Archive for the 'Burgers' Category

Black Hog BBQ & Bar

118 South Market St
Frederick, MD 21701

Pros: Amazing BBQ menu!
Cons: Packed on a Saturday evening!

Yes, it’s been a while since we’ve added to our list, as real life has often intruded on our ability to really try out new restaurants. It must have taken something really momentous to have us resume our list, and we have found it!

Our friend led us to the Black Hog BBQ & Bar during an outing with friends, and we can’t thank her enough! We don’t often venture out in Frederick, MD, but this is one of the restaurants that we would happily return for. On second though, maybe for our cardiovascular health, it’s probably a good thing that this restaurant involves a bit of a trek for us.

The restaurant has a very nice neighborhood feel. As we waited for our table, we got to chatting with another customer who claimed that he would dine at the Black Hog a couple times a week ever since it had opened. With an endorsement like that, that just made us salivate even more. My wife and I shared the BHB Triple, meaning we got a taste of 3 different animals on our platter: cow (beef brisket), chicken (grilled quarter chicken), and pig (ribs)! I normally need to go for some BBQ drenched in sauce, but due to my wife’s current dietary restrictions, we tried to minimize that and go for something a little more dry-rub based. The ribs and chicken really did not need an extra sauce, as they had an amazing dry rub that just helped bring out the flavor. The table was equipped with a few sauces to add on; my favorite was blending a bit of the Carolina vinegar-based sauce with some of their mustard-based sauce and with a bit of their smoky-flavored sauce. This really added to the brisket and the ribs that were already amazing! The sides that we chose for our platter (beans & rice and southern greens) were equally excellent!

Though we did not try it ourselves, some friends ordered some chicken wings that they said could have used a little more salt. Fortunately, they seemed to be appeased by the choice of sauces.

There’s very little not to love about this place. There is some parking, albeit limited, in the back. Our friend wanted to watch a rugby game on the television, but it happened to be on a channel that the restaurant/local cable did not carry, but these are just minor quibbles for an otherwise amazing BBQ restaurant. And my wife was worried that she wouldn’t ever find a BBQ restaurant that she would enjoy as much as the one we frequented when she’d visit me out in grad school…

Black Hog BBQ Bar on Urbanspoon

Rudy’s Mediterranean Grill & Bar

7185 Columbia Gateway Drive
Suite D
Columbia, MD 21046
410-290-2004 / 410-290-2010

Pros: Doner kebabs, seafood

Cons: Other dishes may need more flavoring

We have been longing for a good diner in Columbia, and we may have finally found one. I have to admit that it took us a few visits to really fall in love with this place. One thing this place suffers from is the standard Columbia curse: hard to find. You really have to hunt for this one, but we hope word of month will help them out.

We tried first some of the more standard and some not-so-standard diner dishes. The crabcakes, and stuffed mushrooms, and calamari were quite tasty, but sandwiches and wraps were thoroughly mediocre. A lot of the side dishes could use more flavoring; the table-side salt and pepper will be your friend for the lentil soup and breakfast potatoes.

The dishes that finally won us over, however, were the doner kebabs. For dinner, the Famous Iskender Kebab is pretty close to perfection. Think of it as an open-face gyro pita sandwich drenched in a tasty tomato sauce. The garlic yogurt helps balance out the peppers on the dish. The gyro, itself, is perfectly prepared, and the toasted pita adds a welcome crunchy texture.

The place does quite well with its seafood, such as the Crabcake Benedict and Fried Calamari, but the doner kebabs are what have my taste buds talking for days.
Rudy's Mediterranean Grill & Diner on Urbanspoon

Elevation Burger

Wheaton Mall
1160 Veirs Mill Road
Wheaton, MD 20902

(and several other locations)

Pros: very much the same feel as In-N-Out

Cons: not enough locations as In-N-Out

Ask just about any Californian, and he/she will tell you that the pinnacle of fast food burgers is In-N-Out. As a Californian transplanted here on the East Coast, I have longed to find something comparable. Whereas some East Coasters live and die by Five Guys, I actually feel overwhelmed by their burgers and fries. The lone FatBurger in Columbia, MD definitely comes close to that West Coast magic, yet they are rather limited in their burger toppings.

Enter Elevation Burger, which we found by way of Groupon. The Wheaton Mall Elevation Burger definitely feels like In-N-Out with a different color scheme. You get the added bonus that all ingredients are organic, and they boast an environmentally-friendly agenda, something that these two quasi-hippies definitely appreciate. And their toppings…you actually get a pretty wide array of toppings, probably a little bit more than your typical fast food place. You also have the opportunity of stacking your burgers with a customizable number of patties and slices of cheese (up to 10 each). So the In-N-Out’s double-double (aka Elevation Burger) is a standard menu option, and you can add on more, if you choose to. All in all, I still prefer the taste of the meat patties from FatBurger, but there’s not much to really complain about with Elevation Burger’s actual burgers; they are beautifully juicy and hand-rolled! The fries are very thinly and freshly cut. The olive oil base for the fries makes it wonderful for my wife who has peanut allergies (look a little more deeply, and you’d be surprised by how many places boast frying their fries in peanut oil).

