatory offers cannot be beat, and the customizable option is a definite plus. Both places make fantastic shakes, so it’s hard to compare the two. I like that Shake Shack makes classic yummy shakes without whipped cream, but Burgatory has more creative options. (Burgatory also makes alcoholic milkshakes – say what?!) I guess you can’t really compare the two since they both have merits. All I can say is, I would definitely revisit Burgatory again when I’m in town!