Sunday, April 17, 2011

International Burger Banquet

There isn't much that conjures up culinary sadness quite like the words "burger banquet." It just reminds me of the worst of mid-90's food trend when everyone was doing things like that. That and baked potato bars. Oh, baked potato bars.

The only thing that could be more 90's would be opening an Asian fusion restaurant with a name like "Green Ginger" or simply "Galangal."

Sometimes, however, I feel compelled to recall these terrible moments of American food trend history with a thematic meal. Last night was such a night. Unfortunately because of the rain I had to postpone this stupid idea until tonight. I wasn't really in any mood to do it tonight, actually, but given the fact that the ingredients were on hand I did it anyway.

The theme of the night: fake American ethnic foods! What better way than to start with a trio of salads representing different ethnic cuisines? Well, that is to say the American version of different ethnic cuisines. I like to call this "Applebee's Ethnic."

No dinner is complete without a Mexican or Southwestern, or Spanish themed item. It's hard to tell which it is at this point. Maybe it's even Tex Mex. All I know is that for this first salad I combined tomato, avocado, red onion, cilantro, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil, lime juice, and tequila. Because you can't have a Spanitexmexicasouthwestern meal with tequila and lime!

For the second salad a Greek theme! That's right, that means spinach and feta are featured prominently. I also served this salad with lemon, olive oil, and honey drizzled over the top.

The third salad was American style so that means bacon, blue cheese, and ranch dressing over mixed spring greens.

The burgers were made to match the salads. I started off with a salsa burger with cotija cheese and lime. The second burger was a spinach feta burger with sliced green olives on top. The third was a bacon blue cheese burger.

I'd have made matching desserts but I was already tired of this concept by the time I was done making the salads. Besides I didn't feel like making flan, baklava, AND an over-sized cheesecake this afternoon.

Instead I served this all up with a single tall glass of Hennepin from Ommegang. Apparently Hennepin is named after father Hennepin who discovered Niagara Falls. Strangely the falls were not named after him and, instead, he has some state park in Minnesota named after him.

He may have been screwed out of being named after North America's most famous waterfall but some of that terrible oversight has been repaid in naming this fantastic beer after him.

Truth be told, I'd rather have a beer named after me than a waterfall.

Don't go chasing Hennepins.

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