I’m still gathering my thoughts on B-Fest 2014, which was this past weekend. (“Fever dreams tinged with PTSD” might be a more accurate descriptor than “thoughts,” granted.) In the meantime, I’ve got a backlog of food-related scribblings I’ve been meaning to put to pixels.
Much has been made of the recent doughnut revival, as if doughnuts had been gasping on their deathbed. (I think we were all just tired of trying to make cupcakes happen.) That said, these ones are pretty frickin’ awesome. We had them twice at work recently, once thanks to a thoughtful co-worker and once through a pop-up restaurant program, and I was able to try pieces of five kinds. I’ll go from my least favorite to most favorite.
Caramel Apple: This was the only one I didn’t like. The doughnut was lacking in apple flavor and the topping had an off, burnt taste, whether from the caramel or the peanuts. I don’t see this flavor on their website now. Coincidence?
Old Fashioned: I love old fashioned doughnuts, so I’m particular about what I want out of one. In particular, this means lots of craggy, crusty, crunchy edges, and Glazed & Infused goes a bit restrained on this front. This is really a personal quibble, though. The doughnut has a nice, tender crumb and a vanilla bean glaze that actually provides some flavor beyond “noncommittally sweet.”
Maple Bacon Long John: lololol BACON DOUGHNUT. Now that we’ve got the hipster giggles out of the way, this was tasty, though my admiration may have more to do with the “maple long john” part than the “bacon” part. I’m a sucker for maple doughnuts. It runs in the family. Anyway, the raised doughnut dough is light, the glaze has a true maple flavor, and the bacon is front and center rather than an afterthought.
Fruit Fritter: I think this one took all the fruit flavor from the caramel apple and ran. Where that one was bland and slightly dry, this was lush and oozing with apple. Really, in my opinion, it’s hard to screw up a fritter.
Crème Brûlée: A winner. That great raised dough, intensely flavored vanilla-bean-flecked custard filling, and a torched sugar crust? Deliver directly to face. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200, unless that money is going immediately toward more doughnuts.
Le Bourjois Pig, The Orbit Room (2959 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618)
[sic] on that burger name, for the record. Written as printed on the menu. (Possibly a conflict with this Bourgeois Pig, or is that just idle speculation?)
I’d had my eye on LBP for several visits before taking the plunge. It’s a behemoth of a burger topped with bacon, caramelized onions, roasted pears, and Brie. I’m at a loss for adjectives that don’t make me sound like Hedonism Bot.
If you’re a stickler for burger construction, be forewarned; this shit is going to fall apart on you constantly. I found myself taking bites of the burger, then popping the fallen pieces of pear in behind them.
How does it taste, though? Good, in the way that makes you feel bad about yourself afterwards. There’s a lot going on. The pears, in addition to having a desire to escape, ended up overpowered by the other toppings (especially the Brie rind); I wonder how thinner slices of raw pear would fare in the mix. Also, with so many other flavors going on, the beef ended up playing second fiddle, which was a shame because it was a great juicy medium-rare. I’ve had simpler burgers here and I know they’re not hiding anything.
Verdict? I’d eat it again, but there are other things on Orbit Room’s menu that I’m overdue to try first. If you end up there to drink, be advised, their food isn’t just stomach insulation. They put thought into it, and even if you’re not drunk yet, you will eat too much.
Also, their onion rings are awesome. But that’s for another day.