I remember when I was a kid in grade school, I used to read the newspaper, actually I would read anything that I could get my hands on. There was an article back then about local celebrities who opined where they went for their favorite burger in Detroit. This article goes back to when everything centered on Detroit, no one even mentioned restaurants in the suburbs. Detroit had a local celebrity that was an actor in his earlier career and then hosted a television show on two different systems in the Detroit area for decades, where he would talk about the “old” Hollywood and reminisce about colorful stories of the actors and actresses in the film that he was showing that day, and some days he would even present a film that he had a part in. He had small parts in most movies, including “Mrs. Skeffington” and “Now, Voyager.” His most famous scene in a film, has probably been excised in today’s PC world as he was the man that was setting the fire to burn Ingrid Bergman in “Joan of Arc” with his only line being “Throw another faggot on the fire” which referred to a burning stick or torch, but even he in the Sixties used to joke that the line now had a different context and he used to opine if and when his scene would be removed. He had a great voice, was a good-looking man, but he never was able to capitalize on it, either in films of the small screen. On the small screen he appeared in a lot of westerns, which were common shows in the Fifties, also in the Fifties he may have voiced the most famous quote to this day and was paid the handsome price of $350 in 1952 and no credit. “…And who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way!” I mention all of this background, because getting back to the newspaper article, all of the newscasters and journalists of the time were mentioning famous bars in Detroit, which even as a kid, I had been to (perhaps another story), but this television host said that his favorite burger was at The London Chophouse, which was the premier dining establishment since the Thirties and I had to ask about it, as a kid, because I had never heard about it, and of course I had never eaten there as a kid.
All of this exposition is because we decided that we wanted to go out for dinner and we really wanted a burger. At this point in my life, I have to agree that a steakhouse has an awesome burger and before all of this lockdown, we used to go and sit in the bar often at a steakhouse, just to have a burger and a couple of glasses of wine. Even my Bride was geeked up to having a burger. I mean it has been probably over 120 day since we had a “bar” burger, though over that time she has made some homemade patties, but just not the same as a blended and crafted burger in a steakhouse. We were given throw away paper menus, which is rather the norm today and as I scanned the menu, there was no burger and no house-made potato chips as well. Oh, the inhumanity of the times. We ended up ordering a couple of appetizers and made the most of the trip, as we weren’t looking to drop fifty or more dollars for one steak. We had an order of classic Crab Cakes with roasted red peppers and a lime butter sauce. We also ordered the Beef Carpaccio with a capers-Creole mustard sauce, red onions and diced egg. Actually, between the two plates there was a lot of food and it was very good, so we did not go hungry, but it wasn’t the burger that we both were craving.
The wine is also a big factor in attracting us for a burger in a steakhouse as opposed to a burger joint, some of which have great burgers, but the wine selections leaves something to be desired. I picked out a bubbly for my Bride, because it sounded interesting and, on the carte, it was listed as New Mexico, which was a first for both of us, and actually there are three AVA designations in New Mexico, but this wine was Gruet Methode Champenoise Brut Rosé American Sparkling Wine NV. Gruet Winery was founded in 1984 in New Mexico, as they were looking for interesting terroir and an affordable region compared to California to make their Methode Champenoise sparkling wines using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The roots of these vines originated from Gilbert Gruet’s Champagne house in Bethon, France. The wine was actually rather festive and refreshing and there was a constant stream of tiny bubbles until the glass was finished. The wine was pure Pinot Noir and aged “en tirage” for a minimum of twenty-four months and offered a soft strawberry nose and some nice acidity. When I found out that there was no burger, I ordered a glass of Chardonnay, which was excellent with the crab cakes and actually wasn’t too bad with the beef carpaccio, because of the preparation. I had a glass of Cave de Lugny Macon-Lugny La Carte Lie-Dit 2016. Macon-Lugny is part of the much larger district known as the Maconnais, and the commune of Lugny has become very well known because of the hard work of the cooperative Cave de Lugny. The Macon-Lugny is only used for white wines that are entirely Chardonnay, they also may use the designation for red and rosé wines made from Pinot Noir and Gamay. Cave de Lugny is the largest producer of White Burgundy in the world, controlling a third of the production of Southern Burgundy and half the total production of the Maconnais. Founded in 1926, they are a cooperative of family-owned estate, but not a negocient with over two-hundred-thirty estates. Cave de Lugny claims that they are the home of the birthplace of Chardonnay and they boast some well known lieux-dits (or registered localities) like “Les Charmes,” “Les Beluses” and “La Carte.” This was a charming wine that featured some oak qualities and was just a very easy drinking Chardonnay, in fact my Bride ordered a glass of this after the Gruet and split her glass with me. The quest continues for us to find a steakhouse burger.