I have not yet tried to find out if Elevation Burger has a secret menu much like In-N-Out’s not-so-secret menu. They definitely have the ingredients to simulate “Animal Style,” but they probably would look at me weird if I requested my fries such. Still, I would welcome readers to let me know if there is some comparable secret menu.

For this West Coaster transplanted to the East Coast, Elevation Burger is definitely approaching the feel that I grew up with, especially with an environmentally-friendly and organic kick.

Founding Farmers

1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006
Pros: Fresh and local, healthy, lots of vegetarian and vegan options
Cons: Long waits
If you are a student at George Washington University, this place needs to be on your list of local restaurants to frequent. So far we have only had the breakfast, but if that is any indication, the lunch and dinner options should be amazing!
This is located not too far from GW campus, and the location is perfect also for the local government and office workers. You can tell that this is likely a place where a lot of schmoozing happens, and with good reason! They offer a huge range of drink and dessert options for the casual eater. Likely because of this, be ready for long wait times. But don’t be too shy, because the wait time is definitely worth it.
If you are a fan of healthy and locally grown/harvested food, you will not be disappointed with this restaurant. They actually pride themselves on their green attitude and their mission towards local sustainability. You can taste the freshness in each dish too. If you come here from breakfast, one dish that absolutely MUST be on your order is one of their New Orleans-style Stuffed French Toast dishes. The brandy-creme that lies inside each french toast is painfully addictive. Fresh strawberries on top provide an excellent complement to the french toast. If you want to become delightfully overwhelmed with sweetness, try covering your french toast with bananas foster, and you will drift off into a blissful heaven. If you decide not to indulge in the french toast, another recommendation is the Fried Chicken, Eggs, & Waffles. This is a southern dish at heart. You’d be amazed how well fried chicken tenders, waffles, fresh maple syrup, and gravy go together!
We cannot wait to come back here to try lunch and dinner dishes. With the promise of freshly baked bread everyday and handmade pasta, it won’t be long before we get these into our mouths.


6010 University Blvd.
Ellicott City, MD 21043

923 Ellsworth Dr.
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Pros: Amazing brunch menu

Cons: Extremely crowded

We found this place when we were desperate for a breakfast place. We couldn’t have asked for a place with a better breakfast selection. This place has a vast array of crepes and eggs benedicts varieties. If you can’t decide between the two, try a Breton Benedict, where you get a combination of the two!

Aside from your benedict and crepe dishes, the rest of menus is full of options. From pancakes to french toast to omelettes to…whatever your breakfast heart desires. The place has a traditional dinner menu as well, which we have yet to try. If the breakfast dishes are any indication, the dinner items will be just as delectable.

The restaurant is fairly popular, so be sure to arrive early or be prepared to wait. Even when we arrived there at just after 9:00 AM, we were given one of those fancy pagers to wait for our table. Like we said, however, the wait is well worth it, and this is definitely a place to bring guests for a healthy and delicious meal.

Cheeburger Cheeburger

2135 East York Rd
Timonium, MD 21093

15755 Columbia Pike
Burtonsville, MD 20866

8872 McGaw Rd
Columbia, MD 21045

14921 Shady Grove Rd
Rockville, MD 20850

Pros: amazing build-your-own-burger-menu; diner atmosphere

Cons: Limited menu outside the burger/sandwich realm

We were led to Cheeburger Cheeburger by a TV ad. And we’re glad that we found it! If you ever have a craving for burgers, this is the place to visit. The diner atmosphere recalls the 50’s and 60’s diners that you see in movies, and the service staff is incredibly friendly.

And of course the burgers…Cheeburger Cheeburger offers a range of sizes ranging from kid-size (1/8 pound) to the monstrous Pounder (actually 1 1/3 pounds). They offer the Pounder as a challenge to customers, and their entry way is filled with photos of those who have successfully taken on that challenge. Along with the burgers come a build-your-own topping menu. The topping list is fairly extensive. Be careful that you don’t end up piling on more than you can handle, and it’s easy to get a little too eager.

The fries are a little salty for my taste, but are otherwise fried beautifully and deliciously. The skins left on the potatoes leave a nice taste and texture. And while you’re there, try finishing off your meal with a malt or a shake. Just like the toppings menu, the soda and ice cream menu offers an amazing range of options.

So next time you’re there, see if you’re up to the Pounder Challenge!

August 2020